Thursday, December 9, 2010

Winston Peters is NZs 'Virgin Mary'

If you have a critical word to say about Winston Peters some people lose their mind.

This morning the topic of conversation was around Winston, and my opinion that he says lots of words but no substance ever really comes out. A perfect example of this is Close Up last night where the debate was about the retirement age (I have no idea why Winston was on anyway, he isn't in Government and he isn't any kind of specialist in the area of retirement...but he is good press). The Retirement Commissioner was on and had some really sensible things to say about address the aging population now, not in 20 years when it's too late, and saying if we give someone 20 years pension (on average) then in 20 years life expectancy will have gone up from 85 to 87, so we could raise the pension age then to 67. Winston's response was all bluster, rhetoric and slogans.

'Our economy is in the poo and you're blaming the elderly'
'If Norway and Singapore can do it, why can't we?'
'In 1997 we had the right idea'

So I called him on it...and people lost their minds!!!

Over this year, I have critiqued many MPs...always for reasons that have been put in the public eye...Shane Jones, Chris Carter, Bill English, Melissa Lee, Pansy Wong, The Greens, David Garret, Rodney Hide...and the list goes on...but one criticism of The Right Honourable you get emails like this from Lorane, "All what you said about Winston Peters this morning should warrant immediate dismisal" and from Betty Harrington of Hutt Valley directing me to the mesage board because I am "Not too popular Pat."

Winston Peters is the ultimate politician, he is so good, that he takes an issue that is for the 40 years old and under...and uses it to gain support from his constituents. The issue on Close Up last night wasn't for the 65+ brigade, but Winston made it about them. See if we up the retirement age in people like me that are affected by it. If you are retired now it won't affect you. But when Winston said "It's attacking the elderly" that's when his political nous is clear to see...It's not attacking the elderly, if anything it's attacking those under we are the ones that will have the retirement age put up.

What I realised when listening to how people spoke last night is that NZ First is a religion and Winston is their Virgin Mary. When Te Papa showed the Virgin Mary in a Condom piece, Catholics lost their minds...and more obviously when C4 ran a South Park episode where a statue of the Virgin Mary was said to menstruate there were catholic groups protesting outside the studios. South Park every week takes the mickey out of Jesus, Catholics say nothing...but the Virgin Mary is slighted and they lost their minds.

Mary would seem to be holier than Jesus, just like Winston is more sacred than any other member of NZ First...and any other politician that gets criticised. He is our 'Virgin Mary'.

Winston Peters is all full of rhetoric and bluster before an election, he calls everyone on everything, he speaks like he is going to change the world...but in recent years is quite timid in parliament, he is actually quite centrist and moderate...but that won't get him elected.

Winston Peters is a political genius, and he has a constituency of older Pakeha voters. Winston Peters needs to push those buttons to get their for the next 12 months you'll hear from him...

* Retirement age
* Foreshore and Seabed
* Immigrants
* The three M's - Muslims, Maoris and Migrants
* Supergold Card

And we may well see him back in politics because people will buy it.

From this whole debate, what is clear is that we don't have a decent third party. Is NZ First the best we have? If that is so what a shame for New Zealand.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

It’s more important to be accurate and truthful, than to win every battle

As a talkback host I am often in a position to spar with people over topics, it’s probably a weakness that I enjoy it a little too much as on occasions I may lose the context of a conversation, or the importance of an issue, to 'win' the argument.

I am growing as a person and a talkback host and think this is an area that I can, and have worked on. I am a bit of a stickler for facts and accuracy; I don’t like sweeping statements and regularly call-out someone using them. This isn’t to say that I am not guilty of that same ‘sin’ at times, I am sure we all are.

In the last 24 hours I have had occasion to think through this ‘win at all cost’ mentality over an interesting email I received.

It’s headed up “FW: Islam Mass Marriage of girls aged 6-10yrs” in which the claim is made that 450 Muslim men, supported by Hamas, in Gaza married girls aged between 6 and 10. Have a look here to get the guts of the email.

I get dozens of these types of emails from friends, family members and listeners, and always approach them with caution as I have found in the past that not many of them are completely accurate. This email stood out to me as a hoax just simply from a logical point of view, Hamas is a terrorist organisation, a well oil, well organised (albeit democratically elected) terrorist organisation, so I found it hard to believe that they would put themselves in front of the world showing them supporting paedophiles. It makes no sense.

I started to search the interweb to see if I could either disprove…or indeed prove the claims of the email.

What I found is that this email, or versions of it, have been circulating the globe for over a year, there are hundreds of website references and one must assume that hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people have read them, many will have forwarded it on, or sent links to the claims. So many people out there believe this story to be true, but forwarding on someone else’s email, or putting all the information onto your blog doesn’t mean it’s true, it just means you buy it.

I still wanted to know whether it was true or not.

The sad part of this story is that the truth was revealed within about 5 minutes or looking…the story is a hoax.

You can look here which may not be the most reliable/official place to find inaccuracies, but it’s out there.

If you want more you can go to websites like this one that put the original story up, then retracted if after they realised it was a hoax, again though not an ‘official’ source.

How about this one, a Jerusalem publication, it doesn’t either confirm or deny the claim, but one would think if any area of the world was going to want to give Hamas a black eye it would be in Jerusalem, if the story about child brides were true, then this is the exact kind of publication to support it.

