Dare we hope this is prophetic?


Garrick Tremain’s cartoons can be found here.


Labour pains, National delivers


National promised eight policy papers this year and they’ve delivered.

The government promised this year would be their year of delivery and they haven’t.

You’ll find National discussion documents here.

You’ll find the government’s broken promises here.

They include: child poverty heading in the wrong direction, the level of homelessness is appalling, elective surgery numbers have dropped, economic growth has dropped from 4% under National to 2.1%; job growth has fallen from 10,000 a month under National to just 3,000 under Labour; per capita growth is only 0.5 per cent a year compared with average of 1.7% a year during the last five years under National; the number of people on the dole is up by 22,000, the number of New Zealanders heading overseas has increased by 10,000 a year, the billion trees promise isn’t being delivered and won’t be, not a single cent of the the $100 million Green Investment Fund that was supposed to kick-start $1 billion of investment in ‘low carbon’ industries has been invested, the  commitment this year to making the entire Government fleet emissions-free by mid-2025 was dropped, the government hasn’t been able to find a credible way to introduce a royalty on bottled water exports without trampling all over trade and other agreements with countries New Zealand does business with, yet another working group was set up to address waste minimisation but hasn’t come up with anything yet, the bold goals for housing have been dropped, The 4000 new apprentices target has been quietly dropped. Only 417 have started the Mana in Mahi programme and 32% of them dropped out . . .

Rodney Hide sums it up saying the year of delivery got lost in the post:

This was supposed to be the turnaround year. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared 2019 her Year of Delivery. Nothing has been delivered. Her promise has proved, like her government, empty and meaningless. 

The tragedy is that we accept it. It’s enough that politicians feel and emote; there’s no need to do or achieve anything. We should perhaps rename the country New Feel-Land. . . 

That’s the Year of Delivery done and dusted.

But there’s always next year. The prime minister has plastics again in her sights. She says it’s what children write to her about most. There are news reports she’s planning on banning plastic stickers on fruit.

I scoffed when we had government by focus group. We now have government by school project. . . 

Garrick Tremain sums it up:

What’s all that hot air doing to our emissions profile?

Reducing those is another failure, in spite of the commitment to reducing them being the PM’s nuclear-free moment, they’re increasing and will continue to for the next five years.

A new government ill-prepared for the role might have been excused a first year finding its feet but there’s no excuse for failing so badly to deliver in on its promises in what was supposed to be its year of delivery.



New Zealand’s best political cartoonist, Garrick Tremain, is still in coventry after the eruption of outrage over one of his cartoons.

Readers of the ODT are missing out as a result of that but he is still cartooning and you can go here to enjoy gems like this:


Keep left, obey speech limit


Nominating Garrick Tremain for Cartoonist of the Year on the strength of this:

You can see more of his cartoons here.



e-mob for Roxburgh children’s village


Southern mayors are asking people to join an e-mob today to save Roxburgh children’s village.

Message from Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan: the people of the South are being asked to join in an e-mob protest (possibly the first of its kind) to get the message that failing to increase funding so the Roxburgh Children’s Village can remain operating is unacceptable to the people of the South.

Those who care about the Village and the children and families of the South that have used its services since 1949 are asked to join an “e-mob” protest, sending the very poignant Garrick Tremain cartoon (with his permission) to Jacinda Ardern this Tuesday 29 May.

The cartoon attached (is available and instructions for where to email it by emailing cartoon@codc.govt.nz

May 29 has been chosen as it is one month until the doors close on the Village. It is very important that you know that the residential therapeutic service that the Village offers will no longer be available to the children of the South, while it does remain in place for other parts of New Zealand. This is service by geography at its worst.

May 29 is also the anniversary of Mabel Howard being made our first female Cabinet Minister in 1949. Ironically, she was made Minister of Health and Children’s Welfare.

The cartoon (is available and instructions for where to email it by emailing cartoon@codc.govt.nz

No automatic alt text available.

Everyone who sends the cartoon is asked to email: roxburroxburghletsnotdothis@gmail.com so an accurate count of support can be made.

The ODT answers questions about the village and the service it provides for children in desperate need here.

Down but . . .


