Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Call A Spade A Spade - It IS War!

Hi-ho, hi-ho. It's off to war we go!
Make no bones about it – however the politicos sugar-coat it (by saying NZ is NOT sending combat troops but rather weapons trainers), we ARE sending warriors into harm's way in Iraq.
But are we really needed there?
Honestly? No. We can't supply big bucks, or enormous equipment piles. But we're putting our limited resources where our mouths are. Why? Speaking bluntly, it really has NOTHING to do with standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the fight against ISIS. It's more like if we DON'T step up, then the crumbs we currently receive from the global intelligence community will dwindle to zip!
So what role will our troops play? Prime Munster John Key's gone to great pains to assure us this is DEFINITELY a non-combat mission. He naively states that if the shit goes down just a few blocks away, we'd actually stand back and let our "allies" sort it out themselves!!! REALLY??!! But you can bet your last brass that, if OUR team was hit, he'd be expecting allied help to extract our derrieres from the fire!!
What, getting HIT??? Ya mean, NZ troops will be at risk???
Of COURSE they will be. They're soldiers in a war zone with weapons at-hand. To think otherwise is extremely childish. But don't patronise these troops: they've volunteered for their jobs and they know the risks. You don't send soldiers into a war zone, and then tell them to run if something goes 'bang' nearby!!!
So, by sending troops, are we now more at risk back home? After all, ISIS has shown itself capable of and eager to extend its fight beyond its immediate battlefields. It's recently called for jihadists to attack shopping malls around the world.
The big question is: will its poison spread to New Zealand?

Monday, February 23, 2015

More Deaths at Farewell Spit

Last Friday, Farewell Spit again took its toll on a passing whale pod, as 198 pilot whales were stranded.
Department of Conservation (DoC) staff, Project Jonah volunteers and at least 300 tourists and locals descended on the beach in a bid to refloat the animals. However, more than half restranded, many of them dying on the beach that night.
Rescue teams arrived from Northland, Auckland and Wellington, and were shocked by the condition of the 69 surviving whales at first light on Saturday. In some other strandings, volunteers have been able to keep the whales cool and wet overnight. However, due to safety concerns stemming from the terrain at Farewell Spit, DoC would not allow people to stay overnight. So by morning the animals were stressed, overheated and suffering wind burn.
With the surrounding wetland reserve making it impossible to use heavy machinery, rescuers had to rely on 'people power' to move the whales.
The four largest survivors, up to 6m long and weighing up to 4 tonnes, were dragged on rescue mats back into the tide. The refloated whales were rocked from side to side before release, a trick that helped them regain their equilibrium and reduced their chances of restranding.
In the end, 67 of the 69 whales still alive at dawn on Saturday made it back out to sea.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Bad Parking (2): Mike McLeod of Kaiapoi

There's a certain street in Kaiapoi that's afflicted by zombies!
Virtually every time the local Woodford Glen Speedway has a big stockcar race meet, there'll be half a dozen or so stockcars on wide trailers jamming Whitefield St.
Dunno why these particular vehicles are attracted to this suburban spot: perhaps it's Kaiapoi's version of Boganville!
But you'll see zombie-like scruffs, scratching their stomachs, dirty dungarees dangling below their derrieres, swigging beer on the street while gazing belovedly into their stockies' engine bays...then it's off to Woodford Glen to slam steel into steel, before lurching back to this particular zombie zone, to sink piss and park their vehicle trailers any-damn-where they like!
This trailer, clearly along a footpath, carries the No.46C stockie which (after a quick bit of Googling) appears to be owned by one Mike McLeod...methinx some driver education for you, m'lad!
Oh, and by the way Mike, if you are NOT the current owner of 46C,
I'll happily remove your name from the 'Wall Of Shame' soon as you supply the name of the DICKHEAD DRIVER who IS!!!

See also: "Chch Drivers Can Be Dicks!"

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Flag It Away, John!

NZ's Prime Minister has been pushing his "new flag" hobbyhorse again, using the devisive Waitangi Day commemorations as a platform.
In a speech to business and maori leaders, John Key spoke of his vision for NZ in 25 years' time when, in 2040, we celebrate 200 years of nationhood: "(By then) I'd like to see a new New Zealand flag raised at the Waitangi Day dawn service. That's my personal preference...I think the (current) flag captures a colonial and post-colonial era whose time has passed."
And Johnno promised that maori would be fully consulted and have a say in the design choice. Like...hello!!! As maori make up only 10% of our population, they should only get 10% of the consultation. We ALL have a choice in this flag - IF it happens - not just one race. Cut out the political tokenism, PM!
"All my own work" - John Key
Johnno still wants the silver fern on the flag: "It's the symbol of NZ, it's internationally recognisable." But many point out that splashing said fern on a black background (a la the precious bloody All Blacks *yawn*) would create an image too similar to the ISIS terror group.
JK's always quick to add that, other than changing the flag, he remains a constitutional monarchist and does not want to see NZ become a republic.
PM's preference...and to hell with you!
John Key says he's softened on his preference for a silver fern on a black flag, instead liking this Kyle Lockwood design.
But do you agree that the colour scheme too closely resembles the maori protest flag, and thus reeks of the arse-licking tokenism that JK spewed forth at Waitangi this year?
A referendum on the flag will be held over this parliamentary term, in a two-step process. Voters will be able to choose between an alternative flag, and then whether that flag should replace the current one.

Monday, February 2, 2015

I Feel The Need For Speed!

The battle against illegal whaling has taken a turn for the good guys.
Sea Shepherd, longtime warriors against the illegal slaughter of marine animals, has received an incredible donation: a whopping $12 million (!!!), from the National Postcode Lottery, a Dutch charity that runs lotteries and gives half the proceeds to charities each year. Past recipients include Amnesty International, Greenpeace, UNICEF, and the World Food Programme, to name but a few.
The National Postcode Lottery has supported SS since 2007, to the tune of €14.7 million.
SS's proposal, Stop Illegal Fishing in the Southern Ocean, impressed lottery officials so much it won this year's donation. The money will be used exclusively to construct a vessel that's faster, has a longer range and is stronger than any of the Japanese harpoon vessels.
Capt.Paul Watson: "That's been our biggest handicap in the Southern Ocean: not being able to outrun those harpoon vessels. This vessel will enable us to do just that."
Never before has SS been able to custom-design exactly what it wants. Until now, it's received and re-purposed existing ships, but unfortunately, these are getting older and are simply not fast enough.
SS Global's CEO, Alex Cornelissen: "Negotiations with Dutch ship builder Damen has resulted in a blueprint of our ideal ship." Here's the designer's conceptual artwork:
The easiest way to stop whaling is to simply place a large vessel on the stern slipway of Japan's factory ship Nisshin Maru and prevent it from loading whales. If the nasty Nippons can't load whales they can't kill whales - simple!
The vessel's under construction in Vietnam, and anticipated to be ready for duty in 2016. Yes, this will be a game changer indeed.