The most accurate way to see if there were indeed child brides or not, is independent eyewitness testimony. Tim Marshall is an English reporter for Sky News, he was there at the ceremony and when he saw the ‘Christian’ world starting to spread this disgusting rumour he started getting onto the websites posting things like this...(this is one of his posts)

“Hi. I was there. The girls are relatives, nieces etc. Dressed up having fun. Brides were in the audience. It’s always like this. Hamas does enough terrible things without anyone having to make up nonsense about child brides…

I was there at the Wedding ceremony. We filmed the event. These young girls are NOT the brides. The brides are among the 5,000 or so audience. Where is your proof they are child brides. It is a cultural thing among the conservative Gazans to do things this way. It is grossly unfair to portray ordinary Gazan men in this way. Hamas does enough terrible things to write about without having to resort to making things up. The girls are having fun dressing up. Its been like that for years.”

You can real a full post from him here.

It’s more important to be truthful and accurate than to win the fight every time. Sometimes the right thing to do is get a proverbial black eye, be a little embarrassed, but retract and set the record straight.

For Christians out there, who has believed this lie, and then passed it on as fact, you are implicit in this deception. The Christ you serve isn’t into deception, He is into truth.

If you read this post, or Tim Marshall’s, or others out there…and you still believe it to be 450 child brides getting married then there is no evidence that can be put before you to convince you otherwise.

Christians out there, please love the Muslims…that your job…that’s your God mandated job, not to judge them, not to try to ‘win the argument at all costs’, not to put them in their place, not to defend your faith by bringing theirs down…none of that…just love them.

There are also real issues that we need to be concerned about in the world, Hamas is actually one of them, as is child prostitution and paedophilia, but you cannot beat evil…by being involved in evil things. You cannot win against lies…by lying, whether the lie is intentional as the originators of this email must be, or unintentional by forwarding on something you believed to be true.

I also want to make clear that this 'rant' is not aimed at the actual Child Bride email, or anyone person who has sent it on, but at the idea of how important truth is, how important it is to be a purveyor of truth whenever possible. It’s more important to be accurate and truthful, than to win every battle.

When you get the next chance to score one for Jesus by taking a group down a peg or two, whether it be valid or not, just ask if you think this is this going to bring the ‘one’ closer to the God you know, or will it give the ‘ninety nine’ something to snigger about?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Dave Grohl, from Nirvana/Foo Fighters, sues Scissor Sisters for $75m

Little bit of language to be aware of for the extra sensitive...but very funny

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Paul Henry handled this poorly...TVNZ handled it worse!

Right from the outset I want to make it clear that I like Paul Henry, I like his irreverent style, I rate him as a broadcaster and from the couple of times I have met him he seems like a nice bloke.

That, however, does not take away from the reprehensible theme behind what Mr. Henry said yesterday. Questioning Sir Anand Satyanand's place of origin, and lets be honest, colour...then relating it to being a 'real New Zealander' isn't anything other than racism.

'Are you going to choose a New Zealander who looks and sounds like a New Zealander this time?' asked Henry yesterday morning. So a man of Indian ancestry, who was born in this country, was educated in this country and has spent his whole life serving the people of New Zealand doesn't 'looks and sounds like a New Zealander' to Paul what does?

One can only assume that when he refers to Pakeha and Maori people, I wonder how that makes the hundreds of thousands of people in New Zealand feel who don't comfortably fit into that definition of a 'real New Zealander'

In the last half hour Paul Henry has been suspended by TVNZ, for two weeks, without pay. This has been done after this morning's on air apology, so some would ask the question why?

Yesterday soon after the comment Paul Henry told to when asked why he thought Sir Anand did not look and sound like a New Zealander he responded: 'As I say, the comments that I made were perfectly clear, and I have no particular interest in discussing them any further.'

Then in the afternoon there was a press release by TVNZ which quoted Henry apologising for 'any offense I may have caused.'

Then for some unknown reason, they issued another press release that said 'The audience tell us over and over again that one of the things they love about Paul Henry is that he’s prepared to say the things we quietly think but are scared to say out loud. The question of John Key is the same, we want the answer but are too scared to ask.'

So back to the issue of why he was suspended today.

Paul Henry stuffed up yesterday, it's more than talking about a lady with a moustache, or a singer being a little retarded, it's a cast iron example of racism...whether intentional or not...on our public owned broadcaster. It is unacceptable and should have dealt with yesterday. I agree with Janet Wilson who blogged this morning 'The essence of crisis media management is that, when you are in the wrong confess and repent, admit it fully, apologize sincerely and honestly, and you will generally achieve a measure of redemption.'

So why was he suspended today?

To an extent Paul Henry is now suffering even more than he should of because of TVNZ's poor handling of this situation, at 9.10am yesterday morning, whether he liked it or not there should have been a full, sincere and final apology from Paul Henry issued from TVNZ. TVNZ should have issued an unreserved apology of their own and distanced themselves from the comments, yesterday TVNZ backed Paul Henry's sytle...and now Henry is suffering because of it.

If Paul Henry and TVNZ had thrown themselves at the feet of the public yesterday, and asked for forgiveness I don't think he'd be suspended today, but when you have a rouge broadcaster, and you employ him, in part, for the controversy that comes with him (it rates!) then you also have to have good practices in place when the rouge goes too far. It seems TVNZ didn't have this...maybe now they do.

Monday, October 4, 2010

David Cunliffe and Steven Joyce on GST increase and more

Conversation on GST from Sunday Sunday, 3rd October.

Labour Finance Spokeman David Cunliffe spoke first on the 'new' idea of taking GST off healthy food.
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Associate Finance Minister Steven Joyce then spoke on why the GST increase and more...
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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

GST up, PAYE down...who wins?

We are being told repetitively that 'most will be better off' when GST goes up on Friday, and the tax cuts come in. This is an accurate statement if you are looking at if one will have more or less in their hand at the end of the week...but if you look at the fairness of the amount you will get you might find another story within this story.

You can use this website to estimate your own finances and to see if you will be better off or not

The people who won't be better off are those that don't pay tax. An example is someone studying living off a student loan, they don't pay tax, hence no tax cut and therefore the extra GST will need to be absorbed within their current budget. Those of us paying income tax, for the most part, will be better off.

