Monday, January 28, 2008

EFA Gets its First Victim

The NZ Herald is reporting that Andy Moore has been forced to take down his "Don't Vote Labour" website after threats from the Electoral Commission. Here's the link:

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10489149&pnum=0

This is outrageous, and flies in the face of all the platitudes offered up by EFA supporters during the Act's passage through the House. In the meantime, will the EC respond similarly to Lee Clark's complaint re The Standard, and its support from the Labour Party as confirmed by Mike Williams.

I hope that a sponsor will come forward so that Andy can continue to publicly express both his opinion, and to illustrate the absurdity of this draconian legislation. In the meantime, the Don't Vote Labour banner on this blog will remain, as a reminder to all who come here that Helen Clark's Labour government must be defeated. I call on all those who are presently displaying the Don't Vote Labour banner to do likewise, and to move the banner to the most prominent place on their blog. And whenever I use the words Don't Vote Labour, they will be in bold!

UPDATE:

http://www.dontvotelabour.blogspot.com/

The Don't Vote Labour blog - legal under the EFA!!!! It's not Andy Moore's site, but I am sure that Freedom Fighter will do his bit for the cause and come to an arrangement!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Exclusive Brethren to Vote in '08

I didn't catch up with this story yesterday, so a hat-tip to Whaleoil. It seems that the Exclusive Brethren membership in New Zealand, about 7,000 strong, has been given leave by their Man of God to vote in the upcoming election! Whatever you think of the EB (and some of their beliefs are strange - but it is their right to hold those beliefs), that is bad news for Labour. It's a pretty safe bed that NO Exclusive Brethren will vote for the party containing politicians who have called them "chinless scarf-wearers" (Trevor Mallard - Labour), called them a "wierd sect" (Helen Clark - Labour) - just two of the many barbs that have been fired at the EB, not surprisingly, by Labour MP's. Anyway, here's the NZ Herald's story:

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10488941

I guess it's a good thing that the EB are starting come out into the open more, and their decision to participate in the political process should be welcomed, if it is overt. It is their democratic right, and at least their motives can longer be questioned if they "inside the tent". I guess the big question is this - how soon will they be applying to be a "third party"?

Ralston on Cullen

Bill Ralston puts the boot into Michael Cullen in his piece in the Herald on Sunday this morning, comparing the good Doctor to a cartoon character saying: "Michael Cullen gave a remarkable impression of the blissfully imbecilic guy on the cover of Mad magazine this week with his "What? Me? Worry?" utterances on the crisis facing world financial markets and the prospects of New Zealand following them down the gurgler." Here's the full article:

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/466/story.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10488992&pnum=0

Like him or loath him, Ralston speaks his mind, and he aint holding back today! He continues, saying "Historians will look back in a couple of decades at the decline and fall of the Labour Government and lay much of the blame on Michael Cullen and his dead hand as Minister of Finance.

In his eight-year reign, the Government has amassed huge surpluses through over-taxation, putting pressure on the disposable incomes of already struggling households. His tolerance of high interest rates has strangled economic growth, his approval of record levels of Government spending has led to a huge growth in bureaucracy, waste and heavy compliance costs for business. His obstinate refusal to cut taxes will be seen as another long nail he inserted into the coffin of Helen Clark's three-term administration."

He also makes the point that the electorate votes with its wallet, and points to a clear point-of difference between National and Labour: "National is able to play the card of prudent financial management. "Trust us, we know what we are doing" will be the message from John Key and Bill English and, with their backgrounds in finance, the pair do look like they know how to handle a dollar. With many voters, the suspicion remains that most politicians in the Labour Cabinet would be hard-pressed to read a balance sheet."

Doubtless, we will hear a lot more of this kind of talk during the year. However, the dilemma that Labour faces is an immediate one, which grows more critical by the week as the global economic decline threatens our domestic economy. And does Michael Cullen have the solution?

Friday, January 25, 2008

More Positive News for Labour - Not!

