31 December, 2007

Cannonball - revenge of the cat

Freaking family! They denied me my annual pleasure of batting around the discarded Xmas paper by putting it in a box straight away. Then they have the nerve to bugger off and leave me on my own for the rest of the day! Well a third share in a tin of salmon is not going to make up for that!

I have a cunning plan.

One of the side effects of living in a house full of kids is the number of DVDs I get to watch. Now many of them are pure crap or too saccharin for words but occasionally one has a really useful gem.

I watched a particularly bad one about a fake looking fat orange cat who thinks he is a smart arse (he isn't) with a complete limp noodle of a human. It was called Garfield. I remember it because one of the early scenes gave me a really useful tactic to get attention when I want it.

It is a little maneuver called a Cannonball.

Garfield does this by climbing up a book case and then leaping onto his sleeping human.

I have discovered that that same effect can be obtained by leaping up to the window sill and CANNONBALL

onto the legs of a sleeping human.

Very effective a 2:30am.

Leaping onto the chest or stomach of the same human is even more effective and results in an airborne human effect that is a little hard to control since it can backfire into an uncontrolled airborne cat meeting wall effect.

Hence plan B.

This involves one of the smaller humans.

I jump up onto the drawers and from there to the top of the bookcase and into the blanket cupboard. This is very close to the ceiling. Then...


onto the head of child sleeping in the top bunk.

Very effective! and I don't even have to wait until night to pull it off. One of these days I manage to scare her right off the bunk!

I have even tried this tactic on some other cats. The neighbours fluffy cutey pie is terrified of me after I CANNONBALLed her from the fence a few times.

So last night I tried it on Minnie, the most dog like of my feline house mates. She was being all superior about catching yet another snack (I've got news for you Min. It was a dead, over barbecued, sausage, i.e. not much of a catch).

I decided to CANNONBALL her from part way up the plum tree, my favourite electioneering perch.

That Minnie must be on to me. She walked around the other side of the tree instead.

She'll keep!

19 December, 2007

Desperately seeking attention!

I have just about had it with the month of December!

So far I have locked myself in the garage 4 times and in the basement 5 times. My cries go unanswered for hours nor will anyone listen to me when I am freed.

I have a huge amount to say on the subject of the electoral financing bill but all I get is "not now Sally" as the secretary and every other two legger in the house scurries away to hide more bags of stuff in wrapping paper the garage and basement. Even the visitors won't type for me claimed they don't know how to turn on the computer! Phfff! They don't have any such problems with txting on their cell phones.

It's enough to make me moult.

I wonder if that is why unpopular legislation is pushed through at this time of year.

Roll on January.

14 December, 2007


Have you noticed any reduction in the amount of spam since the new law banning unsolicited emails was passed?

I haven't.

What I have noticed is the increase in the amount getting through the spam filter since xtra went yahoo.

I just checked the household email:
Spam filter - 66
Inbox - 23, 10 of which were obviously more spam.

You'll have to check my maths but I think that means that 11% of all email received was incorrectly (as in not) filtered or that 43% of the inbox was spam. Take your pick.

Want to guess what was left after the seasonal oversupply of etailing offers (for want of a better term) was removed?

Less than a paw full.

The moral is be careful what you put in the subject line of any email you want the recipient to read cos' if it doesn't look legit or relevant it ain't getting opened let alone read.

29 November, 2007

Just who owns your debt

...and where is your credit invested? you might want to check.

In other words another finance company just went belly up. That is ninth this year (the 13th since April 2006) in just one small country and we still have a month to go.

This doesn't make pretty reading.

28 November, 2007

The silent treatment

I've been quiet for about 3 weeks.
My secretary has been ignoring me and muttering something about physiotherapist's orders and something called AGM season and not spending her limited computer time on my work. I have been refusing to speak to her as a result.

I can't stand it anymore, I must speak out.

Now of course I can't remember what I was going to say.

Was is about that poorly thought out electoral spending law?
I haven't managed to get may head around how they are going to enforce that and if anyone else has they are keeping quite about it. My current opinion is it is going to fly as well as the Exclusive Brethren without an aircraft. Which probably explains why National doesn't like it.

Then there is how both National and Labour are taking some of the credit for the Australian Labour Party sending John Howard and co packing big time in the Ozzie elections last Saturday.
Apparently that election was won on policies long familiar to both National and Labour voters this side of the Tasman.

mmm ... both labour red and national blue huh? Will that make our next government purple?

Hang on don't I always write in purple?

1+1=... my secretary threatening to deflate my swelled head.


08 November, 2007

Don't forget to make time to....

if only at the idiots who take live far too seriously.

05 November, 2007

Fireworks - my big bang theory

Are modern fireworks a whole lot noisier than they used to be or are we just getting old?

A lot just seem to be too big for back yards.
What is the point of buying them and letting them off if your neighbours and those 2 streets away get a better view?

Or is just my neighbours taking things to an extreme?

On Saturday night he with the really old bull dog put a match too what seemed to be several hundred dollars worth in his back yard, mostly simultaneously. We were close to 100 metres away and got a really good view - and earful.

Now I am no scaredy cat. I normally sit out with the family and watch a $20 bag being let off. I am a big fan of those pretty quieter ones. Low flying Hercules and Orions? not a problem! Artillery and mortar fire from the range directly across the harbour don't even make me blink.

This neighbour's efforts had even me inside and under the table while yellow bellied Min hid under an armchair. Half deaf old Smudge decided retreat was in order with plenty of hissing and she is no scaredy cat either.
The family brought my rabbit friends inside and they all cowered under hay in their open carriers instead of following me around like they normally do when inside.

After that the kids here haven't even asked if we will be letting some off, they have lost all interest.

Now for my big bang theory.

The bigger the bangs the bigger the bans.

First it was tomthumbs, and doublehappys then sky rockets that were banned.
After last year it was individual packets of seemingly innocent sparklers and the sale time was shortened from the usual 10 days down to just 3 and the age restriction raised to 18 with a warning that bad behavior would lead to a total ban on private sales.

It looks like the PM is serious about that.

Enjoy your Guy Fawkes night tonight. It may be the last with crackers.

02 November, 2007

Cabinet reshuffle. Such fanfare and so little drama.

Helen Clark has with great fanfare shuffled her cabinet.
If you want to have a look http://www.beehive.govt.nz/Documents/Files/Ministerial%20List.DOC but if you were expecting any great changes don't bother.

She has only shuffled the hand she was holding rather than the full pack of Labour M.Ps. A few of new cards have been picked from the deck and naughty Trevor Mallard got a wet bus ticket demotion but that is all.

Still I suppose it can't be helped. Most of the good new blood is on the opposition benches which is where it is becoming more likely that Labour will end up after the next election. I don't think one Shane Jones, a Steve Chadwick, plus a Maryan Street and a Darren Hughes will be able to save them. A pity more of the old hands didn't do a Mark Burton and choose to depart gracefully.

31 October, 2007

Royal Commission for Auckland

Now that the dust has settled from the local body elections (along with changing of mayors) the government has announced that the future local government structure of the Auckland Region will now be investigated by a Royal Commission. here

The mash-the-whole-lot-into-one-city crowd welcome the move but others, like the people who don't run business but just live in the region, are less enthusiastic. My own pole with all of 2 responses is 50-50 anti the idea and anti Auckland full stop.

I would like to make one point. Something that has been discovered by many groups.

Schedule a meeting in Auckland City or Manukau and anybody from the 'Shore will make a big deal (complain bitterly) about the traffic and be overly concerned with start and finish times. Plan the same meeting just 10km north of Auckland City's C.B.D. and anybody not from the North Shore usually fails to turn up.

That bridge and its lesser Greenhithe sibling seem to be a huge mental barrier to Aucklanders and South Aucklanders. It is of very little importance to them until they have to cross it, then it is like telling them to drive to outer Wellington.

North Shorites treat the bridge as a vital artery and are more worried about the amount of traffic they will find if they venture off the motorway system before reaching the Bombay Hills than crossing the bridge. They will roll on the floor with laughter with any suggestion at using public transport instead of the car. With some justification since bus transport from the 'Shore to south of the Victoria St is more than a bit of a joke. As for rail, what rail? Did they put wheels on the ferries?

