Saturday, December 29, 2007
Looks like a quick wash to take advantage of the warm sun before dinner time has backfired.
I am officially grossed out right now and need a gin.
Friday, December 28, 2007
I am just getting started reading Ian Wishart's new book now, but I have to say it appears to be selling very well. It took me ages to find any place that had a copy. First stop was Borders in Sylvia Park who had sold out. Next I tried both Whitcoulls and Paper Plus from my local Westfield Mall and it had sold out both places there as well. Eventually I found a Whitcoulls that had a copy, although it took some hunting around to find it (they also told me it had been selling very well).
Looks like it's going to do as well as Eve's Bite, or maybe even better!
Just a little public service announcement. The FULL version of EverNote Portable is FREE today only from GiveAwayOfTheDay.com. You have to download AND install it in the next 12 or so hours. If you've never used it, it's similar to Microsoft's OneNote - you can save snippets of text and data from just about anywhere. This version can be run from a USB stick. EverNote does produce a free version as well, but this download is the FULL version
Monday, December 24, 2007
It is in the child Jesus that we see most clearly the defencelessness of God's love. God comes without weapons, because he does not want to conquer from the outside but to win us over from within and to transform us from within. If anything can conquer the arrogance, the violence, and the greed of man, it is the utter vulnerability of a child: and God has taken on this vulnerability in order to conquer us in this manner and to lead us to himself.
NZ Labour, via the Electoral Commission, are about to release new voting forms in preparation for next years election. "We have done extensive research and we believe this is what the public are demanding", said Helen Clark from her bunker last Tuesday. "I'm particularly pleased with our new "auto-subscribe" option that revolutionizes voting and makes it affordable (time wise) for the masses, proving once again NZ Labour has the interests of the less fortunate in mind." Helen added. "And based on our surveys, we know exactly who the less fortunate are. Us."
The new forms look something like this:
2008 Ballot Paper
This Ballot Paper proudly sponsored by NZ Labour, democratic leaders of the free world etc. (Approved by H Simpson; Paid for by Parliamentary Service)
* I realise that for transparency reasons, we should not vote anonymously, because the Exclusive Brethren may try to vote twice.
* I may leave this blank if I want to assign my vote to the incumbent government
* Any voting form filled out incorrectly will become a proxy vote for whoever Margaret Wilson decides, as Margaret Wilson can be relied upon to be impartial.
[X] Yes, I give my electorate vote to NZ Labour
[X] Yes, I give my Party vote to NZ Labour
[X] Yes, Please repeat the same order next election (assuming we hold them)
[X] Please assign my family's vote to Labour on this one convenient vote ticket.
I declare my dog to be living and in good health.
Total in family: 4,6,8,20 (Circle one. Round up to the nearest number.)
(White out any X if they are not required)
[ ] No, I would prefer to vote for ________________________^
(Please enter the candidate name & party EXACTLY for your vote to be valid.)
^ By voting for another party, I realise that IRD may audit me as part
of a random compliance initiative.
[X] But I still want to Party Vote Labour
[ ] Please cancel my Party Vote as a protest (any kind of protest)
[ ] No, I've thought about it and want to Party Vote _____________
[ ] I've changed my mind. Cancel my party vote.
[X] This is a one time vote, I revert to auto-subscribe (vote Labour) in future elections.
(White out the X if not required)
Declaration: Please check the following
[ ] I am not Exclusive Brethren (You guys said you don't vote, so don't.)
[ ] I am not, or never have been a member of a terrorist organisation such as National, which starts with the letter N, the same letter as Nazi.
[ ] I believe my NCEA credit has suitably qualified me to understand why I am voting Labour. I also believe that Labour were forced to charge me millions of dollars for my university education, and I am grateful they have decided not to charge interest.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Related Link: NZ Passport Scandal and here too: Clark targets Jews
The coalition "could obstruct" the success of achieving the strategic objectives. The debate needed to be reframed to position the Government's response as "sensible" and isolate the coalition and similar groups. "A dismissive response makes them seem like radicals."
Curran suggested how to explain away the fact that a review of climate change policy was "being done in secret", how to offset questions over New Zealand's growing liabilities under the Kyoto protocol and much more in this vein.
So, third parties can only spend $120,000 in an election year. That's not enough for any sort of sustained campaign. Consider them muzzled. But what about the government? Just imagine if NZ Labour want to make climate change the hot topic for the election.
What would their strategy be? Perhaps they could get the Ministry for the Environment to spend several million dollars making the public "aware" in such a way that it dovetails nicely with NZ Labour policy announcements. If any other group popped up to try to counter "the message", then deal to them.
This is why Clare Curran's role, when exposed, is so significant. Fran O'Sullivan has detailed this story, but unfortunately, it all comes out at Christmas time. Unless the story is kept alive, the left will simply breathe a sigh of relief and get on with their multi-million dollar election campaign. And those multi-million dollars will all be tax paid, uncapped funds. Aren't we the suckers?
Related Link: Fran O'Sullivan: Prebble's Team in Political Whitewash
Related Link: How Labour Americanized the Public Service
Friday, December 21, 2007
Good on Toby for cleaning up in a strong field. But, (you knew this was coming, didn't you?) I'm left wondering if Toby has simply invented a marketing campaign. Kids don't like Asthma Inhalers, paint it up like a train. Add a 20% premium, new packaging, run an advertising campaign, and bam! a career in marketing.
Personally I thought the other finalists had items that reflected "inventions" more than marketing. Am I being too harsh here? What do others think?
The other young finalists were:
Melanie Ansell, New Plymouth, with the Gyminator, a device that harnesses the power generated by bouncing on trampolines and by bicycles.
Andrew Wordsworth, Whangarei, with the Acoustic Apparel, a suit which when plugged into an MP3 player generates lights and vibrations like those experienced at a rock concert. Eldon Bennett, Waiuku, and his the Electronic Moneybox, which counts your savings and displays an electronically-generated picture of what you're saving for.
Related Link: Marketing an invention
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
In the past 12 years, $14.3 million has been paid to the Crown. In comparison, New South Wales [Pop. 7 million - Zen]has seized more than $100 million in the past 14 years.The onus will be on the person found 'not guilty' they mean. Technically, they aren't a criminal if they weren't found guilty. But hey, it's a Labour Government. Subtle distinctions like that may be beyond them.
The law has been criticised as too weak, requiring proof that assets were acquired by crime profits.
The Government is introducing new powers to up the stakes, lowering the threshold for proving the assets were obtained through criminal activity.
The Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Bill, now before a select committee, will allow courts to seize property even if a suspect is not convicted. The onus will be on the criminal to prove it was legally obtained.
Anyway, there are many opportunities for abusing this new power. Maybe we should be a little concerned? I'll just throw one idea down, because as far fetched as this sounds, it isn't really any different than the steps recently taken, such as the one requiring registration to express a political opinion if your group is going to advertise it.
If one looks at the reaction from the left to those that are spending money fighting the EFB, you can already see how this will play out. It will not be enough to merely cap the spending at $120K. You'll have people convinced that spending is way over the cap. Surely, the Police should be able to move in and seize the advertisements, take down the billboards, freeze assets and then expect the accused to fund a court defence to prove spending was proper?
Perhaps paranoid, but then, if I had suggested the farce that was the EFB process 12 months ago....