My questions are, is the system fair, and, who is the biggest winner in all this?

Well lets have a look at a few scenarios.

If you earn $20,000 you will be better off by $2.16 per week, or 0.56%. On $20,000 you'll end up after GST goes up, and the tax cuts come in, being better off by 0.56%, However the more you earn, the better off you become. We don't work this out by how much extra money you see, but by how much better off you are as a percentage. For $20k you're better off by 0.56%. Below are some more breakdowns.

If you earn $20k, you are $2.16 better off per week or 0.56%
If you earn $40k you are $8.65 better off per week or 1.12%
If you earn $60k you are $15.04 better off per week or 1.3%
If you earn $80k you are $24.92 better off per week or 1.62%
If you earn $100k you are $38.85 better off per week or 2.02%
If you earn $200k you are $108.51 better off per week or 2.8%

As you can see, the more you earn, the better off you will be when it comes to a percentage breakdown. This seems to me to be the definition of 'tax cuts for the rich'. Surely the fair result is if we were all better off on a more equal footing, not as in the amount, but the percentage.

If we did use the 2.8% better off mark the the $200,000 earner receives, this is what the amounts would look like.
If you earn $20k, you’d be better off $10.77 per week @ 2.8%
If you earn $40k you’d be better off $21.54 per week @ 2.8%
If you earn $60k you’d be better off $32.31 per week @ 2.8%
If you earn $80k you’d be better off $43.08 per week @ 2.8%
If you earn $100k you’d be better off $53.85 per week @ 2.8%

I assume that the reason we are not seeing this size cuts is that the country cannot afford to lose that much tax revenue, but why give the biggest benefits to those in society who are better off.

Either the government should make the percentage fairer. or if there was going to be a skew then surely it would be better to give a bigger percentage to those who need it the bottom.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Flight of the Conchords on The Simpsons

This Sunday was the beginning of the new Simpsons season in America. Episode one of season 22 features oue very own Flight of the Conchods. The episode is called Elementary School Musical where Bret and Jermaine play "two free-spirited, artsy camp counsellors.",

Also featured in the episode are Lea Michele, Corey Monteith, and Amber Riley from television show Glee.

Below is the full episode, enjoy.

Friday, September 17, 2010

It get's worse for Rodney Hide

Larry Williams has just finished an interview with Rodney Hide, in the interview Larry asked Mr. Hide if he was actually the target, not David Garret. Hide said "No" and also stated clearly that he would not be stepping down from the leadership role.

The most surprising part of the interview was Mr. Hide revealing that he didn't know that the offensive act committed by Mr. Garret was suppressed. Which means that Rodney Hide not only knew of this horrific act, but didn't think he had to keep it secret.

See if Hide thought it was suppressed, he'd have to keep it secret, as it's a court order. However if he didn't realise that it was suppressed, which means Rodney Hide chose to keep it secret.

In his own mind (which many think is where Rodders lives permanently) Rodney Hide had the opportunity and ability to release this information to the people of NZ...and chose not to.

The ACT party is done, they only way they could hope to be re-elected is if Hide was to step down...however even then, they'll only get in on Epsom, and we all hope and pray that the good citizens of Epsom release NZ of this virus of party in about 14 months.

Rodney Hide is a Thunderbird!

Question is...who is pulling his strings?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Who else in parliament stands for one thing...but does the complete opposite?

Soooooo, how often do you quite literally have a jaw dropping incident? Quite rare ah? Earlier this week we heard about ACT Party Law and Order Spokesman, David Garret, and his conviction for assault. Garret explained it away and although embarrassing, it didn't seem to be the end of the world. Then today happened!

Here's how it panned out.

TVNZ's Guyon Espiner asked Garret in a corridor at parliament if he has had pled guilty to any other charges in NZ. Garret was visibly knocked...he paused...paused again...then asked what Espiner was referring to. 4 hours later Garrett was admitting in the house that he used methods he learned about in 'The Day of the Jackal' to obtain a dead child’s birth certificate, then use that to get a passport in that child's name.

He pled guilty, was discharged without conviction and received permanent name suppression, which is something the ACT party has railed against. It does raise the question why did he 'fess up, if he has name suppression.

Rodney Hide did know about this issue, and still bought him on board. Hide also stated on Close Up of Garret that he'd never met anyone "who knew more about what we needed to do in NZ to get tough on crime"...obviously other than his own crimes...note the 's' on the end there...crimes.

What I am interested in is how so often people who rally against some part of society, and they end up being intrinsically a part of that area in society.

Think the worst of the worst, Graham Capil fought for 'family values' while committing horrendous acts on children. To a much lesser extent examples like Rodney Hide who was the major person fighting against perk-busting then stuck his name in the trough, Phillip Field fighting for lower socio-economic societies while taking advantage of migrants to get cheap tiling done, Bill English fighting to get us all to tighten our belts while he has a dubious claim to living away from home and claiming tens of thousands for a second home, credit card abuse, travel abuse...and the list goes on...

Lets take this to the next level, if all MPs are saying one thing...but doing another, what is still to come out?

Maybe Sue Bradford want to re-introduce the cane...

Maybe Sir Roger Douglas wants to have us run as a socialist country...

Maybe Jerry Brownlee wants to out tax up on pies...

Chris Carter obviously believes that marriage is only for a man and woman...

Judith Collins want to make modifications on cars tax free...

Shane Jones wants all porn banned from hotels...

Russell Norman is fighting to make GE crops more attainable...

And Hone Harawira is trying to help Pakeha get a hand up in life...

I mean the above is ludicrous, sadly though, it's not as ludicrous as the actual events that seem to befalling the likes of ACT's spokesman for Law and Order, David Garret right now.

