Saturday, August 30, 2008

Lucia McCain not wasting his anti-abortion lead with Catholic voters

MaCain is not wasting his anti-abortion lead with the choosing of Sarah Palin as Presidential running mate. The Democrats are currently bleeding support from the 25% of American voters who are Catholics (see drop of 11% from July to August).

Those same voters have traditionally determined who wins the Presidency, and with the Democrat's Nancy Pelosi's attempt to justify abortion as an ok Catholic choice, Catholics have over the last week heard strong refutations from their Bishops as to the wrongness of that stance.

The Democrats have attempted to shore up the Catholic vote by Obama's choice of Catholic Joe Biden as his running mate, but Biden also has a real problem with understanding Catholicism's absolute stance on the evil of abortion.

So choosing Sarah Palin is giving Catholic voters in America a real choice between those who would support life and the family and those who would destroy life and the family. Awesome!
"The inspired choice of Sarah Palin highlights the radical views of Obama- Biden on life and marriage. Catholic voters couldn't have a starker contrast this November," said Burch.

"Catholics, like most Americans, are cautiously optimistic that the troop surge has calmed Iraq. Catholics will naturally turn their attention to which candidate will stand strong on behalf of families," said Burch.

"Barack Obama is not that candidate. Barack Obama wants to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. His first act as President has nothing to do with energy or Iraq. He wants to enshrine the right to abortion in federal law by signing the Freedom of Choice Act," said Burch.

"Barack Obama is so extreme on abortion that he thinks that babies who survive an abortion and are miraculously born alive should be refused food and water and be left to die," said Burch.

"John McCain, together with Sarah Palin, is a natural choice for Catholics. McCain has a strong pro-life record and he has made a commitment to selecting judges who will respect the Constitution. McCain has even bucked his own party on immigration and torture. We think these positions align John McCain closer to Catholic teaching and we are proud to stand with him as he prepares for a very difficult election ahead," said Burch.

"The stakes of this election are too large to ignore. Abortion supporters are awaiting the opportunity to eliminate years of progress on pro-life legislation by electing a President who supports abortion. There are six justices on the Supreme Court over the age of 68, and granting President Obama the opportunity to fill possible vacancies would be disastrous. America needs the experienced leadership of John McCain and Sarah Palin.

Related Links: Palin a natural choice for Catholics ~ MarketWatch
Exceptionally good article on the pro-abortion politician issue ~ What does the prayer really say?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Lucia Friday night free for all

I've not been following the Winston saga in any great detail as I've been far more interested in the Nancy Pelosi gaffe and the implications for Catholic support for the Democrat party in the US. Especially now that Joe Biden has become Obama's running mate for the American presidency. I've been trying to write a post on this whole thing and I think I'm going to give up and let my post stay in my huge draft graveyard I've got going on NZ Conservative.

How's everyone's week been going? One of my kids was sick earlier in the week with ear infections and throwing up, but he's chipper now. I'm off to get pizza soon, so have put this post on a delayed timer, sort of. I'll probably be back by the time this post self-publishes. So, I'll see you all soon.

Lucia Bye bye to handwriting in NZ schools

This morning while I was listening to NewsTalk ZB to Justin Du Fresne, I heard that the Ministry of Education had decreed that handwriting is no longer to be taught in NZ schools.

I can well imagine the logic would go something like this: Children today are being taught to use the computer to express themselves. During this age of increasing computerisation the art of writing on paper will no longer be necessary in the future as everything will be done electronically, even if there is still some need to write legibly now. So, in order to prepare for this bright future and save teachers time (to teach the very necessary new green social sciences and socialist values) we need to cut out handwriting altogether.

Last year, when my children were still at school, I was amazed that my older child's new teacher's solution to his inability to write legibly was to suggest that he do a touch typing programme at home so he could do all his work on the computer.

Now, more than a year later his handwriting has dramatically improved. Since pulling both my children out of school last year, handwriting has been one of the staples of our daily routine. Just a bit of time every day on a focused handwriting programme was all it took to improve the legibility and speed of my son's writing.

We don't do any work on the computer, as I believe strongly that the less barriers to learning there are, the better. The computer is a barrier. If you need a computer in order to learn because you are used to only writing on a computer, then you are at a severe disadvantage.

For myself, the physical act of writing can put information into my head in a way that I can't duplicate in any other way. I used to find that studying by writing an incredibly effective way of memorising. This is also how I memorise my shopping lists - writing them out puts them in my memory, then I go off shopping and leave the list at home.

A child who has learned to work with a pencil and paper will not be limited by lack of electricity or finances in order to write. But a child that has only worked on a computer may not even get it into their head he could take notes on paper.

In other words, if we take away competency with very simple materials and replace those materials with an electrical tool that requires a great deal before it can be written on, then we create a barrier.

Not a huge deal in itself, but you add that to the serious mangling of language that is going on right now (such as partner = wife, de facto, person sharing your bed this week), it seems to me that the removal of handwriting as a skill and a tool will add to a massive learning and communication breakdown in the future.

Maybe we'll even go back to the age where people could only sign their name with an 'X'.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Lucia New Zealanders are getting poorer!

The pay gap between the rich and poor has shrunk for the first time in 20 years, according to a new report on the nation's social wellbeing.
But we are supposed to think this is good.
Mr Gray said over the long-term social outcomes were improving. Several indicators also pointing to a reducing gap between Maori and Pacific Islanders and other groups ...
So, when the gap is negligible, ie we are all poor and need hand-outs from the Government, those percentages that the Ministry for Social Development work off will look just great.
The annual report, released today, shows that at the end of 2007 a household edging into the top 20 per cent of income earners is 2.6 times better off than one sitting at the top edge of the bottom 20 per cent.

That is a fall from 2.7 per cent last year and the first fall since 1988, when the ratio sat at 2.2 per cent.

The report, which is compiled from a range of previously released statistics, also says there are fewer people living on lower incomes than 10 years ago.

In 2007, 13 per cent of people were deemed to living on low incomes compared with 22 per cent in 1997. Low incomes were defined as below 60 per cent of median income.
In case no one has understood me, if you define a low income as a percentage of all incomes (60% of the median income) then you can effectively hide how poor everyone in NZ is getting. It would be better to have some sort of absolute marker (such as cost of food, fuel, housing, etc) and compare everyone to that instead.

And stop calling welfare benefits income! They are not income. Separate out the welfare from the people actually earning money. Calling welfare benefits "income" is an example of political correctness, where the purpose is to confuse, hide and compare oranges and apples in order to socially engineer long-term change.

Related Link: Rich-poor pay gap shrinking - report ~ NZ Herald

Monday, August 25, 2008

ZenTiger An Income Splitting Maxim

The Maxim Institute has made a submission to Inland Revenue arguing the case for income splitting. Like me, they would prefer a flatter tax system but if this is not to be, then they say looking at a family as a unit in social and economic terms makes sense.

They also make a good point I had not considered before:
The approach taken to the assessment of welfare programmes like Working for Families reveals that we already accept that the existence of family relationships is relevant to the financial assessment of members of the family. “Working for Families uses the family, rather than the individual, as its basis for determining the appropriate level of assistance for families.”

If this logic is appropriate for the assessment of benefits—and we submit that it is—then it is appropriate for the tax system and supports the introduction of income splitting. It would be inconsistent to conclude otherwise.
Fair point. The point is made again when the submission goes on to state that "income splitting" is an assumed obligation if couples part - assets are divided, with a 50-50 share being the starting point. There are other interesting points made in the submission. I'll save that for another time.

Related Link: Maxim Institute and Income Splitting

[Aside: I wonder if they should also have submitted copies to the Families Commission and the Children's Commissioner?]

ZenTiger Green Utopia a Virtual Reality

I see in the paper the Greens have released their IT Policy and have a few simple demands to achieve digital utopia.

Some eyebrow raising policies that leap out at me on my first scan of their document:

1. Ban software patents
2. Require the government use free and Open Source software
3. Require the government to favour locally produced software
4. Set up free (tax payer funded) municipally owned wireless networks
5. Force internet providers to supply redundant access
6. Remove any freedom of an ISP to choose what information it carries.
7. Duplicate all public information held by the government in Te Reo Maori
8. Require government to provide more free (tax payer funded) or low cost public information online.
9. Introduce the concept of "E-waste" and promise to research then tax and legislate E-Waste out of existence.
10. Introduce public and democratic scrutiny of any proprietary system responsible for human life or gathering votes.
11. Potentially give tax breaks on software development as it is environmentally friendly.
12. Exclude any American company from supplying management or data storage services to government departments which store information on its citizens.

Item 6 is interesting: The way I read it, to ensure freedom they feel they need to force carriers to carry anything "legal". Thus an ISP who sets up a service that blocks porn sites could be in contravention of the Greens legislation. A customer who likes the price could still complain that the ISP is filtering porn material he really feels a right to view. Irrespective of other customers signing up to get an ISP 'safe' for their children. It becomes an electronic Queen Street Boobs on Bikes.

The approach to ban American companies from providing services to some government departments is equally hysterical. They specifically cite America as the problem due to America's security laws. That was separate to the obvious anti-Microsoft bashing in their policy document.

The Greens also want government to downgrade buying criteria based on suitability for purpose. Rather than buying software according to how good it does the job, a lot more attention should go on how free or open sourced it is. They also want to ban software patents. Banning software patents is an interesting discussion in itself, but I find most people confuse the three topics (free software, open source software, patent protection) and we need to be careful to discuss each as distinct topics.

If you think this post is too short, take it as version 1, and you'll have to wait for the upgrade. If you want to contribute to the next release, then add some comments. We'll declare this post open source and set up a community of bloggers to get this out there for further development.

