Archive for the ‘New Zealand’ Category

Top Google terms from NZ in 2014

December 18th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports the top Google search terms from NZers in 2014:

Overall top New Zealand Google searches:

1. Fifa World Cup

2. Robin Williams

3. Commonwealth Games

4. Malaysia Airlines

5. iPhone 6

6. Jennifer Lawrence

7. Charlotte Dawson

8. Flappy Bird

9. Spark

10. Ebola

Top “how to” searches:

1. Draw

2. Meditate

3. Crochet

4. Screenshot

5. Kiss

6. Pronounce

7. Sing

8. Twerk

9. Knit

10. Dream

Top “what is” searches:

1. Ebola

2. Love

3. Gluten

4. ALS

5. Sustainability

6. Illuminati

7. Science

8. Paleo

9. Tahini

10. Bipolar

Top news item searches:

1. Malaysian Airlines crash

2. Cyclone Lusi

3. Scottish Independence

4. Alex from Target

5. Ukraine news

6. Robin Williams’ death

7. Ebola outbreak

8. Wellington earthquake

9. Cyclone Ita

10. Lunar eclipse

Top Kiwis searched:

1. Lorde

2. Aaron Smith

3. Rachel Smalley

4. Lisa Lewis

5. Mark Hunt

6. Joseph Parker

7. Benji Marshall

8. Chris Cairns

9. Mona Dotcom

10. Stephen Donald

Top sports searched:

1. Fifa World Cup

2. All Blacks

3. BBC Football

4. Commonwealth Games

5. WWE

6. Arsenal

7. EPL


9. Soccernet



NZ top for animal protection

December 16th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

World Poultry reports:

Just four countries – New Zealand, the UK, Switzerland and Austria – are deemed worthy of the highest ‘A’ rating in the Animal Protection Index issued by the UK-based World Animal Protection (WAP) organisation.

WAP’s overall rankings are based on a wide range of indicators relating not only to farm animals, but also to animals in captivity, pets and animals used in scientific research.

The Animal Protection Index findings are presented on an interactive website atwww.worldanimalprotection.orgwhich assesses standards, policies and legislation in some 50 countries around the world.

Animal protection rankings are made from A = highest, to G = lowest.

Australia is a C, US a D. Good to be one of just four countries with an A rating.

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Guest Post: Partnership Schooling – Year 1 – A Chink of Light.

December 14th, 2014 at 8:23 am by David Farrar

A guest post by Alwyn Poole:

Whenever anyone in New Zealand talks of making a difference to the lives of children and their families then the topic of education is not far away.

 I began thinking about the NZ education system as far back as 1988 when I took some Education options while completing and Economics degree (I hadn’t thought education  much when I was at school as I was too busy playing cards in class or running around on the sports fields when I shouldn’t have been). The massive preoccupation with the content of  the Education papers was with the under achievement of Maori and Pasifika children and the subsequent over-representation of those groups in statistics of social ill. Given the left wing bias of the lecturers and the material presented the claim was that these outcomes were semi-intentionally generated to perpetuate power structures within society and serve Capital. It almost goes without saying that the “high flying” academics proposed nothing of effect/worth to change anything. There are still a lot of these hopeless finger pointers in NZ today pretending they have something to say about education.

A quarter of a century later much has changed in the world. New Zealand is materially better off. Around the world rates of poverty are in decline, people live longer, opportunities are expansive. The variety of careers has broadened immeasurably. The understanding of how children learn and how it can be enhanced has improved exponentially. Information technology and the availability of high quality learning resources – at very low cost – has exploded.

A quarter of a century later much is the same. Maori and Pasifika children and those whose families are on lower incomes are over represented in underachievement and qualifications statistics. So are those with defined learning difficulties even though we now know how to do a lot about those (although sometimes parents also have to have the trust, knowledge and courage to stay with a programme).

The other thing that is the same is that academics and those on the political left would rather point out and perpetuate problems than openly evaluate every possibility of solving them. Maybe it is their power structures that now feel a little threatened in the field of education and they have circled the wagons.

