Saturday, September 23, 2006

Green Monkey

A name like that is likely to stick in one's mind. In 2004 The Green Monkey Company Ltd received $20,000 from the Ministry of Economic Development under the Enterprise Award Scheme. They also received funding from Crop and Food Research.

Now Green Monkey are attacking their competitor's products. Those companies which pay tax to fund the corporate welfare Green Monkey are quite happy to take. Although the attacks may have validity the ethics are questionable.

Also they want plunket to promote their product which they say can't happen because of the "corporate dollar". Which implies other babyfood manufacturers sponsor plunket who in turn promote their food. Do they want free advertising too?

Green Monkey's baby food may be the best thing since sliced bread but they should foot it in the marketplace without taxpayer subsidy.

Or perhaps they could try the Dragon's Den to secure some voluntary funding.

Friday, September 22, 2006

PM on The Late Show

You can imagine how Letterman introduced the following. I don't have the transcript so you will have to. New Zealand, PM Helen Clark, The UN, all featured;

Top Ten Signs Your Husband Is Gay

10. You come home to find him handling the gardener's hose

9. On your wedding day, you wore the same dress

8. Favorite magazines: "Gourmet" and "Honcho"

7. Your name: Jodi -- name he calls out during sex: Lou

6. Constantly leaving that seat down, am I right girls?

5. Bumper sticker reads: "I'd rather be having sex with dudes"

4. During "Brokeback Mountain," He mumbles, "It didn't happen exactly like that"

3. At your sister's wedding reception, he caught the bouquet

2. Yells, "Honey, I'm home after a long day of gay sex!"

1. Says he got rear-ended but the car looks fine

NewstalkZB are running the audio.

Time-out for some discernment needed

Don't get me wrong, I am all in favour of responsible parenting but kept in perspective. The Advertising Standards Authority received 70 complaints about the 4 wheel drive ad festuring two toddlers on a trip to the beach - everybody knows the one. I can hear The Wayward Wind playing as I write. For me it conjures up a happy, carefree feeling. For others it did not.

The ASA received 70 other similar complaints, including concern about the children in adult roles, the lack of supervision of the toddlers, and the implied sexual overtones in the advertisement.

Complaints also raised the issue of gender stereotyping for children and the dangers of toddlers sitting in the front seat.

Unbelievable. Gender stereotyping, sexual overtones...what kind of minds do these people possess? What neurotic and nit-picking worlds they must inhabit.

Fortunately the board did see merit in the ad;

The ASA did not uphold the complaint, saying the majority of the board thought the advertisement depicted a "world of fantasy where a toddler was able to drive a four wheel drive vehicle on the open road and to the beach and then go surfing".

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Mission-on, Mission-impossible

Just a few days back I blogged about the colossal waste of Scottish taxpayers money on a healthy eating campaign;

A £100 million, ten-year government health drive has failed to improve Scotland's diet, according to a damning report, which reveals many of the country's eating habits are worse than they were a decade ago.

Look at this;

The Prime Minister Helen Clark today announced Mission-On, a $67 million Government-wide package of initiatives to help young New Zealanders improve their nutrition and be more active.

Has she lost it?

Over the morning I have been absorbing the various reactions to the PM's attack on Brash. She has lost it, seems to be a general consensus. I don't believe she has.

She repeated herself throughout the day in those same measured and deliberate tones.

Remember she called the seabed and foreshore hikoi (by implication all Maori) "haters and wreckers" and she got away with it. She gambled on getting non-Maori onside and it paid off.

Now she is gambling on getting Maori and the Left back onside. Not without reason, she is playing us for fools.


Not a subject area I would normally comment about but this is really important.

Don't try to change people. People who want and try to change their partner come unstuck.

Not long after I met my husband I knew that he was someone who I could live with, happily. Why? Because he just took me for what I was. Until I had experienced that I hadn't realised a heck of a lot of people don't.

Another point of advice in the article - if you are unhappy with your partner look at changing yourself. Strangely enough although he has never tried to change me, by positive endorsement and encouragement my husband has been probably the most constructive influence in my life.

