Saturday, 19 December 2009

Hide saved by Key; Snap Election considered

ACT Party leader Rodney Hide survived a debate over his leadership last month, according to NZ Herald political reporter Audrey Young.

The challenge to Hide's leadership of ACT was apparently led by deputy leader Heather Roy, and party founder Sir Roger Douglas.

The debate came to a head in late November, following the controversy over Hide's use of his parliamentary overseas travel allowance for his partner Louise Crome. The trip wasn't seen as a good for prolific perk-buster Rodney Hide, although Sir Roger Douglas has also been a heavy user of the overseas travel entitlement, including personal family visits in England.

ACT's only electorate MP, Epsom-based Hide formally apologised to the party's board and MPs after the media controversy, and confirmed he would pay back all the travel costs.

However while the leadership issue was discussed, any considerations of a challenge were dropped, after Prime Minister John Key indicated dumping Hide as ACT leader could end the party's coalition support agreement with the National Party.
Key told Heather Roy that her own Consumer Affairs ministerial portfolio would be in danger if ACT chose a new leader. Audrey Young says the squabbling within the Government's two support parties - ACT and the Maori Party - had John Key considering the idea of a snap election.

If true, that just indicates the National Party still fails to understand the MMP system, and is blinded by polling. Key's snap election idea was to try and give the National Party an outright majority in Parliament, rather than relying on minor parties for support to put through legislation.

However, despite the apparent continuing honeymoon in the polls for National, it is highly unlikely that voting under NZ's MMP system would actually have resulted in the National Party winning over 50% of the vote.

Minor parties traditionally fare much better at election time than polling would suggest in the rest of the parliamentary cycle.
National has also alienated many of its traditional supporters recently, pushing through an unpopular (and totally unnecessary) Emissions Trading Scheme (to "keep pace with Australia"??!), along with a failure to roll back any of Labour's excessive welfare regimes.

Key also rejected the 87.4% vote in a citizens-initiated referendum about Sue Bradford's "anti-smacking" bill, essentially dismissing the views of 1,470,755 voters. Key and English were also lightening quick to dismiss suggestions from a taskforce led by Don Brash, looking at how to bridge the income gap with Australia by 2025.
The Nats are lucky that many supporters just could not stomach voting Labour, but they would be arrogant to think that jilted members wouldn't protest by finding another party to support in a snap election.

However, Key's strong support of Hide is somewhat interesting, given the media storm over the ACT leader's comments at a fundraiser in Christchurch. Hide told a table of guests that John Key "doesn't do anything", which was entirely correct but a comment obviously not welcomed by the Nats.

Hide (perhaps unfortunately) publicly apologised for those comments, despite being 100% on the money. The National-led Government has done very little to move New Zealand away from social engineering and socialist path engaged by Hillin Cluck's Labour Party over the previous 9 years.

It is certain that a Labour Government in the same position would not have moved so slowly, or been so cowardly in winding back decisions and programmes put in place by the previous administration.

Back in 2005, a slightly less wishy-washy John Key correctly slammed Labour's expansion of the Working for Families scheme as "communism by stealth", but he and English have since refused to scale back state spending even to "mid-Cullen" levels.

* NZ Herald - Key steps in to save Hide's Act job

* Stuff - Brash economic recommendations unheeded

* NZ Herald - Don Brash to Garth George: You're wrong

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Hanukkah Menorah lit in Dunedin's Octagon

Dunedin's small Jewish community marked the second last day of Hanukkah (or Chanukah) celebrations in New Zealand, by lighting a giant Menorah (candle) in the city's Octagon area.

Local Jewish people took turns lighting the nine-branched candelabrum of the Hanukkah Menorah, which commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

Known as 'the festival of lights', Hanukkah (חנוכה) was this year celebrated from sunset December 11th until sunset tonight (December 19th).

It's the first time a Menorah has been lit in Dunedin's Octagon. Rabbi Shmuel Kopel moved to the southern city earlier this year with his family, giving the Jewish community its first leader in over 70 years. He also opened the Chabad of Otago, in Dunedin's main street.

