Friday, September 30, 2005

Personal Responsibility

Just found this site – Overlawyered.com. Chronicling the high cost of our legal system”.

Under Personal Responsibility, they list a whole host of articles that show just how far political correctnedd (combined with the USA’s legal system) has gone, leading to people not taking any responsibility for their actions, and the consequences of these actions.

Some examples:

"'Drunken Driver's Widow Wins Court's OK To Sue Carmaker'"

"Don't rock the Coke machine"

"'Robber sues clerk who shot him during holdup'"

“Hospital rapist sues hospital”

"Claim: docs should have done more to help woman quit smoking and lose weight"

"'Barbed wire might hurt burglars, pensioner warned'"

"Pitcher, hit by line drive, sues maker of baseball bat"

And of course, from New Zealand:
"Fat tax proposed in New Zealand",

However, here are my favourites:

"'Barbed wire might hurt burglars, pensioner warned'"

In Northampton, England, 94-year-old Ruby Barber has finally gotten permission from the borough council to put barbed wire on her garden walls after suffering four break-ins to her bungalow over the past year and a half. The council granted permission "as long as she uses warning signs and agrees to take full responsibility if a would-be intruder is injured". Her son Burt, who lives nearby, said: "It is bordering on the ridiculous to say that if they hurt themselves getting in here I am responsible. The Queen has got it all around Buckingham Palace and if it is good enough for her it is good enough for my mother. She is the Queen to me."

"Claim: docs should have done more to help woman quit smoking and lose weight"

A Wilkes-Barre woman is suing several doctors at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, saying the physicians did not do enough to assist her in making life changes -- including quitting smoking and losing weight -- that might have prevented a debilitating heart attack she suffered." Kathleen Ann McCormick's suit "says the physicians knew she had multiple risk factors to develop heart disease" but dismissed her symptoms as "basically normal and non-life threatening" and failed to put her on aggressive anti-cholesterol medication, as well as failing to help her with the smoking and weight issues.

It amazes me people think they don’t have to be responsible for their own lives anymore.

It's democracy, stupid

One thing that is really annoying me is all the whinging from ACT supporters, about how National did not give them any life-lines in the election. It's democracy, dammit. If the NZ people don't think you should be in parliament, then you shouldn't be in the parliament - sorry.

Very similiar is the comments from Richard Prebble that MMP is flawed, because it "robbed the centre-right of a victory". No Dickie, what robbed the centre-right of victory was not getting enough votes. Now shut up and go away - you retired, remember?

Lessons for National? Not really, No

Jordan Carter has done a piece on what he thinks the lessons for National from the last election are. I thought I might as well post my thoughts on his comments.

Race. The Treaty-bashing stance worked to consolidate support around National from across the centre-right, but did not shift votes off Labour. The liberal middle of NZ politics will not allow National to form a government until it moves beyond stale formulations designed to divide Kiwis against each other.

Firstly, let me say that I do not think that National was “playing the race card” as so many commentators have been saying. I believe that the actions of National would have been to actually remove the “race-card” from play. I think National’s policies were not designed to divide Kiwis against each other, but rather to bring us together. I think that maybe National did get its blurred – they should said that National did not want many different groups fighting, as is not the situation, but rather that NZ is a diverse country, we appreciate that, but race is not a fair way of funding etc.

Tax. National will need to re-think their tax policy. I would not mind betting that come the next election, there will be no $7bn budget surplus to splurge away in wasted individualised tax cuts.

I think this old old saying sums up National’s view: give a man a fish, feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime. Labour is giving out a lot of fish (and they will be giving out a lot more by the truckload), and because of that, people don’t see the need to try to improve their situation. Why should they? Why bother working harder if they are just going to get taxed more? They are better off staying at home and trying to have more kids.

