Busted Blonde vs the NBR


When Busted Blonde emailed me to support her campaign to win her weight in bubbles in an NBR-Veuve Clicquot competition, I did.

I voted, wrote a post inviting others to vote for her too and then went to Australia. When I caught up with blogs on my return last night I discovered the bubbles had burst.

Busted Blonde had won the popular vote but didn’t win the judges over.

Contrary to the opinions of many bloggers (Cactus Kate, Clint HeinegoNZo Freakpower, Keeping Stock, KiwiblogMotella, Oswald Bastable, and Whaleoil) and the we drink anything but Veuve Cliquot Facebook group, I had sympathy for the NBR, Veuve Clicquot and the judges.

If I was wanting to promote my product to discerning readers and drinkers I wouldn’t want the word wanker in the winning entry.

I also understood that the popular vote wasn’t going to be the only criteria on which the judges’ decision was based.

However, NBR wasn’t wise to wait until after the published closing date to announce the top 10 entries would go into a pool from which the judges would pick a winner.

They have been sensible enough to realise that, have made a proper apology and:

In addition, the publisher will personally provide Busted Blonde’s weight in Veuve Clicquot to her to demonstrate that NBR will not allow its integrity, transparency or honesty in its dealings with its readers to be compromised in any way. She received the most online votes in the competition and NBR happily salutes that success.

As a responsible host, the publisher would, however, appeal to Busted Blonde to urge her guests to wear life jackets if celebrating their win on Wellington Harbour.

Let the festivities begin.

I’ll raise a glass to that, to Busted Blonde ( who is overcome with emotion) and to the power of the blogosphere.

Let Busted Blonde bathe in champers


Busted Blonde wants to win her weight in champagne.

As part of its 40th birthday celebrations NBR is offering the chance to win your weight in ‘Veuve Clicquot’ and she’s entered.

Brunette and Cactus Kate are supporting her and you can too by voting for her.

I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting BB (or Brunette and CK) but her reputation has preceded her and if even half what I’ve heard is true she would use the champers for a party to remember.

Did you see the one about . . .


Countdown employee-redfaced – Dim Post at his satirical best.

Devastating, just devastaing – Adolf at No Minister on the NZ Herald’s 7 deadly sins front page.

Life’s a Beach – A Little Whine and Cheese on a family day at the lake.

But the personal is political – In A Strange Land replies to one of the judges of the AIr NZ Best Blog Award.

Busted Blonde – BB’s last post at Roarprawn. I’ll miss her although Cat-astrophe on the BP oil spill shows Brunette has potential to be a worthy successor.

Quote of the Day – Anti Dismal on the absence of market forces in bureaucracy.

The taxing issue of burden – The Visible Hand has a different perspective on tax cuts.

A picture of a daffodil because . . .


a) if winter’s here can spring be far behind?

b) it’s a tiny electronic attempt to capture some carbon.

c) Busted Blonde asked me to.

Update: Thanks to Inventory 2 at Keeping Stock for pointing me at the video. The relevant comment is at around 3 minutes:

Cluster hoax


In most parts of the world a cluster bomb would be cause for great concern.

In Wellington yesterday it was a hoax – the suspicious parcel delivered to Agriculture Minister David Carter contained cluster flies not explosives.

As Busted Blonde says they’re a particularly irritating species. 

But they’re not dangerous.

Last year we were plagued by them, this summer we’ve seen few of them.

Who sent them to the Minsiter and why has yet to be determined.

And while we might laugh at the thought of  ministers seeking refuge in bars and cafes when their offices were cleared,  we should also be grateful that it was only a hoax.

In many other countries bombs aren’t hoaxes which cause inconvenience, they’re deadly serious and  kill people.

Anchor Me


Day 12 of Music Month – Anchor Me by the Mutton Birds.

Inspired by Busted Blonde who’s just been mutton birding, but is back now so not involved in the stabbing on Titi Island.

It’s official – Prentice vs Shadbolt for mayoralty


Suzanne Prentice has confirmed the rumours – she is standing for the Invercargill mayoralty.

In a media statement she said:

 “I want to bring a fresh, energetic and focused approach and to afford the position of mayor the dignity which it deserves,” she said.

“I have thought long and hard about standing and keep finding myself concerned for the future of our city, its residents and its ratepayers.

