Mental Health Break

Bruce the Wandering Whale in Amsterdam continued…

I can thoroughly recommend the hop on/hop off canal cruises – only 20 odd Euros, lots of commentary, history and interesting sights.

We got off the cruise at the Heineken Brewery (about 500m from the entrance) and met my niece who, although she has lived here for six years, had never done “The Heineken Experience”. Costing about 16 Euros, you get a self-guided tour and two drinks at the end. There is an interactive ride (where we get brewed – taken through the process as if you are the product) which although a bit corny, is lots of fun. At the end we had a few of the freebies – it tastes so much nicer here than it does in NZ. Dominion Breweries wreck it when they brew it locally!

Bruce at the Heineken Brewery PHOTO supplied Whaleoil

Bruce at the Heineken Brewery PHOTO supplied Whaleoil

You have probably seen the pic of Bruce, who had a few at the Heineken Brewery and got a bit silly, but here are the pics again

Bruce at the Heineken Brewery PHOTO-supplied Whaleoil

Bruce at the Heineken Brewery PHOTO-supplied Whaleoil

Bruce enjoying a beer at the Heineken Brewery in Amsterdam PHOTO supplied Whaleoil

Bruce enjoying a beer at the Heineken Brewery in Amsterdam PHOTO supplied Whaleoil

Bruce at the Heineken Brewery after having one too many beers PHOTO supplied Whaleoil

Bruce at the Heineken Brewery after having one too many beers PHOTO supplied Whaleoil

Read more »

Map of the Day

Trump turned up to his job interview unprepared

 

For 90 minutes, we watched one candidate for president display the seriousness the office demands while the other did what was once unthinkable: show up unprepared for a globally televised job interview.

The first US presidential debate between reality-television star and wealthy builder Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was mind-blowing. Trump brought the vaudeville shtick that worked for him in the primaries to the main stage and bombed.

Trump’s performance was the rhetorical equivalent of hurling garbage on the lawn. A question about x would lead to mentions of y, z and whatever else came to mind. For instance, a response about Hillary Clinton’s emails led to a mention about the sorry state of New York’s LaGuardia Airport. And then there were the gasp-worthy moments that would sink any other presidential aspirant. Read more »

No surprises here as corruption trial reveals culture of corruption in Auckland Council

I’m not at all surprised by revelations in the High Court yesterday.

A rare prosecution of alleged corruption in the New Zealand public sector has heard of a claimed cascading culture of bribery that saw a senior Auckland Council manager collect $1.1 million and his subordinates taken for a $3000 lunch.

The alleged gratuities extended to covering honeymoon expenses in Florida for the daughter of a senior council staffer, dozens of overseas trips, and regular monthly payments of around $8000 into the pocket of former Auckland Transport senior manager Murray Noone by roading contractor Stephen Borlase.

Noone and Borlase yesterday pleaded not guilty to charges of corrupting a public official by bribery. Borlase, who road maintenace firm Projenz is at the heart of the case, also declared himself not guilty of charges he inflated invoices.

Crown prosecutor Brian Dickey said part of the Crown’s case is that Borlase arranged matters so the Rodney District Council – and later Auckland Transport – effectively paid to have their own staff bribed.

The case has drawn considerable interest from white-collar crime watchers as it wound through the system over the past three years, particularly given New Zealand’s hiterto almost-spotless reputation for having an incorrupt public sector.

[…]    Read more »

Tweets of the day

Screenshot-Whaleoil

Screenshot-Whaleoil

Screenshot-Whaleoil

Screenshot-Whaleoil

Screenshot-Whaleoil

Screenshot-Whaleoil

Screenshot-Whaleoil

Screenshot-Whaleoil

Screenshot-Whaleoil

Screenshot-Whaleoil

The beginning of the end

Richard Harman provides background on the latest Roy Morgan poll:  it backs up what National’s own polling has been saying (apparently)

The latest Roy Morgan poll continues the surge in Labour support that showed up in the leaked UMR poll a fortnight ago.