* - Hanukkah - Chanukah 2009

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Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Climate scepticism growing, despite media's best efforts

Is the tide starting to turn for the traditional news media, as more and more people turn to the internet and 'new media' to expand their information sources?

Newspapers, radio, and television can still choose whether or not to report a particular news story, but now the public have the ability to access that information themselves, turning to a wide range of sources to get a mix of opinions.

Earlier tonight, TV One's Close Up current affairs show ran a primetime television debate on global warming, between climate alarmist Gareth Morgan and climate skeptic Ian Wishart.

While the debate was relatively brief considering the topic, it was a rare chance for viewers to hear arguments as to why they should question the theory of man-made climate change, and why the common line "the science is settled" is so untrue.

Viewers were encouraged to register their vote as to whose views on climate change they believed... 77% supported Ian Wishart's view that climate change is not man made, while just 23% of voters believed Gareth Morgan's view that the IPCC party line is correct.

The arguments by the warmists have had a generous airing across all media outlets in recent weeks, but an overwhelming majority of viewers voting in this poll are clearly unmoved. And that's despite the heavily alarmist and emotional stories carried by both major tv networks earlier in the evening on the start of the Copenhagen talks.

Ian Wishart believes the credibility of the climate science community has been damaged by the Climategate leaked emails scandal, which revealed evidence of data tampering and the rejection of any alternate viewpoints.

The massive growth in blogs, along with social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, is now putting real pressure on the increasingly mis-named "mainstream media".

The Climategate scandal was broken online by bloggers, it was spread quickly across the world by bloggers (plus Twitterers and Facebookers), until it was finally picked by major print and broadcast media outlets around the world.

The media do their absolute darndest to ensure the Green movement get only positive publicity, and as much as possible. The time honoured theory of media balance (as in canvassing the opinions of both sides) does not to be as important, if that story has anything to do with green or liberal issues.

The initial (albeit begrudging) coverage of "Climate-gate" by the msm has since grown into genuine commentary and investigative research, as some of the world's top reporters look into the scale of coverups by the climate change brigade.

Ian Wishart himself sums up the situation well... "The poll illustrates that with nearly 90% of the population wired online now, mainstream media can no longer assume that just because they refuse to cover a story, nobody will hear about it."

* - Bombshell Poll on Climate Change – 77% don’t believe!

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Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Aussies dump ETS; CRU dumps Phil Jones

National's rush to force through their evil Emissions Trading Scheme seems pretty stupid now, with Australia's equivalent ETS flushed down the toilet, after Tony Abbott took over the leadership of the Liberal Party.

Under former leader Malcolm Turnball, the Liberals had been working with the Rush government to support a bi-partisan ETS.
However the Australian Senate has tonight voted down Rudd's Labour Party ETS bill by 41 to 33 (with 2 Liberal Senators crossing the floor). The defeat of the ETS is likely to lead to Kevin Rudd calling an early election in Australia.

Tony Abbott has called the ETS "a $120 billion tax on the Australian public... just for starters", and said he wasn't frightened of fighting an early election on the ETS issue.

A secret ballot of the Liberal Party's caucus after Abbott's leadership win confirmed his fellow MPs were opposed to the ETS, despite claims from opponents that "skeptics and extremists" had taken over the party.

Opposition MPs and senators said they were "inundated with emails from the public urging them to block the scheme". Abbot said he wasn't convinced about the urgent need to address the climate change issue in this way.
“If you look at Roman times, grapes grew up against Hadrian’s Wall. In the 1700s they had ice fairs on the Thames. So the world has been significantly hotter, significantly colder than it is now. We’ve coped.”
Here in New Zealand, even the National Party's own supporters are concerned about the long term implications of Nick Smith and John Key's ambitious and costly scheme. New Zealand looks like being one of the few countries (possibly the only one) to implement such a wide reaching climate change programme.