The fact that the left of the Australian Labor party has come out in support of tax cuts shows that it is in fact NZ Labour that must rethink their tax policy. As David Farrar says, “Australian Labor's Julia Gillard, generally regarded as being on the left of the party, has come out and endorsed tax cuts. This leaves NZ Labour as being almost the only party in the world, left or right, which doesn't support tax reduction”.

Here are some quotes from the article about Julia Gillard that NZ Labour should listen to:

“Launching a book on the Labor Party, Ms Gillard urged her party to put the national interest ahead of sectional interests to become relevant to all Australians.”

“For "those who aspire to move beyond welfare to work, a cut in tax is not just as good a way of increasing a breadwinner's take-home pay as a rise in wages, it is a better way", she said.”

Never a truer word was said.

Diversity. The election shows that the forces of progress and diversity - either representing ethnic communities, national minorities or in one case a mainstream political party home to all the hues that Kiwis are, convincingly achieved more votes than the parties which claimed to speak for a ""mainstream"" which is at least thirty years out of date. National's dalliance with white picket fences, if continued, can only lead to permanent minority status as New Zealand continues to grow and change.

Sure, NZ does continue to grow and change. I don’t see how this is the governments business, really. Labour and their supporters need to stop thinking that people are stupid and let them live their lives. NZ is going to change whether or not they try to push it along. Yes National definition of mainstream was wrong (I have said that many times), but I don’t think that you can say National has a “dalliance with white picket fences”. I think that Jordan is confusing National’s desire for everyone to achieve their best, with his party’s desire to control everything.

Detail. It was alarming how thin-on-the-ground National's policy positions were on many areas. After six years in opposition, you'd expect a party that was serious about government to have well-thought-through positions on all the major areas of policy. They didn't. Not only that, many of their MPs and candidates seemed unaware of what the policy was where it did happen to exist.

This paragraph I agree with. Hopefully now with a lot of new MPs, they can get together in little groups over the next three years and come out with something that actually says what and HOW they are going to run the country.

These are just a few thoughts – any comments?

What is wrong with New Zealand?

These quotes are from Stuff, regarding the sentencing of Donna Awatere Huata (and her husband) for fraud.

I think they sum up quite nicely one of the things that are wrong with NZ today.

During sentencing Wi Huata's transgender sibling Hira Huata stood up in the public gallery and accused the court of administering "white man's justice".
…….…
The Pipi foundation was set up by Awatere Huata in 1999 to help literacy and social skills of under-privileged Maori children and over three years received more than $840,000 in Government funding.

The Serious Fraud Office said the duo stole $82,000 from the Government funded Pipi Foundation and then tried to cover up their crime by altering the books and asking people to lie for them.

Some of the stolen money was used to pay for Awatere Huata's stomach stapling operation and some was used to pay private school fees for the couple's children. Awatere Huata, 56, entered Parliament in 1996 after years of activism for Maori causes, including the promotion of literacy and education programmes for Maori.”


Problem: some people believe that it is ok to steal money that was earmarked to help kids learn to read, because they are Maori. They believe that not ripping kids off is strictly for the white man.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Election thoughts

Well the election is now over, and until now I have resisted saying anything about it. However, after some reflection today, I though I may as well post why I think National did not win the benches of power.

I don’t think the use of the “mainstream” phrase was the reason, as some left-wing bloggers have suggested. However, I do think that the definition that Brash gave was very sub-par. I have already posted about how I think he should have defined it, and I think that had he defined it in a way that was inclusive of all people (regardless of race) that subscribe to the National Party’s philosophy of rewarding hard work, it would have actually been an asset. Instead, Don decided to alienate anyone who wasn’t white, heterosexual, working (not that this was a problem really), and yes most likely male. It was as mistake.

I think National/Brash also made a mistake by saying that the only aspect of Maori culture that should be saved is their language. I love the Maori culture. I love everything about it – I think true Maori culture would be great for those young Maoris out there who need some direction. My belief is that we don’t want to remove anything from the Maoris – their language and culture should always be safeguarded by the NZ government.

