KFC and disabled workers

September 29th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The HoS editorial:

Work for the mentally disabled used to be provided in so called sheltered work- shops. These days, it depends on employers with a sense of social responsibility. They can give disabled people the dignity of a real job and semblance of personal independence.

One of those employers has been the fast-food chain, KFC New Zealand. Its staff included disabled people who could do basic tasks such as filling its side-order packs and cleaning. Last year it had a change of heart.

Its owner, Restaurant Brands, decided to review its costs and find ways to maximise the chain’s profitability. One way was to require all staff to be capable of doing any job in the store, from the counter to the kitchen. Soon, the disabled were getting notice.

I had no problem with KFC deciding that for future staff, they would have a policy that all staff be capable of doing any job in the store. There can be very sound reasons for such a policy.

But when they erred badly was applying the policy retrospectively to existing staff, and making redundant some long-term staff members (including disabled ones). It was insensitive at best and callous at worst.

The Herald on Sundayrevealed the systematic lay-offs of disabled workers at KFC. The anguish of these people and their families was heart-rending. One of them was a 48-year-old woman who had been packing potato and gravy at a KFC outlet for nearly 18 years. She loved putting on her uniform and going proudly to work, her sister said.

Loyalty is a two way ship, and if a staff member has been a diligent worker for 18 years, it is almost beyond belief that you would dismiss them just because they don’t quite fit in to your new ideal structure. A bit of flexibility is sensible. What the hell does it matter if in say a dozen of your stores you have one employee who can’t work as a server – but can work as a packer.

As I said above, no issues with KFC deciding for future staff appointments that they want people who can work in all positions. There can be very sound business reasons for doing so. But one could transition into such an arrangement by grandfathering in current staff.

HoS on drink driving limits

December 9th, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The HoS editorial:

 New figures released by the Ministry of Transport are effectively that New Zealand research and confirm beyond doubt that the Government must act now to lower the blood-alcohol limit.

The data, released under the Official Information Act, reveals at least 20 people have been killed over the past four years in road accidents in which the driver had an alcohol reading of between 50mg and 80mg.

I don’t have the data they have under the OIA. But I suspect that the stat they quote includes drivers who are aged under 20 who already have a legal limit of 30 (now 0). The relevant stat is how many drivers who can legally drive at 50 to 80 mg blood alcohol have fatal crashes. Hence if you change the law (and assume that those drivers will obey the new law) how many fewer fatal crashes might there be.

Now again I don’t have the OIA data (but happy to be sent it), but we do have 2008 to 2010 data on the Transport website. The data for the number of drivers killed who were over 20 and had a blood alcohol level of 50 to 80 is three per year over those four years.

Now there is definitely a case to say three fewer fatal crashes per year is worthwhile – it is. But what we don’t know (and what the data is being collected for) is how many people drive at 50 to 80 blood alcohol and would be affected by a lower limit. Without solid data, how do we know whether the limit should be 50, 80, 30, 65? It is easy for media to portray an issue as simple and not complex – but I think it is the duty of Government to understand the impact of a proposed law change -how many drivers will be impacted by it, and what is the accident rate for driving at that level. If you don’t have data on the prevalence of driving at that BAC, you can not calculate the accident rate.

Yay the message gets through

September 19th, 2010 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

I’ve twice blogged on how the OECD teacher pay stats actually show teachers are paid more generously in NZ, than most other countries, when you take GDP/capita into account. Our problem is the overall wealth of the country – not what proportion we spend on education.

Both Kerre Woodham and the HoS editorial pick up on this point.

Kerre writes:

Teachers claim they are poorly paid in comparison to other countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). David Farrar of Kiwiblog makes the point that we’re all poorly paid in comparison to other countries. It’s because we don’t earn as much as everyone else. It’s all about gross domestic product (GDP).

When you do the sums, as Farrar did, New Zealand teachers get paid more than almost every other country in the OECD compared to GDP per capita. They certainly get paid far more than the median wage – as well they should.

And you know what – if the unions would agree to performance pay, I’d be the first person to be advocating big pay rises for the good teachers – the top ones should be on $100,000.

The HoS editorial:

The problem is that the Government is not short of priority issues right now: recovering from the biggest economic meltdown in living memory and funding recovery from an earthquake that has upended life for about half the people in the South Island are two that spring to mind.

This is not to say that the teachers’ claims are without merit. And plainly the Ministry of Education recognises that, since many of them have been conceded, in whole or in part.

