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Archive for July, 2011

The World Grieves With Our Norwegian Brothers and Sisters


One thing that has always struck me as ‘curious’ about mess-shooters… Without exception, they always target the defenceless and the vulnerable.

They never, ever, strike at, for example, a “gun fair” such as the type they have in the US.

And if Breivik was so concerned about muslims, he had not one – but TWO wars where he could have enlisted amnd joined armies that are currently fighting a muslim enemy.

And if it’s marxists he wanted to target – there are heaps of them in North Korea and Cuba.

But instead, he picked an island filled with young, unarmed people. No marxists and no muslim extremists. Just young men and women of his own society.

So why do these nuts target the innocent and unarmed?

Because I suspect that these psychopaths are actually, deep down, cowards. They are afraid of a world they cannot understand, nor cope with, and where phantom ‘enemies’ are hiding around every corner.

I admire the Norwegians. They have declared that they will maintain an open, democratic society.

Could you imagine if a similar (gods forbid) situation occurred here in New Zealand? The government would be passing new laws at warp speed; increasing police powers; and making every effort to look like “they are doing something”.

I guess this is another example of Europe being more mature, as a society, than New Zealand…

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Categories: Global Tags: ,

The socially “acceptable” face of paedophilia, served up by parents, to the Raincoat Brigade…

28 July 2011 1 comment


In the same issue of “Woman’s Day” that features blonde, bosomy babes in bikinis on the cover; tucked away at the bottom left, is an article on that most bizarre, and obscene, activity – child “beauty” pageants. The story relates to six-year old Eden Wood, an American (of course!) child who has been “tarted up” and entered into US child “beauty” pageants.

Little Eden is evidently travelling to a similar-styled “pageant” in Australia.

God help us, but it seems that this American-inspired, legally-sanctioned child pornography, is coming Down Under. And I have zero doubt that there are enough warped parents in this country who would likewise turn their children into “Las Vegas showgirls”, complete with “bump’n’grind” stripping routines.

The mother of Eden Wood justifies the sexualised exploitation of her daughter by declaring,

“If you see sex  when you look at my six year old child, that’s not her fault. It’s a sign  of somebody being sick in the mind. “

Really?!?!

Congratulations, Ms Wood; you’ve just given a good enough reason to justify child porn. After all, “if you see sex  when you look at a six year old child, that’s not her fault. It’s a sign  of somebody being sick in the mind.” So let’s have plenty of images of kiddie porn, right?

I sincerely hope that this US-inspired, sexualised exploitation of young children never comes to this country. I, for one, (and the rest of our household) would be protesting outside any venue that held such a travesty.

Make no mistake, this is not children playing “dress ups”. This is not innocent “fun”. This is adults sexualising children for their own misguided, perverse pleasure. Such parents may not understand the implications of these child “beauty” pageants – but those implications exist nonetheless.

This is nothing less than socially “acceptable” paedophilia, served up by mothers and fathers, to the Raincoat Brigade.

It has no place in our country.

[Note:  The movie, “Little Miss Sunshine“, is a satirical look at the phenomenon of child “beauty” pageants, and pokes fun at the entire concept. The end scene is both insanely funny – and with a dark, underlying message as well. The movie is available on dvd, and I recommend it. ]
– Thursday, 28 July 2011

“Soul Sisters”?

… and as we all know, “soul sisters” are best photographed when they are both nubile young blondes, in scanty white bikinis.

I do believe that “Woman’s Day” has breached a new demographic market; young, heterosexual males, with testosterone in their veins instead of blood.

Well done,  “Woman’s Day“.

Move over “Playboy“.

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Manipulations & Machinations…

27 July 2011 2 comments

OPINION: MMP was supposed to give power to the people, and it has delivered parliaments that are truly representative of New Zealand society. 

But even its most ardent fans must despair at the way politicians manipulate the system through backroom deals over electorate seats, such as those between National and UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne in Ohariu, and National and ACT in Epsom. Though such agreements may be within the rules of MMP, the cynicism that lies behind them is certainly not within the spirit. 

In Ohariu, National is encouraging its supporters to give their electorate votes to Mr Dunne, and it is poised to send a similar message in Epsom, where ACT’s survival depends on John Banks winning. 

National is motivated by a desire to ensure partners to balance the influence of the Maori Party, its only other coalition option should it be unable to govern alone. In the case of ACT, it is also eyeing the potential for Mr Banks to bring in up to two more MPs, based on the party’s 2 per cent support in today’s Fairfax Research International poll. National will be reluctant to see that centre-Right support wasted if ACT loses Epsom and falls short of the 5 per cent threshold for list-only seats. 

Deal-making over electorates is nothing new under MMP, but it has gone from being an occasional accommodation in one or two seats to a regular feature. Suggestions that ACT stand aside in several marginal seats to maximise National’s electorate vote and stop Labour winning them back take the manoeuvring to a whole new level, and few parties are immune. 

Despite Labour leader Phil Goff’s criticism of the National deals in Ohariu and Epsom, his party has been happy to give allies an easy ride when it suits. His insistence that Labour has always gone all-out to wrest Wigram from Progressives leader Jim Anderton is contradicted by the campaigns it has run there. It spent just $5425.19 in the electorate at the last election, hardly a war chest primed for victory. 

Nor are the Greens above the deal-making. Ohariu candidate Gareth Hughes offered to campaign for the party vote only and encourage his supporters to give their electorate vote to Labour’s Charles Chauvel to oust Mr Dunne. That offer has allowed Mr Dunne to defend his deal with National on the ground that he is only engaging in the same tactics as his opponents  though those with longer memories will recall this is not the first time National has given him an easy ride. 

Of course, it is up to voters to decide who they back, but they must consider that they might not get what they bargained for. National supporters who took the hint and voted for Mr Dunne in Ohariu in 2005 may have been unhappy to find him taking a ministerial warrant in a Labour government a few weeks later.

With MMP’s future on the line in a referendum in this year’s election, how the people feel about such machinations will be put to the test. It would be deeply ironic if a system that was supposed to end the cynicism of politicians met its own end because of it.

Attempts to manipulate MMP can only succeed if we, the People, play the politicians’ games.

At least these machinations are out in the open, for all to see, judge, and vote accordingly.  Under FPP, everything was hidden behind closed doors and no one had a clue what the main parties were getting up to.

It may be distasteful, but I prefer the open transparency of MMP rather than the closed-shop of FPP (or it’s bastardised cousin, Supplementary Member).

I also totally dismiss the editorial comment; “Nor are the Greens above the deal-making. Ohariu candidate Gareth Hughes offered to campaign for the party vote only and encourage his supporters to give their electorate vote to Labour’s Charles Chauvel to oust Mr Dunne…”

The Greens have always been a Party List vote only. Not since Ms Fitzsimmons lost Coromandel in 2002 have they gone for the Electorate vote, anywhere in NZ. So claims that the Greens are “dealing” is not accurate: they have always gone for the Party Vote only.

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Are the Americans are playing “chicken” with the entire world?

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If the US government defaults on it’s loan obligations, the entire world economy will feel the consequences. In a manner of speaking, like several US corporations, America is “too big to fail” – the consequences would affect every person on this planet.

I’ve always believed that – because  US policies impact on  all our lives – that all citizens of Earth should be allowed to vote in their elections.

Who knows – maybe we can help our American cuzzies to elect better representatives for their government?

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Categories: Global Tags:

What the Government Giveth, the Government Taketh…

So much for the tax cuts in April 2009 and October 2010.

With the rise in gst, ACC, Kiwisaver premiums, and soon Fuel Excise Duty, Road User Charges, and motor vehicle registration fees – the tax cuts will have been mostly negated for low and middle income earners.

And not forgetting, of course, that gst will also apply  to Road User Charges as well as vehicle registration fees…

Are we feeling any better of?
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Categories: The Body Politic

When Govt Departments Go Mad…

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There is probably some rational reason for a victim of domestic violence to be re-victimised by Immigration authorities…
… but strangely enough, I can’t think what that reason might be?!
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When Govt Departments Go Mad 2…

While Charmain Timmons faces deportation (after her residency application was denied because her then-husband was convicted for crimes against her), the Sunday Star Times  listed individual who had been given residency after fighting their deportation orders;

Samoan Troy Lologa, 27, who stabbed a man to death in a fight outside a South Auckland Burger King.

Fijian Ramendra Shankar, 62, who indecently assaulted an eight-year-old girl.

South African Kim Gillian Knoll, 22, convicted of attempted murder for stabbing her two-year-old son in the stomach.

Samoan Autalavou Taafi, 47, who raped a woman colleague whom he was giving a ride home.

Samoan Faaua Faataape, 46, who while driving drunk and stoned, crashed, hitting a child and dragging the child under the car.

Tongan Metui Ma’umalanga, 44, who punched and kicked his epileptic wife into unconsciousness then assaulted a police officer. Ma’umalanga was previously convicted of assaulting his wife with a stabbing or cutting implement, drink-driving and male assaults female.

Fijian Pranesh Pratap, 28, who assaulted his wife from an arranged marriage, hospitalising her for four days, after an argument because he would not stop seeing his girlfriend, who he had also assaulted.

Malaysian Tung Seng Chang, 35, convicted of being part of “a substantial operation involving the supply and manufacture of methamphetamine”.

Samoan Setafano Leota, 39, who was jailed for beating his 10-year-old daughter about the face and body with a piece of wood.

Australian Adeline Rogers, 28, who threatened to blow up a Child Youth and Family building and kill her sister-in-law.

Tongan Anoti Vaka, 43, convicted of four assaults against his children including causing grievous bodily harm to his daughter by cutting her head with a knife.

South African Grant Deetlefs, 28, who supported his drug habit through the aggravated robbery of a service station he worked at.

So let’s see if we have this right…

Convicted of  violence, drug-use, rape, robbery, murder – residency approved.

Victim of violence by ex-partner – residency denied.

Yes, folks, we have just crossed over into… The Twilight Zone.

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Common Sense prevails!

Merje DDM, which grew out of the collapse of buggy maker Tritec, focuses mainly on providing seating for theatres and auditoriums in New Zealand and Australia, but has now completed a new range of train seats developed from the ground up. 

The firm has its origins in Brugger, a big Hutt Valley supplier of seating components in the 1960s, when many of the world’s car makers had factories in the area. 

Brugger was later sold and renamed Kenson Industries. As protections on the vehicle sector were removed, Kenson began moving into other areas, including other types of seats, plus buggies for infants. 

When that company collapsed in 1998, some of the remnants were gathered together to become Tritec. Based in Gracefield, Tritec built up a large business focused on buggies, but it also fell into receivership in 2008. 

It was later bought out of receivership by another Wellington company, Phil & Ted’s, which was mainly interested in the Mountain Buggy brand, closing the production side. 

Miles Fowler, who used Tritec to make theatre seats which he then sold in New Zealand and Australia, faced losing a key customer, so negotiated to keep some of the manufacturing capability, taking over the seat-making business. 

Merje – a name made from the initials of Fowler and another director Jesse Paenga, along with their partners – was formed and the firm does most of its business providing seats used in theatres and lecture halls, with one of its largest customers Victoria University. 

“They tend to be quite large projects, but there is often gaps between them,” Fowler said. 

This gave the company scope to submit a proposal for the AK carriages from KiwiRail, a contract which was first mooted to Tritec. One of about 30 initial proposals, Merje was one of three firms short-listed for the train project, providing samples used elsewhere in the KiwiRail network. 

It designed a product that is largely locally made and which is now being delivered. 

Fowler says a key advantage of the company’s seats was the fire- proof graphite foam from Acma Industries, another long-established manufacturer, based in Upper Hutt. 

Palmerston North’s Fibreglass Developments provided the fibreglass backing of the seats, while other firms in the region provided components used in the seats. 

“A couple of things came from Auckland, but essentially they’re 100 per cent manufactured here. We try to stick as close as we can to the Wellington, Lower Hutt area.” 

Fowler said Merje, which has about a dozen staff, was expected to have turnover of about $3 million this year.

Which underscores the fact that local industries can build stock for our railways. We do not have to “outsource” major rail manufacturing contracts overseas to places like China or South Korea.

The $29 million cost of giving Chinese firms a contract for 300 new flat-top wagons was not just monetary – but it has cost fellow 70 New Zealanders their jobs in Dunedin and Wellington. Plus probably more, in terms of flow-on jobs generated from losing such a lucrative contract.

We will not grow our economy, nor generate jobs, if we continually opt for “the cheaper option”. There has to be a will and conscious decision to make job-creation our #1 economic priority. Any government that does not understand this is bereft of understanding, and derelict in their duty.

The people of Dunedin made their feelings known on this matter at a public rally on July 9

Labour MP David Parker addresses the rally.

A section of the crowd listens to the speakers.

Hillside boilermaker Stuart Johnstone and twins Skye and Kane get their message across in the Octagon on Saturday.

As Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said on the day, the decision to award a contract to overseas firms and cut back on local employment was “short-sighted, simplistic and destructive”. He further added,

“This issue here is about the sum total of all those things, and much much more. Communities need to work, in both senses of the word.” (Text of full speech.)

“This is frankly a form of economic vandalism. What are we mounting here? An economic development strategy for China?”, the Mayor has demanded.

Otago Chamber of Commerce president Peter McIntyre said,

 “… the threat was not just to Hillside jobs, but about 120 other job losses that would follow.  We cannot afford this to happen.

Indeed, we cannot.

Exporting jobs is not the answer.
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One way to spend a Sunday afternoon?

Kapiti Coast District Council has told an elderly Mazengarb Rd man it is his responsibility to maintain the 900-square-metre road berm outside his home.

This week the council confirmed to the Kapiti Observer that residents are expected to mow berms, with no limit on how big that obligation could be.

Lou Groeneweg has mowed his berm for 22 years but now, nearing his 80th birthday, he can’t manage to mow the 900sqm – almost a quarter of an acre – of grass.

When Mr Groeneweg and his wife Vicky approached the council with their problem, they were told it was their responsibility, and if they were unable to mow it themselves, the council could supply a list of contractors whom they could pay to do it for them. More.

Every so often, those in authority lose touch with reality.

And every so often, we have to remind those in authority about reality.

Making authority look utterly feeble-minded is certainly one way to accomplish that. Top marks for Lou and Vicky Groeneweg for achieving that feat, and showing their local Council that being made to look like prize prats in the national media is not something to be proud of..

Kapiti Coast Council… *sighs*

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Sean Plunkett’s parking tickets…

23 July 2011 1 comment

That is hardly surprising given that Edwards and Callingham have a rather last-century view of the media interview as a battle of egos rather than a forum for the extraction and dissemination of information important to the public. Their approach seems to be that it doesn’t matter if you answer the questions as long as you win the interview.

If you are happy for your rates to pay for our mayor to take that approach then the four grand has been well spent. I am not, but am even more disturbed that our mayor burned precious fossil fuel flying to another city for the training when any number of media trainers here could have done the job as well if not better.

Still, the non-rates dollar from parking fines might have paid for the trip if this correspondence between a friend and CitiOperations manager Stavros Michael is anything to go by:

“Dear Stavros, I would be grateful for your advice. I parked outside Parliament today to go to a good friend’s funeral at Old St Paul’s. The funeral was packed and overran as there was 12 speeches. On returning to the car I see two parking tickets. These are still joined together, are for apparently the same offence as per the writing on the ticket. Printed 2mins apart. How can this be? Kind regards

“Ticket One: time 13.49; Offence: Displaying a pay and display receipt ticket indicating time expired for more than 1 hour but less than 2 hrs

“Ticket Two: time 13.51; Parking in excess of the maximum meter time indicated on the meter for more than 1 hour but not more than 2 hours.”

A reasonable and respectful letter I thought. It wasn’t long before my friend got a reply from the champion of Wellington’s parking wardens, Mr Michael.

“Thanks for your inquiry. The parking regulations of the city specify parking time limits (ie P30 or P60 or P120) in order to engineer an appropriate turnover of vehicles per parking space which in turn aids the various economic and accessibility objectives of our Parking Policy. In addition the parking regulations specify the value of the car parking space through a set of fees per hour etc. Revenue from this area offsets the level of funding required to maintain a transport network and lessens the burden on ratepayers.
“So in effect your tickets were for:

“Breaching the time limits (ie denied other potential users the space) and,

“Breaching your obligation to pay for the space occupation.

“The level of fines is defined through national legislation and our parking enforcement policy works within those penalty grades.

“I am sure that the overstay on the car park was caused by the funeral process. However, a parking warden would have no way of knowing that and they must apply the remedies required by the regulations consistently and within the rules of the policy. I trust that this clarifies the matter for you.”

I don’t think my friend was overly impressed by this, which is why he sent the correspondence to me. Perhaps the council needs a new bylaw to specify how long a funeral should be or, heaven forbid, make consideration for mourners who travel by car by designating more parking near to churches and other venues where such events are held.

I wonder how Brian Edwards would spin that one.

What – another Dom Post piece having a go at Celia Wade-Brown?! Say it ain’t so…!

So basically, Mr Plunket, what you’re telling us is that for the FIRST TIME EVER, a politician has recieved media training?!

And it’s never, ever happened in the past?!

Because if that is true, then everything we’ve heard about MPs and other elected representatives receiving media training must, ipso facto, be false?!

That, in itself, would be a nationwide story!!

Or, the simpler explanation is that this is yet another Dominion Post beat-up on Ms Wade-Brown?

And an even simpler explanation? That Mr Plunkett is pissed off with his parking fines, and has decided to exploit column-space in the Dom Post to vent his spleen.

Bad form, Sean.

To be honest, Plunkett’s piece is not all that well written. It comes across as a bit of a whinge that he’s been ticketed by the Council. He’s made passing reference to Ms Wade-Brown receiving media training – *yawn* – which in itself is pretty pointless. Every other politician since Satan said “vote for me and you’ll ALL get an apple!” has used media training at one time or another. It’s not much different to managers receiving management training; retail staff receiving retail training; waiting and bar staff receiving hospitality training; etc, etc.

Plunkett’s column in this instance is fairly amateurish stuff.

The only reason that the Post published this, I suspect, is because it targets Celia Wade-Brown.

Just remember, Dominion Post,  that this is the age of the internet. This little campaign-thing that you folks have going will become obvious for what it is – a vendetta.

And Sean – just pay your bloody tickets, mate. It’s not the Mayor’s fault where you parked your car.
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Update:

Brian Edwards responds.

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End of Empire?

23 July 2011 1 comment

Not for a long time have we seen a better example of that old adage,

“Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

We might reflect that whilst this is an apallingly outrageous case of corruption – that the system is actually working to bring the rats out into the open.  Eventually people get tired of this sort of abuse of power; lose their fear; and announce, “enough is enough”.

And with the power of the internet, corporate bosses are learning what politicians have known for the last decade; it is no longer possible to keep secrets.

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The Americans Are Coming! The Americans Are Coming!

Why do I get nervous whenever our Dear Leader scoots off to America on one of his pilgrimages to the Mecca of the Holy Dollar?!

Now we hear he’s coming home – and bringing mates with him? I just hope that our American cuzzies know that it’s just a visit. Read my lips, fellas: We Do Not Have Any Oil!

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Categories: Global Tags: ,

We Are Not Amused.

The Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act says names can be declined for causing offence, being over-long or “without adequate justification” resembling an official title or rank. 

Other names that were queried but later accepted included Fanny, Jnr, Shady and Nevaeh (heaven backwards, which, curiously, was the 31st most popular girl’s name in the United States in 2007). 

Though Lucifer and Messiah were rejected on taste grounds, the Sunday Star-Times struggled to find anyone offended by the names. 

Judy de Leeuwe, an atheist at the Rationalists and Humanists Association, said she was not offended and she did not know why Births, Deaths and Marriages would reject them. 

Lyndsay Freer, spokeswoman for the Catholic Church in Auckland, said some Christians could object to the name Lucifer, but since millions of Spanish speakers called their children Jesus, she did not see how the name Messiah could be offensive. 

Lucifer comes from a Latin expression meaning “light-bearer” and was the name given to the dawn appearance of the planet Venus, which heralds daylight. There was originally no connection to the devil.

What I find sad is that there has been no reported comment on the effects of bizarre names on children in the above article. No comment whatsoever (unless the journo involved, Ian Steward, decided to omit any such references in his article.)

Call me “old fashioned (actually, don’t) but I tend to believe that lumbering children with weird names is not conducive to their mental and emotional wellbeing. We all know (or, should know by now) how nasty children can be to each other. Giving our little darlings “extra ammo” to use in harassing each other does not seem sensible or desirable.

I’m reminded of this similar instance,

Embarrassed’ girl, 9, gets court protection in New Zealand to change her name from ‘Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii
24th July 2008. What’s in a name? Quite a lot if you’re called Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii.

That’s the unfortunate appellation a girl was given by her parents  –  but now a New Zealand judge has ordered that the nine-year-old, who is at the centre of a custody battle, should become a ward of court until she can choose a name she really likes.
The girl’s lawyer said she told people her name was ‘K’ because she feared being mocked and teased.
Family Court Judge Rob Murfitt said: ‘The court is profoundly concerned about the very poor judgment which this child’s parents have shown in choosing this name. It makes a fool of the child and sets her up with a social disability and handicap, unnecessarily.’ More.

I can’t get into the minds of parents who would do this to their children. It is as if they have taken all leave of their sense, and decided to use their children to “make a statement” or “thumb their noses”.

Children. They are not our chattels. They are not to be used in regards to any “issues” we might have with society.

With children, such parents should consider their obligations, rather than any perceived “property rights”.

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A Tale of Two Polls

It’s intriguing that a recent Roy Morgan poll has achieved none of the headline-status that another recent Colmar-Brunton Poll got.

In the more recent Morgan Poll, the results appeared more positive for Labour, and troublesome for National;

  • National 55% (-5%)
  • Labour 33.5% (+3%)

In the Colmar Brunton Poll, the results were shocking for Labour;

  • National 53% (+1%)
  • Labour 27% (-7%)

Is this a case of sloppy journalism? Was the Colmar Brunton Poll more “news worthy” because it contained a greater “shock” factor?

Or is this a case of media companies giving subtle encouragement/support for the incumbent, and attempting to paint Labour as lacking public support?

Cock-up or Conspiracy? The eternal question…

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A hole they all dug?

22 July 2011 1 comment

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‘Obvious’ lack of safety measures

Friday Jul 22, 2011. While Pike River Coal chief executive Peter Whittall doesn’t think his company had been in tarnished by the Royal Commission of Inquiry, the spokesman for the victims’ families said it was obvious there was a lack of safety measures for even small emergencies in the mine.

Bernie Monk said the first phase of the inquiry – which has wrapped up today after two weeks – had got a lot more information out into the public arena than the families had expected. “I think we are going to get to the truth. There’s no two ways about that,” he said outside court.

Tears had often been shed by family members attending the inquiry. “We’ve been dragged through this for going on nine months now and it opens up wounds every time we come to do something like this. “But we will be tough, we are supporting each other and we’ll get there.”

Responding to inquiry evidence about possible escape routes from the mine, Mr Monk said it was obvious there was a lack of safety measures for even small emergencies in the mine.

Continued.
To be fair, it’s difficult to comment as the Commission is yet to hear all witnesses and consider all evidence. Going purely by an incomplete perception alone, I offer these observations;

  • The changes to legislation in the early 1990s by a reform-obsessed National Government  seems to have created the proverbial ticking time bomb. As with the leaky/rotting homes syndrome, the de-regulation of mining and safety has resulted in inevitable disaster.
  • The Pike River Mine company seems to have operated using short cuts, taking advantage of the de-regulation of the 1990s. And like other hostile environments such as the sea and outer space, mining is an unforgiving activity where  eventually good luck will run out.
  • Whilst National may have facilitated the environment where all the elements came together for an eventual catastrophe – it shouldn’t be forgotten that Labour had nine years to address this problem and re-instate mines inspectors. They obviously did not.
  • And lastly, where was the miners’ union? Why did the remaining safety inspector(s) not blow the whistle? (I’m not even going to ask about the media, which seems to have fallen asleep-at-the-wheel, only to awaken when there are suitable crime stories to report, or stranded penguins that go off the Cuteness Scale…)  And Bernie Monk stated that the mine was “obviously unsafe”.

Yet, no one spoke up.

I have this nagging feeling that society (via a Facebook village mob, again?) and a headline-hungry media will look toward a scapegoat.  The truth, though, is that complicity may spread far and wide on this matter.

 

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Here – buy some more crap. It’s ‘specially made for YOU!

There seems to be a growing number of products being advertised – with men being the targetted demographic group. Yogurt for men… bread for men…face cream for men…



And just to convince us fellas that these really, really are manly-man products, one of the companies even provides this handy “All-Men-Should-Know” instruction-pictogramme that reassures us what makes The ‘Real Man’ (buying their product helps)…

Damn, it appears that marketing gurus and advertisers have discovered us blokes. I guess the female demographic group have been so utterly over-saturated/flooded with everything from under-arm-deodorising-skin-toning-blemish-removing-cellulite-smoothing cream and shavers to “Sex In The City” sanitary-pads to pink home-tool kits (that last one is real!) – and now they’re casting their net further and wider afield than ever.

Good luck with that, I say.

‘Cos to sell us all manner of crap, you have to create a worry or need in mens’ mind that we need a product to look/smell/socialise/sound/work/love/etc better. You have to undermine our confidence that, without the latest deodorant, we’ll pong and people will look funny at us. Diet and gossip magazines For Men will be next. (I so need to know that Film Star X is now a mummy of nontuplets and Film Star Y has lost 500kg to fit into a new bikini…)

Yeah, good luck with that. Really. Because most of us couldn’t care less.

Keep an eye out for these new, Man-oriented products. They’re starting to become more and more ubiquitous. See how many you can spot.

Anyways, this is a shorter-than-usual piece. I have to go wax my legs before we go out to dinner…

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Categories: Media Tags: , ,

From the “Silly Season” File…


Name suppression bid for alleged scammer who got scammed

A prominent Bay of Plenty man who allegedly fraudulently made $830,000, and then lost it to a “Nigerian 419 scam” went to the Court of Appeal today to try to keep his name suppressed.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has laid four charges of obtaining by deception against the man, whose lawyer asked the Court of Appeal in Auckland to overturn a High Court ruling dismissing the accused’s bid to keep his name secret.  The man allegedly made $830,000 by fraudulent means, which he went on to invest in an African-based scheme.

The Rotorua Daily Post reported he expected to make US$5 million (NZD$5.9 million) from the investment.
The SFO’s general manager of fraud and corruption Nick Patterson said this turned out to be a con, with the hallmarks of a “Nigerian 419 scam”.

“This isn’t necessarily one of those but it appears to be something similar,” he said.

The scams, many of which operate out of Nigeria, usually involve a letter or email which is sent to many – sometimes millions – of recipients making an offer that would purportedly result in a large payout for the victim.

Although the vast majority of recipients do not respond, a small percentage do – enough to make the fraud worthwhile.

Sums of money which are substantial, but less than the promised profit, are said to be required in advance for things like bribes and fees.

This is then stolen from the victim.

The accused man’s lawyer Jeremy Bioletti today said that even if his client was convicted of fraud he could still be said to be a victim of a transnational crime.

Mr Bioletti submitted that this meant he fell into a separate category from people charged with only a domestic crime.

“Because he would fall outside the normal parameters of domestic criminal defendants it would stand to reason that his position needs to be assessed in accordance with the unique factors that apply to it.

“In exceptional circumstances arguments in favour of name suppression based on international obligations may prevail over the principle of open justice.”

The panel of three judges – Justices Lyn Stevens, Judith Potter and Ronald Young – reserved their decision. The man’s trial is set down for October.

A scammer got scammed. You’re probably thinking the same thing I am about this bloke.

1. He deserved it.

2. Is it my imagination, or is Karma working a lot faster than it used to, once upon a time?

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Categories: On A Lighter Note Tags: ,

An early Christmas prezzie from a “fiscally responsible” government…

“Shoppers, motorists and mortgage payers have known it for months, and now it’s been confirmed – prices are rising at their fastest rate for 21 years.

Petrol went up by 20 per cent, food by 7 per cent and electricity by 7.8 per cent as the consumer price index rose 5.3 per cent in the year to June 30, the biggest rise since 1990. 

The figure includes last year’s rise in GST but, even without it, inflation would still have been 3.3 per cent, above the Reserve Bank’s 1 per cent to 3 per cent target.

Now economists believe there is a 70 per cent chance of a rise in mortgage rates before December to try to curb inflation

Wages, meanwhile, are lagging behind and unions warn that workers will have no choice but to resort to industrial action simply to maintain their living standards.

Latest available figures from Statistics New Zealand show salary and wage rates rose only 1.9 per cent to the end of March…”

And readers seems to agree,

I wonder who the two folk were who voted for “Prices have dropped”? I’d like to shop where they shop.   (We probably all would.)

New Zealand voters are starting to work out that the tax shuffle last year simply delivered a big tax break to the wealthiest while the poor and middle classes are paying higher food and petrol costs, not to mention higher GST rates.” – Bernard Hickey, Interest.Co.Nz

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Categories: Dollars & Sense Tags:

Moon Landing Hoax Conspiracy

18 July 2011 1 comment


Did we, or did we not land on the Moon?

The Moon Landing Hoax  is probably one of the most enduring of Conspiracy Theories, along with the JFK assassination; the crashed flying saucer at Roswell; and the 9/11 “Inside Job”.

Moon Landing Hoax CTers will offer all manner of “evidence” that the Apollo programme was a fake and that the astronauts were actually photographed on a secret studio film-lot, where the lunar surface was re-created down to the nth degree.

CTers point out to many “flaws” in the photos, stating that the flag appears to “flutter” in the airlessness of the lunar environment; that stars are not visible; etc.

It’s all rubbish of course.

Common sense will tell you that;

Too many people would have been involved in such a complex project. Hundreds, if not thousands, would  needed to have been recruited for such a massive undertaking. And not one person involved in this supposed conspiracy finally succumbed to temptation to appear on Oprah or Larry King?! Folks, please! This is America we’re talking about!!

!  It’s been estimated that the immense cost of such a conspiracy, including requiring to launch an entire, crewless, Saturn-Apollo rocket, would have made an actual trip to the Moon a cheaper option.

!  Our American and Soviet cuzzies were involved in a little difference-of-opinion which some folk refer to as The Cold War.  It was nothing less than a struggle for world domination. Every aspect of Soviet and American life was a bitter contest for supremacy of ideas, ideology, and economic system. Even the Olympics were a battleground between opposing Soviet and American athletes.

In this climate of subdued agression – and in the cases of Korea, Eastern Europe, Vietnam, and Afghanistan, overt warfare – the Space Race became another battleground for the competing Superpowers.

When Americans landed on the Moon in July 1969, it was a signal to the world that American technology and inventiveness had triumphed over the closeted, regimented society of the USSR and it’s allies.

One up for the Yanks, we might say.

But imagine if the landings had been a hoax. Imagine if, eventually, the Soviets had discovered the deception? And imagine if they had gathered evidence to prove to the world that the United States had lied on such a vast scale?

The propaganda coup to the Soviet Union would have destroyed America’s credibility – and  perhaps lost them the Cold War. History would have altered incalculably and the world today would be a much different place.

No, folks, there was no Moon Landing Hoax conspiracy. The Soviets would never have permitted it.

In July, 1969, two human beings walked on an alien world. And whether we are American or Russian,  it’s something to be damned proud of…

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Air New Zealand – Flying High!!

State-Owned Enterprise (SOE), Air New Zealand seems to be doing better than it’s private owned corporate-cuzzies. Not bad for a company that is 76.5% owned by the people of New Zealand, through the State. (It’s not the sort of thing that Free Marketeers care to think of too much – gives them headaches.)

In fact, of the Top Ten rankings, the top two are SOEs; one, Shell NZ,  is now owned 50% by  New Zealand Superannuation, and another, ZESPRI, is a form of growers’ co-op. Air New Zealand was re-nationalised in October, 2001, by the then-Labour Government.

Had the government not stepped in with it’s rescue package, Air New Zealand would have collapsed, throwing transport and freight services into chaos. Since then, Air New Zealand had been both profitable for the State and popular with travellers.

Not bad for collectively-owned corporations, eh? Who sez that We, The People can’t own successful enterprises?

Rankings:

1     Air New Zealand

2     New Zealand Post

3     Fisher & Paykel

4     ASB

5     HJ Heinz

6     The Warehouse

7     Goodman Fielder

8     Foodstuffs

9     Shell NZ

10   ZESPRI

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Categories: Dollars & Sense Tags:

ACT intending a “serious assault”?

17 July 2011 4 comments

Don Brash seems to have changed his mind on Labour’s proposed Capital Gains Tax,

“A Capital Gains Tax means you are clobbered twice: once when you create or earn wealth, the second time when you dispose of it. The fact that we already have it in some form is no excuse for extending it.” Source & More.

Brash further states,

“ACT proposes in the short term to reduce it to Michael Cullen’s level. Long term, we advocate a serious assault on both spending and taxes, with the former capped and the latter low and flat.”

“Serious assault” is about right. What Brash is intending is the total dismantling of the State; selling every state asset available; privatising education and healthcare; huge tax cuts that will benefit corporations and the wealthy; and god knows what else. It would mean the Hong Kongisation of New Zealand – and believe me, folks, you wouldn’t want to live in Hong Kong.

So, there we have it.

Which is the real Don Brash? And do we really care?

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Bizarre Bullshit of The Year?

17 July 2011 1 comment

LIGHT FIXATION: Asperger sufferer Cornelius Arie Smith-Voorkamp was arrested for looting after the February 22 quake when he was caught trying to remove two light fittings from an empty Lincoln Rd property.

The ongoing police prosecution of Christchurch man, Cornelius  Arie Smith-Voorkamp, appears to be bloody-mindedness, verging on persecution. There seems no good reason to prosecute this man, as he appears to have considerable mental-health problems such as Aspergers and uncontrollable compulsions.

And now we hear that the Police are investigating the ‘Sunday’ TV programme?!


What is this – North Korean tactics imported into New Zealand?

What the hell is going on here?

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***update***

Full story

In case folks want to add their voice on this issue, here are email addresses for the relevant Ministers;

Simon Power, Minister of Justice

simon.power@parliament.govt.nz

Judith Collins, Minister for Police

judith.collins@parliament.govt.nz

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Rider dies in helmet protest fall.

“A motorcyclist participating in a protest ride against helmet laws went over his handlebars, hit his head on the pavement and was killed, police said Sunday. The motorcyclist, 55-year-old Philip A Contos, likely would have survived the accident if he’d been wearing a helmet, state troopers said. 

The accident happened Saturday afternoon (Sunday, NZ time) in Onondaga, a town in central New York near Syracuse. 

Contos was riding a 1983 Harley-Davidson on a helmet protest ride organised by the Onondaga chapter of American Bikers Aimed Towards Education, or ABATE, troopers told The Post-Standard of Syracuse. The organisation states that it encourages the voluntary use of helmets but opposes mandatory helmet laws. Contos, of Parish, hit his brakes, and his motorcycle fishtailed and went out of control, flipping him over the handlebars, police said. He was pronounced dead at a hospital. 

New York is one of 20 states that require all motorcycle riders to wear helmets. Lobbying by motorcyclist groups has led some states to repeal helmet laws. 

