Friday, 21 December 2012

Intensive care awards – Primary care

Another year has come to an end and if you believe the seriously deranged, (and who wouldn’t – look at the government our fellow citizens elected), the entire world is actually ending as I write this.

Traditionally at year’s end people look at the high achievers for the year just gone and hand out plaudits*. These are very difficult little things to wrap as they aren’t actually physical objects; more like the mean man’s present. In fact you can’t really do much with them at all, despite the fact they are relatively easy to hand out. To be precise, the only way you can offer plaudits is by hand, so I guess what I am handing out is something less substantial than a plaudit as there are no hands involved apart from the two fingers on the keyboard (and possibly pointing upwards for the benefit of some of the recipients of these – audits. That’s what we’ll call them. Audits for idiots might be more accurate.

It has been a busy year on the idiot front and thus it is impossible to rank the recipients n order of merit (?). So I will simply randomly select a few over the next couple of weeks in particular order or all over the place like a mad woman’s shit as an old mate of mine used to say. And that is probably the appropriate description because it mirrors pretty accurately how most of them performed over the last twelve months.

First cab to crash into a truck in this careless coterie would have to be HeckYeah Parata or Lady Gardiner as I think she will soon have to become again. HeckYeah’s list of cock-ups in her role as Minister of Illiteracy is far too long to list here. Suffice to say she is likely to be back at home as a Lady of leisure sometime soon because even that simpering little twat of a Prime Monster is getting tired of all the flak he’s copping because of her.

Actually it should come as no surprise to him that she has failed so monumentally. Cock-ups and controversy have followed this dozy cow about for years. The fact that the National Disgrace Party took her on as an MP and gave her a ministership to run aground tells you (a) what poor leadership can get you and (b) how much they care about education.

A quick scan of HeckYeah’s CV reveals that in 1995 she and her equally self-serving husband Sir Weary Gardiner were the subjects of an investigation by then State Services Commissioner Don Hunn over the purchase of two vehicles for Weary who was the CEO of Te Puni Kokiri at the time. Although they were both cleared of any illegal activity at the time, significantly both cars were returned to the Ministry for re-sale by auction.

In 1999 HeckYeah was under scrutiny again. This time her consultancy firm had provided ‘ongoing high quality Maori advice (which is presumably different altogether to ordinary high quality advice free of ethnic tags) to WINZ at a cost of $207,500. How ‘high quality’ it was I’ll leave you to judge apart from mentioning that the late Rod Donald raised it as a criticism in the house due to the fact that the Maori unemployment rate rose by 2% following this ‘high quality’ advice.

Then in 2003 HeckYeah raised the ire of Murray McCully after the Ministry of Economic Development had wasted, I mean spent $240,000 of taxpayers’ money on Treaty of Waitangi training courses run by (you guessed it) HeckYeah’s company again.

In another move that shows her consummate lack of judgement HeckYeah was appointed to the board of Maori Television in 2001 and resigned two months later citing a lack of funds. I’d say that was a pretty lucky escape for Maori TV, because she would have been sure to fuck it up if she’d stayed around.

HeckYeah stood for the Wellington Central electorate at the 2002 election and thankfully the capital’s citizens proved too smart to elect her. Thankfully she also missed out on her each way bet with the Nats not getting enough party votes to bring her in either. It got a bit sticky later on when MoFo Williamson got himself offside with the party hierarchy and it was only thanks to the elevation of well-known Maori basher Dong Brash to leader that HeckYeah wasn’t hauled in to replace MoFo.

Interestingly Dong nearly saved us all from this useless woman with his Orewa rotary club speech. After that Weary and HeckYeah contemplated leaving the Nats. Unfortunately for us and the teachers of this nation they did not and after a suitable period of blubbing over her 2002 disappointment HeckYeah came back in 2008 and stood for the Mana electorate. Once again the voters had more sense than the Nats and rejected her again, but this time she had secured (begged, borrowed or stolen?) a suitably high place on the list and this time her each way bet paid off and she was elected despite being roundly rejected by the electorate.  

In 2010 HeckYeah became a Cabinet Minister when another of the party faithful slipped and grazed her knees. Pansy made a Wong decision to use taxpayer money to help her husband promote his business and she was toast and HeckYeah was slipped into her portfolio.

Also in 2010 HeckYeah actually won the Mana seat in a bye-election after sitting member Winnie Laban had resigned to pursue greener pastures. It was nothing more than a lucky break as she was the only candidate for the seat with others realising there wasn’t a lot to be gained from holding a seat for just a few months before a general election. However HeckYeah with that impeccable judgement we have seen since she became a Minister went for it with the idea of securing it into the future. Fortunately the electorate turned out again in halfway decent numbers in 2011 and she lost it again, but by now she had enough clout having been a Minister albeit for about four and a half seconds and only as a subbie off the bench, to be well enough placed on the list to get in again after being rejected by the voters.

HeckYeah therefore is a worthy recipient of the inaugural and inauspicious Money & Titles Talk award because it is hard, given her history to imagine what the hell else caused her to become the Minister of Illiteracy.

*a plaudit is actually a round of applause – so I guess you could say we are giving the winners the clap. 

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Justice you thought it was safe to go back in the courtroom

Justice is an interesting concept. The first three definitions my dictionary offers are: just conduct; fairness; and the exercise of authority in the maintenance of right.

The first of these definitions requires further resort to the dictionary wherein we find the first definition of just to be acting or done in accordance of what is morally right or fair. So essentially what we have is an agreement among those first three definitions that justice is about what is morally right and fair. That doesn’t seem to match up terribly well with some of the examples of our so-called Justice system in New Zealand. Nor does it have much of an existence in any other aspects of our lives where you might expect to encounter ‘the exercise of authority in the maintenance of right’ or people ‘acting in accordance with what is morally right or fair’.

