Tuesday, August 31, 2010

#1 Crush

Whenever I look despondently at NZ's political scene, I look abroad for comic relief. Take those poor bastards in Australia, for example. It couldn't get more overblown and operatic if they got Baz Luhrman to direct it.

The hung jokes wore off the day after the election. The pedants have given up trying to correct the contextual nuances; parliament's not well hung, in the same way that Hobart's not very unique. It's a binary thing, akin to turning the microwave very on.

There's not going to be a re-election. That's the hand that's dealt. Canberra will have to sort it out. Oz is well overdue for its medicine anyway. We had six weeks of Winston Peters in 1996. Mind you, the Member for Tauranga back then is nothing compared to the suspected sound and fury over the Tasman right now. I'd rather have to deal with Winston rather than a Queenslander MP. Nice climate, shame about the lifestyle, eh. i.e. No hookers? Seriously??

Given the feral passions that rule that continent's kangaroo regime, I'm quite surprised that the ALP and the Coalition houses haven't tried to get disaffected constituency MPs from each other to cross the floor. Not a Quigley or Marilyn Waring in sight. Yet.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Beware of safety

The ACC has churned out another safety alert, this time on the dangers of accidents in the home. 12 NZers a week die from accidents at home!, screams the NZ Harold. NatRad's Checkpoint covered the story with extra vim, including the sounds of Homers in Peril (falling in the shower, down stairs, off ladders, and plunging through glass chattels).

I would normally turn a deaf ear to such melodrama, maybe noting that the corporation should not be pronounced Eh-See-See, but Ack. A choking sound would be more on message, eh.

But the near the end of the NatRad story is some safety fairy warning against the dangers of child scalding, saying that tap water should be no hotter than 55 degrees Celsius. They neglect to mention that tap water should also not be cooler than 55 degrees either. This is why:
The optimal temperature for Legionella proliferation in water varies between 32°C and 35°C, but it can easily proliferate at temperatures of up to 45°C. Usually, there is no growth above 55°C, and a temperature of over 60°C has a bactericidal effect.

Ideally, I'd recommend a hot water cylinder thermostat be set at 60 degrees and boil any Legionnaire's Disease out. Knowing NZ's water pipes as I do, that would allow a 5 degree loss of heat on the way to the tap, which is fair go considering this wintry climate at the moment.

There is the worry that people might tune their cylinders too low, causing more hassles than the marginal risk of scalding. A one percent chance of scalding is not equal to a 100 percent chance of poisoning. Sometimes, the cost benefit analysis can get lost in the Safetykrieg.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Freaks, Geeks and Queers

You won't see it it on TVNZ's Sports, Weather and News show, or 3 "News", or even Campbell Live, but something new happened in NZ today. Labour, at the urging of newbie MP Clare Curran, convened NZ's first Open Source party policy meeting.

The sole recognisable form of MSM observers present was Colin James, tucked away discreetly at the back. There were also a few bloggers present from outside the Labour tribe, including the pan-galactic David Farrar, who stayed all day and was on a panel exploring the themes. The VRWC can diss him all they like, but good on him for his taking part. Likewise the other non-aligned blogger, who shall remain nameless until they reveal themselves.

But apart from that, the event flew under the MSM radar. Which is somewhat of a shame, because it was the first time a NZ political party has ever convened an un-conference. OK, it wasn't quite as unstructured as a barcamp, but it's a start. The six themes to explore were formed in discussions prior to the event, openly and saliently.

Bear with me while I dig out my notes. Ah, damnit. I left the speakers list at the venue. Umm, there was this American guy on Skype from NYC who told where Obama's campaign screwed up. Essentially, they forgot all about the social networking and other networked bases they had used during the campaign for the first six months of being in office. Blame can be apportioned in part to the Clinton pre-internet people getting a lot of the top jobs with Obama too. They did not grok.