Related Link: Green Policy - Information Technology

Related Link: Ban Software Patents and Ban Microsoft

Saturday, August 23, 2008

ZenTiger Michael Moore Hates America

Back in 2004, Michael Wilson did a documentary in the same "style" as Michael Moore. He just did it from the other side of the fence.

So, a more Conservative, centre-right view rather than the liberal left-of-off-centre.

Instead of Michael Moore pointing out all the reasons he feels ashamed of America, Michael Wilson sets out to show America does have its success stories.

As well as being a bit of a parody on the persuasive power of deceptive documentaries, it also pokes a bit of fun at Moore. Wilson chases Moore around the country, trying to get an interview with him, and being refused by the multi-millionaire champion of the little man. Exactly like Michael Moore has done in his own documentaries and TV shows. Ironically, the title is probably the meanest part of the DVD but the point is well made.

I only mention this in passing, 4 years after the release of the movie, because I noticed it tonight on the new releases shelf of my local DVD store. I'll have to get it out and watch it - partly because it looked interesting, partly because I thought it might have some satirical comedy value as Mike Moore gets a taste of his medicine, and partly because some of the web sites I came across [as I investigated reviews for this movie] that were dedicated to destroying Michael Wilson's movie (the Michael Moore fan club network) are so downright funny in their inept and hysterically inaccurate take downs. Anything that get Liberals frothing over what has been described as a "charming" movie is worth a look.

Related Link: Andrew Leigh on Michael Moore Hates America

Related Link: At the Movies Movie Review

ZenTiger Parading our rights

[Warning R13 Content. R16 concepts. Occasional Satire. Facts to be taken with Grain of Salt (although the Kindy Disco story is true) Void to read where prohibited.]

Steve Crow has released the September Queen Street Parade Schedule as his concerns mount that New Zealand is not free enough, and women emancipated enough. "It is important all New Zealanders turn out regularly to support our democratic right to promote and foster a healthy attitude to sex and sexuality."

The parade schedule for Queen Street is as follows:

Sep 01: Boobs on Bikes
Sep 02: Tits on Trikes
Sep 03: Hooters on Scooters
Sep 04: Racks on Tracks
Sep 05: Knockers for Fokkers
Sep 06: Mamas for yo Papas
Sep 07: Norks for the Dorks
Sep 08: Jelly for the Telly
Sep 09: Fun Bags on Slags
Sep 10: Helens with Melons
Sep 11: Beamers in Beamers
Sep 12: Grand Glands on the Strands
Sep 13: Bristols with Pistols
Sep 14: Ta-tas for Martyrs
Sep 15: Titties for the Cities
Sep 16: Breast heading west
Sep 17: Marshmallows for fellows
Sep 18: Puppies and Pillows
Sep 19: Milk Tankers for the Wankers
Sep 20: Bazongas Gazongas and Wazongas
Sep 21: Perts for Flirts
Sep 22: Nips on ships
Sep 23: Narleys on Harleys
Sep 24: Boulders on Holders
Sep 25: Cones with Chaperones
Sep 26: Hogans for Bogans
Sep 27: Twin Globes under Strobes
Sep 28: Baps for the chaps
Sep 29: Headlights on motor bikes
Sep 30: Bosom Buddies in the Nuddies

Whilst the October schedule has not been finalised, Steve Crow was considering advancing the cause of freedom even further. Following up from the recent interest in Olympics, Steve was planning a series of Queen Street events where people could compete on large floats for medals in sex events. Votes would be tallied by the number of flash bulbs going off during the event. The main events so far:

1. Most Private Act (will also be televised)
2. Best bonk (man/women)
3. Best bonk (mixed doubles)
4. Best bonk (coxless fours)
5. Marathon Event
6. Womens Beach Volley Ball (without the ball)
7. Open Forum (points awarded based on size of audience)

Steve noted that whilst any of these events, like his annual sexpo, could be held on private property, true freedom could not be realised until the event could be held on public property, in open air, with as much free publicity as possible. Ideally, against the vocal wishes of any-one who thought a public venue was inappropriate.

Interestingly, the court agreed and considered that the law had not moral or legal right to stop Steve Crow holding public rallys for such important issues of conscience 365 days a year. It was even possible Steve Crow could be funded by a government grant from the human rights commission. Georgina Beyer has reportedly offered to take up a position allocating funds from a $10 million dollar kitty for such freedom promoting events.

In other news, police and noise control officers move to shut down a kindergarten party where 4 year olds were accused of 'singing and having fun' too loudly right through to 6:30pm at night, disturbing people's right to watch Steve Crow's hired porn stars on the News in peace and quiet.

Related Link: Kindy Disco Too Wild

Related Link: Boobs on Bikes a firm Kiwi Tradition

Related Link: Steve Crow, NZ's Larry Flint, battles censorship

Fletch Smacking Law Referendum

Yes, it seems there have been enough signatures collected to force a referendum on the smacking law. This is a good thing and yet I'm not completely happy.

In the first place, it seems they're not going to hold the referendum in tandem with this year's General Election and instead hold a postal ballot next year; the reason?

That recommendation [by Justice Minister Annette King] refers to the experience of 1999, when two referendums were held with the general election, causing long delays in vote-counting, confusion among voters, and congestion at polling booths.

Ms King last night dismissed calls to hold the referendum earlier.

I voted in 1999 and answered the referendum questions and I can't remember any confusion or backlog of people. This is simply another two-pronged tactic by the Government to delay or water down the referendum.

One: they don't want the question put to voters this year as it will lose Labour votes - a good 70% of the country didn't want the law changed, as evidenced by polls taken in the media.

Two: a postal ballot next year? If a question is put in front of someone who is there voting in an election anyway then we'll get a more accurate response as there will be more people answering the question. How many people are going to take the time to post a ballot question back? I would, of course, but aren't there a lot of people who wouldn't bother?

The next thing that bothers me is John Key's response -

But even if the law gets a harsh review from the public, it could remain unchanged regardless of who leads the next government.

Mr Key last night said he felt the law was working.

"We think the compromise amendment has allowed the law to operate better than it would have otherwise.

"Our position is that we're not going to change the law unless we see evidence it's not working."

Hello? The politicians work for US, we don't work for THEM. If a majority of the country feels strongly about a certain issue and that feeling is made apparent by a public vote, isn't it their duty to seriously consider changing the law back? And he thinks the law is working? How? Have we seen less children being beaten or abused? Not judging by what we see in the media. The law change hasn't done a damn thing, except to put fear into the hearts of good parents.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Lucia Friday night free for all

Looks like I've beaten Zen to it, tonight. Even though I am very late. I'll check in later as I'm hosting a dessert evening from 8pm.

ZenTiger Loose Change

Men do not differ much about what things they will call evils; they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable.

-- G. K. Chesterton

Update [Finally get to finish my thought]: The Boobs on Bikes Parade is all about Women's Rights. A bare breasted women promoting a porn expo is all part of their self development and growth as a human being. That's why we all need to support Steve Crowe on this issue. Go Steve, we know where you are coming from, and our sisters thank you.

--End Sarcasm--

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fletch Movies on iTunes for Kiwis

jump Just for you techno geeks (of which I am one). If you haven't been into iTunes for a while, you'll notice something new - Kiwis can now buy and rent movies straight from iTunes; not that it helps me, having no broadband (thanks again Telecom!).

I might rent a movie (if I could) but I don't know about buying one from iTunes. I'm too fussy when it comes to picture quality.

Lucia Trotter enters the fray and disappoints straight off [UPDATED]

This blog's long-time nemesis, Chris Trotter, has finally entered the anarchistic world of blogging. Out here on the unedited, uncensored fringe of the media, things do not work the same as Chris is used to.

For instance, consider the long-standing honourable tradition of the pseudonym. Many of us spend years cultivating our secret identity to the point where we would never dream of masquerading as another. With a bit of time and patience, newbies can easily discover who is who and what they think far and beyond what that person might reveal under a real name in real-life.

A pseudonym is not something to be afraid of. It doesn't really hide the individual any more than meeting someone down at the pub who is introduced by the name of "Joe" is hidden by the lack of a last name. If someone met me in person and I never told them my last name, the only thing it would stop would be tracking down my phone number afterwards. No one needs my phone number, they know where to find me via this blog.

A pseudonym can also act as an introduction to the person who blogs. You can't see what the person is wearing, what type of haircut they have, how they smile or not - but their name can give you an idea as to who they are. What image they are trying to portray. What issues are likely to be important to them.

So to ban Redbaiter because of his pseudonym is to display a type of cowardice and arrogance I continue to expect from commies such as Trotter. He recognises the message of the name, knows the power of the symbol, and will not engage with the substance of the comments. Quite disappointing, really.

UPDATE: Here is what Redbaiter actually said:
“The voters are concerned about climate change and peak oil. ”

No they are not. The mainstream media might be concerned, and might be trying hard to stimulate concern among the public, but in most surveys I have read, these matters aren’t high priority. Your belief that they are Mr. Trotter is an example of the enormous political gulf that exists between NZ’s working middle class and the elitist leftists who predominate in media. We want to put petrol in our cars, not send money to Russian gangsters.
For that, he got this reaction:
All future posts from this pseudonym will be placed into permanent moderation.

Bryan Spondre
Blog Producer
Now, the contention in the comments from Psycho Milt that Redbaiter's comment was abusive he just happened to be told off for his pseudonym at the same time is ridiculous. Trotter even says further down that Redbaiter can come back under a different name and try again.

