28 November, 2008

Who should pay for the price of water

Shall I join the crowd and have a rant about water? Minnie was kind enough to pose for me after all.

Cactus Kate is having a go at over priced bottled water and Oswald Bastable is pointing out water quality problems in Martinborough.

However I noticed that Wellington's water use and whether it should be metered is creating a bit of a storm in a tea cup.

"Two of Wellington's leaders are backing debate on a user-pays water system to reduce Wellingtonians' reckless consumption - now more than twice the national average.
Wellingtonians each use 400 litres of water a day compared with Aucklanders' 300 litres and a national average of 160 litres.
Experts say a lot of water is simply wasted watering gardens, cleaning cars, running taps or flushing toilets every time. Household water metering could reduce Wellingtonians' consumption by 100 litres a day

Water user pays in the form of metering has been in place in the Auckland region for over 30 years. The cost is not prohibitive at $1.29 per thousand litres some of which is piped in from the Waikato River. That came to $170 in the last 6 monthly bill (132 kilolitres). We know we use more water than we should. Thanks to the bill we know exactly how much we are wasting, about 83 kilolitres, and partially corrected the issue by fixing the overflowing toilet cistern and putting a timer on the teenager's showers.


27 November, 2008

Enough with the ribbons already

That's right, we recently had white ribbon day in order to stop violence against women.

I've got a better idea, how about we just stop violence. Here are eighteen reasons if we need them.

Oh, dear! What can the matter be?
Dear, dear! What can the matter be?
Oh, dear! What can the matter be?
Johnny's so long at the fair.
He promised to buy me a trinket to please me
And then for a smile, oh, he vowed he would tease me
He promised to buy me a bunch of blue ribbons
To tie up my bonnie brown hair.
Oh, dear! What can the matter be?
Dear, dear! What can the matter be?
Oh, dear! What can the matter be?
Johnny's so long at the fair.
He promised to bring me a basket of posies
A garland of lilies, a gift of red roses
A little straw hat to set off the blue ribbons
That tie up my bonnie brown hair.
Oh, dear! What can the matter be?
Oh, dear! What can the matter be?
Oh, dear! What can the matter be?
Johnny's so long at the fair.
I am beginning to feel like Johnny, somewhat put upon.

23 November, 2008

Too much pink

Pink ribbon day started out as a good idea but now it has gone overboard. You can even get a special pink bras and pink ribbon sewing machines.

In fact just about everything aimed at women is now pink. Worse still the same ghastly shade of pastel pink.

OK, Barbie uses a different shade of pink but still - yuk!

Now you can get otherwise useful tool kits with pink rose covered hammer, pliers and screw drivers.

What gives?

They don't seem to come in blue with racing car illustrations.

Why do the marketing gurus seem to think that all of a sudden everything has to be pink to appeal to women? Have they suddenly figured out that women do use tools and may wish to have their own?

This isn't news to several women of my acquaintance.

A quick search of the kitchen junk drawer here will quickly find scissors, loose jaw pliers, needle nosed pliers, side cutters and an assortment of screw drivers all of which are older than I am and well used. None of them a matching set, let alone pink. He who earns gets in big trouble if he borrows them and leaves them in Man Zone, aka the work bench.

Speaking of which, my secretary would like a hammer for Christmas. Not a wussy little pink hammer like those found in the fore mentioned pink tool kits. They are not much good for banging in something larger than a panel pin.

She wants a real hammer. A rubber grip handle would be nice.

In any colour but pink of course.

19 November, 2008

Treat prisoners like children

Britain's Prison Service has issued guidelines telling guards to refer to their male charges by "Mr" and their surnames, to foster "decency" and "respect". Inmates should be treated, said one official, "like [we expect] our children to be treated." (Source: Daily Telegraph)

Does this mean that if the prisoners act like toddlers they can be treated like toddlers?

These days (post anti-smacking bill) that could still include:
  • Being lead around on reins.
  • Being sent to bed with no dinner.
  • Given a lolly or chocolate raisin for being good.
  • Time out/isolation for small misdemeanours.
  • Early bedtimes etc.

Of course we might need to find a race of giants to work as guards and, if we get rid of that anti-smacking law, arm them with giant wooden spoons.

Oh the possibilities.

16 November, 2008

Wine whine

I have decided to have a whine about wine. (pun intended) That is the giving of booze as gifts.

Now this is going to sound like high comedy if you like white wine, or beer for that matter. If you don't however what do you do with the stuff?

Once or twice a year he who earns money gets rewarded by a customer, boss or boss from another section for extra work well done etc. Now they have all asked or figured out that he who earns money doesn't drink beer so they give him a bottle of wine instead. For some reason it is always some form of white wine.

He who earns money doesn't drink wine either, the only alcohol he drinks is rum. Worse still, my secretary doesn't drink alcohol at all, the face she pulls if she has some is quite comical. The up chuck afterwards is not. WOF guy has the same problem and the Cat Sitter can't drink on doctors orders. Her with too many sons doesn't even drink tea and coffee and her husband is a one beer only type and so on.

Basically nobody that we normally give presents to drinks wine.

Now if it was red wine that wouldn't be too much of a problem. Red wine is wonderful at turning an ordinary stew into something wonderful. Any leftovers from such a dinner are welcome in my dish.

Sherry is good in Chinese cooking and fruit cakes. Brandy and Rum are good in fruit cakes as well.

But what does one do with white wine?

You can't sell it without a liquor licence. You can't even donate it for a raffle prize, as the local kindergarten found out when their box of chardonnay raffle resulted in a warning from on high.

