In a rare of unity, the National Party and the Labour Party this week refused to share the stage with any of the minor parties in TV debates this election campaign.
The backroom deal has already seen TV3 cancel its planned 90-minute Leaders Debate (set down for October 9), although the network admits a head-to-head debate between John Boy and Madam is still being considered.
However, National's decision to agree to the deal reflects the lack of savvy media and communications heads in the party, and could end up backfiring on them. Despite what some in the party seem to believe, John Key is pretty ropey when talking "on the fly" and is easily tripped up.
As Colin Espiner (political editor of The Press) points out, "for the minor parties, TV debates are a one-time shot to get the sort of publicity they couldn’t hope to buy in a million years." It was Dunne's "worm-turning" performance that boosted his party to 8 seats in 2002.
TVNZ has also expressed disappointment at Key and Cluck's stance, but have decided to hold two separate prime-time debates... a head-to-head between National & Labour, and a second debate with the minor party leaders, who could hold the crucial balance of power come November.
* Stuff: Debate cancelled after Key, Clark bow out
* Stuff: Colin Espiner - TV3 puts ratings ahead of MMP leaders’ debate
Posted at 5:06 p.m. Sunday, 28 September 2008
Rarely were 3 more sensible words ever spoken... Don't Vote Greens.
That's the name of a new website, launched in time for the NZ election campaign, and aimed at "informing the public of the damaging nature of the Green Party."
The latest political poll out this evening (the traditionally left-leaning 3 News poll no less) had National still well ahead on 49%, with Labour down one to 36%. ACT and the Maori Party had 2% each (both will be back thanks to electorate seats), but NZ First's 3% will see it kicked out of Parliament in November with no safety net.
Support for the "Green" Party slipped slightly, but unfortunately they still managed to gain 5% - just on the MMP threshold. (The good news is that much of the Greens' support comes from younger voters, who are notoriously apathetic about actually casting their votes on election day).
The site, which definitely qualifies for our 'Website of the Month' pick, has a list of reasons why voting Greens is a very very bad idea.
As well as making free speech illegal in NZ during an election year (WTF?! This isn't China!), the Greens have helped created a nanny state and taken away citizens rights.
Check out the full list of reasons why you should Not vote Greens under any circumstances here.
Runner-up for 'Website of the Month' would have been Labour's newest (unofficial? ;-) website, Labour08.co.nr, but it has unfortunately already been "taken down by the fun police". A shame, it was a slick looking site...
Posted at 10:03 p.m. Tuesday, 23 September 2008
ACT's Dunedin South candidate is determined to continue the fight this election, despite having his newly-signwritten car stolen and torched while he was out for dinner.
Colin Nicholls was out for dinner on Saturday night in Caversham (not far from the Carisbrook ground), but when he returned later that evening, his car had disappeared.
Police discovered the burnt-out shell of his sign-written Ford Laser in Green Island (about 10 minutes away) on Sunday morning.
Given the demographics of Dunedin South, I reckon it was probably a cowardly Liarbour supporter, scared that a change of government involving the ACT Party would force them to actually do some real work and not rely on free handouts from the state.
The seat of Dunedin South (currently held by David Benson-Pope) is one of the poorer electorates in the country, and the core suburb of South Dunedin makes the likes of West Auckland seem a bit like Epsom in comparison.
A recent comment over on Kiwiblog on DBP's possible campaign plans hit the nail on the head, describing Dunedin South as real “tiger country”...
"I love Dunedin, did tertiary ed there but that South Dunedin/Mosgiel area has some strange people there, some willing to die for the Red Flag and still fighting the old class war."Anyway, back to ACT's candidate for Dunedin South Colin Nicholls, who says the attack has made him even more determined to ensure that ACT gets a good party vote, to ensure more ACT MPs are elected in November.
* Channel 9 Television report: ACT Candidate Target Of Crime
* ODT: Act candidate's car stolen, torched
Posted at 10:13 p.m.
I'm sure most of you reading this are well aware of the monthly New Zealand blog rankings compiled by Tumeke.
I'm not sure that he quite realised what he was getting himself in for he compiled the first NZ Blogosphere Rankings of kiwi political and news blogs back in January this year!
My busy schedule has resulted in fewer posts recently here on Dave Gee: Life from Right Field, but the blog still held up quite well in the August survey, falling just 3 places to #24.
That's 4 places ahead of my old mate Clint Heine, but we're both aiming to be back in the Top 20 rankings by Christmas! ;-) Meanwhile, North Otago blue blogger Homepaddock is deservedly up another 4 places to #12, thanks to some prolific posting on unique issues.