There was Oz Senator Kate Lundy pre-recorded, as well as her geek assistant who flew across the Tasman to front up in person. They spoke of two weighty reports in Oz; Engage, focusing on Gov 2.0 and Ahead of the Game, a blueprint for bureaucratic reform. It reminded me of Rod Deane taking an axe to the Public Service Manual back in the 1980's. We're talking serious cultural and attitudinal adjustment here.

Phil Goff kicked it all off. He's much better in person, eh. Charles Chauvel, Grant Robertson, Chris Hipkins and Maryan Street spoke also. Street sounded very much like a deputy leader.

The big news I learned today was that the Law Commission is conducting a review of the Official Information Act, which is due to report later this year. That'll be interesting. The consensus reached at OpenLabour was that public sector funded institutions, from the public service through to education to cabinet, should release documents by timely default, with limited exceptions involving national security and individual privacy.

There were differing opinions on how far this should apply. For example, PPPs. I say whomever pays the piper calls the tune. You get any local or central government funds, you show us your working.

I'm going to leave you with a few readily-transferable buzzwords I scribbled down throughout the day, as I'm hungry for dinner and a pipe. Make of them what you will:

Mass customisation
Software in dataset
Formatting etiquette
Information bottlenecks

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Let X = X

In the aftermath of the NBR Veuve storm in a bubble bath, Homepaddock makes a fascinating observation:
If I was wanting to promote my product to discerning readers and drinkers I wouldn’t want the word wanker in the winning entry.

In general PR dogma terms, this point might be well true. However, as champagne drinkers by their nature are not shy reticent people, and adults to boot, swearing is entirely permissible. Indeed, one way to limit alcohol advertising from exposure to minors is to encourage profanity in its advertising. The wittier, the better.

And now, here's a bit of Fry (HT Spare Room):

And here's a bit of Laurie:

Mana restored

The NBR has published an apology to its readers for misleading them with its birthday competition. But wait, there's more:

In addition, the publisher will personally provide Busted Blonde’s weight in Veuve Clicquot to her to demonstrate that NBR will not allow its integrity, transparency or honesty in its dealings with its readers to be compromised in any way. She received the most online votes in the competition and NBR happily salutes that success.

As a responsible host, the publisher would, however, appeal to Busted Blonde to urge her guests to wear life jackets if celebrating their win on Wellington Harbour. Let the festivities begin.
It's the putting right that counts, eh. Congratulations to Busted Blonde, and good on the NBR for error correction.

RSA cures RSI

Argh. Too much Rational Sentencing Institute roughage this morning. Must clean my brain bowel with some RSA:

The full lecture is available for viewing or download here.

Your choice, NZ. Dark Ages, witch hunts and inquisitions or a more enlightened society.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

On the trot

Well, well, well. The umpteenth amendment to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 is wending its way through parliament. I wrote up the awful details way back here, but Facebook Friend Peter Dunne MP and Associate Minister for Health has freshly enraged me by posting his speech on the band aid here:

Good luck with stopping imports from China. While you're trying to ban lucrative arbitrage, why don't you ban lightning and earthquakes while you're at it?

Thank you for making the obvious self-diagnosis of cold or flu symptoms a GP-fee offence. And frankly, Peter Dunne is seriously under-estimating the braininess of kiwis if he thinks a ban on health mimimisation device parts is going to make an iota of difference.

Socialist-At-Large Chris Trotter has a good piece up on what last realistic chance Act has of salvaging their ship and getting above 5 percent and away from Fortress Epsom. One thing's for certain, the Act caucus could seriously do with a dose of the peace pipe.

New Zealand must embrace its epicurean destiny.

Fox out-stupids the competition

The Daily Show has surpassed itself in showing why the USA has the highest Stupid Per Capita in the world:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Parent Company Trap
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bad Mana

If you deregulate Chess, you do not get Draughts. Hell, it's not even Othello. Similarly, if you are a high falutin' bubbly company and a business paper celebrating its 40th birthday, one does not hold a popularity competition and choose the runner-up as winner. This is not Australia.