Others, including an increase in the employer contribution to members’ Kiwisaver funds and a 4 per cent wage claim while other wage settlements (and the inflation rate) are running at less than 2 per cent, look remarkably like the demands of a sector out of touch with reality.

Remember that the Government is running a huge fiscal deficit. Every dollar more of government spending has to be borrowed, and will be a burden on today’s kids who will have to pay it back.

The plain fact is that the average secondary teacher salary is now more than $71,000 or $1365 a week. It has risen since 2000 by more than 45 per cent – almost twice as fast as wages in the public sector as a whole (24 per cent) and the private sector (25.3 per cent).

It is provocative but misleading for teachers to compare pay rates with colleagues internationally: salaries have to be reckoned against GDP per capita for international comparisons to be meaningful – that’s why our teachers earn 82 per cent less than their Luxembourg counterparts. And our spending on non-tertiary education is the same as or higher than the OECD average in terms of GDP.

And the solution, as I have said before, is to increase our national wealth. And the way you do that is not big pay increases for doing the same job. It is by improving our productivity.

To put it bluntly, teachers need to stop disrupting the lives of students so close to end-of-year exams, prioritise their demands and get back to the bargaining table. They got 4 per cent last year and 4 per cent the year before. Parents and everyone else may take the view that teachers aren’t doing too badly.

Who else has had a 45% increase in their salary since 2000? And I don’t mean through promotions – I mean for doing the same job?

Cactus on Whale

May 30th, 2010 at 6:44 pm by David Farrar

The Herald on Sunday had a story on Whale Oil today, and his wife was on TV3 news tonight. It’s difficult to see someone’s personal life and challenges laid so bare.

Cactus Kate has done a post on this, which says things so well, I’m going to do something I almost never ever do, and quote it in its entirety.

HoS appears to have been reading the sad plight of my mate and the mate of many bloggers, Whaleoil aka Cameron Slater.

Today is probably the most truthful article yet on Whaleoil because it was written with cut and pasted words from his wife and best mate aka Spanish Bride from his blog.

I’ve only known Cameron for a few years and all the time I have known him has been under the mantra of Whaleoil. Unlike SB, I have not known him as Cameron, before his spiral into depression.

I don’t know all the background of his fight with Fidelity and what led up to his depressive state, because I wasn’t there. SB was. She remarks that he was a different man before the events leading to his illness. I believe that now totally.

There is no one else I have ever met quite like Cameron as Whaleoil. His behaviour is outrageous. Friends compared notes and said that this is just him. It is not. What makes me astonished though with Fidelity’s conduct is that they do not seem to have at any stage lead him to get help. That is medical help and counselling for rehabilitation. It used to be humourous watching Whaleoil be outrageous. It is now not so fun anymore once everyone has worked out he has a genuine problem.

The answer with Doctors has always been to prescribe more bloody pills. Whaleoil is on more pills than patients at mental homes. I know this because unknown to him I checked his dosage on his pillpackets and asked someone I know who works at an actual mental hospital. He is sedated by a cocktail of these pills which leave him tired, moody and disconnected with the world. When I realised his dosage, I knew the seriousness of the black hole he had fallen into. He’s tried to come off the pills, that too has had bad consequences.

I hate pills as a solution for depression. They are not and they are over-prescribed. I hate watching all too many friends zombie around on them. They are not real people while sedated under the latest and greatest profit minded cure to make everyone “happy”. The underlying problem still remains and I can’t see any joy on being reliant on a pill to be happy, or even stable enough to get out of bed. It takes away the human nature of being happy and sad and managing both states.

Whaleoil does not think consequences, SB has highlighted that all too clearly. He will be fine sitting with you in a bar watching you drink (contrary to popular opinion he does not drink regularly and I’ve only seen him drunk once) then the slightest irritant across the bar and he will be talking about smacking another person’s head in. Change the topic and his attention away and he’s forgotten five minutes later of even being angry.

While medicated and unassisted emotionally with any form of therapy, he simply cannot work. The easiest question for doubters that he can be integrated into the workforce for a 40 hour week is this: would you want Whaleoil working in your office? Five minutes with him and any HR representative would instantly dismiss his job application. Fidelity’s treatment has turned an otherwise creative, intelligent mind into a zombie who now firmly believes he cannot work. At the moment I am on the side of stating that he cannot.

Whaleoil is a great friend because he cares about his friends, but an unreliable one. That is, even the slightest task you know he may not do it on time. As the reliable party in the relationship you have to organise everything around Whaleoil not being able to perform his part. This frustrates him when he realises what has happened.