Twelve years ago the Villa Education Trust (VET) was established. It was done so because there is a need to provide innovative models to produce excellence in Education. It was also done because after the Economics degree I did a teaching qualification, a masters degree specialising in programme design for teaching high ability children, a sports management diploma, traveled overseas to look at ideal models, taught at 3 high quality schools in NZ, did system wide study of NZ schooling, talked to anyone who would share their ideas and read widely about how to assist children and young people to develop knowledge, attitudes and skills. The VET was established after massive hours spent on model and curriculum design. It was established through my wife and I deciding that the reward of making a difference to the education of children was worth the risk of selling all we have to start a Charitable Trust.

In 2003 the VET began Mt Hobson Middle School ( It is a private Year 7 – 10 school for 48 children (12 per class). It teaches the NZ curriculum through core classes in Maths, English, Science, Social Studies and Technology. The children also have an hour of guided independent time each morning working on fully cross curricula topic based projects – e.g. Architecture, Flight and Space, Oceans (that set the context for the school). They do 8 projects a year – learn a massive amount in terms of self management, research and academic product skills. They also develop their knowledge base superbly. The afternoon programme is activity based – Art, Music, Sport, Community Learning, Community Service. We work with a broad group of children – from those with fantastically developed all round abilities looking for extension to those who have areas to overcome to set them up for Year 11 and beyond. It is demanding and effective. We have significant data and case studies of generated change and improvement. We also continue to innovate – for instance – a complete rethink going into 2015 with many new start aspects in response to further changes/understandings in education.

Given that background in 2013 we gained permission from the New Zealand government to take the developed model to Manurewa and begin South Auckland Middle School (SAMS: We had looked for this kind of opportunity before but under past legislation it was not even close to feasible (NB Labour party). We were allowed an establishment period of four and a half months and an establishment fund of $1.3 million dollars (compared to a two year lead in for a State School and at approximately 5% of that model’s establishment cost). We are funded at a decile 3 level on a per student basis each year and, like State schools, have a guaranteed fund during the establishment period. We were not given a zone and there was no certainty that anyone would come. We attracted high quality staff even though the PPTA took out ads in the Education Gazette telling teachers not to work for us (very sporting of them – must have made their members proud). We leased premises and outfitted them to facilitate the tried and tested model from Newmarket.

After a year is is worth thinking about the progress:

- A full SAMS roll is 120 students. In Year 1 our Year 7, 8, 9 were all full with waiting lists. We have averaged seventeen Year 10 students coming in for a year or less to re-boot their education.

- We are full for 2015 and have substantial waiting lists.

- The children have thrived on the day structure and have worked very hard through the academic mornings.

- The children have excelled on the Projects and produced some remarkable work – both individual tasks and completed projects.

- We can evidence significant progress in the basics of all 5 core subjects in our morning programme.

- To ease the financial pressures of families we provide uniform and stationery (and do not ask them for per annum donations) and have a Community Liaison Manager who is working hard at getting to know and to help solve the external pressures that impact on learning.

- We are significantly under local school averages for truancy, disciplinary actions and transience. 

- We have a very good ERO report and have students able to eloquently express their experiences:

- Like MHMS will be SAMS will be better in 2015 than in 2014 because when you see areas of needed change in education smart educators make the changes.

We are able to make many of our choices, such as a student:teacher ratio of 15:1 through receiving our funding in bulk. We don’t carry large infrastructure items, our Principals/Academic Managers teach large programmes, and we keep much of what we do simple in terms of resourcing.

The long established Mt Hobson model and the immediately evidenced success of SAMS earned the Villa Education Trust the opportunity to begin Middle School West Auckland ( which will grow to 240 students from a beginning in February of 2015. Again – our establishment period is short but we already have a remarkable staff in place under former St Peter’s College Deputy Head James Haggett. Great teachers want to work in an innovative situation. We are setting up quality facilities and have a good level of enrollments coming in. We are confident that this will also become and outstanding academic school.