Related Link: Police grab the booty and bling
Helen Clark defended the campaign expense:
"These billboards are mobile. Therefore they will reach more New Zealanders, and as such, represent value for tax payer money"
When asked what messages the mobile billboards delivered, Helen was quick to reel several campaign slogans off:
1. One law for the peasants, another for Labour.
2. A tax cut would mean a reduction in services. Limousine services.
3. Tougher Emission Standards. You, not us.
4. Tougher Emission Standards. It gets your car off the road so we don't queue.
5. My other car is a Ferrari.
6. If you don't like it, plant a tree.
7. Nothing retrospective validation cannot cure.
8. Uses less fuel than a jumbo jet.
9. Uses less fuel than a Ford Fairlane (when air conditioning is off).
10.If you can read this, I'm already at the rugby.
Related Link: Labour defends BMW fleet purchase
Climate Change Minister David Parker is hitting back at critics of a decision to buy new BMWs to transport government ministers and VIPs.
Internal Affairs is buying 34 of the $170,000 German vehicles to replace the current fleet of Fords and Holdens.
Critics, including the Green Party, claim the fuel efficiency of the vehicles is terrible and the purchase is all about status.
But Parker says the environmental effects have been taken into account and the BMWs will use less fuel than the current Ford Fairlaines.
Hone Harawira, Member of Parliament for Te Tai Tokerau
Over these last few months of intense and passionate debate about this Electoral Finance Bill, one email stood out for me, because it said a lot about who we are as a Maori Party. I paraphrase part of that email here:
- We are not members of the Exclusive Brethren.
- We are not members of the ACT party.
- We are not members of the National party.
- We are not members of John Boscawen’s team as Helen Clark scathingly, and incorrectly, called those who marched in Auckland against this Bill.
Madam Speaker, we are the Maori Party, and I welcome this opportunity to set the record straight on our party’s position on this Bill.
We are the Maori Party, and contrary to government’s claims, this Bill is not being attacked only “by those New Zealanders who are able to pour thousands of dollars into electioneering campaigns to buy influence in government”.
We are the Maori Party, with nothing behind us save the tens of thousands of voters who put us here and our absolute commitment to their well-being, and I tell you now that we are opposed to this Electoral Finance Bill.
We are the Maori Party, with not a bean to our name, but still we turned down $250,000 rather than compromise our independence, and for the same reasons, we are opposed to this Bill.
We are the Maori Party, and we were angry with the both the divisive “IWI / KIWI” campaign run by National, and the nasty “A VOTE FOR THE MAORI PARTY IS A VOTE FOR NATIONAL” campaign run by Labour, because we didn’t have the wherewithal to counteract either, and yet still, we are opposed to this Bill.
We are the Maori Party, with not a bean to our name, but we stand free in this House, answerable to none but our people, uncompromised by shady deals with either of the major parties, and we are proud to say, that we are opposed to this Electoral Finance Bill.
Yes, Madam Speaker, like most New Zealanders, we were horrified at the revelations of secret trust accounts, and the millions of dollars being spent by other groups in support of the campaigns of both Labour and National.
And yes, Madam Speaker, we agree that Parliament should pass laws, to prevent the undue influence that lobbyists can have on our electoral process.
But unlike Labour, our focus is not only on the rich, the very rich and the obscenely rich, because we also saw unions spending heaps of money to undermine us at the last election; a classic third party attack trying to link Maori Party votes with National, when in fact our voting pattern has always been more in line, with that of the Greens.
And, I’m proud to say, that regardless of all the big money offered to us, and the nasty underhand tactics used against us, the Maori Party stands by its kaupapa of opposing corruption, opposing illegality, and opposing the abuse of power in all its forms.
And yes, the Exclusive Brethren’s million dollar anti-Labour, anti-Greens campaign was beyond the pale, but I can’t help but smell the filthy, stench of hypocrisy from the Labour Party in this attack on the Brethren.
Because it wasn’t the Exclusive Brethren who the police had prima facie evidence of electoral finance mismanagement on was it? Hell no. It was the Labour Party!!
Remember that everybody? The cops said they had a prima facie case of electoral mismanagement against the Prime Minister’s very own private secretary, but didn’t want to press charges against an individual for what was clearly the work of a group of people.
And it was that very same Labour Party who then set up a special deal with their mates to rewrite the law, to let them keep doing what they did last time, while gagging the voices of the opposition.
Madam Speaker, make no mistake, the Maori Party stands firmly against the kind of overwhelming financial firepower, that only parties like National can boast of.
But as we sit hear and listen to all the doomsayers from Labour prattle on about the destructive power of overseas influence, let me just point out to anyone who thinks that our governments aren’t already controlled by overseas interests, that they need only look at the Waihopai Spybase to realise that our nation’s security, indeed our nations very sovereignty, is already compromised by the existence of a super-secret operation to spy on the people of the Pacific, right here on New Zealand soil, controlled not from Wellington, but from Washington.
And for those of you who think that money wins elections – take a look at the good old US of A, where three years ago, billionaire Democrat Norman Lear and his mates, spent more than $50 million to try to push George Bush out of office, and buy the election for John Kerry. Well that didn’t work too well did it? George Bush is now President Bush and John Kerry is John who …?
And what about the senior Republican Senator who spent $42 million on his election race … and still came second.
Yes folks money talks, but nothing talks quite like the truth, and the truth about this Bill is that it’s nothing but an arrogant dismissal by this Labour-led government to deny the citizens of Aotearoa / New Zealand the right to participate in one of the fundamental rights of any so-called “democratic society” – how you elect your government.
And no – we will not be fobbed off by any talk about how this is only about election finances, because it ain’t.
If this was only about election finances, then why did this Labour government push through special legislation to validate their $800,000 over-spend at the last election, rather than let the legal process take its natural course?
If this was only about election finances, then why didn’t this Labour government ask the Auditor General and the Electoral Commission, to present a range of options for public consideration, and presentation to the House?
If this was only about election finances, then how come the Human Rights Commission says this Bill is a dramatic assault on fundamental human rights – freedom of expression, and the right to participate in the election process?
If this was only about election finances, then how come the Human Rights Commission says that even this rewritten, flea-bitten, revised and patched-up version should still have been given back to the public for full discussion and debate?
I’ll tell you why Madam Speaker, it’s because this ain’t just about election finances.
It’s about the sweet scent of power, and the lust for control. It’s about the decadence of corruption, the stench of deceit, and the refusal to accept the reality of impending defeat.
Yes, there have been amendments, hell we even voted for one of them, but given the constitutional importance of legislation that will play a critical role in determining how the next election will be fought – stitching up this deal behind closed doors, and then adding a veneer of democracy through a select committee process, is nothing but a sick joke.
Mind you, this government denying the people of Aotearoa the right to open and public debate on the process by which we manage the next election, is right up there, with their changing the law to bypass any serious questioning of their expenditure, at the last election.
Madam Speaker, the Maori Party will not be party to a bill which is clearly aimed at restricting freedom of speech.
We will not be party to this desperate attempt by Labour to stay in power at the expense of the fundamental human rights of the citizens of this country.
We will not be party to a bill designed to put fear into those who would speak their mind, by forcing them to run the gauntlet of registration, audit, notification, financial agency, monitoring, reporting, scrutiny, and penalty.
And we will not be party to a bill that slams the door on opposition spending, while allowing government to continue to spend millions on promoting its own policies and programmes.
Madam Speaker, the Maori Party was borne out of Maoridom’s absolute rejection of this Labour government’s arrogant denial of our basic human rights to the foreshore and seabed.
And we will reject this Bill to rewrite the law to allow that same government to stay in power - with the same vigour and determination.
