BIG NEWS: 03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

More crap subbies to lose their jobs




Couldn't help noticing this headline. Wanganui Chronicle subbies are to lose their jobs. I thought I'd find out how good they were, given the paper is one of the oldest in the country.

So I checked this story as it was the top of the web page. There are at least FIVE subbing mistakes. First story I looked at.

Sub-editing is not really taken seriously in this country.

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We don't need another Hero


A unanimous recommendation that Hero be wound up and consigned to history was whole-heartedly embraced by the organisation's two remaining trustees. Hero trustees Richard Kittelty and Mike Binis happily embraced the recommendation."I am ecstatic about this," said Binis, clearly relieved that the end of his co-responsibility for the Hero Trust is nearing an end. "I thought some people at the meeting might try to keep it going, but it is great that the advice to shut down was unanimous."

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Oh hahaha very funny


National MP Richard worth went overseas and spoke in his ministerial capacity while he was promoting a private company in which he had an interest. He got a dressing down from John Key yesterday and was forced to resign yesterday as a director of New Zealand Aviation

Now Phil Goff - he's the person who has replaced Helen Clark as the Labour Party leader for those who are unaware - has said that he would have stripped Worth of his portfolios had he been part of a Labour Government because of a conflict of interest. As Goff pointed out, the perception of a conflict of interest, as the cabinet manual says, is as important as reality.

It's a pity he didn't say that last year instead of defending Winston Peters' multiple breaches of the Cabinet Manual and voting against the report of the Privileges Committee on his indiscretions. Of course with regards to breaching the cabinet manual, Damien O'Connor comes to mind. Those with conflicts of interest have included Rick Barker, Taito Philip Field, Tariana Turia, and Shane Jones.

Key acts decisively, Clark leaves things to fester until she is in serious trouble. Then again, Labour no longer lives in a glasshouse so it can afford to throw stones.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Writing evidence-based reports without evidence


The Government has warned small employers not to abuse a law which allows them to abuse employ new employees on a 90-day trial.

Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson said the Government will monitor how employers use the new law. Perhaps they’ll monitor it a bit like they monitored the smacking law and the prostitution law. Just like they say that there are less prostitutes on the streets and the smacking law is "working well" they’ll say that nobody has been fired under this law – with absolutely no evidence at all.

That’s because the word "monitor" is a bit like "consultation". Just as you arrange consultation to ensure all reasons staff bring up about why they should not lose their jobs are formally ignored, you monitor a law so you can do a report saying that there is no evidence of anything untoward happening after making sure no evidence is collected.

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Whanganui it may be


Whancy that. Wanganui may have a name change to Whanganui. Whortunately, some people will consider this is whantastic news whor sure, particularly the local iwi. Fat is going on? I really don’t know fy they didnt whink of it earlier.

Fill they change Feilding's name to Wheilding anytime soon?

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Gutted


I'm gutted that I had to amend a post on this blog due to new information that came to light. Thanks recession. Thanks too, Graeme. Will be looking at alternative options.
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Saturday, March 28, 2009

TVNZ upholds complaint


On 1 March, One News reported on the new employment legislation that came into effect, commonly known as the “ hire and fire law”. The report stated that bosses can sack employees after a 90 day probation period.

Given that they can’t do that, this was inaccurate. Under this law, they can only fire within the probation period. In addition there was no mention in the report that the legislation only extends to employers with 20 employees or less. As accuracy is pretty important in journalism, I complained to TVNZ. It’s the first complaint I have ever done on broadcasting standards but accuracy is more important to me than even balance or fairness. The complaint was assessed on both balance and accuracy and I was sure it would be upheld, at least in part.

And it was. Although appropriate viewpoints were canvassed in the story – meaning it was balanced - it was inaccurate. I even got an apology. "We apologise to you and your family for any distress caused by the error."

It is a pity, though, that TVNZ didn’t even mention that I brought up the lack of a mention that the legislation is restricted to employers with 20 or fewer employees. They ignored that. I thought that was a relevant omission, as viewers may have assumed from that story that it extends to all employers. That could be seen to be misleading, contravening 5b of the guidelines on accuracy. Obviously, to TVNZ, omitting an important fact is not such a big deal as broadcasting something that is factually incorrect. But you would have at least thought TVNZ would have said something about that omission, perhaps that they do not think it the omission was relevant to the standards addressed. Particularly as it was a significant part of my letter.

But to ignore it....

Who thinks I should go to the Broadcasting Standards Authority?

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Helen Clark is NZ's Mother Theresa.


