Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Minister of IoPwrT Public Statement

The Minister of the Integral of Power with respect to Time (in the mythical land of Noozild)today made this statement about his IoPwrT reforms.

"I cannot guarantee that IoPwrT prices will come down. But I can guarantee (some time in the future - perhaps about election time) that when my officials are instructed to assess my reforms. Then they will conclusively prove that, compared to what they will assess that would have happened without my reforms, the reforms will have been a great success."

Monday, December 7, 2009

The difference between good law and bad law explained

Public: Is the anti-smacking legislation a bad law?

John Key: No. It isn't a bad law because we're ignoring it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Closing the income gap with Australia: Rule 1 broken

Note to John Key
Headline: Australian ETS bill rejected

Rule 1: Don't volunteer for massive costs on your economy before Australia does.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Tale of Godzilla versus Crusher Collins

Once upon a time there was a monster. A very powerful monster called Godzilla. There were other monsters that were prettier than Godzilla, and some even more powerful, but Godzilla was amongst the fastest and was relatively easy to make friends with.

Godzilla's only problem was that he lacked motivation. Left to himself he was happy just to sit there. To sit there so still, in fact, that he could be mistaken for a monument. But, that is where Little Timmy came in. Little Timmy had made friends with Godzilla. Little Timmy didn't lack in motivation. He liked going fast. He liked egging on Godzilla. He would ride on the monster egging him on to go faster and faster. But it wasn't just the speed he liked. He liked getting Godzilla to roar. He particularly liked it when the girls noticed Godzilla roaring with Little Timmy on his shoulder.

He would excite Godzilla to roar; and to breathe fire. With Little Timmy on his shoulder then Godzilla would roar and breathe fire. He would roar at old people for laughs. He would roar and breathe fire up and down the streets late at night waking all the little babies. And he would go very, very fast.

Little Timmy knew he was being bad but what did it really matter, he thought, only a little bit of fun. Those old people just don't want me to have fun. Godzilla didn't really think about it at all. Not really his thing, thinking; nor any of that moral or legal stuff. Godzilla just left all that to Little Timmy.

One day Little Timmy was out roaring around on Godzilla when something caught his eye. Little Timmy immediately pulled up Godzilla but deep down inside he knew he was in trouble. Sure enough the Automaton (a henchman of Crusher Collins) was gunning straight for them. He jolted Godzilla and the mighty monster was off. At first he seemd to be on the escape - the Automaton was falling behind; but then suddenly there was another in front. And another to the side, and another to the other side. Things were getting hopeless. Little Timmy considered, briefly, unleashing the full power of Godzilla on one of the Automatons but Little Timmy didn't really have the stomach for that kind of evil. And so he stopped.

The Automatons hemmed Godzilla in and pulled Little Timmy from his shoulder and stood him to the side. Then came along Crusher Collins. Crusher Collins was a very big monster. A slow, lumbering giant; and behind Crusher Collins came the townfolk and they were very angry. They were angry at Godzilla but they were absolutely livid at Little Timmy. Little Timmy got a bit worried. Crusher Collins was supposed to be a very sensible, even a little intelligent, giant but really Crusher Collins was little different from Godzilla. Most of the time Crusher Collins just sat there doing nothing. It was only when the townfolk got angry that the giant would move. But now the crowd was angry and they were angry at Little Timmy.

The rage of the mob fuelled Crusher Collins and its internal boiler pressure was getting higher and higher. Little Timmy was pretty sure he was safe from Crusher Collins but at the moment he wasn't too sure. Then Crusher Collins exploded into action and Little Timmy jumped, but he need not have worried. All of Crusher Collin's power was focused on Godzilla. The fabulous monster had just been sitting there. He didn't have any malice. He took the punishment as Crusher mashed and bashed. And dashed and crashed. And pushed and crushed. When Crusher Collins had finished Godzilla was gone. Bashed completely out of recognition - just so much monster bits.

Then Crusher Collins turned towards Little Timmy but Timmy was no longer worried. Crusher Collins raised its crushing arm to smite Little Timmy but, as the hammer was falling, it came up against the Spell of Peacey Bullshoot. Crusher Collins was stopped dead.

