Thursday, June 30, 2005

Stipend Dreams

TV1 'Tax Debate' Thoughts
Being an investment banker apparently makes one 'neutral' on tax issues.
DPF is the spitting image of a middle-aged Eric Cartman.
Rodney Hide is going to have a heart attack soon.
Out of the 30 people participating there were two women.
29 of the 30 were Pakeha.
Despite being 'the backbone of the nation' farmers apparently don't pay tax as there were none on the show.
There seems to be a direct correlation between body fat percentage and support for tax cuts.

Tour of Duty

So let me get this straight, National is against giving $26,000 to a New Zealander to go on a "hip-hop tour", but is more than happy to give up to $50,000,000 to one of the most evil regimes in the world so the NZ Cricket team don't have to go on tour?
Ain't political opportunism great?

Run Out

I confess. Cricket is my favourite sport and I was actually looking forward to the Zimababwe tour as an opportunity for NZ to boost their batting & bowling averages after a difficult summer. But of course, it's election year, so the tour is perfectly timed to make cricket into a political football despite NZ having toured Zimabawe with little fuss four times in the past decade.
I am somewhat surprised that Phil Goff, by joining forces with only Australia and England expects to pressure the ICC to 'stand up' to Zimbabwe, without even attempting to ask India for help as they will be touring Zimabawe and playing in a tri-series with NZ at the same time.
As Richard Boock wrote in today's NZ Herald,
The ICC isn't run by stuffy Brits any more, it's run by the combined weight of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, the West Indies and Zimbabwe.
The only teams that have had issues touring Zimbabwe in recent times are the 'white' countries - England, Australia and NZ. We like to call it 'making a stand for human rights' whereas other members of the cricketing world call it 'western arrogance and hypocrisy'. Given that the 'white' countries are eagerly pursuing free trade agreements with nations like China, can you really blame them? It's all very well for governments to 'stand up for human rights' when they themselves have nothing to lose.

Where do we draw the line on banning sports tours? Zimbabwe's principal political backer is the government of South Africa, so should the All Blacks and the Black Caps call off their respective tours there later this year? What about the military dictatorship in Pakistan? They don't even have Zimbabwe's nominally "elected" government yet we welcome their leader into our country with open arms. If the government is going to prevent New Zealanders travelling to countries who do not have 'spotless' human rights, again, where do you draw the line? Are we going to prevent NZ citizens from being 'allowed' to travel to countries who do not have perfect records on respecting human rights?

So what's going to happen? the government could pay the fine, but it's not $2 million. It's a US$2 minimum fine, as well as paying for any losses incurred by the host country. Is paying the Mugabe government upwards of $50 million any more palatable than touring there under protest? And the punishement doesn't end there, NZ Cricket could face suspension from world cricket for up to two years. So what would we really achieve? Zimababwe cricket would incur no financial losses, NZ Cricket would be destroyed and the Mugabe government would still be doing what they are doing.

The prospect of bankrupting NZ Cricket over Zimabawe for cricket fans like myself would be devastating and futile, so what I propose is that while in Zimababwe NZ Cricket removes all sponsorship logos from the players uniforms and replace them with that of Amnesty international or a similar organisation, to make our point that NZ finds the behaviour of Mugabe's government intolerable. I think that would send a stronger message than simply not turning up at all. The team could also wear black armbands in show of solidarity with former Zimababwe cricketers Henry Olonga and Andy Flower who bravely wore them in the 2003 World Cup to mark the 'death of democracy' in Zimababwe

Interestingly, a series between an All-Asian and an All-African team which will include Zimabawe's cricketers is to be played from August 15-21 in South Africa at the same time as NZ are touring Zimababwe. This gives a strong hint that Zimabawe does not expect NZ to tour anyway.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Out of the Mainstream

I knew I'd heard National's 'out of the mainstream' phrase somewhere before. it was here - in this clip of batshit crazy US Republicans discussing John Edwards VP nomination from The Daily Show last year.
Perhaps 'out of the mainstream' is National's version of the Bush campaign's winning technique of projecting your own weaknesses on to your opponent. Bush's dubious military career was projected on to that of his decorated 'war-hero' opponent, and the infamous 'flip-flop' campaign made Kerry look to be the one was constantly changing positions.
Here, it's taken the form of National claiming Labour to be 'out of the mainstream' even though much of National's own core policies are to the right of New Zealand's centre. The 'mainstream' is a vague term, and as Don Brash has found out, very hard to define other than by exclusion.
So, if Gays and Maori 'by definition' are 'out of the mainstream' because they are in the minority, doesn't that make Don Brash and the National Party themselves, 'out of the mainstream' too?
After all, in Godzone at least, denying the existence of climate change is hardly mainstream is it? What about supporting nuclear-powered ship visits? Cutting the Public Health Service? Sending our soldiers to Iraq? Ignoring child poverty?
Perhaps come election-time TVNZ could do a political edition of that awful How normal are you? show and settle this issue.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Owned

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Three Point Turn.
Undefeated pub quiz champions six years running.

