Tasman v Taranaki – who will win? [POLL]

Time to get your scores in the comments – closest one will get bragging rights.

It promises to be an awesome game.  It is rare not to at least have Auckland, Christchurch or Wellington represented in the ITM Cup finals.  So the  provinces will be the winner either way.

Answer: a few centimeters

The question:  What is the difference between a Muslim woman wearing a hijab and an Exclusive Breatheren woman wearing a head scarf?

Amy Cronin, misses the point:

“Are you hiding bombs in your skirts?” a stranger yelled from a car window as 12-year-old Radiya Ali walked down a Hamilton street in the mid-2000s. She had arrived to New Zealand as a refugee from Yemen, four years after 9/11 – an innocent among hicks and alarmists who saw young girls wearing the hijab and thought it stood for terrorist.

“Did you steal those curtains you wear?” people hollered at her as they passed. “Why are you wearing sheets on your head?”

Salma Salat came from Kenya 17 years ago, when she was 4.

“I don’t remember it, but my mum found it tough adjusting and raising kids in a time when people were shouting things out from the streets.”

In the days post 9/11, a man approached Salma as she was walking with her sister. She remembers him yelling at them, “terrorists”. She was 7 and didn’t know what it meant.

Radiya and Salma are 21 now, and they are friends. They tell these stories with wide eyes, in the can you believe it way adults recall their traumas from childhood. You won’t find gentler, or stronger, young women. They are innocent in many ways, but they have seen.

Yes, well. ¬†Hamilton. ¬†The culturally sensitive ground zero of the North Island. ¬†And yes, as people, we aren’t too flash at coping with what makes us different.

So that sets the scene for this article, which is utlimately about the hijab. Read more »


Dirty Politics UK style

There is a lot of talk about ‘Dirty Politics’.

As a long term left wing agtator told me last week over a beer…it wasn’t dirty politics…I was just politics.

Right now in the UK a similar story is unfolding, where the media are hunting after Guido Fawkes aka Paul Staines and his links with PM David Cameron.

Guido operates in many respects just like I do…and just like me he kicks his own team in the slats.

The Prime Minister is the last person you would expect to find honouring rogue political blogger Guido Fawkes, who has just brought down one of his ministers.

But David Cameron appeared as guest of honour via a video link at the 10th anniversary celebrations of the controversial website.

Just three weeks ago, Brooks Newmark resigned as Minister for Civil Society, causing the PM immense embarrassment as it was on the eve of the Conservative Party Conference.

This followed the Tory MP being enticed into sending explicit pictures of himself to a male reporter, posing as an attractive young woman, who was working for Guido Fawkes.

Fawkes then hawked the story around Fleet Street before it was eventually published by the Sunday Mirror.

The dubious journalistic methods employed were so contentious that two newspapers refused to publish the story and the Sunday Mirror, which did, is being investigated by the new press watchdog IPSO.

Yet, in his message broadcast at the dinner, the Prime Minister saw fit to condone such behaviour, praising Fawkes (real name Paul Staines) and his website as ‚Äėrequired reading‚Äô.

‚ÄėCongratulations on ten years of Guido Fawkes,‚Äô said Cameron, ‚Äėand what better way to celebrate a decade of rejecting the cosy political establishment than by hosting a cocktail reception and a dinner in the heart of Westminster with half the Cabinet and the lobby invited.

Read more »

On secrets and gossip

We all love gossip.   And the other side of that coin?  Secrets are impossible to keep.

Gossip, in all its forms (leaks, tips, interviews) are the fuel for blogs, the media, politics and even law enforcement.

Modern men cannot keep a secret – and are now worse gossips than women, according to a study.

Researchers found that, contrary to the assumption that women can’t wait to spill the beans, it is men who are first to pass on confidential information.

Thanks to social media, men no longer wait to see their mates in the pub and typically share a secret within three hours, the study found. And almost half of men admit to blabbing about a secret within minutes of first being told about it.

In comparison, women will keep it to themselves for at least three and a half hours before passing it on. The study of 2,000 Britons s found that the average man will keep a secret to themselves for around two hours and 47 minutes Рalmost 40 minutes less than women.

More than one in ten guys even admitted to blabbing someone’s private secret within 10 minutes or less of first finding out about it.¬†Despite this, 92 per cent of men consider themselves to be good at keeping secrets.

In my experience, people you can truly count on to keep a secret are¬†extremely rare. ¬†But why is there this… human need to tell? Read more »

Mental Health Break

Caution: deals with animal butchery

The Slaughter from Jason B. Kohl on Vimeo.

Is this how Ebola will spread around New Zealand?

Doesn’t matter how many people are ready for Ebola. ¬†It doesn’t matter how well trained they are. ¬†It doesn’t matter if we have the facilities and equipment.

It’s going to come down to something like this


As a demonstration of how well-drilled New York City officials are in how to deal with Ebola, it left a lot to be desired.

Two New York City police officers who attended the Harlem apartment building of Dr Craig Spencer – the first confirmed Ebola case in the city – were observed afterward dumping their protective gear and caution tape in a garbage bin on the street.

While it was not immediately clear if the two officers had been inside Dr Spencer’s apartment, the episode had many people asking if the equipment should not have been disposed of in a biohazard bag – even if only as a precaution.

The other day it was the “clipboard guy” that walked up to fully biohazard suited people transporting a suspected Ebola patient, and now we have this. ¬†If there is going to be a failure to contain the disease, it won’t be because of a mistake made by front line people. ¬†¬† Read more »


Map of the Day

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


What 16th Century Ottomans thought Europe looked like on Top of an Actual Map of Europe

Click here for a larger view


Read more »

Will NZ First survive Peters’ departure?