To ensure that all we do is cutting edge I had the privilege of travelling to New York City and spending 3 days meeting with a group of the very best educators I have ever met – who happen to be running sets of simply outstanding Charter Schools that are changing the lives if under-served children and their families. These were the top organisations such as KIPP, Achievement First, Uncommon Schools, Success Academies. Their success is clearly evident and given that we have visited them and Charter Schools in Tampa, Jacksonville and Andre Agassi’s school in Las Vegas the dishonesty of the teacher unions in NZ and the political Left for saying that this is a failed model overseas became crystal clear. As the Stanford Credo report 2013 stated: (

Black students in poverty at charter schools gain 29 additional days in reading and 36 additional days of learning in math.Students in poverty, English language learners, and special education students all benefit from attending charter schools as well. 

On Friday December 12 I was a guest at North Shore’s Vanguard Military School’s first prize-giving. The testimony of the children, the evidence of academic success, the pride of the parents and the job satisfaction of the staff was clear to all.

As I think back to the readings of systemic failure thrust upon me in 1988 through to misguided people today stating that schools can achieve nothing because of socioeconomic disparity – I see a light in the tunnel that is not just a train coming the other way. There is growing hope of a genuine means for Partnership Schooling to be a part of systemic change and a quiet revolution in the provision for children who are otherwise not doing well. Like all changes and challenges it will not be smooth at every stage or with every establishment – but for the children and families that need innovation and choice the necessity to persevere and enhance the model is clear.

For those who doubt and have genuine interest in the well being of the young people of New Zealand our doors are very open and we are willing to collaborate and share our experiences. For those that criticize from a distance – have some courage and come and see.

 Alwyn Poole
(VET Board member, Principal MHMS)

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More state sector salary data

December 12th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Below is a list of all the state sector CEO salaries, based on the data released by the State Services Commission. These are approximate total remuneration annual costs, based on the following calculations:

  • Assume salary is at the low end of the $10,000 band
  • If they have worked for less than a year multiply salary by 365/days in job
  • If the salary for the period was less than $100,000 use the salary for the previous year


46 state sector CEOs get paid more than the Prime Minister who is on $428,500.

I’ve broken the salaries into four sectors – core agencies, crown entities, tertiary institutes and DHBs. The data for each sector is:


So the average CEO salary is highest in the core public service, then within DHBs followed by the tertiary sector and then crown entities.

Core Public service

The top three CEO salaries are Treasury $650,000, MFAT $640,000 and MBIE $620,000.

The lowest three CEO salaries are Women’s Affairs $240,000, Pacific Island Affairs $270,000 and the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment $280,000.

Crown Entities

The top three CEO salaries are NZ Super Fund $800,000, NZ Transport Agency $620,000 and ACC 600,000.

The lowest three CEO salaries are Drug Free Sport $140,000, Social Workers Registration Board $150,000 and Walking Access Commission $160,000.


The top three CEO salaries are Auckland DHB $570,000, Canterbury DHB $560,000 and Counties Manukau DHB $550,000.

The lowest three CEO salaries are Wairarapa DHB $250,000, South Canterbury $290,000 and Tairawhiti DHB $310,000.

Tertiary Institutes

The top three CEO salaries are Auckland University $660,000, Massey University $540,000 and Otagoo University $540,000.

The lowest three CEO salaries are Universal College of Learning $160,000, Aoraki Polytechnic $210,000 and Te Wananga o Raukawa $230,000.

Also have added up the totals for all positions in the public sector, by $50,000 band. They are:

  • $100,000 – $150,000: 9,490
  • $150,000 – $200,000: 2,236
  • $200,000 – $250,000: 683
  • $250,000 – $300,000: 271
  • $300,000 – $350,000: 113
  • $350,000 – $400,000: 52
  • $400,000 – $450,000: 29
  • $450,000 – $500,000: 12
  • $500,000 – $550,000: 14
  • $550,000 – $600,000: 10
  • $600,000+: 16

Comparing public sector salaries to MP salaries:

  • 55 people in the public sector get paid more than the Prime Minister on $428,500
  • 207 people in the public sector get paid more than the Deputy Prime Minister on $303,900
  • 367 people in the public sector get paid more than a Cabinet Minister on $268,500
  • 3,430 people in the public sector get paid more than an MP on $147,800




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Public Service Pay

December 11th, 2014 at 3:04 pm by David Farrar

The SSC has released details of senior level pay in the public sector.