Related Links:
DPF introduces Trotter
Trotter's 2nd post

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Lucia Boobs parade is on

... Judge Mathers said although some councillors may deem the parade to be offensive, she did not agree, even if it was tacky. Females walking down the street bare-breasted was not unlawful. But she added her decision case was made by considering the law not morals.
It used to be that the law was based on morals.

For my position on the Boobs on Bikes parade, see my previous post: Fig leaves on their faces.

Related Link: Boobs on Bikes parade gets go-ahead ~ Stuff

Monday, August 18, 2008

ZenTiger Which Bank?

I hardly ever watch TV, but the Olympics drew me in. And I was ever so impressed to discover Westpac had something to do with the Olympics. They were the official bank who paid the most money of any bank to have the rights to say they were the official bank of the Olympics. Although, maybe that was only for Australia and New Zealand TV stations. Perhaps banks in other countries were busily being official sponsors of the Olympic Brand for their country.

No matter. I'm distracting myself from the obvious conclusion. So impressed was I that Westpac were advertising themselves as official sponsors I of course did what any viewer would be expected to do: I resolved to switch all my accounts to Westpac on the Monday.

But then disaster struck. National Bank rode in with a more powerful offer. According to their advert, whenever I had to think about money, a black horse would gallop past my Window, and possibly stomp bandits to death and scare away any tax collectors. That seemed like a better deal to me, so I resolved to change to National Bank first thing Monday.

But my resolution was premature. Kiwi Bank. First, imagine walking into a pub and ordering a glass of house red. Yep, I could do that. And then, as one hands over their debit/credit Kiwi Bank card, the waitress smiles knowingly, flashes her collar to reveal a Kiwi Bank logo and says "I'll get you the good stuff"

Getting the good stuff simply for paying by Kiwi Bank credit card seemed like a pretty powerful offer. It's like you are in a secret society, perhaps more powerful than Greenpeace and the Lions Club combined. But wait, as they say, there's more!

Cut away to a warehouse with Mr Pink and Mr Tarintino interrogating an attractive Mademoiselle tied to a chair. But although she's the one tied up, alone in a warehouse surrounded by homicidal maniacs, reservoir dogs and possibly off duty policemen turned bad, she seems to be the one in control. Could be her conditioner - possibly her toothpaste - I don't know. Whatever, she brazenly confesses that Kiwi Bank is taking the NZ banking industry by storm, and doing it by offering zero fees.

"What's the catch?" croaks Mr Pink - "No fees as long as you order a drink of house red at least once every three months" purrs the secret Bank Agent. Or spend some money on something else once a quarter I suppose. But it's already too late. Whether the agent lives or dies, I must change my accounts to Kiwi Bank on Monday.

And my story would have ended there, except that I saw one final bank advertisement late last night. It was a totally forgettable ANZ advertisement. If I can't remember it, it was probably pathetic. No Gold Medals. No killer bodyguard horse. No offers from the top shelf, whilst secret agents engaged in Pulp Fiction banter with psychotic gorillas, just the ANZ logo droning past my slipping consciousness. Except that I already bank with ANZ, and given their advert seemed so useless, on account of the fact I can't remember it, I feel sorry for them.

So I'm going to stick with the underdog.

Monday came, and my back accounts stayed where they were.

A million dollars in advertising, how many casualties?

Lucia Hail north of Wellington

Here on the Kapiti Coast, we have just experienced the most incredible amount of hail. It's almost covered my paths and garden outside in a complete blanket of white. I don't think I've ever seen this much hail before.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Lucia The value of teaching Latin to young children

o - s - t - mus - tis - nt ~ Latin verb endings for memorisation
I started teaching my children (boys, ages 7&11) Latin from the start of this year using Memoria Press's Prima Latina for young children. It's very basic Latin which could almost be a bit too young for my older child, but I thought that it would be far easier to teach the same thing to two children and that it would be a gentle lead-in for my older child who really didn't like to work too hard.

A few weeks back we started really getting into the grammar rules for types of words. Not having learned anything like this at all myself beyond passing references to nouns, verbs, etc, I'm finding that the classical approach to learning for younger children looks to be very beneficial. The idea is that they memorise (dirty word in modern education!) facts so that they are easily assessable in their minds when they need them. I'm finding in teaching of grammar facts, for example, as they relate to Latin, that I do not have them readily assessable at all, and therefore I'm having to memorise them myself in order to spot-grill my kids on what they remember. So I can see the massive advantage they will have over me in the future in having these facts readily available as our study of Latin increases in complexity.

I was prompted to write about the concept of memorisation and how handy it will because of the following passage from an article by the lady who designed the Latin course we are using.

More than a decade ago, I began to try my hand at the forgotten art of teaching Latin grammar to students in grades 3-8. I knew that middle and high school students learn English grammar with much difficulty and little success, yet up until the 20th century students regularly completed the much more difficult Latin grammar before high school. How could this be? Were students a lot smarter in the past?

The key to this riddle is found in the nature of the two languages (Latin and English) and in the inherent difficulty of understanding grammar by analyzing one's own language. This problem was pointed out years ago by R.W. Livingstone:
"In English, grammar study is artificial, we know the language already and have no real need to dissect it; while in Latin we must master the grammar in order to understand the language at all, and the study is therefore spontaneous. Again, if our object is to train exactness of thought, modern languages are far inferior to Latin, which has, in a unique degree, in a degree no modern language exhibits, that logical quality of which so much is said in these discussions. He (the Roman) disciplined his thought as he disciplined himself; his words are drilled as rigidly as were his legions, and march with the same regularity and precision. Modern languages, and English most of all, are lax and individualistic; in our grammar, as in our politics, we are nonconforming, dissenting, lenient...; we have almost as many exceptions as rules..In the ideal language, law is supreme; Reason governs its grammar and the expression is exactly measured and fitted to the thought which it expresses. Latin is such a language."
Since grammar is the study of the structure of language, the best subject for that study is a language that is a model of organization, logic, and discipline. Latin is such a language and its study teaches grammar in a way no other language can. When English grammar is learned side by side with Latin grammar, it produces a level of understanding and mastery far surpassing anything that can be achieved by the study of English alone. It also makes the separate study of English grammar unnecessary.
It really struck in me in reading the whole article that exactness of thought and ability to really get to the core of problems and how to fix those problems is woefully missing in modern times. Could it be that in order to improve everything requires that we get back to basics? But what basics?

Ah, for the answer to THAT question, you need to read the following article:
The Lost Tools of Learning
I will say at once, quite firmly, that the best grounding for education is the Latin grammar. I say this, not because Latin is traditional and mediaeval, but simply because even a rudimentary knowledge of Latin cuts down the labor and pains of learning almost any other subject by at least fifty percent. It is the key to the vocabulary and structure of all the Teutonic languages, as well as to the technical vocabulary of all the sciences and to the literature of the entire Mediterranean civilization, together with all its historical documents.

Related Links: Taking Latin seriously ~ Memoria Press

ZenTiger Point Zero One

Point Zero One. The Kiwi twins cross the line and we require German precision checking to see who had the most paint on the bow. That's what I call a photo finish, and the Evers-Swindell sisters guarantee a huge contract on Weet-Bix boxes for the next 20 years. Oh yes, they also took Gold for New Zealand in the 2000m double sculls.

What an oar-some night for rowing, with a well deserved bronze by 2005 World champions Nathan Twaddle and George Bridgewater in the men's pair event, right after Mahe's huge effort. Rob Wadell and Nathan Cohen unfortunately were around 1 second off a bronze in the mens double sculls, making a great charge right at the end, but not quite enough time to catch. Nicky Coles and Juliette Haigh also missed out on a medal in the women's pair event, coming in at 5th position - still a great achievement to be in a final.

Beijing Medal Table [not always current]

ZenTiger Mahe's Gold Medal Effort

Wow! What absolute commitment! I just watched Mahe take bronze in the singles 2000m, and I think he may well be disappointed. There is no question in my mind though that his effort was pure gold. We know of course he's been sick this week, losing up to 4kg of weight this week. It's amazing he even turned up for the final, and we've seen him give everything he had. He's just been carried off by paramedics.

Mahe, you may not have got gold today, but you did yourself proud. Fantastic effort and we all know the Gold would have been yours on another day.

Friday, August 15, 2008

ZenTiger Friday Night Free for All

It's Friday. What a week! If you've caught any of the Olympics then you'd almost be forgiven for missing what's happening in the rest of the world. Awesome stuff. Speaking of awe and shock, Georgia is on many minds of course. Did the world change, or did we just open our eyes a little bit wider?

And in the more mundane world of New Zealand life, Georgina Beyer seems to have given up on NZ, and wants to go to Australia, where apparently, they'll offer her plumb jobs. Helen didn't, and that's just not fair. And socialism is all about fair. And fair leads to entitlement. And entitlement is about what's owed, and how fair is it to be in debt?

What else is fair is the Tuhoe demands to separate from NZ with the parts of it that they had taken as their own before someone else took it from them. They want it back, so the Government will agree on behalf of all New Zealanders to take it from all New Zealanders. How come fair means that someone always loses anyway? 'Fairness' isn't playing fair. It's a socialist ideal that never lives up to its promise. Not that selfishness is perfect either. Although that's the first mistake to make, isn't it? If option A doesn't quite work, present the opposite option, Option B. Say nothing whilst your target chooses between the lesser of two evils.

Never disclose that there was a third option. Or even a fourth.

The option tonight? To stop in and say hello. To put aside the smaller differences and embrace the bigger commonalities. We all like to be treated with respect; we all have capacity to act as humans - you know, the humanitarian ones, and that we all like to have a good meal and a fine drink in good company.

See you in the comments section.


