Where’s the Wally?


Labour list MP Andrew Little is cyring foul over the way he was served defamation papers.

It’s hard to have any sympathy when he and fellow MP Trevor Mallard who is also being sued were silly enough to say they wouldn’t co-operate:

The MPs said they wouldn’t cooperate because the proceeding were vexatious, politically motivated and lacked principle.

They are inviting Collins to employ ”thuggish characters” to serve proceedings on them.

That is conduct unbecoming of MPs. They’re supposed to be making laws, not providing examples of how to avoid it by playing a silly game of “where’s the wally?”.

Photo from WhaleOil



When coming to terms with the short lives and early deaths of our sons it helped that their problems were almost certainly genetic.

Even if they weren’t, no-one had caused their brain disorders and there was no-one to find fault with or blame for them.

It would have been harder had their profound disabilities been the result of a deliberate act or even an accident. Then we would have had to forgive the person responsible.

It would have been harder still if one of us had been responsible because then we would have had to forgive ourselves.

Whaleoil writes movingly about how difficult that is, showing we are often far harder on ourselves than on others.

As for forgiveness, I think Catherine Ponder has a point when she says:

When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.

However, that is much easier in theory than practice and who could blame anyone who was the victim of an act of evil if they couldn’t forgive the perpetrator?

Apropos of that I am in awe at the generosity of spirit shown by the family of the wee girl who was attacked so viciously in Turangi.

This afternoon, the girl’s family announced they had donated $20,000 to go toward buying equipment for a new children’s’ playground in Turangi, paediatric surgical instruments and items for the Waikids Ward 26 at Waikato Hospital and support for ECPAT Child Alert NZ Ltd and Victim Support Hamilton.

“We were amazed at New Zealanders’ generosity. We in no way blame the Turangi community for what happened and so we wanted to give something tangible back,” the girls’ parents said in a statement released on their behalf by Waikato District Health Board. . .

. . . One day we want to return to New Zealand with our family – we want our son and daughter to see what a beautiful country this is and realise how much love, care and attention your country gave us.

It would have been understandable had the family been put off the whole country and its people and wanted to keep as far away from here as possible.

The compassion and open-heartedness they’ve shown by this gesture auger well for their daughter’s healing in which a loving and supportive family will play a very important part.

National Standards are working


https://platform.twitter.com/widgets/hub.1326407570.htmlWairarapa principal Kevin Jephson says National Standards are failing because most of his school’s pupils failed its benchmark last year.

Only 11 per cent of Dalefield’s students met the reading standard, 2 per cent the writing standard and 7 per cent the mathematics standard, he said.  

That’s not the standards failing, the results show they’re working.

The school, its staff and parents now know pupils aren’t learning as they should be and they should be focussed on getting them the help they need.

But Gail Marshall, principal of Solway Primary School in Masterton, said she had utmost faith in National Standards as a workable system.

The standards were trialled at Solway ahead of being rolled out nationwide.

The 2011 assessment at Solway found 91 per cent of Years 4 to 6 pupils met the reading standard, 87 per cent the writing standard and 82 per cent the mathematics standard.

 “What I like about the standards is that it shows very clearly what the kids need, and we can target that. This year we’ll be concentrating on writing and maths and we can target toward that end.”

Kiwiblog points out there is not a big difference in the decile rating of the schools:

Dalefield is decile 5 and Solway decile 6. Not a huge difference. Certainly not enough to explain why Solway is a magnitude higher in terms of the national standard.

Even if the decile rating was vastly different that wouldn’t mean the standards were wrong.

The assessment shows that Dalefield needs more help to ensure its pupils are learning as they should be which doesn’t mean the standards have failed.

The only failure identified so far is in Jephson who doesn’t understand that the true test of the standards won’t be in any problems they identify but in what happens next and the difference that makes.

Hat tip: Whaleoil

Is that all there is?


The so called teapot tape has been released on YouTube..

It’s not easy to hear what is being said by John Key and John Banks in their pre-election conversation because of the background noise.

But from what I could hear and understand there is absolutely nothing to cause embarrassment or upset to anyone.

If that is all there is, the Herald on Sunday and TV3 who had the tape and made such a fuss about it really need to look at themselves, their standards and motivation.

