Sunday, November 29, 2009


An interview between Pat Brittenden on Newstalk ZB, the spokesperson for Scientology in New Zealand, Mike Ferris, Ex-Scientologist Aaron Saxton and author Mark Bunker.

Part One
Discover Simple, Private Sharing at

Part Two
Discover Simple, Private Sharing at

Part Three
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Saturday, November 21, 2009

March for ‘Democracy’…an utter failure

It has to be said that four to five thousand people marching through Queen Street in central Auckland is not a number to be sniffed at…unless you have stated you want to try to achieve a march of 50,000 as Colin Craig, march sugar daddy, stated in many interviews leading up to the event.

The organizers of the march threw numbers around before the event, like 87% of the population wanted the anti smacking law changed, 1.4 million people voted against the anti smacking law…more than voted in John Key…so it would only be fair to demonstrate back to Mr. Craig, through the medium of statistics (and maybe the odd opinion) how this was not only NOT "the biggest march in New Zealand's history", but an utter failure if we are indeed a country on the brink of losing our Democracy.

We could get pedantic and show how many people 5,000 is against the population, or even the number of people who voted ‘No’ in the recent referendum…but not all those people had access to the march due to their location. We could measure the 5,000 against the population of Auckland…but Aucklanders are latte sipping liberals, who won’t even turn up to see the best provincial rugby team in the world…well in the 80’s that is. So let’s measure it against the expectations of Mr. Craig himself, the benchmark he set for success, and the initial reaction of the organising team for this march.

It was reported on Newstalk ZB, on the 3pm news, that the initial reaction to the number of people by the march organisers was ‘disappointing’, but by the time the speeches rolled around it was described as a huge success, never let the reality of the actual turn-out get in the way of a good pre-prepared speech ah? But for anyone to say that one tenth the number of what was the target is successful….is either lying…or a lunatic…maybe both.

Let’s measure that.

If you were a cricket player, and aimed to score 1000 runs over a season…and only scored 100, the season would be a failure. If you wanted to sell your house for $400,000 at a no-reserve auction, and only made $40,000, that would also be a failure. Achieving 10% of your stated intention or aim is a failure.

I can take from this one of three things, either Democracy is alive, safe and well in NZ, Kiwis are just too apathetic to care that their democracy is being eroded away, or most probable, the masses stayed away from this march as it had nothing to do with Democracy, or referendum, it was a protest by people angry that Section 59 or the crimes act has been amended.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Smacking, not a right…just a choice

I am getting pretty sick of conversations with people telling me all the time that to smack is their right as a parent…it’s not…it’s just a choice. If it is your right to smack then surely the child’s grandparents, uncles and aunts, older brothers and sisters, the extended whanau would have a claim to the same ‘right’, after all it takes a village to raise a family.

People seem all too keen to replace the word ‘smack’ with discipline, they are not interchangeable for goodness sake. If someone does smack, it’s a form of discipline that some use…not me, but some. If discipline was the topic, then smacking would be a subset…or paragraph, not the overriding, most important part of discipline.

The other part of this conversation that is difficult is people sighting religious books as to the reason they smack, again, it’s not, it’s just a choice, don’t hide behind an old testament scripture for a choice.

Finally people are terrified that good parents are going to be criminalized for a light smack…again it’s not happening. A good parent is as likely to be criminalized for a light smack as a good driver is to be criminalized for doing 56km in a 50 zone, the police use discretion.

Can we finish this sill fear mongering now please?

Monday, October 5, 2009

It just made me smile

Friday, September 25, 2009

John Key on Letterman

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The sad announcement that the marriage of Bill and Mary English has disolved

It was very sad to hear on TVNZ tonight that the marriage of Bill and Mary English has come to an end, and even more surprising that it was announced by Speaker of The House, Lockwood Smith.

Sadly we hear that the couple are now living separately, Mary and the kids in Wellington, Bill in Southland.

Lockwood Smith has confirmed that Bill English's official residence is in Southland, but we hear from Trevor Mallard that the English homestead has been set up in Wellington since the mid 1990s. Mary works as a doctor full time in Wellington, the English children go to school in Wellington, but Bill's official residence is in Southland.

It would appear that on occasion, when Bill is away from his official residence, he stays in Wellington at his wife's house, I guess in this modern day and age, separated couples do what's best for the kids.

If only we could think of a way that our hard working MPs could get...I dunno...some sort of perk that would help them stay together with their families, I guess the other option is that Bill English could move to Wellington, where his family lives full time...but alas I don't see how this can work, another holy matrimony gone to the wayside.