Apparently Helen Clark, the new chief of the United Nations Development Programme is a no-nonsense, political junkie with a lifelong commitment to helping the poor and underprivileged.

Did anyone else know she had a lifelong commitment to helping the poor?

Incidentally, her budget of $5 billion is less than most ministers portfolios. Is that all the UNDP gets? That's smaller than the KiwiSaver scheme - well the part of the scheme that is at the ASB Bank, anyway
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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Apparently Alfie Patten is not the dad after all


DNA tests on Alfie Patten, the 13-year-old boy who was alleged to have become a father when he was just 12, show that he is not the baby girl’s actual dad after all.

Alfie took a £300 test after half a dozen boys claimed to have slept with schoolgirl pal Chantelle Stedman, 15. Although Alfie was convinced he was the dad after a single night of unprotected sex with Chantelle, the DNA test proved the 4ft-tall pupil was not the father of her seven-week-old tot Maisie Roxanne.

I betcha Alfies dad is not happy. There goes his " business interests". I wonder if we`ll find out who the dad actually is..

Incidentally, after The Sun broke the story, it because the paper's most popular online article of all time, recording 3.9 million unique users in one day, beating the previous high of 1.6 million.

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kids who start school


Well I've got about five mins so I`ll just sneak this in
Too many children are starting school without basic skills, including knowing how to hold a pencil and washing their hands, educators say.

Principals in rural areas and small towns say some parents are not giving their children enough support to develop key literacy and life skills.

Horowhenua Mayor Brendan Duffy who is on the district's education forum said he had surveyed principals and new entrant teachers at eight local schools. He asked them to rate the readiness of their new entrants on a scale of one to 10 10 being the most prepared. The average score was just four, a figure he described as "sad".

The factors schools considered included a child's ability to recognise colours and their own name, knowing how to hold a book the right way up, and being able to hold a pencil.

Knowing how to swear was not rated.

I have a daughter who has just turned four. Like most kids she knows how to turn on the TV and load the DVD - but she can recognise her own name when it is written down; and has been able to hold a book up the right way, start from the front when reading and and hold a pencil for at least a year. Yes, she knows how to wash her hands and pick out her clothes to get dressed. It sounds like too many parents are working full time, not reading to their kids at night or helping them to draw - and expecting preschooling to do it for them.

It's about time parents started parenting their kids - not dragging them up after they get home from work, the pub,the cafe - or from the all day childcare centre. Nor should they be letting their unlicensed kids drop their younger brothers and sisters to school in the family car.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Giving up blogging for lent


No. I'm not taking a blog fast because of Lent. I have lots of real world stuff to do and that is taking priority at the moment. Regular blogging should resume next week.

update still flat tack. Perhaps another week or two. If anyone wants to do a post or two on this blog on the interim, please contact me.And I see Helen Clark has got the UN development job. Good riddance. Maybe Peter will see her more often when he flies over occasionally.
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Monday, March 16, 2009

Sensationalist reporting


A story in the Dominion Post today Tiny just wants a fare go on a 160kg man who is an experienced bus driver and wants to continue driving is sensationalist. Bus drivers have to be 125kg or less and they have annual health checks to ensure excessive weight is not gained while driving. So what makes this 177kg man special above any other person over 125kg who wants to be a bus driver - and is experienced?

Nothing. But had this man not been in wheelchair-bound due to an amputated leg this story would not have been written. Poor heavy crippled experienced bus driver can't get a job because the bus rules are mean. And having him sitting in that chair with his chest and stomach puffed out makes it even more sensationalist. Perhaps that's why it is on page three.

If anyone reading this blog is an experienced bus driver and has been rejected because they are too heavy, do get in touch. Especially if you are really fit and play rugby.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sex education for primary schools


Well, it looks like the stockings and and bananas are going to be on hand for primary schools in Britain now that sex education will be given to children as young as five in some schools in a bid to lower the teenage pregnancy rate.

That's a little bit teaching five year old males how to shave. Never mind that five year olds are not teens. Never mind that Government advice to parents that they should not tell their young teenage children that it is wrong to have sex, but encourage their children to use condoms and other contraception from the age of 13, is not working to lower teenage pregnancy rates.

Is it necessary to teach kids how to have sex before they can read and write? If so, how on earth will they be able to read the instructions on the packet of condoms?

Far better to give parents some education in bringing up kids.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

The new working environment in a recession


Here a way to cut down costs and tighten up in a recession.

