Brash’s Back-stabbing Politics

I’ve been following some of the commentary about Don Brash’s takeover of the ACT Party Leadership, and the ousting of Rodney Hide.

I’m no particular fan of Hide’s, but isn’t this whole deal just a teensy bit unsavoury? I haven’t seen the term “back-stabbing” once, and yet it is all I can think of, to characterise the whole unseemly shambles. What is most galling of all though, is Brash’s apparent relish.  ugh.

Cant help but echo Winston’s sentiment in the BOP Times when he asks “if that is how they treat each other then how would they treat outsiders or you?”

Roll on election day.

TV Rules

After 2 years of keeping television out of our home, we seem to have finally relented, and 8yo son now lives on it. Exactly what I was trying to avoid, but at least the internet bill should be easier to keep in line.

Another upside might be that I’ll be posting here a little more regularly, since I am catching the odd news broadcast and it seems we’re more “in touch” with what is going on out there.

I’m not big on prayer, but I’d love to wave a magic wand for little Lucas Ward and his family down in Gisborne.

Sceptics and Homeopathics

On the news a couple of weeks back was an item where they filmed coverage of a group of Sceptics “o-d-ing” on Homeopathic potions and pills. Their aim was to prove that the remedies they swallowed were no more use than a glass of water. (FYI – a glass of water is often a very useful remedy in itself as many a headache sufferer could attest).

In the filmed item they were cramming handfuls of tiny white pills into their mouths and “chowing down” in order to prove how inefficacious they believed the remedies to be.

What struck me though, through this whole item, is that no one appeared to pick up on the glaring omission. And that is, that not one of them, would have dared do the same with standard prescription or OTC meds, like Paracetamol for instance.

Whatever conclusions one may draw about the effectiveness or otherwise of homeopathic medicines, they are clearly very much safer than their allopathic counterparts. Very few people to my knowledge have died of homeopathic adverse reactions, if any at all. So in an odd sort of way, the sceptics provided good advertising for the homeopathic practitioners, by highlighting by default, the unsafe nature of common medications.

Undermining our Menfolk

I would quite like some feedback on this post, since I wonder, am I alone in noticing these things?

Today a friend went to court on a DIC charge, (his second, the first 23 years ago), and got 7 months loss of licence, and $600-odd dollars to pay in fines and court costs. He was only marginally over the limit, but he took his medicine with stoicism, and had a friend arranged to drive him all the way back to Whangarei. The offence and hearing took place here in Tauranga.

We have probably known him for all of those 23 years, and in that time he has married, and raised a fine young family of 3 children, as well as supported his wife through three years of tertiary study, all under his own steam, and all the while contributing, via his taxes, to the state coffers. And not once, requiring support from the state. His children will grow up to be productive New Zealanders, should they inherit their Father’s work ethic.

Give the judge her due, she treated him as a first offence. This seems entirely reasonable given the time which has elapsed since his original first offence. And I’m not suggesting here that he shouldn’t have to pay the penalty for his misdeameanour (I can’t bring myself to call it a crime, since it was in essence, victimless).

However, when it was all over, and we knew the outcome, I had a strong sense of injustice. And it wasn’t over the sentencing itself. The injustice to my mind, is when he has to apply for a restricted licence (after the initial month stand-down) and it costs him another $1500 for a lawyer to file the application for him, so that he can continue to work and support his family. If he were sitting on his butt collecting the dole or ACC or sickness benefit or whatever they care to call it these days, he wouldn’t need to apply for a restricted licence, since he wouldn’t need it to go to work. There are so many “politically correct” “anti-discrimination” policies these days, that no one seems to have the balls to ask why our hard-working fathers are discriminated against in this manner. Why should he be worse off, than a beneficiary in the same circumstances? And why should the system be so complex that he has to use a lawyer to get permission to feed his family?

I’m not trying to be down on beneficiaries here. I’m just upset that someone who works so hard, should be put at such a ridiculous disadvantage. It seems that now that we have “equal rights” etc, and women can be judges, prime ministers etc etc etc, we have somehow undermined or demoted the good fathers in our society. Ok, he screwed up on the night, but can’t he be accorded something in the way of recognition? Couldn’t the system better accommodate our hard-working menfolk?

I’m not sure how to fix it, but something is very definitely wrong about that.

Meet our new Prime Minister, National’s Mr John Key

OMG that was a  l-o-o-o-n-g  9 years! I was not surprised by anything much at this election, except perhaps that the moronic Greens managed to extend their vote.

Thank goodness Mr Key has won so emphatically, that he shouldn’t have to even talk to the likes of them.

I was surprised however,  by Helen Clark resigning straight away, on the night. As was everyone,  by the sounds of it. I knew she was gonna go,  but didn’t think she’d be that abrupt about it.

I was not surprised, but considerably sorry to see NZ First fall under the 5% radar, and Winston, very predictably failing to take the Tauranga seat.

Rodney did extremely well for Act, focussing his efforts, as at the last election, on his electorate seat of Epsom, which he again won, so even though they didn’t make the 5%, they still have 5 MP’s in the house, and they will make a natural ally for National.

The Kiwi Party in the end, barely registered on the overall scale, but I wish I could have voted for them.

John Key is our new leader.  So that proves it. There must indeed be, a God up there, in heaven.  🙂

Voting 101 for Seniors

Well election day is here and I don’t have TV to watch it on. That is a peculiar and extreme punishment for a political animal like me. 

My Mum is 80 and lives alone in a Housing Corp unit on a pension and she has a soft spot for Helen Clark. Nevertheless, there is only one vote to cast today, if you are 65 or over, and dependent on the Government for your sustenance, and that is for NZ First.  Whatever drama anyone chooses to cook up around Winston Peters, he is the only person there, save perhaps Jim Anderton, who can be relied upon to look out for the interests of our older citizens.

So that’s it folks. A little late considering you have most likely voted already, but if you haven’t, and if you are on a pension, dont stress about your choice, because there isn’t one.

We went out fairly early this morning, so our democratic right/duty is all done and dusted.  Roll on tonight. I think I’m going to have to go visit someone with a telly.  🙂

Election Day is here

I thought, up until a few hours ago, that I knew how I was going to vote. But no … better think again.

I had thought I’d give my party vote to the Kiwi Party – and would still love to – but if I want a change of government, and I certainly do, then I have to give it to National. I think this is going to be a very interesting election. The smaller party vote (other than perhaps the Maori Party), is likely to dry up in my estimation.

Can’t remember if I posted this before, but I think win or lose, Helen Clark will resign within 2 months after this election. I think she’s got a plum overseas job lined up, and is ready to fly the coop. No particular reason for this one. Just a feeling.

So anyway, its Party Vote National for me, and maybe I’ll give Tony Christiansen a shot for the local choice. In truth I would have loved to vote for the Kiwi Party. They deserved my vote, simply for the quality of their marketing if nothing else. But if John Key manages not to lose it, then he deserves it too. I like his style. I like that he has matured a bit in terms of his public debating etc.

I also think this is a unique opportunity for NZ. We’ve never had an independently wealthy individual (i.e. someone who is already a significant financial success) running the place. Dont get me wrong. I appreciate that there are other measures of success besides money, but most things one aspires to, require a certain level of funds in the kitty, and the same is true of nations. Now is the time to give someone like him a shot. We’re going in to what is possibly the worst recession in many decades. What have we got to lose? Lets see what he’s made of.

NZ National Goal Setting – An idea whose time has come.

I don’t usually buy the newspapers, but found this link in the Weekend Herald. It’s quite a novel concept, although you can’t help but wonder why it hasn’t been suggested before now. Kind of transcends all the party political stuff, in favour of the country, and where we want to see ourselves in the future. I downloaded the document and it is a clear, well laid out summary of our economic history, and likely future if we carry on as we have been doing. 13 pages in large easy to read type.