I will never touch a drop of Veuve Clicquot as long as I live. Bollinger, yeah. Perrier Jouet, yeah. Pol Roger, OK. Moet, if you insist. But Veuve has lost its nerve. That's a flat fail right there.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Frozen pies do not grow

So much for growing the pie:
Researcher Andrew Coleman found that in 2006 40-year-old Kiwi men were, on average, earning just 96 per cent of what men of the same age earned in 1981 in real dollar terms. By comparison, Australian 40-year-olds were earning 31 per cent more. 

Although NZ men are averaging less than what a 40 year old earned in 1981, real housing and other living costs have not remained stagnant. Making ends meet has never been harder.

Meantime, in Brewerland:
Newmarket Business Association chief Cameron Brewer said the vacancy rate on Broadway was as bad as the early 1990s, when unemployment in New Zealand hit 11 per cent.

Wellington looks similar, with vacant shops and land through the gentrified suburb of Thorndon through Lambton Quay and up Willis St.

And finally, Johann Hari at the Independent looks at the voodoo of management consultancy:
He worked to a simple model, which is common in the industry. He had to watch how a workforce behaved for a week – and then tell the company's bosses, every time, that they had 30 percent too many staff and only his consultancy could figure out who should be culled.

So bring it on, Paula Benefit. I'll be waiting with a gun and a pack of sandwiches.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Random thoughts

# Looking through all the footage of the Pakistan floods, one thing sticks out. Where are all the women? There's a few dotted throughout the coverage, but it's mainly men and children in the lens. I can't escape the possibility that many women were abandoned to the waters in much the same way as the Tongan ferry sinking.

# The first thought that jumps into my head over the legal challenge by the newly minted charitable trust Climate Science Coalition against NIWA is the Scopes Monkey Trial. The second thought that jumps to mind is from the Book of Heroic Failures:
[I]n 1897, the General Assembly of Indiana passed a bill ruling that the value of Pi was four. This ensured that all mathematical and engineering calculations in the State would be wrong. It would, for example, mean that a pendulum clock would gain about fifteen minutes every hour.
# Judging from noises coming out of Key and cabinet over liquor reform, it seems that the age of purchase is set to go to a conscience vote in parliament. Not that it will make a blind but of difference to drinking habits, pre-loading or otherwise, but something must be done and this looks like something. Good luck with that. What will 18 year olds do on a Friday night now?

# Compulsory superannuation looks almost a certainty as well. Doing so will partly neutralise noises from Cunliffe, but also to shut down any resurgent NZ First platform too. Even after emptying several magazines of silver bullets into Winston Peters prior to the last election, the old wolf will not die. Perhaps starving him of political oxygen might keep the beast at bay. Whatever happens, it'll be Generations X & Y picking up the tab.

# And finally, an alternative opening scene to Return of the Jedi has surfaced, showing how much potential the third episode had, before merchandising and those fucking Ewoks ruined everything. Full story here:

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hooked on Switched On Gardener

Tony Wall at the Sunday Star Times looks into the ongoing saga of the Crown vs. Switched On Gardener:
The legal bill for defending Quinlan and his senior managers is likely to be enormous – sources say they will be lucky to get change from $500,000. Quinlan has hired QC Paul Davison, and vows to fight police for costs if he is acquitted. The battle lines have been drawn.
 All the best to SOG CEO Michael Quinlan. I am not his attorney, but my advice is:

Nicked from here

Tony Wall also has a good story on former Police Drug Intelligence head DI Harry Quinn, who calls bullshit on police drug tactics:
Quinn told the Sunday Star-Times cannabis law did not need to be changed – but the way police enforced it did. They should rigorously prosecute anyone caught dealing drugs near schools or to youth, and anyone caught with cannabis in a vehicle, but go easy on adult recreational users, he said.