Dress Code:
1) You are advised to come to work dressed according to your salary.
2) If we see you wearing Prada shoes and carrying a Gucci bag, we will assume you are doing well financially and therefore do not need a raise.
3) If you dress poorly, you need to learn to manage your money better, so that you may buy nicer clothes, and therefore you do not need a raise.
4) If you dress just right, you are right where you need to be and therefore you do not need a raise.

Sick Days:
We will no longer accept a doctor's statement as proof of sickness. If you are able to go to the doctor, you are able to come to work.

Personal Days:
Each employee will receive 104 personal days a year. They are called Saturdays & Sundays.

Bathroom Breaks:
Entirely too much time is being spent in the toilet. There is now a strict three-minute time limit in the stalls. At the end of three minutes, an alarm will sound, the toilet paper roll will retract, the stall door will open, and a picture will be taken. After your second offence, your picture will be posted on the company bulletin board under the 'Chronic Offenders' category. Anyone caught smiling in the picture will be sectioned under the company's mental health policy.

Lunch Break:
* Skinny people get 30 minutes for lunch, as they need to eat more, so that they can look healthy.
* Normal size people get 15 minutes for lunch to get a balanced meal to maintain their average figure.
* Chubby people get 5 minutes for lunch, because that's all the time needed to drink a Slim-Fast.

Thank you for your loyalty to our company. We are here to provide a positive employment experience. Therefore, all questions, comments, concerns, complaints,frustrations, irritations, aggravations, insinuations, allegations, accusations, contemplations, consternation and input should be directed elsewhere.

The Management

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Expressoholic


It's a bit sad that Espressoholic is about to close. I had my first real coffee there, played my first pinball game there and probably had my first long black there too. Even wrote poetry about and in the place. It was my first cafe home -well that wouldn't be hard, my hairdresser Nigel from Heretic lived in the warehouse at the back - where I used to regularly frequent - so it was a hop , skip and a jump to get a coffee. Espressoholic was a great place to hang out on New Years Eve about 10 years ago - well at least until 3:30am when the kids had gone home and we could get into the clubs.

Espressoholic brought coffee culture into the mainstream in Wellington and had a good courtyard out the back. It was a place you could take your parents and your kids.

Just about everybody I know in the city has been there.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The nine day fortnight


The Government is going to provide the minimum wage for five hours a fortnight for those in large unionised private sector firms who take part in the nine day fortnight. In other words their employer will be paid about $1560 for each employee to compensate for the loss of a days wages, which that employer passes on to the employee. The Prime Minister gets close to that amount every day. Andrew Little, speaking in his capacity as EPMU boss but sounding like a Labour Party President, said "Unless employers are willing to meet this subsidy with a substantial top-up of their own it's unlikely to be accepted by workers.

Meaning that an employee should take a day off work, their $60 should be topped up by their boss for not working. Little wants employers to pay employees for not working - as if they were on sick leave. So if you are off sick on your tenth day, will you get $60 sick pay and lose a day of sick leave entitlement - and the $60 is kept by the boss if you have no sick leave entitlement?

Lets say you earn about $30 an hour, roughly the average wage and you are the sole breadwinner.You have a nine day fortnight - your income will drop $4290 a year, meaning if you have three kids you`ll get $20 extra in Family Support each fortnight. But it appears that if you don't work all four days on the short week, or you don't have any sick leave and you are sick, you still get to keep your $60 In Work Payment from IRD for that week even if you work fewer than 30 hours.

I'm wondering whether this will not be optional at all - I wonder if it will be run like carless days. Remember them? In the case of offices, each computer has a sticker and the colour of your sticker determines which day in the fortnight you have off. If you don't want to participate, you get made redundant.

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John Keys approach to the recession is profiled in the WSJ


The Wall Street Journal has an article on John Key's approach to the recession. That is , growing productivity when others -Tokyo, Washington, Canberra - are providing stimulus packages. It's a good article, here's a sample.
Mr. Key is returning the country to a formula for prosperity that's worked in the past. As in Britain, the U.S. and Australia in the 1980s, New Zealand's government implemented a wide-ranging program of economic liberalization, including deep reductions in tariffs and subsidies, and privatization of state-run industries. The plan, nicknamed "Rogernomics" after then-Finance Minister (now Sir) Roger Douglas, was akin to Reaganomics, and the island nation grew smartly.

But while the U.S. and Australia broadly continued their economic liberalization programs under both right- and left-wing governments, New Zealand didn't -- until now. Over the past nine years, Helen Clark's left-wing Labour government rode the global economic expansion and used the revenue surge to expand government welfare programs, renationalize industries, and embrace causes like global warming. As a result, the economy stagnated while Australia took off.

