Sunday, September 30, 2012

Airport Fee Flies Away

It may have only been $5, but it meant much more.
Since 1990, Palmerston North Airport has been one of very few airports in NZ forcing domestic passengers to pay an extra fee. The $5 tax was initially a levy for development at the airport, back in the brief bright days when a few international flights landed there. But it also allowed the airport to charge cheaper landing fees to airlines. It paid for terminal development (note the new toilets inside the front door: sarcastic wow!) and the construction of more carparking, which you also have to pay for. The development levy raised millions of dollars over the years and helped keep the airport ticking over.
Needless to say, it was unpopular. But today is the last day anyone has to pay it. From tomorrow, October 1st., it's gone.
While travellers may rejoice, Air New Zealand will not be so happy. The money shortfall will have to be recouped by the airport charging Air NZ more to use the facilities. That cost will no doubt be passed on in the ticket price.
"When I grow up, I wanna be a..."
In the long-term, it would be great to see international flights restarting from the Manawatu. That may be some way off, or it may never happen, as multiple ducks must be in a row before an airline can build a solid business case to fly in and out of Palmerston North from overseas.
For now, the unwanted levies remain in place at two other regionals, Hamilton and Rotorua, while "Palmie" remains a regional airport with big dreams (and no development tax)...

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Close Up: That's Close Enough

TVNZ is finally pulling the plug on its weeknight current affairs show Close Up.
A new daily current affairs show "with a distinctively different format" will launch in the 7pm slot in the new year.
Head of News and Current Affairs Ross Dagan says the closure of the 8yr.old show is a response to feedback that viewers want "something fresh and quite different in early evening current affairs. Close Up remains the number one daily current affairs show by a substantial margin, but ratings for us and for our competitors in this important time slot have diminished over time."
TVNZ won't be releasing details of the proposed new show at this stage. Of course, everyone has an opinion on what that replacement should be and what it should look like. Some are even saying it would be a disaster for news and viewers...but have they really watched Close Up recently? The reality is, TVNZ could put a walrus on at 7pm on TV One and people would still watch. Oh, that's right, they did. Current host Mark Sainsbury has held the job since 2006. Will I miss his struggling interview style (" mean...look...anyway...")? No.
But please let's not entertain a return of the love-him-or-hate-him Paul Henry! That would require buying out his Australian tv contract and would be something NZ taxpayers would be rather pissed off about, quite apart from his pathetic juvenile twittering toilet humour.
Will they find a completely new untapped talent?
Might they consider the return of Cameron Bennett?
Will they revert to a bulletin, followed by 30min.of current affairs and then something else altogether at 7pm?
Some actual quality entertainment would be appreciated...

Friday, September 28, 2012

Sew That's How It Happened

He didn't invent the sewing machine, but Isaac Merritt Singer did patent the first practical and efficient one.
Singer was one of the most forceful, flamboyant and unscrupulous tycoons in US business history. He used mass production for manufacture and pioneered the hire-purchase system of buying on credit in easy instalments, thus revolutionising consumer buying.
He was working in a Boston machine-shop in 1851 when he was given a sewing machine to repair. Eleven days later he'd made a better one, which he patented. He then set up a production company with two backers.
Female demonstrators were hired to show that women weren't too 'fluffy' or incompetent to work a machine and Singer's hire-purchase deals put his sewing machines within easy reach of all. Then to increase his share of the soaring profits, Singer ruthlessly forced one partner out of the company and swindled the other.
He travelled in a grandiose bright yellow carriage of his own design, drawn by six or sometimes nine horses, with a small band on board. It sat 31 people, had beds for the children and a toilet!
Singer liked style...and he LOVED women! He married at 29, but after a few years left his wife and two children for a mistress, with whom he had ten more. Later he set up two more households with women by whom he had respectively one child and five.
By 1860 Singer was the world’s biggest producer of sewing machines, but rows between his various women, and the attentions of the press, became so tiresome that Singer escaped to Europe, where he married his second wife in 1863 - eventually having six more children! In his early fifties, he settled in England with some of his brood of 24, and died in 1875 at 63.
The business went from strength to strength and took the lead in marketing electric sewing machines. During WWII, it suspended sewing machine production to take on US govt contracts for weapons manufacturing...its factories in Germany provided the German armed forces with weapons too! A household name, the company later diversified into other products but lost its way, and in 1988 fell prey to financiers who broke it up.
Today, the Singer Corporation produces a range of consumer products, including electronic sewing machines. Now, in 2012, to celebrate the 160th anniversary of the Singer brand, the company has released the Limited Edition Singer 160. Its designers have taken a leaf from Singer's classic styling, and woven that around the latest technology. The result is a look that would've fitted perfectly in gt-grandma's parlour, and will bring back memories. It's sure to give more pleasure to more women than even Isaac Singer did!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Perfect Face-Saver