“I want to take Invercargill forward and to lead an inspired, united, and focused council which strives to build a vibrant and prosperous city.”

Ms Prentice said she had been overwhelmed at the tremendous support and encouragement she had received from many concerned residents in regard to her standing.

“I thank every one of them for putting their trust in me and I want them to know that I will take their views forward as I now officially confirm my intention to stand.”

It was now time to focus on the future of the city, she said.

“We have some very experienced councillors with a great deal to offer. Unfortunately the distractions of the past two to three years have, to a certain degree, detracted from the positive work which they have done.

“Given the right leadership and direction, I believe we can build a cohesive team which puts its energy into what is best for Invercargill.

“I also have enormous respect for the employees of the Invercargill City Council, their work continues to be a credit to them all, sometimes in trying circumstances.”

Ms Prentice said she would be honoured to be the mayor of Invercargill

“I consider myself to be a true Southlander – my heart and my home are in this city and my family have had a long and proud association with Invercargill.”

Her father was born in Invercargill and after the war he and his English bride returned and made it their home.

“This was the place where they raised their three children, just as my husband Stephen and I have done with our children, Blair and Andrea, and as our son Blair continues to do with his wife Vanessa.

“We are a true and loyal Invercargill family,” she said, “and I know that I have their support as I embark on this new and important journey.”

Tim Shadbolt is an experienced and wily campaigner. Until now I would have thought the Invercargill mayoralty was his as long as he wanted it.

But the last term has been difficult and if anyone can beat him it would be Suzanne. She is a born and bred Southlander,  is very well known through her career as a singer and her community work and has served an apprenticeship in local body politics on the Invercargill Licensing Trust.

Busted Blonde who know a lot more about Southland than I do, gives her view on the mayoral race here.

Prentice’s announcement is the first official indication of any challenge to incumbent mayors in the south.

However, that may change.

The stadium has been very controversial in Dunedin and that may persuade someone to challenge sitting mayor Peter Chin. However, a would-be mayor has to do more than stand against something, s/he needs to stand for something too.

Concerns over the Otago Regional Council have been nowhere near as serious as those afflicting Environment Canterbury, but there may be enough dissatisfaction to drive a campaign against the chair and some sitting councillors.

Waitaki mayor Alex Familton has yet to announce his intentions but if I was a betting woman I’d put a little money on him standing again.

The grapevine has mentioned deputy mayor Gary Kircher and sitting councillor Jim Hopkins as possible contenders for the mayoralty, but is less sure about whether they would challenge Alex if he stands again.

Why not mine ours?


While voices are being raised opposing the idea of mining the odd packet-handkerchief sized corner of our vast conservation estate, Busted Blonde speaks softly in favour:

“We are confident and supportive of any attempt to mine in our back yard. Just as long as they sweep up the yard and put out the rubbish when they leave.”

What a pity Colin Espiner hadn’t read that before he wrote the parks are ours not mine.

Yes, we’re sitting on vast wealth. Yes, if we dug it all up we’d be rich. But what would we have lost? Our countryside. Our reputation. And possibly our souls. I know it’s tempting, Gerry, but sorry, you’re just going to have to leave it in the hills. There are other ways to make a dollar. 

What a lot of emotive claptrap. Our countryside, reputation and souls have survived the mining currently going on throughout the country – including on the conservation estate.

Interestingly most of the 39 comments on this post disagree with his view, including:

Typical NZ NIMBYs, we all happily consume the products of mining, we just don’t want any mining here.


IF we can do the mining without destroying the countryside and IF the benefits will go to New Zealand as a whole and not a select few or (shudder) overseas companies then it is worth mining.

I think the Government can show that mining is palatable. It is important they demonstrate the money will benefit everyone because most people seem to believe that multinational companies and a lucky few will be the big winners while everybody else loses out.


We want all the toys but expect others like sweatshop workers in Asia to pay all the nasty costs. We whinge on about Australia’s luck with minerals but stupidly leave ours locked up. Careful modern mining will bring income we seriously need if we are to maintain our standard of living and social services. Most of us will never ever go to these wilderness areas and neither will that naive tourist we keep prattling on about. In any case, human activity like mining is itself a tourist attraction – look at Coober Pedy and our own West Coast. Let’s proceed with the care the Government has given us the lead on and stop the crazy exaggerations and hype.