One reason might be the fact that if you base your concept of justice upon morality you are always going to have a problem when there are so many individualised definitions of that particular concept. Perhaps three better opening definitions for this hard to pin down concept might be:, the exercise of authority in the maintenance of the right (wing): the exercise of authority in the hands of the privileged few who can afford a high-priced lawyer; or acting in accordance with what matches most closely the policy objectives of the Government of the day.

I have been trying hard to understand where this Government stands in relation to the concept of justice. It talks the talk when it suits it or when it makes for a good photo op or PR headline, but when it comes to actually exercising that power or authority it would seem it works on its own set of secret rules that nobody else can fathom.

Individual MPs trample on the rights of their constituents on a regular basis as did Paula Bumfat when she deliberately leaked private details of a woman who had the temerity to complain about her treatment by WINZ.  Then we have that dufus Horon the Moron who seems to think he can stay in parliament as an independent MP when the only people who ‘elected’ him were his own party caucus who have now unelected him. We won’t even go there about what led to his expulsion other than to say if the stories are true it is another example of an MP not acting in accordance of what is morally right.

The Kim Dotcom case is another well publicised example of Government agencies acting in a way that defies the three definitions of justice I mentioned at the start of this. They should just own up. The matter is very simple. He is a New Zealand resident and as such cannot be spied on by the GCSB. He was and therefore they are in the wrong. He had a high profile and had been in the news not long beforehand so there was absolutely no reason why they would not have known he was a Kiwi albeit one with an accent. And it is inconceivable they wouldn’t have known the law in that regard (mind you they are just glorified dumb coppers with sunglasses and shiny suits – so who knows).

But the case that really has my bile mobile is the David Bain compensation issue. If this isn’t one of the greatest injustices ever perpetrated by an unholy coalition of the NZ Police and the NZ Government upon one of its citizens, then I don’t know what is. I realise this is hyperbole and I will now probably bombarded with a thousand other cases more worthy of this honour(?) but I am sure you get my point that this is one I feel very strongly about.

I wasn’t sure at the outset about David’s guilt or innocence as initially I didn’t take much of the case on board. I realised at the time of his conviction that some of the ‘evidence’ was questionable and I felt that he was convicted more on a ‘he must have done it because who else could have/” basis than any solid evidential grounds. At the very start I expressed concern that this might be another miscarriage of justice like the Arthur Allan Thomas case, but I could never have dreamed it would turn out to be such an ongoing Circus of Horrors where the injustices keep on occurring.

The Minister in charge of The Exercise of Authority in the Maintenance of Right (Little Bo-Tox) has trumped even herself this week with her eminently ‘fair and just’ decision to criticise the independent report by Justice Ian Binnie into whether or not David Bain should receive compensation from the Crown for his 13 years in prison.

What makes Bo’s criticism so vile is the fact that she will not release the document so we can all be the judges of whether her assessment is fair and just. But worst of all she won’t even let David Bain see it until she has had the chance to roll in a couple of her own tame lawyers to tear it to bits and discredit it so comprehensively that the question of compo for Davo will sink into a deep pit where she can bury it forever. (Tui ad tagline anyone?)

What makes this stupid woman so stupid is that she actually believes her own PR and hyperbole and she believes we will as well. She is right about a part of that; many of the sheeple of Godzone will believe her bollox. However many others will not; Justice Binnie won’t for one and Joe Karam certainly won’t. A guy who has devoted as much of his life to this case as Karam has is definitely not going to slip away into the shadows of the night. He will come out with guns blazing.

I will make a prediction now. David Bain will get compo despite Bo Tox’s manoeuvres. All this stupid bint is doing is adding to our costs as a nation both in terms of the amount of cash all of this is going to end up costing us and also in terms of our reputation as a place free from corruption and where justice actually exists in accordance with the three dictionary definitions I listed at the start of this blog.

So far this lot has cost us all the time keeping David in jail for 13 years; all the costs of Crown opposing his appeals along the way and the major expenses leading up to and including the appeal to the Privy Council all of which I gather has cost us well in excess of $3M and then we have just forked out the better part of half a million for the report from Ian Binnie and now Little Bo Tox wants to enrich even more of her lawyer mates at our expense before ultimately we will be enforced to pay David out at least a million bucks.

So what does justice really mean in New Zealand given this scenario? Well it means that justice is when the wrong guy gets sent to prison for 13 years, then spends several more years trying to appeal his unsafe conviction and several more years battling for compensation, while the nation foots a bill for what will probably be the thick end of $5-$6M and those responsible for all this expense – the incompetent/crooked cops, various gold-digging lawyers and the Munter of Just-Is walk away scot free.

I must contact the compilers of the Oxford Dictionary and get them to add that definition and put in brackets (NZ).

Thursday, 29 November 2012

What am I bid for this life? (Going once, going tw.....)

So how much is a human life worth in New Zealand? It might sound a silly. It all depends on the context as to the value placed on each life.

Some might wonder why I am even asking the question, but it is something we need to get our heads around because like it or not a human life is frequently assessed as having some kind of monetary value for a host of different reasons. I think we need to know the whys and wherefores of these processes because sometimes they defy any logical explanation.

For example when a life is lost through natural causes insurance companies make a payout (if you are lucky) and that amount could be considered as the value that has been placed upon that particular life. But here it is not so much the insurance company that is setting that ‘value’ rather it is the person taking out the insurance policy. However it is still a value and in most cases this will start at around $100,000 and go up from there according to the premium paid and the policy chosen.