Is the Japanese government really considering abandoning this year's whale hunt in the Antarctic?
The Asahi newspaper is reporting the upcoming round of research whaling could be suspended because of the poor condition of the Nasty Nippon fleet's ageing factory ship. It says the fisheries agency wants to undertake large-scale repairs to the Nisshin Maru.
The process could take months and may mean the annual whaling hunt in the Southern Ocean (which usually begins in late November or December) could be called off for this season! If it is, it'll be the first time in 25 years the Japanese have not set sail for an annual round of so-called "research" whaling. Not surprisingly the Japanese fisheries agency however will not confirm the media report. The office of the Australian Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke is seeking further information on the Japanese newspaper report.
Japan is a country facing an earthquake/tsunami repair bill of hundreds of billions of dollars, and on top of that there's the clean up/compensation bill from the Fukushima nuclear disaster. That's hundreds of billions more. Japan has the greatest public debt in the industrialised world, so there's not a lot of cash to splash about. While this whaling programme is supposed to be for scientific research, the Fisheries Agency is allowed to sell the meat even though very few Japanese actually eat it. There are stockpiles of whale meat sitting in freezers around the country.
This is an industry that's not making any money, it relies for its very survival on government subsidies and the growing mood in Japan is that the money should be going on the people who need it - people in the tsunami and nuclear zones - not on programmes Japan doesn't need.
With mounting pressure on the home front, and Sea Shepherd's extra vessels promising a major battle in Antarctica this southern summer, the required repairs to Nisshin Maru may be a blessing in disguise. The Japanese whaling industry is dead - it just won't admit it yet - and it has been looking for a way out for several years now.
Well, this is the perfect face-saver. Will they take it?

PS: Oct.01, 2012 - Evidently not...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Much Ado About Nothing

So is she built like the proverbial?
Is the royal endowment so humungous that nations would go to war over it? Er, no. Topless photos of Kate Middleton are much ado about nothing.
And let's face it, the royals have weathered far more than this in their scandal-pitted history. Top of the list, the dalliance with Nazi Germany between the world wars, and the abdication of Edward and Mrs Simpson with their pro-Nazi views. How can we forget the phone call when Prince Charles told his then-mistress now-rottweiller Camilla that he wanted to be her tampon! Lovely. Of course, there was Harry dressing as a Nazi, Andrew selling access to himself, Fergie doing the same...when you stack 'em all up, Kate's boobs are not even news. Just wish the papers would figure this out!
Babies on the left:
burgers on the right...
She seems a decent sort who was just catching a few rays au natural, and should not be held accountable for the creepy tabloids who'll do anything for a fast buck. This'll be forgotten in no time and Kate can get back to doing what she was brought into The Firm to do. Cut through all the glitz and glam, and you'll find that producing a son and heir is her real task in life.
...meanwhile, Heidi Agan won't be going topless either.
UK Kate Middleton impersonator Heidi is so good she gets $1,000 an appearance. She's gone from serving burgers to posing as the future queen of England. As part of her 'royal duties', she even bought some of Middleton's iconic dresses so she could better resemble the duchess. But even she won't be popping the girls out for the papperazzi: "I certainly won't do it; I'm a mum-of-two!" Nice to know some of the commoners have standards higher than some of 'our betters'!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Princely Party

Kiwis who share Prince Charles' birthday have a chance to celebrate with him on the day.
The Prince of Wales' 64th birthday on November 14 is right in the middle of the royal couple's five-day visit here, to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Government House in Wellington, which is hosting Charles' party, is inviting 64 ordinary Kiwis whose birthdays fall on the same day. The guests will also mark Gov.-Gen. Sir Jerry Mateparae's 58th birthday, which is on the same day.
"For me...? A dog leash!
Oh, you shouldn't have..."
Government House says the party is a wonderful opportunity for NZers to meet Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall. Yeup, the down-side is that Camilla will also be in attendance.
Things will begin with an official welcome (read that as "maori welcome" with plenty of tongue-poking, grunting etc...maybe even some Popatas with megaphones?) on the north lawn, followed by the opening of a visitor's centre on the south lawn, and end with a party inside Government House. The menu has yet to be confirmed, but some traditional NZ food like whitebait fritters, asparagus, and lamb will definitely feature, along with pavlova and ice cream dessert. It doesn't get much more kiwi than that!
People aged 18+ who were born on November 14th are invited to apply by Wed.October 10th, for a chance to attend the party. The 64 chosen from the ballot will be able to bring one guest - all applicants and guests will have to pay for their own travel and accommodation in Wellington. And no, you're not expected to bring a gift!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

What Were You Doing On August 19th?