Posted at 5:52 p.m.
It is extremely rare for New Zealand's union movement to come out with anything that makes much sense, but they have managed that rare feat this morning.
The PSA (Public Service Association) has launched a newspaper campaign claiming that tax cuts for ordinary New Zealanders will lead to job cuts amongst the state sector. (In fact they claim "every 10 cents a year in tax cuts represents the jobs of seven public servants!?!)
We can but only wish!! Earlier this year, we heard that the fastest growing sector since 2000 (the reign of PM Cluck's Liabour-led regime) has been Government administration.
Back in March, National leader John Key said putting a cap on the number of bureaucrats would save the government $500m dollars. Unfortunately even National aren't talking about slashing the state sector at this point, which could save the country billions of dollars more.
Annual salaries in the core public service (which excludes the likes of schools, hospitals, police, armed forces) rose to $56,619 for the year to June 2007 (I couldn't immediately track down the latest figures).
That is considerably higher than the national average salary, but as anyone who has ever dealt with the public service knows, that does not translate to better or more efficient staff and operations.
Green co-leader Russell Norman continued the spin (bought by the mainstream media) during his appearance on Sky TV/Prime's "Campaign '08" show on Sunday night.
* ODT: Union says tax cuts will put jobs at risk
Posted at 1:24 p.m. Monday, 22 September 2008
Last Friday was officially "National Nude Day" in New Zealand, but it seemed to be a relatively quiet one by usual standards in the south.
One streaker did manage to interrupt NZ First leader Winston Peters, as he was speaking to students on campus at Otago University, while the famous Gardies Tavern was no doubt as busy as ever.
The original More FM radio promotion last year saw individuals posing nude (tastefully of course ;) on billboards around the city, with contenders being progressively eliminated as time went on.
The sequel has 5 Couples (of various makeups) pairing up for a new billboard campaign (drive by Andersons Bay Road in Dunedin if you live in the south, to check out the new naked billboard).
My friend Jade was a finalist in the original Naked Billboard promotion, and she has teamed up with another female finalist from last year to try and take out the top prize this time as TEAM B.
They need your support now as the competition enters its final stages...
So to help do your national duty, and ensure a hot girl-on-girl nude billboard graces Dunedin's main streets, please Vote for TEAM B at the More FM Dunedin website (register, then click under 'Competitions' and follow the links from there). :-)
** Update: Team B have also entered a 'teaser video' in TV's Sports Cafe Nude Day video competition, responding to Marc Ellis' promotion of a rival (co-ed) team on last week's show...
There's also lots of other great Dunedin entries you can support in the Nude Day video competition, at the World Nude Day website...
Posted at 10:17 p.m.
The crazy guys at EepyBird (the ones beyond the famous Diet Coke & Mentos soda fountains) have come up with a new hobby...
They've covered an office with cascading packs of coloured Post-it notes (well actually, they've used "Z-Notes" to be exact... they're the ones that are sticky on alternate sides, so they pop up easily from a dispenser)...
* Hat tip: b3ta.com
Posted at 10:05 p.m.
I meant to do this last week but got busy and never got back to it...
A "meme-ish" type of blog award called the Brillante has been doing the rounds of kiwi weblogs, and fellow Otago blogger Homepaddock kindly added me to her nomination list recently (hers is a great blog, despite being one of those dodgy mainstream Nats ;-)
Brillante recipients are encourage to spread the happiness by passing it on to at least 7 other blogs... (Homepaddock must have a lot of spare time... she managed to nominate an impressive 19 other blogs, which does slim down the potential list for me!)
The rules go like this:
1. Put the logo on your blog.
2. Add a link to the person who awarded it to you.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Add links to these blogs on your blog.
5. Leave a message for your nominator on her/his blog.
My 7 Brillante blog nominations are:
* Clint Heine and Friends - Fellow former-student activist and all-round genuine crazy guy. Living in the northern hemisphere has given him a clearer perspective on just how much damage the Liabour axis has done to the Pacific republic of Nu Zild. His co-authors also offer good common sense arguments on how to solve NZ's woes.
* Silent Running - Led by former US-prison-detainee Rick Giles, this blog's banner description proudly sums up the content you can expect... "If you are offended by strong right wing views and bad language, you should probably fuck off and go hug a tree". I think he's talking to you Tane.
