Today’s Trivia


Welcome to Daily Trivia. There is a game to play here. The photo above relates to one of the items below. The first reader to correctly tell us in the comments what item the photo belongs to, and why, gets bragging rights. Sometimes they are obvious, other times the obvious answer is the decoy. Can you figure it out tonight?

The word “set” has 464 definitions, making it the most ambiguous word in the English language. (Source)

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Poor Bill


Daily Roundup

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E tu Part 3: Are Unions friends or enemies of Labour?


The dwindling union membership of private sector workers has meant that the two biggest private sector unions, the EPMU and the SFWU have merged.

Both the EPMU and the SFWU were affiliates of the Labour Party, and there was a strong anti-Government feeling at [yesterday]’s launch, fuelled by acting leader Annette King.

“Ministers like Minister Jonathan Coleman say unions are our political enemy… they should be our political allies,” she said.

“We were born out of the union movement and when you have organised labour and a strong political movement in parliament, you’ve got a far better country.”

Lets stop and consider whether the union movement is actually good for Labour.   Read more »


What does a Racist costume look like?

Today while at the local mall I killed some time while waiting for a prescription to be filled by looking through a new Party supplies shop. They had a large range of cheap costumes all made in China. They were typical costumes found everywhere so I was very surprised to over hear the reactions of two 11-12 year old girls who were looking through them. ” That’s racist.” said one and the other one agreed.

I looked over to see what had made them come to such a startling conclusion. Was it a costume for a white man to wear to make him look like a slave that required him to blacken his face? No it wasn’t.

A lot of the female costumes were pretty scanty so I could understand if they thought that they were sexist but I had seen nothing that was racist amongst the selection. What makes a racist costume anyway? A stereotype?

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Comment of the Day

Whaleoil reader ‘seriously?’ writes

Some of the recent posts has me thinking the left is dead, but so is the right. In fact, I now doubt whether the left/right political spectrum has any remaining validity, especially in New Zealand.

The mass of voters have no pallet for extremes, left or right, they want what I’d call pragmatists rather than centrists – they don’t care which ideological perspective an idea comes from, provided that it works. To a degree, Key is giving them that.

I think we substantively abandoned the old left/right divide as a part of adopting MMP. Unlike some other MMP style countries, the voters here have a sensible aversion to complicated coalitions. We want one main party to lead the way, even if they have a few hangers on. As a result, National and Labour faced a decision with MMP – move to the center or cease to be a main party. Labour under Clarke drifted toward the center. National under Key have taken the center by force, and claim it as its own.

It is only smaller bit players that are able survive and still be ideological, the extreme left positions held by Greens are a good example (but we may see them abandon that over the next few election cycles). But even those small ideologues struggle to survive (think ACT, or Mana pre Dotcom).

If Labour want to maintain its shift back to being the ideological party of the left, then they best get ready for a minority interest in politics, and a greater proportion of years in opposition than even they are used to.

New Zealand has, more or less, had the same government now for the last 15 years.  Even though there are hot button issues like asset sales, smacking, gay marriage and so on, the fundamentals of how we live our lives and how our economy functions remains the same.

I always keep an eye on the markets around elections, and it never fails to amaze me that no matter who wins the election, the market doesn’t rise or plunge sharply because of it.  It means that the people who have their financial bits in a vice are not concerned about New Zealand’s general stability and direction.   Read more »

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E tu Part 2: Jonathan Coleman comes good


The launch of the new E Tu union showed us that at least one member of the National Cabinet actually gets it.

Both the EPMU and the SFWU were affiliates of the Labour Party, and there was a strong anti-Government feeling at today’s launch, fuelled by acting leader Annette King.
“Ministers like Minister Jonathan Coleman say unions are our political enemy… they should be our political allies,” she said.

Yes Annette, Jonathan Coleman is right. The unions are the political enemy, they have absolutely failed to provide you with candidates who can win seats from National, or the money required to win elections. They demand Labour oppose all sorts of things that the New Zealand voter does not care enough about to change their vote on, handicapping Labour as much as they do when they send people like Sue Moroney or Carol Beaumont to Parliament to represent their interests.  Read more »