Did you see the one about . . .


Must have an irony deficiency – Longinius Howard at Born On State Highway One laments the lack of irony.

Thank you for not expressing yourself – Theodore Dalrymple on the civility of silence.

It takes a village but not my one thank you very much – In A Strange Land on train troubles for travelling twins.

The Other Side of The Red Bus Lou Taylor at No Minister

Apropos of that: Labour’s latest taxpayer funded elecitoneering – Liberation reckons Labour hasn’t learned from the reaction to the pledge card rort.

Still on the same topic – Faster than a speeding tax  bus – Keeping Stock couldn’t keep up even when he edged over the speed limit.

The inheritance of face recognition (should you blame your parents if you can’t recognise faces) Grant Jacobs at Sciblogs – provides an excuse for facial recognition failures.

Graham Sydney in North Dakota – Quote Unquote finds nature imitating art imitating nature.

Celebrating pain relief – Opinionated Mummy on birth battles.

Tim Shadblot lays it bare – Southern Squall has an exclusive interview with Invercargill’s mayor.

What parking fines?! RivettingKateTaylor finds communication can counter fines.

The devil made me do it – Macdoctor’s not impressed by excuses.

Pukeko Bridge – Not PC shows there’s art in engineering.

The light dawns reality bites # 82 – Inquiring Mind on media priorities.

One year anniversary – Offsetting Behaviour celebrates his birthday with links to posts readers liked, and some the writerd did but readers didn’t. Also at Offsetting Behaviour – beer and revenue – how hatred led to better health.

Getting the numbers


Commentators seem to be agreed that Melissa Lee is the favourite to win the National nomination for the Mount Albert by-election.

I have no inside knowledge of her, any other candidates or the views of members in the electorate.

But I do know the party rules and that some favourites have been overtaken in the past by nominees who had a better understanding of what was required –  support from more than 50% of members or voting delegates, in the electorate.

Progressive voting is used so if a nominee doesn’t get at least half the votes in the first ballot the name of the lowest polling nominee is removed and everyone votes again, and if necessary, again until someone crosses the 50% threashold.

Providing an electorate has more than 200 members, and I think  Mount Albert does, it is only the members from the electorate who vote.  The members decide at their AGM if voting will be by universal suffrage or if it’s to be done by delegates with one for every set number of members.

Some high flyers in previous selections have either not understood this or have understood but still failed to win over enough delegates and missed out. David Kirk didn’t get the selection for Tamaki after Rob Muldoon’s retirement because Clem Simich had the numbers

But it’s quite simple. Candidate selection in the National Party, unlike other parties which give at least some of the power to its hierachy,  is grass roots democracy. The winning nominee is the one who wins the support of at least half the members or voting delegates in the electorate and that’s done the old fashioned way by letting them get to know you and convincing them you have the skills and abilities to be a good electorate MP.

John Key has announced the by-election date. It’s June 13th which is also the date Simon and Garfunkel will be playing in Auckland and the All Blacks have a test match in Dunedin., not that either will be relevant becasue both will take past after polling closes.

UPDATE: Lou taylor at No Minister  has another perspective on the by-election

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:


What if ACC didn’t cover initial visits?


If I had personal accident insurance and was offered a lower premium if I wasn’t covered for the first visit or two to a doctor of physiotherapist I’d take it.

I wonder how many people get ACC for just one or two consultations. I suspect it’s a significant number in which case requiring us to pay for the first couple of consultations might make a significant difference to the costs of the scheme.

I don’t see any problems with visits to GPs and physios but there could be a problem with hospital emergency departments.

At the moment treatment there for injuries which result from accidents are paid for by ACC not the general health vote. If ACC no longer covered those initial visits there would be a huge political backlash if people were required to pay for public hospital treatment, but if they weren’t charged then people would go to EDs with injuries which could be treated by GPs.

But if someone can see a way round this then removing ACC cover from those initial consultations might be part of the solution to the large hole in the budget.

Apropos of the ACC problems: Macdoctor says it’s Not Free; Keeping Stock attacks Labour for its part in the ACC dilemma; and Lou Taylor has worked out what ACC stands for

Rail trail


Lou Taylor at No Minister said, If only Mickey had thought of a cycleway.

News that KiwiRail could cost taxpayers $1.5 billion over five years could mean that isn’t a joke.

If we can’t afford the trains why not turn the rail corridor into a cycleway?

In Flanders Fields


It’s Armistice Day and the 90th anniversary of the end of World War 1.

In Flanders Fields

by John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep,
though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Keeping Stock ,  PM of NZ and Oswald Bastable  also remember.

UPDATE: Lou Taylor at No Minister  and Barnsley Bill  mark the date too.

My grandfather fought in Egypt where he looked after the horses and, thankfully, was not sent to Gallipoli.

He didn’t like talking about the war and Mum remembered him burying his medals in the garden, never to be seen again.

UPDATE 2: Poneke  posts on the sons who lie in Flanders fields.

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