Word of the day


Frenemy –  a person or group that is friendly toward another because the relationship brings benefits, despite a fundamental dislike and feelings of resentment or rivalry; a person who is ostensibly friendly or collegial with someone but who is actually antagonistic or competitive; an enemy disguised as a friend.

Did you see the one about


Thought for the day – Quote Unquote has a new angle on paper, scissors, rock. Whilte you’re there you might enjoy NZ farmer letter of the year – an answer to the problem of travel perks.

Worlds apart – Progressive Turmoil on the differences in mobile phone use in different countries.

Chicken Fever hits parliament – Audrey Young spots a chook and comes up with some answers to the question of why the chicken crossed the road.

Spam journalism # 63 and Much ado about nothing – Macdoctor points out the difference between smaller increases and cuts.

Goff loses chess game to analogue computer – gonzo Freakpower gets satirical.

Work/life balance – it’s not about the pets – The Hand Mirror finds the paid/ unpaid work balance leaves little time for life.

Saving the minghty kauri Over the Fence on the fund to fight kauri die back.

Supply and demand or what? – Anti Dismal on what matters.

One thing to keep in mind – The Visible Hand on the real issues.

What’s in the water – Alison Campbell at Sciblogs on the dangers of water births.

Trickle down carbon sequestration – Daniel Collins at Sciblogs shows tree planting in the wrong place may compromise water supply.

Greens revealed as biggest spender in Mt Albert by-election – Liberation shows money doesn’t buy votes.

Berlin wall series:  Poland,  Czechoslovakia and Bulgeria , – by Liberty Scott.

Big Boys toys – Frenemy is truck spotting.

Did you see the one about . . .


Probing the depths of snow – Daniel Collins at Sicblogs has some stunning photos from Temple Basin.

Didn’t we learn from 1989 – Liberty Scott

When inanimate objects attack – Opinionated Mummy profiles some perfectly rages.

Motel greenwash – Motella doesn’t want a sermon when he stays away.

Mary Wollstonecraft wept – In A Strange Land adds to my contention that the fashion industry is inherently misogynist.

One of these is not the same – Macdoctor sees signs of sense from a health boss.

The Church of Jones – Roarprawn spots another cult.

October public polls – Kiwiblog paints a pretty picture for those of us who like blue.

Another pet lamb bites the dust – RivettingKateTaylor on life and death and pet shows.

And I like cows because . . . ummm  Kismet Farm has one of those days.

A heavyweight conundrum – Frendmy compares Australia’s roads with ours.

Statutory breaks legislation to change


The government will amend legislation to address problems over statutory meal breaks.

The amendment was prompted after the Airline Pilots Association and the Airways Corporation couldn’t reach agreement over flexible breaks at regional airports. This could have meant the closure of control towers with disruption to flights.

Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson said airports were not the only one which had problems.

“Pharmacies, schools, meat works and sole attendant operations such as petrol stations have also all raised concerns on how to implement the law.

“Parliament certainly didn’t intend for this law to create more problems than it solved.

“It would appear what was common sense in the past is no longer common sense under this legislation. The law is obviously too prescriptive to be workable and needs clarifying.

Several months ago Frenemy highlighted the advice from the Department of Labour on this legislation, which was introduced by Labour.

So what we have here is a law that is a complete and utter waste of time money and effort. The use of words and phrases such as “intent” “might” “level of connection” “it is best” are how the poor buggers in the DOL are describing the law and its implications. These people have been handed a hospital pass of the first order, as they will have to field calls from employers and employees who want to know whether the existing arrangements meet the requirements of this example of parliamentary ineptitude.

I haven’t heard of any problems on farms but I suspect that is because the law has been ignored common sense has been applied. It must be easier to do that in paddocks than at airports, pharmacies, schools, meat works and petrol stations.

Did you see the one about . . .


Governance not management  at Stephen Franks including the key compenents of a successful board.

Incentives matter: famine file  at Anti Dismal which illustrates the importance of private property.

Raising good kids at Not PC – taking a positive approach to parenting.

Comment of the week  at No Minister – a look back at Labour’s legacy sourced from a comment at Kiwiblog.

It can be over so quick at rivettingKate Taylor – sudden death and responsible babysitting.

Hands up if you fell for . . . at Monkey with Tpyewriter – looking at the havok didn’t happen.

Capping Incomes at Something Should Go Here – one for the doesn’t learn from history file.

New Zealand Professionals – Fillipinos of London at Cactus Kate – observations and advice on a successful OE.

Cheesecake and trim latte at goNZoFreakpower – the dilemna diet indulgence.

Nanny States at Macdoctor – a three point checklist for differentiating between nanny & necessary.

The Brussels Gestapo at Frenemy – Germans see the light on lightbulbs.

Still worth a look


Sometimes a post gets started and then gathers dust in the drafts’ file.