Insurance companies are not paid to care. I feel however they are paid to follow contracts and assist their clients back into the workforce so they are not made to rely on payouts. There’s no doubt in my mind that Cameron Slater as Whaleoil is one of the most clinically depressed people I have ever met. While the original event leading to this depression may have been minor in the scheme of things Fidelity and the medical professionals who treated him from that point in time have failed miserably and created Whaleoil as we all read him today on his blog.

Fidelity created the monster that is Whaleoil. There is no doubt about that after watching him the past few months. Even when Fidelity were still paying him, the posts were written when he wasn’t actually getting better. On a few good days, a Whaleoil post can be brilliantly coherent, well-reasoned and rational. On a bad day a Whaleoil post can be the most offensive thing on the internet.

There is only so much that friends and family can do for Whaleoil. The frustrating thing is that no one can wave a magic wand and make him better. It has gone past that and I’ve seen everyone try. His close family we can see have tried everything. His wife and kids are amazing in the circumstance, their love is unconditional.

Whaleoil needs serious medical attention from medics without a conflict of interest from working for an insurance company or more medics who border on being criminals in my view – the depression script writers. They should be given Oscars for their script writing abilities. He needs a time out, away from the stresses of modern life getting back to basics of routine and normality. But most of all he needs help and therapy to re-connect with himself, his old self. The one that his wife speaks of but most bloggers would never have seen.

Cameron Slater.

Heard that he is a fucking great bloke.

If Fidelity Insurance found that bloke, I’m sure they would have a case closed and not look like the bunch of cunts they will be made to look like when it is disclosed they haven’t done a single thing, other than medication, to try and find him.

Cactus has said it all.

HoS on Spammers

October 19th, 2008 at 10:31 am by David Farrar

Pleased to see a newspaper devoting an editorial to the case of the alleged NZ spammers:

Even the most liberal among us might find the phrase “hanging’s too good for them” leaping to our lips when we read about the case of the Christchurch-based spammers.

Send in DIck Cheney I say!

The men sent more than two million emails to New Zealand addresses in 2007, though presumably they spammed a lot of people overseas too, since they made $3.3 million for their “work”, which would have meant $1.65 a delivery if it had been only local.

Yes, they would have sent billions globally during that time. Response rates are well below 0.1%

Nice work if you can get it? Not really. Even the most intermittent web user detests spammers as something akin to pond scum, not least because they seem to have such a low opinion of their target market: they assume, for example, that all of us – including women – are deeply disaffected with the size of our penises and will happily drop what we are doing so we can sign up for a herbal enlargement programme run by con artists in Mauritius.

They are pond scum. And the best thing that will come from the court case is getting their pictures in the media. It was community disdain in 2003 that got Atkinson to at least publicly claim to stop spamming.

Regrettably the court will have to apply the law, but if ever there was a case in which the punishment should fit the crime, this is it.

Let the young men keep their $200,000. Let them handwrite (no photocopies, please) apologies to every household – wired or not, just to be sure – in the country.

And let them deliver them. By hand. On foot.

I like the way they are thinking!

Clint Rickards

September 7th, 2008 at 7:56 am by David Farrar

The Herald on Sunday has an interview with Clint Rickards on why he wants to be a lawyer. I have to say he makes his case well, plus of course he has never been convicted of a crime.

More cynically I reflected that he might just be a damn good lawyer – he managed to get himself acquitted twice!

HoS on Peters

August 31st, 2008 at 8:47 am by David Farrar

Every columnist is talking Peters, so I’ll take them all together. First of all Bill Ralston:

Meanwhile, that same morning, Winston was somewhere in Auckland in his ministerial limousine going stratospheric. For a man who has spent weeks dodging questions from the “meerkat” media he did something extraordinary. He rang Radio New Zealand and thundered he would convince Clark to keep him and “she will know these allegations are vile, malevolent, evil and wrong”.

This is again hypocrisy of the highest degree. When National was investigated by the SFO in 2002, for a cheque which passed through a trust account, Peters got up in Parliament and alleged a former Party President had stolen money from the party, and took a “cut” to bail out his company. Now that is a vile, malevolent, evil allegation if I have heard one.So naturally Trevor Mallard also jumped on the bandwagon and repeated it. There was no one at all in the media or public suggesting such a thing – the possibility was invented by Peters and Mallard.