This is where I think National got confused – under Labour, Maoris have been given special treatment (and you can’t disagree with this – Labour looked through their own legislation and found examples of it), National wanted a return to need-based funding. Ok, good – we all agree. However, that does not mean that you have to remove all aspects of Maori culture!!

Despite their best intentions to not resort to attacking the player, I think National should have made more of the mistakes etc that the Labour ministers have made in the last 6 years. Sir Humphreys compiled a list, and it is quite a long one. Helen Clark went on about credibility, and attacked Brash for not having any. He should have just started listing her little things (like signing a painting that she hadn’t painted) and she would have shut up (actually she would have laughed her maniacal little laugh, which is more effective at turning people off her in my opinion). It has been said that the painting thing etc have all been voted on before be the voting public, since we have had elections since then. However, I believe that the National party was not absolutely crap last election that they were still fair game.

The media in NZ are crap. How they can justify spending so long on the Brethrens pamphlet (where a religious group was fulfilling their democratic right), and then not even MENTION that fact that Labour had put our fake eviction notices in National’s name? These eviction notices caused one lady with intellectual disabilities to become distressed because she thought she was being evicted. When asked about it, what does Labour say? I understand how it may cause distress, but we did nothing wrong!! HOW AROGANT IS THAT? To me, this reinforced the bad shape that Labour is in philosophically. They think they are “the party of the people”, but actually Labour no longer cares about the people. They only care about their special interest groups and the rest can get stuffed. And I am sorry, but I do actually believe this.

ACT supporters really need to stop saying that National gave them no support etc. This is a democracy, and if you can’t get people to vote for your party, then it shouldn’t exist. Simple. If you need another party to bail you out every election, then you are not helping anyone. Sure, you may think that your party is the best way forward for NZ (and you are most likely right), but it is the NZ public that chose the government based on what they think. If you want to be a credible political support, don’t expect handouts. You must live or die based on your policies (it may not help that NZ has become so afraid of the “extreme” right after years of Clark saying that the only way to govern is to tax the shit out of us that they now believe). Also, why did no one ever mention in public that all the ex-Soviet states that have gone to a flat tax actually increased their tax take?

No doubt I will have more insights soon, and when I do I will post them to.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Paging Dr. Don

Now I don't for a minute think that anyone from the National party is actually reading my blog (and they certainly arn't commenting!), but for the sake of procrastination I thought I would write a little bit about some of the moves I think Don should pull on Helen at the last leaders debate on Thursday.

"Mainstream New Zealand": Ok, this one is easy to spin. A mainstream NZer is someone that loves New Zealand. A mainstream NZer can be of any race, colour or creed. A mainstream NZer is someone who works hard for themselves and their family. A mainstream NZer is someone who wants to be rewarded for working hard. A mainstream NZer is someone who wants to get ahead.

The Bretherans: A little bit harder to spin since he did make a massive hash of it. However, now that he has admitted his mistake, it had become a little bit easier. Just keep saying that NZ is a democracy, and if these people want to spend their own, hard-earned money then that is their right under NZ law. Not a bad idea to say "that is their right, even if I personally do not agree with their beleifs". Would also be a good time to talk about the massive amounts of money being spent by the Unions to advertise for Labour. Also worth mentioning that the Unions receive tax payer money (according to IP) and would be unable to fund their anti-National campaign if they did not receive this tax payer money.

Tax-cut bribes: A bribe by definition is "Something, such as money or a favor, offered or given to a person in a position of trust to influence that person's views or conduct".. Point out that not taking money from people so that they can decide the best way to spend their own money is not a bribe, while taking money from them so that you can give it back if they vote for you is, by definition, a clear bribe.