I must have begun a Did you see the one about . . . post  earlier this month then got distracted.

However, these are still worth a look:

If God was process oriented at Something Should Go Here . . . which illustrates why sometimes things get done and sometimes they just get discussed.

Kerching at Frenemy which introduces a new and very useful verb.

Annual party food post at In A Strange Land – yum!

Did you see the one about . . .


Thought for a Friday at Not PC – putting ladies in their place.

An essential accessory for men at Frenemy – the only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.

Driving made illegal  at NZ Conservative

10 illnesses and their effects on history  at Listerve (warning some disturbing images).

A NZ blog ranking tool at Open Parachute (because of the cartoon).

Thank God I’m a country (and city) girl  at Tugging the String

‘Neath the tractor woes  at The Collie Farm Blog

Animals were definitely harmed in the production of this story at Front Porch Republic

Did you see the one about


Quotes and tips at Something should go here (where there’s several other jokes posted too).

Hager vs Crosby/Textor round 94  at David Cohen’s blog

At the carwash at Quote Unquote

Skating on thin ice at RivettingKateTaylor

Question of the day at In A Strange Land which came from In which I forget the purpose of posting at 2B Sophora

Nostalgia at Kismet Farm

Toxoplasmosis caused the crash your honour at Frenemy

Newspaper death watch – desperate remedies at Dim Post

You go girl  at Anti Dismal

What good is a right to life ? at The Visible Hand

Return of the stump speech at goNZo Freakpower

Milk Link shows just what a co-op can do  at Phil Clarke’s Business Blog

And a new – to me – blog: The Definitive 1000 Songs of All Time 1955 – 2005

Did you see the one about . . .


OMG you won’t believe this at Kismet Farm (the end of a saga, you need to read some earlier posts to understand it).

Mortgage madness  at Frenemy

Businesspeople, the media and double super secret background  by David Cohen at This is not a Blogpost

Serve it up Bruce  at Cactus Kate

NZX and CPL Update  at Quote Unquote and while you’re there check out Pet Airways

Beware the $1000 clock  by Adolf at No Minister

Bizarre ad aims to scare potential teen mums  at The Hand Mirror

The old days  at Lindsay Mitchell

The most distrubing blog I think I have written  at Laughy Kate (warning, not for sensitive stomachs).

Remembering Mothers Day – updated


That National Party Mainland Conference opened this morning with a recognition of all the mothers present.

Several bloggers have acknowleged their, or other people’s mums with a post:

Monkeywith typewriter qutoes Corinthians For Mums Everywhere

Frenemy posts on his plans for Moms Day (and because the mother in question is American he can get away with Mom rather than Mum).

PM of NZ has a Small Test for Mothers Day (though the connection between the test and Mothers Day escapes me).

I hope all the other mother-bloggers are enjoying the day and that the non-mother bloggers are too busy making sure their mothers enjoy the day to blog.

Warm thoughts to those who no longer have a mother, and special mention and aroha for Hekia Parata MP and her whanau who are mourning the loss of  their mother who died last week.

UPDATE: M&M posts on her Mothers Day

                    Deborah posts on Celebrating Mothers Day  at The Hand Mirror and on More Pinkification of Mothers at In A Strange Land


UPDATE 2- Lindsay Mitchell wants a get off my back & out of my face day.

Did you see the one about . . .


The Next Einstein won’t be British  at NZ Conservative

Why is science important?  at Open Parachute

A Green Conundrum  at Frenemy

Alcohol & Addiction Part II at the Visible Hand in Economics

Incentives Matter Bible File  at Anit-Dismal

Gob.Smacked  at The Hand Mirror

The Great Tamiflu Swindle  at Monkey with Typewriter

Press complaint: exploitation of mental illness at Kiwipolitico

Autumn in the Park  at Half Pie

Compounding errors  at Kismet Farm

Carmageddon squashes grapefruit trade


There’s nothing new about backloading, it’s been going on for centuries because it reduces the costs of transport.

Once shipping started, backloading also provided ballast which is why the interiors of the beautiful old stone buildings in Oamaru’s historic precinct feature imported timber. It came back as ballast on the sailing ships which carried grain to the USA and Britain.

However, backloading requires willing buyers at both ends of the journey. If the market for produce going one way dries up it interferes with the transport of the backload which is what’s happened with The Grapefruits of Wrath .

Some 60% of the grapefruits consumed in Japan are grown in Florida. Floridian grapefruits account for almost all the grapefruits sold in Japan around this time of year.

But grapefruit are the backload in ships which take Japanese vehicles to the USA. Now the market for cars has soured, vehicle shipments have reduced and grapefruit are stuck in the USA.

Consumers in Japan will face rising prices as the supply of grapefruit drops and grapefruit growers in Florida are left with falling demand and a subsequent fall in their returns because of carmageddon – the drop in demand for vehicles.