Westies have a foot in both camps, a large number of them troop north over the Greenhithe bridge to work daily while an even larger numbers head into "town" or over to Manukau.

To the rest of the country this has next to no relevance at all. Auckland is that silly little bit of land joining Northland the the rest of North Island. JAFAs (just another f***ing Aucklander) are all the same and far to numerous.

A good point, but think about it. Could New Zealand cope with a single city bigger (people wise) than the entire South Island?

One city in the Auckland Region is a sure recipe for a banana republic without the climate to grow bananas in my opinion.

25 October, 2007

Warning: Duck hunting.

Mallard armed with fists. Or should that be: Mallard teaches Tau Henare to duck.

No doubt our right honorable leader now has a big head ache on her hands.

Isn't Trevor Mallard the same bloke who once used a tennis ball in an unusual fashion to discipline a pupil and has announced he is not standing down in the next election? Oops, no that is David Benson-Pope. Scarily both are former school teachers. Mallard is the one who closed an awful lot of rural and not so rural schools.

Remember this is the same government that tried to outlaw political satire.

Helen Clark is in for a bad day.

Let the duck jokes fly.

16 October, 2007

Storm in a Rugby (World) Cup

Dick Hubbard is out and John Banks is in.

Now that should be of no interest to anyone outside of Auckland City.

Until you throw the 2011 Rugby World Cup into the mix that is.

The story so far:
  • New Zealand won the hosting rights with a pitch that involved new bigger stands at Eden Park to increase seating capacity to 60,000.
  • Central government suggested building a brand new stadium on the Auckland waterfront in the vicinity of Bledisloe, Marsden and or Capt Cook wharfs with central government picking up most or all of the tab.
  • After much debate Auckland City Council narrowly decided to back the idea. The Auckland Regional Council didn't. Since the ARC own both the land and the Ports of Auckland who are actively using the land, the idea was dropped.
  • Eden Park (owned by Auckland Rugby and Auckland Cricket Clubs via a trust), North Harbour Stadium (land owned by North Shore City the rest by a charitable trust), Mount Smart (ARC), a yet to be built stadium on the Manukau Harbour (owned by Manukau City) and Carlaw- soon to be a retirement village- Park (once owned by Auckland Rugby League Club) were all suggested as cheaper options along with Christchurch's Lancaster Park aka Jade Stadium aka AMI Stadium.
  • Central government has refused to put any money into upgrading Eden Park. But eventually Dick Hubbard's Auckland City Council eventually came up with some cash for the privately owned Eden Park.

This is where things have gotten interesting.

The voters threw Hubbard and his team of tame councilors out on their ears in Saturday's election and voted Banks and crew back in.

Banks has stated that the Eden Park trust won't get a cent from his council for new stands or any stands for that matter but will improve transport links. Central government still won't stump up with any dosh but has said that they don't think Christchurch has enough accommodation to handle an RWC finial, which is where many Aucklanders have told them to put it if the government won't stump up.

Will we see half the buses in the country going up the North Shore busway to North Harbour in 2011 or will the IRB take the toys away and hand hosting rights to Japan? Time will tell.

12 October, 2007

The Whenuapai airport debate

This is an advertisement from Infratil that appeared in the North Shore Times on 11 October 2007. I have had to type it out but it makes interesting reading.
Ten facts about Whenuapai Airport

Opponents of plans to develop a commercial airport at Whenuapai have worked hard to make it an issue in North Shore's local body elections. Fair enough.

However, many of the claims about the impact of civil flights a Whenuapai are incorrect. Here are 10 facts about our plans for Whenuapai.

Judge for yourself.

For more detailed information visit http://www.infratil.com/whenuapai_airport_faqs.htm

1. Civil use of Whenuapai will involve services to the rest of New Zealand, east coast Australia and the Pacific Islands. It is expected to ultimately grow to about 2 million passenger movements a year. It will then be about 10% of Auckland's air traffic market.

2. The people of Waitakere, Rodney and North Shore will gain convenience from having better access to such air services. It will be a catalyst for development and growth, and reduce road traffic.

3. Business and tourism will benefit from better connections with the rest of New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific Islands. Airlines are interested in operating such services.

4. Over the North Shore there will be three departure flightpaths and four arrival flightpaths. A map of the North Shore, criss-crossed with flightpaths, and being promoted by a protest group is complete nonsense. A plane taking off from Whenuapai would be 580 metres above Albany and 913 metres above Browns Bay. At this altitude most people will barely notice any difference to an aircraft flying from Mangere. There is no intention, or likelihood, of using the short second runway at Whenuapai.

5. It is projected that the Airport could cater for up to 21 jet services a day. Because of prevailing winds that means 3 days out of 4, 21 aircraft a day will arrive over the Shore while 1 day in 4 the same number of aircraft will head east and depart over the Shore.

6. At present the Air Force has up to 20,000 aircraft movements a year. Civil services will have to fit within the existing noise envelope and will eventually - grow to about 7,500 movements a year. If you don't notice significant noise from planes over the Shore right now, you are unlikely to notice much difference when commercial flights begin at Whenuapai.

7. In any event, there will be no Whenuapai sourced commercial flights over the North Shore without resource consents being granted. This will require a full disclosure and consultation process.

8. Some people have expressed concerns about the impact of civil aviation on property values. Airports provide connectivity. They attract commercial activity. They are an amenity. Not every property owner on the Shore will win from there being civil air services at Whenuapai, but on average it is likely that a successful commercial airport at Whenuapai will be a boost for the City and its property owners.

9. Modern aircraft do not jettison jet fuel and stringent monitoring of hazardous wastes around airports shows negligible, if any, discernible difference relative to normal road traffic.

10. The development of Whenuapai Airport for civil use is being proposed by North West Auckland Airport Limited a company with the Councils of North Shore City, Waitakere City and Rodney District and Infratil as shareholders. No Council is required to contribute any funds to this project. But the transaction is structured to provide the Councils with a share of profits if the development turns out to be sufficiently successful.

Published in the interest of accurate debate. for more detailed information visit

Infratil is listed on the NZX, with more than 25,000 New Zealand share and bond Holders. Infratil owns airports in New Zealand, England, Scotland and Germany. The plans to operate a small commercial airport at Whenuapai have been developed, with the councils of North Shore City, Waitakere City and Rodney District, in the best interests of the north west of Auckland.
I know that was a lot of reading but given the fliers from a group against the idea (see here ) it is nice to see some detailed facts on the matter. I am very close to if not directly under one of the flight paths. Low altitude Hercules are a common sight and sound. The only time that becomes a nuisance is in situations like the other night when aircraft engine test woke half the household up at 3am or when a military exercise involves artillery and mortar fire late at night.

11 October, 2007

Election bribes already?

Is it just me or is Labour trying to lure voters with tax cuts on a never never plan.

Queue here for a pack of chewing gum or watch national dismember the family tax credit, capped doctors fees etc for a tax cut the size of a takeaway dinner.

Bit of a Hobson's choice.

10 October, 2007

Post those votes!

Time is running out so if you want to have your say in who runs your local council better get those papers into the post before the post boxes are cleared on Thursday.

I am not standing for any local body. I would much prefer to have my nose in that much bigger trough called national government. Especially as they have just voted themselves a 12% salary increase. No wonder they don't seem to understand the amount of money many New Zealanders live on and just how far that goes.

02 October, 2007

Vote for me, when you can stop laughing that is.

I had to share this example of a local body election ad. This isn't your standard hording, this is literally the back end of a bus.

Who is the bloke with the emergency exit, presumably for his brain, on his head?

That would be Dick Hubbard, cereal king and current mayor of Auckland, for this week anyway.

01 October, 2007

How cats read

I have been asked this question many times so I will enlighten you.

Have you ever observed a cat sitting? ever noticed where we sit?

Cats have excellent rear vision. Your average well read cat isn't just sitting on your newspaper to annoy you.

Oh no, we are keeping up with current affairs.

