Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Dick Smith doesn't like New Zealand beetroot in a can!

I thought that when I heard ‘the’ Dick Smith on the radio this morning, bemoaning the fact that New Zealand was responsible for the demise of the Beetroot’ farmers in Australia and that Heinz had shifted their production of beetroot to NZ, causing the loss of many jobs; both in the canning industry and for the farmers who grew the beetroot.
For a start, I didn’t know there was a ‘dick Smith.’ I had always thought it was like Jenny Craig; if there was a real person they had long departed. I now stand corrected.
Dick went on to claim that New Zealand beetroot doesn’t taste as good as the Australian product. I would have to conduct a ‘blind test’ to work that one out. He also claimed that New Zealand farmers would get their comeuppance when Heinz put the same pressure that was purported to have been placed re pricing on Australian farmers. He has a point there. Why would Heinz give a stuff about Australian farmers (and possibly NZ ones, next) when it all comes down to competiveness and profit margins. I guess ‘they will shift to China like everything else’ is what he is saying.
Maybe NZ and Aussie should work together on these issues. We do not want to be pushing Aussies out of jobs and the same should be true for them, re NZ. Unfortunately the real world of ‘global markets’ doesn’t operate like that.
So, is this another case of ‘sour grapes,’ something akin to the Aussie dude who questioned the quality of our NZ White wines? NO, I don’t think so. Dickey boy has a point, other than the one he made about ‘taste.’ Global marketing is what really drives these moves and the swings-and-round-abouts may well come back and bite us in our collective bums.

There was once a beautiful Princess called Princess Hekia!

Many sad stories are told about the land of Educasia, not the least about Princess Hekia. Her relationship to the ‘Family’ was one fraught with undertones of doubt and mystery. She had only recently arrived in the ‘Family’ but that did not stop King Jono from elevating her to great heights.
Oh yes, others in the ‘Family’ were most put out, quite literally in some cases, but their names quickly receded into history. Jono saw her as a way of keeping his supporters happy, particularly the ones from far off regions of his realm. King John decided that Princess Hekia should be made responsible for the ‘learning of the young people of his kingdom. He had heard that she had an interest in this position.
Princess Hekia moved into the newly furnished offices and sent for her underlings. She was determined to make changes to the way things had been. She met with the leaders of those charged with the learning of young people and these important people learnt very quickly that it was her way or the highway. The fact that there were many highwaymen already operating did not concern her. Princess Hekia had read somewhere that other Kingdoms were using new methods of running schools and that along with one of King Jono’s supporters in Council, the leader of the Merchants Society, there was now a strong push to replicate these methods in Educasia. Even when the leaders in the present system pointed out that there were many failings in these schools, she did not listen, such was her determination to please King Jono.
As word filtered out through official notices and promulgations, a great deal of unrest became apparent in the Kingdom. Educasia was quite unlike some of its neighbours; indeed it was seen as quite an enlightened Kingdom, with a long history of tolerance. Some would say that the King or Queen as recent history had proven, held their position at the behest of the people, all of whom had a say in who should be their leader.
People other than just employed officials began to leave notices nailed to trees and some were even printed by the members of the ‘Teachers Guild.’ The parents of many of the children also began to speak out, but all was in vain; the King and his Princess simply did not listen, no matter how much evidence that such schools were repugnant, the Guild and parents’ group produced.
As if that issue wasn’t enough to inform the King and the Princess that all was not well in the Kingdom of Educasia, another favourite product of the King’s ‘Think Tank,’ a new system of remunerating the teachers and their helpers was introduced. ‘New Pay’ was based on a system used in a neighbouring Kingdom; a huge Island Kingdom, across the wide ocean. This system used a new technology; one that had also failed in that Kingdom, but that was not taken into account by the Kings ‘advisors.’ So it went ahead and within weeks, there was an outcry at the inaccuracies of this system.
‘All will be fine,’ Princess Hekia decreed. ‘Give it a chance,’ she exhorted, while King Jono watched from his throne as he thought up more schemes to divert the peoples’ ever increasing doubts about his rule.
Every week the problems remained and there were murmurings about the stupidity of the system. King Jono began to look quite nervous when he made appearances in public. It seemed that wherever he went, he was dogged by those affected by the New Pay system. Stories circulated about people not being paid and how schools had to dip not their ‘grants’ to enable teachers to be able to feed their families. Finally, King Jono brought in a ‘fixer,’ much to Princess Hekia’s chagrin. The fixer was a smooth operator and the body language of the Princess said it all; she was not impressed at King Jono’s action.  
Smooth talking ‘fixer,’ immediately released an enouncement that he would make things right, but sure enough--- the problems continued. Finally along with the Princess and the King, the ‘fixer’ announced that the Royal Mint was going to strike more coins in order to bring in extra workers to make the system work. The teachers, officials and the parents shook their heads in amazement and decided to bide their time.
Watch out for Part 2 of ‘The Princess’s woes.’

Our MPs should represent a broad spectrum of our society, right?

I think most New Zealanders would be reasonably comfortable with the above statement. Our Members of Parliament should reflect all sections of society and the current system we use to vote our members in goes a long way to achieve this. However, it also throws up some rather interesting individuals, who tend to be on the edge to put it mildly.
Mr Prosser is such an example. The New Zealand First Party put him high enough on their ‘List’ to ensure that if they crossed over the required 5% threshold, he would get in. Surely they knew about his tendency to have ‘brain farts,’ as some have put it, some of them bordering on the extreme and most certainly the ridiculous. I wonder if this will come back to haunt them, but then again, maybe it was a cool calm and calculated move on the part of the party that seems to be quite effective at garnering enough support from certain sections of society that when added together, are more than capable of boosting the party’s fortunes. Winston Peters, the ‘Dear Leader’ is well versed in playing this ‘game.’
Mr Prosser probably says what a significant number of New Zealanders, albeit a small minority would like to say, but have the good sense to shut their mouths. I would not be surprised if Mr Peters quietly encourages such members to make statements that he knows will ring a few bells with people. Even the controversy that results could go under the heading; ‘any publicity is good publicity.’ I’m not so sure.
I suspect that the recent statements and writings of Mr Prosser would have embarrassed quite a few party members. Will they make their feelings known to party officials or will they just bide their time until it all blows over?
I must say, that some of the reactions to Mr Prosser’s ranting have been disproportionate to the actual event and comments, especially from overseas sources have been a little bit precious, some from countries whose human rights records leave a lot to be desired. Still, New Zealand can ill afford to have potential trading partners view us with anything less than adulation for our way of life and record on ‘things that matter.’
It is a pity that we all can’t just see the guy for what he is ----‘someone who burps before he thinks,’ but then again, maybe he really does think like that. Oh well, we have seen it all before and no doubt there will be other ‘fools and half-brainers’ in Parliament who will have their time in the sun too.
So, do our MPs reprenst the views held by all NZers? Well, I suppose they do. That is the price we pay for having 'freedom of speech.' I guess we can put up with the fools. We can certainly boot them out every three years.

I shall start Ebooking my books.

Yes, I have decided to get one of my books converted to an ebook so that you can purchase it for your Kindle or any other 'reading deivice.'  It won't take long and once I get used to the idea. Let's see how it goes. It has ben a big decission for me. especially after I had read some pretty damming stuff online about some of the 'providers.' Oh well, it's not the end of the lworld if I just do one to start. MMMM---now, which one?  Coastal Yarns, 'Roskill' or 'Talk To Me.'