29 June 2007
28 June 2007
I could say he has failed miserably to confront a wide range of problems in Britain, but would John Major have done much better? Unlikely. Will Gordon Brown? Highly unlikely. Would David Cameron? Well, except for perhaps more market in social policy, taking a tougher stance on the EU and opposing ID cards, there isn't much to choose from.
27 June 2007
26 June 2007
The 767s fly all services to Cairns, Honolulu, Perth, and Tahiti, and some from Auckland to Apia, Nandi, Rarotonga, Nuku'alofa, Brisbane, Adelaide and Sydney, and extensions of flights from Apia, Nandi and Rarotonga to/from Los Angeles (the long slow way from Auckland to LA).
The A320s fly all services from Wellington and Christchurch to Australia and the Pacific, and from Auckland to Noumea and Port Vila, and some from Auckland to Adelaide, Apia, Brisbane, Melbourne, Nandi, Norfolk Island, Nuku'alofa, Rarotonga and Sydney.
Finally NZ can compete a bit better with the likes of Emirates across the Tasman, only the odd international 737 flight (usually to Niue and Norfolk Island, but occasionally elsewhere) will be without any decent entertainment. What the report doesn't note is that this means new seats on the 767s in both classes.
19 June 2007
13 June 2007
12 June 2007
11 June 2007
“Now come on,” says Blair. “We let you into the G8. And Eurovision. What more can you want? Not Nato?”
“Ha!” I say, scowling as I realise how much nicer his suit is than mine. “Maybe I will run for the deputy leadership of your Labour Party, yes? Impeccable left-wing credentials, ha?”
“That is ridiculous,” says Blair, adding, “Gosh! Nice sandals.”
“Boom!” I say, darkly, and then wander off, to mutter combative things about whales to the man from Canada, and freak out Angela Merkel by inviting her to lunch. "
The first time I had ever heard of Albania was when National Geographic magazine visited it, in the early 1980s. It profiled a country that was, by and large, medieval. People went around in oxcarts, technology seemed to have passed it by, and it had what was, on the outside, a quaint insular appearance.
10 June 2007
I do believe state welfare should be phased out, but that is hardly heartless. State welfare has provided a bridge for some, but for many it has sapped their will to do better. Worse, it has become a tool for electoral bribes, with Working for Families being the latest example of trying to bind most families to the state. It is far better for the state to not take any tax from those on low incomes and have a flat tax of every dollar earnt about a threshold of, say, $10000. Voluntary charity is far more caring, moral and effective. I don't believe there is a right to a living paid for by everyone else, what if everyone claimed that right?
I don't believe that the state does a good job as a health or education provider, or that all children should have similar education. Children are as diverse as their parents, and parents generally know best what education their kids should have, as most parents love their children more than anyone or anything. Education should truly impart a spectrum of philosophies, a respect and appreciation for success - something that our current youth culture appears to denigrate especially amongst boys, especially amongst Maori boys. It is a damning indictment on post-modernist education that schools look to accommodate the tall poppy syndrome by catering for the average, instead of nurturing the tall poppies. I'm not interested in the average, very little of the difference between life today and life one thousand years ago is because of people being average.
Health care is also diverse, and the system should incentivise people to live healthily, not through taxes or health campaigns that treat people like children.
Most of all I oppose people who think they have the right to the property of others, unearnt, without choice. It could be those calling for unbundling Telecom's local loop, or any lobbyist wanting money from the government for their pet project.
The fundamental measure of civilisation is the extent to which human beings are allowed to make choices, to use their minds to decide for themselves, on everything. As long as one human being does not initiate force against another, then they are civilised. Violence is the tool of the caveman. Using the state to apply the violence for you is no more civilised, it is the velvet glove over the fist. Ask yourself next time when you wish the government would do something (other than law and order and defence), whether you'd do it yourself, or whether you'd like the government to do it to you too.
09 June 2007
08 June 2007
The Bill will repeal and not replace sections 81 to 85 of the Crimes Act 1961, which sets out the seditious offences.
"The sedition provisions infringe on the principle of freedom of expression and have the potential for abuse," Mark Burton said.
"The Government agrees with the Law Commission's finding that the present law of sedition attacks the democratic value of free speech for no adequate public reason.""
07 June 2007
However, Helen Clark didn’t go to his funeral, thankfully. He would have hated it, since she didn’t know him, and he despised her politics. However, he did a lot for the community and others, in fact I think he probably knew more about Pacific Island cultures (having lived on various islands for years) than Helen Clark.
No, she went to the funeral of a Pacific Island woman, whose claim to fame is dying because of a combination of her lifestyle (which was not adequately changed to take into account doctor’s advice), the public health system (which let her stay at home rather than remain in hospital, which was probably an error of judgment), and her family’s failure to pay the power bill and preference for praying rather than take her to hospital. A series of unfortunate but hardly unpreventable events.
Now you see what value Helen Clark puts on grief – it’s a PR stunt. Not content to let Mrs Muliaga’s family and friends grieve in peace, genuinely and honestly. It became a media circus, which Clark gleefully participated in.
A funeral is about grieving for someone you knew, whether close or as an acquaintance, but rather someone who had a personal impact upon your life. You need not have met the person, but you can respect some work the person has done, whether it be literature, art or something that meant something to you. It shouldn’t be about guilt or PR, which is what Helen Clark has done.
Clark said “What has been simply inspirational through these sad days has been the spirit of forgiveness that has radiated from this family - far more than could humanly be expected”. Inspirational how? How does Helen Clark intend to use this? Will she forgive Ian Wishart, Don Brash, the exclusive Brethren or anyone else she likes to vilify? I hardly think so. What sanctimonious rot. Will Helen Clark go to the funerals of crime victims? How about the funeral of those killed by dangerous driving? Will she find inspiration with every death?
Will Pacific Islanders rally towards Labour at the next election because of this nonsense? Helen Clark thinks so. How despicably patronising that like some colonial mistress she can trot along to a funeral, say some words as if she knew Mrs Muliaga, completely ignore that one of HER hospitals let her be discharged in her condition, and expect the Pacific Island community to go “oh that Miss Clark she’s so caring about us, we will vote Labour again next year”.
Regardless of the results of the Police inquiry, and indeed regardless of your personal views on blame regarding the cut off of power, Clark hopped on this sad death as a PR stunt.