The Good Life


Fairfacts Media pointed out on the post below that Richard Briars is best known for his role in  The Good Life.


Tuesday’s answers


Monday’s questions were:

1. What is a gnomon?

2. Which New Zealand author lost his left leg in 1940?

3. Who wrote Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge?

4.  Which author rode the Queen Mother’s race horses?

5. Who said, If you steal from one author, it’s plagiarism; if you steal from many it’s research”?

No-one got all the answers:

Fairfacts Media gets a point for the speed and wit of his response.

Andrei got 3 plus 1/2 for his answer to 5.

Samo got 2 and I think another 1 for the answer to 4  – although I wasn’t thinking of  Lester Piggot I think he wrote an autobigoraphy which technically makes him a writer.

PDM gets one and a bonus for his answer to 5.

Teletext is the winner with 4.

Paul Tremewan got 1 right and a bonus for teaching me something.

Tuesday’s answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

Shoot the lot


Dear Lord Stern,

Re your suggestion that the whole world should go vegetarian to save the planet.

Why don’t you just shoot all the people?

It would be kinder than letting millions die of starvation which is what would happen if we took your idea seriously.

Yours sincerely



If you don’t like my suggestion you may be interested in:

Inquiring Mind where Adam Smith posts on how Coppenhagen could threaten NZ’s very future.

Farmgirllive who says it’s time to get serious about countering this silliness.

Liberty Scott who says Lord Stern loses the plot some more.

and Fairfacts Media who urges Go on have that extra steak.

Rates rises raising ire


A Federated Farmers survey found that rural property rates have increased by an average of 12.5% in the last year.

The survey was self-selecting so was more likely to reflect the views of people with higher rates rises, but even so that is a very high figure when inflation was less than 3% in the same period.

A good deal of the problem is that rates are based on property values which are often unrelated to a farm’s earning capacity.

“Two farms, both under Maori trusts, face $100,000 rates bills this year. Another North Island farm, also run by a Maori trust, is staring down the barrel of a 50 percent rates increase just because it farms a coastal property that could be sold or subdivided. It pays rates based on the ‘potential’ value of the land rather than its current and future economic use as a farm.

A change to a greater proportion of rates from a uniform general charge and more user-pays might help reduce rural rates but the problem is greater than who pays for what.

Initiatives by successive central governments have passed more responsibilities on to local authorities without them passing on any extra funding. That has placed a greater burden on ratepayers.

The power of general competence granted to councils has also added to costs as they’ve got involved in more activities which have to be funded, at least in part, from rates.

Then there’s the question which Fairfacts Media raised of computers in libraries competing with private enterprise.

The Oamaru Library has recently installed computers. Online research capabilities are compatible with a library but email, Skype, TradeMe,  and other web-based features will be in direct competition with internet cafes.

The amalgamation of councils in Auckland will almost certainly not be the last. Rationalisation ought to reduce some costs, but that by itself won’t address the fundamental problems caused by property-based ratings system where how much you pay is not necessarily related to what services you receive.

If winter’s here . . .


Calving is in full swing, the first daffodil is in bloom in my garden and one brave rhododendron is flowering but it’s too soon to call it spring.

But  Keeping Stock warns winter’s tail can have a sting and Fairfacts Media reports the home fires are still burning in Kerikeri.

After a beautifully sunny day yesterdaythe house was warm enough to get by with a heater rather than a fire last night. But we woke to a frost this morning and it was -2 when I parked the car at the bottom of the hill which I’m tackling for my morning constitutional.



Former MP and Minister outside cabinet Phillip Field has been found guilty  of 26 charges.

Field, former MP for Mangere, was found guilty of 11 of 12 charges of bribery and corruption as an MP after the Crown said he had Thai nationals carry out work on his properties in return for immigration assistance between November 2002 and October 2005.

He was also found guilty of 15 of 23 charges of wilfully attempting to obstruct or pervert the course of justice. The charges related to his evidence to an inquiry into the work on his homes.

Crown Prosecutor Simon Moore is correct when he says:

“This has been a really important case, and bribery and corruption strikes very much at the heart of who we are as a people.”

The case is a nasty blot on our democratic fabric not just because Field is the first person found guilty of corruption as an MP but because of the way then Prime Minister Helen Clark and her Labour colleagues sought to protect him and hobble the Ingram Inquiry into allegations against him.