Did I ever try to change him? No. He has a couple of faults but hey, if he can live with me I can certainly put up with them.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

"Extreme rhetoric" - the new hit words

As a rather restrained type I find Clark's new attack on Don Brash quite shocking.

To describe him as "corrosive and cancerous" is incredibly nasty. She is rattled. And this move seems almost suicidal.

She has just been talking to Larry Williams on NewstalkZB and used the word extreme no less than 9 times, climbed into the Matthew Hooton again, and said it is almost impossible to have any civilised discourse with a party that uses extreme rhetoric. He (Brash) is doing damage to the NZ political system. His polarisation and extreme rhetoric has made a relationship between the government and opposition almost impossible.

Isn't it ironic that the one c word Brash was accurately accused of being not so long ago was "chivalrous"?

(Just out of interest I searched "corrosive and cancerous" thinking she must have picked it up somewhere. It keeps coming up as a description used by a US governor referring to corrupt political campaign funding. That's a coincidence.)

Bickering over benefit stats

Judith Collins and David Benson-Pope have locked horns quibbling over benefit statistics.

Facts; The number on the Sickness Benefit grew by 3 percent over the year to June 05 and 4 percent to June 06. On the Invalids Benefit by respectively 3 percent and 3 percent. Small percentages but large numbers at 47,072 and 75,349.

Isn't that what they do already?

The Scottish Children's Commissioner says single parents should be paid to stay at home and not forced to go to work. That's what they do now.

One can only assume she is squaring off against politicians who want people off benefits.

Is it compulsory for Children's Commissioners to be socialists?

In CYFS care

According to Anne Tolley CYF has removed 250 babies from their parents in the last year. As bad as this may sound I am fairly sure (please tell me if I am wrong) that quite often a child is put with close family members while still remaining legally in the care of CYF. I sat in on a meeting where a CYF case worker was remonstrating about sticking to the (care and protection) plan because the child was ultimately her (CYF) responsibility and if she was not satisfied with his safety under that plan she would remove him from both parties.

Yesterday's Stuff Poll

Acknowledging the shortcomings of such polls the outcomes are nevertheless interesting;

If an election was held tomorrow, who would you vote for?

Labour (3672 votes, 28.5%)

National (6326 votes, 49.0%)

NZ First (296 votes, 2.3%)

Greens (1384 votes, 10.7%)

ACT (387 votes, 3.0%)

Maori Party (237 votes, 1.8%)

United Future NZ (249 votes, 1.9%)

Other (351 votes, 2.7%)

Be warned

Tariana Turia has written a column about unparliamentary behaviour. It contains an interesting observation;

It would appear that some politicians do not reserve rudeness just to themselves in the House, they also subject the public to it in very direct ways.

For the behaviour in select committees, particularly when submissions are being heard from the public - is also far from desirable. There have been too many experiences of members of the public presenting their views at select committee, and being greeted with sarcastic remarks, offensive gesticulations, and a general level of rudeness which would certainly deter anyone from participating in the democratic process.

Tariana has sat on 4 different select committees.


A new report out in Australia assesses effective marginal tax rates. People complain about them but they come about due to targeted assistance. Seems to me you cannot have your cake and eat it too. The following could be about New Zealand. Just substitute Working For Families for family tax benefit;

The report estimates 7.1 per cent, or 910,000 of working age Australians (215,000 Victorians), face an effective marginal tax rate of more than 50 per cent.

It shows high effective marginal tax rates have crept up the income ladder, mainly due to the expansion of the family tax benefit. "On the one hand families with children are getting much greater government assistance, on the other, this may encourage some people to work less," the report said.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Anomaly continues

For some time I have been agitating about the different treatment of same-sex and opposite-sex couples by WINZ. Government has been procrastinating and making hollow promises about correcting this anomaly but a quick look at the WINZ manual shows nothing has changed.

Here you see a long list of indictors (presumably established by questioning) for determining whether a relationship "in the nature of marriage" exists between a man and a woman. Are you sleeping in the same bedroom? Are you having sex?

