The Dim-Post

March 31, 2010

What’s the most you ever lost on a coin toss?

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 3:09 pm

The government’s Foreshore and Seabed proposal is out. I’m deep in a coding fugue state and unable to process much, but this excerpt from Audrey Young’s summary jumped out at me:

The document says: “There would be no obligation on a coastal/hapu to comply with the requirements of the Resource Management Act when giving or declining permission for a coastal permit.

“The decision of the coastal hapu/iwi could be made according to a Maori world view, on grounds which are not covered by the RMA.”

I’d love to be a fly on the wall of the Labour Party caucus room tonight (was it The Young Ones who made a documentary about a couple of flies on their kitchen wall?)

March 30, 2010

By the numbers

Filed under: media — danylmc @ 2:32 pm

I had a look at the anti-mining protest at Parliament today. I saw:

  • ~300 protesters, mostly Wellington office workers on their lunch breaks.
  • Several earnest but worthy speeches, mostly from thin, bearded men from various NGOs.
  • One teenage boy wearing a dress and a shocking pink wig screaming (mostly) gibberish.

Guess which of these will receive the most coverage on the evening news.

Now THAT’S an expenses scandal

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 11:33 am

Eat your heart out Heatley:

The Republican National Committee gave nearly $2,000 to a Southern California GOP contributor for meal expenses at Voyeur West Hollywood, a lesbian-themed California nightclub that features topless dancers wearing horse-bits and other bondage gear, according to newly filed disclosure records.

(Naturally the GOP contributor is a solid conservative who is actively involved in his local Ministry.)

The hole that Gerry dug

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 7:00 am

Claire Browning at Pundit makes the most articulate critique of the government’s mining strategy I’ve read so far. My position has shifted over the last two weeks. I was sceptical but ready to consider the merits of mines on a case by case basis, but Brownlee has acted in such incredibly bad faith that we simply can’t consider separate cases because we can’t trust a single thing the government tells us on the subject.

(Thanks to Joe for the image.)

Go not too near a House of Rose

Filed under: economics — danylmc @ 6:43 am

Gallup have done a survey of world happiness, comparing the wellbeing of respondents in 155 countries. As usual the residents of the highly taxed socialist dystopian nightmare states of Northern Europe are the happiest people in the world. New Zealand is the happiest place in Asia-Pac, although only marginally happier than Australia.  All the countries the right keeps telling us we need to emulate: Iceland, Singapore, Ireland, Spain, Slovakia – are incredibly unhappy.

March 29, 2010

Wildplassen

Filed under: general news — danylmc @ 4:05 pm

Andrew Williams has defended himself from drink driving allegations:

Mr Williams, who was at GPK bar and restaurant on Hurstmere Rd, Takapuna, with friends on Thursday night, said he consumed a “very minimal” quantity of red wine with food from about 6pm to 9.30pm.

Probably the best defense, but even if true this just means the North Shore has a mayor who urinates in public outside his own council building while sober.

The tool is not exterminated by the machine

Filed under: blogging,finance — danylmc @ 1:53 pm

Stuff are doing something almost shockingly admirable and worthwhile with one of their blogs. Greer McDonald is writing about financial planning and literacy from the POV of a person swimming in debt.

I’m not sure why more business and finance journalists don’t write about consumer finance: if you go to the bookstores the shelves are groaning under the tomes about financial planning (the most popular are the worse than useless Rich Dad Poor Dad series, which dispense advice that will actively destroy your wealth) indicating high public interest in the subject. And there is plenty of research into optimum finance and investment choices for ordinary people (Marginal Revolution links to all the best papers: apparently we should never purchase extended warranties, buy expensive wine (quality encounters dramatically diminishing returns > $50) or invest in individual shares).

But most business journalists prefer to tell us which individual shares we should buy or write open letters to the Reserve Bank governor advising him on what to do with the OCR. Nice for Bollard (possibly) but not as relevant to the rest of us, esp for the younger readers Greer’s blog is clearly aimed at.