The only thing to stop the Republicans is the Republicans

The GOP should smash the Democrats in the mid term elections in 7 weeks, only one thing can really get in their way...the GOP.

See the problem with the Democrats is they are too fractured, there base is far left to centre. Typically the GOP has set itself up to be much more aligned with one another. The Republicans seem to be able to get together much more easily and agree, whereas the Dems views are so varied, even thought the have the house, the senate and the white house at the moment, they can't get things done.

However, now there is a so-called 'grass roots' movement coming out of the GOP called the Tea Party, they are selling themselves as being a party for everyone...but it simply ain't so. They tend to be conservative Caucasian evangelical Christians whose new messiah is Glenn Beck, and whose new scripture comes from Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and the team at FOX News. This group is the only thing that can cause the GOP to stumble at the mid-terms as they are starting to win primaries and becoming officially the GOP nominations, to run for the Senate. Just an aside, in the American system the base of a constituency decides who is going to represent them at the upcoming election.

From the
Tea party candidate wins in Delaware primary upset

Tea Party-backed Christine O'Donnell won an upset victory in Delaware's Republican Senate primary Conservative activist Christine O'Donnell has won an upset victory over longtime Congressman Mike Castle in Delaware's Republican Senate primary.

Ms O'Donnell's win will give impetus to the conservative Tea Party movement.

Former New Hampshire health Commissioner John Stephen also beat three opponents to capture the Republican nomination in the state.

People in seven states and Washington DC are voting to pick party candidates ahead of mid-term elections...
Continue reading the story

So, how will this be detrimental for the Republicans?

Firstly it will fracture the party more, and make those within the party more distant from one another as the Tea Partiers tend to be saying that their current GOP representatives are not 'conservative' enough. So this will strengthen a far right part of the party. When in power they will then face the same problem as the Democrats, of not just fighting the opposition, but fighting one another.

Secondly when it comes to polling day, the public will look at the two candidates. What they will see is the Glenn Beck/Sarah Palin backed Tea Partiers with no experience, a uber conservative religious agenda and no background in politics, and seasoned politicians who know how to work the system. There will be some who think a 'Grizzly Mom' is the way to go, and others that vote Republican because they will only support the GOP, but all polls say it won't happen, common sense says it won't happen and even FOX News says it won't happen.

In the Republican race for Delaware, now won by Tea Partier Christine O'Donnell, the polls prior to the decision showed this. If Mike Castle had been the Republican nominee he would have beaten his Democrat counterpart by 11%, if O'Donnell was to win, she would lose by 11%. Now polls are polls are polls, but asking the Republican support base who they thing would win the state and to have a 20% swing does not bode well for Tea Party nominees.

When FOX News is warning against electing Tea Partiers...then you know it's over. I think Charles Krauthammer, uber conservative and FOX News commentator, said it best two days ago, "You have to elect the most electable." For supporters of the Tea Party's not your candidate.

How to win a million dollars

If you thought Fonzie was the benchmark for were wrong, meet the new standard John Carpenter, who at the time was 31 and working for IRS.

If you know the show, then understand that at the time he had used no lifelines

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


The FOX News narrative taken apart from numerous, as demonstrated by Jon Stewart and The Daily Show crew...although as you'll see...the narrative continues

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Lucky those terrible asians didn't buy the farm

Xenophobia is alive and well in NZ, please have a listen to a call made to my Saturday show

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Good to also see that we have chased away $1.5b of investment into NZ buy scaring off the Natural Dairy group from Hong Kong who wanted to buy the Crafer farms, I mean why would we let an international company ruin our good name internationally, imagine the poor practice of Chinese nationals in this country, we have a pristine countryside and wouldn't want blimin' Asian ruining it with their 'dirty practices' the way, this from the NZPA

The Crafar farming family has lost its appeal against convictions and sentences for dirty dairying practices on a Waikato dairy farm.

The High Court at Hamilton yesterday dismissed the appeals related to effluent prosecutions brought by the regional council, Environment Waikato (EW), following problems in 2007 and 2008 at a property owned by the Crafar company Hillside, southwest of Hamilton, EW said in a statement today.

Hillside directors Allan and Frank Crafar were fined $29,500 each on 10 charges, while Allan's wife Elizabeth, another director, was fined $1500 on four charges.

Just a heads up as well, did you know that over the last 5 years, the Overseas Investment Office has approved 235 bids for agriculture land to be sold to international groups...most of them were to white American, British, Australian and Europeans no worries there ah?

Stroke gives woman foreign accent


A Geordie woman has apparently developed foreign accents after waking up following a stroke.

Linda Walker awoke in hospital to find her distinctive Newcastle accent had been transformed into a mixture of Jamaican, Canadian and Slovakian.

The 60-year-old may have Foreign Accent Syndrome, where patients speak differently after a brain injury.

The former university administrator says she hates what has happened to her and now feels like a different person.

Mrs Walker said: "My sister-in-law said that I sounded Italian, then my brother said I sounded Slovakian and someone else said I sounded French Canadian...more


Monday, September 13, 2010

Sep 11th Debate

We had two special guests on 9/11.

Mike Berger is a documentary maker. His film Improbable Collapse "examines how three steel-framed buildings collapsed on 9/11 when no steel framed building had ever collapsed from fire previously." Mike is also the media coordinator for 9/

Dr. W. Gene Corley is an American structural engineer and "preeminent expert on building collapse investigations and building codes." Corley has been the Vice President of CTLGroup since 1987, where he leads structural engineering projects, including numerous evaluations of buildings and structures damaged by earthquake, explosions, and from terrorist attacks. He led the investigation of structural performance of the Murrah Building following the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, and the World Trade Center Building Performance Study in 2001-2002 following the September 11, 2001 attacks.