Colin, you say “It’s a no-brainer really. Mining is unpopular. End-of-bloody-story.” Really? On what basis do you make that assumption? On the basis of the press articles from Environmentalists?

I think you will find if you ask the general public that mining is not as unpopular as you think.

Here’s an analogy: A rich man owns land that contains a well of water. Outside his property are people who are dying of thirst. They ask him for some water. He says “No, because you will dirty my well”. The people die of thirst. Question: is the rich man being cruel, or is he a “good environmentalist”?

Cactus Kate posts on whining about mining:

The only downside to mining is that New Zealand isn’t enough of an economic powerhouse to have it’s own mining company that could be given the contracts to “drill baby drill” or Kiwislaver and the Cullen Fund were large enough to simply gobble a 100% shareholding in an established overseas mining company to do the work so all profits could remain in New Zealand which would end that argument. Anyway cheers to dreaming on that one.

Adolf at No Minister says dig baby dig.

Keeping Stock concludes a post mining the reaction with:

We know that there will be opposition, and we hope that last week’s jury verdict in Wellington doesn’t send a few tree-huggers over the top in their protests, believing that what they do is for the greater good. Right at the moment, we can’t think of ANY greater good than New Zealand’s economic future.

And Kiwiblog writes:

There is a segment of the population (and associated lobby groups) that is opposed to all mining, everywhere. You could apply to mine in the middle of a gorse laden field, and they’ll be against it, regardless of how much mineral wealth may be there.

That is a legitimate view to hold, but there is a cost – NZ has less money for schools, less money for hospitals, and lower incomes overall.

The previous government increased spending which we can’t afford. The current one can and should cut spending. It shouldn’t increase its income by increasing taxes but it could increase government income and economic growth by following through on this proposal to mine little patches of the conservation estate.

Valentines Day round up


He may say – and believe – it’s better to know you’re loved every day than just once a year – but Valentines Day is also my birthday and my farmer gave me a beautiful bunch of flowers.

Over at In A Strange Land, Deborah writes about doing it right.

Busted Blonde’s Rock rocks.

Cactus Kate had computer problems but got flowers from a mystery man.

Andrei makes up for the lack of a duet in my list of top 10 (11) love songs with My Kind of Woman My Kind of Man.

And Quote Unquote has a bitter-sweet Valentine’s Day.

There’s diets that work . . .


 . . . then there’s this one:

*  If it is good for you it’s not fattening, so as long as you are eating it for the calcium content there’s no need to worry about the kilojoules in cheese and ice cream.
* Kilojoules only count when you’re enjoying eating them.
* Following from that: anything you don’t like isn’t fattening so if you develop an aversion to chocolate or champagne it’s fine to have as much as you like, even if you have to indulge in quite a lot of them before developing the aversion.
* Kilojoules shared are kilojoules halved. Any amount of food divided between six meals will have only half the energy value of the same amount of food consumed in three.
* Anything eaten to protect someone else from temptation is kilojoulefree becuase you are performing a service.
Dedicated with tongue in cheek (a good diet tool because it’s hard to eat when you’re doing that)  to Busted Blonde who’s just finished the first week of her journey to  Fab & Fifty.

A good day to start a diet


Monday is a good day to start a diet.

But not this Monday when there is food left over from the weekend.

A little waste may be better than a lot of waist and I could throw it out. But would it really matter if I pick a little here and peck a little there? After all tomorrow is Tuesday which is a good day to start a diet.

But not this Tuesday because I’ve been invited out for dinner and it would be rude to be picky and Wednesday would be a better day to start a diet.

Except this Wednesday I have places to go and people to see and there will be food to eat more well than wisely and the next day is Thursday which is a good day to start a diet.

But not this Thursday because there’s more places to go and people to see and again it would be rude to be picky. Besides the following day is Friday which is a good day to start a diet.

Except this Friday when I’ll be baking and have to test what I’m producing just in case. It will be better to wait until Saturday which is a good day to start a diet.

But not this Saturday. I’m planning to spend all day in the garden and it’s not easy to eat when you’re hands are dirty. The trouble is that means I’ll be really hungry when I finish so it will be better to wait until Sunday which is a much better day to start a diet.

Although not this Sunday because friends are joining us for lunch and it would be rude to peck at a tiny portion while plying them with plenty.