At least four countries are planning to jointly walk out of the Copenhagen conference if the richer nations try to force their terms on the developing world. Those rebels so far include China, India, Brazil, and South Africa, with other nations considering their options.

Whale Oil has called on National MPs to have the balls to front up to the country, admit they were wrong, and urgently repeal the ETS and "other climate change bullshit". He'd like to see a secret ballot on the MPs views on Climate Change, and even suggests firing National's resident warmist Nick Smith, who has led the charge towards bankruptcy.

His latest update sums up National's rush to the head perfectly...
"So we will go to Copenhagen as the ONLY country in the world to have implemented an ETS, the ONLY country in the world to have exposed our economy and industry to the vast Ponzi scheme ever invented, a scheme that is based on shonky science and downright lies.

We will be the laughing stock of the world now as the world realises that Al Gore and his almost conned the whole of humanity with the greatest fraud yet conceived since Ponzi first lent his name to that type of fraud."

Meanwhile, good news from the UK, with Climate change marketer Phil Jones forced to step down from his job as head of the Climate Research Unit, while an independent investigation is carried out.

Jones was one of the many scientists caught up in the Climategate saga, where thousands of emails were leaked online, revealing evidence of data tampering and bullying tactics against scientists who opposed the official line of man-made climate change. Jones wrote of using a "trick" to "hide the decline" in a chart of global temperatures.

America's Prof Michael Mann, creator of the infamous hockey stick diagram (popularised in Al Gore's dodgy film) is also under investigation. Penn State University say they will be investigating issues raised in the leaked emails, but will not discuss the matter publicly until they have reviewed the concerns that have been raised.

And here in New Zealand, ACT Party leader Rodney Hide has called on the Government to investigate the behaviour of NIWA ('National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research'), after questions were raised over the accuracy of data and graphs released by the state-funded agency.

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Friday, 27 November 2009

Copenhagen a front for One World Agenda

The backlash against National's amended Emissions Trading Scheme is continuing, but the ruling party seems unfazed by the negative reaction from critics on both the left and the right.

National managed this week to pass its version of a multi-billion dollar ETS, after buying the support of the Maori Party when the ACT Party wouldn't offer its votes.

Meanwhile ACT leader Rodney Hide has called for an investigation into whether New Zealand's NIWA fiddled its data, in a Kiwi Climategate of its own.

The so-called "mainstream media" (particularly the ones in NZ) have been obediently following the instructions of their masters, by trying to stifle and bury the dramatic revelations of 'Climategate'.

These leaked emails from the UK's Climate Research Unit revealed the lengths the UN's select group of scientists are prepared to go to, in order to protect their crumbling theories of man-made climate change, by falsifying data, peer-reviewing each other's work, and using bully tactics to discredit anyone who disagrees with their story.

Whale Oil notes that the NZ Herald has finally decided to give the saga a comprehensive airing - complete with excerpts from the dodgy emails - after largely ignoring it for the last week (along with certain NZ TV networks).

The climate crusaders are desperately hoping Climategate won't affect their plans at the Copenhagen talks, after working to 'stack the deck' with one-worlders who will push a global governance agenda under the pretext of climate change.

The Flu Case reports Lykke Friis has been appointed by the Danish government to chair the United Nations' climate change summit in Copenhagen in December.

(She replaces Bilderberg member Connie Hedegaard, who has conveniently been nominated for the new job of Climate Commissioner for the European Union, overseeing the EU's planned emissions cuts programme, aimed at kneecapping western economies in Europe).

Ms Friis is a member of the Trilateral Commission, which bills itself as a "non-governmental, policy-oriented discussion group". It was founded by David Rockefeller and Zbigniew Brzezinski, and despite its claims to the contrary, has a known agenda of creating and promoting a one-world government.

The Commission's philosophy is pro-Marxist and pro-socialist. It is against the idea of national sovereignty and governing frameworks like the US Constitution, which only get in the way of creating the New World Order.

Another Bilderberg member, Herman Van Rompuy, recently became president of the EU, seen as a 'building block' in the move towards a one-world government.

