More free. Always with the free. Someone pays

Vaccinations for chicken pox, meningococcal C and HPV for boys must be added to New Zealand’s free immunisation register, a health expert says.

The call from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris, director of immunisation research and vaccinology at the University of Auckland, comes as debate rages on both sides of the Tasman after the Australian Government last week announced a policy to cut child and family benefits for parents who refuse to vaccinate their children.

New Zealand’s National Immunisation Schedule stipulates which free vaccines people should get and when. Illnesses covered include rotavirus, tetanus, measles, mumps and rubella.

Petousis-Harris says the list should be widened to include chicken pox and meningococcal C shots and the HPV vaccine for boys. Read more »

Map of the Day

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Top Rated Films set in each US State

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Legal highs for… bees

Bees are getting a buzz from pesticides, and it’s not a good thing.

Like nicotine for humans, certain pesticides seem to hold an addictive attraction for bees, which seek out tainted food even if it may be bad for them, research shows.

Not only did bees show no signs of avoiding neonicotinoid-laced food in lab tests, they seemed to prefer it, said a study published on Wednesday (local time) in the science journal Nature.

“We now have evidence that bees prefer to eat pesticide-contaminated foods,” study author Geraldine Wright of Newcastle University said.

This suggests, she said, “that like nicotine, neonicotinoids may act like a drug to make foods containing these substances more rewarding”.

The law of untended consequences strikes again.   Read more »

Sign of the Day

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Study discovers what makes Kiwis awesome


…a landmark study into how New Zealanders are faring on a personal and social level, has revealed new insights into what makes Kiwis ‘awesome’ (those in the community with extremely high levels of wellbeing) and you might be surprised who tops the list.

I’ll give you a clue – it doesn’t have Martin Martyn near the top.  Nor the world’s greatest sysop.  Nor Russel Norman, oddly enough.   Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Photo: John Key Facebook

Photo: John Key Facebook

The Loved Ones Left Behind

 Widows of fallen heroes make emotional trip to Anzac Cove to remember the men they lost.

 John Key and Tony Abbott met with Prince Charles and Prince Harry after the dawn service and spent time with Australian World War One widows who even had gifts for the Princes.

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Revealed: Diana and Charles’ secret love child

This is what happens when Cam leaves me to fill some gaps when there is no real news around.

Screenshot 2015-04-25 at 22.00.51

Impossible?   Not according to these people:   Read more »

Cartoon of the Day

Credit:  Roger Price

Credit: Roger Price

Amnesty International needs to stop whining about our refugee quota

The head of Amnesty International New Zealand is disappointed the Prime Minister has said there are no plans to increase the country’s refugee quota.

John Key made the comment at the Istanbul Peace Summit on Friday.

New Zealand has an annual limit of 750 places for refugees on UN waiting lists.

Amnesty New Zealand head Grant Bayldon said it was especially important on Anzac Day not to forget that civilians suffer much of the horror of war and conflict.

“There’s a way that New Zealand really can play its part on the international stage, by doing its fair share and taking refugees,” he said.

We can hardly house our own people while we let in tens of thousands of immigrants.  And refugees get the star treatment, with accommodation and monetary assistamce.  750 is hardly a small number.   Read more »

Reader content: Suck it up Miss Bailey

As a child I was sexually abused by a close family member.

I spoke out about when I was 13 and was rushed to a mental institution in the middle of the night. I quickly figured out it was best to claim I ‘made it up’ so my stay was short, and doctors declared me a ‘troubled teenager’ suffering from depression.

Boarding School was the solution to these ‘problems’ in my childhood, where larger problems emerged. My determination to escape was fuelled by my hatred of any form of authority. I managed to disappear in the night, change my name, dye my hair, and begin a new life.

I worked as a barmaid supporting myself at 14, pregnant at 15, and married at 16. I realize today I did this all so young to secure love in my life. I regret none of it.

As a mature woman today I sometimes think about how different my life would have been without the sexual abuse in my childhood. I must say that the abuse was minor compared to the shock and hurt of the offender’s betrayal. Read more »