Rejected by humans, he’s found a more appreciative audience

Since 1996 Barton has been playing for elephants in Thailand. He respects and loves the great animals, who gather around to hear his music. In the top video something unusual happens. One of the elephants, Peter, grooves to Barton’s 12 Bar Blues and uses his trunk to do some piano playing himself. Another of the elephants sways his hips to the beat.

Read more »


@whaleoil is on Seven Sharp tonight. Tune in to discover what led to “that” selfie

Online link to Seven Sharp

Whaleoil Backchat

Good Evening, welcome to the daily Whaleoil Backchat.

You don’t have to stay “on topic” in these posts like you do in all others.

Feel free to share your own stories, links to other news or catch up with friends.

If you haven’t tried it before, try signing in to a Disqus account, it is free, quick, and easy.


New commenters should familiarise themselves with our Commenting and Moderation rules.  Thank you.


Daily Roundup


NZ First keep the “China owns New Zealand” meme going.

Read more »

Good moves by National on local body politics

National has announced some good initiatives around local body politics today, while Labour is splurging even more money at a sector that can and does does the citizens hard already.

The Government will “crowdsource” for new ideas on how to get rid of “dumb” local and central government regulations, Prime Minister John Key says.

He told the Local Government New Zealand conference in Nelson today that a Rules Reduction Task Force would be established in response to the latest Productivity Commission report. The task force would look at local and central government regulation.

Some rules homeowners faced were “dumb” and “needless bureaucratic hurdles”, Key said.

“Some things on the face of it don’t make much sense, like making it compulsory for a homeowner to install windows in a room that already lets in a lot of light through the ranch-slider doors,” Key told delegates.

The task force would be comprised of officials and tradespeople to “root out local regulation that could be improved”.

“We already know there are property owners up and down the country who are frustrated with the regulatory requirements they must meet, and the time and money it takes to complete transactions,” Key said.

“The decisions that councils make on regulation affect the whole country.”

Finance Minister Bill English has said that local government rules added to construction costs.

Key said the task force would develop ideas with the public.

“It is my intention that we invite ratepayers and homeowners around the country to contribute their thoughts on removing unnecessary rules and regulations via email and social media,” Key said.

“If you like, we’ll be crowdsourcing ways to reduce the rules and regulations that stop people doing sensible things with their own properties.”

“There are some things that homeowners go through because councils are required to implement regulations and rules which are completely outdated, that were written for a particular reason but which no longer work,” Key said after his speech.

“Essentially what we’re going to say to New Zealanders is ‘look, if you can see crazy rules and regulations that you have to comply with, that make no sense, email them to us’.

“We think we’ll be able to do a rewrite of a lot of those regulations, particularly for property owners.”

Read more »

War footing has moved to “fight back”

David Cunliffe is a big fan of bumper sticker slogans.

When he was elected leader by his union paymasters he exclaimed that Labour was no on a “war footing”, that they were going to “take the battle to National” and he even created a “war room” which now resembles the bunker of an under siege despot.

Today however he is challenging Rocky Balboa and describing the yet to be seen revival of labour’s electoral fortunes as a “fight back”.

Labour leader David Cunliffe says he is “not making light” of recent bad polls and insists his MPs are united behind him.

A string of polls has put Labour support in the mid-20s and Cunliffe said this afternoon’s caucus meeting, postponed to allow him to get back from delivering a speech in Nelson, would have some “earnest conversations about how we can do better”.

“I am sure that the caucus will be as determined as I am that we stick to our knitting and to our core messages about jobs, homes and families, and avoid distractions,” Cunliffe said.

He scoffed at suggestions that some in his caucus were “doing the numbers” on a leadership change.

“That’s nonsense, absolute nonsense. I am confident I have the full support of my caucus.”

Cunliffe insisted Labour could win the election, now less than two months away. The party was much larger, it had done more canvassing of voters and had better organisation to turn out the vote.

“Those advantages don’t show up until the polling [voting] opens,” he said.

Read more »

City-centric Labour setting off on regional bribe charm offensive

Having lost support hand over fist in their usual urban strongholds, Labour quite incongruously turns its attention to National heartland holding a fat cheque book

Cunliffe is set to use his appearance at the Local Government New Zealand conference in Nelson to say that if elected Labour would set aside tens of millions of dollars a year for a contestable fund for regional capital projects, focusing on infrastructure development.

Today’s announcement by Cunliffe – who has been under fire over his decision to take a skiing holiday in Central Otago last week as Labour slumped in the polls – will be the latest in an attempt to promote Labour’s plan for an “economic upgrade”.

It is believed the plan will propose the setting aside of a similar amount for capital projects as National did when it announced at its conference $212 million for “regionally important state highway projects”.

It is also expected that regional development would be restored as a ministerial portfolio.

National has a dedicated fund to promote investment in irrigation, although it aims to achieve at least a modest return for the Government.

Labour’s fund would take a “triple bottom line” approach where projects allocated funds would not necessarily need to make a commercial return to the Crown, but would be justified on the basis that the Treasury coffers would be boosted long-term through higher income tax and lower welfare payments coming from increased employment.

Don’t you love it?  “Triple bottom line”.  Meaning, here’s some money, don’t worry if you actually do anything useful with it  - we won’t hold you to account if you use it to upgrade the fleet of company cars.   As brilliant as it is blatant.   Read more »

Brain Drain become Brain Gain

by blokeintakapuna

The political Left – Labour in particular – have had an on-going whinge-fest for years about NZ’s brightest young things going on their OE, departing our fair shores in the hunt for fortune, fame and adventure and sometimes not returning for years.

And the brightest won’t be returning because of “duty” or being home sick. They can see the huge potential and opportunity being home in a “Rock Star Economy” provides – especially when compared to a floundering Aussie and most other Western economies on life support.

40,000 Gain is a huge achievement and acknowledgement for any government by the brightest who have now returned, who know and can compare our somewhat insular NZ to the rest of the World… and all will be very grateful NZ sails, and has sailed with a steady hand on the tiller…   Read more »

Guess Who VIII

It is interesting to view the posts on the facebook pages of those involved in politics. They are very revealing. My latest GUESS WHO is no different.

As usual I have not included any personal photos of the person’s face or family. Remember that everything revealed below I was able to access and view even though I am not a facebook friend of this person. They are happy for the public to view these images. Do these images reveal enough clues for you to GUESS WHO? A bag of virtual jelly beans goes to whoever works this latest puzzle out.

Read more »

Kristallnacht in Paris

Kristallnacht in Paris?

Will we hear about it in the New Zealand media?

I doubt it…it’s only a matter of time before boycotts against Israel become boycotts against Jewish owned businesses….deja vu anyone.

For the second straight day on Sunday anti-Jewish rioters defied a protest ban in Paris to rampage in the predominantly Jewish suburb of Sarcelles in what one police official called the “Paris Intifada.”

Hundreds of mostly Arab and North African youths marched through the streets wielding bars and clubs while shouting, “Death to Israel.”

The neighborhood’s main kosher grocery Naouri was burned to a shell as was a local Jewish owned pharmacy. The nearby synagogue in Garges was firebombed, but little damage was done.

Riot police attempted to disperse protesters and block access to another synagogue in Sarcelles and a few dozen Jewish vigilantes gathered nearby.

Journalists were assaulted and some police officers were injured by the rioters, France’s Le Figaro reported.

“I live in Garges, near the synagogue, but I’m afraid to go home,” a young woman told the newspaper.  Read more »