* Whale Oil Beef Hooked - Still holds the award for best name in the NZ Blogosphere by a country mile. Cameron's very popular blog is kindof an "unleashed" version of the country's leading site Kiwiblog. Good analysis and regularly breaks stories, but isn't afraid to throw in a bit of humour or to offend sensitive readers.
* Mulholland Heeft Meer Mmmmmmmm... - Blair also manages a good mix of topical stories, critical discussion, biting humour, and a bit of retro-music. A solid ACT Party campaigner, albeit after backing down on his plans to stand as a candidate himself this election.
* Not PC - One of the main hubs for NZ's Liberterianz Party, Peter's blog is good at exposing the extreme bias of the so-called "mainstream media", the dodgy dealings of the current minority coalition government, and the gutlessness of the potential replacements (led by Johnboy's namby-pamby version of the National Party). Peter also has a strong focus on US politics, and a healthy fondness for "Real Beer".
* No Minister - The blog infamous enough to get banned by NZ Government departments ;-) A very good right-thinking group blog, full of insightful commentary and discussion. Another that is good at breaking fresh stories, and often very quick off the mark with hot news. I'd have them in my cabinet any day of the week.
* The Matthew Hooton Blog - A recent and welcome addition to the New Zealand blogosphere, Matthew makes up the right half of "The Policy Blog", alongside lifetime leftie Chris Trotter. Unfortunately for some reason, I cannot seem to get a sidebar feed for just Matthew's posts, so sometimes find myself doing a double-take before I realise I'm actually reading Trotter's rantings instead.
(Edit: Has somebody changed some settings somewhere? The feed link now does take me direct to Matthew's posts, bypassing CT's ones...)
Posted at 9:21 a.m. Saturday, 20 September 2008
Tina Fey - star and writer of the Emmy award winning sitcom 30 Rock and movie Baby Mama - returned to her old tv show last week to play Sarah Palin in the season premiere of Saturday Night Live.
Fey was an SNL cast member from 1997 through until 2006, when she left to star in NBC's 30 Rock. But her striking resemblance to Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin made her an obvious choice for the season opening sketch, opposite Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton.
“Tonight we are crossing party lines to address the now very ugly role that sexism is playing in the campaign” Fey-as-Palin said.Airline JetBlue apparently ensured tv screens were fitted to Sarah Palin's charter plane during the SNL broadcast, to let the GOP candidate watch the skit along with her staff and travelling press...
Poehler-as-Clinton chimed in: “An issue which I am frankly surprised to hear people suddenly care about.”
Poehler-as-Clinton: “I believe that diplomacy should be the cornerstone of any foreign policy” to which Fey-as-Palin responded: “And I can see Russia from my house.”
And on global warming: “I believe global warming is caused by man” Poehler-as-Clinton said. “And I believe it’s just God hugging us closer” Fey-as-Palin said.
* Wall Street Journal: Tina Fey Returns to ‘Saturday Night Live’ to Play Palin
Posted at 1:15 p.m. Friday, 19 September 2008
Yarr, shiver me timbers... Fer today (Friday September 19th) is officially "International Talk Like a Pirate Day!"
Avast me hearty mateys! Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum! Ensure ye dress up in yer best Pirate hats 'n' costumes, 'n' address yer mateys in Pirate language (begin by starrtin' each sentence with "Arrr, me hearrty")...
Callum, Kentucky, & Moray at 'Official Pirate Add/Drop Day'
- (Lake Greeley Camp, 2004)
Check ou' th' links below fer more details on this important tide, or fer help in speakin' more Gentleman o' fortune-like.
Fer th' iPhone users amongst ye, help be available in th' form o' th' ayePhone application, which can assist ye in avoidin' th' critical mistake o' speakin' like a land-lubber on this important tide.
* The Original Talk Like A Pirate Day website
* How To Be Speakin' Pirate-Like (Talk Like A Pirate Day UK)
* Dave Gee's Blog translated into Pirate-speak
Posted at 10:05 a.m. Thursday, 18 September 2008
The green chocolate and peppermint candy Snifters is the latest iconic New Zealand lolly to be axed by confectionery giant Cadbury Schweppes.
Snifters were produced under Cadbury's Pascall brand in their later years, but the company claims falling demand means it's no longer to economic to manufacture the discontinued products. In reality that's because they're NZ-only items, and don't really fit into the company's wider regional plans.
Cadbury is embarking on a massive restructuring programme in Australasia, which will see most New Zealand Cadbury products (including the popular kiwi Moro bar) produced offshore in Australia.