Van Rompuy called 2009 the "first year of global governance", and said the “climate conference in Copenhagen is another step towards the global management of our planet.” He also announced this month a plan to implement EU-wide taxes, which would be paid directly to the EU head office in Brussels.

Lord Christopher Monckton (a former science adviser to Margaret Thatcher) says the real purpose of the Copenhagen conference "is to use global warming hype as a pretext to lay the foundation for a one-world government".

The one-worlders have already drafted a climate-change treaty, which they will encourage politicians to sign in Copenhagen.

The draft text includes the provision to set up a trans-national "government", which would have the power to "directly intervene in the financial, economic, tax and environmental affairs of all the nations that sign the Copenhagen treaty."

Developed countries will be forced to pay an "adaptation debt" (of up to US$140 billion a year by 2020), theoretically to support "climate change mitigation" in the developing world. One suggested option is a global levy of 2% on international financial market transactions by industrialised countries.

In a recent interview on Australian radio, Lord Christopher Monckton warned of "the powers that are going to be given to this entirely unelected government that are so frightening."

Lord Monckton also warned Americans that "in the next few weeks, unless you stop it, your president will sign your freedom, your democracy and your prosperity away forever."

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key isn't planning to attend the summit in Copenhagen, but unfortunately National's resident misguided tree-hugger Nick Smith is flying there, under the guise of "Climate Change Issues Minister".

Hopefully Smith and other politicians can resist the urge to sign away the freedom (and incomes) of their respective populations.

* Watts Up With That (Excellent Climate Change blog that broke the ClimateGate story)

* - NZ’s NIWA accused of CRU-style temperature faking

* - The Day The Science Died...

* NZ Herald - A climate scandal, or is it just hot air?

* The Wall Street Journal - Has Anyone Read the Copenhagen Agreement? U.N. plans for a new 'government' are scary

* The Flu Case - Trilateralist Replaces Bilderberger to Chair Copenhagen Summit

And if you haven't seen this video clip taken from Lord Monckton's recent speech, take 4 minutes to watch it now and educate yourselves on the frightening plan by the Communist one-worlders.

A dire warning to Americans - and everyone else in the world - about what the United Nations' Climate Change Treaty actually means...

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Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Good time for an Israel Vacation?

I recently had a good 5 weeks vacation overseas, spending the first half of my trip in London, Paris and Stockholm, before flying over to New York and having short city stops in Boston and San Francisco on the way home.

Travelling from New Zealand you lose a good day or two at either end, with both the long flight times, and the inevitable jet lag.

The last time I managed to do a good multi-stop holiday was when I was living in the UK. I did one of those Top Deck group bus packages, which was a great way of seeing the popular sights in some of the main cities in Western Europe (as well as a few days in Prague). I also managed to visit Poland a couple of years back, to catch up with a friend I met working at summer camp in the United States.

There's still many countries and cities on my "To Do" travel list. I want to visit South Africa (I have friends there from both the Top Deck tour and from summer camp days), and also travel to the Middle East, including Egypt, Jordan, and Israel. I've always been a big fan of Egyptian mythology, so the Pyramids and related attractions would be high on my list.

I have also noticed that a number of campers I've kept in contact with from my summer camp days have been reconnecting with their Jewish roots, with vacations to Israel. Some of these I know were in organised groups, which is probably a safe way of doing it considering the volatile nature of that area.

I want to visit Israel to see and experience all of its history, including the historical landmarks and places of biblical significance, like Jerusalem, Mount Zion, the Wailing Wall, the Dead Sea, Bethlehem, and other attractions which seem to be included in religious tours from the main cities.

Although many Americans travel to Israel every day, officially the US State Department has a travel warning in place relating to the potential risks of travelling to Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.

They caution Americans in particular to be careful around restaurants, shopping centres, and businesses (especially those of US brands), as well as local bus stations. However, again it sounds like being part of an organised group is the best idea, especially one with a local guide who knows the best places and times to go.