Long distance relationships never last :o(

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The 'Death Panel' Woman

Betsy McCaughey is said to be the catalyst of the idea of Death Panels when it comes to Obama's health care plan. Below is an interview she had last week with Jon Stewart. The day after this interview she lost her position on the Medical Board she was an advocate on. Oficially the press release says she resigned, many think she was pushed

Part One
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Betsy McCaughey Pt. 1
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealthcare Protests

Part Two
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Betsy McCaughey Extended Interview Pt. 1
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealthcare Protests

Part Three
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Betsy McCaughey Extended Interview Pt. 2
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealthcare Protests

Friday, August 28, 2009

Texting while driving

A new series of adverts are currently playing in the UK to discourage teens from texting while driving, TVNZ ran an item on it and showed a part of the shocking footage.

See the story here

Many people have now been saying they want to view the entire video, so here it is.

Never said this before but...viewer discretion is advised

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Confusion surrounding the power bill crisis

I am confused at the moment surrounding the ongoing debate about power costs. We are being told that people’s bill are doubling and flats of girls in Dunedin are paying over $700 a month.

It’s being inferred that the cost of power is doubling…but no report is talking about the cost of power per kWh.

For this to be an outrage, we would expect to see the cost per kWh to have doubled…but it hasn’t.

I can’t say this with ultimate authority, as there may be case out there that fall outside what I about to say, but from doing talkback last weekend on this exact subject, the most people seemed to be able to show in increase per kWh from June last year, to June this year is 10%. And no one said that their daily charge had changed.

So, if your cost of power per kWh has gone up 10%, your daily line charge is unchanged…but your power bill has doubled, the only logical reason is your power consumption has increased significantly…isn’t it?

So if your power bill has doubled, I would bet that your consumption has also…use more power, pay for more power.

Now the other question is, “are we paying too much for our power?” in other words, are the companies charging us too much for our power. Not meaning as an increase, but is 22c per kWh (an average NZ city charge) too expensive. That is a valid question, so what do we see around the world.
USA – LA, price per kWh is 19c (NZ26c)
Australia – Brisbane, price per kWh is 16c (NZ19c)
UK – London. price per kWh is 14p (NZ32c)
SA – Johannesburg, price per kWh is 25c (NZ125c)

So it would appear from our bigger cities, to other western larger cities it’s not that different.

So, we are not hugely different on a world scale, we know our price per kWh has not increased a huge amount, yet our prices are “double”.

Rather than signing protest forms and making complaints, wouldn’t it make more sense first of all to stock take in our own homes and see why our consumption has gone through the roof. If, for example, it’s because the days are colder this year shouldn’t we blame God as opposed to the power companies, or is this just a case of us not being able to afford the amount we now need to pay, and someone needs to take the balme?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bill Moyers V Fox Ambush

Monday, August 17, 2009

Fox News and Glen Beck…versus clever satire

The debate on health reform in the US goes from the sublime to the ridiculous. How any American can believe what goes out on Fox News makes me scared for common sense and logic.

Below is a clip from The Daily Show that shows Glen Beck turning 180 degrees in that space of 16 months. For this media wing of the Conservative Party to be taken as anything close to ‘Fair and Balanced’, is an insult to intelligent people everywhere…which is maybe why so many hick Americans believe it.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Glenn Beck's Operation
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorSpinal Tap Performance

From Jon Stewart to his ‘understudy’ Stephen Colbert, who has also pointed out very cleverly the distance between Glen Becks comments…and sanity. In the below clip, Beck points towards a possible eugenics programme run by the Obama administration.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Glenn-Harried Glenn-Lost
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorMeryl Streep

Now I know this is just a small blog run out of NZ, but please, if any Americans read this email me, the link is to the left at the bottom of the page, I truly want to know why shows like Beck, Hannity and O’Reilly are just so darn popular. Is it because so many people watch to get informed…or is it why I watch it…it’s nice to see trained (barely) monkeys wearing people clothes

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The TV3 Telethon and the KidsCan Charity

I am confused by the mean spirited selfish attitude of many New Zealanders that I have heard over the past few days with reference to the KidsCan charity.

Firstly let me say that I am not an advocate for this charity, I have nothing to do with them, I have neither spoken to them, nor do I speak for them.

The idea that people should not support this charity, and/or telethon because parents should be looking after the kids themselves flies in that face of logic for supporting any charity.

The basic argument is that parents who send children to school are dirtbags who spend all their benefit on alcohol, dope and pokies. In other words this charity shouldn't exist as this need should be covered by the parents taking responsibility for their kids and themselves. At a basic level this argument is totally correct (although I don’t believe that all children that benefit from this charity would have that same back story) this charity shouldn’t exist, there shouldn’t be a need for it…but there is.