Sunday, August 19th., 2012: what were you doing?
You may have been going to church.
You may have been mowing your lawns.
You may have been enjoying a family barbeque.
On that day, this is what many Faroe Islanders were doing, on Tjørnuvik beach...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Was Jesus Married?

A professor in America has unveiled a piece of papyrus that she claims quotes Jesus as having a wife.
Karen King, an expert in Christian history, says words in the text - written in a language of ancient Egyptian Christians - translate to: "Jesus said to them, 'my wife'." In the dialogue the disciples discuss whether Mary is worthy and Jesus says "she can be my disciple". She says the fragment is a copy of a gospel, probably written in Greek in the C2nd.
Christian tradition says Jesus was unmarried, though there was no reliable historical evidence to support that. In fact, there's been heated debate over this, given that Christian tradition also holds "the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us". Some argue this should be interpreted as Christ living as a man in all aspects of humanity.
The curious fragment belongs to an anonymous private collector... who's now trying to sell it - that rings some warning bells. Also, nothing is known about its discovery or origin - ding, ding ding! Furthermore, its size (a mere 3.8cm x 7.6cm - about the size of a credit card) could leave interpretation of the text open to much
Titian’s Noli Me Tangere:
"Not tonight, dear, I have a headache!"
Professor King has cautioned the fragment is not proof that Jesus was actually married. She says the text was probably written centuries after Jesus lived, and all other early historically reliable Christian literature say nothing on this question. But they too were written not at the time of New Testament events but long after.
The idea that Jesus had a wife was the core of Dan Brown's book and movie The Da Vinci Code. But King said she wants nothing to do with the code or its author...
It should also be remembered that the composition of what is called the New Testament was decided upon by the hierachy of the growing Christian faith. They chose texts that best suited what they wanted followers to read and understand. For all we know, the Vatican library vaults contains hundreds of so-called 'gospels' and documents that may shed new light on the life and times of Jesus. These may not fit with the image of a divinity who walked among us but was not wholly part of mankind.
So is this fragment genuine? Was Dan Brown right all along?
Time, and more scientific analysis, may tell...but I have my doubts.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

What's The Name Of The Game?

The Redcoats are a-comin'!
Not quite, Paul Revere - in fact, it may be the other way around.
The whisper is that this week's visit to New Zealand by the US defence secretary Leon Panetta (the first such visit in 30 years) may signal the resumption of American warship visits.
US media quote unnamed (as always!) officials saying they hope to resume visits by navy warships to NZ for the first time since 1984, when the Anzus alliance went belly-up over our nuke-free legislation.
As you can imagine, the embassy radio waves were melting, seeking some sort of US confirmation. NZ Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman: "We're not changing our nuclear ships policy. We've got an independent foreign policy and the US is very comfortable with that, and the relationship is growing with those parameters clearly stated."
An on-line NZ Herald opinion poll shows readers are warm to the idea, as long as the Yanks comply with our laws. But as the US only does things it's way, that's unlikely.
Defence experts expect Panetta will have something to announce here, given the significance of his visit, but bringing back the nuke navy is unlikely. In fact, Brian Rudman muses on what Panetta might REALLY be after...
Defence relations with the US have warmed of late - we've seen US Marines in Godzone for joint exercises earlier this year and NZ's participation in the giant Rimpac exercises off Hawaii. But the fact that our ships were cold-shouldered there, and made to berth well away from the other 21 participants, is still raw...
Meanwhile ex-CIA boss Panetta's seeking closer military ties with growing dragon China. So what's the real game plan, Leon?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

1K: OK?

What started off as a quick weekend project in my university PR and Communications studies back in 2009, has today hit the landmark


While I didn't really plan to blog for this long, I've found it a lot of fun, sometimes therapeutic, a great way to let off steam (as regular readers may have noticed!).
The subject range's been wide and varied: from media to mongrels, nature to nutters, greed to good. Multiple things catch my eye every day and I do like to share, if only to generate a response from a differing perspective. After all, if we were all the same, thought the same, felt the same, acted the same, the world would be a damn boring place! I've raised a few issues, relived the past, remembered the fallen, and displayed a few pix I'm proud of as well. Hopefully there's been a little 'food for thought' in here for you...
I'm not arrogant enough to assume that anyone apart from myself has read every single post (heck, I read every single comment!) But you're here now and I do appreciate that. Thanks for reading. Thanks for indulging me. Do stick around for the next thousand posts.
Go on: I dare ya!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Who Killed Morgan Freeman?