The folling is the conversation between the three of us on the collapse of the twin towers.

Part One
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Part Two
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Part Three
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For reference, FEMA is the Federal Emergency Management Agency

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Dancing Taggers

A Northland couple and some police officers are being investigated after the couple allegedly forced two men they believed tagged their fence to dance in front of a camera.

A video was made after the couple's house was tagged last Thursday in Otaika, south of Whangarei, police said.

Whangarei-Kaipara police acting area commander Inspector Murray Hodson said the alleged taggers were apparently located by the couple the day after.

A video subsequently posted on You Tube showed two men dancing in a house while those taking the video were waiting for police to arrive.

One of the couple who took the footage said one policeman who arrived took photos of the men and another laughed, TV3 reported.

Whangarei police said in a statement that a 20-year-old man was charged with wilful damage in relation to the tagging incident and that an investigation into the video footage had been launched.

"Police can confirm that the investigation involves looking into the actions of the occupiers of the house, where the video was filmed, the actions of the taggers and the actions of police who responded to the incident."

Mr Hodson said the best course of action for anyone who apprehended an alleged criminal was to contact police and let police deal with the incident.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Cameron Slater versus Name Suppression

Blogger Cameron Slater was before the courts today defending his stance on releasing suppressed named via his WhaleOil website. Slater said amongst other things that blogs are exempt of name suppression laws because they are “the new village green” an extension on a conversation rather than a media report or release. You cannot be held in contempt if you are having a private conversation.

The crown argued that in releasing the names, Slater actually made it more difficult for the victims of crime to come forward as once some of these alleged offenders names were released, then by association so were the victims. Slater argued that with everything in the public domain the way the courts would run would be improved.

It also appears that Cameron Slater often claims that name suppression is the bastion of the rich and famous, so let’s test that.

As reported on, according to the Ministry of Justice in 2008, of the 150,000 criminal cases each year, 765 ended with permanent name suppression. There are also approximately 2,400 interim name suppressions but they are “less significant since the media can eventually report them.”

So around 3,000 full or interim name suppression each year…and Slater is being charged with 9 offences. That would make me believe that over the last year, Cameron Slater has been so unhappy with 9 instances of name suppression…out of 3,000…that he needed to break a court order and release their names. Even if every one of those releases were sportsmen, politicians or the rich…it’s only around three tenths of one percent of all names suppressions over the last 12 months.

One area I am inclined to agree with Slater on is the suppression of names after a guilty conviction. I hope there is a very difficult filter to get through which allows a convicted criminal to keep their name out of the media…but as for releasing names after a charge has been laid, or during a trial only an idiot would think that is going to help the justice system.

What should we do then?

We I think it’s very simple, to get away from the hypothetical problem with some people getting name suppression and other not…just give every accused person name suppression.

My premise is that every person who is accused of a crime has name suppression until a conviction; then their name is released. There are too many cases of people being found ‘not guilty’ in the eyes of the law, but ‘guilty’ in the court of public opinion.

Media outlets constantly sight ‘the public’s need to know’, what a crock! What we need to know is the dangerous criminal in our society. What we need to know is the offenders being locked away. What we don’t need to know is the tabloid style news we are getting at the moment, with back hand/sly accusations coming from many sources painting a person ‘guilty’ then having them to prove their innocence. That’s not how our justice system has been set up, that’s not how it works and that’s not the system most of us would want if it were we that was accused with a crime.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The ‘h’ debate

I see that Mayor Michael Laws is trying to re-ignite the debate over the ‘h’ in Whanganui. As reported on he is going to ‘complain to the Press Council and Broadcasting Standards Authority over media using the name Whanganui.’ He has gone so far as to say that media bodies that using the name Whanganui are acting illegally. I guess that makes me a criminal.

The "h" conversation feels finished to me. As far as I'm concerned the decision is made and Mayor Laws got some consolation in the end. Through his tireless efforts and the voice of a sector of his community, the Geographic Board agreed to make both Whanganui and Wanganui official. I've looked at other decisions made by the Board and this is not usually the case, therefore it is a ‘win’ for Michael Laws.

Why is Michael Laws bringing this up again? Is it to divert attention from the embarrassing headlines of last week regarding his interactions with an ex-prostitute and ‘P’ user? Is it that it is currently the time of year when commercial radio stations round the country are fighting for ratings and Mr. Laws needs desperately for his ratings to rise? Or does he genuinely believe the rhetoric he is spouting?

Michael Laws says that over the past 160 years or so, Wanganui has developed its own culture, and he’s right, and that’s why the Geographic Board allowed that spelling of the beautiful town to remain without the ‘h’. Again this appears to be a win for Mr. Laws.

Michael Laws often uses the argument that even the local iwi don’t pronounce the Whas an ‘f’ sound. Again, Mr. Laws is right…but it is a weak argument. What he is saying is that even if people are stupid enough (my paraphrase) to want to include the ‘h’, they should then at least pronounce it as the local iwi do, with the Whsounding more like the start of ‘whistle’.

I've developed my own theory on this, I call it the 'dominant dialect theory'. I think that the most common pronunciation of a word makes that pronunciation acceptable, even if it differs from local dialect. Amongst Maori speakers most pronounce Wh as an ‘f’ therefore it is entirely acceptable to pronounce Whanganui with the ‘f’ sound. If we followed Michael Laws’ argument of how the local dialect is the only acceptable alternate version, we would all need to roll our ‘r’ when pronouncing Gore because that is how the locals say it. It just doesn't work.

Finally the concept that Mayor Laws uses repetitively which is that the majority want it without the ‘h’ therefore it’s undemocratic to put in the ‘h’ is rubbish. Laws is not talking about democracy, he is talking about mob rule. Sometimes the ‘majority’ shouldn’t get what they want…sometimes there are good reasons why the majority should bow to official decisions. If you asked students to vote whether they should pay fees or not, I’ll bet the majority would say ‘No!’, but if we followed that mob rule our national debt would go further through the roof to pay for University fees.