ACC is also in the business of assessing the value of human life and their figures are a little less straightforward (as you might expect). Their calculation can involve a funeral grant of up to $4500.00 and a survivor’s grant of $4702.79, plus weekly compensation equivalent to 60% of the deceased’s earnings (roughly). There are some finer points to that, such as additional allowances for dependants other than the spouse, but the total possible amount payable is 80% of earnings. This can be paid as weekly compo or in a lump sum. Obviously the total amount depends on how much you were earning, so of course the very well paid families fare best in this situation as with life insurance. The weekly payments if you choose those, last for a maximum of five years and this is how the lump sum is also calculated. Thus if your nearest and dearest was on the minimum wage their life will be valued at about $93,000.

Accidents in the workplace are another of the areas where determinations as to the monetary worth of human life is regularly determined. In this respect the courts and the Department of Labour are involved. The courts have the power to fine an employer (although not if they are a Government Department apparently) and award compensation. Two recent cases that give an idea of how this works are the case of the worker at Safe Air Ltd (they should change the name) who was sucked into a jet engine he was doing a maintenance check on it. The company was fined $56,000 and ordered to pay his family $22,500 in compo. Thus his life was valued at less than $80K.  
DOC on the other hand couldn’t be fined when their volunteer worker was apparently swept out to sea at Raoul Island and thus they escaped at just $60K which was the payout they made voluntarily to the guy’s family.

Similarly the courts regularly assess the value of a human life when they direct careless drivers to make payments to the relatives of those they have killed through their careless or reckless driving. Currently the most you can be fined for this sort of thing is $20,000 and then only if you can be proven to have been drunk or stoned at the time. Payments for emotional harm can also be levied, but these seldom reach five figures, so the courts are less generous than the insurance companies with a human life worth basically less than $30,000 in total. It would appear they don’t believe the loss to the family is even equivalent to the minimum wage for one year (before tax).  

However it is now official that New Zealand’s lousiest bastards are the Royal New Zealand Air Force who apparently value human lives at a great deal less than any of the above examples.
You will all no doubt remember the tragic helicopter crash on Anzac Day 2010 that resulted in the deaths of three Air Force personnel and serious injuries to another. We now discover after months of red herrings about how the crash came about because of dangerous practices by a pilot who wasn’t properly trained to fly at dusk that he only did it because the Air Force top brass had been moaning about how much it would cost for the guys to stay overnight. It has taken until this week for that admission to be dragged out of the Defence Monster Jonathan Coleface. Then the prick had the audacity to try and blame the Labour Government which hasn’t been in power since 2008!

So how many much was it actually going to cost to put up four men at the Amora Hotel in Wellington which the Air Force were in the habit of using? How close were we to blowing the entire Defence budget had we accommodated these guys instead of making them fly out in dangerous circumstances they had not been trained for? Surely it can’t have been very much?
Well we now learn that the amount at stake was $149.00 per room. I have been unable to ascertain how many the rooms at that price can sleep, but it is probably two and even if it is only one, then we lost three lives and made a mess of another for the sake of less than $600.00.  I think that speaks volumes about how much the Air Force cares about the welfare of its personnel.

And by the way; if you are thinking of making a firm appointment with the reaper any time soon, for goodness sake take out a large insurance policy or find yourself a dodgy accountant to fudge your income figures – there are tons of them about at the moment – just pick a name from the court reports.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Click go the shears (hopefully)

The Laboured Party is about to implode again. It looks like after this weekend the Shearer will have been shorn of his leadership and the party’s search will continue anew for the Golden Fleece.

I feel the ovine analogy is appropriate given the brainless ‘follow-the-leader” down the road of already failed policies behaviour of the current incumbents.

While I feel the Natzis will struggle to hold on for a third term, I think it is important for the opposition parties that the Laboured ones raise the level of their game and also their leadership. Party leaders need to have some ‘nads’. They need to be in control and appear to be so. They need to be able to deliver a crushing blow to the other side in the house on a regular basis without sacrificing credibility to do so.

The Shearer is a career diplomat; a man whose job is to keep everyone sweet and not rock the boat too much. His training is all about finding ‘nice’ and ‘non-confrontational’ ways to put his point across or to challenge those being made by others. I have always believed this method to be ineffective when applied to things that REALLY matter. As the old saying goes; You have to stand for something or you will fall for everything. Although perhaps in this case it might be Leaders have to stand for something or they will soon fall from favour.

I always felt the Shearer was the wrong sheep (er man) for the job and all the more so when facing that smarmy little twat that goes by the title of Prime Minister. Jianqi is such a superficial little gnome that it needs a REAL person to counter him. Unfortunately the Shearer is cut from the same bolt of superficiality as Jianqi with the only difference being that he is probably a somewhat nicer fellow.

What is needed is somebody who is bright, quick, and when it comes to showing that the bright new future is really just a nasty little laser that will burn your eyes out. For that reason the Shearer must be shorn at the very least and probably sent to the works. Under his leadership the Laboured profile has not been that sharp. Instead of being the lead opposition party as they should have been given they had the second highest number of seats, we have seen them reduced to third rank at best. Russel Norman is the opposition party leader who has most looked like a leader. He has been leading the charge ever since the election in no minor way. Laboured have looked like also-rans when you compare their performance with that of the Greens and New Zealand First, neither of whom have allowed the Natzis any wriggle room.

So what will the Laboured supporters do this weekend? Anybody’s guess, really as that party, like the Natzis is controlled by other interests (different to those of the Natzis – but vested interests nonetheless). The rank and file (or the smelly and abrasive if you like) are liable to do as they are told by the all-knowing all seeing ones and will shuffle into whichever pen their shepherds drive them into, but hopefully they will eventually elect somebody who can actually do the job that needs to be done.

For my money they should choose current deputy leader Grant Robertson. In fact they should have anointed him in the first place instead of messing about with the so-called Shearer experiment. That was merely an attempt to do what the Natzis did when they elevated Jianqi to the throne with indecent haste in order to have a smiling baby-kisser up-front who won’t scare off the voters by being coarse or outspoken.