The internet likes to kill Morgan Freeman.
Early in September, the Facebook page R.I.P. Morgan Freeman started - and this hoax refuses!
The page proclaimed: "At about 5pm ET on Thursday, our beloved actor Morgan Freeman passed away due to an artery rupture. Morgan was born on June 1, 1937. He will be missed but not forgotten. Please show your sympathy and condolences by commenting on and liking this page." Rather than check a credible news source, foolish Facebook followers believed this BS! The page has more than 67,000 "likes" and is the subject of countless news stories.
Morgan Freeman may have played God, made a bucket list and been killed at the box office, but he is not dead. Morgan Freeman is very much alive, as confirmed (several times!) by his agent...who's also shot down the rumour that he's voicing an audio book of Fifty Shades of Grey (sorry, ladies!).
Freeman's not the only celeb to have been killed on-line: Jeff Goldblum, Justin Bieber and the much-loved Bill Cosby are other regular victims (Cosby - again - just last month. Bieber's real demise however may be eagerly awaited by music purists).
The motivation for starting these rumours escapes me. Many say there's no harm done by them, but there is. From family to friends to fans, even a moment of seeing these headlines before common sense kicks in is hurtful.
Long live Morgan Freeman, Bill Cosby, and other quality entertainers!
As for the rumour-mongers (and Justin Bieber), well...

Monday, September 17, 2012

Surf's Up!

Quite amazing photos were taken recently, of orcas surfing the wake of a boat off the coast of Mexico.
A fishing company from Loreto, Mexico, runs charters off the Baja Coast. The owner owner Ashley Ross said it was magical to be able to snap the shots they did: "As far as we know this is the first time orcas have surfed the wake of a boat here in Loreto. They never played so closely to us. They usually keep their distance until we turn the engines off. Then they circle the boat and even swim underneath."
The pix in Sydney Morning Herald show the mammals playing in jet bubbles and chasing down a yacht. NZ orca expert Jo Halliday says it's not uncommon for orcas to play in the same way dolphins do because, while commonly called 'killer whales', orcas are actually large dolphins.
While orcas are normally found in cooler waters near both poles and in the Pacific, Halliday says they're quite happy in temperate waters as well.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Free Air For All

For those who are greedily claiming all the AIR in New Zealand...
here's some I'll gladly give you for FREE!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Blessing In Disguise?

What started off seemingly as a joke is now a hot kumara: the issue of maori owning all the water in NZ.
As laughable as the entire concept is, the bros have now worked themselves into a feeding frenzy as intense as their Treaty money-lust! It would be obvious to a blind man that this is an attempt to delay the sale of state-owned assets, some of which are power companies using water for generation. Its obvious also that, as te Tiriti gravy train slows down for its inevitable final stop, the greedy among the good will push the others towards the next potential source of free money ie: a claim on all water, followed by the equally absurd claims being formulated on all air! (Remember the ridiculous attempts to claim all of the radio spectrum too?)
We want it ALL!
We want it NOW!
In fact, hundreds of maori leaders attended a national hui on water rights at Ngaruawahia this week, and declared they would not talk to the Crown until the water rights issue was settled. Water rights hui organiser Tuku Morgan: "This is a defining issue for maori across this country because water and maori are indivisable."
But as they say, every cloud has a silver lining. If it's true that maori "will not talk to the Crown until the water rights issue is settled", then let's simply NEVER settle the water rights issue! Eezy-peezy! By their own admission, that'll mean NO more Treaty talk, NO more air claims talk, NO more demands for excessive representation on various boards, steering committees, management and advisory groups etc etc etc *yawn*
This country may then finally be able to bypass the past, and forge into the future, not bogged down in Treaty greed and grubbing, the Tiriti lawyers will have to find real work from which to leech their fees, the majority of taxpayers will not have to constantly bleed to support a few...
It may also mean we'll hear nothing ever again from the Itis, Morgans, Harawiras, Popatas and their like! This could indeed be a huge blessing in disguise! If only pigs could fly...

PS: 18 Sept.2012 - Alf Grumble discusses the maori water claim...