Madam Speaker, money is not what drives people to vote, it is truth …
And I sincerely hope and pray, that those who have sacrificed the truth for the delusion of power, that overwhelms this decadent and depraved piece of legislation, will come to see the folly of their ways when the people reject this sham, come Election 2008.
Related Link: Harawira Speaks True
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
Over the years, I've seen the FNFFA develop into a chat for regulars. Every once in a while I'd put out the call for new commenters, and occasionally someone I'd never seen commenting before would pop in. This was good.
I had been hoping that the chat could attract people from the other side of the political divide as well, but it seemed the ambiance was just too "right-wing" to make the others feel comfortable. But that seems to be changing now and this too is good.
When it comes down to it, the FNFFA is where you leave your politics and weapons at the door and engage in a Friday night chat with others whom you may not like normally or may attack on sight (via comments) if given half a chance.
Think of it like that Christmas on the front line during WWI where the Germans and the British downed weapons and celebrated Christmas together for (was it a day or two?) before resuming blowing each other up afterwards.
If you don't like someone that is present at the Friday Night Free For All, you have 3 options.
1. Don't enter the chat.
2. Chat, but don't engage with the person you don't like (requires self-control).
3. Chat and engage in a friendly manner (requires self-control and charity).
If you can't abide by the rules set out, you will first be warned and then your comments will be deleted. I don't care who you are and if I like you or not. I will be completely impartial when it comes to ensuring the FNFFA stays friendly, even if it's through gritted teeth.
That is all.
However, after many months and with the help of very good lawyers, they are able to successfully appeal their sentences down to life imprisonment.
By a stroke of luck, it was a Saudi national holiday the day, their trial finished, and the extremely benevolent Sheik decided they could be released after receiving just 20 lashes each of the whip. As they were preparing for their punishment, the Sheik announced: "It's my first wife's birthday today, and she has asked me to allow each of you one wish before your whipping."
The South African was first in line, he thought for a while and then said: "Please tie a pillow to my back." This was done, but the pillow only lasted 10 lashes before the whip went through. When the punishment was done he had to be carried away bleeding and crying with pain.
The Australian was next up. After watching the South African's horror he said smugly: "Please fix two pillows to my back." But even two pillows could only take 15 lashes before the whip went through again and the Australian was soon led away whimpering loudly (as they do) [Cheap shot left in against editor's wishes, but then I thought back to seeing 1 for zero the other night].
The New Zealander was the last one up, but before he could say anything, the Sheik turned to him and said: "You are from a most beautiful part of the world and your culture is one of the finest in the world. For this, you may have two wishes!"
"Thank you, your Most Royal and Merciful Highness", the Kiwi replied. In recognition of your kindness, my first wish is that you give me not 20 lashes but 100 lashes."
"Not only are you an honourable, handsome and powerful man, you are also very brave", the Sheik said with an admiring look on his face. "If 100 lashes is what you desire, then so be it. And your second wish"?
"Tie the Australian to my back."
Friday, December 14, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
I'd just like to highlight a couple of statements that stood out to me.
... fears over man-made emissions melting the ice caps and causing a wave of unprecedented disasters were nothing more than scare-mongering.This has been my position on climate change all along - I'm so glad I don't need to reconsider!
The German-born Pontiff said that while some concerns may be valid it was vital that the international community based its policies on science rather than the dogma of the environmentalist movement.
... the world needed to care for the environment but not to the point where the welfare of animals and plants was given a greater priority than that of mankind.Yes! All those people that are so worried about whales or giant snails - are they at all perturbed by tiny human babies being sucked out of their mother's wombs? Related to that, this Sunday marks 400,000 tiny human lives taken by abortion in NZ in the last 30 years.
"The human community cannot do without the service provided by the family. Where can young people gradually learn to savor the genuine 'taste‚' of peace better than in the original 'nest‚' which nature prepares for them."It has often been asked why gay marriage threatens traditional marriage. As if someone else's marriage could threaten another's. But the threat is not so much direct as indirect. Once the notion of marriage, all it entails, all it's responsibilities are changed, marriage is weakened. If it is considered that marriage is temporary, until one "partner" falls out of love, then marriage is weakened, and the children's ability to form life long relationships is weakened, as they've never seen how a life long relationship works. If any man and his dog can get married, then marriage becomes a joke, something no one really needs or aspires to. Yet marriage is fundamentally necessary in raising children and instilling values. Without that, everything falls apart. And we can see that happening quite clearly in NZ.
"Whoever, even unknowingly, circumvents the institution of the family undermines peace in the entire community, national and international, since he weakens what is in effect the primary agency of peace. This point merits special reflection: Everything that serves to weaken the family based on the marriage of a man and a woman constitutes an objective obstacle on the road to peace."
Related Links: Daily Mail, New York Sun
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
While Lindsay Perigo is talking coup (as pointed out by AJ Chesswas) - I don't think we are at that stage - yet. Everyone needs to stay calm and see if the bill passes. If you pray, pray for NZ. If you never have prayed before in your life, now would be a good time to start. I don't think it will be enough, but it's worth a try.
No, the real test is, will NZ vote the current lot back into power next year? And if NZ doesn't, will the new lot repeal not only the EFB, but also the anti-smacking law? And my personal bugbear, is the Care of Children Act which redefines parents into caregivers - people with only responsibility towards their children, but no rights. That's the bill that made me sit up and take notice of politics in this country when I came back with my family from Australia four years ago.
Time to hang on for the ride.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
I'm just too hot.
I used to have air-conditioning in my Sydney apartment, not to mention fly-screens. It's like slumming it out here just north of Wellington.
Ah well, at least we are close to the beach and I could see the sea from my kitchen window if I had the blinds up and wasn't blinded by the setting sun.
Brief respite from cooking ...
I was reminded of that document today by an article sent to be by Ignatius Insight on Compassion leading to the gas chamber. The article is based on the following quote:
"In the absence of faith, we govern by tenderness. And tenderness leads to the gas chamber."For a logical walk through how compassion could lead to the gas chamber, read the article. It certainly makes sense to me.
Related Link: Compassion leads to the gas chamber ~ Ignatius Insight
Sunday, December 9, 2007
So obviously, some-one, somewhere wants this carry-on banned.
Mayweather has won this fight, but the real battle over personal freedom is by no means over. Are we going to fight for it? Careful that even as the government punishes people for fighting for their lives; working to ban fighting; that they are also keen to curb free speech. When we can no longer use words to fight for our rights, you can bet the alternative will not follow the Queens Rules.
Meanwhile, back to the match:
Mayweather remained unbeaten Saturday night and retained his claim to being the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world by stopping Hatton in the 10th round of a brawl that featured none of the fancy footwork he has shown in the ring and on reality TV.
Hatton wouldn't let Mayweather move, but it didn't matter as Mayweather used precision punches to wear down the challenger for his 147-round crown. Hatton kept trying to get inside and score points, but Mayweather had an answer for everything he did.
The end came after Mayweather landed a crushing left hook that dropped Hatton on his back in Mayweather's corner. Hatton got up at the count of eight, but Mayweather almost immediately got him on the ropes and landed another flurry of punches to the head.
Hatton went down almost on a delayed reaction, while at the same time referee Joe Cortez moved in to stop the fight and Hatton's corner threw in the towel at 1:35 of the round.
It was the first loss for Hatton, a brawler from Manchester, England, who did his best to do what no other fighter had ever done and break down Mayweather's defenses. It was clear from the early rounds, though, that Hatton would have trouble doing that. Mayweather was able to pile up points and seemed to be cruising for an easy decision win when he shot out the left hook that was the beginning of the end for Hatton.