While all Peters has to do at this stage is explain why donations intended for his party are not recorded as having reached it. The $25,000 donation from Bob Jones should have been declared either under his own name, or under the name of the Spencer Trust.

So far the participants he has identified in this “vile conspiracy” against him include me, the NZ Herald, the Dominion Post, TVNZ, TV3, Radio NZ, the Radio Network, the SFO, Act, National, and big business (except for those big businessmen who have funded him).

Hey don’t forget us bloggers. I want to be part of the conspiracy! Is there a joining fee?

Deborah Coddington has a novel definition of the moral high ground:

The Minister of Foreign Affairs could easily have sashayed offshore to some vitally important meeting, and left the Prime Minister to stave off the attacks.

Which she does admirably, I must say, shrugging away the poke, poke, poke from John Key, claiming the moral high ground by conceding a conflict of evidence given to the Privileges Committee by Owen Glenn and Peters.

So admitting that she knew for six months Peters was lying, and admitting it just before Owen Glenn is about to reveal you knew, is claiming the moral high ground? Well I choose the moral low ground then.

Coddington also suggests a deal with Labout to give Rimutaka to NZ First:

But they’ve overlooked a new development. Ron Mark is standing in Rimutaka, Paul Swain’s old electorate.

After Winston, Mark is NZ First’s best-known MP, and has a large following. He’s NZ First through and through – tough on crime, anti-foreign investment, against sale of state assets, working-class hero, bad boy made good. He’s also a bloody nice guy and with a careful campaign, and has a good chance of taking that seat.

Was this pre-arranged all along? It’s just too cute for Labour to stand a young unknown with no prospect of winning in such a safe Labour seat.

I am not sure Labour regard a member of Clark’s personal staff as a no hoper with no chance of winning. And I am also unsure how calling someone a paedophile under parliamentary privilege sits with being a bloody nice guy.

Kerre Woodham opines:

In all cases, Peters has held up his hands and protested, like Sergeant Schultz, that he knows nothing. Bob Jones said Winston asked for some dosh at a party; Winston says that’s not what he remembers.

Owen Glenn says Winston rang him and asked him for a donation towards his fighting fund; Winston says that is not his recollection. At all times, Winston plays the victim card.

Actually Peters is now more like Colonel Klink with Helen Clark better suited for the role of “I know nothing” Schulz, as it turns out she knew all along.

I used to think the world of Winston, but it’s been a long time since I found him principled or amusing. His posturing that New Zealand First is the only party not to sully its hands with trust funds and big money donations can be seen for what it is – bullshit.

And yet it was all so unnecessary. If Peters had been honest and upfront from day one, who would have cared?

Since 1996, NZ First has declared almost no major donors. Doing so would harm their PR crafted image of being anti big business, when the truth is they were majorly funded by big business.

Finally we have the Herald on Sunday editorial:

Regardless of the outcome of the SFO investigation, Peters will remain a man in a political mire of his own creation. The allegations in Parliament by Act leader Rodney Hide that NZ First was paid by Simunovich Fisheries in return for Peters’ backing off claims that the allocation of scampi quota was corrupt have been around for so long that a high-level independent inquiry is called for. But on the matter of the donation by expatriate billionaire Owen Glenn, which is still being investigated by Parliament’s Privileges Committee, Peters continues to be evasive and pedantic. Glenn may have shown himself to be unreliable as to the details of times and places but he did give $100,000 and described it in an email as given “to NZ First”. If Peters did not know that on the day that the email first surfaced, he should have taken steps to discover and divulge all the facts immediately. Instead, he said everyone else was mistaken or a liar.

The HoS overlooks the fact that at a minimum Peters knew Glenn thought he had donated back in February 2008, when Clark told him so.

National leader John Key, plainly sensing that public patience is exhausted, made a bold move this week in saying that Peters would not be a cabinet minister in a National-led Government – by extension ruling out NZ First as a coalition partner.

This is less a challenge to Peters than it is to Prime Minister Helen Clark who, whatever she might say about the need to be fair, has known about the Glenn allegation for six months. In giving Peters enough rope to hang himself, she may have put herself in the noose as well.


This week, the suggestion emerged that Ron Mark may stand as NZ First’s candidate in Rimutaka. A victory there could get the party two, or even three MPs – one of them the leader. Were Labour to connive at that, urging tactical voting to allow a NZ First victory in the hope of getting the numbers to form a coalition, Clark would confirm the suspicion she is now quite properly under: that she will turn a blind eye to Peters’ shenanigans to hold on to power.