"We have been on a slippery slope," Mr. Key says, pointing to the country's slide to the bottom half of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's per-capita GDP rankings. "So we need to lift those per-capita wages, and the only way to really do that is through productivity growth driving efficiency in the country." He talks at length about how to attract and retain talented workers. What does he think about populist arguments about the end of capitalism? "Nonsense!"

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Monday, March 09, 2009

Vile and evil


It is absolutely outrageous that the Catholic Church thinks those who allowed a nine-year old Brazilian girl to have an abortion to save her life are committing a greater sin than the man who impregnated her. It is vile that the Church thinks that it is fine to excommunicate the girl’s mother who wanted to save her young daughters life - but not excommunicate the girls stepfather who impregnated and abused her for years.

Instead the Church wants to prosecute the mother for securing the abortion and excommunicate the doctors for administering it.

Rape is against the law in Brazil, but abortion is permitted in cases of rape where the mother’s life is at risk. The church says that the law of God is above any human law, meaning that abortion as a result of rape is worse than rape and serial sexual abuse itself. Why? Because the Catechism of the Church says that sexual misconduct is not in the list of “grave personal sins”. Instead it is merely a heinous crime.

[update: but apparently it is a grave personal sin to take communion after not repenting for a sin like sexual abuse, meaning that a person who raped is committing a bigger sin akin to abortion merely by taking communion without repenting.]

The stance by Catholic leaders has nothing to do with God’s law or the teachings of Jesus at all. As a Christian I find the position of the church – ie: that the girl had less of a right to live than her unborn child – sickening, intolerable, and absolutely repulsive. I find it disgusting that church leaders think that it is fine to murder a girl while delivering her babies only for these babies to grow up orphans if they are delivered alive. Bishops who kick you out of the church for allowing an abortion that will save a life, but move you to the next parish if you are a rapist priest are fit only for the pit of hell.

While I'd like to know what Catholic readers think of the Church’s position on this, I'm sure there are Catholics leaders in this country who disagree with stance taken by their fellow clergyman, while still remaining pro-life - as all Catholics should.

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Sunday, March 08, 2009

Appointments the Governments can consider


Reflecting on the Dom Post story that the Government is looking to appoint Dr Cullen to chair a major SOE, here are some other appointments that David Farrar has suggested.

* Winston Peters to chair the Asia 2000 Foundation
* Peter Brown to chair the Immigration Review Board
* Clint Rickards as CEO of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs

Some of his readers have suggested Parekura Horomia as head of the Earthquake Commission, Brian Tamaki as head of the Aids Foundation and Kyle Chapman as Race Relations Commissioner.

Here's some of my suggested appointments:

David Lane as Chief Censor
Bob McCoskrie as Childrens Commissioner
Garth McVicar as head of the Parole Board
Ken Orr and Gordon Copeland as members of the Abortion Supervisory Committee.
Dean Wickliffe as Chief Justice.
Ron Mark - Minister of Maori Affairs
Jim Bailey - Principal Family Court Judge
Barbara Faithfull as head of the AIDS Foundation.
Graham Capill - boss of Family Planning Association

And wouldn't it be interesting if Hector Westfold was letters editor for the Dominion Post, Craig Young was the leader of a revamped Christian Heritage Party, Don Brash was leader of the Maori Party, and Sonny Thomas was Bishop of the Destiny Church.
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Friday, March 06, 2009

Cutting aid in the name of economic development


After eight years, Murray McCully wants to dissolve NZAID (the country's disaster relief and aid funding body) inside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFAT) – as well as redistribute funding. Most NZAID Official Development Assistance is spent within the Pacific region but McCully wants to ensure there is even more concentration of NZAID money on the Pacific.

So, he cuts $1.95 million a year off a Pacific NGO collective's budget. Sounds like this agreement is history, then.

McCully made the decisions in secret and didn’t bother to tell any of the aid agencies and stakeholders affected, leaving the Opposition to do it. He didn’t even put it in his weekly newsletter. In fact, he isn’t writing his weekly newsletter because, as his spokesperson told me “the baubles of office burdens of office preclude that possibility”.

At least the burdens and baubles are not "precluding the possibility" of Heather Roy from doing her weekly newsletter – or posting on her Facebook site. She’s the Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs and would have had responsibility for the aid budget but this government made it the responsibility of the Minister. But I digress.