The Morgan poll, has Labour on 33.5% — its lowest recent poll rating was 26% in the Colmar Brunton poll on September 7.

But what will worry National is that the Morgan poll, like the UMR poll, shows its support well below its recent high of 48% in the Colmar Brunton poll.

Morgan has National at 41.5%

However, the Morgan poll has the two other Opposition parties, the Greens and NZ First down.

The Greens are on 12% and NZ First, perhaps surprisingly, on 8.5%, down one per cent on their previous month’s showing in the Morgan poll.

The net effect of this would be to give New Zealand First the balance of power.

But what might interest National is that the Maori Party showed a slight upwards move to two per cent. Read more »

Photo of the Day

Bamangwato tribal chief Seretse Khama w. his white British wife Ruth, on hill overlooking native huts in the tribal capital of Bechuanaland from which the British Commonwealth officials wish to remove him for marrying a white woman.

Bamangwato tribal chief Seretse Khama with his white British wife Ruth, on hill overlooking native huts in the tribal capital of Bechuanaland from which the British Commonwealth officials wished to remove him for marrying a white woman.

Forbidden Love

The Bride wore Black

A love affair between an English bank clerk and an African chieftain provoked panic amongst post-war British colonial officials who schemed to have the couple exiled.

The enduring love affair between a black man and a white woman began one summer night in gloomy, rationed postwar Britain. But this was no ordinary man, nor indeed any ordinary woman. He was Seretse Khama, the heir to the kingship of the largest tribe of an African protectorate under British control; she was Ruth Williams, a 23-year-old clerk in a shipping company, and a conservative, with a small and large c.

The love story of Seretse and Ruth defines an era of dying colonial power. Stymied in their relationship at every turn by the British government, in covert alliance with apartheid South Africa, the dignity of Khama and his strong-willed bride came to represent the emerging freedoms and racial tolerance of Africa as a whole.

The young Khama was sent over to London in 1945 to study law by his uncle, the Regent of the Bangwato tribe to which Seretse was heir. Lonely at first in the chill world of Oxford, he moved to London, where he met several other politically minded young Africans; and then met Ruth, at a dinner dance, in June 1947. Within months, the couple were engaged.

Almost immediately, the young mixed-race couple faced trouble. They were plagued by racist landlords and casual abuse in the streets. British government officials, family friends and church figures tried to prevent the marriage. On their first attempt to wed in a Kensington Church it was blocked by the Bishop of London, and the person who was meant to marry the pair was told in no uncertain terms he should not officiate at the wedding. The ceremony didn’t go ahead, but the couple managed to marry secretly at a registry office, four days later.

The bride wore a black suit.

Read more »

How to make $8 million of ratepayers money disappear without a trace

Justin Lester has some explaining to do and not just about his activities on the ratepayer’s dime in Hong Kong.

It seems the council, under his chairing of a key committee, has managed to magic away $8million of ratepayer cash in a  corporate welfare payment to Singapore airlines…and all that exists in terms of paperwork is a Powerpoint presentation delivered after the deal was done…and a two page document that barely mentioned it.

A decision to subsidise Singapore Airlines new Wellington flights for the next decade saw virtually nothing put in writing.

Documents released by the Wellington City Council show that apart from a presentation made to councillors after the decision was made, the council generated a single two page document, which refers to the subsidy only in passing.

In January it was revealed that Wellington City Council chief executive Kevin Lavery had approved a subsidy for a new Singapore-Canberra-Wellington route from the Destination Wellington fund. The route launched on September 21.

The council has never disclosed the maximum Singapore Airlines, one of Asia’s largest airlines, could be paid, but documents suggest it could be $800,000 a year for 10 years.

Read more »

Cartoon of the Day

Life interrupts, and we’ve lost SonovaMin again, at least for a while.  I’m hearing talk of packing and moving being part of the drama.  So once again, we wish him and his family all the best, but of course we are selfishly upset we’re going to have to cope without his keen insight and special way of communicating layered concepts in apparently very simple drawings.  He assures me he intends to return.  I, for one, can’t wait.

unnamed11