The Rimutaka candidate, Chris Hipkins, works for Clark. Is it possible Clark will instruct him to endorse Ron Mark if they get desperate to ensure Winston’s survival?

She must match Key’s boldness by cutting Peters adrift and naming the election day. A campaign that consigns NZ First and its leader to the pages of history will allow the country to focus on important issues.

More importantly, it will treat Peters’ childish attention-seeking with the derision it deserves.

That would be nice. More likely is Clark will put Peters back into his portfolios as soon as she can.

Interview with Key

July 13th, 2008 at 7:42 am by David Farrar

HoS Assistant Editor Stephen Cook has interviewed John Key. Some interesting hints of future policy:

He alludes to the “comprehensive economic plan” National has in store, which will revolve largely around tax cuts, “reining in the impact Government bureaucracy has on peoples’ lives” and a heavy infrastructure investment programme.

The investment in infrastructure will be welcome – there is a real need for more energy capacity, more transpaort infrastruture as well as better communications infrastructure.

Key also says there will be “lots of changes around education and law and order”, but won’t go into specifics apart from promising more power and resources for police, including Tasers.

“Drugs are changing the dynamic for police officers on the street now and the number of violent attacks is increasing,” Key says. “I don’t think there is any question the police need more resourcing. We like the idea of a ratio of one police officer to a certain number of citizens.”

Keys says South Auckland remains a troubling hotspot and National is committed to an “action plan” that “is pretty comprehensive around resolving the issues”.

Again, no specifics but Key says the policy – coming off the back of his “underclass speech” last year – will deal with “everything from education through to how we deal with young people going off the rails”.

“It is a very creative policy. You will see some out-of-the box thinking here,” Key assures.

Heh, hopefully more comprehensive that Winston’s bold pledge that he will get rid of gangs.

On the economic front, he accepts National’s eagerly awaited tax package will be the central and most important plank of its pre-election policy announcements.

Again, he’s not yet in a position to reveal just how much New Zealanders will get in their back pockets, or how National will fund the cuts.

“But Kiwis aren’t fools. They know the economy is slowing down. They know the options for National are reducing. They know Labour has been on a big spending binge and are clearly on a bender to try and leave the cupboard not only bare, but without shelves.

“That is going to make life more challenging for us and that is one of the reasons we are not going to over-promise. But we certainly have a tax plan that works and is affordable.”

I imagine we will see the plan very shortly after Clark sets the date.

HoS on smugness

April 13th, 2008 at 11:06 am by David Farrar

The Herald on Sunday editorial labels Horomia’s assertion some kids are going without breakfast to stay trim, as symptomatic of smugness in the ranks:

Responding to such a serious and heartbreaking issue as child poverty with glibness is something Prime Minister Helen Clark should have stamped out well before election year. The sight of our most amply proportioned cabinet minister suggesting hungry children are simply dieting was reminiscent of a certain French consort’s exhortation to “let them eat cake”.

I think the TV footage would make an excellent political advertisement!

As subsequent reports revealed, recent surveys show half of Maori households are sometimes, or often, running out of food. One in five Maori families is sometimes or often using food banks. Forty per cent of Pacific children go to school without breakfast – and not for slimming purposes. Those figures will only increase in the current climate of rising food, mortgage and petrol prices.

Derek Fox will be happy Parekura is so out of touch.

The Minister’s gaffe, though, is symptomatic of Labour’s wider issues. The party of the left sounds increasingly smug or out of touch with its core constituents. During its three terms in power, a number of its MPs have forgotten who put them there.

No different to a year ago when they denied there was an underclass.

Profile of NZ Electorates

April 6th, 2008 at 1:37 pm by David Farrar

Last Sunday the Herald on Sunday ran a two-page feature from me profiling New Zealand, using the Electorate Profiles I had blogged about in March.

This wasn’t a political feature, but demographic. We analysed around half a dozen of the more interesting electorates – Auckland Central, Botany, Clutha-Southland, Tauranga, Epsom, Mangere and Northland, to see what was distinctive in each area.

Ironically I have not seen the final article myself as I missed getting a paper that day, but have had some very nice feedback on it.