Three quick things…

If we take the line that we shouldn’t need to provide for these children, their parents should do it, then actually no charity should exist. Just as there shouldn’t be kids without shoes and breakfast, there also shouldn’t be children in 3rd world countries starving…there’s plenty or food to go around…but the kids are still there. There shouldn’t be people losing their sight but for a $25 procedure (in Australia for God’s sake) but there is. There shouldn’t be a gap in our healthcare system for kids with cancer…our public health system should cover everything needed…but there is. So World Vision, The Fred Hollows Foundation, The Child Cancer Fund all exist…they shouldn’t need to, but they do. If we take the attitude that we are not going to give because other’s “should be responsible”, then by definition, no charity should exist…or get our support.

Secondly, in all these examples, and other charities, we provide a temporary solution for the problem, not seek an answer for the issue…we step into the gap, hopefully temporarily, to make those hurting the most a bit more comfortable. In the case of KidsCan, if we try to teach the ‘deadbeat parents’ a lesson…it’s still the kids that get hurt. If you saw a hungry kid in the street, you'd give them your spare wouldn't ask to check his parents fridge to see if beer was there, you'd just go straight to the solution.

Finally, and this is more aimed at any charity, there is this argument that goes around that, “I’m not going to give because a third of what I give doesn’t go to the cause, it gets eaten up in administration”, I would pose these questions…how else are the kids in Rwanda going to get fed? How else are the doctors going to work on the man’s eye in Tibet? How is that girl who lives in South Auckland going to get the shoes? Have you been to Rwanda with a packed lunch recently? Are you off to the foothills of the Himalaya’s with some eye wash? Are you a regular visitor to Otara with boxes of Charlie Browns? No? Well someone’s got to do it, and those people operate better, and more efficiently when they have an office, and full time staff committed to the cause.

If you don’t want to support KidsCan…then don’t support it, but don’t try to justify the decision with silly illogical arguments but I would also encourage to support them, and other charities. It's good to give.

Michael Laws wrote a piece that stated “If you’re looking for charity don’t call me”, I would also suggest you shouldn’t call him if you are looking for compassion, logic, talent and good radio ratings…you will find him also a void on any of these topics as well.

Theft in the music industry?

Did celebrated director Taika Waititi steal the idea for the latest Phoenix Foundation music video from an unknown Christchurch musician, Thomas Coffey, as stated in the SST this morning?

You decide...

Thomas Coffey - A Memory of You

The Phoenix Foundation - 40 Years

A very close coincidence? Or theft???

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

MPs housing allowances

The idea that we can compare different sectors of business as a justification for the MPs getting housing allowances and other perks is nonsense.

You choose to be in an area of work, therefore your’re hamstrung by the conditions around it.

Saying that MPs could earn much more in the private sector, firstly is nonsensical as there is no proof that they would get any of the high profile, high paying jobs that they are being compared to. And secondly it’s a silly argument because if we did that we could compare any two sectors as a justification for high, or indeed low salaries.

The CEO of a major charity could claim that the money you give to support the charity needs to fund their exorbitant salary because “…I could get much more in the private sector”, we wouldn’t accept it then, neither should we accept it as an excuse for our MPs ‘double dipping’

As for the MPs themselves claiming that they are ‘keeping their families together’ and having that ludicrous claim backed by the Prime Minister, just shows how out of touch with us lowly citizens. A salary of $275,000 should well enough keep a family together. I keep mine together on well less than one quarter of that.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Friday, July 17, 2009

Mythbusters on the moon landing

Flag Waving

See a whole lot more moon landing myths debunked here

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Michael Jackson Burns

Shirley Phelps-Roper

We replayed an interview with the nutty Shirley Phelps-Roper from last year this morning.

Many people missed it and wanted to hear it again, so here is the link to go and have a listen


Monday, June 22, 2009

Bradford V Baldock

Sunday evening we had Sue Bradford and Larry Baldock in studio talking about the Anti Smacking referendum. We thought for people who missed it we'd put it up for you to listen to at your convenience.

Part One
Discover Simple, Private Sharing at

Part Two
Discover Simple, Private Sharing at

Part Three
Discover Simple, Private Sharing at

Part Four
Discover Simple, Private Sharing at

Sue Bradford's passion seems to be protect children from violence, one very interesting part of the show is when Ms. Bradford admitted that se believes that in the womb, the being there is classified as a 'child', and when questioning her on what is she doing to stop violence against those children, she replied by saying she thinks women should have the choice. I find it amazing that Sue Bradford is fighting passionately to protect children from violence outside the womb, but inside it's 'the woman's choice'. Outside the womb it's the children that matter, when inside the womb it's the woman that matters. And before you jump up and down about my personal views on abortion, remember that it was Sue Bradford who said that in the womb, the unborn life is a child.

The interaction over what is a child
Discover Simple, Private Sharing at

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Open Tertiary Education for Maori?

Yesterday Pita Sharples made public his wish to make Tertiary education open to Maori, long story short this means that Maori get automatic entry no matter how they achieve or not at a Secondary School level.

