Monday, December 1, 2008
Last Saturday, Nov 22 2008, I attended the funeral service of an old Labour Party comrade of mine from the early 1980's, Peter Lorimer of Taita; before Rogernomics and its founder contaminated not only New Zealand, but the great old party itself.
Peter was the Chairman of the Taita Pomare Branch of the NZ Labour Party, and we both stood on the Labour Party ticket for the 1983 Lower Hutt City Council elections. Neither of us were elected, but that is hardly the point. The point is being involved in your community and helping others in the best way you can. Peter did that in spades! He wasn't one for beating his own drum, so the surprise shown by those at his funeral when reading an election pamphlet from that 1983 election campaign which had Peter's photo in it wasn't surprising in the least. It was a privilege to unashamedly serve with Peter and the NZ Labour Party.
And in passing lets farewell and congratulate another old party comrade in Helen Clark for her decades of service to New Zealand and New Zealanders, which included personal help given to my family as well. Helen would also be pleased to know she rubbed shoulders with somebody of the calibre of Peter Lorimer too!
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Underdog Kiwis whipped the Kangaroos in Rugby League World Cup final...
New Zealand are undoubted kings of rugby union, despite world cup setbacks, but as the underdogs our Kiwis whipped the Aussie Kangaroos 34-20 for the first time ever in this year's Rugby League World Cup finals in front of a crowd of 50,000 at Suncorp Stadium at Brisbane, Australia during the weekend. They had been soundly thrashed in the preliminary round a month ago. NZ had also lost its previous 13 games against Australia; so the turnaround in fortunes was huge.
For those familiar with any sporting code, if you put the opposition under real pressure they are liable to make mistakes at crucial times in a match; that is actually what happened on Saturday night.
It was the New Zealand 'Kiwis' first Rugby League World Cup finals success in 54 years, despite twice being runners up, and their first win against Australia since the Tri Nations win in 2005 in England.
It will be something they can cherish and enjoy the bragging rights for the next five years. Oh yes! And how the poor Aussie fans are feeling their tragic loss?
The Cup final
Saturday, November 22, 2008
New Zealand moves to the political right - Labour-led Government loses general elections...
New Zealand politics moves to the right - left of centre Labour -led Government loses the general elections in New Zealand.The right wing John Key- led National Party set to govern NZ for the next three years.
Arguably one of the best ever prime ministers of New Zealand, Helen Clark came to power in 1999 and was twice re-elected. She had hoped to be the first New Zealand prime minister to be elected to four terms. This wasn't to be, an apparently bored electorate wanted change; but change to what?
Labour has been a good and effective government with some great social policies and economicly progressive policies which have greatly helped families and those lower socio-economic groups in society, working together with its coalition partners to support superannuants and the socially challenged in NZ society. It drew a lot of criticism from some sectors of society for a number of its social reform policies.
It slashed unemployment and reformed a number of employment related policies, created a new state bank - Kiwibank; became the major shareholder in Air New Zealand; later renationalised state rail - Kiwirail; instituted a compulsory savings scheme - Kiwisaver; and invested state superannuation internationally.
It received widespread support for most of its economic policies at the time, but has recently been criticised as the global economic situaion has begun to bite.
It has recently renewed its defence relationship with the US; signed a Free Trade Agreement with China; and commenced trade talks with US which could lead to a later FTA with the US as well. It is to be hoped the new National Government will continue with Labour's policies in defence, trade and in other areas as well.
As a result of Labour's election defeat, Helen Clark and her deputy, Michael Cullen both resigned their leadership of the Labour Party. Labour has subsequently selected Phil Goff and Annette King as their new leader and deputy leader.
National's John Key has formed a new government, and appointed his first cabinet with support of Act NZ's Rodney Hide; United Future's Peter Dunne and the Maori Party's co-leaders, Pita Sharples and tariana Turia. All non-National cabinet ministers are outside of Cabinet itself, something started by former labour PM Helen Clark.