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Power And The Passion

Passion for production has turned into profit for the Auckland Film Studios.
National Business Review reports the government-owned facility has been kept busy - and profitable - by the post-World War II Hollywood production Emperor, starring Matthew Fox and Tommy Lee Jones.
The west Auckland studio is heavily dependent on film production and was fully occupied from October 2011 to April 2012 with the filming of Emperor.
Chairman Glenn Wilcox: "There are inevitably periods when the studios are not fully utilised. In those periods, the production of tv commercials and short films provide a reasonable stream." NZ's largest production lot has previously hosted films and TV projects such as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Whale Rider and Xena. "NZ is a good place to make films and we have a good track record. We also have the advantage of seasonality."
...meanwhile what used to be the powerhouse of NZ tv production, the government-owned Avalon TV studios in Lower Hutt, Wellington, have finally sold for an undisclosed price after sitting on the market for a year.
The deal, which does not include the well-known office tower block, has gone unconditional. Wellington property investor John Feast and three other investors are the buyers.
The sale has been subject to deals with studio users who were vital to keep the studios going. But just last week the Lotteries Commission, which films its Wednesday and Saturday night draws at the studios, announced it was shifting to Auckland. The NZ Racing Board, which produces Trackside, will continue using the studios. Choice TV will still be producing its new show Brunch there too.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Full And Final: Explanation

When outrageously large settlements first began to be awarded to hard-done-by maori tribes via Treaty of Waitangi negotiations, the country was assured there would be no come-backs. The govt was adamant these were "full and final settlements".
Now Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson has confirmed the govt is about to make 'top-up' payments worth tens of millions of dollars to two of the country's biggest tribes after its deal with Tuhoe
Te Tiriti: selling NZ short...
last Monday!
Under a deal done by the 1990s National Govt, Tainui and Ngai Tahu get top-ups to their Treaty settlements once the cost of all other settlements passes $1b: the Crown's within roughly $30 million of that threshold.
Roughly speaking, the Tainui and Ngai Tahu tribes get additions worth around 33% of every settlement done over the $1b threshold! In the case of the Tuhoe settlement, that would be around $56 million (based on Tuhoe's $170 million cash deal), assuming the $1b envelope has already been reached by the time they sign. The amount could be even higher depending on what is included in the calculation...AND it will keep being re-assessed every five years! Both tribes received around $170 million each in the 1990s to settle their Treaty grievances: shouldn't that be an end to it?
Mr Finlayson said it's not possible to estimate how much Treaty settlements could eventually cost. But there are still some big deals in the pipeline potentially worth at least as much as Monday's Tuhoe deal.
So not only does te Tiriti gravytrain score big on "full and final settlements" for each tribe, but it then morphs into the "water" gravytrain (and for good measure, let's try the "air" gravytrain) before revealing another ugly chapter in our race relations - that in order to actually get Tainui and Ngai Tahu to the negotiating table in the first place, the National govt of the day quietly slipped in one helluva sweetener: multi-million dollar top-ups! AND these keep getting re-assessed too!!
Which part of "full and final settlement" am I not understanding?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Super-Cathedral: Why Not?

Rebuilding Christchurch's two EQ-savaged cathedrals into one Anglican/Catholic super-cathedral is under discussion at top levels in the Anglican Church.
So reported last weekend's Sunday Star Times in a full front-page feature. A stunning story which, if it came to pass, could have global implications...yet already some are pouring cold holy water on the idea. In fact, Monday's Press carried a very small P.3 story saying the whole story was basically wrong and no such talk had ever happened!
Let's examine the idea anyway:
(1) Christchurch has (the remains of) two large EQ-damaged iconic cathedrals, one Anglican, one Catholic.
(2) Both need substantial money to rebuild.
(3) One - Anglican - is too far gone to be much more than building material. The other - Catholic - has vague potential for restoration.
(4) The word from the confessional is that the Catholics' coffers - plus insurance - can cover their own rebuild. The Anglicans still require big
govt/public support.
Now, as all denominations will tell you, a church is NOT a building - its the believers. With that in mind, why not restore the more viable of the two buildings, as a venue for both faiths / congregations to use?
(1) It would a damn sight cheaper than trying to do justice to both.
(2) If it's the Catholic Basilica that's selected, the location is far better from a rebuilding perspective and also better for public access and parking.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Ureweras Remain For All