Billboardom

From the online Act billboard maker, I can see Act's agenda clearly now. They want to raise political discourse in New Zealand from two to three words. No doubt aware of the fungal spread of lame National billboard spoofs though most of the NZ pol-blog clique, ACT, have developed a new 'ridicule-based' strategy to spread their message, they've even provided the tools to make it easy so any amateur pundit can create their own distinct version of 'satire' (in 3 words or less) without that pirated copy of Photoshop.
Copying the Nats billboards is considered fair exchange for National taking most of ACT's policies, but does being in ACT make you that desperate for attention that inviting and encouraging ridicule is called "campaigning"? Act's thinking must be 'any publicity is good publicity', (especially taxpayer-funded publicity.)
Although I do admit, Act and National have got it right, election campaigns should not be about issues that can't be summed up in more than two or three words, Who really has the time to deal with fully formed sentences and fact-based content in today's fast paced world?
And at least Act are scoring some new dumb catchphrases to use and maybe they'll even score some email and postal addresses which are like golddust to them. Because there's one thing to be sure, even if there is a nuclear war and everything on earth is wiped out, cockroaches will survive and your name will still be on the Act party mailing list.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Destiny Uncut

I'm looking forward to getting my hands on Brian Tamaki's (almost) banned "Brian Tamaki: Too hot for TV" DVD. You can now see the video the "witches in the media tried to ban" online too. I'll be interested to see if the DVD includes any juicy extras like bloopers, deleted scenes, out-takes, or hopefully a director's commentary? But what is most interesting about this DVD and the accompanying promotional tour is that they are being promoted under the "Bishop Brian" brandname rather than his already successful company "Destiny Church" who awarded him his catchy new bishop title the other day. I can't think why the Destiny owners would create multiple organisations like Destiny NZ or the 'Bishop Brian' brand when they are one and the same? Surely it would be a waste of the valuable 'donations' the church relies on to 'survive'? It's lucky these people are Christians or I'd say something fishy was going on.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Flame Retarded


Beautiful pun on the US flag burning amendment from one the better episodes (torrent) of The Daily Show of recent times. It's sad that Stephen Colbert is leaving, but at least he's going to his own mock Fox News show 'The Colbert Report" that will screen alongside The Daily Show in September.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Give me Medication

I love a good shit fight in parliament, although it is disappointing we still lack the occassional fisticuffs one often views in more mature democracies like Taiwan and South Korea.
A Super-Heavyweight Gerry Brownlee v. Parekura Horomia title fight would be to die for.
It's cute how politicians claim how 'passionate' they are about New Zealand, when it seems the things that get our politicians most 'passionate' in the house are petty jibes at their mental health rather than public policy. Which is what happened to Nick Smith yesterday after being told to 'take his medication'.
"The record is very clear. I actually haven't taken any medication for many, many years",
which he then proved beyond any doubt by saying
"I could make reference to the Prime Minister's childlessness, to Lianne Dalziel's drunken spell in Hanmer Springs."
Dalziel responded
"The implication I took is that I have been admitted to Hanmer Springs for drunkenness. That is a complete falsity.."
This is true, everyone knows Labour's designated rehab center is the Capri Trust in Auckland.
Seriously, is this not a case for the privileges committee? Either Smith or Dalziel is lying, well, actually "misrepresenting the truth" I think it's called nowdays.
Smith later defended singling out Helen Clark for not having children (unlike, say the leader of the National Party) by claiming it was the same as "making jokes about the fact Jim Bolger or Bill English had a large number of children". I can't quite see how inferring "You are infertile" and "You are fertile" would provoke the same reaction, but I have recently taken medication so what would I know.
I could also make reference to Nick Smith drinking the blood of virgins, not filling in his tax return and using his electoral caravan as a mobile 'shagging wagon' to pick up Nelson pensioners, but I'm above that sort of accusation.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Grand Theft Auto:Sunday

The 15 minute report/informercial on Grand Theft Auto on TVNZ's Sunday was the most retarded journalism I've seen since I last watched 20/20. Shock! Horror! Children are playing an R18 game and it could have negative effects!!! Next week on Sunday, a group of 7 year olds will have shots of vodka, smoke cigars, engage in consensual sexual intercourse, sign a hire purchase contract and vote in an election, it's called "Teaching kids to be Hitler - The Dangers of under-age voting". Where is that long-awaited NZ version of the 'Daily Show' (sans Radar) to deal with 'stories' like these?
The Sunday report was obviously a clever promotional tie-in with the recent XBox and PC releases of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The best function of the Xbox/PC versions is the ability to import your own 'radio station' music tracks into the game to complement the already brilliant soundtrack. To make this post look more substantial, these are my current top 10 imported tracks on my GTA:SA playlist,
(all tracks have to be pre-1993 and match the tone of the game)
Kenny Loggins - Danger Zone
Eazy E - Real Muthaphukkin G's
Manfred Mann - Blinded by the light
Salt n' Pepa - Push it
The Clash - Guns of Brixton
Snap! - The Power
2 Live Crew - Put her in the Buck
Brewer & Shipley - One toke over the Line
Tears for Fears - Sowing the Seeds of Love
Kris Kross - Jump

