Can Grant Robertson shear sheep, and why this is an important question

There are some skills you just never lose.

Bill English demonstrated superb shearing skills with a sheep in front of a large crowd at Southern Field Days in Waimumu on Friday.

Video posted to the Facebook page of New Plymouth MP Jonathan Young shows the Deputy Prime Minister, who grew up in Southland, engaging in a race with another man to shear a sheep.

“Bill English at Southern Field Days,” Young said in a video post to Facebook. “And not one cut.”

Though the Finance Minister didn’t win what the MC called a “close race”, English’s job was not baa’d and was met with a round of applause.

There is actually an underlying truth to this that escapes most people.  New Zealand is going through a change, and it’s coming out the other end of it.

Some decades ago, we were all real men and women.  People of the land.  People of work.

Our All Blacks were farmers.  Certainly our provincial competitions were dominated by people who had been milking that morning, or would be mustering the next day.  Read more »

Crim-hugging business as usual for MPs

Mr Mallard wrote the letter for a 24-year-old convicted and sentenced for racing another vehicle on State Highway 2.

The offender was also convicted on another charge of lying to the police. The MP’s letter urged the court to suspend the conviction on that offence, given that the offender had much potential and that could be negated by a conviction for lying to the police.

The Dominion Post reported that Judge Chris Tuohy instead convicted and discharged the man. He granted him permanent name suppression.

Mr Mallard said he knew the young man in question: “I have seen him at particular occasions in the past. I know a member of the family better, but not well, not friends or anything like that.”

He said MPs wrote hundreds of support letters, for everything from helping with letting agencies to banks. Writing one for someone before the courts was a more serious matter, and Mr Mallard estimated he would agree to do about one in every four requests.

He didn’t know if other MPs did the same, “but I’d be surprised if they didn’t”.

They’re more or less just form letters, especially if they come from an MP who doesn’t even know the person other than “knowing the family”.  If you’ve been an MP for 30-plus years, you should pretty much “know the family” of most of your constituents.   Read more »

Photo Of The Day

The Amazing Scene, Just Before Impact. The B-25 collided with The Empire State Building on the north side, around the 78th Floor. Immediately upon impact, the plane's fuel exploded and flames shot out from the gaping hole where the plane had entered the building. The explosion could be felt several floors above and below the point of impact.

The Amazing Scene, Just Before Impact. The B-25 collided with The Empire State Building on the north side, around the 78th Floor. Immediately upon impact, the plane’s fuel exploded and flames shot out from the gaping hole where the plane had entered the building. The explosion could be felt several floors above and below the point of impact.

B-25 bomber crashes into

Empire State Building

At 9:50 am on Saturday July 28, 1945, impossibility became a reality. A B-25 “Billy Mitchell” bomber belonging to the US Army Air Corps crashed into the Empire State Building. The plane was enroute to the Newark Airport located in New Jersey when it struck the 102-story structure. The odds against such an incident ever happening were computed as being 10,000 to 1. But weather flying conditions at the time helped contribute to the incident.

Office workers were carrying on as usual in The Empire State Building, when a sudden thud knocked them from their desk chairs and on to the ground. Smoke quickly filled the room. The B-25 Bomber, on a routine mission in heavy fog, had crashed into the 79th floor. The harrowing experiences of the survivors—and those that died—are stories that have been rarely recounted since.

There was a thick haze of fog over New York City on the morning as employees such as Betty Lou Oliver, an elevator attendant at The Empire State Building, made their way to work.

Overhead, a B-25 Bomber with two pilots and one passenger aboard was flying from New Bedford, Massachusetts to LaGuardia Airport. Because of the fog, air-traffic controllers suggested that the plane might try to land at Newark Airport instead. This required a new flight plan, one that would take the B-25 through Manhattan and the crew were advised that the skyscrapers would most likely not be visible due to the immense fog.

Read more »

Teacher unions are the same the world over

I’ve found that bullying teachers and union bosses damage more self-esteem than anyone else.