Lucia Boobs on bikes - fig leaves on their faces

Are breasts offensive, LibertyScott asks? Of course the answer is no. But that is not the correct question. The correct question is, is it offensive to parade topless women down the street to sell pornography?

The fact is that the Boobs on Bikes parade draws large crowds of men to leer at topless women. For that reason alone it should be restricted to a private venue, not a main street of Auckland.

But, but, but, what's wrong with leering at topless women, what's wrong with pornography? Yes, I can hear the brains ticking of some of the readers out there.
Psychiatrist Leslie Farber and others have described the depersonalizing effects of pornography most vividly by stating that it transfers the fig leaf to the face.
Pornography encourages people to think of others as objects for their own use. Leering at topless women is using those women for your own gratification. Once you learn to use others for personal gratification, it's not restricted to the boobs on bikes women or images in magazines, it translates into a way of relating to every single person you meet. It translates into using your husband or wife or girlfriend or boyfriend for what they can give you, not loving them for who they are. If you're not having fun, you have no staying power when things get tough - you bail.

This parade is there for the sole purpose of selling pornography to men. It's bad enough that many men are already addicted to porn, but to allow this parade on the street to blatantly encourage a wider audience of men who seem to be clueless as to the dangers to their manhood that pornography poses is to give societal acceptance to something that should not be accepted. This parade is offensive for that reason, and to reduce it down to breasts being offensive is to be narrow minded and obtuse. There are larger issues involved, which most people used to be aware of in days gone past. And for good reason.

Related Links: Boobs on Bikes ~ NZ Conservative, post from last year
Pornography: Formula for Despair ~ Catholic Education Resource Centre

Lucia Pro-Soviet Propaganda Oozing from the Dominion Post

Pro-Soviet propaganda is oozing from the Dominion Post. Yesterday there was an editorial and an article from Gorbachev, and today chief Soviet apologist, Chris Trotter, is unleashed. We all know where Chris stands on the Soviets. A number of years ago he wrote an opinion piece excusing Soviet hesitation when faced with the destruction of Warsaw by the Nazis in 1944. Only a true Soviet supporter could excuse what occurred there.

But wait, wasn't the Soviet Union disbanded in 1990? Err, yes. Tell that to Russia who seems to think she still can "defend" territory not her own and then use that "defence" as a means to take over a former satellite. But the Dom Post editors seem think this view is the correct one, with what was said in the editorial yesterday:
That means accepting Russia's message that this affair is Moscow's business, and the West should butt out."
Pretty clear when the Dom Post stands, then.

Other former satellites are suitably nervous, but have more of a clue that our Soviet supporters here in New Zild.

Meanwhile the firing of ballistic missiles into Georgia by Russia has prompted the signing of the missile defence agreement between Poland and the US with additional guarantees that the US would come to Poland's aid if attacked. Hmm, who would possibly attack Poland?

Things are heating up and the best that the Dominion Post can do is act like a mouthpiece for Pravda. True colours are showing, guys.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Lucia Contraceptive pill leads to incompatibility

Forty years ago Pope Paul VI predicted that widespread use of the contraceptive pill would create social disaster. His prediction was presentient - you'd almost think he had some help from the man upstairs.
Humanae Vitae’s specific predictions about what the world would look like if artificial contraception became widespread. The encyclical warned of four resulting trends: a general lowering of moral standards throughout society; a rise in infidelity; a lessening of respect for women by men; and the coercive use of reproductive technologies by governments. In the years since Humanae Vitae’s appearance, numerous distinguished Catholic thinkers have argued, using a variety of evidence, that each of these predictions has been borne out by the social facts.
And the facts just keep on coming. Today I read in the Dominion Post that "The pill can lead to choice of wrong partner". Apparently the hormonal changes of the pill stuff up a woman's ability to choose a compatible mate, she is instead attracted to a male too similar to herself who typically not a good genetic match for her. When she comes off the pill she finds the man she is with is no longer attractive to her. This leads to far more breakups that could be expected if women had matched up with compatible men in the first place.

The irony with all of this is that so many people believe, despite all the evidence, that more contraception is needed to prevent many of the social ills we see around us now. Nevermind that since the pill has been commonplace the number of children born to single mothers has exploded and the number of breakups has likewise followed the same trend.

More contraception will solve the problem! Yeah, right.

The message here to women is if you want to find a lifelong husband, throw away the pill, take a vow of chastity until marriage and refuse to even date men that you don't think would die for you. And then don't go on the pill while married. If you want to space your children, learn Natural Family Planning and practise sexual self-control.

Here endeth the lesson.

Related Links:
The Pill may put you off smell of your man and ruin your relationship ~ The Times
The vindication of Humanae Vitae ~ First Things

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

ZenTiger Tuhoe Introduce New Haka

The Tuhoe Iwi have introduced a new version of the haka, which they unveiled for the first time as they arrived in parliament to kick of negotiations to annex part of New Zealand and create an independent state.

The new haka is much shorter than the much over-used "Ka mate" haka performed by the All Blacks and may become iconic at sporting matches, and future Treaty negotiations.

The new haka was performed by Tame Iti's friend Te Weeti, who led the Tuhoe hikoi to Parliament last year to protest against armed police raids in Ruatoki as they tracked down alleged separatist terrorists.

However, there is already speculation the new shortened version of the haka is actually owned and copyrighted by pakeha. If this proves correct, the Tuhoe tribe may be forced to pay millions of dollars in royalty fees, which will eat into the recent 420 million dollar "treelords" deal Tuhoe are party to.

Dubbed by some as "the pakeha haka", many European New Zealanders have expressed outrage that their vital taonga, or treasure, has been misappropriated.

"Not only is it culturally offensive to appropriate our ceremonial forms, but it is important to respect the Western customs underpining "copyright", a prominent historian and expert on European Tradition explained.

However, historians are now arguing that the revised Maori haka is only coincidentally similar to the pakeha version, and that such ceremonial dances are universal across all cultures. Ironically, at a time where Tuhoe are arguing that they should remain apart from their fellow New Zealanders, we have found one area where we could come together.

I, for one, think sharing a little bit of each other's cultures can only foster greater understanding between us.


Te Weeti performs the new haka, potentially in breach of copyright.

Related Link: Hongi message to honky white man

ZenTiger TVNZ Special Coverage

TVNZ has apologised for a glitch which meant thousands of viewers up and down the country missed out on seeing kiwi swimmer Moss Burmester's epic effort this afternoon in the mens 200 metre butterfly final.

A switching failure at the TVNZ headquarters in Auckland meant that viewers receiving the broadcast via satellite - either through SKY or on Freeview - missed the race.

Live streaming on - which uses a satellite feed - was also disrupted.

TVNZ was quick to explain that the glitch test was a huge success and testament to all technicians involved in the trial run.

"Once we confirmed we could blanket the news for the whole country we've realised that we are in fine shape for future broadcasts, where we may need to re-examine the newsfeeds and adjust according to the best interests of the public. Borrowing from China, we have a few extra tricks up our sleeves." Accordingly:

* Olympic Racing Events for the 1500m may mysteriously blank for several minutes and finish with a replay of the 1976 Montreal Olympics, where Walker takes Gold for NZ.

* As Winston Peters finally fronts at the Privileges Committee to explain how the financial arrangements work for the Spencer Trust, viewers will be treated to a recap of Don Brash having a meeting with the Exclusive Brethren.

* The election results for 2008 may be blanked out when appropriate and the 2005 coverage substituted on the basis the outcome will be "substantially the same, even if National win."

Can any complaints be directed to John Key's rubbish bin, or any valid email address of the National Party shadow cabinet.

Related Link: TVNZ accused of anti-racism

ZenTiger Michael Phelps Training Secrets

As Michael Phelps cruises to his 10th career Gold Medal, we reflect on some of his secret training techniques:

Speed training is an important part of a swimmers development

Stick to pools with ample water

And keep your lane clear

And review video playback. It's amazing the inspiration potential.

Related Link: Michael Phelps - Gold Plated Legend

Lucia Where is the proposed missile defence sheild in Poland really aimed?

A Telegraph blogger asks the question, is the US missile sheild (to be set up in Poland and the Czech Republic) aimed at Moscow?
Has Poland's president confirmed what Moscow has long suspected? That the US missile shield in Eastern Europe is not directed at rogue states like Iran, but at Russia? [snip] The point remains however, that the US is adamant that Russia is not the real strategic target of the shield. But did Poland's president Lech Kaczynski, who is leading the delegation of Ukrainian and Baltic leaders to Georgia today, let slip the mask last weekend? Then, according to DPA, he declared that the war in the Caucasus was a "very strong argument" for Poland to make a missile defence deal with the US.
Personally, I have held off commenting about this because of the extreme danger for Poland in dealing with Russia. The only thing I will say is that right now, where Russia has said they have stopped fighting in Georgia, but the reports on the ground say something very different are typical of the type of confusion the Russians like to operate in. They did this in WW2 when they invaded Poland in 1939, ostensibly to protect Poland from Germany, but in reality it was to invade and round up as many of the Polish army as possible. Just because Russia's name is now Russia rather than the USSR doesn't mean their modus operandi is any different.

Related Link: Is the US missile shield aimed at Moscow? ~ Telegraph Blogs, Harry de Quetteville

Fletch Compact Fluorescent Fire Risk


As a follow up to the article on TBR and our post HERE, it seems that the Fire Service has issued a warning concerning the new compact fluorescent bulbs. The say to replace them if you notice them flickering as several fires may be linked to the new bulbs.

More fuel to the fire I think, and reason to ditch the things.

