Map of the Day

Sponsored by What Power Crisis, click here for this week’s Solar Deal


Countries that have sent animals into space

Read more »

Norman takes off Rod’s dead man’s shoes

Russel Norman signs off … as Green Party co-leader after nine years.

“It feels good,” the MP said ahead of the vote to replace him at the party’s AGM [today].

“I’m pleased I’ve made the change. I’m pretty happy with what I’ve done but I’m also happy with moving on as co-leader.”

He will begin a new chapter next week when he takes his place among the back seats of Parliament’s debating chamber.

“I’ve never been a backbencher before,” he said, relishing the opportunity to focus on a narrower range of responsibilities.

His new portfolios will be determined under the new co-leader – likely to be either Kevin Hague or James Shaw – but he says he wants to maintain his deep interest in climate change and green economics.

He plans to spend more time with his young family and has a long reading list he hopes to get into now that his workload is quieter. Read more »

Sign of the Day

Sponsored by Web2PrintDownUnder – Private sale signs, from $55



Nick Smith shows Len how to do his job

The Government’s unveiled its latest initiative to combat soaring house prices in Auckland – 600 properties earmarked for development on public land.

Housing Minister Nick Smith took reporters on a tour of the first blocks to be sold off to developers today, and he concedes substation sites and even land near cemeteries could be next.

“When people are paying $800,000 for a home, when people are paying very high rents [it] is a crime – that’s why we should get on, use these sites and build houses,” says Dr Smith.

In last week’s Budget, the Government announced up to 500 hectares of public land will be sold to developers.

So far, four sites have been identified:

60 homes wedged between roads in Manukau;
60 homes in Avondale;
200 on land in Massey;
280 at a new development in Hobsonville. Read more »

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.

Read more »

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.

Read more »

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

Read more »

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.

Read more »

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 »