The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) have a strong presence on the streets and around these sorts of places. The sight of armed soldiers is apparently quite common, and I have seen a few photos of friends posing with soldiers (and with their guns in one case), although that's not really a recommended practice!

I know that direct flights do go from major cities in the United States to Israel, although it can be cheaper to go via the UK, and pick up Flights to Tel Aviv from London or other cities there.

I'm hoping to travel with a group when I do manage to organise a vacation to the Middle East. There are good Israeli travel tips here to read up on, to help ensure a safer trip.

One recommendation is to make Israel the last visit on a travel itinerary, to avoid any issues over Israeli passport stamps from countries which don't recognise the Jewish state.

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Monday, 16 November 2009

Herald cartoon hits nail on the head

NZ Herald cartoonist 'Body' understands rebel Maori Party MP Hone Harawira well. I'm sure he would probably prefer a New Zealand without all the annoying white people, going by the language in his recent email exchange.

* NZ Herald - Cartoon: That'll Please Hone

Despite the public protestations of inclusion, many within the Maori Party are still well grounded in their ideas of Maori separatism and Maori sovereignty.

Some understand that these ideals can be furthered by promoting individual responsibility, with funding for the likes of health and education following the individual (allowing for Maori education Maori health providers).

However others within the party (like Hone) can't see the woods for the trees, and want to cling to the big tax, nanny state control of their beloved Labour Party.

It is unfortunate that the National Party has been hijacked by Nick Smith's blind ambition to force through an unpopular, expensive, and totally unnecessary scheme to buy faux "carbon credits", especially when few other countries have anything similar passed into law.

Admittedly, doing absolutely nothing isn't an option (otherwise Labour's equally silly law comes in by default from January next year), but all that is needed is to repeal that bad bill, and agree not to put anything else in its place.

What in actual fact is the Government going to be "buying" with all our taxpayer money?? Carbon credits and the whole idea of a "trading scheme" for a natural gas is a huge farce, and one that more and more people are waking up to (despite the ongoing one-sided propaganda promoted by all those stupid journalists who swallow the PR fed by the IPCC's spokespeople.)

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Sunday, 8 November 2009

Nickelback visit Auckland, Wayne not there

Grammy award-winning Canadian rock band Nickelback recently stopped in on New Zealand, for a one-off concert at Vector Arena in Auckland.

Unfortunately Wayne could not be there. Here's a message from Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger and guitarist Ryan Peake to Wayne...

* More stars disappointed that 'Wayne could not be here' here...

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Thursday, 22 October 2009

New World Scraps Plastic Bag Charge

Well done New World for deciding to axe its unpopular plastic bag levy for South Island customers. The supermarket chain has listened to its customers and dropped the controversial 5 cent per bag charge at its 40 South Island supermarkets. The decision follows a similar backtrack at its North Island stores last month.

The 5c levy was introduced by Foodstuffs in August, across all 3 of its supermarket brands (New World, Pak 'n Save, and Four Square). Rival supermarket operator, Progressive Enterprises, chose not to respond with a similar bag charge at its Countdown, Woolworths, and Foodtown supermarkets.

Foodstuffs says the New World policy resulted in a 65% reduction in plastic bag usage, but admits the backtrack is the result of a continued negative customer feedback. The company admits it did lose customers when bag charging was introduced, but claims this was balanced by gaining new customers.
"Individual customers objected saying they did not feel they should have to purchase plastic bags. Some were quite loud in their feedback. We have listened to that noise and stopped the levy."
Profits from the plastic bag sales were destined for "environmental charities", although Foodstuffs says similar donations will continue to be made by the company itself.

Interestingly Foodstuffs' plastic bag levy will continue at the company's Pak 'n Save and Four Square supermarkets, where apparently negative customer reaction has been less of an issue.

Maybe customers of the cut-price Pak 'n Save chain accepted the charge as part of the deal of getting cheaper groceries, but the same argument doesn't hold up for the small Four Square supermarkets.
As far as I know The Warehouse also still has its 10 cent bag levy in place (I have always tried to avoid the dodgy red sheds, long before this policy came in).