Monday, August 11, 2008

ZenTiger Georgia on my mind

Oh Georgia,
No peace, no peace I find
Just an old, sweet song
Keeps Georgia on my mind
(Georgia on my mind)

Already, Russia blames Georgia.
How can Georgia attempt to justify what they are doing? It was Georgia who started the bombing in South Ossetia. Russia had to respond to protect the citizens who had Russian passports.

Georgia blames Russia.
As I write, Russia is waging war on my country...This war is not of Georgia's making, nor is it Georgia's choice.

and the [leftist] West blames America and oil.
If the US were not so hell bent on building their empire and dominating oil supplies then none of this would be happening.

President Saakashvili already has hit the g-spot with some commenters.
Saakashvili must be blamed by international community for committed genocide.

Some are more interested in the hardware.
I would prefer watching an aerial combat between Su-35 and F-35. I believe that the russian iron is much better and their pilots are smarter, but that needs to be proven in a real fight.

But all it does is lead back to America.
This is not Georgia vs Ossetia. This is US vs Russia.

And we cannot trust the propaganda machine
We 'simply cannot trust the West'. Your mass media always tell lies about Russia.

Some-one wonders why US President Obama is already involved. Sorry, US Presidential Candidate Obama.
On whose authority does Barrack Obama have to be speaking directly with the Georgian president? This is outrageous and potentially detrimental to resolving this crisis

And lets analyze it a bit more.
This conflict is certainly looking more and more like a US Russian war played by proxy using Sth Ossetia as the 1st testing ground.

If the US were not so hell bent on building their empire and dominating oil supplies then none of this would be happening.

Again from the President:
Why this war? This is the question my people are asking.

I think the question is "How to stop?"

Tonight, I will pray for the civilians caught up in this mess. The picture of the brothers just breaks my heart. A thousand stories like this, every day somewhere. We all have so much to lose. Some have already lost so much.


Related Link: President of Georgia - War! All invited

Related Link: The War Escalates

Lucia Making DPB parents work doomed to fail [UPDATED]

National has just come out with their plan to get DPB parents working. Once the youngest child turns 6, there will be an obligation on the parent to find part time work. I suppose the theory is that while the child or children are at school, the parent can work. Sounds good. Kind of.

Personally, I'm not impressed. This policy does not solve the problem of the DPB being seen as a genuine "career" option for many young NZ women already born into disadvantage. The requirement to seek work and therefore not being so much of a burden on society can easily be circumvented by having another child. In fact, I predict that if this proposal ever becomes Government policy, the effect will be more children born to DPB women so as to always have a youngest child under 6.

Related Link: National Benefits Policy Backgrounder ~ National Party

UPDATE: It seems I'm not the only one to figure out how to get around the requirement to look for work when the youngest turns 6.
Topping up your DPB ~ Not PC
National's DPB plans gutless ~ Lindsay Mitchell

Saturday, August 9, 2008

ZenTiger Marrying your prostitute to avoid adultery

Is Labour's secret agenda legalising polygamy? This question is asked at No Minister who points out a few interesting links. One of those links made for interesting reading:
Trad this week said he'd proposed to a second woman because he'd fallen in love and thought it sinful to commit adultery. His wife, Hanifa, said she'd approved, because it would mean "having (sex) in the right way instead of having it like go to a prostitute . . ."

It's all very fine to allow consenting adults to do anything they like, but does that include tearing apart the fabric of our moral and cultural values? Such changes to our society are profound and far reaching, even if we can't see it. We can get a clearer view by looking back in history, or even into Islamic cultures.

Liberals and Muslims and possibly the gay lobby will be pleased with legalizing polygamy, thinking we are moving forwards. It's not until you they get to the final destination will they suddenly realise they had inadvertently turned a full 180 degrees along the way and ended up back at the beginning. Before Christian values declared marriage as a man and a women, two halves of a whole, in union for life under the holy sacrament of marriage.

It might be a tough ideal, but that's only a reflection of its value.


* Related Link and Good Article: Polygamy - was it good for you too?

* And a broader discussion at No Minister: NZ Labour Party - married to a secret agenda

* And a polyamory fan page: Wikiamory - where one page is just not enough

Update: Just realised I chopped off a paragraph from my original that explained my position on the state giving legal recognition to polygamy as equal to marriage, versus banning it outright. Luckily, this topic comes up in the comments. My apologies to the early commenters for the confusion caused.

Friday, August 8, 2008

ZenTiger Do you speak-a my language?

I said, do you speak-a my language?
He just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich

[Men at Work]

I came across some thread titled "Forget the Maori Language" and a comment from Greenstonegroup about this topic:
Language, Race, culture, religion is unimportant in the struggle to evolve.

language is only used for a means of communication, not a way to soul.

To hang on to something from the past is to stay in the past.

Oh no. I disagree.

Communication is much more than just "communicating". Language is a window into the soul of a people. Race is less important - in that it is just another facet of a culture, a cultural marker as it were - but a culture is indeed the essence of its people, and their language will express that essence.

How does a language evolve? Just think of the process of building language from nothing. How do people agree on the grammar? What ideas are important to express? These ideas will drive the development of their society. Language carries ideas, and those ideas carry history, learnings, strategies, understandings and is the mechanism to pass this information on. If the directive is a "struggle to evolve", then think how language makes evolution unconstrained by natural biological process so possible. If culture is the genome, language is its DNA.

Language, art, religion - all inextricably linked. And I'm going to end this post even as it begins. It's getting late. I'll finish on the point about the negative connotation around "hanging on" to something from the past - in reply I say remembering the past helps us to understand the body we have built. A decay in language and the ability to communicate is to risk errors in our replication of society's DNA. We lose sight of our cultural heritage, and cancer sets in.

Related Link: Language and Identity

ZenTiger Police Clueless

Police solved only five of the 53 aggravated robberies of South Auckland shops in the six months before liquor store owner Navtej Singh was fatally shot in a hold-up, according to figures held by Chester Borrows.

That means 90% of aggravated robberies in that area have gone unpunished. Unless it is just a small pool of people offending repeatedly, or further arrests are in progress. Either way, the figures still are not good. Labour pledged (on their pledge cards) extra police last election. So where are they, and what has been the net rate of adding officers to the beat?

Where's a journalist when you need one?

ZenTiger Friday Night Free for All

It's Friday. Don't the Olympic Games kick off today? I found a picture of the opening ceremony. It's good they got a bright sunny day, and obviously they've now got the smog under control.

About 90% of the athletes have tested positive for high levels of chemicals, but it turned out to be pollutants from the surrounding city. They are allowed to compete, if they recover in time.

Stop by and drop a comment. But before you read on, warning - this 5 minute brain dump may be far too contemplative for a Friday of idle chit chat. Read it at your peril. Or are you yellow?

Many people are already over the Olympics. Part of the problem is that China wanted to use them as an entree into the Western World as a new, improved, re-marketed, re-branded and re-modeled country. In many ways they are, and China is a country full of promise and potential and it's impact on the world stage in the next 50 years is perhaps going to be bigger than we can imagine. However, China has one major problem, as far as the western world is concerned. I think this stems not so much from it's political history, but it's culture.

We view China through very western eyes, our brains interpreting things in very western ways. Thus, our criticisms are often very harsh and somewhat unjust (in my humble opinion). That is not to say they are not without foundation, but we make our judgments on the basis that we are absolutely right. Our own history, built on the development of Christian ideals has been tested and battle tested and our economic superiority has allowed us to feel confident our moral superiority is justified.

But as time goes on, we are losing the economic battle and the moral one. Our society is in decay. Our values and traditions have been attacked and eroded, and as society continues to change and evolve, more and more people are questioning if these changes are a good thing. Have we peaked and don't see the inevitable decline if we remain on this course?

Interestingly, China which its own distinct and rich culture is also changing, but the potential is to bring about a synthesis of the best from the west tempered by the wisdom of the east. Christianity is a fast growing religion in China, and as China grows to embrace the values of the West, we may see them in the position where they can use their new economic might to ensure they reject the materialistic excesses of the west, and absorb the spiritual values we demand they adopt. Soon, they will be able to judge us, and will they say "hypocrites"?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

ZenTiger Perception on Herceptin

I see Pharmac have made the brave decision to decline Roche's application to fund Women's Breast Cancer drug Herceptin for a full 12 months. They will continue to fund a 9 week treatment of the drug. They've relied on cold hard scientific evidence, and spent a lot of time and effort coming to what seems to me to be a reasonable decision.

Now they just have to combat the public, who usually have a lot less information at their fingertips and don't want to read it anyway, but will be very worried, because more is always good and less is always bad.

Perhaps more importantly, women undergoing treatment for breast cancer may have seen this drug as the gold plated weapon in their battle against a very scary disease. In such battles, attitude and hope can make a big difference to the outcome.

Those women and their families will have to take heart that they still have a range of treatment available, and combined with the 9 week herceptin course, have good chances to have good outcomes.

I also recall another health campaign where "more is good" was not the case at all. Pumped with fear over the deadly Meningococcal disease, many parents were cowed into demanding vaccinations to protect their young ones from certain death. It's not surprising - it's a fate not wished on anyone.

However, even back in 2005, there were legitimate questions being raised about the risks, the effectiveness, the costs and the side effects. Numbers of people contracting the disease from the time the outbreak peaked a few years earlier showed it in steady decline before even the first shot was fired. Those stats continued to drop throughout the programme, even though children needed "the whole set" to gain protection - this was the excuse used when vaccinated children caught the disease.

Now, in 2008 more information has come to light that continues to question the "more must be better" logic that pushed that particular decision. It was logic supported not by facts, but by the Health Department's search for hope.