"If someone who is 40 years old is sharing a joint with their 42-year-old neighbour, they should simply tell them to put it out. Why we are wasting time prosecuting adults for the use of cannabis? I'm buggered if I know." 
A quick Google search reveals Quinn's stance has been the same for some time, as this Sainsbury clip from 2008 shows. Alas, the current police hierarchy are sticking to their bogus narrative. From the SOG story, here's DS Tricklebank:
Tricklebank says from a police and health point of view, it's all about harm, with cannabis leading to around 2000 hospital admissions a year. And, he says, cannabis is a "stepping stone" into the illicit world. "I hate to use the word `gateway' but I've never met a P-user who hasn't smoked cannabis."
Well, I've never met a bourbon and coke drinker who didn't start off by drinking Coca Cola. But you don't see me declaring war on that gateway drug, even if Coca Cola Amatil are the owners of Jim Beam bourbon. I've never met a Baileys Irish Creme user who hasn't tried that dastardly gateway narcotic, milk, either.

It's not all about harm, my dear disingenuous DS Tricklebank. It's about patch protection. Until serving cops can dismount their high horse and look to the common good, we're going to be stuck in this civil war for a while yet.

Missionary Revisionism

I don't normally go out of my way to piss off Christians, each to their own and all that. However, I was listening with increasing grumpiness to Chris Laidlaw's interview with Keith Newman this morning. He's just released a new book called Bible and Treaty: Missionaries among the Maori - a new perspective. If his talk was anything to go by, it sounds like he's convinced himself that these early converters were much better people than they were.

Now, nothing personal against Keith Newman. It's OK, he's from Feilding. Enough IT background to avoid being perceived as some kind of unquestioning evangelical as well. So, why the new glossy varnish on those old virgin missionaries?

Chris Laidlaw introduces the segment thusly:
"Keith Newman suggests that the role of missionaries has been ignored, minimised or demonised by revisionist historians."

Laidlaw calls these priests "good guys" and "impressive people," so any chance of an objective interview was not on the agenda. Which is a shame, because all this priest pampering is the most revisionist crap I've ever come across.

The missionaries did not come to NZ to soften up the Maori for the Crown. The churches had their own agendas. In reality, the missionaries offered peace and literacy to the Maori, and in return they got land and power. They sought to replace the archaic monopoly of power from the tribe to the archaic monopoly of the church.

It didn't take easily, and it was only in the 1860s when the Maori started teaching reading the Bible to their own that Christianity really took off. It took another generation after that before the Maori commonly adopted alcohol, but that's another story.

Maori paid other prices for conversion though, for good and ill alike. The missionaries are credited with the demise of slavery and cannibalism, which is partly true. I gather that Maori were tiring of war and all the old order anyway, but I'll give them that. But the Jesus freaks also stopped a range of other Maori customs though; polygamy, games, songs. Here's Edward Jerningham Wakefield from Adventure in New Zealand. It's 1842 or '43. He's approaching the village of Pipiriki on the way to Taupo:
I was much struck with the severe discipline which this curious specimen of a warlike and influential chief, turned into a stern religious pastor, maintained over his people, who may have amounted to 200 of all sexes and ages. The houses and the pa were cleanly and well kept. Almost perfect silence prevailed during the whole day. Everything was done apparently by some rule. The ovens were made up, the firewood cut, the court-yard swept out, as though by clockwork; and none of that noisy and merry chatter was ever heard, which generally distinguishes the Maori village. Each week-day was kept with the solemnity of Sunday; and jokes, songs, dances, or romping, were entirely banished. The very children seemed prematurely grown into little old men and women. While I was greeting the chief and his family, the rest of the community sat a distance. None of the usual crowding round, and if it were not for its hilarity, almost intrusive rushing to shake hands; no shouts; not even a smile.

Pipiriki no longer exists.