Mr. Sharples intentions, it would appear, are to redress the failure with young Maori students at Secondary School, less than 50% of Maori students leave Secondary School with NCEA level three. Mr. Sharples has linked colonization and schools not being set up for Maori to succeed as the reason for the horrendous failure rate.

The response from NZ in the last 24 hours has been immediate and exacting. New Zealanders don’t want to see this. It’s deemed as racist and separatist, some are also saying that it is patronizing to Maori saying that they cannot achieve at a secondary school level. One other thought is that if Maori can get guaranteed entry to University, no matter how the achieve at secondary school, would that not be a disincentive for some to do any work at school at all?

While I don’t agree with the emotive response of ‘racism’ or ‘separatism’, I don’t support this idea any more than the people who are comfortable with those terms. I would, however, use the term ‘misguided’, rather than ‘subversive’ which some people seem to think Mr. Sharples is. I believe his reasons for seeking a solution to this issue is genuine, and have to admit, no one else is speaking up about this issue, so should we hang the man for making this suggestion, No of course not.

And for those who think that Maori should just pull finger and get on with life, it’s no one else’s problem but theirs that they don’t succeed, let me pose this question…if it is a Maori issue, then why, in every country that has been colonized but white Europeans, that now has a majority white population (Australia, USA, NZ etc…), are the indigenous people at the bottom of the pile in every aspect of life from education to crime to income…and beyond?

When that question is answered, ideas like Pita Sharples ones will be irrelevant as we will have found equity and we will truly be one country, one people.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

New Brittenden Baby

10.02am this morning a baby girl, weighing 7lbs 13oz, arrived in the Brittenden world via Waitakere Hospital.

Thanks to all the theatre staff, doctors and nurses.

We are stoked :o)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sonny Bill Williams Fight

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The latest Susan Boyle Video

From the latest round of Britains Got Talent

Friday, May 22, 2009

AverageJoe, land of the long white entrepreneur

The new idea about free air flights as seen on STUFF aint so new after all. See my blog of April 15th entitled "Three tangible ideas to turn the country around". Specifically Idea Three.

Looks like some entrepreneurs have been reading

Kia Ora entrepreneurs and welcome :o)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Power to the people?

We’re paying too much for our power…well Duh!!!

The story came out today that the Commerce Comission have found that 4 power companies, 3 of the state owned, have overcharged New Zealanders $4.3 billion over 7 years.

Here’s the story from

Power companies lawfully exploited market

New Zealand's power companies have been found to have lawfully exploited their market power to raise wholesale electricity prices.

A Commerce Commission report into Contact, Genesis, Meridian and Mighty River Power clears the four companies of any price fixing. It says they did not take advantage of market power for any anti-competitive purpose.

But it has found the four companies legally used market power to charge an extra $4.3 billion, more than they would have earned had the conditions been competitive from 2001 to 2007.

The commission has also issued a warning to TrustPower for attempting to enter into an anti-competitive agreement with Genesis in 2004.

Now $4.3b sounds like a lot, it is in one lump sum, but how much is it out of pockets monthly?

According to the ‘About us’ pages on their websites, Meridian, Mighty River Power, Contact and Genesis have 1.83 million customers between them.

$4.3b, over 7 years, across 1.83 million users is $28 per month, per user (about $335 per year, or $2350 over the whole 7 years for each user)…so it is significant, but here’s the thing, the average power bill in New Zealand is around $150 per month, even if we take back the $30 that they are stealing from us, we are still paying around 50% more than Australia does per month for power…why?

April 1st this year Austraia had an across the board power hike of 20% to…wait for it, just under $90 per month on average.

If you look at the OECD tables, NZ uses less power per person in every category than Australia, but we pay more.

Should something be done about these soulless companies, remembering that three are owned by us, and how there are the modern reincarnation of Vikings, raping and pillaging our pockets?


Should our government explain to us why we are paying so much more for power, when we are all using less, than Australia?

A much, much louder YES!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Support Petra

Hey there, my old mate Petra Bagust is doing the 40 hour famine this weekend. We are finishing it on Sunday night at 9.30pm on air at Newstalk ZB.

If you want to support her, and by doing so support World Vision, go here

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Lobby Groups need to look....before they leap!

Jimmy Mason of Christchurch was accused of assault in January of 2008, he informed media and sundry that all he did was flicked his son's ear in a serious situation when he needed to get his attention immediately.

I thought at the time this doesn't sound right, however opponents of Sue Bradford's so called anti smacking bill came out in force.
Jan 30 2008
[Jimmy] Mason, who complained about the way the incident was handled by the police, said he flicked son Seth after a biking accident involving his two-year-old son, Zach, who had injured his eye. Mason was given a warning by police after the incident, which he wanted removed from his record.....