As it has previously been said before - they will be back!
And so it begins!
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Sanitarium brand Marmite is to be relabelled as Mo-mite next month in support of Movember - the campaign to increase awareness of prostate cancer - the male equivalent of breast cancer that kills millions.
This campaign is to raise money for the Cancer Society and the NZ Mental Health Foundation in New Zealand.
For every jar of Marmite or Mo-mite bought in November 2008, Sanitarium will donate 15 cents to the Movember Foundation in New Zealand.
Are there similar promotions in your country to create awareness in prostate cancer there?
Momite prostate cancer promotion
Saturday, October 25, 2008
This Monday, October 27 2008, is Labour Day here in New Zealand...
This Monday is Labour Day here in NZ and most workers wouldn't know the history behind it. Oh yeah, its something to do with a holiday for workers, some would say!
I know you celebrate Labour Day in the US too. I'll tell you a little about ours.
It's 165 years since an English carpenter, Samuel Parnell, arrived at Wellington's Port Nicholson in 1840 determined that life would not be a continuation of the work-slavery he and his fellows had previously endured back in the England of those days. After all what would be the point of travelling 12,000 miles down to New Zealand if conditions were to be the same?
On his arrival, a fellow passenger reportedly asked Parnell if he would set up a store for him. He agreed, but as a condition he made his famous and historical statement that is the ethos behind Labour Day here in NZ: He would work only eight hours a day, because his philosophy was that in any 24 hours,eight were for work, eight for sleep and eight for recreation.
Parnell knew he couldn't change things on his own; he needed a movement for change behind him. So he made it a mission to meet incoming ships to the new British colony here and explain to tradesmen just how things were and should be in New Zealand.
According to nzhistory.net.nz a workers meeting was held in October 1840 on Lambton Quay in Wellington at which workers resolved that any tradesman breaking the eight hour rule would be thrown in the drink - would get a dunking in the harbour!
Oh how times have changed, so much for the ethos behind Labour Day, now just a holiday reminding us all of the intestinal fortitude of one Samuel Parnell who started a movement for change in the interests of workers rights, long before there were established trade unions(labor unions)or any inclination for establishing any.
Since the arrival and establishment of Labour Day, and the changes made to workers rights with the advent of the Employment Contracts Act here by the previous right wing National government in 1991, many workers now work in excess of 50 hours a week, and many are paid minimal overtime rates or none at all, levels exceeded only by South Korea.
There was a time in NZ when our trade unions were strong enough to ensure we had at least minimal rights and we considered unions overseas including the US with a little derision, and even more with stronger advocacy from the more militant unions here. So much has been lost during the last 17 years that we need another Samuel Parnell to make some determined decisions. Well lets enjoy Labour Day at least, while we still have it!
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
NZ Government approves pig cell research trials...
Chronic obesity in adults and children is leading towards an epidemic in Type-TWO Diabetes throughout the western world, but a new study suggests type 1 and type 2 are the one and same; governments have become extremely concerned with the future health of their citizens.
Diabetics around the world are now pinning their hopes on a controversial new experiment that was approved by the New Zealand Government this week, which will allow the transfer of pig cells into the bodies of human beings. Previous trials in Russia and other countries have not yet been successful.
New Zealand is the first country to officially allow clinical trials to hopefully transform the lives of people living with Type-One diabetes. These people have up to now had to live with multiple daily insulin injections, the constant monitoring of their blood and consideration of an exercise regime. Type- One diabetes reportedly shaves off one third of their expected lifespan!
The government approved trials in Southland in the South Island of New Zealand; the actual location is top secret at present, will involve the transfer of live cells from the pancreas of piglets into the patients abdomen to produce insulin on demand.
The pigs that will be used in the trials come from a group of unique pigs from the Auckland Islands a few hundred miles off the coast from the New Zealand mainland, who have been totally isolated for two hundred years and are free of any retroviruses.