Of course turning the page can present a bit of the problem, that is why I am a fan of the double page format favoured by many magazines these days. One whole article in a two page spread. Lovely.

Of course this doesn't work quite as well with computers, keyboards always say QWERTY after all, which is why we insist on sitting on your lap or in front of the screen when you are surfing the net.

Now you know.

Has National policy crossed into fruitcake territory yet?

I haven't been posting much of late, it is school holidays and with 3 two legged toe rags wandering around ..... enough said.

Have any of you seen what the Gnats (National Party) have been up to?

I know I have said before that they needed to come up with some new policies but.......if the idea of removing the cap on GP prices without referring to it once in the recently released 45 page health policy document wasn't enough now they are suggesting this.

Anyone want to build a school and lease it to a national government?

This could be a real money spinner and not for the government. Just think about it - a tenant who can't easily move elsewhere and is unlikely to go out of business anytime soon. You could just about charge what you like and if they do move out you still have this lovely big hunk of real estate. Where is the risk to the landlord. Of course the risk and cost to future governments would be huge. Landlords can pass on maintenance costs and since a school is more of a commercial building, building related costs and modifications are the responsibility of the tenant.

Is this a licence to print money for some or what?

25 September, 2007

Elections, local body style

If you have been wondering at the increased amount of junk mail appearing in your letterbox now you know why.

The search for publicity has resulted in a plague of hording greater in number and variety than what a general election results in. There are various coloured fliers from hopeful councilors, community board members and mayor as well as other interest groups attempting to tell us who the vote for.

Today's letterbox insult is bright orange, in duplicate, and helpfully informs me which of the council candidates are against an airport at Whenuapai. Well it would be helpful if I hadn't received much the same thing word for word on a dark green piece of paper last week, again in duplicate.

Then there are the various antics of these local body hopefuls.

One was outside a mall yesterday handing out more leaflets identical to 3 that have already turned up in the letterbox. This from a lady who has spent a serious amount on hoardings that look the same as her leaflets. Then there is the artsy anti airport type who despite not getting within a Saharan snowballs reach of getting on council last time, is now standing for mayor. She was standing down near the on ramp today dressed in what looked suspiciously like recycled floor length cream wedding dress with a "vote for me" placard decorated with fake flowers.

Eye catching, yes, but vote catching? I think not.

I have even heard a report of a hording that just stated the candidates name, a two word request to vote him onto the ARC and his occupation. Well I think it was his occupation, I haven't been able to get check that out. The hording seems to have gone missing. A pity really, my informant can't remember his name and I reckon the ARC probably needs a rocket scientist.

I dear say such antics have been going on up an down the country while conscientious types puzzle over their postal ballot papers and candidate booklets. Some are puzzling more than others. Some people in Carterton are trying to match the names of the Central Otago candidates to their voting forms while those in Masterton are trying to figure out just how many they can vote in. There have been further printing problems in Auckland's Eden-Albert ward and Waimakariri as well.

Why are General elections never so amusing?

As for the former councilor/mayor/local MP/current list MP that is again standing for council like it is some sort of retirement plan. Just don't get me started.

19 September, 2007

Rubbish tax

Is this the season of silly tax proposals or something?

On Monday it was a Power tax and today it is a rubbish tax and it is only Wednesday.

That's right our incumbent government wants to put a tax on rubbish, at about 10c a bag.

That doesn't sound too bad does it except that the bulk of my household's rubbish is discarded packaging. Things that can't be recycled at all or can't be recycled despite the little triangle on the bottom with a number in.

Polystyrene is one of the most over used and hard to dispose of. The amount of polystyrene many household appliances are packed with is bulkier than the appliance itself.
Where is the logic in that and why should we effectively pay twice for it?

As for plastic supermarket bags, what a menace. Their reusable life is very limited, they make lousy cat toys and I have never seen any other type of bag get stuck 20m up an Oak tree for months. Ye old brown paper bag is much superior and had many uses after developing a hole in the bottom. Wrapping items sold on Trademe is one use, hours of amusement for gorgeous white cats is another. You can even compost the remains or put them out with the paper recycling.

Now that I have had my rant perhaps a rubbish tax isn't such a load of rubbish. So long as the amount of rubbish foisted on to households to start with is reduced at the source first.

17 September, 2007

Carbon copy tax

Just as a suggestion to clean out our law books is suggested Helen Clark suggests yet another tax and accompanying low income compo scheme.

This time it is all about power, electrical power that is. The idea has all the hall marks of the old "fart" tax idea that had farmers marching. All in the name of Kyoto of course.

Have a look.

Is this like mortgage levy idea? solely designed to make another yet to be announced scheme more palatable?
Or is this government really serious about losing the next election?

13 September, 2007

Renovation Rescue our laws books

Law Commission president, Sir Geoffrey Palmer (that's right the former Labour prime minster who got dumped 8 weeks out from an election) thinks our laws books are well overdue for a major clean out. Since the last time that was done was in 1908 I doubt he is wrong. Definitely time to translate some of those 200 word non punctuated sentences into New Zealand English.

Here are some of the gems:

* There are about 1100 acts in force in New Zealand.
* Many are obsolete, such as the District Railways Purchasing Act of 1885.
* Some laws cover many areas: five separate acts could cover something like a faulty car bought on hire purchase.
* The Social Security Act 1964 has been amended so many times, and has so many inserts, that it is almost impossible to close the bound copy of the act.
* The longest sentence in a New Zealand law is over 700 words long.

Time to get out the scissors and broom don't you think?

I know a couple of rabbits who would be only too happy to give the old books the nibbled authentic Treaty of Waitangi look. Just don't use me as the duster.


I have been doing a little spring cleaning of my own of late as the annual free rumage sale aka the inorganic collection makes its way around the city. Lots of wonderful dusty stuff to get into. Not many old TVs or brokendown fridges this year but lots, and I mean lots, of old beige saggy (and soggy) lounge suites, particle board nasties and empty birdcages. I even spotted an old plywood sign.

Recycling rulez so I'm going shopping.

07 September, 2007

Should Auckland Airport be well trained?

This may come as a surprise to many Wellingtonians but Auckland Airport is not in Auckland. It is not even close. It is in the Auckland region around 12km from Auckland City's southern boundary, 27.6km from the southern end of North Shore and 37 km from Bombay.

Getting there from my neck of the woods is not cheap or easy. The parking is pricey I hear. I have not been there myself you understand, but one of my rabbit friends spent several weeks close by at the SPCA and didn't like the 1 hour drive on a Sunday afternoon. The main route and the rat route suffer from gridlock even at that time of the week.

An old disused rail line runs as far as Onehunga Wharf, just 7km from the airport and a rail link to Manukau is already planned to go as far as Wiri, just 9km away.

Wouldn't it make sense to connect the two branches at the airport?

06 September, 2007

Another finance company bies the dust

Finance and Investments joins LDC, Five Star Consumer Finance, Property Finance, Nathans Finance in receivership.
That is the fifth in a fortnight.
Add VTL and that makes six in 3 weeks.

The ripple effect continues........

05 September, 2007

Finance companies and lemming metaphors.

"While many people believe that lemmings commit mass suicide when they migrate, this is not actually the case. Lemmings will often migrate in large groups, as they posses a very strong urge to do so when their population becomes too dense. Often, a small stream or similar obstacle will block the migrating lemmings' path, causing them to stop and scurry around in a panic until the overwhelming urge to press on drives them to overcome the obstacle no matter what the consequence. In most cases, large migrating groups of lemmings will reach a cliff overlooking the ocean (as is common in their environment), where they will stop until the urge to press on causes them to all jump off of the cliff and start swimming to exhaustion. They, inevitably, drown as a result.[5] The myth of lemming mass suicide is long-standing and has been popularized by a number of factors. It is usually stated that the main source of the belief in the suicide myth was propagated by The Walt Disney Company documentary White Wilderness which includes footage of lemmings running head-long over a ledge. The filmmakers contrived this scene by forcing a number of lemmings off a cliff.[6]
Due to their association with this odd behavior, lemming suicide is a frequently-used metaphor in reference to people who go along unquestioningly with popular opinion, with potentially dangerous or fatal consequences." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemming

Does any of that sound a bit like the behaviour of investors in small local finance companies?