Service cuts: Firstly, don't just stand there saying "John, John John". Interject - loudly, so that the camera must come back to you. Say "That is an outright lie. You know as well as I do Helen, that you have pumped billions in the health system and all you have done is increased the level of beauracracy. A National-led government will decrease waiting lists by using all the assets available to us, including private hospitals, so that New Zealanders get the healthcare they deserve". Also repeat that no doctor, nurse, policeman or teacher will lose their job under National. But don't just say it, mean it. And look like you do.

Student loan interest: Keeping our educated youth in NZ is important. However, most NZers will agree that these people should have to pay for some of their education. Afterall, when they leave Uni they will most likely be earning more than their counterparts who didn't go to Uni [apart from the arts students - they get the same from McDonalds regardless of their qualifications! (Thats a joke people - I don't expect Don to say that) - Blu], and the government already contributes a large amount of money towards their qualification. A National-led government will allow graduates to write the interst off... etc etc. (insert policy here - but in simple terms).

This debate is very important as it the time that a lot of people will make up their minds. Be firm and confident. Bring up the guy with the over-staying tiler. Point out her arrogance.

Good luck and let me know if you need anymore help ;-)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Poor Winnie Loses the Plot

Winston Peters has got into a scuffle with a student a Waikato University.

To quote the article on stuff:
"NZ First leader Winston Peters shoved a rowdy student and wrestled for control of a microphone during a speech at Waikato University's campus in Hamilton."

Also:
"A brief struggle ensued, with Mr Peters saying: "No, piss off. Get away. Get away. Go and sit down. Sit down, now." He gave the man a light shove in the chest."

We all know Winston doesn't like anyone else to be in the spot light.

I hope the media picks up on this, and runs with it. Could mean goodbye Winston. Oldies don't like that sort of language.

Beaten to the punch

I was going to blog about how National's new tax policy gives the most money to high income earners BECAUSE THEY MAKE MORE MONEY, but I have been beaten to the punch. Rather than just repeat her (poorly) here is Anna Nuzum's explanation.

Read it. It's good.

Lock Him Up

I see they have arrested the bastard that threw the 8kg concrete slab from the overpass, killing a 20year-old Taupo man. He has been remanded to a youth facility and has been charged with murder. He is 14.

I hope this boy goes to jail. I hope the courts don’t accept a claim that he didn’t know the consequences of what he was doing. He is 14. When I was 14 I had a part-time job, knew the consequences of my actions and didn’t get into trouble with the police.

Also, I hope there no one claims he had a poor upbringing. If you throw an 8kg concrete slab at a car, and you’re 14, you should know what will happen. If you do not know the consequences of that, then you should never be allowed to see the light of day again because you are a danger not just to yourself, but to everyone else.

Lock him up for a long time. His actions led to the death of a completely innocent man. At least it will help deter others from doing the same.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Ideology

With the release of Labours new policy today, I have to ask:

Why does the left feel it is ok/essential to take the well earned money from people who are well-off to give it to the people who havn't earned it? Wouldn't it be better to encourage those people who need more money to work harder/get a job etc?

Honestly, I want to know. Tell me. I have never been able to work this out.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Media bias?

In election year, both sides of the political divide start crying foul about media bias. However, I have noticed some very negative National-related headlines and introductory paragraphs on stuff recently.

1) Brash eligible for GP subsidy

Don Brash would continue to receive a taxpayer subsidy for seeing his GP under National's decision to exempt the young and the elderly from its plans to means-test patients going to the doctor.

2) Brash fuels hope of $20 tax cut
National is tipped to deliver a tax cut that will put as much as $20 in the weekly pay packets of middle income earners, but may keep it under wraps for another fortnight.

3)
Nats use Aussie pollster to give campaign a lift
The National Party is using a controversial Australian pollster in its election campaign as it struggles to contain a Labour resurgence in the polls.

I could be wrong. Has anyone else seen any others?

Helen has a change of heart

Of Helen has pulled the plug on Sky showing her radio debate with Don Brash. And now, due to that Sky has pulled the plug on their minor party debate as well.

