Sunday, February 10, 2013

Melita Dean's big Marlin

Do you recall a blog I did on Melita's big cath; no , not the 'catch of the day'----it took her ten years to achive. Melita had it smoked and today she brought the results into work. She had some little packets of it in her freezer bag and some dip, which was quite creamy and with a slight tomato flavour. I have to say that both products were 'simply the best smoked fish I have ever had.' For some reason I was expectng the fish to be dry, given the large size of the fish. I was wrong. It was melt in your mouth stuff. I asked if I could buy some and out of her bag came another packet. I shall savour it this weekend with my friends and family.
After my Bariatirc surgery, I may not be able to eat such wonderful food; you just don;t know with these things, but the fact that I have tried it now makes me feel damned good. Thanks Melita. You are one hell of a woman and I hope you don't have to wait for another ten years. I hope you havn't spoilt my taste for other smoked fish now!  Guess what---- Melita doesn't like it!

Mr Key, you have made a mockery of the refugee 'quota systerm.'

Last weekend the Prime Ministers of New Zealand and Australia met at the iconic town of Queenstown, New Zealand. The pristine air did nothing for their thinking if what we are hearing about a decision they made.
It seems that NZ is about to take 150 refugees and that this number will be included in the 750 that NZ usually takes. This will happen each year. There is a fundamental problem with this, all in the name of fairness.
If NZ does go ahead and take these refuges, it is most unfair to those genuine refugees who are ‘doing the right thing’ by joining the quiz The refugees that Mr Key has agreed to take are from the queue-jumpers who have paid exorbitant prices to ‘people smugglers,’ then to be placed on islands near Australia to be processed when their boats either sink or enter Australian waters.
Mr Kay uses the reasoning that if and when NZ receives ‘boat people’ who have managed to make it this far, then Australia will help process them. This is all a little vague and possibly improbable given the nature of the Tasman Sea.
Come-on Mr Key and Ms Gillard----get real. This is nothing more than an attempt to push NZ not taking a group of people on a regular basis who are not following process. Is this not a message to the rest of the world where People smuggling is rampant that NZ is a soft target simply because Australia has not found a solution to this vexing problem?
Yes, NZ must play its part in helping to resolve issues around people smuggling, but no in this manner. Go back to Ms Gillard, Mr Key and do not be pressured into making these stupid and unfair decisions.

Poverty in New Zealand

I have long believed that figures quoted for ‘poverty’ in New Zealand are way under the mark. There is a great deal of hidden poverty and some of that is masked by ‘credit card debt,’ with the owners of many cards in a position that will not see them paying off the debt for many years, if ever.
Figures quoting numbers between $18 and $20 as being the minimum wage needed for even a basic existence have been released. If you live in Auckland, Christchurch or Wellington, the issue is even more serious. Think back to the last election and $15 an hour failed to make it as an acceptable minimum wage.
If these figures for the new minimum wage are to be believed, then a vast number of New Zealanders are being left behind. God knows how they manage each week and if anything out of the ordinary hits them, then they slide further into debt. We are basically sitting on a time bomb, because the forces are building that lead to increased crime, suicide, child poverty, ill health and kids falling behind in their learning, simply because their households lack the means to provide a base in which to ‘thrive.’
I can hear the cries from those who say that ---‘hey we did it and look where we are now.’ Of course that can be true, but for many people, no amount of ‘cutting and scraping’ will mean that there is a surplus at the end of the week. For those living on various benefits, the problem is even worse, but the fact remains that for at least 750,000 ‘working NZers, poverty is a fact of life.
We will hear platitudes from the political parties, with National leading the way, to diffuse the situation by attacking beneficiaries and playing down the need for higher wages, all under the theory that NZ must be competitive on the international market; that is it must remain a low wage economy in order to be able to make profits. They don’t say however that much of that leaves our shores for foreign bank accounts.
Labour will play around the edges, but they can no longer make the claim that they are a ‘workers party.’ That label has long gone ‘south.’ The other parties will scramble for the crumbs of political clap trap; nothing in their policies making a real difference.
I have painted a nasty picture of the future for a large number of New Zealanders. For those who see the same factors or who live them and don’t think beyond how they feel, then there is always the ‘Australian scenario,’ but even that is now being increasingly seen as a dream that is often jaded for the players.
What can we do then in New Zealand, to restore some of those wonderful ‘halcyon days’ of that distant past, if it ever existed? I don’t want to be one of those individuals who just take swipes at the ‘system’ without suggesting answers, but sadly I suspect that I am. I watch Parliament when I can and that observation leads me to the conclusion that for the most part, it is a circus, albeit one that is supreme to the alternatives. I just wish that individuals could hold more sway with their ideas than party machines alone.
I get the feeling that the world to which NZ belongs has become one that is controlled by ‘big business, more so than Governments. One only has to look at how little large USA businesses pay way less taxes than they should, sending their profits to countries that allow them to hide their profits. If those companies paid their share, the USA could lead a recovery in the world economy and a ‘real trickle’ would flow down to those at the bottom of the pile. I suspect that the same issue affects large NZ companies.
Much could be done in NZ to close the gap if wealth was shared more evenly, but somehow, I know the battle is not happening re the poor, because their voices are not heard and they have little or no influence on policy making. The bottom line is that the rich fight far harder in a range of ways to keep their money than the poor, because they have the means. The poor simply do not have the power, but as their numbers grow, something will snap as it has in the past. Then the balance is partially restored until the next ‘tidal wave’ comes. We are approaching that time.
We are a small country and our ties are closer than those of larger nations, so perhaps that ‘connection’ can lead to meaningful policies and actions to prevent some sort of violent ‘shakedown,’ something that never works in the long run. I want to live in a country that ‘cares,’ as indeed many of us do, on both sides of the ‘wealth divide,’ and return to a more inclusive society.

Masterchef--maybe the contestants should watch previous shows

What is it with some contestants and their inablitity to get the 'seasoning right?' It was sad to see a young guy thrown out, after having had a second chance to make ammends. He over-salted and peppered his dish. Why didn't he watch previous shows and learn the lesson---you must not under or over season a dish. He wasn't alone in that 'failing.' Is it that the contestants just guess or do they have no idea. Lets face it; there is a tendancy for many people and countless processed foods to be over-salted. With all the publicity and a history of  people leaving the show for such transgressions, one would think they would have learnt, but no; they continue to chuck in the salt, possibly not testing and hope for the best. Obvioulsy that stance leads to failure and exlcusion. Learn the lesson well, remaining contestants!