Family First national director Bob McCoskrie was astounded to be told Mason had been charged. "That's amazing," he said. "That's going to be a test case. I think everybody has been waiting for a case like this to go before a judge so we can get a new interpretation of the law. It's an uncertain law, which is the worst part of it. Some say it totally bans smacking and some say it doesn't." McCoskrie said his organisation could be interested in helping Mason, although it had not yet been asked to do so.
Jan 16, 2008
Seth had stopped at the corner. He looked down at his brother, lying on the ground, slipping in and out of consciousness. He saw the concern on his dad’s face, and heard him say “wait Seth, we have to look after Zach”. Whether or not he understood how serious the situation, it was with loving fatherly discipline that Jimmy flicked his son on the ear as he started peddling away.

So we have this set up as good father being pushed around by PC police and legal system...I still wasn't convinced, then the police added their bit in...
Jan 29 2008
Police say anti-smacking legislation or not, Jimmy Mason would still have been charged.

So if the police said it would have been an assault charge before the new legislation...surely it must be more serious that an 'ear flick'

Well it's 15 months or so later, and we have a result...take special note of the witnesses account where she says, "... Mason then flicked the ear of the older boy and punched him in the face"

Punched him in the face...hmmmm.

The full story from

Guilty verdict in anti-smacking case
A jury has returned its verdict in the case of a Christchurch man in what has been viewed as a test of the controversial 'anti-smacking' law.

50-year-old Jimmy Mason was found guilty on one charge of assaulting his four-year-old son in December 2007. The charge related to allegations that he flicked his son's ear and punched him.

Mason was found not guilty on two other charges relating to accusations that he pushed over the bicycles of the four-year-old and another son, aged two, while they were still on them.

Judge Michael Crosbie told the jury he could understand the verdict they had delivered. He said it implied acceptance of the evidence from the people who witnessed the incident.

Mason has been remanded on bail and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 17.

The guilty verdict carries a maximum penalty of one year's imprisonment. However Judge Crosbie said he would consider the option of supervision in order to enable Mason to seek help for anger management.

Mason had denied all of the charges.

During the trial a witness said that she saw the accused punch his son and flick his ear.

Belinda Payne told the court she saw Mason at the Bridge of Remembrance where the two boys were riding their bikes.

She says he was yelling and telling off the boys. Ms Payne says Mason lifted up the bikes while the boys were still on them and forced them down onto the ground.

She says Mason then flicked the ear of the older boy and punched him in the face.

Mason's defence lawyer has told the court his client used reasonable force.

The Crown urged the jury not to make the case a test of the anti-smacking laws. They were told they should not use the case to send any sort of message to the Government about their views on physical punishment.

Mason's lawyer Liz Bulger wrapped up by saying her client was trying to discipline his boys after an earlier bike crash in a busy part of town.

She appealed to the jury members who are parents to remember what it is like to control toddlers.

Can anyone say retraction lobby groups?

Monday, May 18, 2009

People are idiots

I know that sounds offensive, I don't mean to be, but I just can't believe that people didn't know about how Pigs are farmed.

It's been widely reported over many years that pigs are treated like this, so are chickens, so are some cattle and all meats that we like to get as cheap as possible...I don't buy the 'naive' defence that Mike King has thrown out there.

People who are paid huge money are responsible for knowing what they are promoting, however in saying that, I think we all know...we've all been told, and deep down we ignore it.

Jamie Oliver has been banging on about this for years on our screens, we know about our chicken eggs...and we choose to buy them.

What normally happens is there is hub-bub for a few days, then it dies away for a few years until next time.

Here's the thing, if you care about the state of pig farming, there's really only one thing you can organic/free range pork...there is power in the dollar.

Why did Hummer stop making their bigger H series....Was it because they were unbelievably thirsty when it comes to gas? No. Was it because they are bad for the economy? No. Was it because they were impractable when it came to society...too big for car parks etc..? No. It was because Americans stopped buying them.

If you stop buying them...they disappear, it's up to you...or you can let it fall away and feign shock again in 3 years when the story comes out again.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Matty Johns

So the latest in this saga came out yesterday, and this morning one of the new central character's father called me up

Let me firstly state this, I think that the idea of a group sex 'gang bang/orgy' or whatever is really gross, in fact I think its disgusting and perverted. It doesn't change the crucifixion though of Matthew Johns.

Tania Boyd came our yesterday to support the Police story and Matthew John. The story fro TVNZ can be seen here

This morning, Peter identified himself as Tania's father reiterated what she had told TVNZ

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at

Here's my question, if the police said there was no case to answer 7 years ago, if the police cleared all players of wrongdoing 7 years ago, and they are not opening a new case as there is no new evidence, and if even the police are calling this "an issue of morality", if Matty Johns and his wife worked this out 7 years ago, if 'Claire' was bragging about her 'conquests' at the time of the group sex... then what the hell are ABC and Four Corners even running this story for...other than to ruin the career of Matty Johns.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Scientists for and against Climate Change/Global Warming

Since Ian Wishart's release of Air Con, where it states that 31,000 scientists have signed a document stating they disagree with the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming, and Leighton Smith's interview with Professor Bob Carter, where Professor Carter stated that the U.N claims 2,000 Scientists that agree with the theory, but he said it was more like 350 or so and you can't find a list of names anywhere, I thought...geez, if that's the case I'd like to see it.