They inferred  implied the contents were politically sensitive and potentially embarrassing.

They told us it was in the national interest to release them. If that’s all there is it wasn’t. They are simply boring.

The HOS and even more so TV3 turned a non-event into a potential scandal and then someone from one of those media outlets or Bradley Ambrose, the reporter who, inadvertently or not, recorded the conversation, gave something to Winston Peters which enabled him to do what he does best – manufacture outrage to generate attention.

The only embarrassment is to the media who created an issue out of nothing.

I am not linking to the recording because I am unsure of the legal position but if you can’t find it you’ll save yourself 10 minutes and 46 seconds of boredom.

Whaleoil, Kiwiblog and Keeping Stock also have posts on the recording.

Did you see the one about . . .


Go back at RivettingKate Taylor – bad word, clever cartoon.

Building a cheese press at The Road to Raelands – latest post on a new (to me) blog – other posts have recipes including yoghurt and quark and buttermilk pot cheese and  biscuits.

Red flags of quackery – Sci-ence.og’s guide to spotting quacks. Hat tip: Sciblogs

Mere desire vs burning ambition – Not PC has a clip explaining the difference.

Every presentation ever – Whaleoil has a clip of where we’ve all been.

Calligrams – Visual Poetry and The Power of Visual Poetry – Destiny –  Look Up at the Sky makes wonderful word pictures.

2011 in blogging


One of the services WordPress supplies for its bloggers is an annual report at year’s end.

London Olympic Stadium holds 80,000 people. This blog was viewed about 330,000times in 2011. If it were competing at London Olympic Stadium, it would take about 4 sold-out events for that many people to see it.

In 2011, there were 2,419 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 8,791 posts. There were 93 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 7mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was October 20th with 1,947 views . . .

The top referring sites were:





asianinvasian.blogspot.com (Cactus Kate).

The most active commenters were: Robert Guyton 1008 comments, Gravedodger 604 commments; Andrei 539 comments; PDM 311 comments and Inventory 2 249 comments.

Thank you WordPress and all readers and commenters.

UPDATE: Open Parachute has December’s sitemeter rankings and Whaleoil is now #1 with  260294 unique visitors last month.

Smiling not harpooning


Quote of the day:

“Today we smile at the whales and take their pictures, rather than harpooning them.” David Higgins in a story on Moeraki’s 175th anniversary celebrations.

A change of which no doubt Whaleoil approves.

Voting for selves or party?


Who’s supporting whom in Labour’s leadership race is exercising the minds of political tragics.

I know, and care, too little about the inner machinations of the party and its relationships to make even a half-educated guess about who’s in which camp.

If you’re interested Whaleoil has done the numbers; Cactus Kate has divided caucus into forwards and backs  and Keeping Stock has a guess at who’s backing who.

But the more important question for the future of Labour isn’t which of the two Davids, Cunliffe or Shearer, has the support of whom, but why.

Are the members of caucus voting for themselves or the party?

The answer for those who’ve passed their electoral best-by dates, at least those on the list, is obvious. They’re voting for themselves.

If they were voting for the party they’d have already accepted the party they played in the election loss and would have announced their resignations to allow some of the newer former MPs who lost their seats back in.

Since they haven’t you can be sure they’ll be backing the candidate least likely to axe the deadwood – whichever of the two that is.

You show me yours . . .


Keeping Stock has shown us his stats for a record month and Lindsay Mitchell also recorded an increase in visitors.

There’s no doubt the election was good for readership.

I can’t compete with the popularity of  Kiwiblog and Whaleoil whose stats here and here show almost as many readers a week as I got in the month. But the number of visitors to this blog in November was the highest yet:

This Year's Visits and Page Views by Month

UPDATE: Open Parachute has the sitemeter blog rankings here.

Twelve little lies plus one


National’s campaign manager Steven Joyce has a little list.