The scientists concerned are presently selecting suitable diabetic patients for the trials.
I have reproduced part of a scientific report to explain the reasons and necessity behind the decision to hold these forthcoming trials in New Zealand:
The transportation of embryonic pig pancreatic tissue as a source of insulin has been suggested for some time now as a cure for diabetes. Previous limited trials failed in their attempts to treat diabetic patients by the transportation of advanced gestational age porcinc embryonic pancreas.The present study examined the growth potential, functionality and immunogencity of pig embryonic tissue harvested at different gestational ages. I hope this is all clear to readers?
Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Embryonic Pig Pancreatic Tissue
Transplantation for the Treatment of Diabetics
Friday, October 3, 2008
New Zealand could legalise the medicinal use of cannabis...
First published at Qassia:
The New Zealand government could soon legalise the medicinal use of cannabis products such as sprays, after an application by the leading British manufacturer of "Sativex".
Medsafe is considering whether to allow the marketing and sale of cannabis sprays for severe pain relief in this country.
Cannabis is a class C drug, and cannabis preparations are class B drugs in New Zealand. But the NZ Medicines Act allows the drug to be used with ministerial approval.
It comes at a time when the country faces a parliamentary election in a matter of weeks, and mounting pressure from patients and scientists to legalise the use only foraccident victims, cancer patients and some multiple sclerosis patients.
There is bound to be opposition from certain quarters who do not support any use of drugs such as cannabis and would consider it to be the short end of the stick. This will be a major change in policy for New Zealand society who have indicated their disapproval in the past for any relaxing of the drug laws, even for medicinal use.
The medicinal cannabis use lobby have spent many years putting forward their case for using cannabis for severe pain relief.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Stories in nature - human in nature...
First published at Qassia:
A beige coloured penguin was taunted and ostracised by its fellows down in Antarctica.It lacked its normal pigmentation of a trademark 'black dinner' jacket colouring.
Scientists down there in Antarctica were trying to come up with ideas to help the unfortunate penguin - perhaps dye it black and white or something else. Aussie researchers restoring the historic Mawsons Huts felt sorry for the 'poor little bugger'.
So it proves that not only humans are discriminated against by their fellows. Anything different or standing out could be in danger of discrimination.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
More than half of Chinese consumers say they mistrust New Zealand milk food products after the melamine milk contamination. What a bloody cheek - the contaminated milk powder was Chinese not New Zealand!
It was Chinese babies who suffered from kidney stones, not NZ babies. Get it right!
The connection between NZ and the melamine contaminated milk was the fact that NZ dairy giant, Fonterra, owns 43% of Sanlu, the company company involved. No NZ milk, I repeat no NZ milk was ever involved.
A consumers survey came up with a rather confusing set of comments, because NZ still comes out with a rating second behind the European Union and head of the US,Canada, Australia, Japan and China in that order.
Guilt by association undoubtably caused the result of the survey. NZ is involved with one of companies proven to have sold melamine contaminated milk.
Incidently melamine contaminated food products have found their way down to the South Pacific and the NZ market. They have been tested, taken off the shelves and the exporters involved has been informed of the decision.
There is no acceptable level ever of melamine in foodstuffs - it is an industrial chemical only!
Read more here
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
From the archives of HuttRiver - a woolly story!
It was during the 1980's that one of the largest carpet manufacturer's in New Zealand received two major orders for pure woollen carpets.
The first was from the White House in Washington DC, for Shagpile carpet for President and Mrs Reagan.
The second was from Buckingham Palace in London, England, for Virgin wool carpet for Prince Charles and his new bride, Princess Dianna.
The two orders were speedily expedited, and delivered post haste.However during delivery the carpet factory's despatch department noted an error: The Shagpile was sent to London, and the Virgin wool to Washington.
The First Lady and a Princess share a secret!
A woolly joke, perhaps? All the way from New Zealand!
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
The banker and the 'lady' from the boutique agency...
