Wednesday, April 30, 2014

New Zealand citizenship should not be for sale!

Maurice Williamson is a good MP. I know that may sound unusual for me given that he is a National MP, but I am capable of seeing the good in people. Maurice's political career is in tatters after his resignation from Cabinet, all over his dealings with one of those rich wannabe NZers who think they can buy NZ citizenship. Well, it appears they can and it is not just MPs and Ministers from the National Party who have been guilty of 'expediting' the process whereby foreigners can buy their way in to NZ. This has to stop. NZ's reputation as a relatively 'clean' country with little corruption is at stake. We can not speak out against other countries re the corrupt practises endemic in their systems of governance unless we are squeaky clean. Maurice has thrown his future down the toilet with his stupid actions and no doubt other politicians will do the same. Labour can ill afford to claim the high ground but they can make sure that their members do not go down that pathway. Trust is very hard to win back once it has been lost.

Labour announces 'immigration policy' that could impact on housing prices and supply.

I was aware that Labour was tinkering with its immigration  policy, possibly in response to public concern about the supply and demand re housing. Immigrants could be an easy target and judging by some of the callers  ringing in for Talkback radio (a real good judge re the accuracy on issues ,eh!) Ok there were the usual extreme reaction from all corners of the argument but some callers were really off the mark. One in particular, had been in NZ for 12 years and made the point that he had been paying taxes etc. and received all the benefits that citizens get apart from the obvious. He laboured his point and showed his misunderstanding of Labour's policy when he made the leap that he couldn't buy a house because he was 'resident,' but not a citizen, something he will never do because he wants to retain his cultural links with his homeland. His kids of course, are NZ citizens by right of birth. What gets me about his argument is his strongly held belief that he will never get NZ citizenship.
I say that we should allow  about 7 years of residency then either the applicant applies for citizenship or moves on. We want people to make the 'emotional' investment in our country, not just the financial. We need Kiwis to be just that, albeit  from a multitude of nations. I like the diversity but I also demand a loyalty to the NZ way, which entails the new addition other cultures bring. NZ is of course evolving as a result of this enriching movement of people.
The guy was wrong in his understanding of Labour's policy announcement. They say that only NZ Citizens and Residents should be able to buy property in NZ; something many other countries do. He should have listened to the policy before going off in ait, something the 'talkback host implied but did not say; oh so polite Kerre!
Let's keep the debate rational and use facts not fiction to feed our opinions. The debate around housing needs to happen and Labour's policy is a good beginning, although I suspect that NZ First may be claiming a 'me too,' position as they have ben saying this for many election cycles and Labour will have to come to terms with the 'king-maker' if they ever want to win the Government benches.

China to enact strict new guidelines re safety of milk products.

There has been a great deal of publicity in recent hears over the safety of New Zealand (and others) diary produce that enters the huge Chinese markets. Fonterra has been in the limelight for this and the guidelines that now operate are sending a message that we must comply or risk the ongoing success this massive trading venture. It appears that the Chinese market has been nervous about the prospect of their babies being poisoned by the possible contamination of some of our ;products. That some of the 'action' was around the testing that was not accurate does not seem to have come in to the equation and the ripple effect has come close to bringing a halt to the exports from New Zealand.
New Zealand needs to use these 'slip-ups' to bring home the seriousness and importance of the Chinese market to our economy. Without a doubt, as more Chinese are able to afford our products, and the fact that our closer economic relationship is now a factor in New Zealand's success as a trading nation, we have to take heed and learn that 'near enough is not good enough.'
To state the obvious; New Zealand exporters have very high standards and in some ways it is hypocritical of China to single out New Zealand when many of their 'food products' are far less trusted than the imported versions. The fact that pollution has all but destroyed the safety of many Chinese grown products is a glaring fact. Chinese housewives regularly choose imported food over tier own, even when it costs more. The miracle of the Chinese economy and the many hundreds of millions, the export sector now returns to their economy has come at a huge cost---that of turning a massive agricultural sector into a 'questionable' one when it comes to safety. China should, I respectfully suggest, look to its own standards and try to turn this terrible issue around or is it going to buy up large tracts of agricultural land around the  world in  order to feed its burgeoning population? Actually it already is. Still, New Zealand is more than happy to continue the very successful relationship we have developed between our two nations, but please--lets keep a balance as to how we describe the 'actual 'safety of our products when compared to the home-grown Chinese examples. As with many other imports of the goods New Zealanders need (or want) China is a major market we turn to. I do not see that as changing and New Zealand needs to reassure the Chinese , through action, not words, that our products are beyond reproach.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

USA about to cut 'military aid ' to Egypt---about time.