  • Of the 114 crown entities, eight have CEO paid below $100,000, 15 are $100 to $200 k,29 are $200 k to $300k, 31 are $300 to $400 k, 14 are $400 k to $500 k, 13 are $500 to $600 k, and four are over $600 k. The top one is the Cullen Fund CEO at $800,000 then the CEOs of Auckland Uni, NZTA and ACC.
  • Of the 34 core agency CEOs whose pay is detemrined by the SSC, the lowest paid is Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs at $270,000, then LINZ at $360,000 and MCH at $380,000.
  • The top paid core agency CEOs are Treasury $650,000, MFAT $640,000 and MBIE at $620,000
  • 17 state sector jobs have their pay set by the Rumeration authority. The lowest paid are the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment at $280,000 and the highest the State Services Commissioner at $610,000 followed by NZDF CDF at $580,000 and the Solictor-General the same.
  • 7,111 staff (excluding CEOs) are paid over $100,000 a year – up from 6,396 the previous year. This is not hugely surprising as $100,000 is no longer as exclusive a salary as in the past.
  • Three non CEOs are paid $470,000 a year
  • 14 staff are paid over $400,000 a year
  • 79 staff are paid $300 to $400 k
  • 561 staff are paid $200 k to $300 k
  • 1,882 staff are paid over $150,000
  • 5,665 tertiary staff are paid over $100,000
  • 1,405 tertiary staff are paid over $150,000
  • 404 tertiary staff are paid over $200,000

Also 159 non CEO public sector staff get paid more than a cabinet minister, and 96 tertiary institute staff (excluding CEOs) get paid more than a cabinet minister.

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Food inflation remains low

December 11th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stats NZ reports:

In November 2014, food prices fell 0.5 percent, Statistics New Zealand said today. This follows no change overall in October and a 0.8 percent fall in September.

“Seasonally lower vegetable prices and lower prices for bread, cheese, and chocolate contributed to the latest fall,” prices manager Chris Pike said.

That’s all good for households. And how are prices compared to a year ago?

In the year to November 2014, food prices increased 0.6 percent …

Fruit and vegetable prices increased 0.7 percent. Higher prices for lettuce, potatoes, apples, and carrots were partly offset by lower prices for tomatoes, kumara, and avocados.

This means that as people get wage and salary increases, they get to keep more of it, rather than have it chewed up by inflation.


Baptists on Logan Robertson

December 10th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Baptist Churches of NZ has said:

The Baptist Churches of NZ are in no way connected with or affirm in any way the comments made by the self-proclaimed pastor, Logan Robertson of Westside Bible Baptist Church. The NZ Baptist Union of Churches are appalled by the comments of hatred and evil made by pastor Robertson towards the gay community.

Unfortunately, the “Baptist” name is not a franchise. The name can be taken by any group or person who wishes to use this longstanding name to identify themselves. In the case of Pastor Logan Robertson, he is not an ordained or registered pastor of any denomination. He does not have a congregation or a church building or meeting space. He has established a church website thereby claiming to be a church. Therefore his desire to call himself a pastor is entirely fraudulent.

NZ Baptists cannot take responsibility for Mr Robertson’s actions. Yet we are deeply disturbed by any pain that Mr Robertson has caused the gay community. Equally the NZ Baptist churches have been demeaned by his vitriol, leaving many of our Baptist church members and pastors wrongly implicated by Robertson’s actions.

It’s understood that Mr Robertson has had a recent history of mental illness. For this reason we need to pray for his well being to see him get through the difficulties he has brought upon himself and his family.

The mental illness comment would explain a lot. I don’t think any sane person would say what he said. His ex brother-in-law has said that he once kidnapped his kids and was diagnosed with religious delusions of grandeur and schizophrenia. Basically he is not a person of any religious authority, just a mentally unwell individual who needs help.


Vanity got him arrested!

