Posts Tagged ‘ New Zealand ’

Pigs & Pork fuss, what about imported Pork?

I won’t go over the already well done ground of the current pig farming fuss, but I will take this opportunity to point out something that will be lost under the rumble of little trotters as the pigs break free into free-range farms.

Country of orgin labelling.

Pork is very cheap at the moment, in fact if you look at the kg price, it’s cheaper than lamb and beef. 

The only problem with, as with bacon, is we often have nop idea where it’s come from. While we fuss about the condition of pig farms here, it’s relevant only in the locally produced pork context, but what about the imported pork, ham and bacon, how’s that produced?

We have no idea because 90% of the time we don’t know where that products come from, is it Canada or China, if we knew, then we could decide whether we want to eat it and can factor in how it’s produced – I’d hazard a guess that the space the pigs in China are kept in would be secondary to what they’re being fed and medically treated with.

As consumers we should be able to make informed decisions on the food we eat, and in order to do this we need not only nturicional information, which is now of 99% of all foods, we also need to know where it’s made or grown.

I’ve seen the myriad of reasons why it can’t be done, but these look like pretty thin excuses to me. It can be done, sure it might be a bit of as hassle, and it might add a few cents onto the cost, although I personally doubt it. Will it change consumer habits, possibly. But at the end of the day it’s about choice. We deserve to have the option to buy or reject a particular food based on it’s origin. Some countries have very different food standards to us and the Food Safety Authority does not, and cannot, check everything that comes in. The fact that they continually find issues with food, some of it serious, implies that for everyone they catch at the border, there are more that are never caught.

It’s not too much to ask and it’s about time it was a legal requirement.

NZ Defense review starts with whimper, Australia’s ends with bang

It’s interesting to see the contrasts between the New Zealand Defense review (which is underway) and the just completed Australian Defense White Paper released today.

Our defense review started on a somewhat underwhelming note. The most controversial issue being the idea of leasing land off private companies, an idea that appeals until you consider the practicalities and why you’d bother – it’s hardly going to save money in the long term if you already own the land. Mostly the talk was about cutting back, although there’s stuff all to actually cut back. There was no talk of possible threats, or the need to at least be seen by allies like the USA of taking of defense seriously.

Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.

Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.

The Australian’s in typical robust style and going to spend more – and this is a Labour led Government. The Australian paper wasn’t shy about identifying China’s “unexplained military build-up” as a cause for concern in the Pacific. They also recognised the need to at least be able to offer a serious deterrent to possible adversaries, while acknowledging that they would still need to work with the USA.

The white paper offers an opportunity for New Zealand – we get a specific mention. Our review should consider how we can dovetail our defense planning more closely with Australia. They are planning to build a lot of the new capability in Australia. This could offer opportunities to purchase the same equipment, and surely there must be opportunities for business in New Zealand? 

Surely we need to be bolder than the piece meal approach we have historically had. There is every indication that this Government will take defense no more seriously than previous ones. If we aren’t going to be too concerned with it, why not just become a virtual wing of the Australian Defense Forces. Do the same things they are, but on a significantly smaller scale. Buy exactly the same equipment at the same time from the same suppliers, communication, guns, hardware, ships, tanks… exactly the same stuff. Rebuild our air strike force with a few F 35’s they are planning to buy (if we’re allowed) maybe we could lease some from Australia as part of a defense pact.

If we are looking at selling land and leasing it back, how about the same approach for everything else?

Why not approach the Australians on the basis that we will develop our own defense force, but almost as part of theirs. Contract training from them for planes, tanks, ships etc, on the same equipment which we will purchase – work with them on maintenance for equipment, some aircraft done here, some in Australia, same with boats. We could form a close defense pact that allows for our Independence, but with complete interoperability and identical equipment.

We should accept we are a small bit player, I’m sure everyone does already, and embrace it. We should aim to be able to completely seamlessly work with Australia. This gives us a narrow focus and something that allows politicians to focus on more interesting things. It could be adopted in a bipartisan fashion so it’s becomes a policy a bit like the Reserve Bank Act or (possibly) Kiwi Saver. It is just something the Defense Forces can get on with.

When it comes down to it, the majority of Australia’s concerns in the Defense paper are perfectly aligned to what ours should be. The concern about protecting our Pacific interests  should be the same. To simply adopt their review, taking into account our budget constraints, and sit down with them and align our equipment and logistics makes sense.

John Key has shown some vision and creativity in dealing with things since being elected. Maybe this is a chance to put our defense on a new path for the coming years. 

Inconsiderate campers to be fined in South Island

I see the West Coast (assume the South Island) has finally had enough of ‘freedom’ campers littering and polluting the countryside.

The suggestion is to fine campers using areas they shouldn’t.

While normally a fan of light regulation, in this case (if it can be enforced) I have to agree.

A year ago I went campervaning (or whatever you call it) down in the South Island. The landscape was stunning, but rest stops were often littered and trees festooned with toilet paper.

You shake your head when you consider that tourists (and locals) visit because of the ‘clean green’ beautiful landscape, and then proceed to litter and shit everywhere. Nice!

I’m not sure how the Local Councils are proposing to do this, but I have a suggestion to ensure it works.

Fine the vehicle.   

Yep, fining individuals will ensure the fine is never paid. Fine the vehicle and send the ticket to the registered owner and it will get paid. All camper van companies take credit card details so they can charge for traffic infringements that turn up after the renters have left the country, they will be able to charge on the fines. What’s more, they will be impressing on renters the importance of treating the country with a bit more respect.