What is the figure now? 8 in receivership in the last 16 months? 4 in the last fortnight?

The higher the promised return the higher the risk of loosing the lot. Not even banks or mattresses are risk free and a mattress doesn't pay any interest at all.

It is not just the poorly managed finance companies to blame here. A few financial advisers should be for the high jump as well. As much as I hate to recommend more laws, that is one area that does need better regulation. Lastly the sheep who invested all their money in such companies should have diversified and spread their risks.

29 August, 2007

Is Helen Clark channeling Muldoon?

Former Labour prime minister (for a nearly 2 months in 1990), Mike Moore, seems to think so here.

Since Robert Muldoon was the last 3 term Prime Minister in NZ I suppose some resemblance is inevitable. Does this mean we have to be on the watch for wage freezes, cabinet sackings/forced resignations, and snap elections?

On the other hand Muldoon lead a national government so instead of wage freezes perhaps we should be looking for the promise of more handouts to the working and lower middle classes from an aging Labour government instead.

If that is the case we now have 2 out of 3.

Now if National can stop flip flopping like a metronome and come up with some fresh policies they would be in like Flinn.

28 August, 2007

Stuff on my cat

Eldest kid just found out about this site.

She is getting ideas so I have a dilemma;

Do I play along and run the risk of wreaking my political career or leave home now?

Bubble Trouble

My secretary went off yesterday to help My Favourite Cat Sitter (MFCS) to install Xtra's new bubble service on her computer. Not that MFCS wanted Xtra Bubble and the fancy bells and whistles it apparently comes with, all she wanted to do was to check her emails and spam filter to see why spam was suddenly getting through.

Over two hours later my frazzled secretary returns and boy was she pissed off! MFCS still can't sign in to webmail and the sign up process was full of marketing that MFCS and my reasonably computer savvy secretary had difficulty working out which links were the ones that they should be following. All of this complicated by the joys of dial-up Internet access.

But wait there is more....

This morning my secretary access our webmail and finds that nearly half of the messages in the spam filter were not spam. Some were important. One was even a legitimate one from the bank. Some were my email!

I am seriously tempted to do a Dover Samuels and raise my lovely long white tail in the direction and close proximity to Xtra's servers and mark a bit of territory. I wonder if I can talk her into driving me over..........

24 August, 2007

Strange Laws

If you think we have some silly laws then a look at these.

I have to ask:
Does getting a fish drunk make them easier to catch?
If so how do I go about it? :P

New Zealand Airforce

Piggy Muldoon's Masterton based sign writer has a point. The only aircraft flying in and out of Whenuapai these days are Orions, Hercules and a Boeing 757 with what looks like a white ribbon fern frond on its tail.
Come to think about it I am sure I saw an Air New Zealand aircraft heading that way a few months back.......

23 August, 2007

Return of the reservoir dogs

It's election time again soon, for local bodies that is.

Voting starts the end of September/early October.

Hoardings and other temporary signs are appearing in the usual spots, like the local reservoir, which raises the question:

If votes tend to go to the people with the most signs why don't more sign writers stand for election?

p.s. Apologies for the old photo

Cosgrove vs boy racers

Labour minister, Clayton Cosgrove is very anti boy racers.
No surprise there.
Now boy racers are staging a campaign against him and his move to have cars confiscated from non law-abiding boy racers.

The boy racers, again not surprisingly, aren't sticking to legal means of protest.

Odd how they just can't see why Cosgrove and a lot of other law abiding citizens are so against them. It's not as if they will have their beloved cars snatched off them if they don't break the law is it?

18 August, 2007

That tax cut carrot

Guess what, Cullen dangling that tax cut carrot again.
Labour isn't good at giving across the board tax cuts but next year is election year so......

Will an extra couple of dollars in your pay packet buy your vote?

16 August, 2007

Another flip flop

Don Brash may have been the master of the flip flop, John Key nearly as bad and the entire Labour caucus seem to have mastered the art as well.

I thought that was the extent of it. That the minor parties were free of the jandel effect.

Not so.

Winston Peters - he who does not want the baubles of office yet is Minister of Foreign Affairs is the latest flipper of the thong. First he is not trying to get a diplomatic post in the Cook Islands for a colleague then he is.

The debating chamber must be starting to look like a jandel factory.

15 August, 2007

New Zealand Government for sale

"Now Available to the highest bidder. Comes with a $67 billion budget and control over our armed forces, police, health, education and welfare systems, international policy and much more. The Electoral Finance Bill does nothing to stop you bidding anonymously, or through a secret trust, so get in."

The New Zealand government was for sale on TradeMe yesterday and I missed it!!!!!

My secretary can't be bothered searching through the zoo that passes for TradeMe community's general message board to find any references to it.

I have decided to get my own back by sampling the shaved ham for the kids lunches instead.

TradeMe pulled the plug on the auction by the time the bidding got to $6000. It seems that you can't sell the New Zealand Government on TradeMe. One must use another vehicle, like the business round table instead or a crackpot religious group with contacts instead.

Good try Steven Price.

14 August, 2007

Hot water

How green is the New Zealand Government? Not very it seems.

Near the end of last year the government set aside $15.5million to subsidise the installation of solar water heating systems. That is $500 worth of government assistance for people taking out a loan to install solar water heating.

Guess how many takers that have been to date?

That's right, nobody, zero, zilch.

In fact there has even been a decline in the installation of solar water systems despite increasing electricity cost and all the publicity on climate change and the Kyoto Protocol.

It seems that in an effort to stop suppliers from upping the prices and effectively keeping the government hand out for themselves a price cap was set. The price cap is so low that no supplier can afford to sell a solar water system that qualifies for the government assistance.

A complete balls up really. I wonder who is going to land in the hot water this time?

13 August, 2007

The trouble with polls

The Problem - the latest poll puts National at 53% and Labour at only 36%. Better still it seems that John Key is now the preferred prime minister.

But how accurate are these polls? Only a thousand voters were sampled and there was an error margin of 3.1% which is more than United Future, Act and the Maori Party polled collectively.

In 1999 Labour formed a government after only polling 38% the day before which only goes to show, the only poll that matters in the one on election day.

10 August, 2007

I want a good photo editting program

I would love to edit this photo of my gorgeous self.
Can you imagine the prime minister or the media under my paw?
Heady stuff!

I want a photoshop program

Can you imagine what fun could be had with this photo of my gorgerous self?
Helen Clark or John Key under my paw?
Heady Stuff!

05 August, 2007

National needs to check its Key

The National Party is having it's conference. There current leader is John Key. That is all fine and dandy but given a quote directly from John Key's speech to party members I have to wonder if he knows that.

"Under a Labour Government I lead, child abusers will be severely punished."

Oh dear, how sad,
:D raoflmao

04 August, 2007

Country of Origin

Do you know where your food has come from?

This is an issue that the Green Party is concerned about, for good cause as it turns out.
Have you ever tried to work out where a tin of peaches has come from? Even those packed by Wattie's are to quote the label " made from local and imported ingredients". The sugar in the syrup may have been refined in New Zealand but it is not grown here but where are the peaches themselves from?

My favourite tin of Chef Jelly Meat (Beef and Kidney casserole, yum) is "manufactured by Heinz Wattie's New Zealand Ltd" and made from "meat by-products and meat derived from chicken, beef (including kidney); starch; fish by-product, vegetable protein; gelling agents; colourings; emulsifiers; flavour enhancers; essential minerals; vitamins and taurine." No mention where any of that came from.

Not even fresh fruit and vegetables are reliably labeled with the country of origin. Some of them aren't all that fresh either but that is nothing new. Storing apples and pumpkins, potatoes, onions and garlic has been done for centuries.

Why is this even an issue?

Food grown and manufactured overseas doesn't need to comply with the same rules and regulations as New Zealand grown and manufactured food.
If, for example, you knew that Chinese garlic was grown in ground contaminated by toxins would you chose to eat it? Can you tell the difference when you buy the garlic or consume it as part of a restaurant meal?