December 10th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar


Photo: Murielle Baker, Radio NZ

This is Phillip Smith in court yesterday, without his hairpiece which he is claiming is a breach of human rights to have had confiscated.

What strikes me is how different he looks, and if he had ditched the hairpiece in Brazil, he would have never been recognised and arrested. A high price for vanity!


Trying to politicise a Christmas parade

December 9th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The ODT reports:

Being cut from the Dunedin Santa Parade has caused ”monstrous” disappointment among members of Oil Free Otago.

Spokesman Nathan Parker said the group had received verbal confirmation last month that its float of bicycles, penguins and albatross could be involved with the parade.

Earlier this week it was told the float had been cut.

Dunedin Santa Parade Trust chairman Mark Laughton said the trust had declined the application of Oil Free Otago because it wanted to keep the parade apolitical.

”It’s about Christmas messages; it’s not political,” he said.

How sad that they can’t even leave the Santa parade alone.

No tag for this post.

Baptist Pastor tells gay man to commit suicide

December 8th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A gay man who sent an email about his new book promoting gay-friendly religion was told by a church pastor to kill himself.

Jim Marjoram said he emailed 400 Auckland churches about his book, It’s Life Jim, which details his many decades of struggling with being a gay Christian.

The e-mail he got in response said:

“We are not interested in your filthy lifestyle or book,” Robertson wrote.

“Romans 1 clearly says God has rejected homos and they are worthy of death. You cannot be saved.

“I pray that you will commit suicide, you filthy child molesting fag.”

I’m not sure who has the authority to sack a Pastor at the Westcity Bible Baptist Church, but I hope they do so. Telling a person that they should commit suicide is fundamentally incompatible with Christian values.

Even worse Robertson expands on his views, and says he thinks the Government should put gay people to death.

Robertson says the Bible says gay people should be put to death. “And if we had a righteous government, that’s what we’d be doing. Instead of letting them go out and pretend to get married when they’re not. The Bible doesn’t even say anything about these fags getting married. They should just be stoned to death instead. That’s what the Bible says. And I hope they all die.”

I think Pastor Robertson should be in the Westboro Baptist Church, not the Westcity one. It seems his church is only a few months old, so maybe this is a misguided publicity stunt. I find it hard to believe any person in NZ could actually believe what he said.

It also seems that his church meets at his home. It doesn’t sound like a legitimate church. Perhaps the Baptist Churches of NZ could do a statement saying his church is not a recognised church in their faith?


John Clarke’s guide to NZ

December 8th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

A very funny guide to NZ by John Clarke:

Before the British, the Maori people arrived from Hawaii in the year 1273, at about quarter past 4 in the afternoon. There were allegedly people here before that, called the Moriori, and there may have been people even before that. Harry Armitage has been a stock agent up around Raetihi for at least that long and he tells me his father had the pub at Te Karaka.

Like most of the world’s major democracies, New Zealand is run by international capital and a few local big-shots who tickle the till and produce a set of annual accounts in a full range of colours. There is a national parliament in Wellington, which looks like the hats in the Devo clip ‘Whip It’, although very little of any importance has ever occurred there. The country works a lot better during the weekends than it does during the week, there are no states and the senate voted itself out of existence after the Second World War. When the Lower House eventually follows their excellent example, constitutional experts agree the next step will be beers all round.

In 1893, women in New Zealand were the first in the world to get the vote and in more recent times women have had a run as Prime Minister, Opposition Leader, Chief Justice and Governor General. Even the Queen is a woman. The country’s most famous pop singer, best known opera star, most famous short story writer, greatest novelist and most consistent world champion athlete are all women. They’re not allowed in the All Blacks as yet, but don’t be fooled. It’s just a matter of time. New Zealand women are stroppy, imaginative and a major strength in both the Maori and Pakeha cultures. In some New Zealand families, women are practically running things.