Well bollocks to that. If they want to win the next election (with considerable help from the other oppos) they need a guy like Robertson who isn’t afraid to upset people to get an important job done. Hopefully for the sake of both Laboured and the other opposition parties they will see sense and elevate the only one they appear to have who could do the job.

But then this is politics in which it has been said a week is a long time. I think I have just fully comprehended that saying now. I think it means no bugger (especially among the voters) remembers anything a week hence!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Say what?

This week: the great questions of the day are explored; none are satisfactorily answered and life mimics life.
Well there have been a few head-scratching moments over the last few weeks and pretty soon some of us will have dug down to the grey matter – those of us with any left that is.
The fall-out from the Dotcom saga, the fall-out from the Banks fiasco, the fall-out from Jianqi’s ill-timed visit to Hollywood and the fall-out from the Shane Jones/Bill Liu matter and the fall-out from the Quade Cooper brain explosion are making those with any hair left nervously clutch their scalps.
I have often heard it said the Chinese have a proverb that goes, “May we live in interesting times”. I’ve often heard this quoted and misquoted but have never been 100 percent sure it was a Chinese proverb. However my most recent research suggests there could be a Chinese connection and it would seem it was both a proverb and a curse, which makes sense when you think of the wording.  It has certainly been repeated often enough – some of its more famous users have been Bobby Kennedy, Hunter S Thompson and Harry Kim from Star Trek. Actually that would be a good trivia question (what do these three have in common?).
So what does this rather obtuse phrase actually mean? Well I’m buggered if I know what it was supposed to mean when it was first uttered/invented/discovered and it seems silly to even try to discover what such an ambiguous adage could mean.
Another question that has been on everybody’s minds just lately (yes, people were tearing their hair about the Chinese proverb/curse); is, have ANZ Bank dropped the ‘National’ from their name to avoid being associated with the Government’s fall in the polls? Or is it that they didn’t want any Green horning in on their blue hues and diluting their brand? And given their new logo are they now the bank for the ‘paw folks’ or do they just want their customers to sit up and beg?
And from banking to something that rhymes with that – planking - what on earth did you think I was going to say? Wash your mouth out. Has there ever been a sillier five minute wonder than planking? I doubt it. A totally pointless act that appeared to be some kind of desperate attempt by the terminally talentless to achieve some sort of....well I’m stuffed if I know what they achieved apart from silly old Peter Dung of course who managed to himself look more dorky than usual when he ‘took up the challenge’ on Back Benches.  
But the conundrum that has puzzled Kiwis for a number of years now and frustrated the hell out of those concerned with our failing health profile and our rapidly expanding obesity stats is why is milk so expensive and coke so cheap?
It has never been that hard to figure out why coke is so cheap. It is produced in such enormous volumes there are obviously some huge economies of scale involved in the manufacturing stage. Then it contains so much addictive sugar and caffeine that they know they will also be guaranteed bulk repeat sales.
But why is milk which is produced also in huge volumes and from home grown ingredients is on average around twice the price of Coca Cola? In theory it contains no added ingredients, so the only costs involved are those associated with looking after the cows that produce it, extracting it from them and pasteurising it.
I see from Fonterrier’s latest report shows they have cutting back the forecast payout to the farmers again. Notice how the price at the shop never goes down when that happens? Of course the Fonterriermen will tell you that price is affected by the export prices. And that is another thing; Stuff carried out a survey last year and found that hardly anybody else in the world pays as much for their milk as we do in New Zealand. This is even crazier when you consider the stuff is produced so close to the back doors of most of us – so there aren’t many freight costs involved either.
But Fonterrier’s latest report actually carried the real reason why our milk is so expensive if anyone cared to read it. It is all down to the costs of staffing and how many times do you hear employers whinge about those costs? But at Fonterrier this is not about the ordinary folks that do the ordinary jobs that make Fonterrier its money like most similar whines. This is about the costs of one or two (particularly one) members of staff who are paid well beyond anything they are even remotely worth. It would seem $5.1 million dollar salary that former CEO Andrew Ferrier got in his last year with them wasn’t enough to support the poor wee chap and thus the Fonterriers gave him a little something to help him get by. Nothing major you understand; just a spare $8.2M they had lying around.
I don’t believe in the death penalty, but I could just about go along with whichever disgusting capitalist swine that approved that being made to walk the plank. $8.2 fucking million! That is disgusting especially when he has already been paid $5.1M for his final year and gawd knows how many millions for each of the other seven years he was in that job. This kind of obscene generosity is simply rubbing the noses of everyone in New Zealand who is struggling to make ends meet right in the soiled nappies of the 1%.
Now I don’t think I am over-reacting in the slightest here because I have done some number crunching here and I it is no exaggeration to say that 99% of us will never earn as much as that bonus in our entire working lives, never mind all the millions he got in salary over that 8 year gig. I have no problem with skilled people being paid a salary that is commensurate with their skill levels and even a bit more. But this is I have worked out that even if you had a working life of 40 years and averaged $200,000 per annum for that entire time, you would still wind up $100,000 short of that bonus.
Is this that brighter future where tossers like Ferrier have their snouts firmly wedged in a platinum trough while working families struggle to afford a one litre the very product he is earning so much from? 

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Pause for a hoarse cause

Causes can be a great rallying point for humanity. When people band together around an ideal there is scope for them to achieve a lot and overcome some pretty large odds. In fact causes are an opportunity for people to work together to change prevailing circumstances or attitudes.

There are times, however when this can go spectacularly wrong and in my experience this is usually when logic is abandoned in favour of fanatical idealism. Idealism without the fanatical aspect is a good thing because it allows us to imagine how things don’t need to stay as they are and could in fact be much better. However it is always important to overlay a certain logical template on your idealism to ensure it has not become, to use the current term du jour, a dopey idea.