Yesterday, the Crown and Ngai Tuhoe settled the long-running Te Urewera grievance.
Lotsa chick-ching changing hands ($170 million worth!) BUT no much-demanded Urewera National Park for a separate maori state.
The deal means no one owns the Ureweras and it will remain a national park for the good of ALL NZers, rather than a select few.
Tuhoe agreed to an arrangement in which the land of Te Urewera National Park is vested in a new legal body governed by Crown and Ngai Tuhoe appointees, and chaired by a Ngai Tuhoe nominee. The board will be responsible for approving a management plan of the area, and over time Tuhoe will have an increasing role in managing the park, with the Department of Conservation also maintaining its role. But the most important factor to note is that NO-one will own Te Urewera under the deal, and it will remain a national park.
Ngai Tuhoe chief negotiator Tamati Kruger called it an historic day:
"One day,
Roger Fitch..."
"Te Urewera is unique and we have together developed an innovative, NZ-made settlement."
Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says Tuhoe have made a total compromise from their previous ambitions but want to move forward. She hopes Tuhoe eventually gets control and management of the, sorry Tariana, but that'll only happen over a lot of dead bodies!
"Who, ME...?
I'm a patsy!"
Labour leader David Shearer is pleased: "I hope the Tuhoe people can put this money to good use and further develop its people" which he does not mean allowing miscreants to run terrorist training camps deep in the bush!
So the Ureweras remain a national park for all to enjoy. How long do you think it'll be before a few rabid radicals man roadblocks, demanding koha for access, hmmm?

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Ridges: Who DO They Think They Are?

So like bimbos in the headlights...
Oh my god.
They're like so finally here.
Whether you wanna compare 'em to America's Kardashians or Oz joke couple Kath and Kim, Sally and daughter Jaime Ridge are like so on NZ TV like this week. Oh - my - god.
Pre-publicity has drawn waves of insults for the bubbleheads, but those in TVland who've caught previews say it's actually hilarious entertainment (the cheques're in the mail, guys)! So either their opinion of what constitutes good viewing is like totally naff...or NZ is misjudging TV3's new reality show The Ridges before we've even seen it. Hmmm...
The show promises an insight into the celebrity circuit and glamorous nightlife (WTF???) of Auckland. The pair hope it will quell a public misunderstanding that they're simply dumb attention-seeking bints. Jaime: "I imagine there'll be a lot of people who'll want to watch us to bag us." No shit, Sherlock! Maybe she's brighter than she looks...
Sally: "People do criticise us an awful lot, and the reality is you really shouldn't judge anyone until you meet them." Well, we'll sure see plenty, but how much of this homegrown reality tv is actually real? For instance, would Sally really renovate a rundown, rodent-infested boarding house? And if there was no camera crew following her every move, would Jaime actually have a boxing bout with a cast member of another piece of reality garbage, The GC? Er, no.
Does my ego look big in this?
So who ARE these two anyway? Well, 18yr.old model Jaime is studying law because...well...she couldn't think of what else to do. Seriously! And woop-de-doo, she used to sleep with All Black Sonny Bill Williams. Sal? Well, she was a regular in the gossip rags after marrying former All Black/NZ Warriors player Matthew Ridge... before she started polishing ex-Black Cap Adam Parore's cricket balls. She's a former interior designer and owned a failed undies company.
Will there be any real reality tv, nails?
The Ridges, TV3, Wed.Sept.12, 7.30pm

PS: 13 Sept.2012 - The Ridges fails to impress..

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Pay Up Or Piss Off

In a move that'll bring smiles to the faces of many hardworking taxpayers, the govt's finally cracking down on bludgers.
Three govt agencies will pool info, to slash the number of people wanted by police while claiming benefits.
Social Development Minister Paula Bennett signalled during the last election campaign that the govt wanted to stop payments to beneficiaries subject to arrest warrants. She confirmed it this week, by announcing a sharing of information with the police and Ministry of Justice.
More than 8000 of about 15,000 people subject to arrest warrants are on a benefit. 58% of people with outstanding warrants clear them within 28 days. The new rules give them an extra 10 days to clear or challenge the warrant before their benefit is stopped. Bennett says the policy is not 'beneficiary bashing'.
Of course, the Green Party sees it all quite differently. Co-leader Metiria Turei: "It's typical tactics from Paula to try and avoid the real issue of child poverty." She claims it'll make no difference to those on the run from police, as they generally would not be meeting their Work and Income obligations.
Well, Turei, some of your Green voters may well be on the run from police, or harvesting 'green economy' materials deep in the Coromandel forests...if so, why TF should they get a benefit?! This collaberation seems to be a way of tieing off a few loose ends, and ensuring a bit more benefit money is available for those who actually need and deserve it! Not long-term unemployed without good reason...not dak-growers down in da boondocks...not 'those on the run from police'. Let's face it: if they're fugitives, why should we pay their escape petrol?
It's time the bludgers in NZ got a good kick in their arses.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Fugitive Fights On