Make the fines big. 

We’re talking about defecating in public land here, so make the fines for ‘missusing a public space’ (including littering etc) $200 per offence. This was there will be a huge incentive to obey the laws, plus an price incentive for the Councils to put the resources into policing the bylaw. If you think that’s steep check out parking fines in Auckland. Put some of the money could be put into more (and nicer) public toilets at rest stops.

Make it a National scheme.

Get all Councils across NZ on board, this way it will be clear to visitors that this behaviour is not acceptable anywhere.

Take photo’s / web cams

And set a web site naming and shaming.Take an interactive approach, this way visitors will understand that the moment they rent a vehicle what they face if they do this and are caught. If anyone denies the offence, like with speed cameras there’s some proof.

Sure it won’t stop everyone, there are always moron’s about, but it will deter some people especially with some suitable publicity. If we really believe this country is so clean and green, we should start insisting that it’s treated like it.

9 day working fortnight idea nutty

I genuinely thought the 9 day working week idea was one of those headline grabbing ideas from the ‘economic summit’ that would whither and die when the MSM got bored and moved onto the next exciting thing.

It immediately brought to mind the 40 hour working week the socialist French Government imposed a few years ago. ‘Strangely’ enough productivity dropped and now they are unraveling the whole mess. Continue reading

Barry Matthews really is a complete tit

Further to my previous post on the awesome boss of the Corrections Department, I noticed that Whale Oil pointed out that Barry was also responsible for the absolutely awesome INCIS Police computer system (that’s so awesome it has it’s own page on wikipedia) that cost the taxpayer $110,000,000 (yes, that’s 110 million dollars), and was finally ditched without being implemented.

Continue reading

Australia Re-exports Crime Family

ph_samoa_beach

Sun, surf, sand, Samoans, maybe we would be better off with Marian & Prince here???

You can sympathise with the Australian Police, they must get sick of dealing with NZders and their criminal behaviour. In this case they seem to have decided enough was enough and sent them ‘home, unfortunately for us, ‘home is NZ!

This ‘family’ is a real piece of work, Maria & Prince Brown will no doubt be relishing the chance to start afresh in NZ, especially with our grossly incompetent Corrections Department, this would be a bit like coming to Disney World. There is absolutely no doubt they will continue their crime spree in NZ.

I’m wondering if we shouldn’t be taking a leaf out of the Australians book.

I notice that Maria is actually from Samoa, if that’s the case then we should be looking at deporting her at the first sign of trouble.

Of course that won’t happen, because Barry Matthew’s and his crew won’t keep tabs on her and her delightful son, and they’ll probably kill someone while on bail. Then the tax payer would have to foot the bill to keep them in prison for 10 years and then the stupid parole board will let them out for good behavior.

As the Corrections Department seem to think the Samoan Justice system has something to offer NZ, maybe Barry could send them back as ambassadors… permanent ambassadors!

I’m sure the Samoans would be able to deal with them. Might save us some money just sticking them on the first plane out so they just stay in the transit lounge.

Japanese attempt to ‘save face’ on whaling

The latest twist in the Japanese whaling saga seems to be about the Japanese ‘giving up’ doing something it shouldn’t be doing anyway, and then being allowed to legitimately do something it’s doing already, but in a different place.

Essentially the Japanese Whaling lobby are offering to cease whaling in the South Pacific in return for being able to take an unspecified number of whales in the North Pacific.

If you understand a bit about Japanese culture and business negotiations this looks a lot like a face saving proposal.

nissanmaru_2007125115922I think the Japanese Whaling lobby and their supporters within the Japanese Government and IWC have realised they are losing the battle for ‘hearts and minds’ both internationally and at home.

It is likely that in five years or so the Japanese whaling lobby’s intransigence and endless subsidies will wear very thin with the Japanese tax payer, and they already know that international public opinion is very much against them. 

With the economic outlook grim, the Japanese Government will be wanting to cut costs where it can to prop up public spending to mitigate the economic slump. Whaling is not only a waste of money, but it’s clearly annoying Japanese allies and international public opinion, so it would make sense to quietly seek a compromise that avoids the damaging publicity it is currently suffering, while saving the subsidies it pays to the industry.

Personally I credit Sea Shepherd for this desperate attempt to seek a compromise before it gets so bad they are forced into a publicly humiliating back down – something Japanese take very badly.

The endless bad publicity and the clumsy attempts by the Japanese Whaling lobby to frame their industry as ‘reserch’ (by painting the words in English “Research” on the sides of their whaling industries vessels) and wooden PR campaign have ruined any credibility they may have had.

Their defenders in the ‘West’ are usually Japanophiles that perform some curious displays of logic contortion to justify Japanese ‘rights’ t hunt whales in the South Pacific based on flimsy cultural grounds. Hell, if the Japanese want to go and hunt a few whales off their coast with traditional wooden boats and harpoons, be my guest. Huge factory ships with myriad support vessels, spotter boats, and factory ships isn’t ‘cultural’ it’s economic exploitation.

New Zealand, Australia and the other ‘anti’ whaling block members on the IWC should see the Japanese overtures for what they are, an attempt to save face and retain some form of whaling based on the realisation that in five years even their current program will be so unpopular they will be forced to loose face by backing down completely.

The answer to this current proposal and any other like it, should be ‘NO’. 

Let Japanese continue it’s publicly damaged ‘research’ missions in the South Pacific, and let groups like Sea Shepherd oppose them, this is the surest way to close down this industry for good.