The Treaty of Waitangi was never a Christian document, no matter how much Rev. Bill Williams wanted it to be so. He did his best to confuse matters acting as translator, thereby creating a whole new department of legal billing that charges by the hour to this very day. Williams and Hadfield also had a curious way of convincing Maori chiefs to sign this Treaty. Here's young Wakefield again. It is 1840:
While I was waiting for the return of Kuru and the gathering of the clans, Messrs. Williams and Hadfield arrived by land. They held no communication with me; but I heard from the natives, and also by MacGregor, the skipper, who called upon them in their tent, what had been their proceedings. Turoa and Te Anaua, with several other of the chiefs who had held communication with them, told me that Mr. Williams had asked them to sign a paper (the Treaty paper), and promised them a present of a blanket from the Queen.
I quote extensively because Wakefield was actually there, and his voice is not a form of revisionism some 170 years after the fact.

For my part, I consider the early missionaries to be part megalomaniac, part messiah, a protozoic control freakery that would today look a bit like Michael Laws or Bob McCroskrie. Mad monks and whipping priests. Yes, most went native, causing problems further up the rectoral chains of command. That's the problem with missionaries, eh. There's always the risk they'll break their programming.

But that's just me. I'm biased. You'll find me in the bar, not the pulpit. Such is the power of the self-selecting bias, eh. xkcd is onto it:

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Bad oral exams

From The Onion, but could have just as well have been Paula Benefit or the Welfare Working Group:
With unemployment at its highest level in decades, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a report Tuesday suggesting the crisis is primarily the result of millions of Americans just completely blowing their job interviews.
I also understand that there's a prostitute shortage in Auckland. Perhaps the Nats can move a few DPBers into the Game. Night jobs don't require day care, eh. It's win-win isn't it?

Friday, August 13, 2010


I'm surprised to find that Seattle, Washington State isn't a sister city to Wellington. We have so much in common, namely rain. Here are some songs involving rain.

For the kiwis:

For the cougars:

For the dyslexic mods:

For the alcoholics:

70's Roxy Music channeling 60's Dylan. Completely sucks as car ad musak:

80's refugees. Pity Prince has gone fundamental these days, eh:

90's Alt-Rockers:

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Nutt on film

Last week's lecture by Professor David Nutt is now available in high quality video from The Otago of Uni Wellington's podcast site. Caution though, it's a 300 MB download. A very good overview of the drug hypocrisy. As a small taster, here's some eye candy from the crux of Nutt's talk:

The UK mortality rate of various drug use.
Poor bloody Scotland
Cannabis use is up, yet there's less incidence of schizophrenia
UK media over-report E, Coke and meth deaths and under-report morphine and paracetamol deaths

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Stabbing that graph

I'm a bit disturbed at the language framing the welfare landscape in the text of the Welfare Working Group's interim report. Maybe the whole enterprise is flawed anyway. In much the same way Jim Anderton hobbled the Law Commission's review of drug laws by ignoring alcohol and tobacco (as well as taking a conservative interpretation of United Nations obligations), the Welfare Working Group has large blind spots contained within its terms of reference. Working For Families and Superannuation are off limits.

All the same there are some nuggets of interest within the document. I'm going to take a few stabs at that graph above.

First up green and pink, the Invalid and the Sickness beneficiaries. There's a big kink in all the trends smack bang on 1990. The Employment Contracts Act is the obvious culprit, but I would also include the Health and Safety legislation as an accomplice to the fallout. OSH was the safety nazis' second big victory, following the Smokefree laws passed in the Fourth Labour government's dying breaths.

Up until the Health & Safety in Employment legislation in 1992, it wasn't possible to classify someone as a health & safety risk. Sickness and invalid benefits, static prior to 1992, begins its inexorable growth with this change in risk perception. If any blame is to be placed on the level of sickness and invalid beneficiaries, it belongs with old Nat policies.

Another problem was the rise in employment and temping agencies, middlemen who became the strict gatekeepers to many jobs. It was no longer sufficient to be good at something. One now had to be a self-promotion expert in order to gain so much as a foot in the door in this new world of American management theory.

Ever more complex tests were devised to sift through employment risk aversion strategies; Myers-Briggs tests, credit and police checks. Deeper and deeper intrusions into personal lives excluded more and more potential candidates, regardless of their essential competency for the position. Little wonder a subclass of square pegs found themselves too sick for this system, invalidated by the meaningless rigid compliance.

