Posts Tagged ‘ Auckland ’

Auckland Museum thinks we’re all “screaming” idiots

It seems that there is a bit of a pattern emerging in the disagreement over ‘ownership rights’ of Sir Edmund Hillary’s papers between his children and the Auckland Museum.

The Auckland Museum is now saying that they have;

“complex and nuanced points – when it appears we can get them across without being screamed at by the public for being disrespectful, we will reengage

Does anyone see what’s wrong here?

This is a public organisation, but it clearly is not used to having it’s agenda challenged, especially publicly. Vanda Vitalli hasn’t given any interviews, won’t discuss it expect through finely crafted press releases, won’t speak to the Hillary family (but claims they can ring her any time), and now they feel that we’re all a bit hysterical for questioning their motives over ownership. They’re lack of communication skills is clearly annoying the Herald otherwise they wouldn’t have published that letter (what on earth were they thinking???)

How about you put out a press release with your “complex and nuanced points” so we can all make our own decisions?

Or do you think we’re all a bit thick to understand them Vanda?

Top claim that they will reengage on their terms, when they feel ready, smacks of arrogance. They could have put out a press release with their points right when this all was made public. Like I said, this didn’;t happen overnight and they surely must have seen where events were headed – into the public arena. 

Vanda and her PR team are making a really bad call here, the longer they leave explaining what they were doing the worse things will get, and currently they have handed the stage, and the mor5al high ground, to the Hillary family.

Vanda and Co and being “disrespectful”, to the public. Clearly they think the issues are too complex for the great unwashed, and I suppose a bunch of academics stuck in a stone mausoleum overlooking Auckland might be forgiven for thinking they were a bit too special  to have to justify their actions to the public who provide the money for their operations.

Bad mistake. 

As a story for the MSM to pick up and run with, this is great, it has a feud over property rights, a famous deceased NZder, a public institution, and an American. 

A suggestion to the museum would be to get a new PR team, do a press conference and explain yourselves. This won’t go away and you’re inability to state what you are trying to achieve leads everone to suspect the worst. If this isn’t the case it shouldn’t be too difficult to explain that, should it?

If your’e planning to dig your way out of this hole, you’re going to need some pretty heavy equipment. I’m not sure people thought you were being disrespectful, just a bit money grubbing and sneaky, now we can add arrogant to the list – disrespectful is about to be added.

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Paying ‘more’ for Water in Auckland

I see Rodney Hide with usual honesty and frankness, has said that water rates will go up for some people under the new ‘super city’.

The anti Watercare group and other who think water should be ‘free’ will be performing their usual tantrums.

Water, as in the stuff that falls out of the sky, is free of charge.

We have a water tank, we collect water from the roof, store it in a tank and use it. If we run out because there’s no rain, we have to buy it. No problem with that because someone has to truck it out to us. There’s also a cost to us for the infrastructure we own in tanks, pipes, pumps, and I guess, even the roof, plus maintenance involved. The water isn’t treated, we don’t bother and have never been sick (touch wood). I’ve never done an analysis on it, but I’d guess over the long term it works out cheaper than a reticulated system. Of course, if there’s a power cut, the pump won’t work so no water, also if a rat fell in the tank, then there’s a lot more fuss and cost involved.

no service is free!

no service is free!

It’s also worth noting that we are very very careful with our water usage, no bath only showers etc etc, this way we have only ever had one ‘externally’ provided tank fill in five years. I guess we treat the water supply with a lot of respect, it really is a precious commodity in February when it hasn’t rained properly for weeks!

As you can see there are costs involved in collecting water and using it. No different in Auckland city on a reticulated service. With this service you get treated drinking water, as much as you like, 24/7, you can water the garden with it, have 50 baths a day if you like, it will be there 99.99% of the time, it’s safe, clean and convenient – it’s on tap!

Hell, out of most service utilities I’d bet in Auckland it’s the most reliable, more so than electricity and much more so than telecommunications – both of which could be regarded as equally important.

So, that people get upset about paying for what is an excellent, world class service, which is taken for granted, puzzles me. It’s not cheap to achieve, and like anything there is a cost that has to be recovered somewhere, which brings me to the next point.

In an increasing number of countries, water is now a scarce commodity. It’s so scarce that they buy it in by the super tanker load from other countries, or ration it’s use. This of course means that the cost, or if you like, price, of water is increasing as a commodity internationally. It’s not just that the infrastructure to collect, treat and get the water to your tap is expensive, it’s just that there is only so much water to go around and the demand in some countries, outstrips the supply. It’s predicted that wars could be fought over water in the future, and in fact it could be argued that in the Middle East and Africa, they already are.