So what of same-sex relationships?

The Social Security Act 1964 only refers to “a man and a woman living in a relationship in the nature of marriage”. Same sex relationships cannot therefore be considered to be in the nature of a marriage for benefit purposes.

But it occurs to me as Civil Unions have legal standing, shouldn't the Social Security Act be amended to read "living in a relationship in the nature of marriage or civil union"?

There would appear to be hundreds of same-sex relationships where one partner works and the other receives a benefit, most commonly the DPB.

Of course lots of opposite-sex couples are ripping off the DPB in this manner but in the case of same-sex couples they are doing it quite legally and incur no risk of having to face a fine or repayment.

Licence to parent

Simon Collins writes in the NZ Herald,

A high-powered expert group has proposed a kind of "parents' licence test" which all parents would have to sit to keep care of their children and to receive child-related welfare benefits.

The proposed assessment, similar to a driver's licence, would be administered when a baby was born and repeated when the child turned 1, 3, 5, 8, 11 and 14.

Parents found to have "risk factors" for child abuse, such as domestic violence, drug and alcohol problems or mental illness, would be offered help.

Judge Graeme MacCormick, a former Family Court judge who initiated the proposal, told a seminar in Auckland yesterday that parents who refused to accept help, or to be assessed, should have their child-related benefits suspended and possibly lose their children.

I am assuming from this that anyone who doesn't want to receive child benefits is exempt. But what will child benefits constitute? Many low income families get family support payments for each child. What about Working for Families payments?

There will be utter outrage from people on the DPB who will say they are being discriminated against. And they would probably have a case with the HRC. But if they want to live courtesy of the taxpayer maybe certain obligations should be imposed.

I always come back to the only satisfactory solution for a libertarian. Don't give them a benefit in the first place. If they maltreat or neglect their child it is a matter for the law.

UPDATE; My interpretation is wrong. Having checked with Simon he says the idea applies to ALL parents. Good God. Apart from the intrusion the logistics are crazy. That involves over 400,000 children a year whose parents will have to be tested.

Monday, September 18, 2006

New government for Sweden

Reinfeldt ousted the Social Democrats with a promise to cut taxes and increase employment.

Great. No longer will we have to put up with Labour MPs describing Sweden's government as "inspirational".


Dear Editor

Paul Clarke, Letters Sept 18, said I offered no solution to poverty or welfarism. He suggested standing for Parliament to , "find out what you can do to remedy the goings-on."

I did stand for Parliament representing the only party with a radical but realistic remedy. Moreover, I stood in his electorate.

If Mr Clarke was genuinely interested in solutions I am surpised he didn't notice.

Lindsay Mitchell


Media Release
Monday, September 18, 2006

Minister for Social Development David Benson-Pope has today announced funding of $7 million for eight people to work with teenage parents because he says, "Teenage parents and their children are a high-risk group that benefit from early interventions tailored to their needs.”

"While it is encouraging to see the Minister acknowledging that children of teenage parents are more likely to become offenders or long term unemployed, suffer from abuse or neglect," said Lindsay Mitchell, welfare commentator, "Eight teenage parent service co-ordinators are unlikely to reach most."

There are 2,947 18-19 year-old single parents currently on the DPB. Further single teenage parents rely on the EMA and other main benefits. Around 9 percent have more than one child.

The Minister needs to consider discouraging people from becoming teenage parents in the first place. For the group he is trying to address, contraceptive availability and education has largely failed because there are financial incentives acting against their use. Despite society recognising the high financial and social costs associated with teenage child-bearing, pregnancy isn't considered a problem by too many teenage girls.

Again we are witnessing government spending more money trying to solve problems of its own making. Mrs Mitchell finished, "I won't apologise for repeating myself. We have to stop paying babies to have babies."

Sobering statistic

Martin Devlin pointed out on Radio Live that the Kahui murder case has now gone on for two days longer than the babies lived for.