For this year’s annual Antarctic whale hunting season, Japan - be warned.
Fugitive Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson has issued a statement that his group's next campaign against nasty Nippon will make sure not a single whale gets killed. This year’s operation is called Operation Zero Tolerance.
No-one has seen Watson since he skipped bail in Germany last July, and INTERPOL issued a Red Notice for him (Costa Rica had been attempting to extradite him on charges of endangering a fishing vessel in 2002). Contrary to popular belief however, this Red notice was NOT an arrest warrant...
Watson claims there's a huge lobby of charges backed by Japan, so it can prevent him and his group from carrying on thwarting its commercial whaling. Watson’s legal team is working on exposing the local warrants from Costa Rica and Japan as being politically
Sea Shepherd's website says Watson is expected to make an anti-whaling presentation at a fundraising event in Sydney, Australia in November. The Japanese whaling fleet commences its run in December and Sea Shepherd ships follow suit from Australia, trying to harass and stop them from killing whales.
This season, following the generosity of tv show The Simpsons' producer Sam Simon, SS will approach the whaling fleet with yet another ice-strengthened vessel, MV Sam Simon. That may give the environmentalists four ships (Bridgette Bardot, Sam Simon, Steve Irwin and Bob Barker) to face the Japanese whaling fleet in this operation and completely shut down all whaling activity: such is the hope of Watson and Co., and the fervent dream of all their supporters worldwide.

Friday, September 7, 2012

New Addition To NZ Dictionary

Never a dull mo when Da Bro's in da house.
Mana Party leader/legendary foulmouth Hone Harawira has accused Maori Party MPs of being the Prime Minister's "little house niggers", over their indecision about attending a water rights hui.
The Maori King has called the meeting for iwi leaders, the Maori Council and politicians to try to secure a joint approach on Maori interests in water.
John Key's banned National's Maori MPs from attending: "If you're a govt.MP, you represent the Crown. Any representation by my MPs at such an event would be interpreted as representation by the Crown and I've made that position absolutely crystal clear: I do not accept the view that there needs to be national hui because I do not accept there will be a national settlement because I do not accept it's a national issue." Riiiiiiight. So we're all clear on Johnno's position? He does not accept that he does not accept that...
Meanwhile the Maori Party's attendance is still being decided, and waddya know - that was like a red rag to a bullish prick! Harawira leaps onto his Facebook soapbox to lash out at their reluctance. He accuses his former political pals of falling in line behind National Party policy, in his usual style to which we've become accustomed: "Time John Key realised a few home truths like (1) he can tell his little house niggers what to do, but (2) the rest of us don't give a shit for him or his opinions." And yours are any more valid, HH?
Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell labels Da Bro's choice of words a 'Honeism': "We don't pay much attention to Hone's comments because most of the time it is untruthful. If we worried about what Hone said at every turn we'd feel quite annoyed all the time."
As a whitey, I wonder if I could call a maori a "nigger" or a "coon" or a similar term in public and get away with it, under the new term 'Honeism'? Is this socially acceptable for all...or just for Da Bro?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Rena Wreckers Walk

Leonil and Mauro: bloody wankers!
It's obviously a tough life being a mass polluter!
Having a grand ol' birthday party knees-up, while your container ship sails full-bore off-course and onto a well-charted reef...spilling oil and cargo hither and yon...falsifying documents to try and hide your obvious guilt...then when you're sentenced, incurring only a 7mth term - and furthermore, serving it in a cushy NZ prison where you're visited regularly by do-gooders concerned about your welfare and state-of-mind!
Yeup, it's tough all right.
And today, after serving only half of that pathetically small penalty, the captain and navigation officer of the Rena are heading home (er...are being deported) to the Philippines.'s headline yesterday said: Rena crew members walk free. Walking sure feels that way. A free walk, after causing so much damage. Why do I get the impression neither of them will be losing any sleep over this merry little incident?
Good riddance, captain Mauro Balomaga.
Good riddance, navigation officer Leonil Relon.
Don't come back here again.