OK, let's turn now to those orange DPBers. It's a bit disingenuous of the Welfare Working Group to preach 1960 as a baseline. 1970 is where it all changed. In short, fem lib happened. The Pill became available. Germaine Greer published The Female Eunuch. NZ women slowly embraced the ability to choose their own destiny and not just as the disposable chattels of men.

The Domestic Purposes Benefit gave women and children financial independence to leave abusive men, or raise the kids if the men buggered off to Australia. Coming from a family where two generations of Mums and kids have been kicked out of home by the fathers, the DPB is a pretty important landmark as far as I see it.

It is also worth noting that current DPB levels are lower than when Welfare Minister Paula Benefit was on it in Bolger's 90's. Danyl at the DimPost also fairly reckons that Labour's policies such as the in-work tax credit did more to lower the DPB stats than any Nat policy ever did.

Finally, the grey unemployed bloc. 1975 was the first big blip, around the time of Britain's entry into the Common Market. Throw in an oil shock or two, some scary-ass inflation and Rob Muldoon, and there's a pretty steady rise in the unemployed. Not even the start of weekend shopping in 1980 could dent the rise in jobless. Then in the mid 1980's Rogernomics deregulates everything, sending unemployment soaring as the rebalancing starts.

And it hasn't stopped. The labour force has been casualised, outsourced and sub-contracted. Even the Mother of All Budget cuts by Ruth Richardson couldn't put a dent in the stubborn rise of the unemployment numbers during the 1990's. Indeed, the Bolger/ Shipley governments seemed almost to prefer an unemployment pool of around ten percent of the workforce to assist in the downward pressure on wage inflation. Something that the Key government looks similarly relaxed with.

The safety, security and stability that the baby boomers enjoyed, where many families could afford to live on a single income, has all but disappeared from anything below the NZ upper-middle classes. Women entering the workforce, while good and necessary on equality grounds, has diluted the labour pool, helping drive down wage growth. As Elizabeth Warren pointed out in The Coming Collapse of the Middle Classes, this generation is living on much thinner margins than its predecessors.

And as DimPost points out, all this mucking about with non-valids and solo mums is dwarfed by the humongous welfare costs associated with Universal Superannuation and Working For Families. The Nats and the Welfare Working Group best bear in mind some sense of proportionality when they write up their policy recommendations. Otherwise, it might all just blow up in their faces.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Great Booze Up

"I drink it when I'm happy and when I'm sad.
Sometimes I drink it when I'm alone.
When I have company I consider it obligatory.
I trifle with it if I'm not hungry and I drink it when I am.
Otherwise I never touch it, unless I'm thirsty."

If Madame Lily Bollinger was a Kiwi, she would probably look like Busted Blonde. Vote for BB now at the great NBR Veuve Clicquot giveaway and give the Grande Dame her party in Frank Kitts Lagoon.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Today is Monday

# Interesting chart o' the day:

From the Welfare Working Group Report. Pity the Super figures aren't included. That would have made a more accurate picture of the welfare sandwich.

# Interesting prophesy of the day:
Worst of all, some analysts warn that the failure to rein in Wall Street makes another meltdown a near-certainty. "Oh, sure, within a decade," said Johnson, the MIT economist. "The question: Is it three years or seven years?"

Johnson was part of a panel sponsored by the nonpartisan Roosevelt Institute – including Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and bailout watchdog Elizabeth Warren – that concluded back in March that the reform bill wouldn't do anything to stop a "doomsday cycle."
From Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi.

# Cthonic Comment of the Day:
As I journeyed ever deeper into those underground passages, the strong the often-remarked scent of despair and madness that clings to Parliament became gradually stronger. I was on the point of turning back, overwhelmed by the stench, when I heard movement in front of me, and saw light.

From Scoop's Lyndon Hood.

