Photo Of The Day

This drawing was made by an unknown KZ prisoner.

This drawing was made by an unknown KZ prisoner.

A prisoner hung by the knees, hands and feet tied. Behind him a SS man beating him with a whip. Wilhelm Boger, a guard in the “politischen Abteilung” from Auschwitz-Birkenau invented this torture which was called the “Bogerschauckel”. Most prisoners didn’t survive this torture.

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Is it just me or is the new Westpac online website a dog?

Screen shot 2015-05-28 at 10.01.40 AM


I have no ill intentions towards Westpac and their response ( above ) to my frustrated feedback was professional and appropriate but what I want to know is am I the only one pulling out my hair over their new website?



My main bank is ASB but I also have accounts at Westpac. I have always done my banking online being an early adopter as soon as the service became available. I have never used telephone banking as I am a terrible introvert who will choose impersonal transactions over person to person ones every time. I love online banking as it makes my life easy and I am experienced at using it.

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Cartoon of the Day

Credit:  Roger Price

Credit: Roger Price

Pimping the Poor and solutions

Another reader contributed article – a response to the one published yesterday

I was fairly angry after reading how bad the repeating was around a recent story on pimping the poor, particularly the so called victim, Margaret Perry and her pimp, Darryl Evans, and more so the terrible reporting from, you guessed it, John Campbell, Mihingarangi Forbes, and one who should know better, Duncan Garner.

But, my real focus after a rant and a bit of a vent, is how does it get so bad for these individuals?  What could anyone have done to prevent things getting to this stage…?  To recap.

  • 8 kids, 6 still at home
  • A lifetime welfare beneficiary (quite an impressive career)
  • State home, large enough for a market garden, but supporting mostly weeds
  • 2011 government provided “income” after rent of $560 a week (that’s $2424.80 a month)
  • Sky TV for the kid’s education only…..yes, well, um, er…….
  • LARGE debts to truck shops

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Charter School Investigation: Vanguard Military School Part Two

In my new series investigating Vanguard Military School I once again ask the questions and report back the answers without spin. Today’s article is based on the second part of my interview with Vanguard chief executive, Nick Hyde as well as a shorter interview with Vanguard Principal, Rockley Montgomery.

A hand up. PHOTO: Vanguard Military School Facebook Page

A hand up.
PHOTO: Vanguard Military School Facebook Page

One of the criticisms is that you are stealing students away from other schools. Luring them with free uniforms et cetera but some of your students are ones that State schools have given up on anyway.

They have failed there already. Would you keep your child in a school where they had just failed? We have kids travel from Waiuku South. They are making a conscious choice to come here. It is not the lure of uniforms and things like that it is the environment we are giving them. It’s the fact that if your son or daughter doesn’t turn up by 8.30am we have rung you to ask why. We are monitoring everything. It is an ‘Old School’ mentality. You are not suddenly going to find out that your son or daughter has skipped three weeks of classes, you are going to know on day one.


A board in the Staffroom records all absences as well as the reason for absence at Vanguard Military School.

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And we wonder why Auckland Council has no money

It looks like Murray McCully has been advising the Auckland Council CEO how to get around financial scrutiny of the council.

Word has it that McCully specifically orders his MFat officials to put all their spending through in amounts that are under the threshold for scrutiny by Bill English.

In Auckland Council they have made that easier by increasing the CEO’s authorised spending limit to $20 million.

Auckland Council’s being accused of getting too big for its boots, after a massive increase to the spending powers of its CEO.

Stephen Town’s delegated authority has been almost tripled, allowing him to spend up to $20 million in one go without councillor approval.  Read more »

Five Fingers Feeley under the spotlight again

Adam Feeley is under investigation by the Auditor-General for some whiffy dealings in Queenstown.

They must be whiffy if the A-G is looking at them… it will interesting to see how they pan out.

Queenstown Lakes District Council boss Adam Feeley is facing an Auditor-General probe into how he and the local government body managed his family’s land being considered for a special housing area.

Feeley, who is former chief executive of the Serious Fraud Office, wasn’t immediately available for comment.

The office of Auditor-General, Lyn Provost, has received numerous requests from locals requesting an inquiry into Feeley’s interest in land owned by his family being considered for a special housing area.

This includes any involvement the former fraud buster had in developing the housing accord and council policy prior to declaring an interest.

Last October the Council reached a housing accord with the Government that aimed to boost housing supply and affordability in the Lakes District area.   Read more »

Labour’s problems and a possible solution, Chris Trotter explains

Chris Trotter analyses Labour’s problems and discusses a possible solution to their woes.

THE LATEST ROY MORGAN POLL has cast a deep pall of gloom over all three Opposition parties. Among Labour supporters, however, a growing sense of utter futility is palpable. Support for the party has crashed back to the abysmal figures of Election Night. Barely a quarter of the adult population is willing to identify Labour as their first electoral choice.

The corollary to Opposition gloom is, of course, Government elation. And, with the Roy Morgan poll showing National on 54 percent, who can blame its MPs and supporters for breaking out the bubbly? Remember, this latest poll was conducted when Amanda Bailey’s ponytail was dominating the headlines. Did it damage the Prime Minister’s reputation? (As so many of John Key’s enemies were hoping.) Not appreciably. “Teflon John” continues to shine.

The problems are well known, we just saw them repeated in the UK. Doing more of the same is no longer an option.

At around the same time as Roy Morgan’s callers were working the phones, Sir Michael Cullen and the NZ Fabian Society were attempting to rally Labour’s dejected troops with a presentation entitled, rather hopefully, “Destination: Next Progressive Majority.” Arriving at that destination, says Sir Michael, will depend on whether Labour is able to re-present itself as the party of Choice, Aspiration, Responsibility and National Pride.

For that re-presentation to work, Sir Michael stresses, Labour must re-connect emotionally with the electorate. “Policies can be a means to this”, says the former Labour Finance Minister, “but rarely the most important means.” In saying this, Sir Michael is echoing the advice of Lynton Crosby – the man who, earlier this month, won the UK General Election for the Conservative Party. Policy matters, says Crosby, only inasmuch as it expresses the less tangible and more visceral reasons for supporting one political party over another.

“This is Key’s huge strength”, Sir Michael observes, “he has enormous emotional connection with voters. The sloppy language we like to make fun of is the language most people speak, not like University lecturers like Helen, Steve and I. The casualness to turn things aside, not important, at the end of the day.”

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The (2nd) Great Whaleoil Census – Part 10: Do you Google yourself?


Good morning.  About two years ago we ran a “census” to get an idea of what our audience was all about.  We’re going to do that again, but this time it will be one question per day, each morning.  I will attempt to collate the previous questions as we go along, so that anyone who misses one can find a reasonably easy way to have a vote or to review the results.

Although we have a huge list of questions to work through, feel free to suggests ones that are close to your heart in the comments.

Part 10:  – Do you Google yourself?

As we negotiate the long weekend, some of these questions will be a little snooze inducing.  I don’t want to do the important ones while a lot of readers are away.

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