So next time you have a gripe about your water bill, consider that the service in Auckland is among the best in the world, and it’s cheap for something you only think about when you get the bill. If you don’t want to pay for it, use less or get a water tank to supplement supply – but you may find the costs outweigh the benefits which again makes your service look pretty cost effective.

Remember, you’re not paying for the water, you’re paying for the service of collecting it and getting it to your tap, the water itself is still ‘free’.

Pak’n’Save finally to open in Glenfield

Foodstuffs built the supermarket in 2005 but since then Progressive (their competition) who own Countdown and Woolworths and who are owned by Woolworths Australia, has fought the opening at every turn.

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Where is our ‘new’ government?

ship_sailing_off_edge_of_world

Key: "oh look Paula, isn't that those naughtly kids from Henderson back there?" Paula:"yes John, I'll box their ears when I get hold of them, why, and look, isn't that Fiji in the background, how fascinating!"

I don’t always agree with Garth George, he is a curmudgeonly old duffer and a weeny bit too conservative, in a big-state-muldoon kind of way for my liking. But today I do agree with him. WTF is John Key and his merry band up too?

There was always a sneaking suspicion that the Conservatives led by Key were just sleepwalking to power after Labour and Klark lost their way, but part of me hoped that that in fact they would, with the help of ACT, actually have a plan, and that in fact this plan would rather suit the dreadful economic situation we now find ourselves in.

So, here we are, it’s 2009 and by all accounts we are facing the most serious economic crisis since the depression of 1920.

Obama has just got through a package of something like US$819 BILLION of spending and calls the situation a “disaster”.

The German’s, Japanese, English, Australians, Russians, Chinese, Koreans are all committing billions of dollars, yen, euros and whatever to pull themselves out of the shit, the Singaporeans have actually broken into their piggy bank, a formally sacrosanct fund of the nations retirement savings to avert disaster!

And what’s Key up too?

Um, well, he’s had a break with the family. His social welfare Minister has boxed some kids ears in Henderson (West Auckland), there’s some shit going down (again) between him and his finance minister Bill English, and, well the Maori’s want to fly a freaking flag of the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Oh, and there’s some fuss in Fiji, big fucking deal. Who gives a shit about the Fijian’s, their economies probably smaller than the annual social welfare budget for South Auckland, let them work their own problems out, we have bigger fish to fry!

Look guy’s, I know it’s holiday season in NZ, most of us went back to work last week (if we still had jobs to go too) and actually there’s some very serious stuff going on that affects everyone here and we need to know what the hell is going to happen here to mitigate this. You know, like a PLAN, something beyond the autopilot of the reserve bank dropping interest rates (which the Banks seem to be ignoring anyway).

You’d hope someone like Key, who has been involved in the industry that sparked the current crisis, would understand the deep trouble we are in. Maybe he does, and maybe it’s so incredibly bad he doesn’t know what to do, he is trapped in the headlights like a opossum.

I sincerely hope not, because if Key & Co don’t have a plan, quite frankly we are fucked.

And while I’m expressing my doubts and disappointments, where is hell is ACT is all of this. Where is Rodney?

Of all the people I’d hope to see riding in on a white horse with a plan to save the day it’d be Rodney, backed by Heather and Roger, with a plan to save NZ and transform the economy into a winner of the economic crisis.

Not a freaking peep.

Well, it’s got me thinking. Is this so bad that everyone actually cut and run?

An awful lot of MP’s seem to be overseas at the moment, maybe they have cashed up their travel allowances, super funds, and buggered off to the Bahamas?

Our new government of ‘hope’ is currently AWOL. It’s not good enough and that wasn’t what we voted for. Unless something is done soon this will be the shortest National Government in history. Because when the jobs start drying up and the shit hits the fan in a few months it will be way too late.

We need some leadership now!

Amway… doesn’t rock

mlm_potion00011The Herald has run an article in it’s business section about Amway’s supposed revival … apparently they are going to attract a “whole new generation” using none other than Tina Turner. Tina Turner was born in 1939 which… makes… her… 70.

Now, maybe I’ve missed something but I can see a small flaw in Amway’s strategy. If you wanted to widen your appeal past people who think there’s a quick way of being a millionaire and appeal to younger people, which is what I assume they mean by a “new generation” – unless they mean a new generation of 60+ year olds – then an aging 70 year old performer isn’t probably going to be too hip with 20 year olds, and that’s assuming they even know who Tina Turner is!

I noticed the Herald managed to get a bit of a dig in about Amway being accused of being a pyramid scheme in the past. In the past? I’d argue that it still is. As a business it’s really quite absurd, over the last 50 years businesses across the globe have cut out middlemen clipping the ticket and adding cost, but Amway clings, indeed it’s whole survival, is based on a massive pyramid scheme where  you only start making real money by ensuring there’s a stack (pyramid) of people under you busy signing up more people under them and you, and everyone else above you, gets a cut, and in doing so it’s takes very cheap products and makes them very expensive.