# Creative Accounting Corner. It's a bit old but still a good read; how Harry Potter actually ended up as a $167 million loss for the studio:

Friday, August 06, 2010

4 - 0

Four people have died in South Island skiing-related accidents so far this year. Still no-one in recorded history has ever died of cannabis poisoning. In other news, the Science Media Centre has posted up the audio of yesterday's speech by Professor David Nutt. Video may be available elsewhere next week.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Carpet burns

It seems that no-one is responsible for the Feltex float and swift collapse. Former Feltex shareholders must have carpet burns over the recent not guilty verdict on the Feltex managers. The omission of declared loan arrangements to their shareholders was perfectly fine. They have Ernst & Young's bright young things in auditing to back them up, and the judge sez that all the paperwork was in order.

The poetic Paul Litterick sez:
It was only an 'undred million, guv; hardly worth mentioning, so we didn't mention it.

Or, to put it another way, believing that one's deceit meets all the necessary requirements of the accounting standards is now considered to be acting with integrity, the action of honest men. Although those men knew about the default on the $100 million debt and chose not to tell the shareholders of the company they were mismanaging, their apparent belief that the accounting standards allowed them to do so makes their deception a matter of integrity.

In effect, the phrase "they thought they could get away with it" is now synonymous with "they thought they were doing the right thing."
And auditors? Don't talk to me about auditors. The audit floor of every accounting firm is where baby bean counters freshly lambed from the university tubes go to get their ACA papers waved above their noses. Unquestioning, naive little things. Lambs to the slaughter, really.

I worked in a biggish company once that had cleared an audit no worries. The manager admitted that the idiot auditors couldn't find sand on a beach.

There are only a handful of audits that can really strike fear into practitioners of blurry accounting practices. The IRD, the SFO, and the Commerce Commission. The Securities Commission and the NZX has a hell of a way to go before they get as mongrel on the dodgier spectrum of their shared fiefdoms.

But poor bloody Mum n Dadland. As if 1987 or the finance company wreckage didn't learn them, this decision should. Stay in the property bubble!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Nutt in town

Professor David Nutt was the head of the UK government's expert advisory group on drugs until he was fired late last year for speaking truthful but inconvenient heresies. He's in Wellington tomorrow afternoon and speaking in Newtown at the Uni of Otago's School of Medicine:

Monday, August 02, 2010

Cats on buses

American Gardner is having a laugh at public transport users over at Roar Prawn with some carpark porn in Auckland. As a non-car owning prole, it is one of the reasons I actively dislike Auckland. You can't go anywhere there without a car. Alternatives are all but active discouraged. Not at all like Wellington.

However, I have my own gripe on public transport here in Wellington. Apart from working animals such as guide dogs, animals are not allowed on the buses. This makes it very difficult for non-car owning proles to get their pets to the vet. Which is a shame considering all the vets in Wellington are on or near main bus routes. The SPCA in Newtown is on Routes 10 and 23. The Central Vet Hospital is on Routes 7, 8 and 9. Wadestown Vet is on Route 14. Kelburn Vet is on Routes 17, 18, 20, 22, and 23.

A return taxi fare to the SPCA is prohibitive at a cost of around 200 percent of their basic vet charges. The nearest vet is a cheaper taxi fare, but costs double or triple the SPCA prices. Besides, every time I go there they try to sell me on getting the cat's teeth cleaned. It might be alright for the lawyers and suits who take their pampered alter-egos in regularly to get their canine cholesterol levels checked or pooch nails manicured, but for this underdog, it's all too pricey.

Letting sick dogs on buses might also be a bit of a problem. In most cases, there's the option of walking the dog to the vets anyway. Have you ever tried to walk a cat anywhere? It doesn't work. Surely it can't be too much of a health and safety issue to let smaller pets on buses in suitable boxes or cages, especially during off-peak hours. In the meantime, I might start checking around for vets that do house calls.

My middle name is Cassandra

Sez me way back in 2008. This just in:

NASA sets up shop in Otaki

If only I could find a way to monetise this unusual and unpredictable skill somehow...