Laws is pitching this to the lowest common denominator, those who are scared of the taniwha under the bed, and he is looking for people to buy his over-simplified , thin at best, divisive attitude towards an issue where he has already had a win…it’s just not the ‘win’ he wanted.

Whanganui, Wanganui, Whatever…isn’t it time to let this old, old warhorse know that those of us that want to call it Wanganui can….that those of us that want to call it Whanganui with an ‘f’ can…and that those of us that want to call it Whanganui with a whcan…where’s the problem with that?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Brilliant! Brilliant! Brilliant!

Weatherman Tomasz Schafernaker in trouble again over on-air gesture
The BBC and the Met Office have been forced to apologise after weatherman Tomasz Schafernaker was caught live on air making an obscene gesture at a newsreader.

A BBC spokesman said that the corporation had received seven complaints. “Tomasz was not aware that he was on air, and whilst the gesture was only shown for a second, it was not acceptable,” she said. “The News Channel presenter live in the studio acknowledged a mistake had been made, and we apologise for any offence caused.”

While it is understood that Schafernaker does not face losing his job over the incident, his employers the Met Office apologised on his behalf. “Tomasz was not aware that he was on air at the time. However, his actions were not acceptable and we apologise for any offence caused,” said a spokesman.

Schafernaker, who was born in Gdansk but came to the UK as a child, is no stranger to controversy, having had to apologise previously for referring to the Western Isles as “Nowheresville” during a weather forecast.

He has also stumbled over his words and referred to Glastonbury as a “muddy shite” rather than a “muddy site”, and called Devon “Devil”.

In May 2008, he was seen on air tearing out his earpiece and saying “Well I don’t know if I’m on air on not so Gary over to you.”

Earlier this year Schafernaker raised eyebrows among BBC executives by showing off his impressive physique, shirtless, on the cover of the gay magazine Attitude Active.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Roadtrip, Day Nine

Napier put on a pearler of a day for our last day on holiday

We love Napier, I would happily move there tomorrow. The weather, the ocean, the people, the cafes, the museum, the sea life...and more is incredible!

We decided to skip the might BOP sadly, as we were going to stay just around the corner from where we used to live at Papamoa Beach Top 10. But alas we decided home for the kids would be a better idea.

Actually met Mum and Dad in Napier before we left as they happened to be coming we were heading North...weird. They showed the correct amount of awe at the Britz Campervan. And then we headed North.

Left at around 3.30pm with the ambition of having dinner in Taupo, spent longer than we thought we would by the great lake, and ended up driving quite slowly in a heavily fogged Waikato.

Children asleep in the back, the wife and I in the front talking about our great holiday and hoping that maybe in 12 months we can do it all the South Island.

Home at 11.30pm...and now we are off to bed.

Brilliant holiday, one we will never forget.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Roadtrip, Day Nine Ten

I love Palmerston North, where else in NZ can you get served a non-alcholic beer and a kebab by a genuine Algerian terrorist?**

Upon leaving Palmy north we headed West in our Britz Campervan to meet up with friends in a little settlement outside Hastings called Haumoana. The highlight of the drive was Yummy Mummy's Cheesecakes at Dannevirke, you must try these cheesecakes! It's worth a detour just to visit the shop!

We had a first night of 'free camping', where we were not plugged into anything and just stayed by the beach and awoke to a great view...

Lunch with Keith and Paula and then off to the best Top 10 Holiday Park I have ever seen, Kennedy Park Top 10.

Kennedy Park Top 10 is simply the most impressive holiday park I have ever seen, it had something for everyone, from corporate events to family holidays...brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!!!

** terrorist accusation subject to confirmation

Monday, July 19, 2010

Roadtrip, Day Seven and Eight

Left the brilliant Wellington Top 10 Holiday Park for the bright lights of the big city...Wellington.

Basically we spent the whole day at Te Papa and was thoroughly impressed with the 'Discovery Areas.' Areas set up for kids to touch, The last time I was at Our Place was maybe 15 years ago, and the last thing that would have been on my mimd was, "How's this for kids?"...but I can now answer that's brilliant!

One child did try to escape...but she was soon rounded up :o)

After Te Papa we went off to the waterfront for a coffee, then drove North to Whitby showing the girls 'where the Prime Minister lives' along the way.

Spent the night with old freinds, then for some reason went back into Petone, we kind of fell in love with the place and just wanted to go visit. Secretly I think we just wanted to drive the Britz Campervan as much as possible so a saunter South, before heading North to Palmerston North made all the sense in the world!

Had one of the great drives of my life as we headed to Palmy, first time in my life we went over the Paekakariki Hill, the Britz Campervan ate up the kms and incline like it wasn't there.

Can I say, that the view at the top was awesome

Next stop Palmerston North

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Roadtrip, Day Five and Six

We left the lovely Ohakune Top 10 Holiday Park and decided to head up the mountain to show the kids the snow for the first time ever. Up Ruapehu (Rua - number two, pehu - to exploding number twos?) to the snow.

After the snow it was, in the words of the immortal Willie Nelson, on the road again. Down through Waiouru (to go in the water) and Taihape (to pass by the coast...or maybe 'rubber footwear with no laces') and lunch by the Rangitikei (to stretch for heaven) River.
I think the Britz Campervan enhances the view...don't you?
Straight to Wellington (land of hot air filled politicans) to spend the night at Wellington Top 10 Holiday Park.
Tomorrow, Our Place...Te Papa!