It has 12 lies Phil Goff has told during the campaign:

  • 12.      Labour left the economy in good shape. WRONG – The economy had been in recession all year in 2008, floating mortgage rates were at 10.9 per cent, government spending was up 50 per cent in five years, and Treasury      was forecasting debt to rise out of control forever.
  • 11.      National has cut hundreds of millions from early childhood  education.  WRONG – ECE funding has risen 40 per cent over the past three years.
  • 10.      ‘We will get back into surplus the same time as National.’  WRONG –      Under any straightforward scrutiny of Labour’s revenue and expenditure  numbers over the next four years.
  • 9.      ‘We will only borrow $2.6 billion more than National over the next three  years.’  WRONG – Latest calculation is $15.6 billion extra over four  years (excluding the Greens).
  • 8.      ‘Labour would forgo power company dividends and reduce prices.’       WRONG – Labour now says it will keep dividend income in government  accounts.
  • 7.      ‘National will sell Kiwibank’ – WRONG
  • 6.      ‘Borrowing money to buy assets in the Super Fund is not borrowing.’       YEAH RIGHT
  • 5.      Fruit and vegetable prices ‘continue to spiral upward’.  WRONG –      currently same price as November 2008.
  • 4.      Prices have risen four times faster than wages in past three years.      WRONG – After tax wages up 18 per cent in last three years, prices up 8      per cent.
  • 3. Mixed ownership means forgoing dividends of $6-700 million per year.  WRONG      – Actually, around $220 million per year, and save that amount at least in reduced interest.
  • 2. The  income gap withAustralia has widened.  WRONG – After tax incomes here have risen faster thanAustralia over the past three years.
  • 1. Police recruitment being cancelled for all of next year.  WRONG – One intake only postponed      two months because of increased staff retention.

“Labour said they would campaign on the issues, but in fact they’ve gone back to the old Labour way of making things up, and hoping if they make a false allegation often enough people would start to believe it.”

Lindsay Mitchell has another lie: “New Zealand has the highest youth unemployment rate in the developed world.” . . . .

The rate for 15-24 year-olds is currently 17.3%

This is lower than the US, the UK, France, Finland, Sweden, Chile, the Czech Republic, Italy, Belgium and a few others.

Kiwiblog has a link to Sean Plunket’s interview with Goff  this morning in which the latter refuses to admit he’s wrong about police recruitment.

And Whaleoil has the tweet of the day:

Did Phil Goff really not know his police numbers claims were a sack of excrement? Or was it a lie to scare people into voting Labour?

about 5 hours ago via HootSuiteReplyRetweetFavorite


Desperate lies


How much lower will Labour stoop in its desperation?

Cactus Kate calls it  cataclysmic in vileness and she’s right.
Imagine how you’d feel reading this  if you, your partner or you child were ill.
Imagine how you’d feel reading this if your marriage or partnership was rocky.
Imagine how you’d feel if you were on a benefit and didn’t know this is lies.
Imagine how you’d feel if you had a young child, already working and feeling guilty about not being with your baby most of the time.

The woman who received it sent it to Whaleoil and said:

A very ‘classy’ threat from Labour (see attached), it makes me wonder how do they get information about my child… and even if info is accessible, the use of it is rather inappropriate.

Political parties have access to electoral rolls which gives occupations and that could show someone is a beneficiary. But to the best of my knowledge they don’t have access to information on which benefit someone receives or the age of their children.

Regardless of where they obtained the information it is inappropriate use of it, especially when they are lying.

Labour has form for this type of lie-based campaigning. Keeping Stock reminds us of their letter to state house tennents in 2005 and the impact that had on state servants who had to deal with worried recipients.

That letter was full of lies and so is this.

For the record, National’s welfare policy is to introduce the obligation to seek part-time work when the youngest child turns  six five.

UPDATE: As Deborah points out in  the comments the policy also says someone on a benefit who has a subsequent child will have a part-time work expectation when that child turns one.
Note the words part-time and expectation.
That is very different from: under National’s new welfare policy beneficiaries who get pregant will be forced to find work when their baby turns 1 which is what the letter says.
The policy applies only to those who have a child while already on a sole parent benefit and the expectation is for the recipient to seek only part-time work.



The placement of these Labour campaign posters and pro MMP ones could be a coincidence.

But this, from Whaleoil, makes it unlikely:

I have had various reports from around the country that the union heavy Campaign for MMP has got their troops out and about delivering Labour party pamphlets along side their own. Reports are from several electorates. The people delivering the pamphlets are sporting Campaign for MMP buttons and hand delivering Labour and Campaign for MMP brochures simultaneously.