Sunday, June 19, 2005

This Much I Know

a) We've been really slack at posting lately
b) Batman Begins kicks ass

Friday, June 03, 2005

Poll Position

NBR's poll putting Labour and National neck and neck is the talk of the town, Labour losing four points in a month to NZ First and National. This erosion in Labour support most likely stems from the foolish mistake of raising expectations prior to May's budget that there were to be significant tax cuts, when this was clearly not the case. (No, it has nothing to do with Benson-Pope, no-one apart from bondage enthusiasts like Hide and Matron Judith gives a toss).
Back in January Maxine suggested National should pursue the 'positive message' of tax cuts instead of beating up on solo mothers, and (for once at least) she has been proven correct. Of course it was not National that put the issue of tax cuts in the national spotlight, it was Labour in what is looking now to be one of the worst strategic blunders in recent memory, cutting taxes is one area where Labour ideologically cannot compete with the centre-right, perhaps Labour were becoming too arrogant for their own good. Whether National can capitalise on this and take the lead in setting the agenda for the election campaign remains to be seen.

(sidenote - Why is it that I cannot purchase a copy of NBR anywhere in the medium-sized town I live in? We have a McDonald's, a KFC, The Warehouse, and a Subway outlet, but I cannot buy a copy of NBR, my local supermarket even sells frickin' Allergy Monthly but not NBR)

Schapelle's Show

I swear most of this country is high on crack.
In the past week, I've witnessed supposedly respectable broadcasters debate whether to withdraw Australia's tsunami relief to Indonesia because of the Schapelle Corby affair. Crack-heads en masse are to boycott the third world prices of Bali, because apparently third world judicial systems should only be for the people who live there not for visitors who break the law. A crack-head has sent dishwashing powder to the Indonesian embassy. At this point 90% of Australia believes she is innocent. The rationale behind this support seems to be the idea that she's too attractive to be guilty. I don't get it, she's not even in the same league as Nicole Kidman during her time in the Bangkok Hilton. All I see is an unbearable likeness to that of annoying Pieta from Muppet Treasure Island. Perhaps New Zealand can step in and arrange a prisoner swap? We'll take Corby, the Indonesians can have Pieta.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

The N-List

National's party list comprised of electorate candidates and quota filling meat puppets has been released. I'm glad to see Georgina Te Heuheu has been moved up from her provisional postion of below 25 to 19th on the list, still, she was ranked 6th in 2002. Oddly though, National has ranked Tau Henare formerly of NZ First, Mauri Pacific and the 'tight five' at #29 above new golden boy Alan Peachey at #30 (down from #18 in '02) and former Wellington Mayor Mark Blumsky at #36. Granted, Blumsky should win Wellington Central and Peachey will win Tamaki easily, but isn't this the type of 'preferential treatment for Maori' Don Brash was complaining so bitterly about in 2004? It will be interesting to see whether Henare is ranked above those two in 2008, that's if he's still a member of the National Party by then.
The odd thing about the party list system is the indirect consequences if can have on the consitituency electorate races. In the trophy seat of Wellington Central Labour's Marion Hobbs resides comfortably at number 9 on the Labour list, so no matter what, she is safe (and virtually unaccountable to the voters) , whereas Mark Blumsky the National candidate is buried at 36 on the Nats list, so winning Wellington Central is his only realistic hope. To the undecided "centre" voter, the question about the Wellington Central race has now become "Do you like Mark Blumsky?"
Another interesting foilble is that a vote for Marion Hobbs in Wellington Central could, somewhat perversly become a vote for Tau Henare. Henare is ranked at #29 on National's list. Given that National will pick up at least 4-5 seats to add to their current 21 electorate seats, that leaves around 10 or 11 list seats to fill their likely allocation of 36-37 MPs with Henare being the probable tenth MP coming off that list. But if Blumsky were to win Wellington Central that would take away one list MP from National, possibly Mr Henare.
Constituency races in the MMP-era are close to meaningless in affecting the national result of the election, but they do give voters a choice in the person they want to represent them in parliament, rather than strictly voting along party lines. So, surely for most Wellington voters, having two MPs on both sides of the house representing the electorate would be better than one?