AMONG his constituency ‚Äď particularly the grey vote ‚Äď he has cultivated a huge reservoir of brand loyalty and trust. If you heard it once on the campaign trail you heard it a thousand times. Winston will see us oldies right.

But whether voters will ever come to believe that of the largely unrecognisable faces behind Peters is questionable. ¬†Peters has not helped NZ First‚Äôs cause ‚Äď or the chances of it surviving as his legacy ‚Äď by reinventing his caucus every three years.

Partly that is due to NZ First‚Äôs highs and lows. Its ranks were decimated after the 1999 election, and again in 2008, when it was turfed out of Parliament altogether. But Peters has also alienated many of his caucus along the way. Of the party‚Äôs original MPs, only Ron Mark remains ‚Äď and that only after several years out of Parliament, when Mark even mulled standing for another party.

Mark’s return appears to be the first serious attempt by Peters to put in place a succession plan.

Judging by Mark’s performance during question time, he’s either no longer match fit or he’s seriously lost the plot.

Read more »

Mona’s first shot: $23 mil please

Just as an aside, for Kim Dotcom fans, you may have noticed that as soon as Kim stopped being an idiot, he stopped being the center of attention on Whaleoil too. ¬† Of course, as he pops back into the news, I’ll revisit his story.

Today, David ‘Tainted’ Fisher is still milking Mrs Dotcom, as it is clear Mr Dotcom no longer wants to have anything to do with him (one of the few things Dotcom and I agree on then).

Mona Dotcom has staked a $23 million claim on the fortune of her estranged husband, Kim Dotcom, saying half of what was seized in the FBI-initiated raid belongs to her.

In legal papers filed in the United States, Mrs Dotcom says she has a legal claim over assets and cash caught up in the case.

Her claim, according to the court documents, is 50 per cent of everything owned by Kim Dotcom that was seized in the raid. It does not include any claim she might make on the new fortune created through the post-raid business, the encrypted Cloud storage site Mega.

Her claim includes half-shares in the luxury cars seized from the mansion on the day of the January 2012 police raid, jetskis, massive TV screens worth $185,000 each, and artworks.

The document also reveals how after the Dotcom family arrived for a holiday in March 2010, the tycoon splurged $2.3 million buying eight luxury vehicles throughout his three-month stay – including two Mercedes on one day – before flying out again on a private jet.

“I make the … property claims based on the legal advice of my marital property counsel in New Zealand and my understanding of the applicable property laws,” Mrs Dotcom said in the court filing.

It’s a pointless move. ¬†But worth the lottery ticket.

What’s much more interesting is that under New Zealand’s no fault divorce law, she’s due half of whatever Kim Dotcom can claim as assets.

I’m keeping a very close eye on this asset business, because Kim has a substantial amount of wealth stashed away in Bitcoins. ¬†I would imagine he’s not declaring those as part of his assets, but Mona may very well know about them, so she could upset the apple cart by putting in a claim on half of those.

Bitcoins are a great money laundering device, they are a great way to transport money between countries outside of the banking, taxation and legal systems, and you can bet your bottom dollar that Kim has thought ahead here.

Dotcom’s lawyers have asked the courts to reject the bid, saying the original criminal case was already without warrant and the civil forfeiture case added an unfair burden.

Dotcom told the Herald he would make no comment on matters involving Mrs Dotcom.

The tycoon has shunned New Zealand media since the election [He won't talk to Tainted Fisher! hehe], aside from occasional tweets. But he made one media appearance in an online New Yorkerinterview in which he blamed the FBI case for the end of his five-year marriage.

“My wife and I, we were happy before the case,” he said. “We were living in this completely happy bubble in our happy world and we didn’t have any issues.”

He could still be doing that, if it wasn’t for messing with one person that he completely underestimated. ¬†The media were all on his side. ¬†I was a lone voice in the wilderness for years.

But now I’m the evil guy, still, somehow, and he’s hard done by?

He should really make arrangements to leave New Zealand, if he hasn’t already. ¬†If he thinks his happy bubble was shattered, he’ll look back on how his life is right now and think it much preferable to what lies in the future.


– NZ Herald


Howcome a state house sculpture costs more than a state house?

Someone “leaked” this to Bernard Orsman (Dirty Council?)


It’s a concept drawing of the artwork that Auckland Council are considering. ¬† Except, they must be planning to build it by using unicorn hair and fairy feathers, because the cost is other worldly…

Auckland Council announced plans for the sculpture in March last year, to be funded by a $1 million donation from Barfoot & Thompson, marking the company’s 90 years in business.

The documents show the cost of the sculpture – a “scaled version of a Mount Eden state house” by renowned artist Michael Parekowhai – had reached $1.9 million by May 2013.

With $800,000 budgeted for a crystal glass chandelier made in Venice to be enclosed within the house, the project came under review and the budget was scaled back to $1.5 million in July 2013.

Images of the sculpture have been shared with councillors but not the public, causing widespread criticism.

In February, Parekowhai told council public art manager Carole Anne Meehan he did not want early concept drawings and photos of a model to be “distributed publicly by anyone attending” a council meeting.

But several images were leaked to the Herald. They show a typical state house with external stairs leading to a platform offering multiple views of the chandelier filling the interior.

Seriously, wouldn’t Barfoot and Thompson putting $1M into an¬†actual house and perhaps allowing people to live in it for 12 months at a time on some sort of scholarship make more sense? ¬† I mean, it’s their own money, but good grief, what a stupid way to go about it.

The real problem is that the rate payer is going to get stung in the pocket too. Read more »