BG2: Week 7

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Just a quick report today, mostly to just gloss over the fact I’ve not been dieting for a week now. ¬†Family circumstances demanded I not be grumpy because I’m hungry, so I’ll be back on the horse from tomorrow. ¬† Luckily, most of you stuck to the program, and there has been some great progress this week. Read more »

Mental Health Break

Our bludgers, criminals and tax dodgers in Australia just got sold out by Abbott

Good job too.

Tax officials in Australia and New Zealand have agreed to share more information to try and help New Zealand recoup millions of dollars in unpaid student loans from people living in Australia.

Prime Minister John Key and Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, announced the information sharing arrangement at the annual leaders meeting yesterday.

Revenue Minister, Todd McClay said under the agreement, tax officials in Australia would be able to provide up-to-date contact information to their colleagues in New Zealand.

“We know that when we contact people, they start paying. Approximately 70 percent of overseas borrowers we contact begin to repay their debt. This new arrangement with Australia will ensure we contact many more borrowers,” he said. Read more »

Map of the Day

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Percentage of population receiving fluoridated water
(including both artificial and natural fluoridation)


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Defence Force to allow conscientious objectors

New Zealand troops will be allowed to “opt out” of going to Iraq.

Five days after Prime Minister John Key announced 143 personnel would be sent to the Middle East to train Iraqi forces in the war on Islamic State fighters, the Defence Force has confirmed soldiers will be given the chance to withdraw from the controversial deployment.

The Defence Force says it is part of being a “good employer”.

In a statement to the Herald on Sunday, a Defence Force spokesman said military personnel could indicate “any matters” they believed made them unsuitable for the mission, including personal or family circumstances.

Consideration would also be given to any troops who said they didn’t want to go to Iraq on ethical grounds.

“The same consideration would be given as that applied to any other issue that may impact on their ability to deploy,” the spokesman said. Read more »

HDPA cutting our killer tourists some slack

There’s a road I like to take to get away from the city. It carries you north out of Wellington, passing the Hutt on your right.

At first, there are cars everywhere, but once you clear the motorway the vehicles thin out. You pass quaint tea rooms, cows in a paddock and old huts you assume must belong to DoC because who else would put a hut all the way up there?

The road begins to climb, gradually at first. The two lanes north reduce to one. And it’s narrow. But you don’t mind because from this road you get a stunner of a view. Bush, clouds threading through the hills, snow sometimes.

The road zigs left, then right, like a river winding around the mountain. You have to slow right down to make the corners. The drop down one side is scary if you stop to think about it. There’s only a ruler length between you and the edge.

This road isn’t a secret find of mine. It’s our second most important drag. State Highway 2, heading over the Rimutakas. It’s one of only two ways to get out of our capital by car, and it’s a road tourists drive every day.

In this outrage about the carnage tourists are causing on our roads, I reckon we may be forgetting our part in the crashes. These are our roads and they’re dangerous.

A couple of years ago I stopped for a drink at a roadside bar in South Africa. The light was failing so the barman told me to get going. “It’s a bloody windy one,” he warned.

I did as I was told. I drove through a gorge and the corners came. Even though the curves were sweeping, I began slowing down. I didn’t want to be surprised by those sudden turns.

But the sharp corners never arrived. I was back on the straight.

What the South African barman considered winding was nothing for someone who knows the Desert Rd, or that gorge that runs between Napier and Taupo, or Arthur’s Pass. Read more »

Sign of the Day

Sponsored by Web2PrintDownUnder – Private sale signs, from $55

Bangkok, Thailand

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Photo Of The Day

Photo by Gene Arias/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Photo by Gene Arias/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

The Strange Story of Henry Heimlich

¬†Dr. Henry Heimlich demonstrates the Heimlich manoeuvre on host Johnny Carson while appearing on “The Tonight Show” on April 4, 1979.

You may not know Henry Heimlich, but you probably know the life-saving manoeuvre that bears his name. Without a doubt, the man has saved thousands of lives around the world. However, Henry Heimlich’s story is incredibly complex, and future generations might remember him as a nut that did more harm than good.

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Is Gerry Brownlee protecting Air New Zealand?

So here’s the thing. ¬†There are about 500,000 people that live out west and north of Auckland that need to drive an hour or more to get to Auckland Airport to catch a plane. ¬† There is an airbase at Whenuapai – right smack bang in the middle of where these people live.

The chief executive of a new regional airline being set up says he has not given up hope of the Whenuapai military airbase being used for commercial flights.

Kiwi Regional Airlines wants to fly from Whenuapai to Wellington, but Defence Minister, Gerry Brownlee said he had no plans to change the airbase’s status.

The carrier’s CEO, Ewan Wilson, said he would keep trying to change the Government’s mind.

“It still remains a goal for us. Governments come and go, we’re not quite sure of what makes Whenuapai so unique. The military base at Woodbourne, Blenheim operates for both civilian and military use.” Read more »

Cartoon of the Day

Credit:  Roger Price

Credit: Roger Price