It was, in effect, the reverse of the Pharmac decision, which seeks to provide the most optimal health care based on the available evidence, and leaves the supply of attitude and hope in the hands of the patient and their family.

I think that's all we can ask for.

A review of the government's $200 million meningococcal vaccination programme has found that the vaccine's effectiveness often wore off within just months of the injection.
Related Link: You are safe - for a month or two

Related Link: Pharmac Stands on Current Evidence

If you wanted a second opinion, Macdoctor dispenses alternate advice: The Price of Life

Women's groups split on Herceptin

ZenTiger Shop Keeper Fights Back

A Christchurch dairy owner, who pulled out a slug pistol and opened fire at two machete wielding robbers, has been inundated with support from all over the country.

Add me to the list.

Yes, I do support violence in the issue of self defence. Machete wielding thugs need to take note. The government wont protect you. You could try setting up a union and going on strike. "No more robberies until the Government can guarantee my safety". Fill out a form and join the queue.

Note to Police: Be careful who you side with on this issue. You will be judged by the company you keep.

ZenTiger Food for thought

A new book is out which is so controversial they can't even use the word "Maori" in the title [of the news article]. "Controversial book on kiwi cannibalism released"

Apparently, all the evidence is there to confirm Kiwis (the Maori ones) ate their enemies after a battle. Although I thought this was already fairly well known, the author, Professor Paul Moon, makes the point that this is a topic that is often 'avoided' by other Kiwi historians. Already, people are on the warpath over this and I suspect some will be doing their best to make him eat his words.

The evolution of a culture is such an interesting topic. But I'm busy right now, so I'll leave it to the comments to explore any such interest.


Related Link: Controversial book on kiwi cannibalism released

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

ZenTiger Legal Performance Enhancement

New Zealand's Olympic cyclists are secretly testing in France a revolutionary new cycling suit they hope will shave critical seconds off their times. Apparently, all perfectly legal, with just a slight question over how much an advantage this latest development might provide.

This was front page Dominion Post this morning. And suddenly, every thing fell into place.

A suit with slip stream qualities par extraodinaire? Teflon coating that represents a quantum jump in technology? One that shaves seconds and indeed keeps rivals second guessing just where in space the Kiwi Cyclists will materialize?

And also on page one Winston accused of receiving another undeclared donation. But Winston has always said there are perfectly reasonable answers to these impertinent questions. And I've figured it out. He's sold his suit design to the NZ cycling team, and has been living off the royalties. These large amounts of money going into various trusts are not so much donations as royalty cheques. No doubt, his pinstripe suit has also been adapted for horse wear, shaving valuable seconds off the Vela family thoroughbreds.

I thought there was a reasonable explanation for all this, and pinstriped double breasted cycling suits will really lift our profile at the Olympics.

I heard that he tried marketing the same suit for the pool. Unfortunately, it sunk like a Spanish galleon loaded with gold, and they had to throw the swimmer a life buoy.

And now the Privileges Committee is going to decide if Winston's performance enhancing donations are perfectly legal. But will they have time before the election? Politically, it's doubtful. The moment the house rises the complaint gets shelved. We'd need the Privileges Committee to act like they are in the 100 yard dash, not the 26 mile marathon.

Trouble is, politics is a bigger game than the Olympics, and our political athletes have been using performance enhancing products for years, many of these sources highly suspect.

For Labour, unions and adroit manipulation of the media and public service; for National sponsorship by big business; for NZ First, rich special interest groups backing the dark horse of politics.

All attempts to provide mandatory fiscal screening have ultimately failed. The Prime Minister herself pointed out that the code of practice Cabinet Ministers are held to are "guidelines only". And what is discovered to be illegal just gets retrospectively made legal. The EFA was supposed to write a new rule book - what a joke.

Voters never had a sporting chance.

Related: Winston Steps Down
Related: Winston Plays Bogey Golf

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

ZenTiger Comment for the Faithfull

I made a passing comment on DimPost concerning his review of the recent National Party Conference. I've scrapbooked it here because I felt like it.
I suppose this leaked comment Could have come through anytime,
Clarkson’s Brethren joke somewhat Cold lonely, puritan.
To those little Labour Gremlins - What are you fighting for?
Don’t need your spin. Its not my security.

The polls? Labour versus National, but Its just an old war,
Every three years - Not even a cold war.
Solzhenitsyn is dead. Don’t say it in Russian.
The Berlin Wall is down. Don’t say it in German.
Bill may have said it. Say it.
Say it in Broken English.

Related Link: Dim's Broken English

Monday, August 4, 2008

ZenTiger Loose Change

All the morality and all the rights in the world plus a dollar will get you a cup of coffee. If you have some means of enforcing the morality or rights, then you might get the coffee without the dollar.
Mike Huben

Could I have a cup of coffee please?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

ZenTiger Trotter Still Not Sorry

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. And I thought Trotter might actually be sorry for his recent article I deemed "Hate Speech".

But I was wrong. He comes back today in the SST defiant and proud. And oh, the reasons! Oh, his humanity!
"OH DEAR, oh dear, oh dear. All of my adult life, I've had to listen to the National Party heap abuse on Labour's core constituencies, and yet, when the tables are turned, just once, the squeals of protest can be heard from Cape Regina to the Bluff."
Just once, Mr Trotter? Just once? I know, I know. The holocaust didn't happen either, and those rich bastards in the Twin Towers had it coming and only the poor donate to charity.

As Trotter compares his turn with heaping abuse with select moments in history, we see that my own sarcastic use of the phrase "hate speech" (a typical leftist device) becomes also ironic as Trotter justifies his because of theirs:

"solo mums and beneficiaries were also on the end of National Party's hate speech".

Raybon Kan is up to his usual best on the other page of the Sunday Star Times, and his post [which I'll link when its available] best sums up why I'm not going to waste another moment on Chris Trotter's column this week.

Really, this tripe doesn't deserve my time. It doesn't deserve any-one's time. If Trotter must rely on the past to justify his poor behaviour for today, then the lessons of history are wasted and to coin another leftist phrase, it's time to move on.

It started here: Trotters Hate Speech

Saturday, August 2, 2008

ZenTiger Winston Plays Bogey Golf - Back 9

This is Part II of a review of Winston's speech made at Hutt Golf Club, July 31, 2008. Click here for: Part I - Front 9.

Winston's caddy for the game, ZenTiger takes us through the back nine holes.

Hole 10 - Lakeside - Par 3
This is a tricky par 3 across Illot Lake. Everyone has to play over the water, and so Winston provides the bridge in his two point tax plan:

"New Zealand First wants to see a tax free threshold of $5,200 introduced."
"New Zealand First also wants to see GST reduced to 10% across the board."

No chance of a hole-in-one with that shot. He spends a bit of time explaining why this is such a good shot, and yet at the same time he says that one hole does not a round of golf make. It gave him another par.

It makes eminent sense in terms of both practicality and fairness for the most vulnerable in our society to have relief from tax on the first part of their earnings. The reason is simple – a tax cut will increase your income, but only a reduction in GST will address the issue of affordability.

Consider this – interest rates rise to curb inflation. Inflation rises when prices rise for goods and services. Cutting GST actually reduces the cost of everything – at least in the short term – reversing pressures on inflation.

It simply makes sense."

There's that appeal to common sense again. The last time we believed that, we got the Electoral Finance Act. Everyone knows that economics and common sense do not go together.

"So in contrast to the other parties we offer a tax policy that is clear, easily understood, practical and delivers immediate benefits in terms of extra income and a lower cost of living."

So he's seen National's policy then? And Labour increasing the tax thresholds is confusing to him? That's probably why he infamously said being Minister for Foreign Affairs has nothing to do with trade. ACT's policy of a flat tax must be really confusing. One tax rate. Period. I agree, how do you simplify that? We moved to the 11th and I scored a bogey.

Hole 11 - Kelson - par 5
Play smart! Place your tee shot so as you can set up your second. For big hitters, left is good as it does give a line to the green. For mere mortals, lay up the second short of the fairway bunkers and then attack the pin.

"But we also have a fundamental difference with Labour and National on where tax cuts fit in terms of an overall economic policy. We do not believe tax cuts should be the centrepiece – the main focus - of economic policy to the exclusion and detriment of other critical areas. For this reason we will not be indulging National and Labour’s schoolyard game of "ours is better than yours" when it comes to tax cuts in this election."

Fundamental differences? The Labour party believes in tax cuts like they believe in buying votes. When the time is right, then it's the right thing to do. The National party believes in tax cuts like it's a point of differentiation. Less tax means less government interference to them. That's why they wont turn back any of Labour's social engineering policies, but make sure we all feel richer at pay day. Many centre right voters are still waiting to see if National have greater ideological depth to this point of differentiation. It's what will help our economy grow or stagnate. Winston says much the same thing. He just uses it as an excuse.

"In fact we ask why should tax – an important but in reality an open and shut issue – be allowed to dominate the economic agenda? In truth, focusing on tax cuts is a convenient way of drawing people’s attention away from the deeper and more fundamental challenges facing the economy - that neither Labour nor National actually want to address."

No matter, he's finally on the green:

"So our message to New Zealanders is straightforward. Certainly let us have tax cuts. But let us not pretend that tax cuts are the magic bullet – the panacea that will transform our economy. Our message to New Zealanders is this: Look beyond tax cuts. Look for what it is going to take to radically improve our economic prospects as a country. Look at which party is offering a long term economic strategy to take New Zealand into the future."

I think Winston, The Greens and ACT all say this. Certainly, Brash had this speech down pat and Roger Douglas scared a few people silly with this speech. Same words, different strokes. For Winston, another bogey and we move to the the 12th.