Besides, having written off the rest of the week I might as well finish as I started and wait for the next day, which will be Monday and Monday is a good day to start a diet . . .

Dedicated with admiration to Busted Blonde who is aiming to be Fab and Fifty.



Wednesday was a very long day.

The alarm had gone off at 5.15 to enable me to get to the airport in time for the first flight, I’d spent the day in a meeting and then had to hang round Wellington airport for more than two hours for the 7pm flight back south.

The last of the cheese was being removed from the Koru Club buffet just as I got there so I was looking forward to the cheese on the plane.

It – a chunk of camembert and a generous slice of cheddar –  was up to expectations (though, call me biased if you will but I prefer Whitestone to Kapiti) but instead of the three crackers which normally accompany it, there were only two.

I put it down to cost cutting and thought no more about it. Busted Blonde had the same experience, blogged on it and set up a Facebook bring back the crackers group.

Chris Keall of NBR  read her post and contacted Air New Zealand who responded saying flyers will be getting four crackers – two packets of two.

Isn’t it great what bloggers and the MSM can achieve when they work together? Today it’s crackers, tomorrow it’ll be world peace 🙂

Whitebait Fritters


One of our men manages the North Otago rugby team. He returned home from the West Coast with the Lochore Cup and a couple of bags of whitebait.

It’s wasted on me, but those who like it reckon the best way to cook it is to keep is simple.

Take a couple of eggs for each cup of whitebait.

Beat the eggs, stir in salt, ground black pepper and whitebait.

whitebait etc 002


Cook in a lightly greased frying pan or on a barbeque.

whitebait etc 003

Serve immediately with lemon.

Sagenz at No Minister reckons Whitebait Fritters are New Zealand’s quintessential dish.

He posted on that in response to Busted Blonde at Roarprawn who asked the question: what is our national dish?

Roarprawn returns


Busted Blonde is back on duty at Roarprawn.

It will be good to have her back in the blogosphere.

Prawn goes from poacher to gamekeeper


Busted Blonde has signed off from Roarprawn.

She’s brought a unique and very well informed perspective to the blogosphere and I’ll miss her. Do check the predictions in her penultimate post, and mull on the reason she’s going:

The simple fact of the matter is that we are going to work for a Ministry full time. Yip a public servant gig. As my mum says – a real job…We start tomorrow.

And the State Services Act is a bit of a bitch if you want to be a political commentator. Now we are fairly well positioned as a National Govt cheer leader but from time to time we have to put down our pom poms and give them a piece of our mind and , well you cant do that when you are a public servant.

I wonder if everyone else shows the same respect for the States Services Act, or doesn’t it apply to the parliamentary library?

Brash email saga never ending story


Busted Blonde has a pretty good record of hearing whispers from people in the know.

Last night she passed on one that today’s papers would bring revelations on the saga of Don Brash’s emails, and the Dom Post does.

Tracy Watkins reports that police are about to release their file on the investigation, that Don Brash has been given a heavily censored version and that he wants the full file released.

This issue has never been treated with the seriousness it deserves.

Either someone breached parliament’s internet security which means it’s still at risk; or it was an inside job and the person or people who abused a position of trust are almost certainly still there and able to do it again.

I don’t buy the story it was someone in National because I can’t see why anyone from within the party would give anything to Nicky Hager.

But until the questions of who did it, how they did it and why it’s taking so long to find out are answered all we’ve got is a political who-done-it that’s turned into a never ending story.

It’s taken far too long to get not very far at all. Busted Blonde reckons it will take another year  to get the whole truth and it will destroy careers.

Some Earth Day initiatives off the planet


When you work on the land, every day is earth day.

Even when you don’t, but live with someone who makes a living from the land, every day is earth day.

For everyone involved in primary industry on land or sea, the environment isn’t an academic concept, it’s where we live and work and the majority of us regard our responsibility for doing as much as we can to make a positive, and lessen any negative, impact on it seriously.

But today is not every day earth day, it’s capital E capital D Earth Day.

That’s when we’re all supposed to save the world but some of the calls to action have come from people who seem to be not so much for the earth as from another planet.

The most deluded of these had to be European Green MP Caroline Lucas who compares people who fly with those who stab others (Hat tip: Kiwiblog 

Then Alf Grumble spotted PETA’s media release calling on Environment Minister Nick Smith to turn vegetarian and saw an opportunity for Busted Blonde.