I have been watching the unfolding or rather the unravelling of what would have begun as an earnest and worthy cause lately that is just such an example.

All causes have their wacky end of the spectrum and therein lies a dilemma for those more level headed members of the cause. Namely who do you let in and who do you run a mile from? There will be times when this will be a hard call to make; but if you care about your cause there are times when you will have to make it.

The reality is that extremists tend to marginalise your cause and give it a generally unacceptable public face. Nobody knows this better than the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. Like many groups dedicated to social change they began by accepting all sorts into their organisation. But because most of their policies were outside the existing mainstream this meant they attracted a lot of fringe dwellers and (let’s face it) a fairly good sprinkling of loonies as well. Although having said that; in the current climate it would be hard to imagine that we thought some of those Green Party members that were, shall we say; less helpful to their cause were actually loonies when you compare them to some of this current Government’s support parties.

However the point is that the Green Party grew up a bit and a more savvy leadership emerged that knows and understands that to win a cause you have to win popular support. This does not mean you have to pander; it simply means you have to find less scary and flaky ways of making your point. It also helps if you can keep your cool and remain firmly placed up there on the moral high ground. I used to be involved with a fairly feisty and effective community organisation a few years back and we always worked on the principle that you achieve far being firm and not backing down from your cause but by remaining calm and reasonable you would leave a far better and more effective impression than  a screaming rabble ever does.

It is this realisation that accounts for the outstanding electoral performance by the Green Party in the 2011 elections. Their policies have always been more mainstream than most people realised but many couldn’t see that because of some of the loopier characters who hogged the limelight and diverted attention by their very fringe-dwelling status away from the real issues. The wacky extremists became the darlings of the media who too often like to print something a bit salacious and ‘oo-er’ rather than something of substance.

What actually brought this subject to mind was an incident this week involving two causes that I think both need to get a bit more organised and define themselves better so they don’t become defined only by their loonier supporters. The two causes are veganism and animal rights. Both are worthy causes – I am a supporter of animal rights and I have been a vegetarian (although not vegan) for almost 40 years - but both are heavily promoted by some of their more fanatical supporters. Some of these people are by their conduct simply alienating the majority of the public through their strident aggression with the result that the validity of their cause is being lost.

I have been watching with increasing dismay a series of postings on both subjects that are little more than hatred against a large group of people. If the object of their spleen was women, disabled people, gays or a specific religious or racial group they would be prosecuted for stirring up such hatred against those groups. It is one thing to disagree with someone, or to mock them or even severely criticise or chastise them; but it is counter-productive to your cause to simply heap abuse upon them. That only results in the wider public viewing you and your followers as a bunch of uncouth hooligans and your cause as a lunatic fringe thing that no normal person would want anything to do with.

Another thing I have lately has been serious disconnect between the stated aims of some of these ‘activists’ and their behaviours. For example it seems rather stupid to post every single peace clip you can find while spewing vile spleen upon everyone who doesn’t subscribe to your viewpoint. That is hardly the stuff of a caring sentient being. But what gave me the idea for this blog this week was the last in a series of really bizarre contradictions I have been observing from someone who claims to be a fervent (or is that fevered) supporter of animal welfare. I had seen postings about how much they cared and so I was a bit puzzled a while ago when I learned this person had ‘rescued’ a couple of mice that had entered their house. The animals weren’t injured; it was just that the rescuer didn’t want to release them to be eaten by a cat or dog or actually dispatch them themselves. Rescuing mice is a rather odd concept in my opinion to start with, but there were more surprises in store for me when I learned this person was keeping said mice in a cage and running around a little wheel. I am pretty certain the mice were not consulted before being thrust into this pointless existence, which tends to look like their rights didn’t get a look in that time.

But what really blew my mind this week was when I saw a posting championing a vegan diet for dogs as being the best and most natural way to feed them. Duhhh! I drew the poster’s considerable ire when I pointed out the stupidity of this claim. I got ‘dumped’ for suggesting that to feed a dog on a vegan diet was actually animal abuse as they are not designed for that.

Oh well such are the slings and arrows of Outrageous Fortune or some other Westie programme. I suppose I could have been more direct and said if I found somebody forcing their dog onto a vegan diet I’d take them prisoner and force feed them on some equally inappropriate diet but hey, them’s the words of loonies. (Shutup in the back)

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Whanganui – giving ‘h’ to Whilson

Every now and then something happens that carries within it the seeds of a great lesson. Often that lesson is not immediately obvious because it is obscured by other stuff. The fallout from the Stuart Murray ‘Wilful’ Wilson fiasco is just such a case.

In fact this one carries with it several lessons. The first and most obvious of these is that the current Government (and for that matter the last Labour one) don’t give a stuff about the welfare of the victims of crime or for that matter the welfare of those who could potentially become the victims of crime. If it was not so, they would have made some important changes to the law following the release of Lloyd McIntosh.

For those unfamiliar with the facts; McIntosh was another foul sexual deviant who was released from prison on a ten-year supervision order similar to that which Wilson is now being released under. At the time McIntosh was deemed to be too dangerous to ever cease to be a threat. But as with Wilson, as the law stands authorities were obliged to release him. That was in 2005 and at the time concerns were raised about the situation by then opposition MP Tony Ryall. He said in relation to a suggestion that Corrections staff might reduce McIntosh’s level of supervision from two-on-one to one-on-one, “He is the worst of the worst and the staff are very worried that the community is being put at risk for the sake of a few thousand dollars.". 

That is the same Tony Ryall whose bum is today firmly wedged in seat number six at the cabinet table and who holds ministerial portfolios for Health and State Owned Enterprises. He was concerned enough about the situation when he was in opposition and in no strong position to do anything about it, yet after four years on the Government benches when one might expect he has some degree of influence he still has done NOTHING about it. Now that’s commitment for you – commitment to saying whatever might get you elected anyway.

Hand in hand with the evidence of Government indifference to the plight of the ordinary folk in New Zealand in general and Christchurch and Whanganui in particular is the obvious conclusion that our laws have not been thought through. It would appear they have been drafted with the idea in mind that everyone can be rehabilitated – if you take a generous view, that is. However if you are somewhat curmudgeonly inclined, as myself, you might take that as a lesson that these laws are drafted to make for a quick fix and based on the theory that people have short memories. They figure the cost of keeping someone inside is so high that it is cheaper to let them loose among the rest of us. The potential costs (financially and emotionally) when all of that turns to shit have not been factored in or even considered.

But for me the biggest lesson coming from the release of Wilson that is being laid out for all of us to see is the reaction of the people of Whanganui.

Now I realise there will be two camps over this. Some will say the organised way in which the townsfolk have come together and are talking of mass trespass orders and the like is an example of a vindictive and cruel society. They might say it is an example of how a few rabble-rousers such as Michael Laws can home in on a key issue such as the general alarm and fear generated by having a dangerous sex offender released into your community to get together a lynch mob.

That might be the case and I can see why it might be seen that way. I think it is a sad reflection on our society that people feel they have to take measures such as this, but who could possibly blame them for (a) being afraid and (b) being prepared to DO SOMETHING.

Now that is what I mean about a really valuable lesson that we can learn as a nation from this. If we don’t like what is going on, we can take action. But the key to it is that you need numbers to make these things work. Time will tell whether the people of Whanganui actually do carry through with what they are proposing, but the fact they actually have got together and discussed some direct action and are seriously considering taking it is a start.

I hope they do go ahead with their plans. It might seem vindictive, but there is a bigger issue here than simply the welfare of Stuart Murray Wilson. People are understandably worried when they discover the state is obliged to release people from prison who are known to pose an unacceptable level of risk to them. This furore is more about the situation than any individual. And when it comes right down to it, I am afraid that some people are entitled to more rights than others. People like McIntosh and Wilson who have grossly offended against their society have lost the moral right to be treated like the rest of us. The safety of ordinary law-abiding citizens must take precedence.

But go Whanganui and watch this space New Zealand. People working together in numbers for a cause – that’s how you get change. Governments like the one we now have (and plenty before them too) are a bit Mutt and Jeff. They don’t hear petitions and letters to the editor, but they find it harder to ignore a noisy mob.   

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Future perfect? Not in the present tense.

Now I get it. I can understand what Jianqi and his motley crew meant by their election campaign tag. The first thing I needed to understand about that tag was that the average level of education in New Zealand is pretty bloody poor and as a result press releases, public notices and newspapers are riddled with silly mistakes. It wasn’t ‘brighter future’ at all; it was ‘brighter futures’ as in for Jianqi and his lot.

In other words it means the current Government is dedicated to boosting the economy for the money men and those who are already exceedingly wealthy while totally ignoring the more pressing needs of the general population. And just so we don’t necessarily see it all happening they bring us bread and circuses to distract us.

This is hardly a revelation to many people but I bring it up (it is rather hard to keep down) to demonstrate to the few who might remain unconvinced of this very blatant agenda.

Check out these few facts and see if you still believe this Government has any sort of handle on how to make life better for the majority of Kiwis.

·         The Wellington Rape Crisis Centre is closing its doors one day a week despite their client contacts doubling in the last year because of a $55,000 funding shortfall.

·         Capital & Coast Health has cut funding to the Newtown Union Heath Service; a service that looks after the health needs of many low income people including new immigrants. They are to lose $275,000 per year, which is almost eight percent of their total funding because the DHB is attempting to cut its own budget by $20M over the next three years.

·         New proposals to ‘reform’ the Family Court mean those needing its mediation services which were previously provided free of charge, will now have to pay nearly $900 each time; a proposal that even officials at the Department for Courts have predicted will result in about 1200 fewer people being able to access the services.

·         In a time when unemployment rates are the highest they have been for 18 years and are still growing the Government is cutting $58.8M from the Youth Transition Service which provided training, support and education to school leavers to help them find work.

·         As if that wasn’t enough they also plan to cut $96.4M over the next four years from money available for employment assistance through WINZ.

There are dozens more of these cutbacks throughout most of the services provide by or supported by Government and of course the whole time we are being told it is because of the Global Financial Crisis or the Christchurch Earthquake or the Rena disaster or perhaps because the digits of the year add up to five. In any event the message is that these cutbacks are necessary because we have so many things we need to fund that we have to prioritise them and deal with the most important first.

That would make sense and be accepted by the majority of the population – if it was true. However it is rather hard to swallow the idea that we can’t fund health services for the vulnerable or programmes to get kids off their bums and out of trouble and into work when we still seem to have oodles of dosh to throw at some pretty marginal projects.

Here are some of the sillier examples of what I mean:

·         Gezza Browneye has spent $200M on consultants on what could be called the Roads of National’s Spendthrifts.

·         We currently contribute $1.8B to the IMF and are currently considering increasing this

·         Over the last couple of years we have given billions to bail out collapsed finance companies

·         Last year we guaranteed a $45M loan to Mediaworks a foreign owned private media company with billions of dollars of international assets.

It’s kind of hard to claim we haven’t enough to look after our own problems when we are so free and liberal with sums like that for purposes such as those. But it has just come to my attention that another project that I think is even sillier and wasteful in the current climate is going to scarf down another great pile of money that could be put to better uses.

I will probably offend a few sensibilities with this one, but here goes anyway; I am referring to the plan to build a large war memorial in Wellington to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing.