Kiwiblog has done an excellent post detailing what happened and when, concluding with:

Long before the Police investigation, the Labour Party should have denounced Field. Instead Clark, Cullen and the rest of the Labour Party defended him. That is why these convictions are their shame.

This would also be a good time for all MPs to come together and declare this should never happen again, and support an Independent Commission against Corruption that can investigate abuses of office by parliamentarians, senior officials and agencies.

The call for an Independent Commission against Corruption is seconded by Whaleoil.

Keeping Stock says:

And sadly, we can no longer claim to be a country where our politics are free from corruption. That will be Taito Phillip Field’s legacy to New Zealand, and to the Pasifika people he purported to represent.

Roarprawn asks:   He is the first but will he be the last?

No  Minister says (and shows): A good day for Tui.

Oswald Bastable says: Official – there is corruption in NZ politics.

PM of NZ notes: Only guilty of trying to help.

UPDATE: Fairfacts Media posts on The Guilty Party.

                  Macdoctor posts on Dishonour.

                 Dim Post says The Only Thing Taito Phillip Field is Guilty of is Corruption.

                Something Should Go Here highlights the Gobsmackingly Dishonest Quote of the Day.

UPdate 2:

              Monkeywithtypewriter posts In Praise of Ingram.

             Stephen Franks writes Reflections on Field’s Corruption.

Did you see the one about . . .


Holidays at Oswald Bastable

What’s the Point of United Future? at Fairfacts Media (one in a series looking at NZ political parties).

 How to cook a hairy sausage at Quote Unquote.

It’s not okay to be blind drunk and expect police to be there at Cactus Kate.

Spot the criminal at Macdoctor.

Today’s referendum at Keeping Stock (also one in a series).

Read aloud to your children at NZ Conservative.

The Four Pillars at Fenemy.

Comics in the clinics at Not PC.

And a new (to me) blog: A cat of impossible colour  (Hat Tip: Open Parachute)

Did you see the one about . . .


Wave goodbye to email? at Open Parachute

Useful English System conversions/units at Something Should Go Here

Stranger in the House at In A Strange Land

 The Wesleys 10 at Musty Moments

Free Market Families at Fairfacts Media

The Stratford Theory of Numbers at Quote Unquote

The whole where you were and what you were doing when you first heard. . . etc etc at Rob’s Blockhead.

And a new (to me) blog from the Wairarapa : Bright Wings

When feminist meets socialist who wins?


Last Sunday, May 3, was the 30th anniversary of the election of Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first female Prime Minister.

Fairfacts Media marked the anniversary with a series of posts starting with a video of her entering number 10 Dowling Street   and finishing with The Lady’s Not For Spurning.

Inquiring Mind remembered the Iron Lady 30 years on  and had several quotes of the day about her including this one from Lord Howe of Aberavon.

I don’t remember seeing any other posts and I’m sure I haven’t seen any from women bloggers. There may have been some I’ve missed and it could just mean that bloggers have lives and, like me, chose to blog on other things last week.

But  it did remind me that feminists who celebrate women’s achievements often ignore those of right wing women.

That leads me to ask,  are all feminists left wing and do they want women in power, or do they want people who share their views?

All else being equal I might back a woman before I’d back a man. But if other things weren’t equal,  I’d support the best people and in politics that’s people with similar centre right views to me rather than women with a different political outlook.

I would be concerned if there were no women at all in parliament, but I’d rather have people there doing the right things than women doing the wrong things.

That’s why I consider myself a peopleist rather than a feminist.

Women should have equal rights and opportunities because they’re people not because they’re women and what gets done is more important to me than the gender – or come to that race or any other measure of diversity – of who does it.

Will she use the title?


If it hadn’t been Laws I might have bitten my tongue because while I oppose many of her policies I can’t deny Helen Clark made an impact domestically and internationally.

But I find Auckland University’s decision to award her an Honorary Doctorate of Laws baffling.

This is the woman who forged not just one, but about half a dozen, works of art over 20 years and didn’t understand that it was wrong; who turned her back on her police drivers when they sped through Canterbury on her behalf; and who flouted electoral spending rules then passed legislation to retrospectively validate it and then brought in the Electoral Finance Act in the – mistaken – belief it would let her get away with mis-spending tax payers money again.

The Herald says that  while it is permissable to use the title Dr, it is accepted practice in New Zealand to forgo the title.