Oh dear. Dear Leader's plans for positivity will not be helped by the result of the Roy Morgan poll released today. Here's what the Roy Morgan organisation had to say:

"Nationals hold election winning lead over Labour
Finding No. 4265 - January 25, 2008

In January, support for the Opposition National Party rose a strong 4.5% to 52%, while support for the New Zealand Labour Government fell again and was down 1% to 33.5%, the latest New Zealand Morgan Poll finds.

Current support for the Opposition National Party is 12.9% above its 2005 General Election result, at its highest level since the 2005 Election. The Labour Government is 7.6% below its 2005 General Election result and 18.5%, up 5.5%, behind the Opposition National Party.

The Green Party vote increased slightly to 6.5%, up 0.5%, while support for New Zealand First was 3.5%, down 1.5%, the lowest level since October. The Maori Party vote was unchanged at 2%.

Minor parties — United Future New Zealand 0.5% (down 1%) and ACT New Zealand 1% (down 1%) — both saw slight dips in support in the New Year.

Electors were asked: “If an election were held today which party would receive your party vote?”
Of electors who said they were likely to vote (90%, up 2.5%), 6% (up 0.5%) were undecided on who they would vote for.

Gary Morgan says:

“The latest New Zealand Morgan Poll shows continued weak support for the Labour Government.

“With an election due later in the year, the increasing support for the Opposition National Party, now at 52% - its highest level since the 2005 election - should be a huge concern for members of the Labour Government.

“With the Reserve Bank of New Zealand leaving interest rates unchanged at a record 8.25% on Thursday, and predictions of increasing inflationary pressures heading through 2008 putting upward pressure on interest rates, Helen Clark could become a political victim of the global economic uncertainty ‘washing up’ on New Zealand’s shores.”

This latest Morgan Poll on voting intention was conducted with a New Zealand-wide cross-section of 1588 electors between January 3-20, 2008."


You can see the whole survey here:

http://www.roymorgan.com/news/polls/2008/4265/

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire....

Ole Tane's done it again - you'd think that he would have pulled his head in after the Standard/Labour fiasco earlier in the week, but no, he just can't help himself!

http://www.thestandard.org.nz/?p=985

DPF has called him on it here:

http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2008/01/the_standard_gets_it_wrong.html#comment-399377

and I've just referred him to my source:

http://theyworkforyou.co.nz/mps/bob_clarkson

Poor old Tane - he can't even lie straight today! And then all the "right" blogs are going to call him on his economy with the truth. Oh dear. How sad. Never mind.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Keeping it Positive

So, it's a new political year, and it just happens to be election year - roll on November! I guess that we can expect the political scene to heat up a bit as the leading lights get back into the swing of things.

The Labour cabinet held its first meeting of the year - hopefully its final year - yesterday. The NZ Herald reports :

Prime Minister Helen Clark is urging her team to be relentlessly positive as Labour enters election year behind in the polls, and as she endeavours to halt the head-start National has regularly built at the start of recent years.

The first Cabinet meeting of the year was held yesterday and ministers heard the message that Helen Clark wanted them to take a positive approach.

She conceded that last year "had its challenges", but emphasised to reporters that there was also a lot of achievements for Labour to talk about.

"Looking ahead, obviously the emphasis now is on the new policy development being completed, ongoing implementation of existing policy, because an election is not due till towards the end of the year," she said.

"It's a busy year as we move forward to prepare for the election campaign."



You can just imagine what Dear Leader was telling the troops - "Now Michael, calling the rich prick a rich prick isn't what I want from you this year. I want tax cuts - big tax cuts - especially for us! I don't care that the world financial markets are collapsing - we must have good news, at any cost!"

And then there's Trevor! "Now Trev, no fights this year, and please let me know in advance if you're going to be taking anyone overseas with you. Just remember, you're not Minister of Sport now, so you don't have to follow our teams everywhere"

Who else? "Parekura - kia ora! The best way for you to contribute to positivity this year is to keep your mouth shut. And don't say anything either!"

"Now all of you - you owe your ministerial salaries, your limos and your flash houses to me - especially you Judith - so be positive, be positive, be positive....or I'll get you like I did Burton! And Darren - son - pleeeeeaaase get rid of the red van - we have to keep the Greens happy!"