The bag charging policy as an incentive to reduce plastic bag usage is an interesting one. I note that overseas in the UK, and US Cities like San Francisco, stores offer customers a rebate of up to 10 cents for using their own bags.

Some people have suggested a return to the old brown paper bags, but research reveals paper bags actually generate 70% more air pollutants than plastic, and 50 times more water pollutants. It also takes 4 times as much energy to construct a paper bag, and uses 84 times as much energy to recycle.

The Green Party is again calling for the Government to legislate a mandatory levy on supermarket plastic bags, rather than leaving it up to individual companies and consumers to make their own decisions. Foodstuffs says it will continue to promote reusable supermarket bags as an option for customers.

* ODT - Foodstuffs drops charge for plastic bags

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Monday, 19 October 2009

Rugby Schmugby, I want a refund!

Well I'm back from my long overseas vacation, but with all the dramas here in NZ over the last week or so, I'm starting to wish I was still on holiday!

You better enjoy Rugby World Cup 2011... You're all going to be paying a helluva lot for the "privilege" of having the event come to New Zealand. The country is far less 'rugby mad' these days, but you wouldn't know it going by all the dramas over RWC TV rights, and the growing bills for the taxpayer.

Rugby World Cup 2011 organiser Martin Snedden admitted at the weekend that the event is expected to lose around $40 million. Apparently the NZ Government has kindly agreed to foot the bill for 2/3 of the RWC-2011 loss, with the NZ Rugby Union picking up the remaining third.

Nice, so taxpayers are up for a mandatory $26 million bill to pay for the event, as well as the additional public money being forked out for TV rights.
The Government today officially announced it's backing a joint bid by state broadcasters Maori Television and TVNZ, along with commercial rival TV3 for the free to air tv rights. The Ministry of Maori Development (Te Puni Kōkiri) will also give Maori Television additional funding towards "related services" for the RWC broadcasting project.

Apart from the serious question over why on earth the taxpayer should be subsidising the broadcast tv rights for a sports tournament (when those who actually want to see it can easily subscribe to Sky TV and see them all there!)... the thing that has baffled me the most is the political debate over Maori Television's bid.
The so-called mainstream media seem to have accepted the idea that the Maori Party is essentially the same organisation as Maori Television. Because the two groupings share the word "Maori", the Maori Party seem to believe Maori TV is their own personal tv station to play with?!

The Maori Television Service (MTS) is a fully state-funded broadcaster, which has managed to expand its initial brief and now broadcasts two tv channels, Maori Television and Te Reo. TVNZ is also a state-owned broadcaster, which decided it couldn't afford to bid for the free-to-air tv rights for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

It was therefore a bit far fetched to suggest that Maori Television *could* afford the rights, given its much smaller audience, lack of nationwide coverage, and slim advertising potential.

The only way Maori TV was going to be able to afford to snatch the rights from its state-owned older brother was by getting a much larger handout from the taxpayer. TV3 had also been in the bidding hunt, given it had rights to the previous RWC in 2007.

John Key says the financial details relating to how much public money will be invested in the "joint bid" by Maori TV, TVNZ, and TV3 will be revealed in due course (if the bid is accepted by the International Rugby Board).

The joint bid will see Maori Television broadcast all 40 World Cup games (16 live, 32 delayed). Maori TV will share the opening ceremony and opening game (All Blacks v Tonga) with TVNZ. The All Blacks v France pool game will be shared between Maori TV and TV3. Pay broadcaster Sky TV is planning to screen all the games live on its Sky Sport and Rugby Channels.

The quarter-finals, semi-finals, and final will screen live on at least four NZ television channels (now that's real choice for New Zealand viewers?! That doesn't even happen with the Queen's Christmas message these days!)

And the Government spending of your hard-owned tax dollars doesn't end there... Tourism New Zealand is also spending money faster than you can say "Where's my tax cuts Mr Key?".