It is fine to recognise the deeds of those who (misguidedly or otherwise) went to war on our behalf. Although to be strictly accurate they went on behalf of the gutless politicians who always start these things and then send others to fight them. But I digress.

My point is that I have no problem with us holding a shindig in 2015; but why do we need to build an elaborate new war memorial when we already have 453 war memorials in New Zealand? Furthermore why do we need one which is already being calculated quite openly by Government to cost over $80M?

Of course as we all know, such estimates are always incredibly conservative. It is almost certain the project will blow out to well in excess of $100M and probably nearer to $150M.

I am very disappointed in the opposition parties for not opposing this, despite the fact they don’t have the numbers to stop it. But I guess none of them had the stones to do so. The ANZAC spirit is one of our most sacred cows and anyone who dares to do anything that might be perceived as pulling its tits is bound to cop a backlash and be accused of being unpatriotic or unsympathetic towards the sacrifices made by the diggers. The mud that would have been thrown at them would no doubt taint them in the eyes of the majority of people who will think this is something we have to do. I guess it would be an electorally unsound stance to take.

But wait a minute; do we really want politicians who will turn a blind eye to a capital expenditure like this while far more important things are being cut back?

Commemorate and honour the sacrifice each year, by all means, but do we really need to make more graven idols to the madness of war in order to do this?

I would ask anyone who defends this decision to ask themselves again what it was these guys thought they were fighting for. It has always been my understanding they were risking their lives to preserve a good way of life for us all. At least that’s what I’ve always been told. Of course that has been the Government’s propaganda about war since forever, but their motives have always been much less altruistic.

I believe the old soldiers I have spoken to from time to time and who have said they did it because they saw it as their duty to their fellow countrymen. That was what was in their heads and so they wanted us to have a better way of life and to look after our most vulnerable citizens.

I wouldn’t mind betting there will be a lot of these guys spinning in their graves when they see $100M or more going to this project while rape victims are unable to get the support they need, young people are short-changed on their education and all but the wealthy are having their health services compromised.

They’d be even less impressed to see Jianqi racing to knock down the assets many of them paid for so that he and his money market buddies can scoop huge bundles of them up and make even bigger fortunes.

Hmmm definitely brighter futures for them.     

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

We’re shifting those bloody deck chairs again

While it is true you can prove anything you like with statistics; plain ordinary numbers are a little harder to argue with if they are presented in context.

One such number that caught my eye this week and nearly caused it to pop out was the number of people who committed criminal offences (additional to those they were already facing) while on bail. I knew it would be a lot because many of us have banged our heads against the wall when yet another limp wristed judge allows yet another crazed psychopath the freedom to commit even more heinous crimes against our society.

However I was not ready for the fact that over the period 2006-2010 inclusive, almost 70,000 such slimeballs committed new crimes while on bail and 44 of those involved either murder or manslaughter. That’s an average of 14,000 bail breaching criminals each year, nine of whom (on average) kill somebody while they are on bail.

A further flick through the figures which Granny Herald obtained under the Official Information Act reveals a total of more than 7000 offences that could generally fall under the banner of assault; over 1100 involving, such acts as kidnapping, harassment and threatening behaviour and a further 763 sexual offences. Just think how many people have had their lives ruined by these poor judicial decisions.

It is important to remember that in 2008 the bail laws were ‘tightened’, which goes to prove once more that it is the judges that need to be changed and not the laws. Having said that; the excuse that is often tendered by judges is that they are bound by such Acts as the Sentencing Act and the Bail Act. This is correct of course, but too often they are not fully using the powers available to them under either Act.

The Bail Act definitely needs some tweaking though, and don’t hold your breath for Judith Collin’s much heralded Bail Amendment Act to rectify that. A look through that proposed piece of legislations uncovers only one clause that could realistically be called an improvement in keeping the public safe. That sole beacon (or should I say single Beehive match power) of hope is what is proposed as the new section 9A in the Bail Act. “In deciding whether or not to grant bail to a defendant to whom this section applies or to allow the defendant to go at large, the need to protect the safety of the public and, where appropriate, the need to protect the safety of any particular person or persons are the primary considerations.

That sounds promising, but don’t get too excited because apart from that the remainder of the changes are so insignificant as to be almost invisible. The basic thrust of the Act still seems to be to avoid holding anyone in custody.

A casual reading of the Bail Act can be misleading because there are a number of sections headed Restrictions on bail if...... Each one of these begins by listing offences that qualify the defendant under this section to have their option of bail restricted, until you read down a few subsections and find the following No defendant to whom this section applies may be granted bail or allowed to go at large except by order of a High Court Judge or a District Court Judge.” This is of course a no-brainer and we all figured out that neither I nor you nor the dustman could actually grant bail. We are further enlightened in each of these sections by the following subsection: “No defendant to whom this section applies may be granted bail or allowed to go at large unless the defendant satisfies the Judge that bail or remand at large should be granted.”

That is also no surprise to anyone, but the significance of it is that for every clause that appears to restrict the right to bail these two sub-sections are added which opens a door we are supposed to have been fooled into thinking had just closed. The bright shiny new ‘future’ Bill sponsored by Little Bo Tox removes none of these so it effectively will bring no change at all.

There is still a default situation for those under 20 to be granted bail unless a really good case can be made for not doing so. I can only assume that in either instance they would have to make a really, really good case considering how easily Judge David McNaughton found it to release Akshay Anand Chand on bail after he had kidnapped and threatened the life of Christie Marceau. McNaughton’s clumsy act led directly to the death of Christie Marceau at the hands of Chand.