She wasn’t impressed  about that, and also took exception  to the suggestion that fat people contribute more CO2 than thin people.

Deborah reacted with justifiable ire to the same story from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine  with a cross post on fat hatred at In A Strange Land and The Hand Mirror.

And now I’ve come across to be green eat less red.

Conventionally raised livestock generates 18 percent of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to a report released by the United Nation Food and Agriculture Organization in 2006. That’s more than the emissions created by all the world’s cars, trains, planes and boats combined. In comparison, transportation is responsible for 13 percent of the emission problem.

 I’m not sure what conventional means;  and whether this is just the emissions from the animals or from the total production chain from paddock to plate because there is a big difference in the environmental footprint of free range, pasture raised stock like the majority of animals farmed in New Zealand and those reared in feedlots as many are overseas.

Regardless of that, this might not be as off the wall as comparing flying to murder, linking obesity with climate change  and PETA’s call to go vegetarian, but it’s still misguided.

Eating moderate amounts of lean meat is recommended for personal health but I’m not convinced that in itself it would be any better for the planet. If people chose high fat, high sugar, low fibre alternatives to meat their diet would be less healthy and the impact on the environment might be  worse too.

It’s silly to take just one behaviour in isolation, everyone’s total impact on the environment is what matters and if someone chooses to eat a bit more meat but use less petrol it would be difficult to say that they were treading less gently on their patch of the earth than a vegetarian who drives an old, inefficient vehicle.

We have only one world and all have a responsibility to look after it, but let’s base our policies and practices for doing that on science not half-baked emotion.


For every action there is a reaction and the reaction to Earth Day is Exploit the Earth Day about which Not PC has a comprehensive post.

First mouse of autumn


Something moved beneath the desk then there was a muffled clunk.

The first mouse of autumn had been caught but unfortunately not killed.

I’ve already confessed I’m not keen on mice and like Busted Blonde I take no prisoners so I dropped the trap and its victim into a bucket of water.

The granny test


Crime and Compassion at Roarprawn concludes the saga of Busted Blonde’s stolen car.

It’s had several episodes and has introduced me to the granny test:

But we are following through because, you see, this didn’t pass the granny test. That’s the test you apply that means if you were a granny what would happen. If it was a granny instead of the Aussie Rock, she would have never seen her car again. And the mongrel mob would have learned that crime does pay and has no consequences.

Notwithstanding that many grandmothers are intelligent, articulate and fiesty women, we’d all benefit if  every state agency applied the granny test to its policies and actions.

Pedal power


A dedicated cycleway the length of the nation is a BHAG – Big Hairy Audacious Goal – but it’s one appeals to me.

Cycling is popular but few of our roads are designed to enable cyclists and motor vehicles to share them safely so getting the bikes away from the roads would be better for bikers and motorists.

I’ll be even more enthusiastic about the cycle way if it doesn’t stick too closely to the route followed by the main road but meanders away from the highway between cities to some of the small town and rural byways.

Following the main road doesn’t always give the best scenery – the coastal route which the railway takes from Oamaru to Dunedin is far more attractive than much of State Highway 1 – and as trains don’t usually go up very steep hills it might be easier pedalling too.

The main road north from Oamaru to Christchurch is pretty boring, but a cycle route up the Waitaki Valley, through the Mackenzie Country to Geraldine would take in some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. Then it could take the inland route from Geraldine through the Rakaia Gorge, by-passing the monotony of the Canterbury Plains.

Busted Blonde notes the micro-economy which has blossomed along the Central Otago rail trail. It’s created business opportunities in the provision of food and accommodation – raising the standard of both for the benefit of tourists and locals – and the benefits aren’t confined to businesses on or close to the trail.  Most cyclists visit other places on the way to and from the trail and leave some of their money behind.

I am very wary about the government picking winners by propping up private businesses and aware of the risks of using public money for make-work schemes.

If taxpayers’ money is to be used for economic development it must be for projects which will have endure and propser in the long term and I think a cycle way could do that.

It ticks the boxes for a tourist attraction which is clean, green and has health benefits too. And if public money goes in to the infrastructure it will provide opportunities for private investment in the provision of food, accomdation and other goods and services along the way.

It might be a BHAG but I think it’s one that could work.

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