Staff unhappy Govt radio leads by example

Featherston and Molesworth reports;

Radio New Zealand staff have been given some details of the state broadcaster’s audience ratings, which show an overall easing. However there was some disgruntled muttering because breakdowns show by show were not given, making it impossible to judge whether the recent revamps and new presenters on 9 to Noon and in the afternoon in particular are having any impact either way.

Well, well. The socialists don't like it when they have to practice what they preach. Don't they know any one party cannot be showed to be deferring success? That's equality for you. Tall poppies are not welcome.

Paul Holmes NewstalkZB PM interview

This is new to me. The PM says she has been told by a "very credible source" that the Exclusive Brethren tried to hire a private detective to follow her and her husband around. She also says she is "tired of the media giving right-wing journalists, like Matthew Hooton, endless space in the SST" and even, "Airtime on Radio NZ owned by the people of New Zealand".

Makes a change though, doesn't it. She is really on the ropes at the moment.

Beautician behind the wheel

The other morning I was in a slow-crawling traffic jam when I observed the woman behind me, presumably steering with her knees while she used two hands to apply her makeup using her rear vision mirror. If she had been using her rear vision mirror correctly she might have observed the person behind her talking on his cellphone.

The second action strikes me as less dangerous. Opponents of a ban on holding cell phones, which looks like going through in the fourth US state, California, argued there are many distractions in motor vehicles which couldn't be legislated against.

Again, a lack of commonsense means more laws and more enforcement.

Will the Swedes wake up?

The Swedes have just gone to the polls and we should see some results later this morning. The Centre Right, headed by Fredrik Reinfeldt, was ahead in voter surveys.

From the Times;

Daring to challenge the economic basis for all this is the bald man on the election poster: 41-year-old Fredrik Reinfeldt, sports fan, amateur dramatist and career politician whose centre-right “new” Moderate party is challenging the high-tax, big-budget, fully comprehensive welfare state in which nanny not only knows best but also holds the purse strings.

Reinfeldt seized control of his party following its expulsion from a brief period in government 12 years ago, and has dragged it towards the centre ground, aiming for votes of the young and disillusioned. Think David Cameron facing a blend of Jim Callaghan and John Prescott in the avuncular, overly familiar face of Goran Persson, the veteran Social Democrat leader.

Persson, an irascible man given to poking party comrades in the stomach, is charged with mendacious massaging of unemployment figures, officially set at 6% but reckoned by independent outsiders to be 15%.

Reinfeldt’s Moderate party and its three partners in the centre-right Alliance for Sweden say the truth is worse: that up to 2m Swedes, nearly 40% of the workforce, are either working less than they want to or depend on some form of state benefit.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sunday Trivia

Library Week 2006 begins tomorrow, a week dedicated to celebrating what fantastic places libraries are and the incredible world libraries can connect you to, according to Newsroom.

Should ratepayers pay for libraries? I am exercised by this question. If they were straight book-lending libraries I would tend towards saying they should. Education is that important and the last thing I would like to see is people's access to books limited.

But now libraries are into dvds, videos, internet, computer games, playstation/x-box games I feel less sure. Sure one could argue that the bulk of these items are rented so that's user pays, and perhaps it would be a good thing if these products and services were to subsidise the books.

But the libraries are now competing directly with the private sector. In some cases they are charging more than the private sector even though customers have the impression they are paying less. Yet they are making a dent in the profitability of the private business man while taking his rate money to pay for their running expenses - staff, power, etc.

What is the answer?

Losing it

What drivel is in the Sunday Star Times today. Chris Trotter has to be read to be believed. With nothing of substance to say he resorts to fictional analogies; malevolent forces on the move, unspeakable evils unseeable but underfoot. I am surprised he stopped short of conjuring Brash; the new Black Rider. Is he becoming unhinged?

And that weirdo Wishart is deplorable. How does he live with himself? Churning out tired innuendo about Peter Davis to make a buck. Says he's a Christian? If Brash has let down his "christian" values what can be said about this man? He dropped his off the Empire State building.

Some commentators are in a feeding frenzy with not a scrap of sustenance in sight. Their thirst for power-through-print makes them pathetic.