The news of a second mass sentencing to death of members of the Muslim Brotherhood is most disturbing and it seems that even by the standards re how a nation should be governed from the USA's perspective, Egypt's leaders have gone too far. I am glad to see a senior Senator stand up and say he will block all military aid to this nation that once had an Arab Spring, that quickly turned to chaos and suffering. It seems that no matter who leads this nation, holding power can only come through repressive means. I do not admire the Muslim Brotherhood but neither do I hold the military in high regard. Yes, it is easy to judge from afar and the situation in Egypt is complex but the two huge sentencings of opponents of the present military regime cause one to think that Egypt has fallen into the category of a failed state. Egyptians have taken to the streets in the recent past but they have had their wishes for a better future hijacked from the two extremes; on by the clerics and the other by an entrenched military oligarchy. Sound familiar!?

Get Aucklanders on to trians but there is a bit oif an issue re parking at Onehunga raliway station.

I am going to take my first 'real' trip on then new electric train today form Onehunga, but as I drove past that car park today, after walking my dog down at the 'bay,' I was struck by the fact that there were no empty car parks. Now I know some of you may be saying that I should bus to the station and leave my car at home. thereon lies a problem. We are not going to get Aucklanders on to public transport in one move. The fact that we have the new trains rolling out is not the answer alone. We must do this in stages; for example, driving to large car parks on the fringes of the city or even in outer suburbs, being able to leave the cars safely there and then getting onto a bus or train in  order to keep the motorways and inner city less crowded is a good first move.
So until the car parking possibilities in Onehunga and other 'hubs' is much increased, expect people to drive past and carry on into town, further increasing the bedlam we already face. Just a point folks, but one that is realistic and not flying up there in the lala land of tree hugging heaven whereby everyone is going to leave their cars at home. Let's be realistic and gradually encourage people to take that first vital step. Right, what am I going to do today? Why, of course I shall just have to find a car park nearby the station but I can tell you from my quick look this morning, that this could be a difficult task.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Singapore===what's up. Glad to see you.

12 hits from Singapore in one day. Hey, I'm not complaining; I'm ecstatic. I just hope you continue reading my blogs and better still you download my books or buy the hard cover version from Amazon once they are released very soon. I am still in the process, or more to the point, my producers are, re getting them back online. So, thankyou for your attention, Singapore.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

'Legal Highs'---the next phase will be most difficult.

The government has signalled that it is going to make the 'legal high' industry go away. This coincidentally happened after the Labour Party and others said that they wold rid us of these leeches who sell misery in the corner shops of so many towns and cities in NZ. It seems that the planning did not take into account the 40 plus varieties on sale that somehow managed to sneak through the processes put in place by Peter Dunne, the Minister who's son is acting on behalf of the 'industry.' OK, I don't care who does it as long as something happens to take these nasty substances out of our communities.
That also means that there will be an element t of 'underground activity, controlled no doubt by the gangs and other criminals. This must be measured against the fact that at least it will not be so visible and as visible or available as it is now. Not everyone is prepared to take that next step and deal with gangs and other unlawful 'citizens.'
There is another ramification to any successful law change; one that makes it harder for the ordinary person to buy these substances and that is the large number of people who are dependant on their daily fix(es). There will need to be a massive input re resources to help these people, because sudden cold turkey is not going to work for many of them. We need to step up and take the next step and make sure that help is available, but having said that, there is a shortage of resources for other users of substances, both the illegal ones and the legal like alcohol.
The Government has taken a huge step (and that means all of us) re the next phase of the battle against 'legal, soon to be illegal highs' but please do not leave these very vulnerable people in the lurch. They must be supported or we will be creating a whole new group, ostracised by society and withdrawn and attracted to the underworld. That will mean a substantial input from us the taxpayers because if we don't, the cost will be very much higher in every sense. Let's work together on this difficult problem, because what we have seen so far is only the tip of an iceberg that has been in our waters for quite some time.

Potato Bake--using 'whatever.'