I can't understand why Helen would do this. She must be really really worried about Don if she is trying to limit the number of people that will see it. This confirms what I thought about the TV3 debate - Don did better than Labour thought he would after they had been making him out to be crap, and so now they are in damage limiting territory.

Wellness check

So the Greens want everyone to have a "wellness check". Basically, every year everyone will get a check-up to test them for disease. Will cost approx. $200million.

From Frogblog, will include
  • tests for blood pressure and cholesterol
  • a skin check for melanoma
  • screening for cancers, anaemia, or STDs
  • a nutrition check-up
  • exercise and fitness advice
  • identification of other health needs such as depression, substance abuse, and pain management
In all honesty, I don't detest this policy. However, a yearly doctors check-up is one of those things that people should be doing anyway, and so then you get into an argument about people being sensible and people being told what to do. And I do kinda resent that.

If you are at risk of something, then you should be smart enough to watch out for it. For example, I have fair skin. There is a history of melanoma in my family. Therefore, I wear sunscreen and keep an eye out for changing moles etc. If one is suspect, I get it checked. Simple.

At some point in their life, people have to start taking some personal responsibility. Its called living.

Gain my vote

Now, I am a National supporter. I was raised that way, and I have no problems with that. However, I also value making my own decisions and not following the party lines. And I believe that National has made a mistake with their defense policy (or lack of one).

Because of that, I am giving you the opportunity to tell me why your party is the best and why I should vote for them. I am open to all parties, although some of you may find it a little harder to convince me than the others.

Here is my ideal government:
  1. Free education at primary and secondary level
  2. Free/affordable quality healthcare (hospitals etc - not so much GP visits) and alterations to the waiting list so that it works.
  3. A defense force that is well equipped and staffed. Not an air attack force, but troops that can do their bit in defending NZ and the Pacific
  4. A good police force
  5. (and this is a big one) LESS WASTAGE
In all honestly, I don't mind about high taxes. I don't mind paying a lot of taxes, as long as that money is not wasted on crap. If my taxes go to fixing our healthcare system, then fine. If they go to pay a lot of bureaucrats to sit around all day in their new offices drinking coffee, then that is not fine. Education - fine. Hip-hop tours - not fine. See that pattern.

And yes, I realise that my 5 things listed are what most NZers would/should want. However, I don't think we are being offered those at the moment.

So come on, tell me why I should give your party my vote.

History of New Zealand

Can anyone out there point me to a good history of New Zealand?

I would especially love to read something that deals with politics in the 1970's to late 1990's (after that I was old enough to have some memories)

I guess what got me thinking about this was the passing of David Lange. You see, I was not old enough to know about what occurred during his Prime Ministership. I have heard of Rogernomics, Black Budget etc, but don't know a great deal about them.

Anything you can tell me would be greatly appreciated.

Small parties and the debates

I see that now Destiny and Christian Heritage are expecting to get on TVNZ's party debate. This was always going to happen as soon as the judge in the TV3 case used common sense, rather than the law. I don't know why they think they deserve to be there, but it was always going to happen.

I hope that TV3 does indeed appeal. And these two parties looking to court action may convince TVNZ that it is in their best interest to help TV3 out, like they are asking.

Election Campaign

Well the election campaign is now well underway. I realise that I am late in doing so, but here are my thoughts about the first leaders debate held on TV3.

Winston Peters: Frankly, he was crap. I expected a lot more from him. Hopefully will be enough to see his support plummit.

Jeanette Fitzsimons: After the debate, TV3's "expert panel" (although only one was an expert of politics - what makes an annoying reporter and an annoying ad guy experts?) called her the winner. I don't know what debate they were watching. Even the Greens supporters watching with me thought she was average. Was going ok until she pulled out the "save the albatross and the rivers". Lovely. Just a thought, but maybe poverty, healthcare, the economy, and pretty much everything else should be a priorty before worrying about the albatross and rivers. Yes, they are important, but it sounded wierd.