So I went looking.

To see the 31,000 scientists petition, click here

To see the UN scientists....ummmm, send me a link if you can find them :o)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The media versus Swine Flu equals great sales!

Some quotes from news organisations from around the world when this story broke last weekend....all within 12 hours of the WHO press release.

"...a fast moving new new form of the flu...and at this stage the death toll is rising"
"...are we on the path to a pandemic?"
"...the highly contagious disease may already be in Europe."
"...any indication this may have been caused by bio-terrorism?"
"...swine flu could wipe out tens of millions of people if it isn't stopped."

These case are all from American networks however even here in NZ, we have our own cases of hype. TVNZ's Wendy Petrie has been constantly talking about the 'deadly virus' and the 'killer virus', yet all the stories in the piece introduced by her referred to "suspected cases."

This deadly virus hasn't caused and issues for those outside Mexico, in fact our own health minister, Tony Ryall, from day one has said that the infected NZ people were 'doing well' and had 'very minor' symptoms. The headlines are telling us to freak out, but the people with the information are telling us not to.

But people were scared. Within 12 hours of these stories Petra and I did talk back on it and asked the question, is this a media beat up?

From a texter
"Pat you say u don't want to belittle the swine flu but u are! Wake up, when your child dies then your tune [will change]."

From callers

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at

On Monday, in NZ, face masks flew off the shelves of chemists, and the Healthline had over 1600 calls specifically around Swine flu. Countries are issuing travel warnings about NZ, the A1GP has been cancelled in Mexico, Canada has cancelled all flights to South America....what the hell is going on?

So how deadly is this 'killer virus'. Well in Mexico 3% of deaths are attributed to pneumonia or influenza, that means annually between 15,000 and 20,000 people die from influenza. In the USA around 35,000 people die annually from it. From day one, not one headline said "SWINE FLU!!! Not that much more deadly that 'every year' flu"...I guess that wouldn't sell papers.

Here's the beef, it would appear at the moment this has been another beat up, like Ebola, SARS and Bird Flu before, not anywhere near as dangerous as the first BREAKING NEWS headlines told us...but...if it was the big once-in-a-lifetime can we trust what the media says? How will we know next time that bird or swine or cow or rooster flu turns up....that we can trust what they are saying?

Here's the kicker. We've been the many people have died in Mexico. Well the latest WHO report has just come out...remember the first one warned of a world pandemic of a deadly they started the hype, how many have died???


That's right, 7!!!!!!!

A WHO representative said today the agency had officially recorded only seven swine flu deaths around the world.

Reports have put the likely death toll from the virus at 152, with Mexican officials confirming 20 deaths. The number of cases under observation in Mexico alone has reportedly reached 1614.

But Vivienne Allan, from WHO's patient safety program, said the body had confirmed that worldwide there had been just seven deaths - all in Mexico - and 79 confirmed cases of the disease.

"That figure is not a figure that's come from the World Health Organisation and, I repeat, the death toll is seven and they are all from Mexico," Ms Allan told ABC Radio this morning.

My kingdom for some decent reporting, with some accurate facts and figures.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The question is...where is the line?

To waterboard, or not to waterboard…that is literally the question.

There are a couple of links in this blog that are short interview’s with Matthew Alexander, they are really worth a watch.

In the last week President Obama has released documents showing what the Bush administration authorised in ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ on Guantanemo Bay prisoners including prolonged isolation, prolonged sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, extremely painful "stress positions," sensory bombardment (such as prolonged loud noise and/or bright lights), forced nakedness, sexual humiliation, cultural humiliation (such as desecration of holy scriptures), being subjected to extreme cold that induces hypothermia, exploitation of phobias and simulation of the experience of drowning, i.e., waterboarding.

Since then the conservative media in America have come out condemning the release of this information citing how the use of some ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’, including waterboarding, led to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed revealing plans for an attack on Los Angeles.

There is also no real conversation on what could be called a gap in the ‘interrogation’ market for other forms of information gathering. As an example see Matthew Alexander’s interview on FOX here

How ever what they haven’t researched or revealed is if this was a plausible threat, or a false piece of information, and, how many other pieces of intelligence they have lost with prisoners ‘hunkering down’ through these techniques.

So the question is…where is the line? Does anything go in ‘war’, if the greater good is achieved?