Their giant rugby ball building is heading to Tokyo this month, to coincide with the All Blacks vs Wallabies Bledisloe Cup test. The 25 metre-long, 17-metre wide 'blow-up ball' plays visitors a 10 minute 360 degree virtual tour of New Zealand.

The ball cost $3.5 million to build and was originally used during the 2007 RWC, costing $907,000 for a two week stay below the Eiffel Tower. An eight day stint beside Tower Bridge in 2008 cost $1.7 million.
Now the inflatable ball is about to sit beneath the Tokyo Tower for seven days, at a cost to taxpayers of almost $400,000 a day!! I don't consider that good value for money!?!

Tourism New Zealand say the promotion's aimed at boosting the country's image and brand in the lucrative Japanese market. At a cost of $2.7 million, someone must be expecting one helluva lot of visitors over those six days the exhibit is open to the public. (Although the oval-shaped building can hold just 220 people at any one time).

* Stuff - World Cup losses expected around $40 million

* Stuff - Rugby ball's Tokyo visit costs $400,000 a day

* No Minister - When Bullshit Reigns Supreme

* Liberty Scott - Taxpayer and TV rights

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Thursday, 27 August 2009

"Edgy" Baby T-shirts Slammed as Offensive

Angry PC parents have forced Aussie clothing retailer Cotton On to pull a controversial line of baby clothes from the shelves in Australia and New Zealand.

The T-shirts featured "edgy" slogans for babies which many parents found offensive, including "I'm a tits man", "I'm living proof my mum is easy", "The condom broke", "I'm bringing sexy back", "Mummy likes it on top", and "They shake me".

Popular online parenting blog Mamamia sparked the initial email and Twitter campaign against the company, after readers took offence to the new Cotton On Kids range.

The company was chastised by one reader... "What the hell are you people thinking and how dare you try to turn children into the sickest kind of human billboards to advertise your smart arse and grossly insensitive slogans?".

Family and children lobby groups called on parents to boycott the company, including Family First New Zealand and the National Council of Women.

In a statement, Cotton On said the company was "unaware until recently that the slogans were being viewed as offensive and that they could progressively cause this extent of angst amongst consumers and social groups alike".

"Although these products are intentionally edgy and irreverent, and the succession of this range was driven by demand, the recent attention implies that the slogans in question have crossed the line. The Cotton On Group ... extends an apology to those who have been affected by the slogans."

Cotton On Kids says it will "continue to service a market that demands confident and edgy clothing that pushes boundaries" but that the company will "review the ongoing slogans range to ensure no reference is made to categories pertaining to sexually explicit behaviour, child abuse, drugs and profanity."

The National Council for Women NZ claims the current system of self-regulation allowed retailers to push the boundaries of what was considered socially acceptable, and were only forced to act responsible when cornered by public pressure.

I reckon Aussie and Kiwi parents are just disappointed it's taken this long to get something other than clothing with pink flowers and blue trucks for their kids. Popular US online t-shirt retailer T-Shirt Hell has been doing a hilarious range of "vaguely offensive" babies t-shirts for years!...

* Stuff - Offensive T-shirts to be removed
* HeraldSun - Mums outraged over saucy messages on infant clothes

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Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Credit Cards popular for Paying Monthly Bills

A survey released this week found over a quarter of New Zealanders are planning to use their credit cards to pay some of their upcoming bills.

The "Consumer credit expectations" online survey conducted by Dun and Bradstreet found that 28% of respondents intended to use credit to pay bills they can't afford over the next quarter.

20% of those surveyed are also planning to apply for some form of credit over the next few months, with 7% looking to increase the limit on their credit card/s. Younger people seem to be be easily attracted to easy credit, with over a third happy to use credit for things they couldn't afford.

Unfortunately good financial literacy isn't taught at most schools, which probably explains the startling 55% of those aged 18-34 say they're couldn't afford to live on savings for even one month if they lost their jobs.

However the survey did also find that debit cards are now in higher demand than credit cards. It also revealed that the majority of people planning to make a major purchase in the next few months are intending to fund it through existing savings.