Roadtrip, Day Three and Four

We left Mangawhai Heads in the middle of the day with our Britz Campervan handling itself like a hovercraft in the terrible driving conditions. We stopped off in Auckland en route to Huntly to have a 'pit stop' night with friends on a farm.

Had a lovely night of socialing with John and Julie then hit the road early (well early for us) heading to Ohakune. Something we are going to do is investigate interesting place names using the iPhone and online Maori translation dictionary as we went around, so through the diary we will also give what we thought place names may mean. It may be wrong as some Maori words can have different meanings.

Oha - to greet
Kune - to be plump, or pregnant

So Ohakune, to say gidday to the fatties, or maybe nice to greet the pregnant?

On the way to Ohakune we stopped to have a look at some native wildlife

And saw some pretty amazing countryside

We arrived at the beautiful Ohakune Top 10 Holiday Park and parked 'white lightning' alongside a delightful stream at the back of the property

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Roadtrip, Day One and Two

Auckland to Mangawhai…then chillin’

Drove the Britz campervan from Auckland to Mangawhai, can I say that even though the ‘truck’, as we call it, is over 7 meters long, and 3.3 meters tall but drives like a small van. It’s easy to handle and has power to boot.

The kids are ever so excited that dad has a new job as ‘the bus driver’ as well.

Home made hamburgers for dinner, then crashed for the first full night sleep for all in sundry for about 10 days.

Woke up on day two with a small case of either elephantitis, massive swelling on the right hand side of my face. Off to the ‘holiday’ doctor and was told that my lymph glands were swollen. So now I have ‘holiday antibiotics’ to take for the next 10 days.

Mangawhai looks magical, so we’re off to the beach.

Afternoon is all about relaxation, lay-z-boy called my name with my current ‘read’, Keith Newman’s, Bible and Treaty.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Royal New Zealand Ballet – Carmen

Right from the beginning with the opening curtain the audience was filled with suspense with what was to come. There was a tangible excitement as the Auckland Philharmonic began Bizet’s opening score.

It was obvious right from the start, as the dancers appeared in denim, that this was no ordinary ballet. In fact there wasn’t a pair of pointe shoes or tights to be seen. It was all bare legs, bare feet, cut off jeans and the odd sneaker.

The way the choreographer fused contemporary dance vocabulary with ballet, jazz and musical theatre makes Carmen really accessible for anyone to enjoy. This is the kind of ballet that you could take a real bloke to. But some of the not so subtle moments in the bedroom scene might not be so suitable for the kids.

There were a number of duets where the graceful, sexy, sultry, ever flirtatious and confident Carmen left us in no doubt as to her power and passion. We were surprised at times how the store telling captured our attention to the point where we barely noticed any of the slick scene changes.

With the costumes being based on every day clothing, the dancers are relied upon to convey the story through their body movements – which they all did incredibly well. One of the key elements to successful story telling in ballet is the clever use of gesture. A standout example of this is the interchange between Carmen & Jose as she convinces him to set her free.

The story of Carmen changes according to the climate in which it is created. The Royal New Zealand Ballet version includes the use of technology, film and modernisation of the musical score by John Longstaff.

The story was so vividly presented that at one point I felt I could have been watching a silent movie. The music and dance complemented each other perfectly. Given that Carmen has such a well-known score it is a tall order to create such an entrancing mix of music and dance – but they succeeded without a doubt. The strength and agility of the dancers contributed greatly to the often humorous concoction.

The real strength in this performance is the way the relationships have been created. Not only between the dancers but between the dancers and the audience. I felt real emotion and connection to what was happening. The characters were believable and someone we could all relate to.

Normally I come away from a dance performance with a number of critiques but it was difficult to find fault with this vibrant and slick performance. The dancers, lighting, costumes and set were all in synch.

If you’ve never been to the ballet before - this is a great place to start!

Reviewed by Allie Carter & Natalie Dowd

Click here for ticket details

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Case against Robin Bain

The contoversial doco that screened on TVNZ last night. One of the more difficult, yet juciest, topics that talkback can't really touch...why?

The main reason is that you can defame someone by 'omission', so in a case if there are only two options in a case, as specified in this one by both judges, where 'Party A' is deemed not guilty. You cannot them claim that 'Party B' is innocent as that implies, via omission, that 'Party A' did it.

That's defamatory.

So Daivid Bain will probably not need to seek compensation from the Crown, as his lawyers will be able to go after probably nearly every media outlet in the country! I sure don't want to add and more $$$ to his settlements tonight.

The link to the complete doco.

View The Investigator: The Case Against Robin Bain in its entirety by clicking here

Who said Jews can't dance?

If it's a hoax it's one of the best, the world media (incl. TVNZ) has reported it as factual. They say the Israeli Army has disciplined the soul-diers

Click here for one of the news reports

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

David Bain...more questions!

So if you didn't see the The Investigator Special programme on TVOne tonight, you've missed one of NZs most interesting programmes this year.

The show was careful not to say that David had committed the crime of murder, but it painted a very convincing argument for why Robin could simply not have done it.

A couple of the points:
  • There was so much blood in Stephens room, but not one drop on Robin
  • There were no fingerprints on the murder weapon belonging to Robin
  • There was testimony given to support the Defense case, that seems to not only be wrong, but a blatant lie - for your reference the purchase of a photocopy machine.
The argument was well laid out, logical and seemed to point the finger away from Robin Bain very convincingly.

David Bain's legal team wrote to the producers of the documentary asking them not to show it while David Bain has a case for compensation before the courts...after seeing the documentary, you can see why.

As for my opinion, one thing about the re-trial of David Bain has always confused me. It appears that his conviction was overturned based on the evidence given by the experts organised by the defense team, however none of those experts were at the scene the day that the murder was committed. So for the overturned ruling to be correct, every expert that was at the scene of the murder has to be wrong...and all the experts that were not there, using the evidence gathered by those that were there, would have to be right.