The best way to illustrate just how ridiculous Amway is, is like this… You walk into The Warehouse and buy a bottle of washing up liquid for $5. There are at most four people involved in this transaction; yourself, The Warehouse, the Importer and the Manufacturer. There are three lots of margin in there plus the shipping company who also made some money along the way.

If you look at Amway, it’s like walking into The Warehouse, buying a bottle of washing up liquid (identical product, different label) for $15. The difference this time is that there could be 10 or even more people (depending how far down the food chain you are) who are making a cut. The only reason you’d participate in such a scheme is because you too were going to make a cut as well.

If you got a child to illustrate how it works, they would draw something like a pyramid. Amway believers are a bit smarter than that and they will draw something which looks a bit like a horizontal pyramid. 

The other interesting comment in the article was the Christian connection. Having been to a few Amway meetings over the years, I was left with the feeling that the people who dreamt up Amway must have taken inspiration from organised religion. The group meetings where every pumps up each other belief in… erm, making money, and the way couples and groups aere organised to spread the word. The only difference between Mormons, other evangelical Christian religion’s and Amway is that Amway is trying to sell you a product and turn a buck, the others are trying to sell you God.

I’ve met, and know some really genuinely nice people who ‘believe in’ Amway – because you have to believe in it because from a business perspective you have to suspend logic to really get into it, just as you have to suspend scientific logic to believe in Christianity. But there’s something slightly disturbing about a bunch of people that fervently (and very politely) want to convert you to their cause, just so they can make a buck off you when you build a pyramid of people underneath you and start passing on the cut from sales.

Amway doesn’t need Tina Turner, because there will always be an endless pool of naive, desperate, and also possibly greedy people out there who will be prepared to overlook the silliness of the whole thing because they might make some money out of it. It’s just like another pyramid scheme, the latest example being Madoff’s rip off which suckered in a bunch of rich people who should have known better, but were just greedy.

Auckland Harbour Bridge Flag

mybanner4815a9962759czy8This tiresome event rolls around with depressing regularity every year, and this year Pita Sharples is the self anointed cheer leader.

Pita wants the ‘so-called’ Maori Flag flown on the Auckland Harbour Bridge during Waitangi Day.

I’m inclined to agree with Tau Henare who says it’s a publicity stunt for the Maori Party, and that there are significantly more pressing issues Pita & Co should be concerning themselves about, like the looming unemployment that will surely  affect lot of Maori.

There’s no agreement that this is a flag that represents Maori and it seems it’s a bit like the Maori Party claiming to represent Maori, which isn’t entirely accurate.

New Zealand is made up of a mix of immigrant cultures – including Maori – and if you extend the logic we could probably give each group a week to fly their particular flag, or we could just stick a line of flag poles up and see if we could set some record for the most flags on a harbour bridge – it could be a tourist attraction.

The whole point is that it’s political. Maori like Sharples see the flag as representing a goal of Independence for ‘Maori’, people who think this are usually pretty careful about not pointing that out too much because it will piss off the majority of NZders who feel that New Zealand should be a country where no particular groups is treated preferentially based on cultural differences, and the thought of legal Independence for a particular cultural group is highly undesirable (putting it politely)!

A flag that is a political movements flag is not something that should be flown on the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

There should be only one flag if there’s going to be one, and that should be the New Zealand flag that represents everyone here.

It takes 10 minutes to switch from Genesis Energy

Following on from my previous post about the silly points program at Genesis Electricity, I thought I’d share with you how to vote with your feet in the face of the recent price hikes at Genesis.

If you’re with Genesis and haven’t seen the news or checked you latest bill carefully, you won’t know that Genesis has decided to put thier prices up by roughly 9%. I’m going to assume you already know they have which is why your’e reading this.

So here are some simple steps to work out what you should do, it’s free, it will take about 10 minutes, and that 10 mintues will save you some money this year

1/. Get you latest power bill from Genesis.

2/. Go to ‘powerswitch‘ which is a website run by the Consumers Institute.

3/. It’ll take a few minutes to put your consumption use into the web based progam that will then give you a list of providers and the saving you will make from you current provider.

4/. Contact the company and use your customer number to switch over – it took me less than 5 minutes to switch over to Mercury. It was interesting that they actually still had my details from many years ago so you information doesn’t dissapear when you close your account, this may have speeded things up a bit as I assume they would have gone through the fuss of opening a new account otherwise.

The whole process was pretty painless, far less so than changing from a telephone or internet provider.