Food for thought huh?

03 August, 2007

Putting the tit where the mouth is

Breast is Best

We've all heard that slogan and now there is a bill proposing to give women (mothers) the right to breast feed where they like. There has been much comment about this from those who are perplexed as to why a law is needed in the first place to those who are worried that breastfeeding mothers will flaunt their naked boobs in public without attaching baby forthwith.

They have all missed the point.

I have been around enough babies to know it isn't the mother who decides when and where the baby gets fed.

It's the baby.

Any mother who doesn't ignore that is doing our eardrums a big favour.

31 July, 2007

One Auckland

This idea has emerged from the woodwork again. This time there is even a Royal Commission of Inquiry in the the idea.

For those of you outside the Auckand region this is probably a bit of a perplexing idea. Auckland is Auckland after all so why should there be more than one council?

Not so. Currently there are eight councils in the Auckland Region.
The rather toothless Auckland Regional Council (ARC),
Auckland City (that is what Dick Hubbard is currently mayor of)
Manukau City
North Shore City
Waitakere City
Rodney District
Franklin District and
Papakura District

That is greatly reduced from 20 years ago when there were over 20 different local bodies each with their own mayor. They were all mashed into just seven and the Auckland Regional Authority became the ARC. This a loss of local identity that the locals are still struggling with.

In some cases the difference is geographical. North Shore is only joined to the rest by a pair of bridges, ferry services and Rodney to the north and bisected by a motorway. Waiheke Island is only linked to Auckland City by its ferries.
In other cases it is the urban/rural divide. The three districts are increasingly urban but still have large rural areas. The rural land within the city boundaries has almost all gone, except when you are an island.

The needs are quite different. Auckland City has huge problems with aging storm water pipes, sewers and gridlock caused by daily commuters from the other areas. North Shore doesn't want to spend any money on trains that don't cross the harbour bridge and none do. Manukau has problems with unrelenting growth and a large low socio-economic population. Rodney has problems with an incomplete motorway and lack of urban facilities, Waitakere has Westies and the list goes on.

Should all these groups be crunched into three or just one or not crunched at all?
Cost savings have been used to promote positive opinions of the idea but we have been down that road before and never saw the promised savings.

What the rest of the country has to think about is:
Do you really want one third of the country governed by a single local body?

That is the size of the issue.

Satire Rulz

This is the sort of publicity the New Zealand Government could do without.

http://www.comedycentral.com/shows/the_daily_show/index.jhtml and look for the clip titled America to the Rescue.

They even made an effort to pronounce Waitangi and Whangarei correctly and almost succeeded.


28 July, 2007

The absolute futility of tinkering with the exchange rate

The headlines are screaming New Zealand Dollar In Free Fall less that 2 days after Bollard and Co. raised the official cash rate again. The rate increase should have pushed the dollar even further up into the stratosphere but instead it falls.

That just goes to show how futile trying to control our tiny floating currency is. Something happens with the US dollar or the Yen and up or down she goes almost totally independent of what in happening here where Kiwi dollars pay workers and buy groceries.

While my secretary keeps buying the nice catfood instead of that cheap stuff I am not worried about it. So long as it isn't that toxic stuff imported from China that caused such a fuss (and dead cats!) over in the USA that is. No worries about the exchange rate if it is made in NZ after all.

27 July, 2007

David Benson-Pope, GBL

Well, well, well, (3 holes in the ground).

Helen Clarke has had enough and David Benson-Pope really was Gone By Lunchtime.
Yeah OK he resigned his ministerial position but we all know is was either that or be sacked.

Now it is up to his electorate committee in Dunedin South to decide his parliamentary future.

26 July, 2007

Bollard's Game part 3

Up the rates go for the fourth time this year. Was anyone surprised?

Still a hint was dropped indicating that this may be the end of it. Just about everybody with a mortgage fixed for less than 5 years has now been hit with interest rate increases. Some may even be facing round 2 of the rate hikes that have occured over the last 3 years.

Oh well, such is life.

25 July, 2007

For Sale - one used airport.

Auckland airport, or rather 60% of its shares, is for sale and Dubai Aerospace Enterprises wants to buy.

The average kiwi doesn't like the idea, much to the surprise of Dubai Aerospace Enterprises. It seems we are a little concerned about the idea of some foreign investor owning our biggest international airport. Not that we have many international airports.

Now it seems that Canada Pension Plan Investment Board is preparing an offer as well.

Auckland and Manukau City ratepayers are going to have to put their money where their mouths are to stop a sale going ahead. It's their local councils doing the bulk of the selling.

NZ Dollar = sky rocket in flight

I am starting to feel sorry for Alan Bollard, reserve bank governor. The exporters are screaming, Cullen is dropping reminders in the form of spin, economists are jumping every which way and using a great number of words while doing so and mortgagees are whimpering.

Why? Because the dollar rocketed up not only over 80c US but over 81c US.

If you have a yen to buy some US dollars now is the time to do so. If you don't fancy that buy some Yen. Japanese grandmothers seem to by exchanging yen for NZ and AUS dollars by the truck load.

The worring thing is that there is next to nothing Alan Bollard or the New Zealand government can do about it without causing a crash.

Well at least it is keeping the price of petrol down.

I supose you are wondering about my silence on David Benson-Pope

It seems that his office made a phone call questioning the recent employment of the partner of John Key's chief press secretary. As a result the poor woman is now looking for another job.

Quite frankly I have said nothing because David Benson-Pope is quite capable of digging his own grave without any help from anybody else. He even seems to be holding the shovel the right way up this time.

Of course now the Prime Minister is giving him a hand so it seems he might not be GBL - gone by lunchtime, quite yet. Come the next election however.........

20 July, 2007

OCR - Will he or won't he?

Speculation is rife.

Will Alan Bollard, reserve bank governor, raise the OCR yet again because of high fuel prices, a big Fonterra payout and the gradually slowing housing market. Or will he leave it as is for the time being or, as some pundits are suggesting, even lower it in order to clip the wings of the New Zealand dollar?

Better still, will Micheal Cullen, minister of finance, step in with a little known section of the reserve bank act and reverse the change if Bollard raises it as he has threatened to do?

Place your bets.
All will be revealed on Thursday 26 July 2007.

That's right, we have another week of speculation to put up with yet.

One thing to note though is that the kiwi dollar is only doing sky rocket impersonations against the US dollar. Its rise against other currencies is much slower or almost unchanging.
What does that say about the US economy? and how long will it take for the average American to work that out?

19 July, 2007

Youth Justice - Do the judges get the point?

"Judge Andrew Becroft told a parliamentary committee yesterday that NZ First MP Ron Mark's Young Offenders (Serious Crimes) Bill would abolish the Youth Court and end family group conferences.
"It would effectively end our current youth justice system ... Whatever have been the intentions, it is clear that this bill is profoundly poorly drafted ... One could even say it is abysmally drafted."

Ever wondered why so many judges have opinions that are so different to those held by the general public? Many of whom are parents?

Why is it that judges in the youth justice system fail to see that many of the sentences and family conferences they hand down are treated with the contempt normally reserved for wet bus tickets by the public, victims and offenders alike?

Stories of young people being used by older criminals to commit crimes simply because they just get a slap on the wrist if caught abound. This isn't urban legend. Newspaper clippings about the recent sentencing of a local family of bag snatchers and their modus operandi are taped to the window of a shop up the road from me right now.

No matter how you look at it real crime deserves real punishment.

The consequences must fit the actions otherwise the young and morally bent will continue to get away with everything just short of murder.

18 July, 2007

Powerless on the 'Shore

Power cuts are nothing new, they are quite a regular occurrence in my neck of suburbia so when the lights started flicking 8 days ago in bad weather I didn't bat an eyelid.

The odd thing about this blow is that it didn't come from the west. It came from the east.

Maybe they don't prune the trees as well over that way or maybe some of those poles needed looking at but it seems a few power lines got knocked down. That's okay though, the power company promised to fix it by noon the next day. And the day after that.
And the day after that.
And yet again the day after that.
And... well you get the idea.
There were some homes still without power after 7 days.