Hat Tip: Frenemy

Let’s forget the sheep while we brew a cuppa


You’ve been up since before dawn to muster, you’ve walked or ridden for an hour or more, the dogs are doing what they should, the sheep have been moving smoothly but now they’re not so keen on going where you want them to and if you aren’t careful they’ll be going astray.

You look at you watch and notice it’s time for a 10 minute break.

So what do you do?

If you use your common sense you carry on and take a break later, when you need one and can do so without it interfering with the job in hand.

Whether or not you’d be in your rights to ignore common sense, forget the sheep and brew yourself a cup of tea in the wake of the new regulations over meal breaks has been concerning farmers. But Frenemy has read the fine pirnt and reckons there’s no cause for concern because it’s just touchy feely legislation :

What is a rest break?
The legislation does not define the term rest break, but the intent of a rest break is to ensure that employees have the opportunity for rest and refreshment, and to attend to personal needs. The details as to how an employee’s work might be managed and the level of connection they need to have with their work while on their rest break will depend on the type of job that the employee does. For this reason, it is best that an employer and employee discuss how work will be managed during the break.

In other words it was the previous government meddling where no meddling was needed because this is what happens in most workplaces now.

Good employers, who are the majority, know staff need regular breaks it they are to work safely and well, good employees, who are also the majority, are prepared to take breaks at convenient times. 

So this legislation was introduced for a minority of bad employers and employees who will ignore or get round the law anyway.

Edison Hour vs Earth Hour


While some people are returning to the dark ages and increasing their carbon emissions by celebrating Earth Hour they’re facing supposedly enlightened competition from Edison Hour.

And me? I’m not deliberately using more or less electricity than usual, but we went out for dinner (Speights Ale House in Wanaka, Morrocan lamb salad, delicious; took the waitress’s advice that the Sheep Shagger pinot noir was for tourists and enjoyed a Mt Difficulty  Roaring Meg instead) and as we were paying the bill at 8.28 the lights dimmed.

We had walked there and walked home, as we usually do, noting that it was pretty dark, but then Wanaka always has the bare minimum of street lights. That’s because most residents prefer it that way because less light pollution lets them appreciate more stars in the sky.

I think that means we observed earth hour by accident and by doing so we burned neither candles nor bonfires, used no batteries and no petrol, so we probably did more for the planet than a lot of people who deliberately turned their lights off but created more carbon with alternative sources of heat and light.

P.S. Thanks to Madeleine who left a comment on the previous post which pointed me to Keith Ng at Public Address who sees the flaws in both earth hour and Edison hour:

I was inspired to write the first part of this after hearing of people who turned off all the lights during Earth Hour, then lit up their fireplaces and burned candles instead. From sixth form chemistry: Burning organic material (like wax and wood) produces CO2. Tell your friends. . .

. . . Going out of your way to waste energy is the antithesis of technological progress and human enterprise, so don’t you dare claim to be on the side of rationality and science.

Lucyna Maria at NZ Conservative  is also neither sacrificing anything to the green god nor joining Edison hour.

And Frenemy has a photo of the dark.

Did you see the one about . . .


The Wool Over our Eyes at NZ Conservative – does the Dim Post have a rival for satire?

Clark to take Tizard to New York at The Dim Post

Tall Poppies & Patriots at MonkeyWithTypewriter

Are nations just larger unions at The Visible Hand in Economics

How economics can get you a date at Anti-Dismal

ACC & the oh-shit circuit  and The dipstick a 21st century measurement system at Frenemy

The Slow Death of GP Services at Macdoctor

Biffo on the bog at Inquiring Mind

If you can imagine at Rob’s Blockhead

Land as woman at The Hand Mirror

One of the beauties of having a small brain . . .  at Laughy Kate

Did you see the one about . . .


What to do when you suspect adultery at Monkey with typewriter.

Sceptical housewifery at In A Strange Land.

In praise of the eloquent insult at Not PC.

Spider du jour at Half-Pie (anachrophobics shouldn’t follow the link).

TVNZ. . .  What to do at Watching Brief (sound like a good idea to me).

You have to be joking at Frenemy.

Sentence of the day at Quote Unquote.

Silver lining to drop in vehicle sales?


New car sales  were 28% lower in February than they had been the previous month and 38.5% lower than in February last year.

Sales for most makes of cars in the USA  dropped 40% or more last month. The exceptions were Kia, Hyundai and Subaru which had modest growth in sales that’s attributed to:

 A combination of new models, attractive incentives and sales people who are better with the pitch than the next guy are probably all contributing to how well these brands are weathering the U.S. recession.

In Europe  Volvo truck sales  dropped from  41,970 trucks in the third quarter of 2007 to only 115 in the same period last year.

Is there a silver lining to this?