Even AGMs for a local charity no longer require a number of bottles. Nobody wants to drink and drive and the rest seem to be on one glass limits.

Do you see the problem?

There are currently three bottles of apparently good wine sitting in the basement gathering dust.

So if you are part of a company or just in the habit of giving away bottles or wine or beer for that matter ask the recipient if they drink first. A couple of bottles of grape juice or a box of fancy tea may well be appreciated more.

13 November, 2008

Going Green

My secretary spent the weekend looking at Rhododendrons.

Why, I am not sure. Why she went all the way to Taranaki to do so is an even greater mystery. Especially as she bypassed the World's most livable city to do so.

I know what a Rhododendron is; it is that shocking pink flowered thing I climb on occasion. It has papery bark I don't like the feel of so I don't climb it that often.

Anyway my secretary came back all inspired and has set to ripping all the weeds out of the gardens reducing them to large areas of bare dusty dirt. Bliss when one has an itchy back and a liking for blackbirds.

The only problem is now I get chased off because I am squashing the seedlings, with the hose no less.
It seems they are planning to eat these little leafy things.

All I can say is they better not turn up in my dish.

I noticed that some of the new plants are cauliflower and broccoli.

Racing down the cabbage tree to catch white butterflies and chase the kids with them should be worth the temporary inconvenience.

11 November, 2008

And the new kingmaker is...

The election is over, woohoo.

National Party 59
Labour Party 43
Green Party 8
Mäori Party 5
Progressive 1
United Future 1
NZ First 0

The result isn't final yet but nothing seems to hang on the special votes so it may as well be. Well, unless New Zealand First pick up another 20,000 votes that is.

Just how decisive is National's victory? Not as decisive as it looks as it turns out.

It may look like they won by a few seats but if you change the result of just one electorate seat the story is very different.

If National hadn't lost Epsom. The Act party wouldn't have a single seat. They, like United Future, Progressive, Maori party and New Zealand First didn't break the 5% threshold for party seats.

NZ First got more party votes than Act but as NZ First didn't win an electorate seat ... bye bye.

United Future and Progressive didn't win enough party votes to gain an extra seat over their one electorate seat. The Maori party created an over hang by winning 2 more electorate seats than their party vote would have given them. Act was the only one that manage to get a few (in this case 4) more MPs with their party vote after winning one electorate seat - Epsom.

The result if National won in Epsom could have looked like this:

The Greens
6.43% = 9 seats (9 party, 0 electorate)
Jim Anderton's Progressive
0.93% = 1 seat (0 party, 1 electorate)
Māori Party
2.24% = 5* seats (5 electorate * overhang by 2 seats)
New Zealand Labour Party
33.77% =45 seats (21 electorate, 24 party)
New Zealand National Party
45.45%= 61 seats (42 electorate, 19 party)
United Future New Zealand
0.89%= 1 seat (1 electorate, 0 party)
New Zealand First Party
4.21%= 0 seat (0 electorate, and under the threshold)

National could form a government if backed by United Future but if United Future jumped the other way, and they have in the past, and the Maori Party backed Labour (likely) parliament would have been hung.

So our new kingmaker can only be Rodney Hide (Act) or Peter Dunne (United Future).

All hail Rodney Hide - our new kingmaker!

Isn't MMP fun.

06 November, 2008

Last pre election rant- from me anyway

Yes, I watched the last leaders debate on TVNZ last night.

I only got to see it because it was on instead of that consumer's affairs show, Fair Go.

Not that it was much of a debate. The only way it could have gotten more civilised is if Mark Sainsbury set out the bone china and served tea and biscuits.

No hard questions so no stirring answers and no effort to prompt any either.

It was all too nice for words.

I didn't see the experts ( x=unknown, spurts= drips under pressure) assessment of it all. My secretary, having already voted, turned off the box while still muttering about the lack of Fair Go. The teenager had wandered off in bordom long before the end.

Come next week with the US election now over and ours as well the frying pan will no doubt land in the fire regardless of who wins.

The credit crunch will take another bite.

A pity that will be well beyond the fix-it capabilities of Fair Go.

04 November, 2008

That Yellow Jacket

It seems a complaint was made to the Electoral Commission about Rodney Hide's yellow jacket, the one with the Act logo and slogan on the pocket, back in July.

The electoral commission only got round to acting on it yesterday.

Under the electoral finance act the jacket should have also had a authorising statement displayed.

Oh dear.
One hot water wash coming up for the Act Party.

Comedy or pure farce? I am not sure which any more.

Labour or National - is there a difference?

I watched a leader's debate on TV3 last night.

What a waste of time.

The swinging voter is still left to chose between two piles of flip-flops.

If either Labour or National had any plans on how to counter the credit crunch last night would have been the time to air them.

Instead we got silence.

Both were asked what the difference between the two parties was and why they weren't considering a super coalition since they were so alike.

Again no clear answer.

Then it came to their stand on section 59 - the anti-smacking law.

What an opportunity for some finger pointing but did it happen?

No. This must be the most unpopular piece of legislation in the last 3 years at least and both party leaders inexplicably wanted to take credit for it.

I had a strong desire to reach for a jandel from the pile of flip flops and give them both a whack with it.

The direction of the next government is going to depend on who they form a coalition with, The loony finge so to speak.

If you want to go right vote Act. If you want to go left vote Green or Progressive. Everybody else in standing in the well populated middle ground or won't make the threshold.

Cheap Petrol?

Petrol and diesel may now be down to the lowest price we have seen in 12 months but still hardly anyone is driving more than they were a couple of months ago.

A financial chill wind seems to be blowing.....