An exclusive Wellington, New Zealand, brothel is taking a businessman to court, accusing him of failing to pay it for services rendered.
District Court documents obtained by the local daily newspaper revealed that the compay who owns the brothel has sued the man, a high-flier in the banking industry.
The brothel - which markets itself as a "boutique agency for a select clientele", and won't be named obviously, alleges the man has refused to pay for an hour and a half 'sexual services'.
The brothel claims $800 for the first hour - $200 for the next half hour, and an extra $300 because the escort was delayed from returning to work because of the man's conduct, which cost her another appointment.
On its website the brothel says it 'aims to provide a tasteful and discreet haven for gentleman to enjoy the attentions of elegant, beautifully groomed and intelligent women'. Perhaps it failed to deliver on that occasion?
Read story here
Sunday, September 14, 2008
NZ All Blacks rugby union team win pulsating match against Australian Wallabies at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia...
The New Zealand All Blacks rugby union test side stared defeat in the face but refused to blink at what was described as a seething Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, last night.But they unleashed a withering and dramatic second half effort, after being down 7-17, to storm back to a scintilating 28-24 win over the Australian Wallabies.
The All Blacks have taken their fourth consecutive Tri-Nations title with that pulsating victory over the Wallabies in front of a sell-out 52,328 at Suncorp Stadium. Both teams had beaten each other at home earlier, and had also won and lost against the South African Springboks, who had been knocked out of the competition. The All Blacks also retained the Bledisloe Cup against Australia. The fourth game to played before the end of season tour of Britain and Ireland at the neutral venue of Hong Kong will be irrelevant as the competition is now a dead rubber.
Both teams crashed out of the Rugby World Cup quarter -finals last year, but are clearly the top two sides overall in world rugby. If there was a world championship in rugby, this would have been it last night. Both teams played some awesome rugby, but the All Blacks lived up to their reputation as the best team and brand in world rugby.
Ironically the coach of the Australian Wallabies is New Zealander, Robbie Deans,who coached the Canterbury Crusaders to four of their seven Super Rugby titles. Many of the Crusaders players are in the current All Blacks side. Robbie Deans failed to get the coaching position with the All Blacks when the encumbent, Graham Henry was c controversally retained.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
New Zealand's Marineland loses last dolphin...
The last captive dolphin at Napier's Marineland has died. Napier is in the Hawkes Bay, on the east coast of New Zealand's North Island.
Kelly, who was aged 38- year- old had been battling illness over the last week, but Marineland manager, Gary Macdonald says he did not expect her to pass away so quickly. He says staff are devastated, but relieved she did not suffer.
"Obviously everyone is extremely sad. This is an animal that myself and my staff have worked with for many, many years. She'll leave a huge gap. It's just like losing a member of the family."
Marineland is now closed until the Napier City Council and the public decide on its future. The issue is open for public consultation. Keeping dolphins in captivity is no longer a politically correct practice.
Shona, Marineland's other dolphin, died in April 2006, sparking debate on whether wild dolphins should be kept in captivity. A petition held at the time and signed by thousands of people called on the Government to allow the importation of dolphins.
Kelly and Shona arrived at Marineland in 1974 and delighted thousands of children and adults for three decades or more. The dolphins will be missed and a great loss to Napier City. Marineland was a great tourist attraction, and the only captive dolphin enclosure in New Zealand.
A bit of history here
Monday, September 8, 2008
An old New Zealand gentleman aged 83 years was holding up the customs queue at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, France. He couldn't find his passport, and was agitating the customs officer.
"Have you been to France before, monsieur?" the customs officer asked impatiently.
As he continued to rummage in his bag, he admitted to having come to France previously.
"Then you should have had your passport ready!" the customs officer retorted, rather rudely.
The old Kiwi said he didn't need it last time he came to France.
"Impossible!" the customs officer exclaimed. "Everybody must show their passports when they come to France."