PS: 06 Sept.2012 - And as a final slap-in-the-face to NZ, this pair have kept their jobs!!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Irish Can't Take A Joke

"An Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman were..."
How many jokes over the years have started out dat way? Well, it seems de Oirish don't loike dem! Dey don't seem to have a sense of humour, to be sure!
Irish workers in Christchurch feel they've been unfairly labelled as drunks, and some are being asked to say things like "fiddle-dee-dee potatoes" to amuse locals.
Hundreds of Irish workers have poured into the Canterbury region since the earthquakes, and many more are expected over the next
2-5 years. But some are complaining dat dere's a bit of a stereotype over their nationality. Dat's roight! De Oirish are perceived as being drinkers! *shock*horror*probe* And de fine upstanding citizens from da land of foinest Oirish Whiskey are feeling hard done by!
OMG, I just can't keep writing in dat...that way! Apart from being a pain in the butt to sustain, I'm probably upsetting some poor wee sensitive New Age Irish immigrants!
And to them, I say: get over yourselves! Of course someone far from home will be treated as a novelty and be asked to recite stereotypical catch-phrases. (Remember that scene from Love Actually?) But so what? When I was in London, I was often asked to 'say something kiwi' (I usually delivered something from Australia, as their catch-phrases are far more crass and colourful than ours!): "Fair suck o' the sav, digger blue bonzer rippa!"
It's all part of being proud of yourself and being a representative of
your country. It's nothing to get precious about. The Irish have themselves cultivated the very image that we find charming and amusing. Yet when we ask for some more of it, it's all *sob* just *sob* too much...
Puh-leez! And as for the Irish not being drinkers! Say what???!!!
Sure and begorra, John Jameson would be turning in his grave!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Cranmer Courts' Close Call

One of Christchurch's most iconic remaining pieces of heritage will be saved.
Cranmer Courts' unit owners have voted unanimously to accept an offer from across the Tasman to purchase the entire site - which includes saving the historic facade. This means the demolition, which had already started, has been halted at the eleventh hour!
The proposal to buy the property (including the nine occupied town houses), came from Risk Worldwide, an international disaster insurance recovery firm based in Australia. The offer is for $7m, on top of the $19m already secured through insurance.
The heritage-listed building on the corner of Kilmore and Montreal streets was built between 1873-1876. Many education buildings were constructed in Christchurch in the C19th., the majority built in the Gothic Revival style. The preference for this style reflects the early settlers' intention to recreate traditional English colleges. Cranmer Courts (on the NE corner of Cranmer Square) was the former Normal School.
It's registered with the NZ Historic Places Trust as a Category II Historic Place. Following the Sept 2010 mag.7.1 earthquake, the building was classified unsafe for habitation. After the Feb.2011 EQ, residents spent $1m stabilising it. Its demolition would have been an irreplaceable loss for the entire city.
Talk about putting your money where your mouth is! Thank you, Risk Worldwide, so very much!

PS: 05 Oct.2012 - Oh no, I spoke too soon...Cranmer Cts becomes another casualty of bureaucracy.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Nigerian Scams Are Not For You

You've probably received or seen one of these:
a terminally-ill Nigerian prince / director of a massive corporation / dieing nun / disgruntled US soldier contacts you urgently, asking you to move a large sum of money, promising you can keep a share. All they need is your credit card number and banking PIN...
It looks like a scam, sounds like a scam - of course it's a scam. But who on earth actually believes these things? If you've ever wondered why these scams are so blatant, here's why...if you were just too smart for the scammer and saw through the tricky plot - it simply means you were never the target in the first place.
A recent study has found that email scammers really aren't interested in appearing believable...because it would just be too expensive if everyone fell for it.
The research conducted by Microsoft - "Why do Nigerian scammers say they are from Nigeria?" - found that the OTT scam email, complete with typos is a simple cost-effective way of weeding out intelligent people, leaving only the dumb and dumber to hit.
Principal researcher Cormac Herley: "Our analysis suggests that's an advantage to the attacker, not a disadvantage. Since his attack has a low density of victims, the Nigerian scammer has an over-riding need to reduce the false positives. By sending a mass email that filters out all but the most gullible, the scammer gets the most promising marks to self-select."
It seems to work. Just last year a Nigerian man was jailed for 12 years after scamming US$1.3 million. In 2008 an Oregon woman lost $400k to a similar scam. Every month or so, someone goes down in a screaming heap here in NZ, bemoaning their recently-raped bank account.
So next time you open a scam email and think to yourself: "Why do they bother?", live happy in the knowledge you're not the target at all!
Which is a bit of a shame really, coz the current total I'm due to collect via Nigeria so far is over $4.1 billion!!!