Credit cards are very handy things, provided you're disciplined when using them. I put as many of my bills and purchases as possible on my credit card, both for convenience and to increase the balance of my Air NZ Airpoints account.

These benefits also include taking advantage of the credit card's interest free period, provided you pay off the balance in full. Banks would obviously prefer you didn't do this, as failing to pay your full balance kicks in those hefty interest charges of around 20%.

If you are using your credit card as a rolling credit facility with a permanent balance, you should look for one of the low interest/no fees cards banks are now offering. Otherwise you should look for the bank and card offering the best rewards programme or package that suits you.

This Australian site reviews and compares the different credit card deals and programmes on offer in Australia. Here in New Zealand, a good place to start is Consumer magazine, which regularly monitors credit cards and reward programmes.

Gold (and Platinum) cards are often a good choice for frequent travellers. They do have higher annual fees, but usually offer free travel insurance which makes up for the difference in cost. Many also offer reward points linked to airline frequent flyer programmes, based on your monthly spend.

* NZ Herald: Savings would last month for many

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Saturday, 4 July 2009

UK Government's Global Warming Propaganda

Despite soaring deficits, the UK Government is spending up on an alarmist propaganda campaign to promote the false religion of global warming.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change is issuing a brochure, which will be distributed through public libraries across the United Kingdom.

The big budget advertising campaign is being launched to coincide with a statement by Prime Minister Gordon Brown on "the UK's role in climate change". Brown is expected to commit the UK to ambitious emissions cuts at the UN's big climate meeting in Copenhagen in December.

The Government will try and hand out 20,000 brochures from each public library, with the Energy and Climate Change Secretary insisting "it is essential we engage the British public in what we are trying to sign up to and what we are discussing in the coming months".

The EU (which the UK will be negotiating as part of) has set a target of a 20% cut in "greenhouse gas emissions" by 2020, but the UK Government is keen to push the target to over 30%.

The scaremongering pamphlet claims that "the UK faces summer heat-related deaths, sea level rises and food shortages by the end of the century as a result of global warming."

But it says British workers can avoid "catastrophic floods and droughts caused by climate change" by walking to work, hanging clothes out to dry rather than using a tumble dryer, taking showers rather than baths, and putting less water in the kettle. Haha!

A physics professor and proud warmist from Cambridge University, David Mackay, goes further. He says small acts by citizens can help, including becoming a vegetarian, flying less often, joining a car club, and supporting renewables like wind farms".

The British Labour Government is also spending money on a new website, "Act on Copenhagen", which will apparently give faithful global warming followers "more tips about how to save carbon". There will also be a CO2 Calculator, which the Government reckons will "enable people to work out how much carbon they use in their daily lives". Whatever.

* - Government pamphlet urges people to walk to work to stop climate change

Meanwhile New Zealand broadcaster TV3 seems to have been doing its bit to promote the great climate change fraud. Nightline news presenter Samantha Hayes has been with Greenpeace in the Cook Islands, filing a series of reports on the supposed effects there of Climate Change.

To my ear, the reports happily promoted the mainstream-media party line of the mythological great global warming disaster that we're unfortunately all too used to being lectured on by the warmists.

However, one of the news stories prompted New Zealand blogger Hot Topic to fire off an angry rant, slamming TV3 because the news report apparently included the small phrase “while the science is far from settled…”, as a token form of balance.

In the arrogant mind of 'Hot Topic', apparently even 7 little words of "balance" should not be allowed, in case any member of the public dares question the religious order of global warming. Gobsmacked I was! Srsly ;-)

I know lefties/warmists are usually pretty arrogant in their approach to life, but it did surprise me that one would have such a grumpy rant about a series of stories that blatantly pushed their own wacky theories for 95% of the time!?

* Global Warming - Lies, facts, myths, and truths

* TBR.CC - I did warn you of this in Air Con...

* Order Ian Wishart's new book "Air Con: The Seriously Inconvenient Truth About Global Warming" here

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