As the old man finally found his passport and handed it over to the rude customs officer, he gave the Frenchman a long hard look and quietly said,"Well, when I came ashore at Omaha Beach with the American Army on D-Day in 1944 to liberate your country, I couldn't find anybody to give my passport to. He took his passport and walked through.
Read more stories here
Kiwi champion driver Scott Dixon won his second Indy Car racing series title this morning.
He was second in the last race by a record barest of margins of about one thousandth of a second. He needed to finish only in the top eight to win the series.
Dixon won the Indy 500 race earlier in the season. He won a US$1 million for his efforts.
He will need it having got married this year. LOL
Who said Kiwis can't fly...around racetracks so fast?
Friday, September 5, 2008
My lucky old black cat. My ghost, spirit, angel or coincidence? The paranormal? Who really knows…
Many years ago during my youth I lived for a short time in Hamilton, in the North Island of New Zealand.
I lived in a boarding house and one summer’s evening I decided to walk down to the local shopping centre (in the days preceding shopping malls in my country) to look around and buy a snack for supper.
I walked down the street engrossed in thought,probably thinking of home in the South Island, and suddenly there was a flash of movement in the corner of my eye - an adult black cat jumped off the stone wall I was passing,rubbed itself against my leg and purred softly!
I reached down, spoke to the cat and stroked its back softly. It purred again, and as quickly as it appeared, leapt up onto the stone wall and disappeared! I looked for it again, but there was no sight of it.
I continued down the street to the shops; outside one there was a numbered raffle wheel. I bought a ticket in a prize for a box of miscellaneous goods, worth quite a few dollars. I took my usual number five, my lucky number in raffles. The raffler spun the wheel… and up came number five… the winner!
I collected my winning prize and did some window shopping, bought a soft drink ( a soda in American )and began walking home. As I passed the stone wall I saw the black cat standing silently looking at me; he suddenly jumped and disappeared again!
But a feeling came over me,something I have never been able to explain. I know, also, that if the cat had not delayed me for that moment or two, I would never have bought that winning raffle ticket? My little ghost, spirit, angel or…just a coincidence? Who knows? History suggests black cats are unlucky, but not for me!
Read about Edgar Allan Poe's The Black Cat
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
The father of "Little Pumpkin" the little New Zealand girl abandoned on a Melbourne, Australia, train station last year, who became a world celebrity when the depth of her father's monsterous acts were revealed, is now having his day in court and the opportunity to justify his actions. The following is a news report of the commencement and first day of his deposition hearing to establish whether he has a case to answer, which in my opinion he surely does:
The prosecution claims Nai Yin Xue strangled his wife Anan Liu to death with a necktie.
The depositions hearing for murder accused Nai Yin Xue is underway at the Auckland District Court.
Xue is charged with murdering Ms Liu between September 11 and 13 last year. Crown Solicitor Brian Dickie says Ms Liu was strangled to death with a yellow necktie, which was owned by Xue. The prosecutor believes she was killed either late in the evening of September 11, or early in the morning of September 12.
Mr Dickie told the court of a violent relationship. He said on one occasion Xue tried to use an axe to force his way into a house Ms Liu was staying at in Wellington.
The 54-year-old was arrested in America in February, ending a five month manhunt. Xue was deported to New Zealand in early March to face the charge.
Police believe Xue left the country just after killing his wife. The couple's four-year-old daughter Qian Xun Xue is being cared for by her maternal grandparents in China, after being abandoned at a Melbourne railway station.
Earlier there were lengthy discussions in court over who would translate for Xue. It has been decided legal instructions will be translated by Owen Martell, a legal partner of his lawyer Chris Comeskey. The rest of the proceedings will be translated by a court appointed translator.
It came after Xue told the interpreter he was not happy with Mr Martell translating all of the proceedings, as his Mandarin was not good enough.
Proceedings had previously been held up by around 40 minutes while media set up to cover the two day hearing.
The hearing continues:
Read the full story here