Now if this was a working class area we wouldn't hear too much about it. If this was a rural area we wouldn't hear much about it either. But it wasn't. It was isolated parts of Takapuna, East Coast Bays and Silverdale. They are griping big time. Still the power companies could have been a bit more up front with their repair estimates.

It was only seven days without power, no flooding or other damage so I've got to ask:

How would these people cope in a civil defence emergency?

15 July, 2007

New dinosaur found, and it's Sir Robert Jones

Sir Robert Jones or Bob Jones, as he used to be known, doesn't like the new home of the department of conservation. Basically because Conservation House is a Green Party's wet dream.

It is energy efficient in lots of clever yet simple ways, uses water caught on the roof for non drinking purposes, encourages recycling and even has a big bike rack and a shower for cyclists.

Sir Robert claims that it is all a crock. New Zealand doesn't have a shortage of water or electricity. Worse still this building is very open plan and, in his opinion, people prefer to have their own offices.

What rock has he been living under?
Just over the hill in Wairarapa there have been hose bans and in numerous other places as well. As for electricity - if it isn't in short supply why is it so expensive? And back in the real world how many people have their own offices? Not many from what I have seen.

Sir Robert also of the opinion that only a suicidal lemming would want to ride a bicycle in Wellington.
He may have a point.
But I am fairly certain he doesn't think twice about filling up his car with petrol or start muttering under his breath went the price of a tankful goes up above his budget.

Now I am not a fan of the Green Party but you don't have to be a greenie to see the point of this building.

It saves dollars and that makes good sense to me.

10 July, 2007

Parliamentery Press Rules - part 2

I notice that parliament is rethinking the new rules to restrict what images of them in the house can be shown.
It seems that this was a response to 4 TV companies announcing that they would be ignoring the new restriction.

Media-1 Parliament-0

Back down or flip flop - you choose. I guess we now have some idea who really runs this country.

Viva la free press.

05 July, 2007

Packaging Heaven, or should that be Hell?

It's the school holidays and one of the kids just had a birthday.

What has that to do with packaging?

Lovely amounts of coloured paper and foil to chase (Yippee!), plastic bags to crackle (Oh Joy!), lots of fun for frisky cats but, to quote the cat in the hat, "that is not all, oh no, that is not all."

Have you ever tried to get a kid's toy out of the packaging?

The excess packaging around toys seems to have escaped the attentions of the reduce waste movement and various tree huggers. One thing for sure is that no kid can rip into their new toy unaided or even armed with scissors. Premoulded plastic, cardboard, wires, thread, clear rubber bands, tape and glue abound. It is well beyond what is required to deter shop lifters.

The only reason I can think of that some MP hasn't spoken out about this is that they have never had to spend 30 minutes with scissors and side cutters trying to unpack an impatient girl's new Bratz doll and no dolphin, sea lion or hapless duck could get caught up in the snipped up remains.

02 July, 2007

An old cat's guide to scaring your human

I must thank my elderly house mate, Smudge, for this piece of late night entertainment.

  1. Make sure you are last seen near the cat door after dark on a cold night.

  2. Do not reappear in your favourite night time spot at the usual time.

  3. Do not respond to being called.

  4. Do not investigate people walking around the house and section with torches and cat treats calling you by name.

  5. Stay silent and hidden in your chosen spot all night, no matter how many times your owners get up and turn the lights on.

  6. Reappear a little later than is your custom for breakfast. For best effect do this from a room that they have searched 4 times already.

29 June, 2007

I told you so

Remember when I expressed the opinion that in Another Bollard game that his trick to lower the exchange rate was going to work as well as catching water in a leaky bucket.
It seems that I was slightly wrong.
The exchange rate is now up to USA$0.77 so Bollard's tinkering wasn't like catching water in a leaky bucket. More like catching water in a sieve.

While I am on a roll remember signs of the times-more water under the bridge in which I stated that Auckland City Council's greatly increased water charges were not going to be popular? After reading this I am anticipating a backpedal any day now with or without a push from central government.

Last night TV3 had a great deal of fun at expense of various MPs by showing them asleep in their seats. Wish I could find that clip to share, it was a hoot.
My normally lowish opinion of the greens has just risen a notch. They voted against the new rules and Nandor Tanczos explains why in this radio interview. He even mentioned the problem of enforcing the satire rule in blogs.

The White Cat Rulz!!!
I suppose I better shut up for now before my swelled head gets stuck in the cat flap.

27 June, 2007

Parliamentry press rules

Changes are afoot it seems.

Reports are a bit garbled and I can't find the original press release but it appears that our current government wishes the change the rules on what the media can report on in regards to the happenings in the house.

The pictures to be precise. They are objecting to pictures of MPs behaving like poorly behaved Pre-schoolers.

Even a ban a satire is proposed!

Is this the end of political cartoons?
An end to pictures of MPs doing rude gestures in the house while others are speaking?

Surely better behaviour by the MPs themselves while in the house would more effective than media control.

In other words - GROW UP

One wonders if even blogs like this will eventually fall foul of the new rules if they contain pictures or caricatures.

25 June, 2007

Death by Privacy Act - Powerless in Auckland part 3

We gasped in shock when Folole Muliaga died after Mercury cut the power supply to the family home over an overdue debt of $168.40. Most fingers, including our Prime Minister's, were pointed at Mercury. Some of us thought there was another cause like poor handling by the public health system or poor access to welfare benefits. Even the church the family belonged to were blamed.

Who would have thought that an act of Parliament giving people the right to privacy would have played any part?
If TVNZ's Sunday progaram is correct that is what played a large part in this family's tragic loss.

All along the finger has been pointed in part at the Muliaga family for not trying to arrange a payment plan with Mercury to prevent the electricity being cut off.

Now is seems they did try to do just that. The problem? Mr Muliaga rang Mercury to try and sort it out in early May but Mercury did nothing. (Put your pointing finger on hold for a moment)


Mr Muliaga wasn't the account holder!
Mrs Muliaga was!
So despite that fact that she was in hospital at the time and unable to handle sorting out the power bill herself Mercury, under the privacy act, was unable to act on any instructions or offers from her husband.

It is only because the Muliaga family waved their right to privacy that we have even heard about this.

Of course there are other factors involved as well, like our lax credit control laws (with the accompanying explosion of loan sharks), the obesity "epidemic", the ridiculous student allowance rules based on parents income with no reference to how many children those parents are feeding and our creaking health system, not forgetting our privatised electricity supply of course.

Every law potentially is a double edged sword. This sad case just proves that the privacy law is sharper than most. As many a family of a dementia sufferer or mental health patient has pointed out before, often in their grief, cuts from the privacy act can be fatal.

Powerless in Auckland
Mercury's response

21 June, 2007

Solstice Madness?

It can't be Wacky Wednesday, today is Thursday but after seeing this lot I have to wonder

First Sue Bradford announces that she wants to give 16 year olds the right to vote and has drafted a bill and an wishes to add civics education to the syllabus.
Why didn't she title it "I want to get more votes for the green party" while she was at it?

National has just announced that a National led government will change the smacking law if it is not working.

They voted for it!

More flip-flops than a jandel factory.

Okay this next bit isn't political - yet - but it seems one set of new parents is in the process of picking a fight with Births, Deaths and Marriages.
That is what they wish to name their son.
Which, when you think about it would be a better name.

And here from the "they didn't think this one through" files is the Tauranga Art Gallery and its new glass floor.
Ladies, please wear sensible clean knickers in good repair or trousers.

19 June, 2007

Mercury's response

14 June 2007 Mercury Energy

Xxx Sweetpea
X xxxxxxx xx
Auckland xxxx

A message from Carole Durbin, Chair, Mighty River Power

I am writing to tell you about the steps Mercury Energy is taking to follow up on the issues highlighted by the recent tragic events affecting the Muliaga family of Mangere Bridge in Auckland.

First let me say how much I and everyone at Mercury Energy and Mighty River Power deeply regret what occurred. We are determined to learn from this experience for the benefit of all our customers and in particular those in vulnerable situations.

