Frances Denz

Guest Post – Doug Sellman and his delight in finding more things to stop!

by Frances Denz

I am really fussy about the use of words and the effects they have on the subconscious.  And of course people like Sellman are experts at using strings of words to have the greatest effect on their messages – and include downright lies.  And when one lie is included with some truths it is usually taken as a truth.

He does this with the following statement

Fast food outlets facilitate overeating through convenience, low price and provision of energy-dense moreish food, and therefore are an important factor in the New Zealand population eating too much.

Which is the lie in here?   Read more »

Guest Post – “Unfortunate Experiment”

A guest post by Frances Denz.


I was interested in the programme on the “Unfortunate Experiment” on Sunday last week.  It traversed the issues, particularly in light of the book being launched which has been written by a someone who had been a junior doctor and an unwilling participant in the processes at the time.

A small component of the TV  programme was a strident condemnation of an academic whose research demonstrated that there was some validity in the work that Professors Green and Bonham were doing.  Because so many women were harmed, the whole rationale for the research was treated with contempt.  But like so many things, there is a but!   Read more »

Guest Post – So what is the New Zealand way?

Andrew Little is saying that excluding Muslims is not the New Zealand Way.  That we pride ourselves on our inclusiveness of others.  In one way he is exactly right.  We do try to be inclusive – that is the New Zealand Way.

We are therefore very protective of what the New Zealand Way means to us.  What are we protecting?  Does that mean that we can pick and choose what bits we do and don’t want?  Or do we take the whole package?

Inclusiveness includes all of us being tolerant caring individuals. We must, and usually do, consider women as equals, we actually don’t care about a person’s religion as long as it isn’t thrust down our throat, we care for those who are old and disabled, and nowadays we actually don’t care if a person is gay, lesbian or whatever – again if it is not pushed on to us.   Read more »

Guest Post: The Labour party paranoia and Peter Thiel

Paranoid thinking about Americans is deeply entrenched in the Labour Party psyche.  Back in the Norm Kirk years, with Rowling as Finance Minister, Labour took a snitch against the wealthy American Richard Rush who had built the luxury Takaro lodge in Fiordland.  While there were solvency issues which were ultimately fought out in court, Norm Kirk continuously attacked Rush for being rich, and how it was wrong for him to build accommodation that could only be afforded by the wealthy.  His antagonism upset most of us as we felt it was not hospitable.  In fact, some said that Kirk’s attacks on Rush led to his early demise, which caused the later financial problems that left the lodge empty for many years.   Read more »

Guest Post – The use of language

I am always fascinated by the power of the word or “label”.  Years ago, when we had the first computer owned by any business in the plant trade, we wrote plant labels for nearly all the plant nurseries in New Zealand.  I spent many hours researching the habits of plants and writing the brief texts describing said plant.  So the height, habit, colour, etc  became the answer to all the customer’s questions, and I became the expert.  So when I misdescribed a sorbus aria as having red berries, not pale pink (by memory), customers would stand in front of the plant in full berry convinced that the label was correct and that it had red berries.  No matter that I said I had made a mistake in the label and that it should have said pink, they believed their reading but not their eyes.

So when words get misappropriated I wonder how that happened.  A marquee used to be a tent, but is now used of a quality sportsman, and even that recent description is changing.   Read more »

Guest Post – Paying for Service

On Tuesday you had an indignant article about not paying musicians who might be asked to play for events – in this case, Fairfax.

This is a very common experience for those of us who speak at events, whether as keynote speakers, workshop facilitators, or topic experts.  We usually get a call from a conference organising company asking if we would like to speak at xxxxx.  I enthusiastically say I would be delighted to do that, what, when and how much?

The response on the other end of the line is usually as follows:

“Our guest speakers usually are happy to do it for free, for experience”.

That is downright insulting.  I speak for a living and have done so for many decades.  Furthermore, I tailor my presentation to fit the organisation and that takes time and energy and a high level of expertise.  Then I have to travel to the venue and travel to and from may take up to two days there and back.

They might pay for the travel costs, but not of course for the travel time.  Or the accommodation.    Read more »

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Guest Post: For once I am a bit cross with SB

For once I am a bit cross with SB in her article about the forced marriages of young girls.  She demands “what are the feminists doing about this?”

This is not only a feminists’ debate and action – it belongs to all of us, men, women, old and young.

If action is the responsibility of one small group of people that action can then be isolated and lose its power.

I realise that in part this comment is an attack on the feminazi, but please don’t mix objectives!   Read more »

Guest Post – Women’s rights and Islam

Whale Oil and others are asking the question about how lefty feminists are managing their conscience over the rights of Muslim or the rights of women.   It appears a conundrum.  And I can only think of small components that don’t make up a whole answer!

When we were fighting for our freedom as women to grow, develop and be recognised as equal to men, we fought the traditional belief systems that have existed almost forever.  In one generation we changed our world.  Not completely, but by a lot.

But many of us, because of our upbringing as women found it hard to do things for ourselves.  The pork chop syndrome was strong. (And for those of you who don’t know the expression, look it up).  It was symptomatic of our lives.  But we could fight for others.  Somehow that was more worthy than fighting for ourselves.  So we could fight for the poor and downtrodden, who were let’s face it frequently women.  We could fight for the children.  We could fight for women’s health.  But hardest of all was to fight for ourselves, our own rights to be recognised as equal to men.  For many of us, in our heart of hearts it seemed wrong, selfish, to fight for ourselves, and right to fight for others.

So perhaps fighting for the right to have a religion accepted as equal (or more so) to our own patriarchal Christianity might somehow seem more right than fighting for Christianity, which is our status quo, and still does not support equality anyway.  Yes I know, Catholics are a minority here, but a strong one.    Read more »

Guest Post – Philanthropy and what you can do

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I wrote the other day about what we could do as individuals to help those affected by the housing crisis, and a number of you responded very kindly which is nice of you.  I am always conscious when I am writing that I write about what has happened to me or those close to me.  That is because I write about what I know is true, what works and what doesn’t work for myself and those I know.  In the current jargon (which I hate) it is authentic. So those of you who hate this subjective way of writing, I am sorry – just don’t bother reading it.

I mentioned my personal approach to philanthropy when you don’t have much yourself and have to be careful to give where it can make the most difference.  And it is based on the philosophy that our communities should be the first port of call for help, then the community groups, and then the government.  Early intervention can make a huge difference.  So I will give some personal examples and suggest that those of you who do not think the government should be the first port of call, think about what you can do to make a difference at an individual level.   Read more »

Guest Post – If you want to win you need to pay for competent advice

BY FRANCES DENZ

With local government elections nearing and national ones next year, we have all sorts of individuals coming out of the woodwork who want to run for office.  Reading your article about polling companies and how Facebook and Twitter are offering a service now as well makes me wonder again about the lack of common sense in our potential candidates.  Mind you, is it a bad thing to have the Darwinian theory in action?  Do we really want to help those who do not understand the very basics of fighting an election?

Every election round a friend of mine who has been elected to a number of boards is approached by those who want help getting themselves elected.  “You are successful, so please tell me how to do it.”  And they appear oblivious to the consideration that she may actually standing herself, and why should she train her competition!  And they want help for free.  Mentoring they call it, hopefully in the belief that with that label they wont have to pay.  And then of course they don’t do what you suggest anyway, so why bother.    Read more »