Hole 3 - Citadel - par 3
This hole plays longer than you think. Take an extra club and carry the ball to the pin. With four pot bunkers, two on each side, the tee shot is blind. Winston tries to take it close to the trees:

"First and foremost among the areas that need to be addressed is the role of the Reserve Bank. As a matter of urgency, we must rewrite the Reserve Bank Act. Now this is an obscure piece of legislation that very few New Zealanders understand and even fewer have actually read.

Ah, now I see his tactic. Adopt obscure policy directives on obscure bits of legislation that few will understand - Winston is indeed a master of bogey golf. Few have actually also read page 26 of the Reserve Bank June Economic Statement for that matter. I really need to get Winston's copy. Mine is obviously out of date.

"The job of the Reserve Bank should be to maintain stability in the economy in terms of employment and growth as well as keeping inflation under control – as it is for example in the UK and the US. We have to break out of the straight jacket that requires the bank to take a single minded hard line on inflation, irrespective of the performance of the economy, and irrespective of the fact that much of New Zealand’s inflation results from rising import costs rather than inflation generated here.

Unless we have the courage to rewrite the Reserve Bank Act, high interest rates and an overvalued dollar will continue to cripple our economy.

As we have already noted – the dogma of the Reserve Bank means that 95,000 people must lose their jobs so the Governor can keep his.

Somehow, he pulls off a par and we stroll to the next hole.

Hole 13 - Avalon - par 4
This is a challenging dogleg right. Distances are deceptive because of the angle of the approach to the green and the bunker to the left is always in play. This green has a huge crown back middle right which creates an enormous amount of break to the front left and it is generally very fast.

Winston tees off and goes right.

"The New Zealand based economic think tank BERL, which actually works on New Zealand based solutions not imported ones has tackled this matter and written an extremely good paper on it. They have arrived at the same conclusions as New Zealand First – that the Reserve Bank Act needs to be rewritten."

He plays another shot fading right:

"In fact Mark Weldon – the head of the New Zealand Stock Exchange – has also expressed this view publicly. So we have been joined by some pretty sound economic minds on this matter.

Well, now that the matter is settled, what conclusions did NZ First come up with, as economic thought leaders in this space. Oh, nothing. Luckily, BERL did and NZ First adopts their policy:

"The BERL research offered four steps in rewriting the Reserve Bank Act which we want to raise tonight.

1 – To include the balance of payments and full employment (along with inflation) as equally important objectives for the Reserve Bank,

2 – To formally empower the Reserve Bank to manage the liquidity of the financial system,

3 – To facilitate open market operations involving long term, as well as short term securities, and;

4 – To facilitate a transparent "sterilised float" of the New Zealand Dollar.

These are all extremely well thought out and, most importantly, New Zealand driven ideas.

You see if the mandate to save those 95, 000 jobs were in place then the Reserve Bank would behave differently.

I quickly flick to that Reserve Bank June statement again, and can't find this reference to 95,000 jobs that's there in black and white on page 26. Oh hang on, BERL's done the calculations for me: BERL forecasts 95,000 jobs to go.

You think Winston is a paid up subscriber? Or is this where his $158,000 worth of charity donations went? Winston shoots a double-bogey on the hole and I'm wondering if Winston, as Minister for Racing, found some other "extremely well thought out and, most importantly, New Zealand driven ideas" to lower the Duty rate from 20% to 4% for the Vela family and other Kiwis in the horse racing business. Or maybe they just came to the same conclusions? Golf is obviously more than just hitting a small white ball around with a big stick.

Hole 14 - Terrace - par 4
With fairway that is narrower due to left hand sloping and right hand bunkers, the best tee shot finishes down the left and between the two fairway bunkers. Winston duffs his shot a little but it rolls well.

"If export growth and addressing our outrageously large balance of payments deficit was a priority then the Reserve Bank would behave differently. You see there really is an alternative – one which can be built around what is best for all New Zealanders. In the 2008 election campaign New Zealand First will be saying to New Zealanders - do not be deceived."

In golf, as in politics, you always worry about the next shot. That's why finishing one shot with "do not be deceived" and starting another with:

"When you look at the tax packages on offer you will find New Zealand First has the edge."

..may not be the best approach shot. I'm called to mind that the edge is often the thing that marks the top of a large cliff. Another bogey and we are on the 15th. I'm now thinking of the 19th.

Hole 15 - Stopbank - par 4
This is a very long hole if a southerly blows. Drive your tee shot over the stopbank to the left centre fairway. Mens par 4 but a ladies par 5. Equality in golf is based on the principles of progressive taxation, called handicaps. Still, men have long known ladies need an extra stroke. You'd think if we men can find a small hole in the middle of a large field..anyway, I digress. Winston had a big wood out:

"But look further. Look at who is facing up to the deeper economic issues facing New Zealand and who is offering new thinking about the economy.

Because in the area of economic policy the time is ripe for bold and innovative thinking – and that is what we intend to bring to the 2008 election.

Today we have set out a number of policy steps that we see as priorities if we are to ensure New Zealand’s future prosperity.

All of these steps are practical and achievable."

Ah! So today, we've seen two tax cuts, a prediction of 95,000 job losses demanded by the Reserve Bank, and because economics is too complicated for us voters, we need to trust NZ First, who have squarely set the re-structure of the Reserve Bank as the centre-piece issue driving NZ economic prosperity. Another bogey.

Hole 16 - Narrows - par 4
Respect this hole, it has more dangers than you think. The green is reasonably flat. Winston plays regulation and gains a par:

But most importantly they will go a long way to safeguard the wellbeing of all New Zealanders.

Hole 17 - Stockade - Par 4
The ideal tee shot is right centre and short of the band of heavy rough. And this is another dogleg to the left. Winston sums up what New Zealanders deserve:

They deserve nothing less.

Is that mean we get less tax after all? Does it mean we get less explanation? Every-time Winston has promised more, he's delivered less. His full and frank explanations of the issues around a series of donations by the wealthy Vela family may all be legal, but what of the issue of influencing racing policy? Bob Jones might be an opinionated rich bastard with a mean right hook, but he's pretty straight up and down - what happened to his $25,000 donation? And how much is Owen Glenn's generous donation to NZ First Legal Expenses have been properly declared? I didn't actually see Winston sink his putt, but he assures me that it was a par and we move on to the last hole.

Hole 18 - Waterloo - par 3
With water to carry from tee to green, bunkers guarding the left and right and the back, this is a difficult finishing hole which can make or break your game. The difficult, three-tiered green will see a downhill putt run away down the slope towards the water. Play to the centre of the tier with the flag for the only chance of a semi-level putt. The breaks can be seen but can be hard to judge.

My advice to Winston on playing the last hole, "Waterloo" seemed as apt as the messages coming from the rising tide of commentary in the press, the blogs, the talk back radio and even within the NZ first party faithful.

My review stops here, but the game isn't over. How Winston plays it could leave NZ First under the 5% threshold, with no seat. Political oblivion, and the golf clubs destined for the lake - car keys included.

Or he might pull it back and make a birdie with the party faithful cheering him on. There must be a few from the Labour golf club that might still see NZ first as an improvement. In that situation Nz First will remain our two main parties greatest handicap, and yet they will both be saying "we play the ball, not the man".

In golf, there's not much difference.

Related Link: Winston plays Bogey Golf - The Front 9

Winston at Hutt Golf Club: There has always been an alternative

With unasked thanks to Hutt Golf Club.

ZenTiger Winston Plays Bogey Golf - Front 9

Winston played a round at Hutt Golf Club on Thursday, the venue for his latest speech.

He was shooting for birdies, but dropped a few shots as he found the hazards driving hard from the Tee.

We interviewed caddy ZenTiger after the game to get a complete rundown of his speech to the club. Uppermost in our minds was how he played the game. Zen, can you take us through the first nine holes?

"Delighted to"

Hole 1 - Buglers - par 4
Well, the first hole was a short par four, dogging left. This has suited Winston's recent style of play, as he has been consistently dogging left for the last three years.

He decided to play short of the green on his second, but was badly affected by the slopes leading up to the bunker on the right. I heard him mutter "Bloody typical", but I advised him not to let racism affect his game and keep his head down. He changed it to

"those things that do not kill you will only make you stronger"

which got him nicely up onto the green for three, but he fluffed a putt and sent it past the hole with his follow through:

"We are still standing in New Zealand First and are stronger than ever".

He tapped in for a bogey five.

Hole 2 - Corridor - par 4
The second hole was interesting. Winston was playing off the white markers, "The Mens Markers" as he calls them, and just ahead of him, who should we see but Rodney Hide, playing off the Yellow Markers, or "the Lady markers" as Winston likes to say. Now some of the more experienced golfers will say that red markers are often the ladies markers. And looking at the Labour party, I'd have to agree. But Hutt Golf Club uses yellow. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

The second hole is tricky. From the tee, the narrow tree-lined corridor stops everything but the straightest shots. You need to aim slightly to the left of centre as your ball will roll towards the right hand rough. Again, a dogleg to the left, but with a bias to slope right. Winston waited until Rodney was in his back swing and called out:

"We heard today that the political dwarf in the yellow jacket has laid a complaint with the Serious Fraud Office over so-called allegations about New Zealand First."

It had no affect, Rodney's placement was perfect. That rattled Winston and he again bogeyed that hole.

Hole 3 - Riverside - par 4
The third hole is a par four, slight dogleg right. But you still have to play your tee-shot left. The large green is deceptive and slopes left to right. Winston started out with a 2 wood:

"Well as we were taught in school when it is better to stay silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."