During the 1970s, New Zealand was confronted by very serious economic and political crises, although according to police records, there’s some suspicion these were both inside jobs. During that period New Zealand rugby administrators were ex-forwards who looked like spuds in their jackets and when they announced that they were sending an All Black team on a tour to South Africa, there were suggestions it might be time to go and get some new spuds, and maybe some who’d played in the backs. At this stage Nelson Mandela had served about ten of his twenty-seven years in prison and the rest of the world took the radical left-wing position that democracy might be worth a try in the region. New Zealand Prime Minister Norman Kirk went to see the Rugby Union.
‘I’m the Prime Minister’ he explained.
‘Is that right?’ said the spuds. ‘Take a number’.
‘We’d rather you didn’t go to South Africa’ said Norman. ‘It will look like an endorsement of the white supremacist policies of the South African government, to which we are opposed’.
‘So what?’ said the spuds. (I’m summarising a bit here, obviously).
‘So it’s not going to happen’, explained Norman.
The spuds were furious. They saw this action by the government as a direct threat to the way the country was run, and after a smaller Prime Minister had been elected in 1975, the tour went ahead.

There’s more in this vein.


A hunger strike I support

December 6th, 2014 at 8:19 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Recaptured fugitive killer Phillip John Smith has gone on a hunger strike after having his hairpiece and other personal items taken from him.

I say don’t give in to the system. He should maintain his hunger strike until the end.


Name suppression dropping

December 5th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

But figures issued under the Official Information Act show it is already becoming rarer for the courts to grant permanent name suppression.

Canterbury University media law expert Professor Ursula Cheer said her students had researched the figures this year. They found 880 people were granted permanent name suppression in 2009 – of whom 218 were convicted – and the figure dropped steadily each year, reaching 354 in 2012, including 132 convicted offenders.

That’s a pleasing trend.

I have less of an issue with name suppression for people not convicted, but permanent name suppression for someone convicted of a crime should be very rare.


A top director

December 5th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

NBR reports:

The top director of the year according the New Zealand Shareholders Association is Joan Withers, the first woman to win the award.

She was chosen for the Beacon Award because of her outstanding governance skills, ability to lead others, high ethical standards and respect for rules, and avoidance of self-interest, chairman John Hawkins says.

Ms Withers, who is currently chairs both Mighty River Power and Auckland International Airport, tells NBR ONLINE she was “blown away and very humbled” to receive the award.

Her rise to the top is motivating, especially since she started out in life with little privilege. Ms Withers left school at 16, with just School Certificate, before taking a job as a bank teller and later having a child. She worked her way up the bank, before moving into media, where she also climbed the ladder. She started university aged 36, getting up at 3am for two years while working fulltime to complete an MBA, before becoming chief executive of the Radio Network and Fairfax NZ.


That’s an inspiring story for young women, well in fact for anyone who wants to get ahead.


Smellie on airport extension

December 4th, 2014 at 5:47 am by David Farrar

Pattrick Smellie at Stuff writes:

When the canon of lost causes is examined in the future, somewhere near the top of the list for Wellington will be the local airport’s weird campaign for a longer runway. …

Despite a lot of local booster-ism to the contrary, the value of direct connections to Asia and North America from this country’s third largest city is very difficult to discern, unless you happen to be an airport shareholder. …

The most comprehensive assessment of the runway extension’s prospects was produced earlier this year, after a suspiciously long gestation period, by accounting firm EY.

The airport trumpeted the result as showing “the direct economic benefit to the Wellington region, between 2020 and 2060, will be up to $684m in today’s dollars”. 

That’s not just a rubber number. It’s meaningless.  If such flimsy analysis were produced as a business case for the Infratil board, it would either be laughed out of the room or there would be no Infratil in very short order.

Broken down into actual flight numbers, the EY report says this: a runway extension might be worth between two and five long haul flights a day in 46 years’ time.  Say what!?

If the shareholders of the airport company want to invest $300 million into the airport extension, they should go for it.

There is an arguable case for a modest contribution from the City Council on the basis of increased economic activity in Wellington.

There is no real case for a contribution from the Government, as I can’t see an extension leading to extra flights to NZ – just that some will come direct to Wellington instead of Auckland and Christchurch.

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It’s Bermuda

December 3rd, 2014 at 6:41 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Bermuda has been confirmed as the venue for the 2017 America’s Cup.