Did David Bain kill his family? No one one ever will I suspect. But I agree with Award-winning documentary film maker Bryan Bruce, David had his day in court, and that's what the jury has decided, but Robin never has...until now.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Why is NZ such a dangerous country for adolescents?

Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, Chief Science Advisor to the PM, has asked why NZ is so dangerous for adolescents. Apparently compared to other comparable countries more of our adolescents die than anywhere else. This may be death from suicide, risk taking, accident or other means.

It’s a tragic, but fascinating question. Why, in this country we call Godzone, a place where are all laid back and ‘sweet as’, do some many of our young people die for stupid reasons…compared to our kindred sister countries?

The basic information via media release from Professor Gluckman
By international standards, New Zealand teenagers have high rates of risk-taking behaviours such as smoking, drunkenness and unsafe sex.

The pressures of the teenage years can also have tragic outcomes - we have the highest rate of youth suicide among developed countries.

The Prime Minister has asked his Chief Science Advisor, Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, to report on practicable actions that could improve the transition through adolescence for New Zealand's young people. The interim report from the working group, entitled Improving the transition: reducing social and psychological morbidity during adolescence, has been released today.

This interim report, produced at the mid-point of the project's reporting time-frame, identifies the issues and indicates where substantive conclusions have been reached, the direction of the working group's thinking, and the focus of ongoing work.

So here’s the thing, we talked about this this morning, and kind of started going around in circles and came to why do we have ‘troubles’ or ‘issues’ in general with many teens. The conversation included the original Gluckman thoughts then expanded.

Here’s a hypothesis to consider.

If you have a disrespectful, surly, rude teenager, a teenager who shows no respect for authority, a teen who drinks, swears, smokes, roots and is a burden on society, who’s fault is that?

Playstation? Music? Movies? TV? Societies? The teens? Peers?...

I would surmise that all these influences can play a part, but let’s be honest the parent or parents have a much greater influence on the teen through their years of life so far than any other the other external forces. Shouldn’t we point the finger at the biggest influence?

Can’t we at least ask the question, is poor parenting to blame for the slacker youth we have in NZ today?

I know it’s not as black and white as I am selling it…however at the moment all the other ‘external forces’ are getting the blame, along with the teens themselves. I don’t say this to absolve the teens of their responsibility, but to at least have a realistic conversation about the other influences that lead to the 13 year old dropping the brick off the overpass.

Think of it like this, if I owned a dog, and my dog bit you…I could end up in jail, or with a fine. If my 13 year old is out of the home and kills someone with a rock off an overpass…I can absolve myself of any responsibility.

Am I saying that owning a dog, and having a child is the same thing…No, but what I am getting at is there seems to something wrong with the above example, you need to take greater legal responsibility for a pet, than a child.

Click here for the full Gluckman report

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Shane Jones on the wireless

Further to my facetious, tongue-in-cheek tweet earlier

@patbrittenden Looks like NZs 6th most successful iwi station, Radiolive, is looking 2 replace NZs best known gardener with NZs foremost porn connoisseur

I thought I should expand.

Radiolive has had several drive time hosts, including Paul Henry, Bill Ralston and James Coleman since its inception in 2005. Currently the drive host is New Zealands best known gardener Maggie Barry. we hear today that shamed MP Shane Jones is now being given a crack at the lowly rating slot.

Click here for the story from 3News

As a clarifying statement here are the statistics.

Newstalk ZB's Larry Williams currently has 155,000 listeners, pulling 9.1% of the listening market, where at RadioLive's Maggie Barry has 45,000 listeners with an audience share of only 2.3%

'Nuf said.

Welcome ETS!

So it's finally here, the emissions trading scheme.

What will it do for NZ? What will it do for the production of Carbon? What will it do for our economy?

Answer: Nothing! Nothing! Nothing!

This is not a debate about whether man is contributing any significant way to climate change? It goes beyond that into..."if man is contributing, will the ETS do anything?"

The clear answer is "No!"

What the ETS is (as descibed so beautifully by one of my callers this morning) is the stick. It is not an incentive, it is a tax...a fee...or a fine, take your choice.

If this was going to make a clear difference with pollution in NZ, then New Zealanders would be behind it...but it wont.

A classic example is a courier company that runs around Auckland with 'Carbon Neutral' stickers on their vans...good you think they are not emitting carbon! Well no, that's not how it works. They are still emitting the same carbon out of their vehicles, they are just paying a offset fee. They are purchasing carbon credits to hide their guilty sin!

Other points of interest with the ETS that we learned about two weekends ago with the Nick Smith interview.

If you have trees that qualifies you to receive money from the ETS, then it's more like a loan than an actual payment. The money that gets paid to individual New Zealanders is nice for them, but if those trees ever come down, through natural means or by the hand of man, then the owner of the trees has to pay back upwards of 70% to the government. It's probably closer to GST than anything else, a big money-go-round that will end back with the government.

If you have trees planted before 1990 they are not eligible for a payout, but if you cut them down you will be fined for it.

In the first year, the government will be paying out over $900 million to foresters, but only taking in $400 million from the ETS...the rest will come from our taxes, we will be subsidising the ETS through our taxes.

And finally, don't believe the hype over the ETS just being on fuel and electricity, this will effect the price of every 'Goods and Service' we have. Example, if you own a book store, and your power goes by hundreds per annum, as a book store owner you'll need to recover that up goes the price of books, or maybe an employee will lose a little work. Yes some businesses will absorb the price increases, but they will still be there. Nick Smith said on air that it will effect the price of everything.

I am not pro-pollution, no one is, but let's get realistic, if anything is going to be an incentive for New Zealanders to stop producing's a carrot.