I was wondering if that was foreshadowing, but his second shot was good and he was on the green in two:

"It is no coincidence that the colour the dwarf chooses to wear is yellow – but his credibility is fading as fast as his hideous dress sense. Let me tell you why."

and then he completely blew the long putt with this:

"You see they have never let the facts get in the way of their salacious stories. But we are here tonight to talk about far more serious matters."

Completely avoided the hole. I've never seen a putter lift the ball off the green like that. It was no surprise he finally sunk it in 6. Double bogey.

Hole 4 - Belmont - Par 5
This is a long straight hole with a favourable left-of-centre lie. The hole is named "Belmont" but the locals call it "Into the Dunne-e". Some fairway bunkers are there to trap the big hitters. Winston's first two shots had him ready for a 9 iron onto the Green:

"While the media have been seduced by all manner of scandal and innuendo a real crisis has been unfolding – one which effects every single household in New Zealand. As you are well aware 2008 is election year. And nothing sharpens the mind like the prospect of a contest."

Although I had to wonder about that last tactic. He's been playing off the white markers, and professionals, as you know, play off the blue. I was wondering if Winston was feeling ready for the big time. But then he showed why he plays to a handicap:

"We are beginning to experience the unfettered impact of this so-called globalization, which we had foisted on us by unthinking ideologues since 1984."

Globalization? Is that the new term for accepting $100,000 in donations from ex-pat Owen Glenn? That left him in the bunker but he chipped out nicely:

"That is not to say that New Zealand should not be part of the global community – we should."

He sent the ball around the green for a while:

"But from 1984 onwards we tried to go further and faster in opening ourselves up than any other developed nation – and we did not put the necessary safeguards in place to protect our own self interest."

Well, aside from the Spencer Trust.

"Those who promoted this economic and social experimentation were guilty of economic vandalism and we are dealing with the effects of that now."

I thought we were dealing with the effects of nine years of Labour as greens keeper, but it is credible to mention that a lot of the overseas players who have been visiting haven't always replaced their divots. Part of the blame must surely be the Greens keeper's attitude though? The Canadians tried to join the club, they had the membership fees and were prepared to play only on weekdays but the Greens keeper blocked them. It must have annoyed Winston more when a Chinese group got the nod to play through. Back to the game though, Winston finally sunk the putt for a bogey 6:

"We have the highest interest rates in the developed world and the most volatile dollar."

Hole 5 - Crossing - par 3
This is the only par 3 on the front 9. Like most Kiwi golf courses, go too far right and you are Out Of Bounds. The pin position can be tough, and the three pot bunkers affectionately known as "The Nandors" are best avoided. Some subtle breaks need to be allowed for. Winston was on the green in one:

"Finance companies are falling like dominoes with tens of thousands of people losing their savings, food and household prices are soaring and the list goes on."

Then he three putted. Don't ask me how.

Every time we face a crisis those promoting these extreme neo-liberal policies trot out the same tired mantra.

Hole 6 - Tararuas - par 4
This is probably the toughest hole on the course. Drive to left centre to set up a mid iron to this tricky green. A shot to the right may be blocked out by the trees. Missing the green to the left is much better than missing to the right where a deep bunker awaits. The green tends to slope to the right and back to front. If you can get policy out of that lie, you are a better player than me. Winston played a 3 iron off the tee, much like the previous hole. It didn't help:

"Every time we face a crisis those promoting these extreme neo-liberal policies trot out the same tired mantra.

They call it the TINA principle – There Is No Alternative.

They wait until there is a crisis then inflict even more extreme right wing ideology on an unsuspecting population desperate for any solution that sounds reasonable."

Yep, almost predictably, he steered clear of the bunker on the right and played left. It cost him a shot.

"Well we are here tonight to say there is an alternative – one which makes both economic sense and offers real hope for ordinary New Zealanders. And let me tell you why we need an alternative more than ever."

Hole 7 - Pineside - par 4
It pays to play your tee shot to left centre fairway as the trees on both the left and right can block your second shot. The green slopes towards you with subtle breaks left and right. Winston played right down the centre, perhaps slightly right but not in any real danger with a swipe at the Reserve Bank. Half way down the fairway, he pulled out a mashie and clubbed the ball well. Something about the shaft on that club that gets him going:

"In the June Monetary Policy Statement the Reserve Bank’s economic analysis on page 26 highlighted that 95,000 New Zealanders have to lose their jobs over the next three years if we are to meet inflation targets through using interest rates. You heard me right – 95,000 jobs must go so the Governor of the Reserve Bank can keep his job."

Well, I went and read the June 2008 Monetary Policy Statement, and page 26 in particular. The Reserve Bank are saying nothing of the sort. All I can see there is a prediction that unemployment will rise to 6% by March 2011. That's hardly a recommendation that "jobs must go". Either Winston was reading the wrong Green, or he had laid an off-track bet on the game I was unaware of. I wasn't surprised when he missed a short putt, but had an easy bogey:

"Many of those 95,000 people have families to support – which means the impact of this policy actually hits hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders – all because rigid ideology says there is no alternative. This is the economic vandalism we spoke about earlier."

Hole 8 - Kirks - par 4
Yet another hole with a slight dogleg to the left. This time, aim for the blue gum on the right hand side and you can then attack the pin. Winston spent more time here telling me about the previous times he has played this hole, and how he generally made par or even birdie. For some reason, he wanted to rename the hole from "Kirks" to "Vela". "Concentrate on today's game Winston", I said but he didn't listen:

"The sad thing is that we have been through this before and the results were the same then as they will be now.

Remember the early 1990s – when the queen of the far right was in full cry with her "mother of all budgets".

Do you remember what unemployment climbed to then because there was no alternative?

Well at its worst in March of 1992 it was 11.1% - the type of unemployment we would expect to see in the third world.

What is even more disturbing about this is that there is no public outcry because the two old parties operate a conspiracy of silence over the Reserve Bank Act.

The media have been complicit in this.

It has gone over everybody’s head – and yet it is there in black and white in the Reserve Bank documents – 95,000 jobs must go."

Black and white - put them together and you get Winston's favourite colour. Grey. And its remembering the old times that gives Winston his Grey Power. I was still feeling dubious about this "95,000 must go" figure and we had a small disagreement on whether he had made a practice swing or an air shot. I gave him another chance and he promised to finally address the ball:

This is an outrage and we will be ensuring that every New Zealander knows the reason that hundreds of thousands of them face the prospect of losing their incomes is the blind commitment to a failed economic plan imported from offshore. You see the US economy exports around 8% of its GDP – we export close to 38%. So when our dollar widely fluctuates, as it does because of high interest rates, more than 33% of our economy suffers.

Such movements in the US affect less than 10% of that economy. This means we need a better mechanism to avoid a widely fluctuating dollar. We need a better mechanism to avoid a massive increase in unemployment. We need a better mechanism to ensure hundreds of thousands of families are not consigned to greater poverty.

Tonight we will outline the TAFANZ plan – The Alternative For All New Zealanders. This is the only true alternative to the two old parties."

"Strewth", I thought to myself. He's not going to be playing off the red, yellow or blue markers after this chip. When in a bunker, it's not just the back swing that matters, but the follow through. I recorded a bogey as we strode to the ninth.

Hole 9 - Boulcott - par 4
I like this hole. This is a hole for the brave hearted with fairway bunkers that cross from one side to the other. A percentage tee shot is down the left hand side, short of the fairway bunkers. This will leave you with an approach to the green with a sand bunker on the left and a deep grass bunker on the right. When the flag is right, take an extra club. The green is large and reasonably flat.

Winston played this text book:

New Zealand First is committed to a strong economy that reflects the wealth of our country and the enterprise of our people. We are not content to sit back and see our country slipping ever further down the slope towards Third World status. The economic challenges facing New Zealand are serious and need bold and purposeful action. But before we cover those steps a number of things need to be said in relation to tax cuts and putting tax cuts into perspective.

Both Labour and National are talking tax cuts as the centrepiece of their economic policy. They have made more hullaballoo about tax cuts than any other area of economic policy. This is a diversion.

I was wondering if he'd seen the sand on the left. I'd recommended playing this regulation, and it seemed he wanted to try something different. But at the last moment, common sense took over and he dropped a shot well onto the green, with his first decent chance at birdie:

"In reality, we think there is actually very widespread agreement among New Zealanders on three fundamental points:

· Tax is important
· Tax cuts are long overdue
· Tax cuts must be responsible

Based on these fundamentals New Zealand First has put forward a credible and straightforward package for tax cuts."

He missed the birdie by a foot, but sunk it in for par:

"New Zealand First wants to see a tax free threshold of $5,200 introduced."

And so he finished the first nine at nine over the card. Ending on a par pushed his spirits up, and he felt confident the back nine would see him make up lost ground. The problem was, he was surrounded by his fans who had come to see him play, but the press were still covering the game, and they could see he was off form. It didn't help that after the double bogey on the third, some-one in the gallery shouted "why don't you stick to racing". Ouch.


For those who haven't figured it out, I'm fisking Winston's speech made at the Hutt Golf Club Thursday 31 July, 2008. The quotes in italics are things he actually said.

This post is the front nine. I'll finish this in a second post: The back nine.

Other links:

Scoop News: Winston's Speech - There's always been an alternative. You just might not like it.

Black and White and Grey: Reserve Bank June Policy Statement

And this came up: Canadian Pension Fund Bid for Share of Auckland Airport Rejected by Government.

And Wellington's electricity network has been sold to a company controlled by Hong Kong's richest man.

My thanks to: The real links of Hutt Golf Club. Hope they are good sports about this post.