Teaching unions have called on schools to boycott tests for four-year-olds claiming they can damage self-esteem and make children cry.

Campaigners say the government’s new ‘baseline assessments’ can be ‘damaging’ to children who are not ready for the literacy and numeracy checks.

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) and the National Union of Teachers (NUT) said pupils had been left tearful and frustrated by the tests.

The assessments are taken by infants just weeks after they start school, to allow the government to see how far they have progressed by the time they leave.

They are intended as a way to measure performance of schools – rather than pupils – but teachers say the experience is too stressful for such young children.

Around 2,000 schools in England already failed to administer the tests last autumn, when they were trialled for the first time.

The checks, which are officially introduced this September, are technically optional, and the unions urged more schools to boycott them.

NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: ‘One of the things that we do have a genuine concern about is what the effect of this is on children.

Read more »

Whaleoil Weekly News Quiz

National stick it to Labour, pardon me, unions. Never mind; same thing.

At least the government hasn’t been completely cowed by the unions.

Zero-hour contracts won’t be banned under proposed changes to employment laws being considered by parliament, but workers on them will have to be offered “reasonable” compensation.

The transport and industrial relations select committee has just reported back on the Employment Standards Legislation Bill, but it hasn’t recommended scrapping zero-hour contracts – which don’t contain guaranteed hours, but require employees to be available for work – entirely.

Instead, an employer will have to have “genuine reasons” for including an availability provision in a contract and allow for “reasonable” compensation.

That’s disappointed opposition parties who say zero-hour contracts are being enshrined in law, when the government had promised to get rid of them.   Read more »

National to push for more electric rapid charging stations

God knows why the government is looking at this.

It is pretty pointless, apart from taking the wind from the Greens’ sails.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges is promising a range of incentives to encourage more Kiwis into electric cars (EVs).

Only 1000 of them are registered in New Zealand and a plummeting oil price is not helping the uptake.

Incentives? I think he means subsidies…how socialist of him.

One car is on a road trip from Russell to Taupo — a trip dictated by where and when its owner can top up the batteries.

Two more rapid charging stations were unveiled in Auckland, but a lack of them is a barrier to car owners going electric.

Yet Mr Bridges says it’s a no brainer.   Read more »

Oh look: TPP submissions are now open and possible

First the document was fully available and they said it was all done in secret.  

Next they said it was done without any public consultation, and now the public consultation starts.

The parliamentary committee that’s examining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is inviting public submissions.

The 6000-page text of the controversial 12-nation free trade agreement is in the hands of the cross-party foreign affairs, defence and trade select committee.

It’s open for written submissions and if organisations or individuals want to appear in person they can ask to be heard.   Read more »

Three more of Kelvin’s mates due home in about fifteen years?

Three more people in Australia are in need of some advocacy from the party of the criminals.

Three New Zealanders have been charged with murder in an apparent grisly double homicide being investigated by Australian police.

Shoved in a metal box, shot in the head, then dumped in a dam – that’s the terrifying scenario police fear missing Queensland friends Cory Breton and Iuliana Triscaru endured when they disappeared from the Logan area south of Brisbane on January 24.

The remains of two people were found on Thursday inside a metal box submerged in a dam in the Logan suburb of Kingston.   Read more »

Little can’t trust Hipkins if he’s going to do all the education stuff himself

Andrew Little is overriding many spokespeople and is especially interfering in Chris Hipkins’ portfolio areas.

Education Minister Hekia Parata and Labour leader Andrew Little have had a playground spat over the impending closure of one of Christchurch’s schools.

The squabble arose as the Education Minister opened two new primary schools.

Rawhiti School is the culmination of a merger of three damaged eastern suburb’s primaries into one super school.

Ms Parata thinks it’s pretty exciting.

“You can see for yourselves that the community is very proud of what they’ve achieved,” she says. “There’s a lot of recognition of what they’ve had to go through to get to this time and place but they’re facing forward and very excited.”

But while cake was being cut and plaques unveiled in the east, a short drive across town there’s little cause for celebration.   Read more »