If you have a few potatoes in your pantry and some other miscellaneous items then you have the makings of a cheap and tasty meal.
Slice three (or more) potatoes, with the skin on. A good sharp knife is better than those stupid 'As Seen On TV) ones that take ages to clean and you end up cutting yourself!). Now---if you are an anti-cholesterol butthead and believe all the hype about fats, then stop reading because your blood pressure will just go through the roof! My issues with weight in the 'past' only came about because of trying to adhere to diets and low fat, low carbs and God knows what else 'they' say is bad for you.
OK, they've gone so we can proceed.
USE BUTTER or Olive oil for this or even combine the two.
Put a layer of those big fat mushrooms on the bottom of a baking dish. Sprinkle with herbs (dried or fresh) and some Parmesan cheese with a dash of pepper. (OK---use any damned cheese you like!)
Now, layer some of the thin potatoes, dot with as much butter as you wish and throw in some sliced Spring Onion (YOU may call them green onions or scallions---who knows what the vagaries of international cuisine come up with!)
Us up the potatoes and liberally add the butter, some more pepper, herbs and cheese.
Bake in oven at about 170 for as long as it takes for that lovely golden  brown crispy look.
Enjoy and if you are still worried about the calories and other evils, just don't eat the whole damn thing on your own. Get some friends around, make a green salad and serve with a small steak. Go beyond that, and well----been there done that! After a nice coffee, or even delay that, go for a walk with your dog and  your guests. Invite their dogs too. Such fun and good cheap and tasty food that does not have to be unhealthy.
Crunchy with real butter!

Len Brown, the good Brown---thanks for pushing the rail for Auckland!

Yesterday Auckland had a red letter day as the first of the 57 new electric trains were rolled out fore the public to 'assess' and it was happiness all round, especially as the occasion was free. Even the food was there for those feeling a little peckish. Mayor, Len Brown was in an ebullient as he saw a chance to push for yet more for the ever suffering public of Auckland and the crowded streets. her was an opportunity to push for an earlier start to the 'loop,' a grandeur pie-in -the -sky' from the Government's perspective, especially The 'other Brown;' the one in Cabinet who doesn't really give a toss for Auckland their silly train dreams. That attitude may come at a cost as Aucklanders take to the trains in their thousands. They will ask the obvious question: 'Why stop there?' Yes, it is time to finish the overall plan supported by Mayor Brown and most Aucklanders; not just the loop but the rail to the airport and around the eastern suburbs. You ignore Aucklanders at your plight Mr other Brown. Listen to your namesake--you know the one.
Mayor Len Brown on the train this morning.  Auckland's new electric trains were launched this morning at Britomart.  Short trips are running between Britomart and Newmarket for balloted members of the Good on you Len! Love the new trains.


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Electric trains arrive in Auckland---about time---fantastic. Mayor Brown was aboard.

Yes, the trains have finally arrived, after many years of deliberation, going right back to the days of Mayor Robbie. Today I had the pleasure of being one of the 'chosen,' (Don't go thinking I am getting above my station in life---my sister almost sat on her computer in order to score two tickets for the short ride between Britomart and Newmarket).
We left my car at the Onehunga railway station (the first of the trains will be running from there, tomorrow onwards) and joined a merry bunch of wannabe 'firsties,' so that they can say--'I was there on that auspicious occasion.' The flash new ticketing system that should dispel tickets if one does not have a HOP card didn't work as it had run out of paper, like the proverbial dunny. The nice conductor of the train we travelled on to town (Yes the old 1980's versions we purchased from Aussie--they love to give us their hand-me- downs when they aren't bowling underarm!) told us not to worry. Wow---a freebie.
Our fellow and felowess travelling companions were all in the same frame of mind as us; just happy to be out and about on a gorgeous day and ready to sample the 'travel of the future.' People 'talked to one another; no hiding behind Kindles (I wouldn't have minded if they were reading Roskill!) or newspapers. There was an air of expectancy and as we neared the delightfully lit up Britomart station in the centre of the city we all felt like we were old friends. NO---we were not all oldies. The passengers represented a great cross-section of who and what Auckland is now; kids, teens, parents and the much excited oldies, from every imaginable ethnic group. We were united in our desire to experience what we have lacked for so long in our fair 'city of sails'.
As we disembarked form the rattly old, smelly carriage, we set out eyes on the shiny new slimline train. They looked magnificent.
People took pictures and girls dressed in garish blue were giving out lollies. There was a real party atmosphere and even though we had to line up for our wrist bands, which designated when we would be travelling the short distance to Newmarket, finding out that we had more than an hour to wait, our mood stayed like that of kids waiting to open their Xmas presents.
We wandered around for that time, consuming the free food and drink before finally, we were called to the gates--well they were human gates, dressed as those bars that protect cars at railway crossings. The new small of the carriages and the long view down the entire length of the three carriages struck me straight away. The middle one was especially designed to allow easy wheelchair entry.
Once the train was underway, the first thing we noticed was the silence---what difference from the old ones. I bet the people living near the railway tracks will be happy!
As we emerged form the underground part of the journey, the driver (is that what they are called or is there a new PC name?) put his foot down. We could feel then power of the new engines and we were told that they are pretty fast by NZ standards, not that they will bet much of a chance to go much over 100 kilometres per hour as stations soon appear, making for a fast slow-down. That slowing -down process actually feeds power back into the system, making a saving of 20%.
In our part of the train, we had the privilege of the mayor's company. Earlier on we had witnessed the usual 'protestors with signs, decrying the Mayor for his recent 'transgressions.' Sorry folks, I am not one who casts stones at him---move on and yes, I know I have lost a certain sector of my readers for actually saying what I just said. To make matters worse, I had my picture taken  with my arm around him. So shoot me! He was in a great mood and I don't blame him, [plus we heard him saying that he knew about a petition from Pukekohe residents who want the service (Electric) to be extended to that big town. He said that they needed two or three more trains before that can happen, so Pukekohe people---put the pressure on!
Our short 'return' journey to New market and back was over all too quickly. We all clapped, having partaken in a little bit of 'people history,' promising ourselves to use these cool new trains in the very near future.
What a neat way of spending a day. Call us kids or whatever else you wish, especially for me getting cuddly with the Mayor, but for me-----lets do it again---the train ride that is, but a much  longer one next time!
The new ones on the left.
Can't wait to get on!
NO---it's not me!
You can see from end to end.
Cuddling up with Len Brown, the Mayor--so what---I like him!