Frenemy asks what affect declining sales will have on fuel consumption? A decrease in the size of the vehicle fleet or its rate of growth probably means a decline in, or slower growth of, demand for fuel too – unless the increase in the distance travelled by each vehicle increases markedly.

There might also be more work for mechanics keeping older vehicles on the road because people are holding on to them for longer.

However, that will be cold comfort for the people whose jobs making and selling new trucks and cars are under threat.

Should we be worrying about Fonterra?


The Sunday Star Times is concerned about Fonterra’s plans to stockpile milk powder.

Fonterra’s managing director of global trade, Kelvin Wickham, last week pointed the finger at the US Department of Agriculture for buying up more than 100,000 tonnes of surplus milk powder from US producers and stockpiling it in limestone caves near Kansas City.

What Wickham did not mention was that Fonterra was already well advanced in its plans to begin doing the same thing here, but not in limestone caves. Instead Fonterra will be stockpiling excess milk powder in modern, high stud warehouses up and down the country.

Maybe he didn’t, but there is a difference between a government stockpile and a supplier owned co-operative one. The former is a taxpayer subsidy which might encourage more production, any costs for the latter will be carried by farmers.

 Frenemy  is also concerned and if I’m reading the post correctly seems to think Fonterra was trying to hide something.

I don’t think that’s the case. The ODT reported last November on the company’s plans to use the former Fisher & Paykel site at Mosgiel for storage and I’ve read other references in shareholder communications and/or the media.

And what’s the alternative? You can’t turn the milk supply off overnight if  it starts outstripping demand and, when cow numbers are dropping in Europe and the USA, the medium to long term outlook is still pretty positive.

Farmers cranked up production in response to last season’s record payout but supply usually peaks in November, it’s been dropping since then and tanker pick ups are down to alternate days on many farms.

Some farmers are planning to dry cows off early rather than milking to the end of the season to conserve feed in response to the high cost of winter grazing and because they’d have to pay $5.50 for extra shares for any increased production.

But in spite of that, and the gloomy headlines, this is market reality and we are all going to have to focus on our cost structures.

Meanwhile on the positive side while the payout is down from the record high, $5.10 isn’t too bad when the three biggest costs – fuel, fertiliser and interest are dropping. 

If Fonterra was actively encouraging farmers to produce more milk than the company can sell I’d be worried, but stockpiling the surplus from what they’re already getting in response to falling international demand looks like a sensible response to market signals.

Do you want food safety with that?


Australian fishermen get $15 a kilo for prawns landed on the beach and it costs locals $12 a kilo to get farmed prawn to the weight required for sale; but Chinese farmed prawns land in Australia for $3 a kilo.

With that price difference I can see the attraction of the imports and that’s not the only food that comes from China.

The Land  reports that Chinese food is flooding into Australia:

It includes nearly 250 tonnes of fresh or chilled garlic, 67t of broccoli, 400kg of flour, more than 38t of preserved tomatoes, 1085t of various types of peanuts and 160,000 litres of apple juice – all sent here in the second half of last year.

Who knows how much Chinese food comes into New Zealand too but more to the point how safe is it?

We are in no position to complain about the quantity when we send mega tonnes of meat, dairy products and fruit to other countries, but we have a right to question the quality and safety. Food produced here and in Australia has to meet strict standards, but regardless of what’s required in China the poisoned milk scandal is proof we need to be very wary of their produce. 

 China is a huge market, we can’t afford to ignore them and if we want to sell to them we have to buy from them in return. Australians face a similar situation and Michael Thomson, editor of The Land’s FarmOnLine says they have to Trade with China but do it right.

That’s easier said than done and Bernard Hickey warns of the dangers of trying to do business in China

 However, food standards and unscruprulous business practices are not just a problem in the developing world. Frenemy  found an article from the Huffington Post:

You’d think the Peanut Corporation of America was headquartered in China. They discovered salmonella twelve times over the past two years at a Georgia plant, yet they chose to ship out contaminated peanut butter regardless. Sounds a lot like the Chinese dairy company Sanlu that knowingly sold melamine-laced milk powder. In both cases, kids died. In both cases, the regulators were none the wiser. 

It would be impossible to police every food producer and processor, but there is a case for requiring the reporting of any health issues with strong penalties for those who don’t.

The EU imposes very strict requirements on the killing and processing of meat we send there, so much so that there’s a suspicion they’re using food standards as a non-tariff barriers. We can’t test every item of food which comes into the country but the increasing amount of imports from places which don’t have our strict standards does raise the question of whether we’re doing enough.

Cheap food isn’t good food if it comes at the cost of our health.

This isn’t an argument for compulsory country of origin labelling, but retailers ought to take note of customer concerns and realise the marketing advantage in highlighting food from sources which we ought to be confident have high saftey standards.

In the meantime, the thought of Chinese broccoli is the prompt I need to grow my own.

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