If this is true it says a great deal about the lack of on the ground support some Labour campaign teams have lost their volunteers and are now having to resort to union dominated campaign teams from the MMP crowd.

It also shows clearly the links between Labour and the Campaign for MMP.

The loss of active party members has coincided with the increase in power for parties under MMP.

The concentration of power in a very few hands is not good for democracy and is a very strong argument to vote for change in Saturday’s referendum.

P.S. the authorisation statement on the MMP posters is Campaign for MMP, not a person. Advertising for parties or candidates requires the name of a person, not an organisation, does this not apply to promoters for referendum advertisements?

Let down by volunteers


This morning Whaleoil joined the dots between the messages on the stickers defacing National Party billboards and the distribution and came up with something green.

He was right. Green Party co-leader Russel Norman has admitted the man behind the vandalism is the partner of his executive assistant.

Dr Norman said he had had no knowledge of the vandalism in advance, and only found out who was involved on Tuesday morning.

Whale deduced this looked like a green network. It looks like it was also at least partly a Green one, albeit without the knowledge or authority of the party.

All parties run the risk of volunteers getting carried away by their enthusiasm and doing something that will embarrass the organisation.

This is a particularly well organised and funded embarrasment. Parties of the right would be vilified if their supporters were stupid enough to do something similar even if it was done without their knowledge or authority.

Will some of the mud its supporteres have been also stick to the Greens?

We shouldn’t have to pay for these


If I wasn’t a political tragic I probably wouldn’t have watched Friday’s party political broadcast; had I started I wouldn’t have sat through them all.

Last night I was in the car when the wee party broadcasts started. Andrew Geddis managed to sit through the politics on the radio without pictures on Friday, I listened to a few minutes of Act’s last night and gave up.

Others might have a higher tolerance for such things but if the viewer numbers for Friday’s is  any indication it’s unlikely that is was very many.

So why carry on with them when there are so many more effective, and less expensive, ways of communicating with voters?

I second Whaleoil who says:

This is a complete waste of taxpayers money. These ads are all funded and paid for out of the parliamentary services rort that rewards incumbency. Effectively it is a state funded subsidy to media channels in election year to the tune of millions.

The videos are available on youTube for those who want to watch them and if parties want to broadcast on television let them pay for it with their own money.

Apropos of the youTube clips, National’s and the Green Party’s allow people to rate them. Labour’s  does not.

That reminds me of the child who’s too scared to look under the bed in case there’s a monster there.

Hard times in Hobbiton


Not recommended for bedtime viewing if you’re prone to nightmares:

Creative director:  Whaleoil

Silly dam(n) mistake


On Q&A some weeks ago Guyon Espiner asked a Labour MP if he knew which power company he used.

I can’t find the link but I think it was David Cunliffe. Whoever it was struggled to answer as many people will unless they’re the one who pays the household bills.

Many people would also not be sure who owns the power company which supplies them. That’s not surprising when it’s not who owns it but the price they charge and service they provide which concerns most of us.

However, if you’re a party opposing the Mixed Ownership Model for State Owned Enterprises, you ought to know which companies are publicly owned and which ones aren’t, if only to stop you using a photo of one which isn’t to illustrate your campaign.

Whaleoil has a copy of Labour’s brochure campaigning against National’s policy to sell minority shares in a few state owned companies. It’s illustrated with a photo of the Clyde Dam which isn’t owned by the state, it’s owned by Contact Energy.

That’s a silly dam(n) mistake which doesn’t do anything for the credibility of the party or its policy.

Tanty, tanty – updated


Tantrums can be entertaining for observers, but they’re rarely amusing for the victims, especially if they’re being defamed.

You would think someone aspiring to be in government might have learned something from the Supreme Court’s granting Erin Leigh’s appeal to sue a former public servant who provided Trevor Mallard with information with which he attacked Leigh in parliament.

But no, Mallard is now besmirching the reputations of several other innocent people in a misguided and unfounded attack on Bill English.

I’m not going to dignify it with a link you’ll find more than enough about what he’s done on the following blogs:

Over at Keeping Stock, Inventory 2 asks what’s upsetting Trevor?

Whaleoil uses it for yet another post on how Labour isn’t focussing on what matters.

Matthew Hooton, one of the people maligned by Mallard, entitles his response Mallard goes mad.