Cartoon of the week:

knock out

For a bigger image and more of Garrick Tremain’s wonderful cartoons click here.


Waiting at the alter


Cartoon of the week:










Liberation has more on the dotbomb issue here.

Diving into debt


One of the biggest priorities of the next government, whatever its colour, should be to use predicted surpluses to pay down debt as quickly as possible.

But Labour hasn’t learned from its profligate spending during the noughties.

Its promises so far show it will be diving into our pockets through higher taxes to  pay for its higher spending.

The inevitable consequence of that is diving into higher debt – private and public.


New driver wanted


Cartoon of the year from New Zealand’s best cartoonist, Garrick Tremain:

Phil Goff was blamed for most of Labour’s problems but he was handicapped from the start by the legacy of the Clark years and her resignation on election night.

Goff delayed the announcement of his resignation by days and it won’t take effect for a couple of weeks but his successor will be in just as difficult a position as he was.

It will take a lot more than a new leader to get the party going anywhere and a lot more to get it going somewhere that members and voters want to go.

P.S.  Tremain isn’t part of the VRWC.

Those of us fortunate enough to see his regular contributions in the ODT know he casts his pen and his wit across the political spectrum.

You’ll find his cartoons, paintings and books on his website.

Long term benefit dependency not good for individuals or society


Does anyone really believe that long term benefit dependency is good for either the people receiving them or society?

Judging from the howls of anguish which have met the release of the Welfare Working Group’s summary paper some people do otherwise they wouldn’t be so upset at the prospect of addressing the problem.

Nobody is suggesting that benefits shouldn’t be available to offer short term assistance for people in temporary need. Nor is anyone suggesting people who are unable to work because of health issues or other circumstances beyond their control should not get long term assistance.

The problem is people who could work to support themselves and don’t.

They’re the ones, which Garrick Tremain portrayed so well, taking welfare not as a safety net but a hammock.

I can remember reporting on second generation beneficiaries nearly 30 years ago, by now some families must have the third or even fourth generation on benefits.

One of the reasons people choose state asistance rather than work is, as Lindsay Mitchell points out, they get more money than thy could earn in wages.

It must be galling for people on in low-paid work to know that some of the tax which comes out of their pay contributes to keeping people who get more in welfare than they earn.

There are no quick and easy solutions to the problem, but economic growth will help. More better paid jobs would ensure those in work are better off than they’d be on benefits.

Sport talk


* Since rugby became professional Southland has lost many of its stars to other provinces. The grapevine tells me that  the Ranfurly Shield win may result in at least one or two of them coming home.

* Garrick Tremain’s cartoon in today’s ODT shows a reporter and camera man at the reception desk of the NZ Cricket Council.

The reporter says: We’d like to do interviews with the captain, the coach, the selector, psychologist, nutritionist, trainer and the coach driver pelase.

The receptionist is on the phone and says: Daniel . . . couple of gentlemen to see you.

* There’s a rugby match in Tokyo tomorrow.

* What’s up with netball?

If you have anything to say on these or other sporting matters this is your chance to do so.

This little pig went . . .


 . . . into isolation.

Goodness, me isn’t it amazing what you learn from the internet?

I’ve just discovered that pork products are illegal in Afghanistan. As a consequence of that there’s just one pig in the country and he’s been put into isolation because of fears over swine flu.

He may be alone but, as Garrick Tremain shows, he’s in good company with over-reaction to flu-fears:

dairy 10003

Twitter Explains Super Fund


The government is sending pretty clear signals that it will suspend payments to the Super Fundd.

Speaking at the launch of the DeloitteSouth Island Index last night, Bill English said:

When it was set up, the idea of the Super Fund was to invest Budget surpluses. The Government was then in surplus and expected to stay in surplus for the foreseeable future. . .

Those Budget surpluses have disappeared. The Government will run a deficit this year, and will do so for the foreseeable future. That changes the whole picture.

The Government will have to borrow quite a lot of money to makes its full Super Fund contributions. Next year we would have to borrow around $2 billion, or around $40 million a week to put into the Fund, to be invested in what are currently uncertain global financial markets.

That’s why we’re considering this issue, and that’s why the Fund’s rules allow the Government to vary its contributions to reflect changing fiscal conditions.