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Mark Todd Comes Out

No, it's not what you were thinking!!!!

3News is reporting that Mark Todd, Olympic gold medallist in 1984 and 1988 is coming out OF RETIREMENT, and wants to have another go at Olympic glory! Jolly good show I say, eh what!

The Standard Saga Continues

No reprieve for Tane, Irish Bill, Robinsod and co over at The Standard today, as the fallout over Sunday's revelation about their links to the Labour Party refuses to go away. Bill English has jumped on the bandwagon today - this from http://www.scoop.co.nz/:

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0801/S00153.htm

It seems that transparency is a one-way street when you're left-of-centre. Everyone else can be called to be transparent, but the "standard" you expect from everyone else doesn't apply to your own dealings. In the meantime, Insolent Prick has repeatedly asked these questions:

"Are any Standard authors employees of the Labour Party, a Labour Party affiliate union, or Parliamentary or Ministerial Services? You’re asking for some transparency here. Why don’t you be a bit more transparent yourself?"

Has he received an answer? Ummmmm - no! But he has been banned!! Real transparency there - not!!!

UPDATE:

Mike Williams says on One News "Labour activists are probably behind The Standard"


Here's the story and video, courtesy of TVNZ:

http://tvnz.co.nz/view/page/1318360/1555178

What say you now Tane, Irish Bill and Co?

And Robinsod - is it true what they say about you and pigs? That you eat them??!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

NZSX in Free-fall

The New Zealand Stock Exchange has taken its cue today from world markets (excluding the US, which was closed on Monday), and has taken another steep dive - a drop of almost 4% in the first half-hour's trading. The NZ Herald reports:

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10488118

This is bad news for the New Zealand economy as a whole, and for the government especially - they are desperate to start the year on a positive note. It's bad news for investors too, which is why I avoid the markets with a bargepole.

UPDATE:

The US Federal Reserve has slashed interest rates by 0.75%, the largest cut in 23 years, in a bid to reinvigorate the US economy. Will Dr Bollard follow suit tomorrow?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Standard is outed!

From the "Oh dear, how sad, never mind" Department, DPF is reporting that The Standard, that last bastion of honesty and integrity in the blogosphere, has been outed as a mouthpiece of......wait for it....the Labour Party!! Quelle surprise!!! Here's the link

http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2008/01/the_standard_hosted_by_the_labour_party.html

Meantime, Tane, Daveo, Irish Bill and all the good ole boys from the Union movement are trying their damndest to limit the damage, but they're not having much success - they've made themselves an easy target! See for yourself:

http://www.thestandard.org.nz/?p=971

Such Hollow Men!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Ethiopia I

Well, it's been a struggle getting back into the swing of things after the longest holiday we've had for a while, but a couple of good nights of sleep have made the world of difference. There's still piles of work on my desk that haven't been glanced at yet, but we'll get there in the end!

What an experience! Ethiopia certainly isn't at the top of most people's lists of preferred destinations, and it was only because we have family there that it was on ours. But what we discovered was a fascinating country, with equally fascinating history and people. Sure, it's a Third World country, with widespread poverty, minimal infrastructure and some pretty apalling social problems, but we loved it!

Firstly, a plug for Emirates. We will be flying with them whenever possible - and given the destinations they fly (you can go to 204 destinations from Dubai!), we'll have plenty of future opportunites. Their service is great, their aircraft are excellent and their prices are strongly competitive. We also got upgraded to Business Class for both the Dubai-Addis Ababa legs which was greatly appreciated - it has motivated Mrs Inventory and I to save even harder so we can travel nearer the front of the plane more often!!!

We arrived in Addis Ababa some 36 hours after shutting the door at home, so it was a long haul - Sydney to Dubai was over 14 hours alone. Our first taste of Ethiopia was the Visa process - all paper-based; no automation or computerisation. If you are in the stationery business, there could be a killing to be made in Ethiopia with self-carboning forms. Everywhere we went, paperwork was completed in duplicate, triplicate or more, with neatly cut or torn sheets of carbon paper! Customs passed without drama (unusual for faranji (westerners) we were told) then it was family reunion time, and out into the Ethiopian sunshine for our first taste of the traffic.