Crusher Collins took some friendship out of Little Timmy's friendship pocket and told him to go and stand on the naughty spot to think about what he'd done. Then Crusher Collins lumbered off to do... not much really.

The townspeople still weren't very happy but their worst anger had been sated. So they shook their heads and left as well.

A tear ran down Little Timmy's face. He had really liked Godzilla and he had been a fine monster, one of the finest.

As Little Timmy turned away he consoled himself. There were more monsters out there. There were even monsters more easy to make friends with than Godzilla. Little Timmy would have difficulty making monster friends again, but not for too long. He could get an Empressta Monster, for instance. Easy to make friends with and lots of fun.

A smile formed on Little Timmy's face. He would know the power again. He would feel the speed. He would, again, capture the attention of the girls. And he would make his Empressta Monster roar. Even louder, with even more fire. He would have to be more careful of the Automatons, perhaps even get an Automaton Detection Spell, but he would have his revenge on the townfolk for ruining his fun. He would have even more fun!

And the moral of the story: a Crusher Collins will never overcome Little Timmy.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The public service could wipe out public debt

I have recently had two opportunities to test the service part of the public service. In the same year I have had to both replace my passport and my driver's licence.

The passport was particularly stressful (not, I should point out, because of the public service - in fact they were my saviours). I had managed to secure airfares and a commitment to go to Australia just to realise that the flights were, of course, the day after my passport expires. Now, in my defence, I had used that passport for ten years and it had never expired before.

To my relief, and after double the normal fee and some desperate, pleading phone calls, I had my new passport in my hands in less than three days after couriering the application. I was impressed. The service was excellent... but the quality, that's a different story.

Never mind that this new passport has twice the likelihood of expiring in ten years as the old one there was a bigger problem. I sent the passport service the passport of a fresh faced, virile young man of trim build and great hair. They sent to me the passport of cynical, portly, careworn middle aged man with a degree of follicle challenge. This is not what I had hoped for. I rationed away my disappointment on the basis that I had, after all, rushed them.

My driver's licence, though, was a chance to redeem. But, it happened again. Oh no! It was then that the cynical part of me woke up and realised that it was a price/quality trade-off and here is the opportunity. The public service could make a fortune (and wipe out public debt) by offering a price premium on more flattering photo IDs over the ones that tell the 'truth'.

Now I'm not suggesting blatant dishonesty. Part of me realises the 'truth' but if young polite young ladies can tell me that I look... ok (hey, I can survive on euphemistic platitudes) then why not our sworn officials. A little white lie will do. Just the kind of little white lie that a politician might portray on their pledge card (which proves the public service knows how to do this).

I was worried about the American angle. After all the Americans won't let anyone in unless their passport shows someone as dour and unhappy as... well a terrorist. I can only assume that a terrorist desperately trying to not look like a terrorist looks abnormally happy and unthreatening and is immediately caught - but I digress. I then realised that this can still work. I just want to look younger, fitter and less follicly challenged. A distant, menacing sneer might be quite a good look. A James Dean - Marlon Brando sort of thing. So, it probably can work in America too.

Here you go then passport service and driver's licence service. Start offering photo IDs where people are thinner, their skin smoother, the hair bouffier, a slight softness and a cool, offhand smirk. I think you'd be surprised how much we would pay.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Evaporative cooling anyone?

It's often said that pouring cold water on other people's ideas is a bad thing. And I do agree - most of the time.

On the other hand cold water sounds pretty good when you're being roasted by too much hot air.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Political translation?

John Key has just warned farmers that they need the ETS. Now politicians can be a little obtuse so let me see if I can translate.

Any time that popular opinion overtakes common sense you have to accept that it might make a difference to consumption preferences.

No, still obtuse.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Winning the World Cup

New Zealand now has a shot at two World Cups. Well to be honest it doesn't have a shot at two World Cups but we will be at two World Cups. Strangely enough the approach to both Cup competitions is completely opposite.

In the football (soccer) we have played well to make it to the finals that we have little chance of winning but will feel great optimism even if we lose every game but one.

In the football (rugby) we have played mediocre (for us) to make it to the finals that we have great chance of winning but will feel great pessimism even if we win every game but one.

Funny blokes - Kiwis.

The All Blacks have just beaten Italy for the second time this season but have set (for the second time in a row) the lowest winning score against the passionate Italians. The All Blacks often don't seem to show the dominance that is expected of them but is this that surprising? It is inevitable that other countries will get better and better and better. It must be tough when every rugby country in the world sets their standards by how to beat the All Blacks. Perhaps next year the Springboks will find the going a lot tougher as well.

But I have a plan and it will work just as well for the football (soccer) as it will for the football (rugby). England has found that, after inventing pretty much every football in the world, then far more hot blooded and passionate people get a lot better at the game than the English. New Zealand may not have invented rugby but maybe we are falling into the same problem.

The solution is straightforward. We already have ties to South America. Many South American students come here to study. Let's strengthen these ties further. We can entice even more South American youth and adopt spanish as our (one, two, three...) fourth official language. Then we will import the hot blooded passion and obsession in both the players and the supporters. We will be able to combine the sheer raw talent of the newcomers with that rugby nouse and tradition that we still hold. What a combination!

In all honesty though they will have to bring most of the soccer nouse and tradition with them; but they can.

And the support will be all the stronger too. Rather than a stolid "Allll..... Blaaaacks..." we will have the drums and the dancing and the cheering and the partying and the sheer enjoyment of being in the game. And let's face it most South Americans look pretty darn good in a swimsuit, no mean peripheral benefit there.

And, here's the coup de grace, the killer shot. We will bring on to the coaching team both Graham Purvis and Diego Maradonna. Then, in both World Cups, when it really matters, we will win - by the hand of god!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

No kidding?

The advertising for 2012 the movie about an apocalyptic end to the world carries the disclaimer - content may be upsetting.

Really? The concept that the whole world will be destroyed, every living thing killed, the sum total of humanity and humanisn completely obliterated, and all our loved ones gone might be upsetting.

Man, that is stiff upper lip.

I'm sorry

Just in case I do anything wrong (well unpopular anyway).

I'm sorry.

There, all better.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Time to give Rodney a break

Ok, so Rodney Hide has 'perked' up a bit lately. He's just another living example of the male dilemma. Men are capable of great applied intelligence and common sense; in inverse proportion to their interest in a young lovely.

More good wisdom

If a woman buys new shoes, but none of her friends are there to see them, is it really shopping?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The good wisdom

I recently saw someone proudly displaying the folkey wisdom "a barrel is only as strong as its collars." So, I thought, this looks easy. Let's try -

A pig stands on four feet

The wind blows on all the grass

A sandwich always needs bread

This wisdom stuff is easy. Any more?

Monday, November 2, 2009

New poll* shows New Zealand divided!

A new poll* shows that New Zealand is divided by the Cook Strait.

*poll may actually have been a map

Friday, October 30, 2009

False Start

ANON of 30 October you are quite right. They have tried a start on the ACC competitive event of the marathon paper shuffle. Unfortunately there was a false start and they got called back.

The penalty was to cut a leg off of half the competitors. I believe some are still running a three-legged race.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Is it just me or does anyone else find customer satisfaction surveys (as a customer) quite unsatisfying?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cricket Genius?

The focus is on Daniel Vettori who has now shouldered extra responsibility with the departure of the Black Caps coach. All part of a consolidated effort to strengthen our international cricket success we are told. And so perhaps Cricket NZ have let slip their cunning plan.

If they can now convince the International Cricket Board to move to the one a side game then Daniel Vettori can be selector, coach, captain, player and team. Then our domination of world cricketwill begin.

Friday, October 23, 2009


I knew John Ralston Saul was good but I didn't realise how good.

I'm not usually given over to enthusiasm for prophecy but how about this prescient piece from Voltaire's Bastards - 1993 First Vintage Books edition:

"If the scientific-administrative structure were somehow to be won over to the Greens, it would be just as secretive, retentive and sure of itself as ever. From the self-evident truths of nuclear energy as a beneficial social good, we would pass to the self-evident truth of generalised nondevelopment."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Competition anyone?

So, they're going to open up the Accident Compensation Commission to competition. A novel idea but will it really work? Obviously the plan is to sell the TV rights, but do they really have the popular events?

They've got the red letter events obviously, the marathon paper shuffle and the queue jump but do they have the complete package? Not having any sprint events is a problem. In fact there are no speed events at all. Plenty of hoop jumping and pedalling backwards but I'm not sure that drowning in red tape is an event, per se.

And it doesn't help that everything must be done in triplicate. This will save on replays, obviously, but how many times does one really want to watch an injured person disappear under a red sea of tape. Even the red letter events won't stand up here. Who will want to watch the marathon paper shuffle a second time let alone a third.

No, a novel idea it might be but I just can't see Sky Sports beating down their door with that big offer. The Comedy Channel, though, there's a chance!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Apologies anyone

Well quite appropriately the boys at the centre of the Nazi photo problem have apologised.

The RSA properly interpreted the boys actions as "profoundly ignorant". While the Auckland Grammar School principal is reported as describing their actions as immature and unthinking.

What's the purpose of education again?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The truth hurts

Again you couldn't make this stuff up.

This helpful world map relevant to some World Bank activity has a small window at the bottom right of the screen (for no obvious reason) that duplicates the North African region (in miniature) and completely obscures New Zealand.

Well no-one can find us on a map anyway.

You couldn't make this stuff up

This is very funny. Unfortunate, but funny.

The "Different Voices" website on helpfully advises that "The Disability Mailing List" has been disabled. Some people have no luck.

Cow Radicals

It was only matter of time. It was reported yesterday morning on the Herald website that 30 cows were blocking State Highway 1 on the Kapiti coast.

It was really only a matter of time before the Bovine Popular Front took to the streets. Cows are part of a shadowy element of farm animals colloborating with humans to destroy the world. Already accused of destroying rainforests and decamping their non-farm resident cousins they are now implicated in global warming.

It is obvious that such a dangerous animal might react badly to such negative publicity. The SH1 incident looks like an isolated incident, now under control. The cows have numbers, though. Large numbers. All I can say is that it's lucky that they don't have arms!

Give Key a break

I notice that National has been on the ropes a bit over the Rugby World Cup TV rights. Some commentators have also given Key a stern warning about getting serious about managing the politics. But I think we need to give him a break.

The poor bugger needs to think of his own future. Despite riding high on popularity at the moment this could all evaporate by the next election. This could be a one term National government and then Mr Key will almost certainly get the chop. After all if we lose the World Cup they're gone regardless of what they've done in the meantime. Then what would he do. He can't go back to the finance industry. Even if that sector is back up and running by then Key's had a taste of the limelight now. How can he go back?

No, he needs to keep his options open and here is his stroke of genius. By keeping things pleasantly comical he just might be able to stay popular for four years. And if not? A career in parroting out top ten lists? After all that's pretty much his job description now.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Maori TV: World Cup genius

I think the people at Maori TV are on to something. They at least have applied some genuine competitive intelligence to the World Cup coverage bid and they’re almost there. The missing stroke of genius comes from a probing comment from a visiting Australian. He wasn’t being vexatious either, he had a good question; “Is New Zealand prepared for the prospect of losing the World Cup on home soil?” As the astute Australian pointed out he was in New Zealand after a (rare) Bledisloe cup loss and we were almost suicidal then.

I don’t think we are prepared for a home World Cup loss and Maori TV have the perfect answer. All World Cup coverage during the event should be in Maori and we should all have fun trying to understand what they’re trying to say rather than watch the games. We should go to the matches and really enjoy the spectacle and the party. We can then focus on being very, very good hosts to the lovely people that will be visiting. By the end of the tournament we will have had a very good time and we won’t know what happened.

If it then turns out that we have won then Maori TV can licence the replay rights at a huge profit and we can watch the whole thing on TV and really enjoy it again.

If we don’t win, well then we can do what we should have done in 2007. Pretend it never happened.