Rodney Hide: Did good. He impressed me a lot actually. However, the cheapshots the others got in will hurt him a lot. Should push their healthcare policy, not just their tax one.

Jim Anderton: Added nothing. Looked just like what he is: Helens bum boy. The only difference between their parties is the name and this "debate" proved it. Shouldn't have been there, and I think he knew it.

Peter Dunne: Worm charmer. They liked what he said, but didn't say anything. Will not help as much as last year.

Tariana Turia: Terrible. Good thing her party does not need the party vote.

Helen Clark: Ok, I know I am biased, but I thought she really didn't help herself at all. People are fickle creatures, and she really sounded and looked terrible. And she didn't really say anything either, she just stood there looked arrogant etc. However, she did show the years of experience that she has, and did make Don look a bit silly on occasion.

Don Brash: I was not expecting anything from Don. I actually think that all of Labours politicing here helped Don because they made him out to be crap and he wasn't. Sure, he got tripped on a few points and looked very silly, but I was expecting nothing from him and he delivered above my expectations. Even the lefties i was watching it with said that he was better than they thought he would be. But that asset sales thing was a killer.

The winner: John Campbell. By far the most speaking time. Of the politicians: Helen Clark, simply because her experience showed.

Any comments?

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Labours Tertiary Education Policy

So Labour is going to not charge interest on student loans.

I admit that when I first heard this, I thought "Wow, this is going to win them the election," I will also admit that for a fleeting second i considered voting for them!!

This is blatant vote grabbing. No one will deny this. And for that split second, I did not care. I could feel myself beginning to doubt myself and my beloved right-wing tendencies.

Then I saw the light. Yes, everyone with a student loan is going to love this policy. Now, we can not have to worry about paying off the student loan. Who cares? Well, I care. The government is proposing the punishment of the working people. The ones without students loans. The ones who worked hard to pay their loan off quickly. The ones that our country has traditionally been built on.

All across the nation, those with student loans can be heard cheering.

All across the nation, those without student oans can be heard scraming "What the F**k about us, Helen?"

My prediction: Labour will increase quickly in the polls. Then come the Friday night before the election, all the students will go out and get pissed, and not wake up in time to vote on the Saturday. We are, afterall a lazy bunch.

Movie Review Tuesday

2 movies today - both screening as part of the International Film Festival

Mad Hot Ballroom
Similar to Spellbound, children from three schools in New York are taught ballroom dancing as part of their schooling, and then the best go through to compete in compitition. There is joy when schools go through to the next round. There are tears when schools don't ("We did exactly want they wanted. Why did they not like us?" asked one clearly distraught child). The children are not only taught the dancing but also the manners and self-confidence that goes with it, and their teachers can see a big difference in changes in attitude (one girl was seeing the principal a few times a week, but after starting dancing has not been sent to her once!!).

It is a great story, and the children are very smart. One boy claims that "dancing is just one speck of sand compared to the whole world" and he was only 10!! The movie is very well made. A must see.

Rating: 8/10

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
This documentary opened my eyes a little. The dealings that went down here were shocking. For example, recording future profits as profits already earned (mark-to-market accounting anyone?). But the worst part was taped conversations of Enron Traders calling power stations in California to ask them to shut down for a few hours so that the price of electricity would go up a bit more so that Enron could then sell the electricity for increased profits!!

The Enron execs also showed their greed and lack of respect for anything other than money. To quote Ken Lay (Enron founder): "I have lost money to. My worth has decreased from around $200million to about $20million...". Try telling that to the employees who lost their retirement savings!!

The movie itself was well done with only a little bit that was hard to understand for a non-financial person like myself. And the soundtrack was awesome - each song tied in perfectly with what they were trying to show.

The theatre was packed and I swear that a lot of the people in suits were taking notes :-)

Rating (if you're interested in that sort of thing): 8/10: