Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Spot The Difference

Pita Sharples.

Teddy Ruxpin.

I know this is childish but don't you think there really is a similarity?

Monday, September 19, 2005

Brass Monkey

I woke up at around 6 this morning and immediately knew something wasn't right. The light filtering in through my bedroom curtains wasn't the intensity that it should be. I open them up and what do I see? A shitload of fucking snow!

Snow in the second half of September. That ain't right and it sure wasn't pleasant. I've been reliably informed that as the average temperature today failed to get anywhere near 6 degrees Celsius September the 19th 2005 is officially the coldest September day Christchurch has had since weather records began. Though it's entirely possible tomorrow will be even colder. The irony here is that on the last day of August the record warmest ever August temperatures were recorded in nearby Darfield and Hanmer Springs.

I reckon we got about 15 cm in total, just enough to cover your feet. Sod all in the grand scheme of things ... but it still managed to shut the city down. By midday the schools, universities, City Council, postal service, and most of the businesses in the CBD had called it quits and sent everyone home for the day. Not even the rubbish was collected.

I'm sure this'd amuse the hell out of anyone who lives in a city where they get real winters (e.g. Moscow) God alone knows how we'd cope if there was another ice age.

Mind you I'm only being this bitter about the whole situation because I had to work. That's right, work in weather so cold it could change your religion (ie left home a Catholic, came home a Jew).

Sunday, September 18, 2005

And The Winner is .....

The award for the least popular candidate in the country goes to Mel Whaanga of the Direct Democracy Party.

A staggering 8 votes were cast for him in Northland giving him the distinction of being the only electorate candidate in the country to score in single figures in the ballot count.

As badly as the DDP did (and they were awful in every sense of the word), the Republic of NZ Party managed to steal some of their thunder with their party vote result. A completely underwhelming 449.

I guess this means we won't be cuting ties with old Mother England any time soon?

Friday, September 16, 2005

Completely Non-Scientific Election Prediction

For what it's worth here are the numbers I'm picking for tomorrow night.

National - 51
Labour - 51
NZF - 6 (Winston holds Tauranga but party is below 5% threshold)
Greens - 8
UF - 3
Progressive - 1
Maori - 3
ACT - 0 (joining the dole queue on Monday)

Total number of seats is 123 based on overhang minor parties winning electorate seats.

On that basis:
The National/NZF/UF group holds 60 seats.
The Labour/Greens/Progressive group also holds 60 seats.

And the Maori Party holds the balance of power.

Which in turn means another election before Christmas and we get to do all of this all over again.

And here's a tip for the Banks Peninsula electorate ... it could very well go to National.

[disclaimer: all numbers are plucked purely at random with no basis on polls, facts, or astrological divination.]

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Dodgy Polls

As they say there are lies, damn lies, and statistics. This election campaign has proved that beyond a doubt. Some of you may have been curious about the poll results in the Sunday Star Times last weekend, and other of you may have wondered why the National Business Review hasn't run one for a while.

Well the good folks at Molesworth and Featherston have found out what's been going on. Since their material requires a subscription I can't link to it but I'll reproduce it here (apologies to M&F if this treads on any creative toes).

There has been no National Business Review poll since early in the campaign and there are conflicting stories why. One report is of a fall-out between UMR-Insight (also Labour's pollster) and the weekly business rag. Another suggests the pollsters have refused to do one out of the monthly sequence because they are too busy with their other work. A third rumour is that a poll last week was "pulled" for no apparent
reason. Sad, because it has been a reliable poll over the years and would have been a useful addition to the campaign period.

Meanwhile a Sunday Star Times poll completed mid last week, which we hear had National on 42, Labour 40, the Greens 6 and New Zealand First barely 5, was dumped. ( It was referred to in political editor Helen Bain’s column comment.) It seems the paper's not-so-savvy management wanted something more up-to-date to test the reaction to Don Brash’s ‘I misled the public’ admission over the Brethren pamphlets. So they commissioned a much smaller 500 person poll on a Friday night – the statistician in us blanches at the biases that would contain – which showed National out to a big lead. Even stranger they failed to give the numbers of their more reliable poll.

They weren't alone.

The Herald on Sunday also did a snap poll with an even smaller sample - 400 – but at least with the saving grace that it was over two days; Friday and Saturday. Unlike the SST poll it showed a big lead for Labour.

What was that thing about accuracy in reporting again?

And one other thing,. Sometime I posted this little item on the pornography problems besetting the police force. Having looked at some of the recent referrals and links to my blog I see my suspicions about the title have been confirmed. So for all of you dirty little monkeys who are turning up looking for hot naked copper sex, I'm sorry but you'll have to find your gratification elsewhere.