Related Link: Mayweather Prevails
Related Link: Ban boxing
Related Link: There is no free speech under tyrants
Saturday, December 8, 2007
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us.
Holy Mother of God, pray for us.
Holy Virgin of virgins, pray for us.
Mother of Christ, pray for us.
Mother of divine grace, pray for us.
Mother most pure, pray for us.
Mother most chaste, pray for us.
Mother inviolate, pray for us.
Mother undefiled, pray for us.
Mother most amiable, pray for us.
Mother most admirable, pray for us.
Mother of good counsel, pray for us.
Mother of our Creator, pray for us.
Mother of our Savior, pray for us.
Virgin most prudent, pray for us.
Virgin most venerable, pray for us.
Virgin most renowned, pray for us.
Virgin most powerful, pray for us.
Virgin most merciful, pray for us.
Virgin most faithful, pray for us.
Mirror of justice, pray for us.
Seat of wisdom, pray for us.
Cause of our joy, pray for us.
Spiritual vessel, pray for us.
Vessel of honor, pray for us.
Singular vessel of devotion, pray for us.
Mystical rose, pray for us.
Tower of David, pray for us.
Tower of ivory, pray for us.
House of gold, pray for us.
Ark of the covenant, pray for us.
Gate of heaven, pray for us.
Morning star, pray for us.
Health of the sick, pray for us.
Refuge of sinners, pray for us.
Comforter of the afflicted, pray for us.
Help of Christians, pray for us.
Queen of Angels, pray for us.
Queen of Patriarchs, pray for us.
Queen of Prophets, pray for us.
Queen of Apostles, pray for us.
Queen of Martyrs, pray for us.
Queen of Confessors, pray for us.
Queen of Virgins, pray for us.
Queen of all Saints, pray for us.
Queen conceived without original sin, pray for us.
Queen assumed into heaven, pray for us.
Queen of the most holy Rosary, pray for us.
Queen of Peace, pray for us.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord!.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord!
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us. .
V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray. Grant, we beg you, O Lord God, that we your servants, may enjoy lasting health of mind and body, and by the glorious intercession of the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin, be delivered from present sorrow and enter into the joy of eternal happiness. Through Christ our Lord.
- Let us pray. O God, you willed that, at the message of an angel, your Word should take flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary; grant to your suppliant people, that we, who believe her to be truly the Mother of God, may be helped by her intercession with you. Through the same Christ our Lord. R. Amen.
From Christmas to the Purification
- Let us pray. O God, by the fruitful virginity of Blessed Mary, you bestowed upon the human race the rewards of eternal salvation; grant, we beg you, that we may feel the power of her intercession, through whom we have been made worthy to receive the Author of life, our Lord Jesus Christ your Son. Who lives and reigns with you forever and ever. R. Amen.
- Let us pray. O God, who by the Resurrection of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, granted joy to the whole world; grant, we beg you, that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, his Mother, we may attain the joys of eternal life. Through the same Christ our Lord. R. Amen.
Nearly 150 years ago, the young girl pictured above was visited by the most beautiful lady the girl had even seen in her life. On the 16th visit, when asked if she could say who she was, the beautiful lady said:
"I am the Immaculate Conception."
Just 3 and a half years earlier, in the Constitution Ineffabilis Deus of 8 December, 1854, Pius IX pronounced and defined that the Blessed Virgin Mary "in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin." ~ Catholic Encyclopedia
The Immaculate Conception of Mary became a dogma, something Catholics must believe.
The beautiful lady that visited the young girl in Lourdes, France 150 years ago was presumed to be the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Today is the Feast of Mary's Immaculate Conception.
The young girl pictured above (Saint Bernadette Soubirous) did not live long and her incorrupt body is shown to the right in a glass casket. If you visit her, you will see her looking like this photo, even though she has been dead for nearly 130 years.
Related Links: Saint Bernadette Soubirous, Immaculate Conception ~ Wikipedia
See also, Mr Tips' post : Mother of Man's Pilgrimage
Friday, December 7, 2007
Thursday, December 6, 2007
I could have called this post "A Hanging Offence" but I think I prefer "Razing the Standard". Here's a snippet from the thread, one of many comments by IP:
I didn’t spend five years at law school, and a pretty decent chunk of my career interpreting law, to come to the view that a political party that:Related Link: IP and PC Raze The Standard
a: rejects a public consultation process on a fundamental constitutional change
b: rams it through the House ignoring the overwhelming majority of submitters
c: rejects the key recommendations of the expert officials
d: has the Law Society and the HRC saying the Bill is irretrievably bad that it needs to be dumped
e: suppresses the official advice from public scrutiny
f: has the Law Commission opt out of advising it
g: then reports back to the House with a Bill that is still so flawed that it needs 150 amendments in a supplementary order paper
h: STILL has the organisation implementing the law not understanding its core functions;
“not a hanging offence”. It doesn’t matter what the outcome is. With all due respect to you, Roger, you are by no means an authority on electoral law. You have no concept of what the outcome is right now, other than that the Labour Party assures you it is a good outcome. The Party has been assuring everybody, at every turn, that it has got it right. At every turn, subsequent scrambling efforts by the Labour Party to fix its many flaws, have resulted in the Labour Party finally saying it has got it right.
When, as the Bill is being voted on through the Committee stage, the Minister of Justice says she can give no advice to the Electoral Commission on how to interpret the ambiguous Clause 80, you cannot possibly have faith in the Bill’s outcome.
There isn’t time to fix it, Roger. We have just a few sitting days left before the end of the year, and the Bill comes into force on 1 January.
It’s all very well to claim rhetorically that that National would never have worked constructively with the Labour Party to get cross-party support on the financing regime. But that is patently untrue, Roger. National made a commitment, long before the Bill was introduced in the House, to work constructively with the Government to place reasonable restrictions on third party expenditure, clarify the use of parliamentary services expenditure in an election campaign, clamp down on excessive anonymous donations, and clamp down on donations from trusts.
Instead of consulting with National, Mark Burton hatched a secret deal with the NZ First and United Future parties. Labour has no official advice advocating the extended election period, has no expert advice on the amounts it is advocating on the third party regime, places no restrictions on donations from trusts, only introduced limits on anonymous donations that coincidentally coincide with Labour’s own anonymous donation fund raising levels from 2005, and leaves the use of parliamentary expenditure in campaigns ambiguous.
Now, Roger, even if Labour had totally ignored the National Party, and gone to the country with an independent group of experts to consult with the public and come up with a policy regime that shares all of the restrictions that we have in the present Bill, I wouldn’t have a problem. At least the process would have been transparent and fair.
But we never had that, Roger. We have a governing party that has written electoral law with its own interests in mind, using a flawed process. Yes, absolutely, that is a hanging offence.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
They attacked John Boscawen for having the temerity to spend his own money to publicize the effect of the law changes the Electoral Finance Bill will have on the political landscape. This fact enraged them, and seemingly justified every-thing they said the bill sets out to achieve - stopping him from organising political dissent.
The Greens issued a press release playing the bogeyman card.
“It is no surprise that a member of the Business Roundtable would pay someone to organise marches against campaign finance reform. Around the world, far right business groups oppose campaign finance reform because they want to be able to spend a lot of money to influence government policy,” says Dr. Russel Norman, green Party Co-leader.”