Would it be okay to take a terrorists child and put a gun to their head, threaten to pull the trigger if they didn’t tell us (the good guys) where the next attack was, then when the terrorist didn’t comply, pull the trigger and get their next child?

If it meant saving thousands of lives?

Of course the answer is, “No, that’s not okay…that’s over the line”…but where is the line?

For the Bush administration the line was stepping outside the Geneva Convention, and changing legislation twice to get around the US Supreme court telling them this was wrong. For them the line was allowing ‘techniques’ that at the end of World War Two, the US sentenced Japanese soldiers to death, for performing on Allied soldiers.

For President Obama, the line is very different. We don’t fully know yet where he is going with it, but presently it would appear that his line is more in line with the Geneva Convention, and within the laws of the land. It would appear at the moment, Obama is more in line with Matthew Alexander than George W. Bush

Which is better, only time will tell…but the question is, where is the line?

Matthew Alexander on Fox

Matthew Alexander on The Daily Show

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Lovely holiday week...

Had a nice week off spent in Raglan with the wife and kids, walking the beach, sipping coffee's, sleeping like a normal person at night...and eating like it was the 1970s...true story, we ate like it was the 1970s...lots of comfort food...check it out

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The difference between Bin Laden and The Taliban

Interesting interview from the Daily Show this week. The book will be a interesting read.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Reza Aslan
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisPolitical Humor

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

America - We don't torture

President Obama released information from the Bush administration and their policies on torture.

This is the Daily Show take on it...

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
We Don't Torture
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisPolitical Humor

Monday, April 20, 2009

Still number one

I've told people that I would let you know about the numbers from our latest survey.

For Thursday to Saturday nights, there are 96,300 listeners. For Sunday Sunday there are 64,300 listeners

For Thursday to Saturday nights, 23.6% of the listening audience listens to ZB, while for Sunday Sunday 21.6% of people listen.

Thanks for keeping us at Number One.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Paper or Plastic?

There is a ridiculous sentiment going around at the moment by industry around ‘being green’. We, the public are being told that numerous costs are going to be put upon us because it’s going to help the environment.

Tony Carter, Managing Director of Foodstuffs New Zealand, says of the new initiative to charge consumers 5 cents per plastic bag, "We think we are doing the right thing for New Zealand, the environment and for our customers, it's quite a big step for us Foodstuffs can be proud of taking this leadership position."

For New Zealand….for the environment…and for our customers…according to Carter, there is no benefit for Foodstuffs, it’s not about them, it’s for us…our country…and mother earth…my aren’t they philanthropical!

I would challenge that, and challenge it hard.

The only reason any company ‘makes a stand’ like this is for publicity, to tick the current trend of ‘being green’.

See, how this all falls over, is that if the suggestion logically makes no sense, it’s probably not the real reason. And the reason this makes no sense is because Foodstuffs is doing nothing, not one thing, to stop people using plastic bags…all they are saying is that if you need to commit your environmental ‘sin’ a 5 cent penance will clear your conscience.

On a personal level I don’t have a big problem with not using plastic bags, we tend to shop at Pak’n’Save and use boxes, cloth bags and reuse other plastic bags. I do have a problem though, with groups…be they businesses, government departments, lobby groups or anyone else, using the environment as a convenient excuse to allow them to tick that green box. If Foodstuffs were truly trying to help the environment then the answer at the checkout is simple…paper bags.

I am also sick of these groups ‘fining’ us for being bad, instead of helping us to follow the rules. Plastic is bad, pay your 5 cent fine and everyone can sleep better. How about no fine, but if I bring my cloth bag you give me a discount…surely that’s more likely that I would stop using the evil plastic. This is a mini version of the Emissions Trading Scheme, there is nothing that the government has done to help us stop emitting carbon…they have just said if you do…pay your fine, and we’ll all sleep better. It’s Ludicrous.

There is one more thing to think about, Foodstuffs have said that they are going to give the proceeds to charity, fair enough, nice even…but what does that mean?

Currently Foodstuffs uses 200 million plastic bags, Tony Clark says they’d like this idea to cut that use by 80%. That means in an ideal world Foodstuffs would still be using 40 million bags. At 5 cents each that’s $2 million dollars donated to charity. What does a business do then after it donates money to charity…it claims it back, this ‘charitable’ philanthropic act may reduce Foodstuffs tax bill by hundreds of thousands of dollars…and they haven’t told a fib…they may have just left something out. What about me, when I donate to charity I claim money back in my taxes, therefore from now on, when I go to a Foodstuffs store, and buy my bag…it’s me donating to charity, it’s my 5 cents.

I will be waiting with anticipation for my charitable donation receipt next time I am in my local 4 square.

Friday, April 17, 2009

New year, new government...same story?

For a few months I have been talking about how our major parties have seemed to 'changed scripts'

By that I mean it's weird how now Labour sounds like the National Party of 12 months ago, and National sounds like the last Labour government. Several examples of policies have already come up where it seems as if the wrong side if either supporting it, or opposing it.

