Sam Lotu Iiga should take heed

Sam Lotu Iiga is the Minister responsible for looking at the plain packaging legislation in the house at the moment.

Quite apart from the fact that there is no need for it due to our no advertising and closed cupboards rules on tobacco sales he should take heed at what is happening in the UK.

Even taking the soft option and pandering to the Maori party by including a clause in the legislation pending the outcome of the WTO case is fraught with danger given what tobacco companies are lining up the UK government for.

Tobacco companies are preparing to launch what could be one of the biggest ever legal claims against the British Government for losses as a result of the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes.

They are expected to begin lodging papers at the High Court as early as Friday, seeking a multi-billion compensation payout for being stripped of the right to use instantly recognisable brands.

Lawyers will argue that forcing them to use entirely unbranded packaging would amount to deprivation of a highly valuable intellectual property.  Read more »

John Campbell to join Red Radio?

The excuses keep on coming.  Apparently John Campbell’s show failed because it didn’t have enough people too lazy to change the channel after watching an Aussie Soap 2 hours earlier?

Are these people even hearing what they’re saying?

Martin Gillman, partner at MG Communications, said the departure of the veteran broadcaster is a sad day for journalism.

“He’ll be greatly missed. I think he’s the nicest person in broadcasting, so it’s tragic that he’s going.

“He’s become the scapegoat for a bigger issue at MediaWorks, which is the fact that the 6pm to 7.30pm slot is not performing as well as it needs to.”

MediaWorks’ revenue is directly proportionate to the size of the audience it can deliver, Mr Gillman said.

For quite some time now the audience for 3News, and as a result Campbell Live, has been waning, he said.

Mr Gillman believes the company is right to do something about Campbell Live’s time slot.

“One of the reasons the audience is flagging is because the news audience wasn’t delivering a good audience into the 7pm slot.”

While it might sound bizarre, the problem stems back to the loss of Australian soap opera Home and Away, Mr Gillman said. Read more »

Sign of the Day

Sponsored by Web2PrintDownUnder – Private sale signs, from $55

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Photo Of The Day

Photo: FBI.

Photo: FBI.

Al Capone was a Notorious Gangster

Then He Got Syphilis and Went To Jail

 Capone’s criminal record in 1932.

Born of an immigrant family in Brooklyn, New York in 1899, Al Capone quit school after the sixth grade and associated with a notorious street gang, becoming accepted as a member. Johnny Torrio was the street gang leader and among the other members was Lucky Luciano, who would later attain his own notoriety.

Read more »

Religion of Peace threatens to kill 17 year old over Charlie Hebdo tribute

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Teachers and students at a French school have rallied in support of a pupil who has received death threats for publishing a tribute to satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

The student, 17-year-old Louis, published a special edition of the school paper in January after Islamists went on a killing spree on the streets of Paris that left 17 people dead.

Two of them stormed the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo killing 12 people, including journalists and police officers, and sparking a global outpouring in support of free speech.

The school paper edition – titled “Je Suis Charlie” (“I am Charlie”) after the slogan that went viral following the attack – included poems, opinion pieces and drawings.

It did not include any of the caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed published by Charlie Hebdo that had angered the Islamists.

“It was a tribute to the 17 victims without discrimination — for Jews, journalists, police officers,” Louis, whose surname was not given, said.

Police have opened an inquiry into the death threats against the student, including seven letters in total, two of which contained bullets.

The last one at the beginning of May “seemed like an ultimatum”, Louis said. Read more »

Cartoon of the Day

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Credit: Roger Price

Act shows the spine over RMA that John Key should

ACT and David Seymour are showing a spine and entering robust debate over the things that John key is afraid to touch.

David Seymour has a lash at RMA reform and John Key’s squeamishness.

The Prime Minister’s backdown on the RMA is disappointing but not surprising, says ACT leader David Seymour.

“If we’re serious about councils allowing the next generation to build homes, we need to get some guts. We cannot have an act of parliament preoccupied with telling councils that building houses is inappropriate.”

In his Budget speech Mr Seymour pointed out, “The words inappropriate subdivision appear 156 times in the Resource Management Act, three of them in the principles sections.”    Read more »

John Key said what?

Hard to believe I know, but the supposed bastion of conservatism in New Zealand and the greatest ever Prime Minister has announced he is “joined at the hip” with none other than Len Brown.

“Key also repeated his claim that the Auckland housing market was not in crisis, and said he and mayor Len Brown were “joined at the hip” in working to tackle supply issues.”

On top of that he is backing down on changes to the Resource Management Act.

The Prime Minister has signalled key parts of the RMA reform which would address housing shortages will not go ahead, but repeated his claim there is no crisis in Auckland.

John Key made the admission while delivering his post-Budget speech, which was marred by a violent protest outside the Auckland venue earlier in the afternoon.

The Government has been leaning on its support partners to to give greater weight to economic development, including housing, in sections six and seven of the Resource Management Act.

But Key conceded it was now “very unlikely” that would happen.   Read more »

Charter School investigation: Vanguard Military School Part One

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 my interview with Vanguard chief executive, Nick Hyde.

Vanguard Military school's impressive NCEA results were not included in newspaper article. PHOTO-Whaleoil.co.nz

Vanguard Military School chief executive Nick Hyde pointing out that Vanguard Military school’s NCEA results were not included in The Herald newspaper article.
PHOTO-Whaleoil.co.nz

Within ten minutes of arriving at Vanguard I had been told the bad news and the good news.

The bad news:

The day before my interview with Nick, The Herald published Auckland schools’ NCEA results and left  Vanguard Military school off the table. Vanguard was the only school out of the approximately 80 schools in Auckland that was left off.

The good news:

Vanguard achieved a 96.2% pass rate at NCEA Level 1 and a 100% pass rate at NCEA Level 2.

Both these results are well above the average for secondary schools across the country and a result like that after only one year of operation is unarguably newsworthy. When the omission was brought to The Herald’s attention they told Nick that it was because they hadn’t been provided with a full set of data. Vanguard confirmed that NZQA who hold all the results had sent them to the Herald. The Herald then updated the table on line to include Vanguard’s results. It was of course far too late for the paper version which had omitted Vanguard’s results from its table.”

Our results put us at 11th in Auckland at level one and 1st equal at level 2. Many people out there in the public domain would have been very keen on seeing our school measured against other schools. I have harped on about trying to make Vanguard a top ten school in Auckland over a five year period. To be 11th after the first year in one area and first equal in another is totally outstanding.

Read more »

Andrew Little spent the day explaining… I mean losing

His leadership is a dog's breakfast and tastes like a dog's leavings

His leadership is a dog’s breakfast and tastes like a dog’s dodoos

Labour Leader Andrew Little spent the day on the Budget back foot.

He made an embarrassing U-turn on retirement policy, and apologised to the rainbow community for making a transgendered joke.

The plan was for Mr Little to use his post-Budget speech to attack the Government, instead, he appeared to be making up policy on the hoof.

Little was asked in front of a Wellington business audience about means testing superannuation, and by the sound of it, he is behind potentially terminating payments if a pensioner is working.

“You’ve got a 30-year-old sitting next to a 66-year-old doing similar work, or work of equal value, and the 66-year-old is getting an extra payment.” Read more »