We have already taken a number of steps to help us identify and work better with those customers at risk of disconnection because of financial difficulties. We do ask that you contact us if you are having this problem. The number to call is 0800 10 18 10.

Information is also available on our website for people who are dependent on electrical medical equipment. We also have a dedicated phone line 0800 63 00 01 if customers with medical conditions require more assurance.

These are interim steps and you may expect further improvements will be made over coming weeks. Future improvements will also include the results from an independent evaluation of our disconnection procedures, and full consideration of the strengthened guidelines announced by Government.

Doug Heffernan, Chief Executive of Mercury Energy's parent company, Mighty River Power, will be keeping you informed of the improvements we will be making to protect customers better from unnecessary or avoidable disconnection.

I wish to thank the many customers who have supported Mercury Energy through this difficult time. We look forward to your continued support as we strive to serve you better.

Yours sincerely

Carole Durbin
Mighty River Power

Another Bollard game - part 2

That move to adjust the exchange rate didn't quite work did it.

Others have agreed with my opinion.

Still God loves a trier, at least that is what Alan Bollard seems to think because yesterday he did it again and made exactly the same move.

Did it work this time?

What do you reckon?

This cartoon says it all.

I guess that proves I am not a completely dumb blond.

Now how about dropping that official cash rate so that my secretary spends less time looking at her budget and more time paying attention to me.

15 June, 2007

Signs of the times. More water under the Bridge?

Auckland City Council passed their bill board banning bylaw yesterday.

Got to wonder why they bothered. If has been ammended out of all recognition and now doesn't ban bill boards and other overlarge signs at all. Instead it contains an undertaking to negotiate the removal of bill boards from heritage building over the next 5 years and a ban on illegal bill boards.

A ban on illegal bill boards. Duh!

Typical over watered down response to a bold new outrage sparking plan.

No wonder Auckland has such bad inferstucture problems.

Take water for example.

No, not the drinking stuff that comes through pipes although that is indirectly involved. I am talking about what the council refers to as waste water.

That isn't just the smelly stuff that one should bury neatly in the garden after doing one's business. It is the stuff that falls from the sky as well in large quantities. South of the coat hanger it all goes into the same old pipes.

Very old pipes.

In some cases over 100 year old pipes.

This, of course has been causing a problem for years, decades. Every time it rains and our rainfall isn't exactly low.
Every elected council since the days of Sir Dove Myer Robinson has been putting the problem in the too hard/too expensive basket. Now the shit isn't just flowing down Motions Creek in heavy rain. Yes, that is a real stream with a real sewage overflow problem and that is its real name. Okay that may be a slight exaggeration but the fact remains. The system running at over capacity and it is leaking badly.

The present council has decided to do something about it in the next 10 years and not before time. North Shore put a plan in place to fix their own aging undersides sewer problem many years ago. Not many overflows here anymore. Auckland City council has even come up with a plan to pay for it.

Greatly increased water charges.

I can hear the howls of indignation from here.

It will be interesting to see if this council backs down or starts installing the Dick Hubbard memorial sewage and storm water system.

Just as long as they don't wind up following that earlier plan of their's and pipe it over the coat hanger to North Shore's Lake Rosedale.

Notice of Public Meeting Cancellation

I have decided to discontinue my evening public meetings for now.

The plum tree is just too darn cold and the only attendee, apart from the rabbits that is, in the last week has been that tabby tom cat with the white bib.

I don't like him.

13 June, 2007

I am not amused

How about this little piece of idiocy from Whangarei.

Only 2 cats per household.

I protest!

Mind you it could be a good opportunity to get rid of that cowardly bully of a Minnie cat or that senile old bag of bones called Smudge..........and as for that ginger next door.........

The Food Police

Pies and chips for tea last night.
I am one happy cat. Youngest kid didn't finish his pastry. Choice!

I like pies.
Meat ones in particular, but custard ones are nice as well. I'll even eat fruit ones if I can leave the fruit.

It seems the government has decided that school children shouldn't be eating pies, chips and fizzy drink along with a few other things. It seems that there are too many fat kids.

School principals are less than happy about that.

It seems that school rely on the income raised by sell the banned foods to hungry students with cash regardless of what size their waists are.

Of course the menu at Bellamy's, parliament's own cafe, is unaffected and still contains sausage rolls and sugary drinks. All suitable fuel for extra wide MPs I am sure.

It has been pointed out that said students, be they lard butts or not, will just take their lunch dollars to the nearest dairy, bakery or take away instead of school tuck shops but to no avail.

Got to wonder about how keen Labour is to be reelected next year.

Another Bollard game

Oh dear.

It seems that the exchange rate against the American dollar is hitting "record" highs again. US76.4oc this time.

In steps Alan Bollard and lowers the exchange rate by one whole cent.
To be fair, that will work if the American dollar was about to rise again on its own.

That was 3 days ago.
Yesterday the exchange rate was still above US75c

About as effective as catching water in a leaky bucket really.

08 June, 2007

Why cats need secretaries

Bollard's game

The official cash rate has been raised again. For the third time this year and the 12th time since 2004.

Blame for this is being leveled at government spending, as in Labour buying votes, or at Fonterra and the large payout because the rest of the world wants our milk and that old chestnut of the property boom.

Isn't interesting that the blame is never leveled at the weak US dollar and the affect of that on all those currencies fixed to the US dollar.

This increased government spending is the interesting one. The finger is firmly pointed at the increase to the family tax credit and kiwi saver.

The family tax credit was raised by up to $10/week/child. In reality that looks very much like the rate of inflation so it is unlikely to be that.

Kiwi saver, now there is a political hot potato. The government, obviously scared that the average worker was intending to give the scheme the thumbs down, increased the tax incentives on that and fiddled with the business tax rate on one hand and made it compulsory for employees to stump up so of the dosh on the other. Cost to the government $1000 for everyone who signs up and up to $20 tax break on the contributions. The average worker is now looking at the scheme and may sign up in unexpected numbers.

But hang on.
This money cannot be spent until the contributor is 65 years old.
It is savings.
The contributions are effectively out of circulation until then.
Isn't that exactly what Bollard and co want? People having less money to spend? Shouldn't that lower the OCR instead of raising it?

Since the whole thing kicks in in July I guess we will wait and see.

Then there is the property boom the has so far refused to bust.

Bollard ups the rate to make borrowing more expensive. Foreign money rushes in because foreign investors can make so much more money lending it out here than elsewhere. Credit is easy to come by. So people continue to buy houses and the price keeps going up.

There is another factor in play here as well. Houses in Auckland anyway are selling fast. Very fast, some in as little as a few days. This one sold in minutes. Very little is on the market for over a month.

Easily affordable credit or shortage of housing in the area?
Interest rates won't have any affect on the later.

Meanwhile those who have had mortgages for awhile are wincing in pain as their fixed mortgages roll over at interest rates beyond what they budgeted and exporters look at their bottom lines and shut up shop or shift off shore.

Time for a new game plan?

Even this blond cat can see the current moves aren't working.

05 June, 2007

3rd Party Insurance Waltz

Harry Duynhoven has done it again.

He has got in very quickly on the heels of yet another motoring tragedy, which is pretty much expected when you're the Transport Safety Minister (or should that be Mini stir).

This time he was on TV3 News in response to a 4WD full of 15 year olds too cool to wear seat belts that over turned with the resulting death and injury.

The problem is that he has come up with the same answer as before

Compulsory Third Party Insurance.

Just how that is supposed to stop 15 year olds on restricted licences carrying passengers and get them to use seat belts when other older more direct laws haven't is beyond me.

I think his theory is that the insurance will be so expensive that they will have to be good careful drivers to be able to afford to own a car.

The fact that Mummy and Daddy may help teen aged offspring into vehicle ownership by paying either the insurance or part if not all of the purchase of the car in question hasn't seemed to have occurred to Harry.

How else does a 15 year old manage to own a car and afford to put fuel in it?

As any under 25 year old knows it is far cheaper, insurance wise, to talk your parents into owning the car and just to be the main driver than it is to own the car in your own name.