Accepted practice or not, given her aversion to titular honours which she reinforced in her valedictory speech, it would seem more than a little hypoctritical to use the honorific.

For other views on the issue:

Keeping stock asks what?

Kiwiblog thinks it should be retrospective

Cactus Kate announces the end of her alumni contributions

Fairfacts Media see the irony

PM of NZ muses on ‘sign of commitment’

While Deborah at The Hand Mirror is far more gracious,  and regards it as a fitting honour

Please tell me it isn’t so – updated & updated again


Trans Tasman is reporting that Michael Cullen will be appointed to chair NZ Post and KiwiBank when Jim Bolger retires.

A loyal National Party member has just phoned to tell me he and others who spent nine years working to get Cullen’s hands off the reins are furious about this and I share their views.

There must be someone better equipped for these roles than the man who overtaxed and over spent for nine long years, leaving our economy far less able to weather the recession than it would have been had his policies been directed at growth rather than redistribution.

SOEs have been underperforming and need highly skilled leadership and that requires someone with a far greater regard for other people’s money than Cullen.

When the idea of Cullen chairing an SOE was  first mooted, blue tinted bloggers were united in their opposition. If the first to react are any indication they haven’t changed their minds: 

Fairfacts Media asks what is John Key playing at?

Kiwiblog says it’s a crappy move

UPDATE: SOE Minister Simon Power has announced:

“Hon Dr Michael Cullen has been appointed to the board of New Zealand Post, and is expected to become deputy chair in the medium term. 


Fairfacts Media thinks Cullen deputising Bolger is too good to be true

At No Minsiter Psycho Milt  is amused but Lou Taylor isn’t.

Keeping Stock thinks John Key is up to something


Roarprawn reckons it’s a poisoned chalice.

Cactus Kate was forced to seek solace in oysters and Moet

Barnsley Bill’s vote has been lost  and Not PC wonders why  he gave it to National anyway.

Whaleoil is disgusted then has second thoughts  and thinks John Key has snookered Labour.


The red rag was thrown and the blue blogs roared, but what if we’re wrong and it’s really a cunning plot?

Fairfacts Media doesn’t think the job’s as good as it looks.

Anti Dismal  has a better idea – sell the SOEs.


at NZ Conservative Zen Tiger spots a pirate plot  and muses on the relevance of history

Macdcotor advises Cullen not to trip on the way out.

At Tumeke!  Tim Selwyn thinks it’s unbelievable.

Confession of a hard-nosed churl


If asked to describe myself, hardnosed-churl wouldn’t immediately spring to mind.

But after reading last week’s Listener I’ll have to add it to my list of defects because Jane Clifton says:

It’s a testimony to Clark’s standing that even this close to her election defeat, all but the hardest-nosed churls are immensely proud of her.

So here I am, not just a hard-nosed churl but one of the hardest because I’m not proud of her.

Remaining unmoved by Helen Clark’s apointment ot the UN is not just because of political bias. I don’t recall feeling proud of Mike Moore when he became leader of the WTO (though I did appreciate his efforts to free up trade) or of Don McKinnon when he became secretary general of the Commonwealth either.

Nor is it that I don’t do vicarious pride, I have been known to bask in others’ glory.

But, while I wish her well in her new position and hope she makes a positive difference with the UN’s development programme, I am too coloured by my view of her failings to feel proud of her.

I’m not denying her poltical skills nor her accomplishments, I accept that she genuinely wanted to make New Zealand better and I could overlook the fact that in many important ways she didn’t. But I can’t set aside her inability to admit her mistakes and accept she was wrong.

There were several instances of this but there are two that stand out:

  * Signing a painting which wasn’t her own work when she was a busy Prmie Minister might have been understood if not condoned, but signing the half dozen or so of other people’s art works over 20 years to which she finally and grudgingly admitted is bazarre.

* deliberately spending taxpayers’ money on Labour’s pledge card then changing the law to validate it and then introducing the dog’s breakfast that was the EFA to enable her to do it again is corrupt.

Kiwiblog finds more in his reaction  to the Sunday Star Times  interview with her.

Inquiring Mind is sure she’s no iron lady

Keeping Stock says Diddums so does Lou Taylor at No Minister

Fairfacts Media diagnoses narcissism.

There are other views.

The Hand Mirror says congratulations

and John Key gave a gracious speech 

But I’ll leave the last words – and picture – to Garrick Tremain:


In his own words on his own blog


Fairfacts Media has been blogging at No Minister and Barnsley Bill.