It seems that more than 7,000 people listened to what John Boscawen had to say, and agreed with him. They demonstrated this by attending the marches he helped organize around the country. He has reportedly spent around [updated 9/12/07] $180,000 of his own money. But what he did was simply pay for the 7,000 people (minimum) that appreciated some-one standing up for their rights.
If we allow the Greens their paranoia, it started out as the protest from a single man, and ended up being the protest of thousands. If it took $180,000 to bring this idea to the public arena, so what? The idea was judged and found reasonable. The reality is though, that many people were against this bill even before John Boscawen stood up. The reality is that many groups made submissions pointing out the flawed legislation in this bill.
The Greens are focusing on the Business Round Table as the bogeyman, and ignoring submissions from numerous high profile apolitical organisations that conclusively demonstrated how badly flawed the legislation was.
John Boscawen has acted like a knight of the realm. He has stood up to defend the people around him. In the old days, our knights would do battle with horses, lances, steel armor and equipment of war. It was an expensive business, it threatened their very life, but they did it. Noblesse Oblige. It continues today, this time with pamphlets and advertisements. It is still war, and it is still an expensive business. We individuals might not be able to afford the excessive costs it takes to deliver a message to all New Zealanders, but thank God we still have our knights like John Boscawen.
Another knight surfaced today. A real English Lord, Lord Ashcroft, was discussing on the radio the theft of over 100 medals from the Waiouru Army Museum. He too stepped up to the plate and offered a $200,000 reward for any information leading to the return of the medals. I look at his generosity, and the willingness to spend his own money bringing an idea to the people - an idea that these medals have value, and even strangers understand the very real need to do all they can to get them back. I'm sure there are many fellow Kiwis that would view this Knights gesture in the spirit it was intended, and praise him for putting up his own money to help us out.
The two situations are not that different, when you think about it. So when you hear the left denigrating John Boscawen for spending his own money to help restore something we treasure, think of the medals that were stolen. NZ Labour, the Greens and NZ first want to steal our national treasure. They want to steal democracy. And any Knight that stands up to take them on is mercilessly attacked.
It was therefore no surprise to me that Helen Clark and the Police were of two minds about 'accepting' the reward offered by Lord Ashcroft. They say they are worried it will lead to more thefts. Like we have any more medals to steal?
This is the default thinking from the left. Big money influences outcomes. The only people allowed to influence outcomes are the State. Therefore, don’t accept the reward. I saw 4 posters down at the Police station recently, with $50,000 reward offered for missing persons. No wonder there are more murders in New Zealand. The Police are offering rewards! Idiots.
It's not John Boscawen's private cash that they hate so much. It's that he has freely given it on behalf of the thousands of people that couldn't have mobilised without his help that the left hate. Now his spending reflects maybe $30 per person. The Electoral Finance Bill is saying that is too much, and will not be allowed!
It's not Lord Ashcroft's $200,000 they hate. It's that members of the public (and I include here the citizens of our mother country) have the temerity to take any sort of action. To the left, too many people are taking action. Too many people are expressing their own ideas. When these ideas are at odds with their master plan, we see just how underhanded they become. Anyone who thinks NZ Labour, NZ first, United Future, Jim Anderton and the Greens have handled this bill in a fair and reasonable way are deluded.
And thank you John Boscawen; thank you Lord Ashcroft. Our government may not be supporting your generous efforts, but the people are. You are Knights of the Realm.
Related Link: Lord Ashcroft - Reward for medals
Related Link: John Boscawen organises protest marches
Meanwhile, the UK are reeling with personal details continually being lost as they post DVD and CD's around the postal system until they finally manage to lose them.
But more importantly than that is the death of a newborn after the mother was discharged from hospital 5 hours after a 30 hour intensive labour. This was on the same day one of the Health Boards suggested $100 grocery vouchers to convince mothers to discharge early.
Rather than a 'plan for every child' here is an opportunity for Dr Kiro to drop the bureaucratic posturing of appearing to be doing something, and focus instead of real and meaningful action.
A plan for EVERY child? The State can't even manage looking after the ones that are under their care. These issues will not be solved by another database and an army of social workers. Remember the recent plan to interview every mother in hospital and ask if they are being abused? Maybe staff were too busy conducting interviews to actually check vital signs? The solution is to spend money on front line resources and stop funneling so much resource into Nanny State initiatives.
Related Link: Baby dies after Mum sent home
Monday, December 3, 2007
Of course. Sue Bradford declared that when Police come around and investigate a parent for an alleged smacking incident, and the parent goes to court and gets found “not guilty” then the law is working.
The fact that they get dragged away from work and the social stigma of being accused as a child abuser is irrelevant. The fact that time and resource is wasted compared to working through the backlog of serious offenses is irrelevant. The law is working.
Let’s get Mallard in front of the court for hours on end for his alleged abuse.
In the words of Sue Bradford: “The law is working”.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
ROMA, November 30, 2007 – The encyclical on hope "Spe Salvi," which Benedict XVI signed and published today, the feast of Saint Andrew and just two days before the beginning of Advent, was motivated by these factors described in paragraph 22:Related Links:
"A self-critique of modernity is needed in dialogue with Christianity and its concept of hope.
"In this dialogue Christians too, in the context of their knowledge and experience, must learn anew in what their hope truly consists, what they have to offer to the world and what they cannot offer.
"Flowing into this self-critique of the modern age there also has to be a self-critique of modern Christianity, which must constantly renew its self-understanding setting out from its roots."
In this twofold "self-criticism" of modern culture and Christianity, the pope continues, "reason and faith need one another in order to fulfil their true nature and their mission."
"In hope we were saved", Pope Benedict's Second Encyclical ~ Chisea
The Encyclical - SPE SALVI ~ Vatican
Friday, November 30, 2007
Today is the last Friday before the Christmas season starts. Last Sunday was the Feast of Christ the King - the end of the Catholic year. So, belated Happy New Year everyone.
The Feast of Christ the King was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925 as an antidote to secularism, a way of life which leaves God out of man's thinking and living and organizes his life as if God did not exist. The feast is intended to proclaim in a striking and effective manner Christ's royalty over individuals, families, society, governments, and nations.Today is the Feast of Saint Andrew, the Apostle, as Andrei reminds us.
Last year at this time, it was my first Christmas as a Christian in nearly 20 years. I was acutely aware of when Advent (the countdown to Christmas) started. This year, Advent starts on Sunday on December 2nd.
During Advent, we are admonished to:
- to prepare ourselves worthily to celebrate the anniversary of the Lord's coming into the world as the incarnate God of love,
- thus to make our souls fitting abodes for the Redeemer coming in Holy Communion and through grace, and
- thereby to make ourselves ready for His final coming as judge, at death and at the end of the world.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Dr Cullen has clarified the issue. "This is the most acceptable kind of violence. Mallard was simply defending the Queen's honour."
Related Link: Helen Clark insults the Queen
Hattip: TBR - Mistress of the text message
Excerpts from above links:
Prime Minister Helen Clark has been accused of insulting the Queen by text messaging while the monarch was making a speech.
Senior Cabinet Minister Trevor Mallard was "defending a woman's integrity" when he thumped National MP Tau Henare but his actions cannot go "unnoticed", Prime Minister Helen Clark says. [No - she later gave him more important portfolios]
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer.
Unfortunately, not much longer.
In the last 7 days Origami Bank has folded, Sumo Bank has gone belly up and Bonsai bank announced plans to cut some of its branches.
Yesterday is was announced that Karaoke Bank is up for sale and will likely go for a song while today shares in Kamikaze bank were suspended after they nose-dived and 500 back office staff at Karate Bank got the chop. The Bank of Judo finally tossed it in last week.