Laws only work when people obey them. As this group of 15 year olds has already proved, even the seat belt wearing law has fallen of deaf teen aged ears. No law change will save teenagers like them while they still think they are bullet proof.

How about playing a new tune Harry because no matter which way you look at it compulsory third party insurance will to nothing to improve transport safety.

01 June, 2007

Powerless in Auckland

Mercury Energy, not so proud sponsors of the 1998 "Queen Street" Blackout, have done it again.

This time it wasn't most of the Auckland C.B.D. that Mercury pulled the plug on. Just a single customer with an unpaid bill.

As in 1998 the news has spread all around the world and not in a good way.

The stories abound from the evocative She relied on an oxygen machine. The electricity firm cut off the power. Hours later she was dead to Power company in spotlight over death to this NZ Herald feature simply titled Power cut death.

While nearly every man and his dog, including Helen Clarke, our Prime Minister, is pointing the finger at Mercury, their sub-contractor and their poor dumb schmuck of an employee who may yet be up on manslaughter charges, this little item has appeared. Give us the facts on woman's death - oxygen patient.

So was Mercury really to blame or will the cannon of public opinion shift its aim to our much maligned health system or to the family who ultimately could have prevented it by ringing an ambulance sooner, running over to the neighbours with an extension lead or paying their overdue power bill?

No doubt one of the many inquires into Mrs Muliaga's death will come up with a scape goat or a large carpet to sweep it all under. Already the words "more legislation" have been mentioned.

One thing for sure. This will go on long after the funeral and long after we are all sick of it.

A bit like that six week power cut in 1998 so I am told.

Meanwhile all sorts of things will be snuck under the radar in the hope that the media and the public will still be looking the other way.

Thanks Mercury. Not.

31 May, 2007

Will anybody listen?

I have been having a fair bit of difficulty trying to post on my blog this week.

My secretary has been busy with other things so I visited my friend Inky Rabbit to ask for her assistance in typing up my spiel on Kiwi Saver.

She was unimpressed when I politely jumped into her hutch for a talk about it. She refused to speak to me and hid in her bedroom.

Then I tried the youngest child but all he did was meow back at me!

Who does he think he is?

A cat?

I then asked eldest child. She decided to be particularly dense and pretended not to understand me so I decided to do it myself. Despite the fact that keyboards are not well designed for cat paws.

The Man Of The House overheard my conversation with eldest and obligingly set up his lap top on the table even positioning it so that I could easily sit and type. I thanked him nicely and was attempting to access this page when he started yelling and put me on the floor! No amount of cajoling on my part could convince him to allow me to use his computer.

I even tried to talk a passing bird into typing for me and was carrying it into the house discussing what I wanted to say when it flew out of my mouth!

No amount of pleading on my part could get it to come back.
I knew I should have just stuck to the topic of lunch.
My lunch that is.

I guess my diatribe on Kiwi Saver will have to wait for another time. A more irrelevant topic has come up.


Or rather the parliamentary prayer that is said at the start of every session for 154 years.

The speaker, Margaret Wilson, has sent a letter to all MP's asking whether they want to keep the pray and if the wording of the prayer should be changed. link

This has all become tied up in whether New Zealand has a state religion or not, as in;

  • If we don't have a state religion why to we have a Christan prayer at the start of every session of parliament?

  • Why do we have a national anthem with the first line "God of nations at thy feet"?

  • Why are Christmas and Easter public holidays?

Could it be Clayton's choice? The state religion you have when you don't have a state religion?

A quick look at the census data from 2006 shows that 55.6% of the population still identify themselves as Christan. Even if that is a drop of 5% from 2001 that is still the majority.

The prayer in question is this:

"Almighty God, humbly acknowledging our need for Thy guidance in all things, and laying aside all private and personal interests, we beseech Thee to grant that we may conduct the affairs this House and of our country to the glory of Thy holy name, the maintenance of true religion and justice, the honour of the Queen, and the public welfare, peace and tranquillity of New Zealand, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen."

Is having MP's pause for a few seconds to ask for guidance and to lay aside all private and personal interests such a bad thing given how given some of the behaviour in the House?

Let us pray that someone is listening.

23 May, 2007

Insurance and the Boy Racer

Boy Racers have hit the news again with the usual cries of what is the government going to do about it. As usual they have an idea and have appointed a fall guy, in this case Harry Duynhoven, to deliver it to the bleating sheep that politicians often mistake for the New Zealand voter.

The idea:

Compulsory Third Party Insurance.

Cue flash of de ja vue.

Now, on its own, this isn't such a bad idea. Every car owner should have some sort of insurance and if they did possibly the cost of insurance would decrease. Part of the conditions of getting insurance would be that the car is registered and has a current warrant of fitness so fewer complete bombs on the road. The insurance companies would be grinning all the way to the bank but any driver would be safe to sneeze in a queue of traffic with out being faced with a big bill should his/her car jerk into the back of a BMW in the process. It may even remove a few elderly cars from the road and force more of the perpetually broke on to public transport.

But as usual there is a catch. Aside from the cost to the 20 - 30% of car owners who don't have insurance that is.

The effect on Boy Racer problem will be:

No effect at all.
If you are looking for a way to teach Boy Racers that doughnuts are better fried, cooled and served with jam and whipped cream rather than burned on the road with diesel and a rubber tyre spinning at high speed you will have to think of something else.

The very term Boy Racer implies speed. Does insurance or lack of it slow them down?

Then there is the issue of the way cool modifications.

I know a Warrant Of Fitness guy so I bailed him up by sitting on his nice warm car bonnet and had a chat. A very effective technique for getting someone to talk to you if you have clean feet.

He sees a lot of boy and girl racers and their cars. Apparently not all boy racer type modifications are illegal. There is some great info about that here.

The police can green and pink sticker cars until the cows come home but if it meets the LTSA Warrant Of Fitness requirements the WOF guy will remove the sticker. The fact that a truck can be driven through some of the holes in those regs isn't the WOF guys problem. However I dare say a number of Boy Racers will get seriously pissed off if the police keep sending them back for unnecessary WOF checks. A WOF check isn't free after all.

What about all those unwarranted, illegally modified cars driven by boy racers. Will the lack of insurance get them off the road?
I am sure the police will back me up when I state that not even a flying pig can achieve that let alone an insurance policy.

Compulsory insurance won't even solve the mystery ding problem. You know the ones that appear when parked at the local shopping mall with no sign of the culprit or his/her insurance details.

To give Harry Duynhoven his due he did sound like he knew what he was talking about when interviewed on Campbell Live. Right up until he used an example of one of his own cars to state the cost of third party insurance.


I had my secretary check this. She started laughing.

A word to the wise Harry. The cost of insuring your old car with its old grey haired driver in New Plymouth is very different to a solo mum insuring the same vehicle in Auckland. Especially if anyone under 25 comes within cooee of the drivers seat.

The idea that compulsery insurance will stop Boy Racers breaking the law is about as effective microchipping dogs to stop them biting.

20 May, 2007

The Budget and Other Things that Leave Stains

What a lot of hoopla over Cullen's Budget this week.link In trying to please everybody it is starting to look like he has pleased nobody. Still with all the fuss the people seem to have forgotten all about the anti-smacking bill was passed with only 7 votes against it. link I am suddenly feeling a lot more confident about my chances of being elected. How Labour managed to pull that one off with all the opposition from the voters. Better still, managing to convince most of National to vote for it as well thus saving Labour from political suicide, I don't know. They must have been spinning like tops down in Parliament.

National's leader, John Key, is going about saying he will undo Labour's family support (aka family tax credit)legislation and give every one tax cuts instead. link Doing that may not win him as many votes as he thinks it will. Robbing Peter and son of a large amount to pay Paul a small amount may gain some votes but only as long as Paul doesn't figure out that that it is stealing candy, and even more basic sustenance, from babies.

This last week I have been enjoying this bunch of flowers, sent to me by an anonymous admirer. They look and smell lovely. My secretary has been quite strange about it and has heard muttering something about my flowers and Mother's Day.

I don't know what her problem is, I am too busy trying to get rid of these mysterious orange marks on by head and back.

Now she is laughing like a drain! Something about lily pollen stains......