What’s in a name? When the name is McGuinness Institute, it tells you all you need knowing

February 29, 2012

Whoa there a mo’.

Alf might have spent an hour or so too long in Bellamy’s and maybe his usually sharp brain has been a tad numbed by the splendid scotch they serve.

But what’s going on at an outfit which today rejoices in the name McGuinness Institute

Early yesterday it was the Sustainable Future Institute.

But its directorial team has approved a name change to the McGuinness Institute, effective from February 28.

And who is the chief executive?

Why, it turns out to be someone named Wendy McGuinness (FCA, BCom, MBA), a chartered accountant specialising in risk management and future studies.

Wendy says in a media statement she

… believes this change reflects international best practice, making transparent both where the principal funds are coming from, and the purpose; namely private funds invested for the public good.

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Yep, a bloke has to be on his guard against man-hungry spinsters today

February 29, 2012

And there are many more where these were spotted…

The Daily Mail has published these in an article geared for Leap Day, noting that the last day of February in a leap year means only one thing – women can propose to men.

The paper says any bloke feeling anxious about this once-every-four-years phenomenon may like to take advice from a collection of ‘leap year’ postcards by Donald McGill.

The postcards, which date from the early 1900s when it was deemed improper for women to propose, all feature warnings to men about getting trapped by undesirable women on the only day they could traditionally pop the question.

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Taranaki iwi show they don’t need a Treaty clause to get a slice of the oil action

February 28, 2012

It's much safer with good cultural advice.

It’s great to see an enterprising iwi prepared to strike its own deal with oil companies and not come bleating to the Beehive about the need for Treaty rights to be built into oil-industry legislation.

In Alf’s experience, the Maori doing the bleating on these occasions typically are lobbying for favours – they demand to be promoted to first place in the queue of buyers when state assets are sold, for example, or they want a big chunk of fishing quota handed to them on a plate, and so on…

But a South Taranaki iwi has taken its own commendable initiative and has signed a ground-breaking agreement with an oil company which – all going well – will result in jobs being offered in exchange for support.

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Don’t worry if McCully has disappeared, Boss – we can suggest an admirable replacement

February 27, 2012

Alf reckons he saw McCully head off in that direction...

Dunno what The Boss thinks about a Minister with an aversion to answering questions.

Or a Minister – more to the point – whose current whereabouts are unknown, except that he is “in the media”.

Alf accordingly senses an opportunity to get himself a Cabinet job at long last, and has let The Boss know of his willingness (a) to take over Foreign Affairs; and (b) front up to the news media to explain MFAT job cuts, our position on Syria and so on.

Immediately, it’s fair to say, The Boss seems disinclined to take advantage of his hard-working Eketahuna North MP’s willingness to do what Murray McCully won’t do, which is explain what’s doing.

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How to trim $20m from the Waikato DHB budget – find the fatties first and fire them

February 26, 2012

The savings will be bigger if the tubbies go first.

Alf is reluctant to trespass on to the electorate domains of his National Party mates, David Bennett and Tim Macindoe.

But he can’t resist throwing some advice on the matter of the Waikato District Health Board’s efforts to deal with a financial shortfall for the coming financial year of about $20 million.

As that pointer shows, Alf picked up the news from Radio NZ –

Chief executive Craig Climo has told employees the board will have to find savings of $20 million for the year beginning in July this year and a further $5 million in each of the two following years.

And if savings can not be found in other areas, staff reductions are among the cost-cutting options.

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Aussies be Warned – constant exposure to Poms could eradicate your insensitivities

February 25, 2012

If Shane Warne can be changed...

...can Sir Les be sensitised too?

A sensitive Australian?

Alf always thought he would never encounter such a creature – not without further substantial advances in the science of genetic engineering.

But today he admits he is wrong.

British newspapers have revealed the existence of a sensitive Australian who is alive and well and litigating in that country.

Hmm. Not so well, maybe.

He is making something of a fuss about being racially abused when colleagues greet him with ‘G’Day sport’ and he says the ‘racism’ would have ‘eventually killed him’

This evidence of a delicate nature raises an important question for the scientists who study these things: maybe if you put an Aussie in another environment for long enough he or she can become sensitive.

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Now that Mfat is getting an organisational tummy tuck, what will we finish up with?

February 24, 2012

So our foreign service will be reduced to this.

There’s lots of angst and apprehension on Wellington’s Lambton Quay after the unveiling of plans to close embassies, lay off hundreds of staff and outsource consular hotlines for distressed New Zealanders overseas.

The Herald describes this overhaul today as part of a proposed radical overhaul of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Mfat).

And a further round of job cuts is looming, on top of yesterday’s confirmation that the axe is hovering over 305 jobs, including diplomatic and policy positions.

Mfat chief executive John Allen announced proposed changes that would see 169 ministry staff culled in New Zealand and overseas, as well as 136 locally-engaged staff.

That means the loss of 21 per cent of the ministry’s 1421 staff, in one of several changes that Mr Allen said would transform the ministry into a flexible organisation with improved expertise.

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The SPCA affirms it: “free-range” does not mean your poultry had a happy time down on the farm

February 23, 2012

The chooks that were cannibalised in the Wairarapa will never know it, probably, but they have died in a good cause.

They have demonstrated that “free range” on food labels has nothing much to do with animal welfare.

Alf always knew as much.

But his constituents have had this affirmed on the good authority of the SPCA, which has issued a statement on the matter in the aftermath of a free-range layer hen farm in Martinborough being abandoned by the farmers.

As was recorded here two days ago, many hens were left neglected, to fend for themselves, and they set about eating each other, but not – presumably – with fries as an accompaniment.

The SPCA got in on the act yesterday with a media statement to explain that “free range” on your food label does not necessarily show the poultry is the product of good animal welfare practices.

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Tui’s gorgeous girls need to be protected by Auckland feminists – yeah, right!

February 22, 2012

If this is what they mean by retro-sexist...

...then how come this is retro-sexist?

Alf has just one problem with the Tui girls.

Whenever he drives through Mangatainoka, he has never spotted them.

Nor has he spotted them in nearby Pahiatua, just up the road from where Alf resides in Eketahuna.

But today we learn that the Tui girls – or rather, the brewery for whom they work – have upset an Auckland group calling itself Feminist Action.

You would think there is enough going on in New Zealand’s biggest city to keep the womenfolk busy or amused.

But not enough to stop some of them getting together to launch a campaign to get Tui to withdraw sexist beer ads featuring its all-female brewery.

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Perhaps Sue Kedgley should consult the chooks before freeing them from their cages

February 21, 2012

So we can live in a cage and be turned into Tegel pieces or become free rangers and be cannibalised.

Would the chickens on a certain farm in the Wairarapa – those that are still alive, that is – vote for the Greens, if the franchise was widened to include chooks?

At first blush, they would vote Green, because the Green Party has championed their welfare for years.

In October last year – for example – the Greens joined animal rights groups in calling on the Government to reject the use of colony cages for layer hens.

At that time, the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RNZSPCA) and Save Animals From Exploitation (SAFE) called a press conference to announce their opposition to the cages.

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