Now he’s become a lone-blogger at The Fairfacts Media Show.

Hat Tip: Barnsley Bill

Why not more WiFi?


Internect connection in Argentina was better and faster in 2003 than anything we could get at home at that time.

We’ve got broadband since then and although the rural connection (through Orcon) is much slower than we’d get in a city it’s an improvement on dial-up – fine for emails, net surfing and blogging but slower than desiarable for up or downloading lots of data.

But it doesn’t work on the laptop so when we’re on the road we use a Telecom mobile connection which operates at a similar speed to the home connection.

That’s pretty dismal comapred with many other places and last month’s visit to Argentina showed us their technology has overtaken ours again with the proliferation of free WiFi services which were available in most cafes, bars and hotels.

Bernard Hickey  found a similar level of service in the USA and Fairfacts Media notes free WiFi is offered by British pubs as a way to attract business.

We’re a long way from widespread availability of WiFi in New Zealand although the government has promised a boost to internet services as part of its investment in infrasturcture.

The wee Otago town of Lawrence isn’t waiting for the government though. The ODT reports  the locals are already setting up free wireless internet in the town centre.

More and more people, especially overseas visitors and business people, had laptops with them as they travelled, so it made sense to try to offer them free Internet access so they would stay longer in the town. . .

Quite – it’s good for travellers and it’s good for business and there’s no need to wait for the government to do it.

They didn’t do it this term


Peter Dunne says United Future will keep the next government honest.

As Fairfacts Media at No Minister pointed out, they didn’t do a very good job this term.

And apropos of being honest – have they repaid all the money they owe us from the over-spend at the last election yet?

Fairfax not in contempt


High Court judge Tony Randerson and senior Judge Warwick Gendell have dismissed charges  of contempt of court laid against Fairfax Media over publishing transcripts of secret police recordings in relation to last year’s terror raids in the Ureweras.

Bomber comments on this at Tumeke!

It’s only one poll


The latest Roy Morgan poll  shows a significant narrowing of the gap between National and Labour.

National is now at 44% support (down 3.5) and Labour is up 4 to 38%.

There is some comfort in the knowledge that New Zealand First has only 2.5% support, down 4 points to the lowest they’e been for a year.

The Green Party got 8%  support (up 0.5), Maori Party 3.5% (up 1.5), ACT NZ 1.5%  (unchanged), United Future 1% (up 1) and others 1% (up 0.5).

It’s only one poll and the gap was going to tighten. But why it has when John Key showed he had both gumption and principles when he ruled Peters out of a National-led government; and while Helen Clark is bound tight to Peters; Labour is bulldozing through the Emissions Trading Scheme legislation; the economy is in recession and the party has still to announce any policy defies logic.

Like Fairfacts Media over at No Minister I’m gobsmacked.

[Update: Maybe we can take some hope from No Right Turn who reports on a poll which shows the Christian Heritage party which disbanded in 2006 got more support (.4%) than the Alliance and United.]

Words come back to haunt her


Fairfacts Media over at No Minister discovered three stories on Helen Clark and one on Jenny Shipley from 1999 and 2001 on the Herald politics page last night. From one on Clark’s Mission:

Labour leader Helen Clark launched her election campaign yesterday aiming to capitalise on public anger over party-hopping politicians and waste in the public sector.

“Our mission is to clean up Government and to clean up Parliament, too. We want the defectors out,” she told a cheering crowd in the Auckland Town Hall already in party mood after a 45-minute routine by Pacific band Te Vaka.

Labour’s law to force MPs who left their parties to resign from Parliament would be accompanied by a new era of moderation, frugality and integrity in the public sector, she told the meeting.

“The party is over for the senior management of [Work and Income New Zealand] and of all those other Government organisations who have wasted public money.”

Is this another ad for Tui?

Over at Keeping Stock  Iventory 2 comments on one of the other stories about The Transforming of Helen Clark.

Edwards’ main criticism of Clark is her penchant for publicly criticising her ministers.

“That could bring Helen down,” he says. “Her view is, ‘If you’re going to be open, you have to be seen to be open – I’m not going to tick them off in private and the public likes it … ‘

“While she’s riding high in the polls she’s in a very strong position in her own party but … if she drops off in the ratings there may be a backlog of grievance there.


Hat tip: No Minister, Keeping Stock.

%d bloggers like this: