ASEAN and a lesson (for Dicks) in generosity

February 28, 2009

Dunno what’s happened to Federated Farmers’ thinking on the agreement establishing the ASEAN–Australia–New Zealand Free Trade Area signed yesterday in Hua Hin, Thailand.

Alf is sure he heard the feds president, Don Nicolson, welcoming the deal on a Radio New Zealand news item at noon today – enthusing about it, even.

But a journo mate tells Alf the feds recalled a press statement on the issue last night, and there is no sign of a replacement. The most recent item on their web-site is a response to Jeanette Fitzsimons’ announcement she will be stepping down as co-leader of the Greens.

It also reiterated the feds” intransigence on climate change –
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Go with the good ideas, vapourise the rest

February 28, 2009

Good work – the Jobs Summit is over and there’s a general feeling it has been a great success.

David Farrel at Kiwiblog sets out the main ideas to emerge:

• A nine day working fortnight, with the Government paying (but at leass than full wages) for training on the 10th day. Est to cost $320 million a year which is huge. However if it does keep up to 20,000 people in jobs, then you save a lot by not having to pay unemployment benefits and still collecting tax on their incomes. Backed by Key, unions and employers

• A $50 million cycleway from Cape Reinga to Bluff, employing 4,000 people (not sure for how long). Supported by Key as a tourism measure and Greens for obvious reasons. Not one of the formal top 20.

• A multi-million or billion equity investment fund, with the Government and banks, designed to let companies access capital to grow.

• A $60 million private-public fund to boost Tourism.

Alf says on yer bike to a $50 million cycleway – the strong pong of Green around would be too much for the pie-eating petrol-heads in his electorate.

And how many bloody investment funds does a country need?
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Why Richard Worth is looking like a Dick

February 28, 2009

Petty-minded politician of the week?

Richard Worth, for telling Phil Goff to fuck off.

Telling Goff to fuck off normally wouldn’t excite Alf unduly. He is often inclined to give Goff the same advice.

But a posting by Philippa Stevenson at the Tamahere Forum, gives a strong impression of Richard Worth as a prize and pompous prat who deserves to be called Dick. Or Wally.
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A double scoop, please, on fraud awareness

February 27, 2009

What goes around comes around, they say – and it has happened very quickly, in the case of a media statement from Consumer Affairs Minister Heather Roy.

As Alf’s constituents were advised on 24 February, next week Roy will launch Fraud Awareness Week, described as a joint initiative that focuses on raising awareness of scams in the community.

Scoop had posted the media release earlier in the day.

Just in case we missed it, maybe, or because there’s not much news around, while the Government is running its Jobs Summit in Auckland, Scoop has published the media release again today.

You will be busting to learn – again – that Fraud Awareness Week will be officially launched on Monday at Trade Me, Level 3, NZX Centre, 11 Cable Street, Wellington, between 12pm-1pm.

No, you won’t see Alf there. He has better things to do.

Goodwin and a bank’s bad losses

February 27, 2009

Banking is a good game to be in, if you are unsure about whether you will be good at it.

Even if the bank you are running fails – or falters, but is rescued by taxpayers – you stand to do quite nicely, thank you. In Britain, anyway (and reports from the US show it is true there, too).

The Royal Bank of Scotland has just announced the largest annual loss in British corporate history.

Bailed out by the government last year, it has reported a 2008 loss of £24.1bn.

It says it will put £325bn of “toxic assets” (Alf loves the language of high finance) into a scheme that offers insurance for any future losses.

So who was in charge when the bank was racing to the cliff edge?
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Thou shalt not play with e-gadgets

February 27, 2009

The St Heliers Presbyterian Church in Auckland somewhat curiously is not advising parents to take their kids to church on Children’s Day. Nope. It is urging them to spend the day listening to and talking with children “instead of a Sunday spent being distracted by e-gadgets.”

Jill Kayser, national coach of Kids Friendly, a Presbyterian Church initiative and a member of St Heliers, says that parents and caregivers are being encouraged to interact with their children this Sunday rather than allowing them to zone out in front of TV, DVD players, computers, iPods, Xbox and Playstations.

Adults need to give up their e-gadgets too. Turn off the mobile phones and laptops. Switch off the devices that are taking your time and attention away from an uninterrupted day with your children.

There are lots of recreational things to do together in or out of the home that dont require e-gadgets says Jill,

There’s a greenie angle to all this, too.

And switching off devices will help more than family relationships says Jill; it will also teach children how something as simple as pushing an off button can help the environment by reducing CO2 emissions.

Alf is mind-boggled.

Do we really need to set aside one day a year for interacting with our children and turning off our gadgets to save the planet?

Or should we make an effort to do this every day of the bloody year, thereby making Children’s Day a needless nonsense?

Scoop – a case of found, then lost

February 26, 2009

Let’s hear it for the cops – they’ve rounded up a couple of missing kids before Scoop could get around to alerting the community to the fact they were missing.

The good news comes in a New Zealand Police National News Release (9:25am 27 February 2009) posted on the Scoop website at 9.40am.

Two young boys, missing from Hamilton East overnight were located hiding in bushes at a school in Hillcrest this morning.
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The cow: one end is moo, the other milk

February 26, 2009

We must add Farm Day to the list of special days being plugged by cabinet ministers – Agriculture Minister David Carter describes it as “a great way to cement connections between town and country.”

Federated Farmers Farm Day is being held on 27 farms throughout the country this Sunday (1 March), offering New Zealanders a chance to see working farms in action

“Research done by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry shows that city dwellers appreciate the contribution the rural sector makes to our economy, and understand that if rural New Zealand is doing well, the whole country is better off,” says Mr Carter.
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Seeing red at Pink Shirt Day

February 25, 2009

In case you missed it, today – it seems – was Pink Shirt Day and a gaggle of Labour MPs was suitably attired to mark the occasion (which has even less going for it than Children’s Day).

They issued a statement today to declare –

The members of Labour’s Rainbow Caucus MP are today donning appropriately coloured shirts in support of the country’s first ever Pink Shirt Day, designed to highlight the need to prevent bullying in schools.

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Another needless special day

February 25, 2009

Here comes another of those officially fabricated special occasions– this time it’s Children’s Day.

Up here in Eketahuna, where we love our kids and our kids love us, every day is Children’s Day.

Alf would like to think the same is true elsewhere around the country, and is perplexed that his Government is declaring just one day to be Children’s Day, whereas it is devoting a whole week to recognising Fraud Awareness Week.
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