A helmet that meets federal standards reduces the wearer’s chances of being killed in an accident by more than 40 per cent, said safety consultant Jim Hedlund, of the Governors Highway Safety Association.”  Source

I guess the moral of this story is fairly self-evident; do not mess with Karma, the Universe, Providence, or The Fates. They will win every time.
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TV3′s “The Nation”…

TV3′s “The Nation” is that network’s counter to TV1′s “Q+A”. It is hosted by Duncan Garner and former Radio New Zealand “Morning Report” presenter, Sean Plunket.

One aspect of “The Nation” that is glaring is that it seems to comprise of predominantly white males. Maori and women are rarely – if at all – interviewed or invited as guest commentators.

Case in point, “The Nation” for the weekend 16/17 July featured;

Dunan Garner (presenter)
Colin James (commentator)
David Parker (guest interviewee)
Bill English (guest interviewee)
Gareth Morgan (commentator)
Joanna Doolan (commentator)
Grant Dalton (guest interviewee)
John Pagani (commentator)
Cameron Slater (commentator)

All were pakeha.

Only one, out of nine, was female.

Does TV3 realise that 51% of the population is female? And is TV3 aware that New Zealand actually has an indiginous people called Maori? Or that other cultures also reside in this marvelous little country of ours?

As it stands presently, “The Nation” seems more like a relic from the 1960s, when society was viewed as a homogenous, primarily-pakeha, construct.

I look forward to TV3 lifting it’s ‘game’ on this matter.

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Categories: Media Tags: ,

From the sublime to the ridiculous

17 July 2011 2 comments

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Our Chinese cuzzies seem somewhat peeved that President Obama has met with the Dalai Lama, at the White House. They accuse “the United States of “grossly” interfering in its internal affairs and damaging relations“.

Awww…

Too bad.

Never mind.

I’m sure the Americans are not interfering any more than the Chinese government has done in New Zealand’s internal affairs, on numerous occassions, when the Dalai Lama visited us, or, in regard to Falun Gong’s activities in our country.

In 1999, a visiting Chinese delegation even demanded that our government place buses and jumbo-bins along a road, to prevent them being in line-of-sight with protestors who were demonstrating on behalf of Tibet. And who can forget when Chinese security guards manhandled a NZ member of Parliament, who held aloft the Tibetan flag, tearing it out of his hands?

To our Chinese friends, here’s a hint between mates: treat others as you wish to be treated. Don’t try to bully other countries to tow your party-line – ‘cos it will go down with us like a bucket of cold sick.

That’s all.

You can go back to whatever you were doing; suppressing Tibet; whatever.

 

Obama meets with John Key, no one cares

John Key is “light relief” to President Obama? Well, isn’t that just hunky-dory? It’s nice to know that our Dear Leader has his uses.

Memo to John Key: Do not give away Pharmac during  your visit to the USA. That TPP Free Trade deal is not worth sacrificing Pharmac to the pharmaceutical corporations.

Do NOT give away Pharmac. Or any part of it.

If you do – don’t bother coming home.

 

Categories: Global Tags: , , ,

From our “What The F**k Was She Thinking?!” Dept…

17 July 2011 1 comment

…Michele Bachmann signs pledge that says homosexuality is a choice – and that slavery was
better for Black Americans than living in the present.

(I sh*t you not.)

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Ms Bachman hit news headlines when she signed a “pledge” from some right-wing, christian fundamentalist organisation called “The Family Leader”. The pledge said, in part,

“To uphold the institution of marriage, the pledge states the following: 

1. All forms of pornography should be banned.
2. Homosexuality is a choice, a health risk, and can be compared to polygamy or adultery.
3. Sex is better after marriage.
4. Sharia law should be rejected.
5. Better protection for women against prostitution and trafficking.
The pledge also states:

Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.”

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?!?!

So, Ms Bachman agrees with the proposition that life for Black slaves in the Southern States, was better than life for Black Americans now?!  The rapes, the beatings, the killings, the forced labour, malnutrition, and splitting up families as individuals to be sold as slave-chattels  – Ms Bachman thinks that that was ok?

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Why is it, I ask myself, that rightwing politicians inevitably make the most bizarre statements that leave us totally gobsmacked? Statements that, if we had uttered them as kids, our mums would tell us of for saying stupid things and send us to our rooms for a bit of “time out”?

My difficulty here is not that Ms Bachman has aligned herself with a fundamentalist group of religious fanatics that would make the Taliban quite happy – but that she is actually standing as a candidate, representing the US Republican Party, for the Presidential Elections next year?! Really? *blinks*

I hope she wins the nomination. No, I really do.  Our American cuzzies – who I love dearly – would have a very clear, unambiguous choice to make in 2012. Of course, if Ms Bachman were to win I guess all those nutty doomsday scenarios for 2012 would come a step closer.

Another difficulty I had with this story; does it fit in my “International”category? Or more appropriately, under “Conspiracies and Other Very Weird Stuff”. ‘Cos really, folks, this is about as weird as it gets…

Candidate Bachman: promising a slave in every household if elected.

As for Ms Bachman agreeing to the proposition that “homosexuality is a choice“… I still can’t recall the moment in my life when I considered all the possible options for sexuality; read up on all the benefits/downsides; and then made a choice for a heterosexual orientation. I just can’t.

Maybe it was lost in my youth, when I was deciding whether to buy the latest Donald Duck & Uncle Scrooge orCasper the Friendly Ghost comicbook.

 

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