Agitation for a cabinet reshuffle poor timing

Matthew Hooton flies a kite

For two years, the government has meandered. Ministers are housetrained. Their focus has turned to bureaucratic processes rather than policy outcomes. An unattractive arrogance has emerged. Mr Key, expected to reshuffle his team in the New Year, may opt to strike early.

The top candidate to be sacked is obviously Nick Smith. Beyond his Kermadec and Resource Management Act failures, the housing triumvirate of Dr Smith, Bill English and Paula Bennett is not working, at least politically. Mr English should be allowed to get on with it alone. Ms Bennett might try another economic role, say tourism.

Second for sacking is surely Nathan Guy who seems to think his job is reading out the Ministry for Primary Industries’ talking points rather than the elected official in charge of rooting out what looks increasingly like corruption within it.

His logical replacement is Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller, a former senior executive at both Zespri and Fonterra whose experience, at least at the former, would signal the government understands agribusiness is about consumer perceptions of value rather than pumping out greater volume from the farmgate.

There is indeed a level of ineffectiveness and complacency present, but luckily this is against the backdrop of the government getting most of the boring basics right.   Read more »

The NZ Left: a dwindling, angry, self-reinforcing sect

Rodney Hide provides some analysis

What ails the left? They lack puff and policy.

They were once vibrant, challenging and full of ideas. The right were the dreary, backward-looking ones.

The left now suffer from closed minds and moral smugness. They are moribund and backward-looking.

They run from ideas. Opposing philosophies distress them.

They pillory dissenters as stupid or immoral and often both. There’s no debating or explaining, just abuse for those who step outside received wisdom.

There is an undercurrent of anger, envy and spite to all of it.  And somewhat ironically, they are led by someone who is known as Angry Andy, who owns the label, and prides himself on it.   Read more »

A rare time the Police Association and I are on the same page

The Police Association says an overwhelming majority of frontline officers are against raising the youth court age.

It follows calls to include 17-year-old offenders in the Youth Court, rather than facing a judge in the adult system.

Offenders under 17 are dealt with in the Youth Court, and often escape prison sentences.

“The youth court is highly effective,” says Tessa Lynch. “It’s got expertise with dealing with the causes of offending; it’s got expert, specialised staff.”

Many say intervention and rehabilitation is more effective than putting our teenage criminals behind bars.

But the Police Association told The Nation three quarters of its members, and more than half of youth aid workers, are against raising the Youth Court age to include 17-year-olds.

“It’s pretty much based on a 100 percent belief that we won’t be able to resource it,” says Police Association president Greg O’Connor.

A shop assistant, Jordan Byrt, doesn’t want the rules to change either.

“I think it’s pretty stupid, because if you’re over 16, at that point you should be going to a normal judge and going to an adult court and dealing with the justice system that way. By the time you’re 16 you’re allowed to do many things that adults can already do,” he says. Read more »

Mental Health Break

Ocean from Nick Wood on Vimeo.

Bruce the Wandering Whale’s adventures in Cesky Krumlov continued…..

 Bruce’s adventures in Cesky Krumlov Continued …..

PHOTO-Supplied Whaleoil

PHOTO-Supplied Whaleoil

And this was unusual – you don’t often see a saint in the flesh, as it were… These are (allegedly) the preserved remains of St Reparat…

And in the next room, some chain mail

PHOTO- Supplied Whaleoil

PHOTO- Supplied Whaleoil

Read more »

Map of the Day

It aint about the traffic, it’s all about the money

via BBC

via BBC

Globe trotting Whaleoil reader johcar reports from London

Having walked around central London for a couple of days now, I really only have one question : “How’s that congestion charging working for you, London?” Read more »

Labour have all but given up. Look at this



The above is from the NZ Labour Party web site, and it was taken yesterday at 5:44 pm. Read more »


Ellen and Achmed the Dead Terrorist love ABBA

Via the Tipline:



Photo of the Day

Halifax Explosion. Tall cloud of smoke rising over the water. This is one of the few photographs of the blast, reportedly taken 15-20 seconds after the explosion.

Halifax Explosion. Tall cloud of smoke rising over the water. This is one of the few photographs of the blast, reportedly taken 15-20 seconds after the explosion.

 The Explosion

A Second of Silence, Then in the Blink of an Eye…

On December 6, 1917, the town of Halifax (Nova Scotia, Canada) was destroyed by the explosion of a cargo ship loaded with military explosives. About two thousand people were killed and almost ten thousands were injured. Until the first nuclear blast, it was the largest man-made explosion in recorded history with an equivalent force of 2.9 kilotons of TNT.

 “Hold up the train. Ammunition Ship Afire in Harbour Making for Pier 6 and will Explode. Guess this will be My Last Message. Goodbye Boys.”

Final Communication from Railway Dispatcher Patrick Vincent Coleman

At 9:04:35 Mont-Blanc exploded with a force stronger than any manmade explosion before it.

The steel hull burst sky-high, falling in a blizzard of red-hot, twisted projectiles on Dartmouth and Halifax.

Some pieces were tiny; others were huge. Part of the anchor hit the ground more than 4 kilometers away on the far side of Northwest Arm. A gun barrel landed in Dartmouth more than 5 kilometers from the harbour.

The explosion sent a white cloud billowing 20,000 feet above the city.

For almost two square kilometers around Pier 6, nothing was left standing. The blast obliterated most of Richmond: its homes, apartments and even the towering sugar refinery. On the Dartmouth side, Tuft’s Cove took the brunt of the blast. The small settlement of Turtle Grove was obliterated.

More than 1600 people were killed outright; hundreds more would die in the hours and days to come. Nine thousand people, many of whom might have been safe if they hadn’t come to watch the fire, were injured by the blast, falling buildings and flying shards of glass.

And it wasn’t over yet.

Within minutes the dazed survivors were awash in water. The blast provoked a tsunami that washed up as high as 20 meters above the harbour’s high-water mark on the Halifax side.

People who were blown off their feet by the explosion, now hung on for their lives as water rushed over the shoreline, through the dockyard and beyond Campbell Road (now Barrington Street).

The tsunami lifted Imo onto the Dartmouth shore. The ship stayed there until spring.

The tsunami created by the explosion swept through the damaged areas, scouring the land and leaving bare mud piled with debris. Fireplaces and furnaces caused fires in other areas, leaving acres of charred wreckage.

By 9:15 a.m. on Thursday, December 6, 1917, a major Canadian city lay in rubble, and most of the undamaged area had no water or heat. All communication was lost with the outside world; the city had no telephone service.

That night, a blizzard hit the region, bringing gale force winds and temperatures of 10-15 F. Thick, wet snow soon hid the victims, hindered the rescuers, and halted relief trains; by morning, ice coated the streets and hills.

The Halifax Explosion was the largest man-made explosion until the first atomic bomb was detonated over Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945.

Read more »