Time to make a NEW mistake

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 11:14 am

Tangental to the tension within the ACT Party, minority parties who enter governing coalitions always make the same error: their MPs take as many portfolios as they can get, which weds them very tightly to the governing party – a model that has worked really badly for every minority member in the past and is not playing out very well for ACT or the Maori Party in the present. Surely the smart thing to do is have a leader take a senior portfolio and then have thier deputy/co-leader with no Ministerial responsibilities – free to represent the party, develop policy and critique the majority party because they’re not part of Cabinet.

I don’t know whether this could save ACT – which seems to have rather deeprooted problems beyond this – or the Maori Party, which doesn’t hold with western-centric imperialist notions of doing things that make sense and won’t destroy them as a political entity, but it could certainly be a model for a future Green arrangement with a Labour government.

March 28, 2010

Minister Potemkin

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 9:01 pm

Guyon Espiner interviewed Paula Bennett on Q & A this morning about her changes to the welfare system. I thought the final question was illuminating:

GUYON Most of these changes come in on October 4, some of them coming in May this year.

PAULA 27th of September actually.

GUYON September this year?

PAULA Yeah.

GUYON Forgive me – so September this year. Are you going to be here to shepherd those through, because you are taking a scholarship at some stage later in the year, are you going to be here shepherding through some of these pretty crucial reforms?

PAULA It’s fair to say that the work’s going on now, it has been going on for the last year, and we’ve certainly got these next few months to get it right, as far as Work and Income being read for them, this is the crucial time, I’m very aware of that and the level of responsibility that I have leading up to that.

GUYON When do you go away on this scholarship?

PAULA I’m going away early October, so I am going away then, but we’re putting them in in September, but I think actually it’s the work that goes on now that’ll make that difference then.

GUYON So are you gonna be here when the reforms actually kick in?

PAULA Yes I will be.

GUYON You will be yeah. Right we’ll see how they pan out. Thanks very much for joining us this morning. We appreciate it.

Bennett has won a scholarship to the US which will take her out of the country for six weeks – and it sounds as if that six weeks will begin a few days after her new welfare policies come into effect. Presumably the Associate Welfare Minister – Tariana Turia – will be thrilled to front up in her place.

One can agree or disagree with the ideology of Bennett’s reforms but it’s patently moronic to start work-testing beneficiaries and suspending their incomes for non-compliance when there aren’t any jobs around for them to apply for. It’d make a bit more sense in twelve months time – if/when the recovery starts to impact on the unemployment figures – but that might not be personally convenient for the Minister.

Sunday Bobbleheads

Filed under: media,Politics — danylmc @ 6:18 am

Earth Hour: I couldn’t think of anything siller than sitting in the dark for an hour to ‘raise awareness of climate change,’ but the intellectual giants of our right-wing blogosphere have: they spent Saturday night turning on all their lights, opening their curtains and switching their heating on. We should have an environmental awareness campaign in which everyone is encouraged not to drink drain cleaner. We’d raise our average national IQ by a dozen points in a matter of minutes.

The SST have a couple of scoops this week: they stalked an Auckland Mayor on Thursday night:

By chance, the Star-Times observed [North Shore Mayor Andrew] Williams drinking barside at Takapuna’s GPK bar and restaurant around 10pm on Thursday. He talked to a couple at the popular eatery and could be heard referring to himself in the third person. He said he was North Shore’s mayor and enjoyed his role.

Inquiries with two bar staff revealed Williams had been drinking red wine at the establishment since 4pm. Six hours later Williams left GPK alone and headed down Hurstmere Rd towards the offices of the North Shore City Council, where he has been mayor since 2007.

On his way he stopped, pulled down his trousers and urinated on a tree outside the council offices.

Williams then headed for the council underground carpark, collected his mayoral vehicle and drove home to Campbells Bay, a 6km trip.

They probably should have called the police. I wonder if they decided not to because it might have compromised their exclusive? Still a good story.

The SST’s Jonathan Marshall also wins the race to be first journalist publishing a story with the words ‘Terry Serepisos’, ‘convicted’ and ‘serious drug offences’ in the lead. The offenses relate to Serepisios’ brother.

Paula Bennett appears to have exhausted her repertoire of media strategies rather early in her career. What ever happened to that Privacy Commission enquiry?

TV3s The Nation is already veering into Campbell Live/Close Up territory with an upcoming feature on ‘the nude’. Classy.

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