If you have a nervous disposition, the roads in Ethiopia are not the place for you! Scant regard is shown to road rules, intersections are negotiated on a "see a gap and go like hell" basis, and the quality of vehicles is dreadful. Taxis abound - the cars are either Fiats or Ladas of 1970's vintage, the vans and utes (with canopies), all painted blue and white, all in disrepair, and all seemingly driven by maniacs. Negotiating the traffic is full of challenges - despite Addis being one of Africa's largest cities, it has a distinctly rural feel, with herds of goats and sheep everywhere, the occasional cattle beast, and donkeys being routinely used as a means of transport. Pedestrians seem unaware of the potential perils of traffic, and cross the road wherever and whenever they choose. Beggars abound, especially around the larger churches. And in the Merkato area, Africa's largest open-air market, homeless people sleep on median strips in the middle of the day - apparently, it's not safe for them to sleep at night!
So, that was our initial impression - more will follow, with pictures, in coming days.





Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Divinity Code

When Ian Wishart released his latest book "The Divinity Code" just prior to Christmas, he offered copies to bloggers in return for reviews. Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, and keen to read the book, I accepted his kind offer! It made for great reading while I was away, and it was especially fitting to finish the read on the day we visited the 12th-century rock-hewn churches of Lalibela in northern Ethiopia - regarded by many as the eighth wonder of the world. So, here it is!



The Divinity Code


Author and investigative journalist Ian Wishart has a knack for polarising opinion, and has endured much odium in recent times for his Investigate Magazine articles, and his provocative book “Eve’s Bite”. His most recent offering, “The Divinity Code” will again divide opinion.

In the Prologue, Wishart takes up the gauntlet laid down by Richard Dawkins in “The God Delusion”, and in fact, uses Dawkins’ own logic and methodology to launch a counter-attack against unbelief. The prologue closes with a question from Wishart – “Do I succeed?”

I struggled with the early chapters, which focus on the Biblical account of creation, and the counter arguments from evolutionists. Perhaps that was due to my perpetual struggles with things scientific; maybe it was due to the after-effects of a long flight – however I persevered, and was glad that I did. One comment though – Wishart’s research is thorough, and his opinions are supported by facts.

For me, “The Divinity Code” comes alive in chapter 9, The Myth of Christ. Over the next eight chapters, Wishart draws together a wealth of evidence supporting the life, death and resurrection of Jesus – and in the process, makes a compelling case. And despite his disagreements with Dawkins, with Christopher Hitchens and with Lloyd Geering, Wishart reserves his strongest condemnation for Bishop John Shelby Spong. In chapter 14, Resurrection – Fact or Fiction, Wishart hoists Spong by his own petard, pointing out the absurdity of the Bishop’s claims about the “central nugget of Christianity”.

Having started with a Prologue, Wishart fittingly ends with an Epilogue where he states:

“I’m not here to force anyone to convert……….Rather, my aim has been merely to argue the case for faith – the sole task of this book has been to document the hard evidence that actually does exist in favour of the God Hypothesis”


So, to return to Wishart’s question “Do I succeed?” In my case, he was preaching to the converted, so the answer is irrelevant. Read “The Divinity Code” for yourself, with an open mind. You’ll find it challenging and thought-provoking, and Ian Wishart makes a compelling case against unbelief.

Monday, January 14, 2008

I'm back!

Greetings all! They say that all good things must come to an end, and so it is with the Inventory family holiday. We struggled through the door around 10pm last night around 30 hours after leaving Dubai, and with minimal sleep!! However, our holiday has been an amazing, often humbling, and without doubt life-changing experience. Over the course of the next week or so, I'll post a few reflections on our time in Ethiopia - I trust you'll indulge me!

Meanwhile of course, there is the small matter of three weeks' worth of work to catch up on, so that is where my energies will be focused today - until the urge to sleep catches up!