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Brits aim assistance to the low income

Written By: - Date published: 8:23 am, March 30th, 2009 - 22 comments

The irony of this article struck me when this week the well-off get the biggest boost to their wallet. From the Guardian : The chancellor is preparing to channel cash to poorer families in his budget as part of a mini-fiscal stimulus to kick-start the economy and protect the vulnerable. Senior cabinet figures are backing […]

SSTimes Editorial: Clark’s UN job great for NZ but…

Written By: - Date published: 2:59 pm, March 29th, 2009 - 35 comments

I haven’t spotted an on-line version of this yet (SStimes Editorial, 29 Mar 2009) but wanted to pull a couple of quotes out that made sense to me: Helen Clark’s new post is an achievement, both for her and New Zealand. She is the outstanding politician of her generation and this appointment recognises and rewards […]

Once upon a time there was an island

Written By: - Date published: 10:36 pm, March 16th, 2009 - 47 comments

Fancy a restful island holiday? If the Cateret Island was your chosen destination you might want to travel sooner rather than later according to CNN: There is one holiday destination that should shake the faith of even the most vehement climate change skeptic: the Carteret Islands, part of Papua New Guinea, located northeast of Bougainville… […]

Death knell for print media?

Written By: - Date published: 11:32 am, March 16th, 2009 - 12 comments

A conversation that seems to be occuring more and more frequently is asking what’s the future of our newspapers? It’s a global question and is examined in some depth in this interesting article from The American which says: Speculation about the future of the newspaper or its equivalents should start with a review of the […]

HerStory – what’s happened to the quality chic-flick?

Written By: - Date published: 5:07 pm, March 8th, 2009 - 4 comments

A couple of weeks ago I listened to a very interesting interview with Dr Diane Purkiss (audio here) on Nine to Noon. I missed the opportunity to post on her findings of the  “dumbing down” effect, but then I spotted the same discussion in this Sydney Morning Herald article. Rom-com heroines used to be witty […]

Beneath the headlines – complete sentences

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 pm, March 3rd, 2009 - 34 comments

The issue of parole has long been controversial. We’ve also seen one of the core underpinings of our justice system become a manipulated by its political opponents, regardless of what the policy arguments are. In this article from the Listener at the begining of the year we gain some insight into parole – and why […]

Tax cuts no help for those worse off

Written By: - Date published: 7:59 pm, February 24th, 2009 - 73 comments

According to RNZ: Official papers confirm low income families will be worse off under the National Government’s tax cut package, compared with Labour’s. Radio New Zealand‘s political editor says papers obtained under the Official Information Act, also show higher earners will be better off. From April 2011 a person with children earning $40,000 per year […]

Education lesson from UK

Written By: - Date published: 7:30 am, February 21st, 2009 - 59 comments

Last year we saw how unpopular National’s “national testing” policy was going to be. Now a major study in the UK is highly critical of what appears to be a similar policy. The Guardian says: Children’s lives are being impoverished by the government’s insistence that schools focus on literacy and numeracy at the expense of […]

A sign of the times?

Written By: - Date published: 7:30 pm, February 20th, 2009 - 5 comments

This item in the Brisbane Times caught my eye as to how the whole nature of campaigning is changing – and the mixed blessing of Facebook: A senior Liberal National Party staffer has been reprimanded over comments she made on a website attacking Premier Anna Bligh. Katherine Smith, a media adviser for LNP deputy leader […]

Love’s Labour’s lost

Written By: - Date published: 4:24 pm, February 14th, 2009 - 14 comments

There were few Valentine’s Day sentiments for Labour in John Armstrong’s column today: It is difficult to put a finger on it, but something does not feel quite right about Labour’s approach to being in Opposition…Labour is exhibiting a self-righteousness which grates when placed against the backdrop of its rejection by voters…. We have yet […]

Marking time: Darwin to Lincoln

Written By: - Date published: 7:30 pm, February 13th, 2009 - 19 comments

Today is the anniversary of two of histories great names – Darwin and Lincoln. Both men made significant (albeit different) contributions to our current understanding of the world. Simon Jenkins of the Guardian asks which was the greater? Was it the man who transformed our understanding of the human race, or the man who made […]

When less is less

Written By: - Date published: 5:25 pm, February 12th, 2009 - 45 comments

It appears National are trying to promote the “little and often” approach to economic planning – but commentators are appearing a little skeptical. Take John Armstrong: The $500 million worth of capital spending on doing up state houses, constructing new roads and bridges, building new classrooms and so forth sounds impressive but will directly create […]

Thoughts with our neigbours across the Tasman

Written By: - Date published: 10:15 pm, February 8th, 2009 - 10 comments

It doesn’t seem appropriate to write a detailed post on the horrific fires raging across in Australia. But at the same time I wanted to acknowledge the tragedy that is continuing to unfold. Keep strong, our thoughts are with you.

A musical interlude : Mary Poppins – a tale for our times

Written By: - Date published: 8:35 pm, February 2nd, 2009 - 6 comments

The stage has often been the realm where society holds itself up for examination and consideration, but who amongst us would have picked Mary Poppins as a tale for our times? According to Harold Evans of the Guardian “the tale of the twinkly-eyed nanny is suddenly topical – because the father is a banker suspicious […]

Walk the walk

Written By: - Date published: 7:07 pm, January 28th, 2009 - 8 comments

Parents around the country are counting down the days until school starts for the year – but for some the NZHerald had some alarming news, stating “cuts in government funding [from MSD]could force 24 after-school care programmes run by Kidicorp to close….The after-school School’s Out programmes run in Auckland, Taupo, Rotorua, Taranaki and Hawkes Bay […]

Join the job queue – an Aussie perspective

Written By: - Date published: 6:28 pm, January 23rd, 2009 - 5 comments

Jobs, jobs, jobs seems to be the theme of the day. After reading that Microsoft has announced that 5,000 jobs are to go (the first mass layoffs in its 34-year history), and Sony signalling bigger than expected losses ahead ($US2.9 billion, the first in 14 years) this article from the Sydney Morning Herald seems to sum up the […]

Job losses in Aussie

Written By: - Date published: 1:50 pm, January 23rd, 2009 - 17 comments

Across the Tasman Kevin Rudd’s plea for employers to save jobs has fallen on deaf ears, with some of Australia’s biggest companies (mining, retail and automotive sectors) announcing plans to axe jobs. BHP Billiton, the world’s biggest miner and Australia’s top profit earner, will lay off about 3300 Australian workers — 8 per cent of the total [BHP […]

Obama implements pay freeze for some aides

Written By: - Date published: 11:04 am, January 23rd, 2009 - No comments

President Obama has announced his intention to institute a pay freeze on the salaries of senior White House aides earning over $US100,000.  He says “public service is a privilege, it’s not about advancing yourself”. I think it is significant that he has implemented this for those at the upper end of the payscale, rather than across […]

What lies around the corner?

Written By: - Date published: 4:44 pm, January 22nd, 2009 - 9 comments

Under the full warmth of the summer sun those clouds that keep gathering on the horizon seem to have  been quickly dismissed by many, with the hope that the new National-led government will sort it out. What are the signs of action so far? Not a lot of concrete ideas are to be found (as suggested here) but we gain […]

Xmas Eve whimsy: little yellow ducks

Written By: - Date published: 5:27 pm, December 24th, 2008 - 2 comments

The Guardian informs us that: Sailors, fishermen and cruise passengers should be on the alert. If anybody spots a yellow rubber duck bobbing on the ocean waves, Nasa would like to know.The US space agency has yet to find any trace of 90 bathtub toys that were dropped through holes in Greenland’s ice three months […]

Impressions of the House

Written By: - Date published: 8:48 pm, December 16th, 2008 - 12 comments

First question time – the teams square off. Let the games commence. So what was the vibe? Well both sides kept getting their language muddled up (Minister/ member etc) as they tried to remember that they had shuffled around in their roles. So what of the performance? I start by making it clear this is […]

Enough already – no more tests please

Written By: - Date published: 5:00 pm, December 16th, 2008 - 15 comments

When I went to my first parent/teacher interview I was amazed at the breadth of markers against which my daughter’s performance was being evaluated. I admired the commitment of the teacher to such a level of engagement. I felt fully aware and informed of my daughter’s strengths, and the areas we needed to work on. […]

Rod Oram: The global crisis is real

Written By: - Date published: 11:47 am, December 15th, 2008 - 5 comments

As usual an insightful analysis from Rod Oram on the need for our political and business sector leaders to better come to grips with what the international economic situation means domestically. He says: Every sector of this economy has its own set of structural challenges forced on it by global conditions. Yet, we’re hearing nothing […]

Keith Rankin: Controversy over National’s Tax Cuts

Written By: - Date published: 2:18 pm, December 12th, 2008 - 5 comments

If you’re feeling lost in the discussion around National’s tax plans there’s handy analysis from Keith Rankin who point out: … persons earning between $14,000 and $24,000 will receive annual tax cuts of less than $100. They will receive nothing before 2011. This contrasts with Labour’s already legislated for tax cuts, from 2010, which target this group […]

Valuing children

Written By: - Date published: 12:32 pm, December 12th, 2008 - 21 comments

I know I won’t be alone in being disappointed in the results of the Unicef survey, which says that “New Zealand has an appalling child poverty rate, spends too little on early childhood services for which there is unequal access, and lags far behind other developed nations in parental leave provisions, according to a new […]

Tough law for tough times

Written By: - Date published: 5:18 pm, December 10th, 2008 - 2 comments

Against the backdrop of tough new employment laws there’re predictions that “35,000 jobs could be lost in the construction sector.” No wonder that there are reports that Kiwis are worried about losing their jobs! A quarter of workers are afraid of losing their jobs, while more than half the workforce is not expecting a pay rise […]

Hanging up on Barack

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 pm, December 7th, 2008 - 2 comments

According to the BBC: US Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen thought she was being hoaxed when a man who sounded a lot like Barack Obama called her – so she hung up on him. In fact, the man at the other end of the line was indeed President-elect Obama himself. It took two further phone-calls before Ms […]

The ethical considerations of Christmas trees

Written By: - Date published: 4:20 pm, December 7th, 2008 - 12 comments

Christmas is coming. We want to feel like we’re part of the sustainable, clean and green in action movement. So what sort of Christmas tree should be twinkling? Leo Hickman of the Guardian asks these questions and more: Aren’t they just a colossal waste of money? Can such a decadent waste of resources be justified in our […]

Attention turns to local government

Written By: - Date published: 10:07 pm, November 26th, 2008 - 24 comments

Seems the commentators are definately picking local government as one of the issues to watch in terms of how the new Nationaladministration handles MMP politics (and how the opposition parties handle it as well I guess). Gordon Campbell notes: Giving the local government portfolio to Rodney Hide creates some management challenges for John Key. Can […]

The Bard offers chance for new Minister

Written By: - Date published: 7:43 pm, November 15th, 2008 - 46 comments

This afternoon I read with a degree of surprise that Shakespeare’s days as standard classroom fare could be numbered: Shakespeare’s plays and other great works of literature considered too difficult for some pupils will disappear from classrooms under proposed changes to the curriculum, alarmed principals say. There are also fears that basic content in maths, […]

Crosby/Textor on repeat

Written By: - Date published: 3:30 pm, November 15th, 2008 - 58 comments

The topic of Crosby Textor has emerged again with a story in the NZ Herald. While it is unsurprising to read that Crosby Textor is “drumming up business after last week’s election by offering insights into the new Government and its personalities” there’s another aspect I think also deserves examination. How and why is this […]

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