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Amazon and Congo were likely one river before Africa and S.America drifted apart. (source)   Read more »


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2014, a fridge odyssey

Whaleoil Backchat

Welcome to the daily Whaleoil Backchat – posted at 6:30 pm every day.

This post is like an end-of-day General Debate post.

Poland are preparing for Putin’s invasion


More good news

Another Labour crisis – that isn’t.

The Herald reports on the latest migration figures.

New Zealand migration rose to an 11-year high in March, the second-highest gain on record, as fewer kiwis left for Australia.

The country gained a seasonally adjusted 3,800 net new migrants in March, the most since February 2003, said Statistics New Zealand. A net 400 people left for Australia in March, down from 600 in February, according to seasonally adjusted figures.

In the year through March, New Zealand gained a net 31,900 migrants, a 10-year high, as 98,000 people arrived while 66,100 departed. That’s more than 12 times the 2,500 annual net migration gain in the year through March 2013 and compares with an average net gain of 11,700 migrants over the past 20 years.   Read more »

The losers excuse

David Cunliffe has played the losers excuse this morning on Radio New Zealand…blaming others for the total and utter screw up that is his party.

The Labour Party leader is accusing National of creating a new job to convince Shane Jones to leave Parliament.

Mr Jones confirmed his departure from politics on Tuesday and is tipped to take up a role helping Pacific islands make more money out of their fisheries. He is likely to leave Parliament shortly and his place will be taken by the next person on Labour’s list, Kelvin Davis.

Shane Jones told Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report programme he was leaving politics because he does not have the necessary level of commitment and energy ahead of the election.

He unsuccessfully sought the Labour leadership last year and was asked by the party leadership to tone down attacks he had been making on one of Labour’s potential allies, the Green Party.

“Any New Zealander with a smidgeon of interest in politics will know that the political collar has chafed this dog’s neck – and now I’ve slipped the collar,” he said on Wednesday.

Labour leader David Cunliffe told the programme the departure says more about the job offer than the MP’s view of Labour’s chances in the 20 September election.   Read more »

Cosgrove: ‘Like losing McCaw’

Clayton Cosgrove as the paid up president of the ABC (Anyone But Cunliffe) team has said that Shane Jones leaving is like the Crussaders losing Richie McCaw.

Those comments must be super-calculated to get out, to cause maximum damage to Cunliffe.

List MP Clayton Cosgrove, a close friend of Jones, said he was “gutted” his mate was leaving and admitted it would hurt the party five months out from the September 20 election.

The pair have been close for several years. Both came from business backgrounds before joining politics and had worked closely together on many issues, latterly Labour’s attack on supermarkets.

“I am gutted he’s going. He will leave a massive hole in our movement because he had such an appeal,” Cosgrove said.

But he said he respected the call Jones had made.

Cosgrove would not comment on whether he was aware of Jones’ move beforehand but conceded the resignation would not help Labour.

“It definitely takes away one of our big hitters. Shane was like a ballistic cannon when he fired. When you lose anybody that’s a talented bloke … it would be like losing Richie McCaw from the Crusaders. It makes your job a bit tougher.”   Read more »

Labour has become an unmitigated disaster

Oh dear me…the commentators have all turned on labour and David Cunliffe. The Jones debacle has picked the scab of a rancid and pustulated sore that is the Labour party.

Andrew Dickens says:

I’m getting tired of asking ‘what is Labour thinking?’. But that’s what we’ve been saying all year long.

It’s time for them to be firing shots. The election is 20 weeks away, the budget just days away, and Labour is firing shots alright – right into their own feet.

Rajen Prasad’s stand on Nigella Lawson in the weekend was truly laughable. We can’t keep out a visitor without criminal conviction unless they represent truly objectionable viewpoints such as rappers praising gang rape or holocaust deniers. We can’t deny Nigella a visa unless we decide that she really does use too much butter. So it was a Don Quixote moment, except Nigella will never look like a windmill. The real story is that Rajen was not under control. Matt McCarten seems to have lost his legs, just like Benji Marshall – the game line is safe.

Then there was Andrew Little’s outrage yesterday that Wanaka worked over Easter weekend. Labour says they’re all about jobs, but they’re not when they say that when 25,000 people visit town no-one is allowed to profit from it due to an antiquated law. Wanaka jobs are dependent on snow and the Warbirds. They wanted to make money, they wanted jobs so I don’t get what Andrew is on about. When the workers want to work and when the work is there, they work and you let them. That’s called supporting workers Mr Little. I didn’t hear anyone from Wanaka moaning about working when they flouted the law and made hay.

So another week of more gaffes, more overthinking. It’s a weekly wonder. And before all you Labour supporters start thinking I’m some sort of Tory cheerleader, there’s Shane Jones.

Has there ever been a clearer example of a rat leaving the sinking ship than Shane? Last year he charged for the Labour leadership. This year he’s leaving to be a salary boy, jacked up by Murray McCully no less. He’s given up. He can’t see a Cabinet job on the government benches so he’s off to make hay. Can’t say I blame him!

So Labour has lost its mojo. It doesn’t even know how to spell mojo. There’s something deeply wrong. After two terms out of office, they should not be this far out of the race this close to an election. It’s sad.

Read more »