Guest Post – Reform or Recline?

Politics is forever the dichotomy between doing what is popular and what is needful.  The old saying that turkeys do not vote for an early Christmas is so true.  For the leaders that thrive on being popular, polling has become their crutch.  They can sway with the lightest of breezes weaving through an election cycle with the most positive of polls.  The politicians who like to reform and see their election as a mandate to “do something” are far and few between.  You could name our reformers on the fingers of one hand.

Reformers need a window of opportunity.  They need a set of circumstances that create the chance to swing their axe without having to stop and check their rear vision mirror.  Muldoon very ably set up such a window for Douglas to have three or four years of axe swinging.  We still bemoan the infamous ‘cup of tea’ but in reality Douglas and Prebble had more time to wrestle their changes through than most reformers have had through history.  Douglas said on many occasions reforms needed to be exacted quickly even if a little dirty or lacking final refinement.

Reality is that the big majority of us hate change.  We get comfort from the status quo even if we know full well that it is underperforming. The other obvious problem is that for every failure there is roughly the same number of solutions as there are voters.    Read more »

Tagged:

I love ducks too, they’re delicious

Some womble from Waikato University wants to ban duck shooting…because she loves ducks.

Well I love ducks too; that’s why I shoot them. They’re delicious.

I read the recent promotion of duck shooting advertisement in the Herald on Sunday with disquiet. You see, I have always been one to stick up for the underdog (in this case the underduck). The duck certainly needs an ally. It’s not as if they can build trenches in the wetlands and shoot back at the hunters.

I’ll begin with a story. As with all good stories there are two sides. In this case there is the duck and the hunter. I am interested in the duck’s side. Let’s make this more personal and imagine two paradise ducks. They are endemic to New Zealand, but it is legal to shoot them during duck-shooting season, as long as you adhere to bag limits and have a permit.

The female duck is a beautiful chestnut with a pure white head. She partners for life with a male, who is dark grey with a black head. Visualise them, if you will, sleeping contentedly, their heads tucked beneath their wings awaiting the sunrise.

As the sun rises and they take to the air, the glint of the rays sparkling on water droplets clinging to their chestnut and dark grey feathers. And then a crack. Yelps of human joy as a one of the ducks falls wounded back to the water, her neck arching in spasms and her legs peddling awkwardly.

A splash as the hunter’s dog wades in to retrieve the hapless duck in her death throes. She is placed in a bag. The first of many on opening day, May 1, 2016.

I am going to go out on a limb here and suggest that the duck did not want to die, and will be mourned by her partner for the rest of his life.

But it’s all good fun isn’t it? It’s woven into the very cultural fabric of rural life. Duck hunters have planned for this, lived for it all year.

Read more »

Food producers need to learn lessons from Big Tobacco

I’ve given speeches around this topic, I’ve written before about it.

Sugar is now being demonised like tobacco, and the same tactics are being used against producers as those used against Big Tobacco.

Two years ago at a food conference I told the packed room that they were next in the health battle. Food manufacturers giggled as I explained how they were next in the firing line. The only people in the room who weren’t giggling were the tobacco companies.

It turns out that I was right and they were wrong. They are now in a fight for the life of their business.

If sugar is the new smoking, then the makers of fizzy drinks and fattening cakes need to learn some lessons from big tobacco.

Big food companies have achieved pariah status, with sugar taxes already implemented in Mexico and France and a levy planned for the U.K. in two years’ time. Last week, sugar producer Associated British Foods accused the government of trying to demonize the product and questioned whether that strategy would help reduce obesity rates.

But it is just that outsider status that has helped lift tobacco companies’ performance. Over the past five years, big tobacco has handed investors a 101 percent total return, according to Bloomberg Intelligence’s Global Tobacco Product Manufacturing index, well ahead of the MSCI World Index’s 42 percent. That is a phenomenal performance for a class of securities shunned by some investors on ethical grounds.

Slapping taxes on cigarettes has hurt the volume of sales. But it also made it easier for tobacco companies to slip through price increases. Food companies need to use emerging sugar taxes to take control of pricing. Big tobacco has traditionally been reluctant to engage in price wars. Not so the food sector, which often gets dragged into supermarket price skirmishes.

And while the initial going will be tough for food companies, the inevitable industry turmoil that will arise from tough regulation will pick off weaker players and make for a stronger group of survivors. That has worked for big tobacco.

Read more »

Tagged:

Blenheim Consumer Advisory: Please pick the right kind of builder

Mental Health Break

Postie does not want to deliver mail [POLL]

via RNZ

via RNZ

If you are like me, your immediate reaction to a postie not wanting to deliver mail is an immediate “well fire him/her” then.

But this isn’t that clear cut:

The mail woman, who has only been called Carolyn by her union, has avoided a formal warning but has been given a talking to following a NZ Post investigation into her decision not to deliver the mail.

The Postal Workers Union says NZ Post assumed she had opened the letters, but that she actually became aware of the particular scam after one of her colleagues received one of the letters which ask recipients to send money to claim prizes from “winning scratchies”. Read more »

Tagged:

Map of the Day

Watercare visits Penny Bright and investigates her meter

My sources have told me that this morning Watercare turned up at Penny Bright’s house and started investigating her unusual water reticulation methods.

13161374_10153604186721593_1149778_o

As I posted on the weekend it appears that Penny Bright has breached Watercare’s bylawsRead more »

No matter what we do, no matter what we say…

Back during the 2014 election campaign Katie Bradford revealed her frustration with the polls and with voters by stating to cameras that, “No matter what we do, no matter what we say, the polls still favour National.”

It showed her complete and utter bias for all to see.

This morning on Radio NZ there was another reveal, this time from Guyon Espiner when talking to an academic about housing affordability.

Espiner was astounded that the claims of Nick Smith about housing affordability were actually true and the academic was busily explaining that although what Nick Smith said was true he was still wrong.

Read more »

Tagged:

Penny Hulse endorses wet councillors

Being too wet for Nikki Kaye, the Prima Donna of the wet wing of the National Party, is exceptionally bad news for any alleged right-wing council candidate.

Bill Cashmore, Linda Cooper and Calum Penrose are way too wet for Nikki, so wet that they have managed to win the endorsement of the very left-wing Penny Hulse.

Reflecting on the article by Bernard Orsman in the Herald on the lack of cohesion in the “right” Bernard expresses his views but then goes on to quote Nikki Kaye, Auckland MP who says that the right is disappointed with cllrs Linda Cooper Bill Cashmore and Calum Penrose. I am astounded at this!

These 3 councillors have worked tirelessly for the good of Auckland and have done a huge amount of the heavy lifting, Calum with his huge success on dangerous dogs, Bill overseeing our transport negotiations with government and Linda carrying a huge portfolio of Hearings and also community responsibilities. Councillors need to do much more than swan around currying favour with political parties and saying no to everything. They need to work for the good of the city and all it’s communities.    Read more »