Example, the Maori Prisons. National has tentatively supported the idea, Labour has come out against it. National crowing about the $246 billion that we will receive from Kyotol, a bill that hey passionately opposed...and the list goes on.

It's as if there is a handbook for the opposition, and one for the government, and all that has happened is that the sides have changed seats...but left the handbooks behind.

The same can be said for the media and groups that were attacking the Labour government last year for too much bureaucracy in the health sector, but seem to let through things happily this year under National like the new compulsory, no matter where you come from, English tests for nurses that came into affect on January 1st this year.

It doesn't seem to be a NZ problem though, it seems to just be part and parcel of politics. Below is a segment from tonights The Daily Show which shows it happens everywhere...the issues don't seem to matter to long as your side is the one saying them.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Nationwide Tax Protests
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisPolitical Humor

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

An Open Letter to the National Government

Three tangible ideas to turn the country around.

This is an open letter from an Average Joe that wants to see New Zealand move through the current recession but also wants to look to see how in two of three years, hopefully when we are in better times, we can still be a country that the world looks on with envy at our success. The three ideas cover off areas of personal/national wealth, education and tourism.

Idea One – bringing people out of poverty
This is not entirely mine, but one that was mentioned on talkback a few weeks ago that I have extended on and investigated. I think that we should adjust the State Housing system. A story on TVNZ in 2006 listed the cost of repairs to State Houses in NZ at $21 million, for the purpose of this idea let’s assume its similar now, and round it to $20 million.

Tenants don’t get anything from this relationship with the government that helps then to move forward in life, it’s an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff that helps day to day, but doesn’t address the poverty issue. I propose that the government starts building more state houses, from there the house gets sold to what would today be a tenant, it’s sold at cost, and the government negotiates the mortgage with a 0% to 2% interest rate. The payment of the mortgage would still be income tested as is rent currently for a State House, and if an owner reneged on the mortgage then like any of us they could lose the house and the money they have paid for it thus far.

The benefits of this would be numerous, but initially it would start the low income earner building equity, and in doing so wealth which would build wealth for the whole country. Secondly it would reduce the bill each year for repairing State Houses. Under the new system the owners would be responsible for everything a homeowner would be expected to pay for. The current State Housing system should not be gotten rid of, this would be supplementary to what is currently happening.

Idea Two – ‘free’ education
Education is the cornerstone for moving this country forward in the next generation. We may never stop the ‘brain drain’, but we could start to look at replacing them with people who are already here, but are maybe missing the opportunity, or motivation for further education. The idea is simple, a school leaver, chooses to join one of the armed forces for one year, straight out of school. They are guaranteed that they will not be deployed internationally; they are serving their country from within for the year. For this the get a $20,000 credit for their tertiary education.

The current salary for a recruit in the armed services is $31,894. Take $20k out and pay the recruit the remaining 12,000 for the year. $231 a week when you have no expenses should keep someone in money to play with.

The other tangible result we would see from this is some teenagers, who currently may be lacking in discipline would come out of a programme like this, different people, they would need to have a fitness level to get in, and have completed schooling to a certain level. What would be better motivation than, ‘stay fit, keep your grades okay and we’ll give you a free degree/diploma’. I also think you’d see that the number of those in the armed services would go up as some would find it as their career in the years ‘service’ they gave.

Idea Three – build tourism through free airfares
One in ten jobs in NZ are connected to the tourism industry. Therefore if tourism is successful then NZ is successful, if tourism is making money, NZ is making money.

On average a tourist spends $131 per day, which means they pay $14.56 a day in GST.

We own 84% of Air New Zealand, the government should offer free airfares to international visitors, using a formula that makes the GST cover the airfare. For example, a return airfare from Sydney is around $350, theoretically that’s around 3 weeks visit. So the formula is if you spend 4 weeks in New Zealand you get a free return flight from Australia. A similar formula could be used for the UK, USA or anywhere else. There is the possibility of attracting people who may not be the kind of tourist that pays the $131 average per day, you could add other conditions in to minimize the chances of this happening for example, you’d need to be 40 or older to apply.

We have been told by John Key that $50 million dollars will be allocated for the building of a cycle way the length of the country. If we add our estimate of State Housing repairs on top of that we have a pool to start these initiatives of $70 million, which will build a lot of houses, especially if government owned land is used, or purchase a lot of airfares to reap the GST reward at a later date.

These ideas are the kinds we need to hear about when it comes to moving the country forward, the cycle way (due respect) isn’t going to do it. These ideas will help all areas of life in NZ, educating our younger New Zealanders, helping the issue of poverty with a tangible solution and helping an industry that employs 10% of our population, and maybe even in this time of recession, may even grow it.