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Archive for 19 June 2012

A bit of Bible-Bashing? Literally?

19 June 2012 3 comments

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You’ve got to be kidding us?!?!

Sky City management are taking discipinary action against a staff member because she had a small Bible in her uniform pocket??!!?  Have Sky City management taken leave of their senses?!

I have three things to say about this;

  1. Why have pockets in uniforms if they don’t want staff carrying things in them?
  2. As if we needed evidence, this proves that there is a place for Unions in our society.  Some employers need a reality check.
  3. Just because rules can be made doesn’t necessarily make them valid. Sometimes rules are unjust; discriminatory; or simply not well thought through.

SkyCity general manager group services, Grainne Troute, said,

Different roles have different uniform standards but as a general principle staff in customer service roles are in breach of SkyCity’s uniform standards if they carry items such as mobile phones, books and other items which might interfere with their full engagement with their customers.”

Ok, a mobile phone we can understand. They can be intrusive.

But a small book?! How is a small book in someone’s pocket going to “interfere with their full engagement with their customers“? Sky City management have yet to explain that somewhat peculiar claim.

This blogger is reminded of rules that used to be strictly enforced in the southern states of the USA – until people decided to deliberately ignore them,

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Disclaimer

This blogger has not one single religious belief or bone in his body. I do not believe in gods, spirits, ghosts, spooks, angels, demons, magic, Easter Bunny, Father Christmas, or the Tooth Fairy. (I am reasonably open-minded about time-travelling police boxes, though.)

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If this doesn’t make your stomach turn…

19 June 2012 8 comments

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… you are made of sterner stuff than I.

This, evidently is a priority;

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This, evidently, is not a priority;

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Bill English said, about the loan to the IMF,

As a small, open economy, we benefit significantly from a stable and prosperous global economy. “

This blogger wonders if Mr English would also agree with this,

As a small, open economy, we benefit significantly from healthy, well-fed, well-clothed, well-educated children, irrespective of what kind of parents or families they might come from?

Once upon a time, National made a big deal out of supporting children from low-income families,

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In 2007, John Key voiced his concern at child poverty,

I am told Wesley Primary, like so many schools in New Zealand, has too many kids turning up hungry.

“We’re putting Tasti and Wesley Primary together. This is a fantastic first step. In addition to this, Tasti has indicated they may wish to expand their generous donation of food to other schools in need, and we’ll be looking to facilitate that.

“We all instinctively know that hungry kids aren’t happy and healthy kids.”

“I want this to be the first of many schools and businesses that we put together. I’m interested in what works and I am humbled by the support this idea has received already. We are going to put together the package while in Opposition. We are not waiting to be in Government, because all our kids deserve better.”

Unfortunately, there was a hitch,

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It appears that Key’s food-in-schools plan was more of a publicity-stunt than a carefully-researched policy. As Phil  Goff (whose electorate it was), said.

“”If he had visited the area first he might have been better aware of the situation.

“To suggest this school needed a food programme before consulting them in the first instance really only suggests this is part of a political stunt.”

And Key’s response was perhaps the first  indication that he was not above ‘bending the truth’ to extricate himself from a tricky situation,

Mr Key said Ms Parkin’s attitude had changed since he spoke to her on Friday.

“I think what you can assume is that there’s been influence from the ministry, from the Labour Party,” he said. “

Yeah, right, Dear Leader. Everyone tells fibs except you?

Needless to say, once National took office a year later, the issue of hungry children in our schools disappeared from John Key’s consciousness. In fact, his attitude seemed to change 180 degrees,

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Unfortunately, as countless media stories; government reports; international reports; NGO reports, etc, state – child poverty is still growing in New Zealand.

Calls for governmental  funding for school meals have fallen on deaf ears.

See:  Principal wants taxpayers to fund breakfast scheme

But National has the resources to offer $1.26 billion to the International Monetary Fund for bail-outs. And make no mistake – such bail-outs don’t go to ordinary Greek or Spanish citizens. They go to propping up failing banks. Or loans to governments.

Imagine – just for a moment – what we could achieve with $1.26 billion. Imagine, every child fed and well-clothed and with good healthcare. Imagine every child from a low-income family given the best education money could buy.

Imagine eliminating an entire under-class in one generation.

As John Lennon sang, “Imagine... ”

Can you imagine it?

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Additional

NZ rich-poor gap widens faster than rest of world

Government policy impacting child poverty levels

Low income households less likely to move up scale – study

Hunger pains

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TVNZ7 – value for money!

19 June 2012 9 comments

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At the end of this month, TVNZ7 will be switched off.

That will mean the end of New Zealand’s only currently, non-commercial, public  broadcasting TV.

It will mean the end of an hour-long, no-ads, news service at 8pm; science programmes; ‘Backbenches‘; documentaries; current affairs programmes such as ‘The Court Report‘; and many other excellent programmes.

And not a reality/make-over show; cooking-porn programme; grim US crime show; inane US sitcom; or soft-porn show such as ‘The GC‘  anywhere to be seen.

TVNZ7 cost taxpayers from between $15 to $17 million per year. Putting that into context, NZ had commercial-free, public TV broadcasting for $4.25 per every man, woman, and child a year.  Or, 8 cents a week per New Zealander.

Only the most ardent National/ACT-voting free-marketeer could grumble at that.

Adding insult to injury, Broadcasting Minister Craig Foss said,

The Government values Kiwi content and invests $230m each year on public broadcasting and supporting New Zealand content on our screens.”