Mallard’s post not only attacks these people it hurts his party and its members, which is what I assume has motivated a brief post entitled Please at Imperator Fish.

The public tantrum is stupid for many reasons including the fact that the daily political round-up at Liberation  which prompted it, covers a range of views and clearly states who sponsors it.

Any link between one of them and the Finance Minister is drawing a bow so long the archer has directed the arrow to his own foot.

Update: Dim Post has some  advice for Mallard in Deep thought punching your weight edition.

Update 2: Kiwiblog reckons Trevor has joined the truthers and birthers.

Parties can’t be blamed for rogue candidates


Elections have become presidentail with the focus of national media on party leaders.

That means if an MP or candidate is making nation-wide headlines it’s usually for all the wrong reasons.

So it is with the story of the Green Party candidate Max Dil­lon Coyle whose partner, Melissa Campbell , did a life’s-tough-for-the-poor interview without disclosing her relationship to the Waikato Times.

This is very different from the story of a woman of independent views and political affiliations who was stupidly, and wrongly, labelled a Labour wife.

From the information available, Ms Campbell was acting politically and deliberately with her partner’s knowledge and approval.

Whaleoil broke the story and the following day followed up with the clarification published by the Times.  

The paper says the reporter asked Ms Campbell about any links to the Greens and she denied having any.

I can understand a reporter who asked a direct question and got a clear denial not looking any further for links with the party. But the story talked about Max without a surname. Even if it’s the paper’s style not to print partners’ full names in stories like this she ought to have asked for it. Even if she hadn’t, in the not too distant past someone between the reporter and publication would almost certainly have known enough about local political candidates to wonder and ask some more questions.

That is an indictment on modern media where there’s little if any institutional knowledge and fewer people with less time to fact-check.

But that is a side issue. The main story is the way a candidate used his partner to manipulate the media for political ends allowed the media to be manipulated by his partner for political ends.

He has now apologised for his error of judgement.

The Greens have been embarrassed by this, but in their defence there is very little a party can do about rogue candidates.

They can do their best to ensure the candidates they select have integrity; they can explain the rules and responsibilities; they can provide advisors and mentors.

But if an inexperienced candidate gets carried away with his or her own enthusiasm and doesn’t consult someone in the party before acting on it, it is ultimately the candidate’s fault not the party’s.

If however, he is playing an important role in the party’s campaign and has a history of attempting to manufacture news the party needs to take some responsibility for his actions.

9/11 ten years on


It was the morning of September 12th here 10 years ago, but still September 11th in the United States,  when we woke to the sight and sound of planes crashing into the World Trade Centre.

As the day wore on we learned a third plane crashed into the Pentagon and another crashed in  Pennsylvania.

Ten years on we remember the people who died, the people who survived with horrific injuries and the people who acted with heroism to help others.

The best way to honour them is to celebrate freedom and live freely. These are things we usually take for granted and they are concepts the people who led and took part in the attacks and their ilk didn’t and don’t understand.

Keeping Stock posts a documentary on the attacks and the aftermath.

Liberty Scott says 9/11 was an attack on modernity.

Whaleoil reminds us that while most people were running out, people from the emergency services were running in.

If I was ranking Act’s list . . . Updated


. . . it would be:

1. Don Brash.

2. Cathy Odgers.

3. John Bowscawen

It gets difficult after that. I don’t know enough about any of the other candidates to know if Don Nicolson should come next and I’m not sure his abrasive style would help foster the much-needed unity in Act’s caucus.

If John Banks can’t win Epsom he’ll have failed his party and its supporters and therefore should be well down the list or better still not on it at all.

The list will be announced at 3pm.


The list  has 27 places the top 10 are:

1.     Dr Don Brash

2.     Hon John Boscawen

3.     TBC

4.     Don Nicolson

5.     Hon John Banks

6.     David Seymour

7.     Chris Simmons

8.     Stephen Whittington

9.     Kath McCabe

10.   Robyn Stent

Kiwiblog has the percentage of party vote needed for each to get in. On current polling, if Banks wins Epsom they’d just get a couple.

The party usually does better in the election than polls and the yet to be confirmed #3 might be someone who can broaden the party’s appeal.

Roarprawn reckons the list shows Act of old.

Whaleoil has more from his tipline.

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