Much of the PR associated with the new Bail Amendment Act centres on what is being pitched as a fundamental change surrounding the granting of bail to persons charged with serious violent or sexual offences. The amendment means that instead of the cops having to show why someone should be held in custody, the accused has to satisfy the judge why he should be allowed out. The track record of our judges so far doesn’t really fill me with hope based on this wimpy bit of legal verbiage and I am sure it will be business as usual.

So why do judges grant bail to dangerous bastards and put us al at risk? Because they can and there ain’t nothin’ we can do about it.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

The buck stops where exactly?

The relentless push for value deducted continues unabated in Godzone. We shouldn’t be surprised as we have elected a Government that cares only about feathering its own nest and despises everything that is good about this country.

Sooner or later their arrogance is going to result in some much more serious social consequences than we have seen hitherto.

As a New Zealander you would not be alone feeling you were under attack (or at least your way of life was) from all sides. It is quite exhausting trying to keep up with all the mayhem these jerks are causing. Let’s take a look at what is under threat.

The Economy:

 I find it rather ironic how a Government that focuses so much on the financial bottom line makes so many brain-dead short term decisions that don’t stack up economically. The most glaring example of this of course is the asset sales circus.

I don’t think I have seen a single commentator regardless of their political persuasion that has said selling these assets is a sound decision for the economy. Even the government hasn’t said that. If you look at what they have said I think you will find they have actually avoided that question instead relying on the ever-present TINA for an explanation. But of course there is ALWAYS an alternative.

If it wasn’t so tragic I would find it funny how they like to tell us they have no other way of getting out of debt than to sell the family home. As any fool knows when you sell a major asset; unless you have a cunning and foolproof plan to earn far more than you have been earning up to the point when you sold it, that asset will never be yours again. If the asset is merely a trinket, that is of no importance. However if that asset is a business in a market that provides an essential product or service, you will miss out on all those earnings for evermore.

It is also an extremely unwise move to allow strategic industries to fall into the hands of foreign powers. There are fewer industries more strategic to a country than the energy industry and the potential exists for us to be held to ransom over products that have been made with our resources in our country.

In a move that typifies the arrogance of this Government, Jianqi has announced a measure he calls a guarantee and which he would like us to think precludes that happening. Unfortunately our too often too compliant media have helped him in this regard by not exposing the package for the cynical sop it is.

His idea is to offer an incentive to Kiwi buyers. (That’s the millions of Mum and Dad buyers we are always hearing about who are champing at the bit to buy up huge chunks of companies they already own). His shonky smoke and mirrors deal is that those among the Kiwis who buy shares in these power companies will be up for an incentive bonus of extra shares if they hold onto them for (possibly) three years. As this is an incentive it means there is no compulsion involved and therefore no guarantee. Furthermore you and I will finance the cost of these extra shares and after the three years has passed and the punters have received their bonus shares they will have much more financial incentive to quit them to the highest bidder. But the media are all t5o busy breathlessly announcing a ‘guarantee’ from the Prime Manipulator to either notice or bother to tell their readers that this is all simply an elaborate illusion that belongs on stage with Paul Daniels or Derren Brown rather than masquerading as news in the nation’s papers.

The Environment:

Rapacious money men are attacking our land on almost every imaginable side. Jianqi and Aimless Adams are collaborating to allow almost every variety of planetary parasite access to our waters, mountains, farmlands and scenic delights to do with them what they will. Aimless seems to have dropped the second ‘d’ from her surname but the horrors she is contemplating would make even Morticia squirm. Make no mistake none of these projects they are contemplating ‘green-lighting’ are going to make any meaningful difference to our economy in a positive sense.

As always it will be the wealthy foreign companies and a few privileged and already very wealthy Kiwis that will benefit. No doubt our useless Government will limit the liabilities of these outsiders so they can walk away with very little responsibility for any damage they might cause much as those responsible for the Rena disaster have.

Give these guys another three years and we will have oil wells off the Taranaki, Bay of Plenty and Hawke’s Bay coastlines. Huntly, the Coromandel and the West Coast will be turned into giant honeycombs and Fiordland will be owned by Disney.

The Press/Media

As witnessed during the 2011 election, this Government is not fond of anyone who might wish to tell it how it is rather than how they would like to spin it.

We saw bizarre Government favouring decisions from Ombudsmen, High Court Judges and newspaper editors. Wasn’t that lucky for a government who didn’t want the truth to get out?

And just to make absolutely sure no truth seeps out into the awareness of the public they made good and sure by closing down TVNZ7, the only television channel that dared to question what they were up to and had the audacity to run programmes that didn’t always show the Government as an infallible and beneficent force.

Radio NZ will probably be next because the Natzis all avoid going on there as much as possible while meantime basking in a confrontation-free zone on commercial radio stations such as Newstalk ZB.

Some breaking news today is further proof they don’t want us to have access to any news programmes that actually attempt to find the truth. I read this morning that TVOne ‘s documentary programme Sunday, is to be cut back to a 30-minuyte format so we can all ‘enjoy’ the latest incarnation of New Zealand’s Got Talent. Apart from Q & A which is on during daytime, Sunday is about the only remotely serious news programme on the Channel and they want to cut it down so we can see more formulaic enfranchised crap instead. Marshmallow TV for marshmallow brains. Fortunately not every person in New Zealand has a brain that would be better used by being stuck on a fork and held over a flame. A great and encouraging example is Wellington alt-country outfit The Beens who sum up the Government we currently have in a great song called Not My Problem which you can find at I shouldn’t think it will get any airtime on any of the radio stations the Government approve of, but it deserves to go to number one for the sentiments it expresses. It’s also a good piece musically and the vocalist reminds me of Graham Parker.

I could go on about the numbers of Kiwis chasing greener pastures across the ditch, the underfunding of the health system, the rising unemployment figures and the widening gap between rich and poor.

It certainly ain’t Jianqi’s problem; but it’s all building up to a big one for us.