NZAID was set up with a central goal of eliminating poverty after independent development experts reviewing the original aid programme found problems with it, like poor policy and lack of clear goals. McCully wants to change the focus from poverty elimination to trade and economic development and reduce the trade imbalance that currently exists between New Zealand and our Pacific neighbours. In other words he wants to change the focus from aid to foreign policy, with a focus on trade.

So what’s the difference? Aid is about helping people work their way out of poverty, whereas foreign policy is about pursuing New Zealand's interests abroad. There can be a conflict when aid agencies like World Vision are attempting to assist people via a policy framework that is more about New Zealand’s interests: The needy lose out.

The Government has committed .35% of our gross national income (GNI) in overseas aid by 2010. The international target is 0.7%. Economic development in poor countries cannot be sustained unless there is a focus on poverty elimination. What happens if there is not? Well, aid money, instead of supporting a road to get the produce from impoverished farmers to market, is spent on a road to the Prime Minister's house. Don’t snigger, this has reportedly already happened in at least one country. Is that the sort of thing we want our taxpayer dollars through NZAID spent on?

Read more on the Don't Corrupt Aid site – a campaign to keep New Zealand’s international aid focussed on addressing poverty.

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Bradford rabble rousing over 90 day law



Sue Bradford has advised that WINZ had declined assistance to a beneficiary about to start work because he was not going to be in permanent employment, due the new 90 day law that came into force on Sunday.

I find that pretty hard to believe that WINZ would lawfully do that for that reason. Bradford asked a question in parliament today asking if those who are offered employment under the 90-day probation law are entitled to the same support from Work and Income New Zealand as those offered employment not under the 90-day probation law?

The Minister said they are offered more protection. Given that WINZ work brokers will be arranging some of this employment - and paying much of the first 90 days salary in some cases, WINZ are hardly going to scuffle assistance because the person is under a 90 day probationary period. Beneficiaries can’t get an automatic 13 week stand down if they are fired under the 90 day law, like they can if they are fired after 90 days and don’t take a personal grievance case.

Rajen Prasad asked how the Minister will guarantee that Work and Income staff members do not play judge and jury where there is some doubt about who is at fault in cases where workers are fired during the 90-day trial?

They don’t play judge and jury now. At least they are not supposed to. If there is doubt, beneficiaries have the benefit of the doubt and WINZ will only stand down if the person has been fired under normal circumstances and if they don’t appeal. If they have been fired for any (including no) reason under the 90 day law, they will be treated a little more leniently given that they cannot take a personal grievance case, thus eliminating their stand down to get on a benefit in the interim. They`ll get on a benefit sooner until the employer has been spoken to.

At least what’s what should happen. As there is no mechanism to determine whether an allegation of misconduct actually has any substance, WINZ can’t apply the 13-week stand down without some investigation..

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Alfie Patten - who's the daddy?




New 13-year-old dad Alfie Patten's own daddy has brought his son a new hooded top - as he loves being a grandfather. In case you can't read the writing, it says "I'm the daddy, if not f**k you all I'll still be there."

Charming.

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Man dies aged 65- but it is not known how old he was



Hat tip Whale Oil

So, NZPA writes a story, the journo doesn't find out how old he was, the outsourced Herald subs find out and presumably have his age correct then.. well.. they read the first and last sentence before doing the headline. There is nowhere in the story that mentions his age - apart, of course, from not knowing what that age was.

Update They've done it again today - in the headline this time! they've spelled official as "offical".

Update 2 I took pity on them and had a chat to the online editor. They've now changed it. Quickly. If you want a sub, feel free to call me. I know how to spell a little - and I even know how to use a spell check.

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Some baby killers get paid more than Government Ministers


Some people who work in abortion clinics terminating the lives of the unborn earn more than Government ministers and are "creaming" it. The more abortions they conduct, the more they make.The top three killers of the unborn are each making well over $200,000 a year conducting unlawful abortions, probably making it the biggest state-sanctioned unlawful occupation in this country. Thats because most abortions are conducted unlawfully.

No wonder women and girls are not discouraged from having an abortion.

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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Trevor Mallard is acting like a dickhead again, which is nothing new, really


Trevor Mallard is scaremongering by warning people not to look for jobs with firms that hire fewer than 20 people (which is most firms) because they will only be fired before their 90-day probation period us up.The "fire at will" bill (as some have called it) comes into force today.

Now that' the sort of comment you'd expect from The Standard, not a former Cabinet Minister who is now the Opposition spokesperson on labour, therefore speaking on behalf of the Opposition. Obviously Mallard can't name one employer that is likely to fire an employee because of the 90-day probation period and probably won't be able to name one that has done so in 90 days time, either.

What a dickhead.

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