For the moment it seems that Jaffas - the bright orange chocolate covered candies - have been spared the knife, although the familiar rectangular box may disappear in favour of a simple plastic bag.
* One News: Not so sweet a goodbye to Snifters
* Stuff: End of the line for iconic Kiwi lollies
Posted at 10:12 p.m.
The so-called mainstream media have been having a field day recently, trying to find reasons to attack John McCain's running mate for the Republican Party in the US Presidential election.
Republicans say Sarah Palin will help unite the party, as well as bringing in swinging voters who aren't convinced by the Messiah-campaign of Barack Obama.
However, it seems that the GOP may have selected the wrong Palin... and now former Monty Python member Michael Palin is joining the US Presidential race. Palin is representing the "Silly Party" (as opposed to the more famous "Slightly Silly Party" ;)
As the video below points out, Michael Palin is a Constitutional Scholar, a keen Economist, a tough stance on the Environment, an expert in Foreign Policy and International Diplomacy, while being a deeply Religious man committed to Family Values...
* Official website: Michael Palin for President
Posted at 4:50 p.m. Saturday, 13 September 2008
Veteran swimming coach Duncan Laing has lost his battle with cancer and ill health. The big man of the pool died in Dunedin overnight, aged 77.
Duncan Laing retired from coaching two years ago, after almost 50 years poolside. The majority of that time was spent at Dunedin's Moana Pool, both with 'learn to swim' classes and with his elite squad of swimmers.
Many in the south will remember Laing for "teaching Dunedin to swim", but New Zealanders will remember him for coaching some of our top swimmers to international glory.
Danyon Loader was his star pupil... the shy Dunedin boy first winning silver in the 200 Fly at the Barcelona Olympics, before topping that achievement by claiming double Olympic gold at Atlanta in 1996, in the 200 and 400 metre Freestyle.
Other top swimmers who benefited from Laing's tuition included Liz Van Welie, who won a silver medal at the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002, and Paralympic swimmer Jenny Newstead, who Laing coached to an impressive ten medals in the early 90s.
He was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen's Birthday Honours in 2005, was also awarded an OBE in 1993, made a life member of Swimming New Zealand in 1996 and inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.
He leaves behind a legacy as one of New Zealand's greatest ever coaches, and was dubbed a master technician by his coaching peers in the swimming community. He had a huge heart, and always had time for his swimmers, their parents, fellow coaches, and anyone else seeking his advice.
Homepaddock also remembers Duncan Laing, for teaching thousands of Dunedin children to swim, including her daughter.
Posted at 1:45 p.m. Friday, 12 September 2008
While PM Cluck's announcement of November 8th for the NZ General Election surprised few, the timing of her Friday morning release did catch some people off guard.
Many commentators have suggested she did it to distract the media (and general public) from the continuing NZ First saga, with Labour personalities like Mike Williams becoming part of the drama in recent days.
Cluck's long announcement speech seems to suggest Labour will run a negative campaign, focusing on the flip-flops and "secret agenda" of John Key and his National Party front bench.
The 'popular and competent' PM claimed the election campaign will be "about trust", which to many is one of Labour's biggest failings under her leadership!
Embattled NZ First leader Winston Peters says he's "ready to fight for the party's policies the length and breadth of the country", and again blamed the media for his many troubles.
The party has already been on the road, with former Labour Finance Minister Roger Douglas explaining the party's "20 point plan", aimed at creating "a safer, stronger and more prosperous New Zealand that can foot it with Australia."
United Future meanwhile believes the election with give the party "a new mandate and a fresh start", and leader Peter "sensible" Dunne says they'll keep the next government "on track and honest".
The "Greens" are pleased the date has been set, after the party released its election materials last week. However Jeanette Fitzsimons is keen to see a fixed election date for New Zealand in the future.
While many opinion polls have the Greens as the largest minor party at the moment, they have traditionally done worse on election day than polling might have indicated.
Currently, 250,000 people have still not enrolled to vote, with electoral rolls due to close off on October 8.
100,000 of these are young people, who strangely seem to lean towards the 'Red-Greens' in higher numbers than the general population... possibly due to all that socialist brainwashing mandated at high schools and Universities.
Posted at 7:35 p.m.
PM Hillin Cluck has this afternoon announced her minority coalition Government will go to the polls on November 8th.
This is the second last weekend Labour could possibly have chosen for the General Election, with the last legal option (November 15th) being a major holiday weekend in Canterbury (traditional Labour territory), following the NZ Cup and Show week.