America’s Cup commercial commissioner Harvey Schiller made the announcement at a media conference in New York on Tuesday (Wednesday NZT), confirming it for June, 2017.

Bermuda beat Californian yachting stronghold San Diego for the rights to host the 35th edition of the regatta.

The decision casts a shadow over Team New Zealand’s involvement. …

The decision means an economic challenge for Team New Zealand.

The government has indicated Bermuda is far less attractive for their gains out of another sponsorship. They preferred San Diego’s ability to deliver to the lucrative American market, particularly the strong west coast region.

The government handed out $36m for the last campaign and have already contributed $5m to this latest effort as Grant Dalton’s syndicate hung in the balance after San Diego, unable to confirm sponsorships until more details for the next event were confirmed.

Team New Zealand had built financial cases around both potential venues, believing they could make either work.

Their challenge now will be to accommodate the quirky location of Bermuda, a sailor’s paradise but comparative commercial desert.

I wish Team New Zealand well in finding commercial sponsors but I think the choice of venue makes the case for Government sponsorship even weaker. I’m against any further Government money.



Money, money, money

December 2nd, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

It’s a great business Cardinal Tamaki has decided to go into. You don’t have to provide any goods or services. You just declare yourself a prophet of God, and people give you 10% of their income.

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Dead Tragic

December 1st, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Dead Tragic is a hilarious mixture of tragic songs, excellent singing and joyful acting, playing in Circa 2 until 21 December.

A cast of five perform 24 songs which all have a common theme of death – suicides, accidents, murders, crashes and the like. Some of the songs include:

  • Tom Jones’ ‘Delilah’
  • Barry Manilow’s ‘Copacabana’
  • Bobbie Gentry’s ‘Billie-Joe’
  • Henry Gross’s ‘Shannon’
  • Johnny Preston’s ‘Running Bear’
  • Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’
  • Cher’s ‘Dark Lady’
  • The Cheers’ ‘Black Denim Trousers and Motor Cycle Boots’
  • The Shangri-Las’ ‘Leader of the Pack’

So many of the songs are great ones, I enjoy. The highlight for me was Bohemian Rhapsody which is one of my favourite songs of all time.

The music is performed by the sublime Michael Nicholas Williams. Emma Kinane does take over for one song, while Williams shows off his singing and acting ability also (which was a nice touch getting him out from behind the keyboard).

All four singers do a great job with both the singing, and especially the acting. Emma Kinane and Jon Pheloung especially have a magnificent ability to crack you up with their facial expressions. Lyndee-Jane Rutherford and Darren Young show off their all round skills to great effect also. The five of them take a couple of dozen songs about death and turn them into a laugh fest of outrageous acting.

The set is a simple design of a giant turntable and an old fashioned radio. But they serve as very effective props.

The lighting is also done very effectively. The five cast all have bright coloured shirts, which resonate with a an effective array of spot and other lights.

All in all a quite brilliant 100 minute show.

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Income up, housing costs up

November 28th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stats NZ reports:

The latest Household Economic Survey (Income) shows average annual household income rose 9.1 percent in the two years to June 2014, from $81,227 to $88,579.

That’s a big increase. Inflation over those two years was 2.3% so average household incomes have risen 6.6% in real terms.

Median household incomes also up strongly – 7.8% over two years.

In the same period, average household weekly spending on housing costs rose 11.1 percent, from $256 to $284.

So incomes went up $7,352 on average and housing costs up $1,460.

“The increase in housing costs was largely due to higher mortgage and rent payments, as well as an increase in property rates,” labour market and household manager Diane Ramsay said.

“A really interesting shift we’ve seen is that a bigger proportion of mortgage spending is going on repaying the principal than on covering the interest payments.”

Paying off more of the principal is a good thing.

Some other interesting stats:

  • 27% of households in the bottom income quintile say their income is inadequate to meet their needs, as do 5% of households in the top quintile
  • Age has a significant factor in income. Under 20s have a median income of below $1,000, 20 to 24s a median income of $28,000 approx, 25s to 29s are $37,000 approx, and 30s to 60s are $47,000
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No more tolerance

November 28th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Anyone exceeding the speed limit this summer can expect to be pulled over, regardless of whether there’s a 4kmh speed tolerance.

