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.