The US General Election is set down for Tuesday November 4th, so that is likely to take some of the media focus away from domestic politics a little in the fortnight before New Zealand's General Election.
The Labour leader said her party will be rolling out their new policies over the coming weeks (after spending the last week rolling out National's limp-wristed excuses for "policies").
Labour is hoping the fairly long election campaign, and factors like Commie Cullen's tax cuts and recent interest rate falls, will help pull the party back into contention.
It remains to be seen if New Zealand voters are as easily fooled as the Labour Party believes...
The response from National's John Key is due at 3.30 this afternoon.
Posted at 12:47 p.m. Thursday, 11 September 2008
Dunedin's local television station, Channel 9, decided to borrow a trick from Winston Raymond Peters ("63, List MP of no fixed abode" - (c) Whale Oil Beef Hooked) for an item on their local news this week.
The 9 Local News bulletin has a regular "Word on the Street" vox-pops segment, where they canvas the views of Dunedin residents about issues of the day/week.
Posted at 4:53 p.m. Wednesday, 10 September 2008
The arrogant minority coalition Government currently running the People's Republic of New Zullund have just condemned the small South Pacific country to a future of economic despair, all for a made-up "global threat".
Liabour's draconian "climate change legislation" has just been passed, thanks to Labour and its lackies the "Greens", the JAPs, and even the ex-party known as NZ First (despite the fact that the PM is about to cut Winston Peters (63, LMPONFA) loose).
The Green Party - who are normally opposed to free trade of any sort - seem quite happy to fully support the free trade of some dodgy theoretical "carbon credits" to the likes of Russia, Asia, and South America.
Voting against Labour's controversial bill were National, ACT, Maori Party, United Future, and independent MPs Gordon Copeland and Taito Phillip Field.
The legislation makes absolutely no sense, based on flawed computer & theoretical models from the IPCC puppets. The only reason New Zealand is becoming the first in the world to condemn its residents to $$$ for a "stealth tax" is to try and help PM Cluck win a new job with the UN one world Government group.
Don't look to John Key and Nick Smith for help though... their proposals are just as bad, and will do nothing to help out the average New Zealander.
In fact, Whale Oil has heard that National actually stopped the "Emissions Trading Scam" from going back to Select Committee... before putting on the public show of "voting against it".
This is a very dark day for our country. Any further planned tax cuts have been more than erased with the flow-on effects from this ETS scheme.
* Homepaddock: ETS law passed
* Whale Oil Beef Hooked: National puts ETS into law
Posted at 10:33 p.m.
Whale Oil has highlighted the shocking hypocrisy of the EPMU (Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union), who have fired their employee Shawn Tan, claiming he was on a "probationary contract".
The EPMU slammed the idea of a probationary period, angrily claiming that changes to workers rights would drive down wages, and it was "an attack on Kiwi values of decency and fairness in the workplace”.
National secretary Andrew Little claimed "there's never been a place in the world or a time in history where living standards and wages rose on the back of eroding work rights..." EPMU-funded Prime Minister Hillin Cluck labelled the plan "completely daft".
"EPMU - Proudly Representing New Zealand workers"
- EXCEPT the ones the EPMU employs themselves!?!
The EPMU have followed the totalarion doctrime of their Labour masters, in adopting and enacting that same "daft" contract on Shawn Tan, as well as breaking basic Human Rights legislation in discriminating against Tan because of his political beliefs.
Tan was suspended from his job at the union last month, after being announced as the #10 ranked candidate on ACT's party list. The EPMU sacked him on Tuesday night after four meetings, but Tan is considering legal action against the union for his unfair dismissal.
Posted at 6:42 p.m. Saturday, 6 September 2008
Everyone was a kid before they grew up (apparently)... Even foul mouthed celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey was little once...
Posted at 8:29 p.m. Friday, 5 September 2008
Popular energy drink Red Bull likes to sell itself in those tv adverts as giving you "wings", but it seems that doesn't hold true if you combine it with Vodka - a popular club mix.
Like many athletes, Russian high jumper Ivan Ukhov (one of the top jumpers in the world) had a drink of his favourite Red Bull, just before competing in the recent Lausanne Grand Prix event.
But being a patriotic Russian, Ukhov mixed the Red Bull with some good Russian vodka, which unfortunately hampered his high jumping efforts somewhat... rather than leaping over the high jump bar, Ukhov only managed a little jump underneath the bar, before stumbling back off the track...
Posted at 8:49 a.m.