The fallout from the Bank of Hiroshima blowing its top has still not been quantified and analysts report that there is something fishy going on at Sushi bank and staff fear they could get a raw deal...
Based on an anon email currently circulating
Monday, November 26, 2007
Instead, over at DPF some seem to be saying there's nothing wrong with the police deciding not to prosecute.
The Police prosecute people for defending themselves against violent thugs.
The Police prosecute people under the banner of 'smacking'.
But the Police allow an adult to rape an 11 year old...?
..and it has no bearing on 'the public interest'?
This is just sick.
5:00AM Sunday November 25, 2007
By Stephen Cook
Police chose not to lay charges against a 21-year-old who fathered a child with a 13-year-old girl - even though he confessed to police he had been having sex with a minor.
The pregnancy was highlighted last week by Children’s Commissioner Cindy Kiro, who used the case to illustrate “the wall of silence” protecting people who committed child abuse.
The girl had started having sex from the age of 11 and Kiro claimed that no one in her family would come forward and shed any light on who was responsible.
However, the Herald on Sunday understands the father turned himself in to police but was given only a verbal warning by officers.
Rape Crisis is demanding answers about why police never charged the man with having sex with a minor. It says the police’s failure to do so sends extremely worrying mixed messages to teenagers.
A conviction for having sex with someone under the age of 12 carries a maximum prison term of 14 years. Having sex with someone under the age of 16 carries a 10-year maximum prison term.
Sources involved with the girl’s family told the Herald on Sunday the man had been involved in a sexual relationship with the girl since she was 11. When Child Youth and Family (CYF) became aware the girl was pregnant at 12, she was removed from the mother’s care and placed with a family member. Four months ago the girl gave birth. She was 13.
It is understood the 21-year-old is still involved in a relationship with the girl and has supervised visits with his son. During the day the baby is cared for by a family member, allowing the girl to remain at school.
A source told the Herald on Sunday the girl’s mother was aware her daughter’s relationship was of a sexual nature, but chose to do nothing about it. For five months, the girl had managed to hide the pregnancy, and authorities became involved only after being alerted to the case by the girl’s doctor.
It was then that CYF intervened. CYF is understood to still be monitoring the girl, but with the refusal of police to act in the case it is hamstrung over taking any action about her relationship with the baby’s father.
Asked about police protocols in the case of someone having sex with a minor, a spokesperson at Police National Headquarters said charges were laid only if there was sufficient evidence and proceeding with a case was in the public interest.
Rape Crisis spokeswoman Sandz Peipi said the fact the 21-year-old had been involved with the girl when she was only 11 was “disturbing and quite perverse”.
Whether the sex was consensual was irrelevant because of the girl’s age and the man should have been charged by police.
The fact he had admitted committing “statutory rape” meant police had more than sufficient evidence to go on, Peipi said. She was also surprised police did not believe it was in the “public interest” to lay charges.
Related Link: In the Public Interest
Just heard about a quote made by Labour President Mike Williams in regard to the change of government in Australia. There were comparisons being made between Kevin Rudd and John Key - both not having been in parliament long etc. So what does Mr Williams come out and say?
"[Mr Rudd] is also fluent in Mandarin. I don't think Mr Key is fluent in English."
Sorry, how old are you again Mr Williams? 9 years old? It seems like it. That's just pathetic. Start acting like a human being.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Kevin Rudd issued an angry denial and argued the credit was entirely due to the Australian Labor Party.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Your dreams were your ticket out.
To that same old place that you laughed about.
Well the names have all changed since you hung around,
But those dreams have remained and they're turned around.
Who'd have thought they'd lead ya (Who'd have thought they'd lead ya)
Here where we need ya (Here where we need ya)
Yeah we tease him a lot cause we've got him on the spot,
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back
Well, vastly premature, but anything for Mister Kot-tear!
Related Link: Marrying an Anglican
Hattip: Put Up Thy Sword: Pope Gets Radical
Post updated 9:15PM
This man's crime was to get angry. You shouldn't apply discipline when you are angry. Instead, the issue is cast as "smacking". Do you see the difference?
Is it so paranoid to expect a zero tolerance policy towards smacking in the future? One where government social workers remove children from parents immediately if the child should be physically disciplined. We wont hear about such cases, because they will not go to court. Parents will trade silence for access to their children.
In the leftist mind, physical punishment is far worse a crime than removing children from parents and placing them into the 'care of the state'. In the leftist mind, they believe smacking inevitably leads to beating children to death. Is it therefore possible to extrapolate that State intervention inevitably leads to splitting families apart in a far more damaging way than the passing sting of a smack?
One day people will realise this lot will be responsible for causing far more long term harm by the mental torture they will inflict on parents and children in their zealotry.
Update: Already the media are providing mixed reports of this case. It is hard to trust anything without seeing the actual court transcripts. Going with what I have seen in multiple sources is this:
The eight-year-old boy suffered a bruised shoulder after his 33-year-old father pulled him onto a bed and bent him over his knee, smacking him three times with an open hand across the buttocks.
The man is effectively being punished for bruising his son's shoulder - but the focus is on his receiving three smacks. Sue Bradford says "great". The problem I have with this is that violence from anger is not seen as something distinct from administering physical discipline in love, with an absence of anger. It's like a parent locking a kid in a cupboard and Sue Bradford banning time outs to prevent this sort of thing. You can't ban anger, stupidity and carelessness. Banning smacking to get at people guilty of something else is only going to cast the net wider than it should be cast.
Many people believe that physical discipline is unnecessary and cruel, and therefore they want to ban it. That simply seems ignorant of how responsible parents can apply it in a safe and responsible way. It is of course, usually just one of several options, in the parenting toolkit. Can and does a child learn from a short, sharp smack? Yes, just as they learn when they burn their hand, or jam their finger, or scrape their knee from a fall after doing something silly. A physical reminder, transient and trifling in nature, is still memorable enough to help learn, and hopefully help the child escape the more serious physical lessons in life - like breaking an arm.
As more of these cases come to light, there will inevitably be shakier and shakier justification. We will finally see just how much damage state intervention will do to the family unit, and to many families that need a different kind of help.
We will see punishments outweighing crimes. Just wait until a kid, in their total naivety, make up a story that sees Dad paying a $1,000 fine and the kid in a foster home for two months as the parents 'lying to save their skins' try to reverse the actions of a Child Youth Family officer aiming to hit his targets of "10 children saved".
Related Link: Man convicted for smacking a child
And this is where I noted It has started
Insert Pantene Commercial Here
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Apparently, Labour and Green supporters fear that their voter base are easily (mis)lead. They want to be the only ones that can mislead them.
Jeanette spoke. She seemed terrified of allowing other people and groups to voice an opinion. Too much free speech is dangerous - it has to be rationed.
So who decided that $120,000 is a fair cap? Why is that fair, and $60,000 unfair? Why not $300,000? How much TV time does $120K buy - 30 minutes? Why is it not inflation adjusted?
Most importantly - WHY ARE THE PUBLIC NOT GETTING AN OPPORTUNITY TO INPUT INTO THE REVISED VERSION? We don’t have an upper house, we have no special safeguards for the MPS to change the rules that enable them to advantage themselves over any concerted effort to raise awareness of corrupt and unethical law making. Rushing this process in this way IS unethical, given it changes the rules around who can talk. Labour and the Greens only want to let people talk individually, so that the ideas can be squashed and segregated. Empty generosity.