See:  TVNZ7 backers enlist Chen

If that’s true (and why should we disbelieve a National Minister?), TVNZ7’s budget is barely 7% of the $230 million that Craig Foss referred to.

Seven percent.

It is simply inconceivable that National can continue to claim that there is insufficient funding for TVNZ7. The money – $230 million – exists.

Only the will to  maintain funding for TVNZ7 is lacking.

Perhaps National’s  polling suggests that the majority of TVNZ7 viewers are critical thinkers who do not swallow the mindless, infantile pap of commercialised television? And these viewers are also likely to dare question National’s policies?

In which case this blogger can guess at the bloody-mindedness of  the National Party at steadfastly refusing to fund TVNZ7. One can only assume that Craig Foss and his National mates  are deliberately digging their toes in,  and their willingness to close down public television is also a form of vindictiveness.

Governments don’t like being questioned.

Governments prefer that after we do our three-yearly duty on Election Day. After that;  sit down; shut up; and watch tits’n’arse on “The GC” or umptyleven ways to cook a turnip on several dozen cooking programmes. Or watch yet another female victim’s corpse being dispassionately poked and prodded on another American cop-vs-killer crime show…

But public television that encourages the public to… think?

Oh no, we can’t have that, now, can we?

Especially if an ad-free broadcaster takes viewers away from a State-owned,  commercial TV broadcaster. This means less profit for the commercial broadcaster and less dividends paid to the government’s Consolidated Fund.

Commercial self interest mixed with political disdain for a TV network that informs the viewer is an unholy brew. Little wonder that National has every reason to oversee TVNZ7’s demise.

One can only hope that this will be remembered on Election Day in 2014 – if not earlier.

Let’t not forget one very simple fact; this is not about funding.  Minister Foss has already admitted that the money is there to save TVNZ7.

This is purely and simply about political will.  And the political will is to pull the plug on public broadcasting.

They just don’t have the balls to admit it.

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Email Address

Broadcasting Minister Craig Foss, <craig.foss@parliament.govt.nz>

Related Blogposts

Inconvenient truths? No go, Fair Go!!

A public broadcaster for New Zealand?

The Worst Newspaper Editorial Since – – – Whenever?!

21 May – Public meeting: TVNZ7 gets the big tick!

TVNZ7 – Picking at the body before it’s cold

Additional Reading

Scoop: Tom Frewen – NZ on Air Spooked by Political Interference

Copyright (c)  Notice

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  1. Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
  2. Where purpose of  use is  commercial, a donation to Russell School Breakfast Club is requested.
  3. For non-commercial use, images may be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals.
  4. Acknowledgement of source is requested.

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Categories: Media, The Body Politic

Excuses, Excuses….Key is full of them!

19 June 2012 3 comments

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John Key has finally admitted what the rest of us already suspected;  National will not be returning to surplus in 2014-15.

See:  Key not sure of surplus goals

The economy is simply not generating enough taxable activity; incomes are low; and not enough jobs are being created.

It’s as simple as that.

In part, this is due to ongoing overseas economic problems in Europe, and the USA’s mind-numbing US$14 trillion dollar debt.

But most of our poor performance can be sheeted home to National’s own policies; cutting expenditure; not implementing job creation programmes; and unaffordable tax cuts in 2009 and 2010. Taken together, these are a toxic mix of free market “medicine” that is making the “patient” very sick, before we see any signs of improvement.

Last night (18 June), with one simple statement, Key admitted the blindingly obvious,

I’m now a little less confident of reaching a surplus.”

Well, der!!

It’s not like National’s past performance has given us reason for confidence in their economic planning and predictions!

See: Jobs, jobs, everywhere – but not a one for me? (Part Rua)

But perhaps the most derisable aspect of Key’s admission was when he added this comment,

In terms of what that means for New Zealand it doesn’t really change anything. The European debt crisis remains the biggest threat to the New Zealand economy by some margin. I’m a little less confident because of Europe in general but let’s see how things play out over the next three to six months

See:  PM: Euro crisis may delay surplus target date

Is John Key claiming that the crisis in Europe and the collapse of the Greek economy wasn’t evident only three and a half weeks ago, when Bill English released the 2012 Budget? And when all manner of predictions were made?

See:  Budget 2012: The main points

The Greek melt-down has been happening since 2008, when the global financial crisis began the collapse of that house of cards. It did not start yesterday.

So why is Key only now referring to Greece? And why is he using Greece as an excuse for National’s 2014/15 objective, to return to surplus, falling apart?

Because that objective was never tenable in the first place.

Like John Key’s constant  big job promises (170,000 new jobs; Sky City’s convention centre 1,800 new jobs, etc),  Budget 2012 was predicated on high economic growth (3%) which simply was never credible. It was a propaganda exercise.

National is simply using the Greek Crisis as an excuse for National’s own poor fiscal management.

Just as National has used the global financial crisis to excuse  New Zealand’s ongoing high unemployment; then welfare beneficiaries for their predicament;  and before that, blamed the previous Labour government for our stagnant economy.

See:  John Key, Statement to Parliament 2011,  8 February, 2011

See: Bill English, Parliamentary Questions And Answers – 30 July 2009

Now it’s the Greek’s turn to be National’s latest excuse for their economic mis-management.

Conservatives and right wingers made a big deal out of those at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder taking responsibility for their actions and choices.

See:  Food parcel families made poor choices, says Key

Unfortunately, those same conservatives and right wingers rarely seem to take responsibility for their own actions and choices.

How many more years will need to pass before Key and National run out of excuses; others to blame; and begin to take responsibility?

This blogger doubts that voters will wait that long.

For National, the clock is ticking.

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