 If the words don’t convince you suspending payments is a good idea, Garrick Tremain’s picture might:


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:


No 8 wire no substitute for broadband


Farmers might be able to do a lot with number eight wire but it’s not much use for telecommunications so I’m delighted that the government’s proposal for getting affordable, high speed broadband to most of New Zealand hasn’t forgotten those of us outside cities and towns.

The government is also committed to improving the state of New Zealand’s telecommunications infrastructure in rural areas. The government made a pre-election commitment to provide $48 million to improve rural broadband, and we are currently developing options around this commitment and expect to make announcements regarding the direction of the government’s rural telecommunications policy in the near future.


The development of faxes made a difference to doing business in the country – my favourite cartoonist Garrick Tremain started doing daily cartoons from his home near Coronet Peak when he got a fax machine.

The internet was another leap forward. It’s made business easier for existing operations and enabled new enterprises to operate in the country but rural broadband isn’t very fast and doesn’t handle big downloads well.

We’ve got wireless broadband which is definitely better than dial-up – especially if an electric fence is shorting in the district – but it’s definitely not high speed and that wastes time and hampers business development.

Is it hot in here . . .


. . .  or is it just me?


Apropos of dolls, the Hand Mirror has a post on the transformation of Dora the Explorer and an earlier one here.

I’ve read posts on Barbie’s birthday somewhere too but can’t find them now. Feel free to leave a link in the comments if you have one.

Stable government



Garrick Tremian from the ODT.

Minding your hs and ks


To h or not to h when spelling W(h)anganui is the question.

I’ll leave the answer to Poneke and move off on a tangent because the discussion reminds me of many a one I had with my father.

He was from Scotland and was forever telling me to differentiate between which and witch  when I spoke. When he said the former you could hear the h, when I said it often as not you couldn’t.

I take it from discussion on W(h)anganui that Maori from that area pronounce wh  with a breathy h as  Dad did, as distinct from those further north who pronounce it more like an f.

That in turn reminds me of a discussion brought up in a celebrity debate about the difference between Maori in the north who use ng  and those in the south who use k so down here it’s Aoraki  but across the strait  it’s Aorangi.

The debater (Jim Hopkins or Garrick Tremain, I think)  then applied this to English with a convoluted sentence in which strong  became strok, wrong became wrok and dong changed to dok before concluding that sometimes it was better to use the northern pronunciation because you could express your ire without causing offence by telling those annoying you to get funged.

Great minds . . .


Conspiracy theorists might see something sinister in the coincidence of  Garrick Tremain and Rod Emmerson coming up with a similar idea in today’s papers – the first in the ODT, the second in the NZ Herald.

I think it just shows that great cartoonists think alike.




By Rod Emmerson

You’ve gotta know when to hold up . . .


. . . know when to fold up, know when to walk away . . .


Garrick Tremain’s cartoon, printed several days ago, shows that then Otago District Health Board chair Richard Thomson didn’t heed the words of the Gambler.

He didn’t accept the invitation to walk so Health Minister Tony Ryall relieved him of his chairmanship.

The ODT doesn’t agree  with that decision:

While Mr Ryall’s demands for accountability are understandable, he picked the wrong scapegoat.

. . . It was other executives and senior staff who, surely, carried far more responsibility, particularly because warnings about Swann were not passed on.

But the Minister of Health has no control over any of these people so is it possible he’s using  one of few weapons in his armoury – the right to appoint, and disappoint, the chair – to encourage the board to take further action which he can’t?

The Minister of Corrections Judith Collins is similarly constrained over the continuing employment of Barry Matthews in spite of a damning report from the auditor general about the department he heads. He is answerable to her but she is not his employer so it is up to the State Services Commission to sack him, or not.

The Prime Minister supports his minister  :

“The New Zealand public is entitled to expect accountability, and quite frankly, that report made such damning reading they can have no confidence at this point that the department is following an approved set of procedures that they promised they would follow.”

The operative word is accountability.

It’s not blame or responsibility, and anyone with the ability to chair a board or lead a government department ought to understand that, and to know that it is better to fold up and walk with dignity than to wait to have your cards taken from you.

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