The Greens and Labour have totally failed the people of New Zealand. Again.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
1. Press Releases.
Presumably, any mob can make a press release and then rely on the MSM to print it, make it a story, or ignore it. The NZ Labour Party are very adept at getting the message out free of charge. The MSM seem to be very keen to regurgitate their 'news'. A canny operator will learn how to make press releases that are irresistible for the Media and get free advertising.
Remember the CTU helping Labour with this one: National to fund tax cuts with workers' lives
2. Television Time
The big parties get more TV time than the smaller parties. This makes it very hard for new parties to spring up in response to filling gaps in our political offerings. How fair is that? With caps on spending, a new party would be lucky to afford more than 30 minutes of TV time in an election year.
3. Government Advertising
Government departments can EACH spend millions of dollars on advertising in an election year. If, for example, some-one like Curran (a Labour candidate) was hired by the Ministry of the Environment to launch a Climate Change spending spree, how easy is it for Labour to generate advertising and policies around the themes and designs expressed - how easy to calculate what topics to make election issues? It's like double-dipping if the strategy is in harmony. Remember Working For Families advertising? Over 7 million spent just prior to the election, with a budget of 15 million total for the campaign. Makes the Exclusive Brethren's budget seem a little silly now, doesn't it? Remember when Cullen released his 2005 Budget? A series of bus shelter advertisements came out that were pure red (Labour colours) and the word budget was not mentioned on the "Budget Awareness Campaign Posters". They were pulled after 2 weeks and $90,000 tax payer advertising because the flagrant electioneering was noticed. No punishments of course.
4. Government grant money
Unions, NGO's and certain charities get government funds which they then use to donate to the Labour Party. Money comes from direct funding, 'schemes' such as to fund projects like training and worker safety (but funds are pooled) and from indirect government sources such as the NZ Lotteries Commission. Should any organisation receiving funding from the government be required to return the SAME AMOUNT of tax payer funds that they decide to spend on political donations, up to the amount they received in the first place?
5. Critical influential information that turns out to be false?
The newspapers were reporting ACT were going to lose Epsom based on very small poll samples. It is quite possible this turned away a lot of voters from punting on ACT because the 5% threshold looked unlikely. Given that the left say we need to regulate free speech, do we need to regulate the quality of speculative reporting?
6. Rewarding bad behaviour
Remember when Labour created news by accusing National of being funded by American 'bag men'; or when Labour sent fake Eviction Notices to State Housing tenants? I always wondered why the public (or the MSM) never punished Labour for these deliberately unethical actions, yet go completely redneck on the Exclusive Brethren.
This is just an off the cuff list of things that add hills and valleys to the level playing field. There must be a lot more. Surely, it would be worth considering these issues in any major rewrite to the EFB - no matter what the final opinion on these issues proves to be?
They have affiliations to maximize their political impact. They have many staffers that go on to become politicians. No surprises so far.
In their submission on the Electoral Finance Bill, the CTU wanted the $60,000 cap on election spending raised to $100,000. Perhaps that gives one an idea of their budget?
They also asked to limit this amount to external costs. Using staff and members to print and distribute material (free labour) should not be counted, especially in 'market rate' terms. A critical point was also to lobby to make sure 'communications' to members were not treated as political advertising. Last election, at least two unions were dobbed in for leaving these 'communications' in public places (reception desks etc). Within the news letter, they ask for members to distribute their election advertising to as many non-members as possible. Here is a sample of a member communication:
PSA Special EditionRelated Link: PSA electioneering
Last month I took great pride in presenting, at the PSA Te P¯ukenga Here Tikanga Mahi 2005 annual general meeting, my first annual report since I was elected President.
It is a report that brims with the union’s achievements over the last year. It is a report that is real evidence of a union that is strong and active, and has been growing since 2000 - and one which we believe is making a real difference to the working lives of our 50,000 members.
It is also a report offering tangible proof that our strategy is successful. It must be acknowledged and recorded that the results we have achieved, and the plans we have for the future, would not be possible without the political environment that recognises unions and the contribution we make, and the agreements we have signed both with the Labour-led governments and with many individual public sector employers.
Those attending the July AGM also spent some time discussing next month’s general election, which is a crucial one for all of us. As you know, PSA has been proactive in collating and analysing the policies of the various political parties and making judgements about which ones we believe are in the best interests of members, the union movement, and New Zealand as a whole.
This special edition of the Journal is dedicated to election issues. PSA has a duty, on your behalf, to encourage and actively seek the election of a government that values quality public services and recognises the role of unions as social partners. The stories and information contained in the following pages aim to inform, and assist those reading them with their voting decision on September 17.
Your executive board is clear about their choice and made a decision some time ago to work at influencing opinion so as to return a Labour-led government. The differences in party policies relating to the public sector are stark – Labour’s continuation of investment in and rebuilding of public services, or National’s job and funding cuts and the reinstatement of industrial law akin to the Employment Contracts Act. Indeed, it is difficult to conceive how the choice could be made any more clear.
We are providing extra copies of this Journal special. We would like delegates and members to distribute them as widely as possible, including to non-union colleagues. The more information they have – particularly in relation to the differences between the party policies around public services – the clearer their choice at the election.
At the same time, ask them if they would like to join the PSA – the bigger we are, the stronger we are.
Finally, if you know of anyone who is not enrolled to vote, strongly encourage them to do so and steer them towards the Electoral Enrolment Centre, www.elections.org.nz or phone 0800 36 76 56. Voting is the only way to have your say. The importance of this election result cannot be overestimated.
I don't want to regulate this any more than I wish to regulate the Exclusive Brethren publishing a brochure. But I'm not sure I want a system where tax dollars fund one, whilst denying the other the ability to spend their own money. It was never a level playing field to begin with. Any reform of Electoral Finance needs to be a wide ranging look at the total picture, with due consideration applied.
I can accept some of the aims of the EFB, and think there may be a place for disclosure, limits on spending etcetera, but what has been proposed so far seems only half thought out. People are focusing on the content of the EFB. What is missing, is what the EFB doesn't talk about. Finding what's missing takes more time than we (the public) are being given. And it is we, the public that should have more input into the controls placed on our MPs. They are voting for themselves, not for the people they supposedly represent. The rush to implement this proves that.
Address: NZ Conservative (The Blog)
Declaration: I declare this is not an election advertisement and that I have received no money to state my opinion.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Thus, I have finally been given the impetus I needed to save $600 + a year and have cancelled my SKY TV subscription, which I needed to access free-to-air TV as well.
Good by TV connection, I won't miss you.
Related Link: David Farrar succumbs to temptation
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Is no one safe? Not in this REGION. That dull humming sound? No, it's not the next door neighbour's lawn mower - its the thundering tsunami created by glacier melt.
Related Link: Glacier Melt - A new way to die
New Zealand Denies Immigration to U.K. Wife Because She's Too Fat
Saturday, November 17, 2007
The National Party is questioning why taxpayer funding is being used to train coal miners in China on safety issues.China are certainly rich and capable enough to spend their own money on their own people. But they don't. China has an appalling safety record when it comes to miners. I for one, do not begrudge this small amount of money (and apparently expertise) that was provided to help improve worker safety. I doubt the money would be better spent in NZ on worker safety - given we already do heaps.
The party's industrial relations spokeswoman, Kate Wilkinson, said Labour Department officials confirmed to MPs on Parliament's transport and industrial relations select committee that $84,711 had been granted to the Council of Trade Unions (CTU) for "safety training for safety representatives in Chinese coal mines".