The warning comes as police move towards zero tolerance of speeding after a successful campaign last summer when fatalities dropped 22 per cent.

“Anything over the limit is speeding and anyone speeding can expect to be pulled over,” police assistant commissioner, road policing, Dave Cliff said

Yes we must target those criminals driving at 101 km/hr. Disgraceful people.

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Thank God it is over

November 27th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The ODT reports:

An ear-splitting shriek of joy and relief rent the air at Dunedin’s Gigatown office last night as the city was named the winner of the Gigatown competition.

The win came after a massive online push from residents and supporters that lifted the city above its five competitors to the top of the competition.

Seconds after the annoucement, Mayor Dave Cull was at the podium in Wellington accepting the prize he said would have a real effect on Dunedin residents.

”This will affect their lives, it will affect their children’s job prospects, it will affect their educational possibilities, it will affect their medical services, it will affect their retail, it will affect every aspect of our lives.

”This will enhance the possibilities for our whole community.”


Thank God I never have to see another #giga tweet in my life.

Congrats to Dunedin for winning though. Having all residents with access to a gigabit connection will be cool.

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Agencies really need to start talking to each other

November 27th, 2014 at 8:21 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Murderer and sex offender Phillip Smith swindled $26,700 in student living costs while housed at public expense in prison.

The Ministry for Social Development has confirmed it has been trying to recover the payments. But Department of Corrections officials were unaware of the scam until yesterday.

Can we have a new rule.

If a prisoner is in trouble with any other state agency, then that agency should let Corrections know.



110 km/hr makes sense

November 25th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The Government is warming to the idea of a 110kmh speed limit on the best roads – and has confirmed it is under serious consideration for several new motorways, including Transmission Gully.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges said he would be open to discussions about raising the present 100kmh limit if the New Zealand Transport Agency felt there was a good case for it.

Ernst Zollner, the agency’s road safety director, confirmed yesterday it had been “mulling the idea for a good year at a strategic level”, after research from Monash University in Melbourne suggested it could be done without increasing the risk to motorists.

A 110kmh limit was being considered for motorways built as part of the Government’s roads of national significance programme, provided they were flat, straight, had two lanes in each direction, a median barrier and good shoulder space.

Candidates included the Transmission Gully motorway and Kapiti Expressway in the Wellington region, the Waikato Expressway, the Tauranga Eastern Link and the Northern Gateway toll road north of Auckland, Zollner said.


If we have good enough roads, such as the ones above, then 110 km/hr is a more sensible limit.

Australia and Canada have motorway limits of 110kmh, while Britain’s is 70mph, or about 113kmh.

And speed limits in the US are as high as 130 km/hr in some states. France is up to 130 km/hr, Germany has no limit.


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A 20 year low for migration with Australia

November 25th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar


Stats NZ reported:

Migrant arrivals (107,200) reached a new high in the October 2014 year. The annual increase was led by more student arrivals, particularly from India, and more New Zealand citizens arriving from Australia.

The fall in migrant departures was primarily due to fewer departures of New Zealand citizens to Australia (down 13,300), compared with the October 2013 year. The net loss of 5,300 people to Australia in the October 2014 year was the smallest since the October 1994 year (5,300).

Net migration to Australia in 2008 was almost 36,000 people so it has fallen by around 85%.


Heading back home

November 24th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A Brazilian court has ordered the deportation of convicted murderer and paedophile Phillip John Smith within 10 days.

Brazilian freelance journalist Alexandre Tortoriello said the court noted New Zealand had offered a police escort and to pay for Smith’s deportation, Radio NZ reported.

Maybe the cost could be charged to Smith out of the $10,000 he has.

Tony Ellis, who has represented Smith in New Zealand, has been trying to arrange a Brazilian lawyer to visit him in jail in Rio de Janeiro. But they all want payment upfront.

Smart lawyers.

Tortoriello said Smith had the opportunity to find a Brazilian lawyer and appeal, but this had to be done before he was deported, which could happen at any moment.

I suspect sooner rather than later.