If there’s an economic tsunami on the way, maybe its a fantastic opportunity to re-evaluate what we are doing and where we are going as a nation. So rather than wonder what we’re in for, I thoroughly recommend you check this out, and send it to all your email friends, and maybe a few offline ones too.

Happy voting next Saturday.

NZ Parliamentary Elections 2008

Ok, I’m going to retract my original prediction. It all appears to be going very much National’s way, although there are still a little over 3 weeks before polling day, on November 8th I believe.

The reason I’ve done this about turn, and decided to go with the pundits in predicting a National win, is that there seems to be an appetite for a change of government out there. It’s not so much about National or Labour as it is “let’s have someone new”. So there you have it.  John Key’s boyhood prediction of becoming Prime Minister, may well be about to come true.

The one thing I do not trust him about (and remember, I am generally pro-National), is Nuclear Power. I think he’ll have the damn things under construction, very early in his term. It would be hard to forgive that.

I admire his work ethic and results-oriented style, and I also admire the fact that he appears to be well and truly holding his own against the vastly more experienced Clark. But if he takes New Zealand down the Nuclear Path (BTW, I am no greenie),  it will be the most blatant bit of money making at our country’s expense, ever seen in our history I believe. My six-year old is worried about nuclear power coming to this country. I hope the day doesn’t arrive, when I have to tell him its here.


Many years ago I went to an art exhibition in Auckland and beheld, for the first time, the difference between an art print and the sheer magnificence of the original work. It was the Reader’s Digest exhibition from memory (I’m talking the early 1980’s here), and the painting which stopped me in my tracks was Monet’s “Paysage Dans L’Ile Saint Martin”. I don’t recall how much the entry fee was, but the impact of that painting will stay with me forever. Until that time I had virtually zero appreciation of the value of art, or for that matter, the meaning of the word “priceless”.

So, when an invitation to the 2008 Institute of Registered Music Teachers Showcase Concert came my way, I hadn’t the slightest idea of what to expect. In effect the IRMT (BOP Branch) event was an opportunity for our local children to showcase their musical talents, but for me, it turned out to be a second epiphany which I can’t help but liken to the viewing of that huge, original, Monet canvas.

The entry fee this time was $6, and my neighbour who’d invited me along even shouted me. So for me the only investment was my time, yet the experience was priceless. And there’s that huge word again. What these children are able to do with piano and violin is beyond description.

I imagine a formal “review” of this type of event would include knowledgeable references to the types and styles of music played, but I am a very ordinary Kiwi, and my musical history is limited pretty much to what I heard on the radio when I was young. I don’t even listen to that much anymore.

So the Chopin’s and the Debussy’s and the Mendelssohn’s simply conspired together for a night of sheer bliss and inspiration.

Fingers delighting on keyboard

Bows dancing deftly on strings

Piano, violin, songbirds, cello and flute.

And that brings me back to the Monet.

No recording could ever speak to the heart of the listener, as the original performance can do. The instruments were given life by the players.

What also struck me was the countless hours of practice that must go into the apparent “talent” of these young musicians. Forgive the quote marks. There is no question that they are genuinely talented, but this talent is so clearly gained via sheer application and hard work. This was a new slant on the concept of talent for me. I used to think of it as a natural aptitude, but now I believe it can be acquired by anyone so motivated to be prepared to work towards it.

This performance literally altered my view of the world to such a profound extent, that I had the idea to somehow duplicate the idea of the “books in homes” program, to establish a “music in homes” version. ?? Or at least find out a means of sponsoring/encouraging both parents and children, to go out and see at least one live performance.

For all their youth, and they ranged in age from about 8 to 18, they opened places in my heart, that I had forgotten existed.

I don’t know what music lessons cost, but I do have an idea of their value now, and my 6yo is already booked in.