..She said it appeared as if the Government was effectively subsidising the Chinese coal industry. "How does that square with Labour's position on carbon neutrality and greenhouse gases?"
She said the money would be better spent on workplace safety issues in New Zealand.
If National are going to govern, they have to discern the difference between genuine charity and total wastage. I post this because National will undoubtedly shrug off any criticism from the left as many on the left would criticize regardless. Maybe they'll think twice in the future if they detect more widespread displeasure?
Related Link: National's Cheap Shot
[Largely from Sir Humphrey's - 10 September 2005, with minor updates]
The Exclusive Brethren (EB) exercised their democratic right to print political brochures. Unfortunately, they bucked the trend and rather than blasting National Policy, they came out with a brochure criticising the Greens. They made 15 points, and provided an assessment of the environmental impact the Greens have had on our Flora and Fauna in the wake of a Labour-Led government.
The Greens were quick to brand the brochure as a "campaign of lies". Jeanette Fitzsimons, Greens Co-Leader also referred to the brochure as 50% outright lies and 50% gross exaggerations. Other pro-Green commenters and main stream media seemed to accept that this "cult" had lied, and I had seen nothing from our investigative reporters spelling out the content of the EB Brochure. I had a look for myself, to see if what they had said were indeed "all lies".
My findings were that 15 of the 16 points were absolutely fair comment to make with regard to the Green policy. Points 4,5, and 8 were debatable as to the exact numbers and costs, but that is standard fare for politics. There was one point only I could see no justification for the assertion, or any reason they may have had to hold that opinion. Just one.
For Jeanette to brand their brochure a "campaign of lies", "half full" of "outright lies" is in itself, a gross exaggeration. In an election where we have Ross Wilson, head of CTU saying "National will fund tax cuts with workers lives", and Labour allegedly sending "eviction notices" to State Housing tenants to show a vote for National is a vote for eviction, the opinions expressed in the Exclusive Brethren brochures are mild, and with as much foundation. For example, the Greens can hardly claim its a lie they don't support the Kyoto Protocol. Their opinion is the tax payers will not be paying the billion dollars per year in Kyoto taxes, because they will convince Labour or National to turn it around just in time. We'll see. In the meantime, do the Greens support Kyoto? Absolutely.
I list the main points put forward by the EB Brochure, and my verdict - if the Green's are guilty of the claims made by the EB or if they are innocent of the charges against them. Please accept a one line summary is not always a clear explanation. It is backed up by detail. Click on each link (the highlighted word Guilty or Innocent against each item) to learn what my research uncovered.
1: Introduce a capital gains tax on family homes.
The Greens recommended this in their Eco-Tax Submission to parliament 2001. They quoted from that document as recently as 5 Sep 2005. Lets assume they mean what they say. Guilty!
2: Increase petrol and diesel taxes.
Greens want to remove tax exemptions on diesel, and add a Kyoto tax. Prices up and Guilty!
3: Introduce a carbon tax, and putting power prices up.
Greens are in favour of carbon taxes, and it is arguable power prices will increase. Guilty!
4: Support Kyoto Protocol - the billion dollar bungle
Kyoto = Greens. Guilty!
5: Add 4 more ministries and [...] more bureaucrats
The Greens plan to grow the government - Guilty.
6: Cut defence spending by 50% and disarm our forces
Take the words of Keith Locke, and the sums offered by Jeanette Fitzsimons, it looks that way. They have no defence and are found - Guilty.
7: Ban the building of new prisons and teach criminals art
Once again, Green Policy. Guilty.
8: Spend roading money on uneconomic and novel public transport schemes
Underground rail is novel and expensive. Maybe not as much as roads? Its a good debate. On the Guilty Train.
9: Block construction of vital new roads with tortuous RMA regulations.
The Greens support the RMA. It's tortuous. Some parties want it gutted.Guilty by association.
10: Push high country farmers off their lease-hold land.
All they want to do is raise farm rents...and they complain about State Housing: Within range of Guilty
11: Permit right-to-roam over property.
They support public access over private property. Guilty.
Note: Right-to-roam is a phrase meaning access private property without owners permission.
12: Decriminalise illegal drugs - like cannabis.
Like cannabis? You mean hash, skunk, and marijuana? Guilty man.
13: Offer financial assistance to cannabis growers for alternative employment.
I could find no specific policy for this, just a line from their Drug Law Reform Policy that offered assistance, but not specifically financial. Clean and Innocent.
14: Create rainbow communities. Legalise Adoption for Same Sex Couples.
Create? No, just support/encourage. But the rest is true, and we'd be quibbling. Guilty.
15: Voted against including the right to own Property in the NZ Bill of Rights
Other countries might need it, but NZ doesn't the Greens say. That explains why they have a right to be Guilty.
16: Support Labour, who are destroying/not maintaining the environment
With declining numbers of Kiwi, Hector Dolphins and wetlands, they have a point. Its Labour's fault, but they are Guilty.
Greens version of the Rebuttal (by Jeanette Fitzsimons)
The thrust of this rebuttal was to label anything that was basically true a "half truth". There were 7 of those, and one point she fully conceded, and one she ignored, making 9 out of 16 points in the region of "OK, they have a point, but we can explain". That really destroys their credibility in attacking the brochure the way they have done. This is NO WORSE than the Greens own style of politicking seen in their press releases and website.
Of the other 7 points that Jeanette labeled "outright lies", I agreed with her on one of those points. That is, I agreed their interpretation was perhaps too liberal, but not that they were caught in a lie. [Source].
The substance of rebuttal on the other 6 would seem to be in splitting hairs on the numbers, or debating the actual effect of the policy, except the point on halving Defence Spending [source], where I catch Jeanette's rebuttal as, ironically, looking like a lie.
I found very little substance in the Green blog on their costings, which makes it harder to form an opinion one way or the other [Update: I may have found data I was looking for, I'll update when I get a chance]. That's why I submit it is very reasonable to bring these points to debate. The Greens have responded with "gross exaggerations"
The Greens campaign on being a straight up and refreshingly honest party with the importance of the environment as the underpinning of all human prosperity. Acting in an arrogant manner and labeling the EB brochure a "campaign of lies" from a "cult group" does not demonstrate any discernible difference from Labour. They would do well to embrace criticism in a more positive light. The Hector Dolphin, the Kiwi, our forests and lakes may be depending upon it.
Well, that's my opinion.
Side Topic: International Green Conspiracy
Update (November 2007)
For the record! Back in 2005, the Greens and NZ Labour began a campaign of concerted vilification of the Exclusive Brethren (EB), in response to the publication of an anti-Green brochure by a group of 7 business men connected with the EB. It became an even bigger issue of course, with several other twists to the story I will cover (rehash) in due course.
The press effectively gave tens of thousands of dollars of "free" coverage to the Greens and Labour, as the moral outrage expressed by these parties made good news. Sadly, I can recall no news service offering a balanced review of the contents of the EB brochure, nor any comparisons to gutter politics style brochures from Labour at the time. They simply regurgitated the sound bites from the Greens and Labour.
As NZ Labour push through a series of anti-democratic legislation that deeply affects our right to promote an opinion, whilst providing them with more tax paid funding, I find myself wondering how sophisticated parties and unions will get at manufacturing debate so as to give themselves free exposure of their opinions, even as it becomes illegal to spend more than three or four full page advertisements for up to a year before an election.
Some of their justification for this legislation has referred to the EB, and insisting they do not have the right to spend money to voice an opinion. This stance, whilst understandable, is not sound for people who place great importance on freedom of speech. I hope to cover this argument too in due course.