[A Friday addition]
It seems the NBR has torn s trip of Molesworth and Featherston about the speculation made above. Here is the response from NBR's Nick Bryant (again courtesy of M&F).

How bloody irresponsible of you to note three rumours about NBR's polls but not seek to clarify which, if any, was right. NBR last had a political poll three weeks ago. We weren't due for a political poll until the week after the election. When I realised this, also nearly three weeks ago, I contacted Stephen Mills to request UMR do a special poll for publication this Friday, Sept 16. I offered to pay whatever it took to get the poll done but Stephen informed me that he simply didn't have the resources to do any extra quantitative research. The UMR poll is a bloody good poll. However, we understand Stephen's position and his being unable to do this poll hasn't affected our relationship in the slightest. What you've suggested about
NBR in your two other scenarios offends me and I think you've done yourself a disservice by disseminating them.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Paranoid Conspiracy Crackpots

I'm normally a fairly tolerant sort of person and can deal with most events with a degree of of level headedness. But occasionally something comes along that makes you sit up, wipe the drool from your chin and exclaim "What the fuck!" The press release below, courtesy of the the Direct Democracy Party, sparked such a moment.

Now while I, for one, have been known upon occasion to be sceptical about the abilities of our SIS I think I may rate their intelligence gathering abilities better than those of the DDP. ( I use the Gaynz link here both to outline those involved in the DDP and to annoy them)

Here for your edification and amusement is the DDP press release. Enjoy


The response by Richard Woods of the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service is deafening by its silence as the tough questions are asked.

Evidence is now mounting that indicates elements within the US administration are complicit in the murder of American citizens in the September 11th 2001 so-called ‘terrorist attacks’.

We believe that the attacks on September 11th, 2001, were a pre-conceived action, pre-planned and undertaken by elements within the US administration to create the justification for the invasion of Afghanistan, Iraq and the wider Middle East.

The Direct Democracy Party demands an explanation form the New Zealand Security Services, Helen Clark, Phil Goff and all other senior members of the Government, as to what checks were done to ensure the authenticity of the information that has lead to the passing into law of the ‘Terrorism Suppression Act 2002’. The Direct Democracy Party believes that the extra security precautions undertaken in New Zealand recently that restricts the rights and freedoms of all New Zealanders, have been done so based on fabricated evidence that fails to have foundation when placed under scrutiny.

The Direct Democracy Party demands an urgent investigation into New Zealand’s involvement in the US-lead ‘war on terror’ and all subsequent actions and dealings of any description of New Zealand’s officials and politicians. - There comes a time when questions need to be asked of our officials and politicians as to where their loyalties lay; so we ask of them all, “Are you with us, or are you with the [real] terrorists”

Kelvyn Alp - Party Leader
Direct Democracy Party

Now here's the letter that evoked that deafening response. Priceless.

Mr Richard Woods

Chief Executive

NZSIS Head Office
PO Box 900

Re: New Zealand Participation in the ‘War on Terror’

Dear Mr. Woods

Having certain knowledge of the importance of intelligence when dealing matters of security, I rely on many and varied sources in which to formulate contingencies based on evidence presented. I believe it important to scrutinize each and every piece of intelligence that is presented, not only for authenticity and reliability, but believability also.

New Zealand’s active participation in the ‘War on Terror’ would indeed be a vital role, if in-fact, our participation was for justified reasons through credible corroborating evidence.

As leader for of the Direct Democracy Party of New Zealand, I myself have conducted an investigation into the reasons for New Zealand’s involvement in the ‘War on Terror’ with some alarming findings.

Mr. Woods, I seek clarification form you, as Chief Executive of the New Zealand Security and Intelligence Service and the Man ultimately responsible for the advise given to the Prime Minister that would help to shape her view on the subject, the following questions;

1) In the events of September 11th 2001, did the New Zealand Security and Intelligence Service actively investigate the claims by the United States Administration and/or Intelligence Agencies that the attacks on the World Trade Centre towers and the Pentagon were indeed perpetrated by those that they were attributed to?

2) Did the New Zealand Security and Intelligence Service scrutinise all evidence presented by the United States Administration and/or Intelligence Agencies pertaining to said events on September 11th 2001?

3) Did the New Zealand Security and Intelligence Service authenticate the evidence presented to it and/or the world by the United States Administration and/or Intelligence Agencies that was ultimately used as justification for the invasion of Afghanistan, and ultimately the invasion of Iraq?

4) Is it your position Mr. Woods, as Chief Executive of the New Zealand Security and Intelligence Service that the events of September 11th 2001, were indeed carried out by those that the United States Administration and/or Intelligence Agencies have attributed them?

5) Do the New Zealand Security and Intelligence Service currently hold or has it held any conflicting evidence that contradicts the officially stated position of the United States Administration and/or Intelligence Agencies in regards to the events of September 11th 2001?

6) As Chief Executive of the New Zealand Security and Intelligence Service Mr. Woods, have you actively encouraged or discouraged New Zealand’s participation in the ‘War on Terror’ and do you confirm that the position you hold on this subject, is based on authentic, reliable and factual evidence?

7) Do you consider the introduction of the ‘Terrorism Suppression Act 2002’ a justified piece of legislation in New Zealand based on evidence that is authentic, reliable and factual and did you, as Chief Executive of the New Zealand Security and Intelligence Service confirm that such legislation was indeed necessary and in the interests of the New Zealand people?

8) Can you confirm Mr. Woods that at no time have you acted in a manner contrary to the interests of the New Zealand people?

9) Can you also confirm Mr. Woods that at all times any action taken by you, as Chief Executive of the New Zealand Security and Intelligence Service in the dispensation of your duties have at all times been based on the genuine need for the security of the New Zealand people and not through the directions of foreign entities or internal pressures?

With the resources at the disposal of the New Zealand Security and Intelligence Service, one would assume that any possible evidence that was not authentic, reliable or factual would be uncovered immediately and questions asked as to why that type of information was received whether by accident or by design.

As I have previously stated Mr. Woods, I myself have carried out an investigation into the events of September 11th 2001, and my findings are alarming to say the least.

I await your response with interest and I thank you for your time

Yours Truthfully

Kelvyn Alp

Oh, and if anyone is wondering how you can spot a member of the DDP. It's really easy. They're the ones wearing the tinfoil hats.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Things I Learnt this Week.

It costs up to 378 thousand dollars a year to pay for the cost of monitoring and looking after convicted sex offender Lloyd McIntosh. I’d name the organisation contracted to provide his care, but surprise surprise, it has name suppression.

The Corrections Department will place an offender, knowing allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour have been made against him, in a Christchurch primary school. The Department will also apologise when that offender rapes an 8-year-old girl.

Police believe Christchurch man Phillip Mullaly (aka Phillip Grimwood) was murdered by his brother Aaron Dale Grimwood (with help from a Lisa Riley).

Christchurch City Council trading enterprise, CCFL, can breach its Statement of Intent and make a major share purchase without City Council approval and get away with it.

The Canterbury District Health Board will confidently put out information during a Legionnaires Disease outbreak about how a prevailing southwesterly wind pattern fits its theory for the spatial distribution of those infected with the disease. It then will say its theories are still correct even when official NIWA weather statistics show the prevailing wind pattern during the outbreak was from the opposite direction.

And finally:

Don Brash, like any other politician, is full of shit!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Powhiri vs Handshake.

Here's another piece of trivia that slipped under the radar on the campaign trail last Thursday. September the first was noted for the PM's encounter with the ascerbic wit of an Air New Zealand pilot and that's what dominated the headlines that day. What didn't, and what possibly could have were these comments made my National Party leader Don Brash in a radio interview in Christchurch.

Below is a transcript of part of his interview with local Newstalk ZB Host Mike Yardley.

PRESENTER: What about the haka before an All Black rugby test? Is it a good look?

BRASH: I'm very comfortable and relaxed about that. I'm more relaxed about that than I am about some of the official welcomes that foreign visitors get. They must what wonder kind of country they get when the only official welcome they have is? is a Maori New Zealander jumping around half naked. I mean, I think there is a place for Maori culture but why is it that we always use a semi-naked male, sometimes quite pale-skinned Maori, leaping around in, you know, mock battle?

PRESENTER: So next time Her Majesty comes to see the dominion, if you are prime minister, will you spare her a powhiri?

BRASH: I think, as I say, there is a place for powhiri. I guess what I'm really saying is we surely need some other ways of greeting visitors?


PRESENTER: Like how?

BRASH: ?only powhiri. Well, I mean, European culture has got lots of traditional ways of welcoming visitors. A powhiri is a particularly Maori way of doing it?


BRASH: ?and there certainly is a place for that.

PRESENTER: But what would you do instead? A handshake or what?

BRASH: I think in many cases a handshake or a? an honour guard or something is all that's appropriate.

PRESENTER: Okay, we'll take a break. [programme break]

Now I'm sure there are many New Zealanders out there that may agree with the sentiment but it does seem an unusual thing for a politician to say. You can only buy trouble making comments such as these. One wonders why he'd take the risk?