One of the things I did in researching it also, was draw up a list of “most” and leasts” for various indicators. For those interested, here it is:

  • Most under 15s – Mangere – 30%
  • Most 15 – 19 year olds – Dunedin North – 14%
  • Most 20 – 29 year olds – Auckland Central – 30%
  • Most 30 – 49 year olds – Ohariu – 35%
  • Most 50 – 64 year olds – Coromandel – 21%
  • Most over 65s – Otaki – 23%
  • Youngest median age – Manurewa – 28 years
  • Oldest median age – Otaki – 44 years 
  • Most residents born overseas – Botany – 49%
  • Most born in New Zealand – Invercargill – 90%
  • Most Buddhists – Botany – 4.6%
  • Most Catholics – Hutt South – 18%
  • Most Christians – Mangere – 71%
  • Most Hindus – Mt Roskill – 12%
  • Most Muslims – Mt Roskill – 7%
  • Least Catholics – Nelson – 10%
  • Most Ratana – Northland – 5.4%
  • Most Brethren – Palmerston North – 1.3%
  • Most Jews – Tamaki – 1.4% 
  • Most Married – Selwyn – 56%
  • Most one-person households – Christchurch Central – 32%
  • Most mortgaged – Helensville – 43%
  • Most mortgage free homes – Ilam – 37%
  • Most Home Owners – Selwyn – 78%
  • Most renting – Wellington Central – 44%
  • Most Europeans – Rodney – 83%
  • Most Maori – East Coast – 46%
  • Most Pacific Islanders – Mangere – 59%
  • Most Asians – Mt Roskill – 40% 
  • Most family incomes over $100,000 – Epsom – 46%
  • Lowest median family income – Northland – $43,500
  • Most home phones – Ilam 96%
  • Most cellphones – Ohariu – 82%
  • Most Internet access – Ohariu – 76% 
  • Most unqualified – Invercargill – 32%
  • Most educated – Wellington Central – 41% degree holding
  • Most unemployed – Manukau East – 5.6%
  • Most Labourers – Rangitata – 20%
  • Most miners – West Coast-Tasman – 2.1%
  • Most agricultural workers – Taranaki-King Country – 24% 
  • Smallest – Epsom – 23 sq kms
  • Largest – Clutha/Southland – 38,000 sq kms

 Took a long time going through all 63 electorate profiles, but was an interesting job.

HoS on Tired Labour

March 2nd, 2008 at 9:54 am by David Farrar

The HoS Editorial is on a tired looking Labour Party:

It remains to be seen whether New Zealand First, currently polling well below the five-per-cent threshold, will be rescued by its leader’s recapture of Tauranga. But it is tempting to wonder whether Prime Minister Helen Clark, sensing approaching electoral oblivion, is engaging in the time-honoured political strategy of getting her retaliation in first.

Facing opinion polls that put Labour as much as 20 points behind National – which could, on the numbers, easily govern alone – Clark launched an extraordinary attack on the New Zealand Herald, accusing it of being “a Tory paper” that had “shown no charity to Labour in the party’s 91 years of existence”. She singled out for special mention the newspaper’s long-serving cartoonist Minhinnick for “flaying” Labour Governments.

The argument that Minhinnick’s political leanings were conservative is not a difficult one to sustain, but the PM deserves all the ink a cartoonist might throw at her if she seeks to blame Min for her troubles. He retired in 1976 – five years before Helen Elizabeth Clark was elected MP for Mt Albert. …

Yes blaming a cartoonist who has been dead for 16 years is never a good look.

Labour’s problems are of a very different provenance and a much more recent vintage – and the Herald’s well-reasoned opposition to the Electoral Finance Act (in which it was scarcely a lone voice) has nothing to do with it.

Labour activists who are on a jihad against the Herald should take note. The HoS (editorially independent) has labelled the Herald’s campaign against the EFA as well-reasoned.

In an online poll at nzherald.co.nz on the day of the PM’s outburst, 80 per cent of 3000 respondents believed Labour was to blame for its own polling troubles and four per cent blamed National. Unpalatable though Clark may find the fact, the “blame the media” approach is not going to cut much ice on polling day.

The plain fact is that Labour, limbering up for an election at which it seems certain to take a hammering, is looking tired. Steve Maharey has gone, Michael Cullen – who has attracted the nickname Michael Sullen in some quarters – has lost the sparkle in his eye and, apparently, the fire in his belly as well.

Actually Dr Sullen is the approved nickname 🙂

Davis’ suggestion that the Herald’s coverage of the Owen Glenn loan affair was driven by a desire to “foment happy mischief” and that the newspaper was “having great fun at [Labour’s] expense” would have seemed quaintly chivalrous if it had not been so ill-judged. It cannot but create the impression that the PM needs all the help she can get.

But hey it has given me a tagline for the blog 🙂