Friday, April 25, 2014

Russians have given up on reading my blogs---really---or blocked!

The past month as seen no Russians reading my blogs. Am KI surprised? NO! I have been quite hard  re my ideas about him and how I see Putin's role in the Ukrainian crisis and about his increasingly anti-democratic moves plus his trying to close down all criticism of him within Russia. I have also said on several occasions that the present government in Ukraine is not representative of Ukraine as a whole. At best they are an 'interim' Government and the West must keep that position to the fore before committing recourses, military and economic, to that Government. I accept that Russia has historical sensitivity re the 'border' regions of Russia, but I do not accept Putin's response to the problem.
He regularly accuses the USA for its role in world affairs and how the latter acts on its own, often in  he face of world opinion. He is correct to stand against that action but he is doing exactly the same, with the added action of repressing his own people when they take umbrage at his governance. Putin is an enigma in some ways. Without a doubt he appeals to many Russians. Perhaps he links into that desire Russians are assumed to have about having an need for 'strong leadership.' That is part of their history and so is the 'state apparatus' that responds to  any moves against the ruling regime. Russian Governments are not 'relaxed about taking criticism, from abroad or within the nation.
My blogs are not anti-Russian, but they are asking the question about the direction Russia is being taken by their 'colourful leader.' Still, he has a way to go before he reaches the status of the 'Dear Leader' from The 'Democratic' Republic of North Korea. At least we do not laugh when we hear Putin's name.
I would love to see Russians reading my blogs and books again. I mean----I am not related to Google!

China starts to exert its historical role in the region. Is that so bad?

For decades now, the USA has acted as the 'World Police.' under the guise of 'defending democracy'. I think most of us equate that to meaning 'looking after America's interests,' or to fine tune that a little more, the interests of the few at the top of the feeding chain in then world. Allied to the aspirations of the USA are those of the world's elite, nothing more or less. The links between big business and the oligarchs of Russia and even the newly rich companies in China are well and truly a fact. The games they play out as struggles between nations are nothing more than a ruse--to keep those in  power above and beyond then law. It is the ordinary people in all nations who suffer while the 'big boys' play their games. The latter benefit from 'small regional wars;' and any boiling over into a world-wide conflagration is out of the question, because that and only that would affect the bottom line-- that of hurting the pockets of those at the top. That is the way of the world as it always has been.

Sit ins outside 'legal high' shops---Do it!

The time has come for us to line up and sit down outside 'Legal High' shops because we can not wait for more young lives to be damaged and for these creeps who so smugly sell this crap in our communities. There is a safe way to do this---make sure there are large numbers and have a few 'local rugby or league big boys' sitting with you for the 'presence'' they have. Most of the sellers are just low life cowards and leeches n the community anyway. Peter Dunne and his 'lovely' son are not going to help so it's time to take back our streets. While we are at it, turn on those criminals who 'cook' 'P' in our communities too. The answer to these problems in in our hands---the people.

Putin is lacking, in his reactions to the Ukraine crisis.

One wonders at the psyche of Putin. His sense of grievance to the 'West' is now seriously affecting the Russian economy. The Rouble is lower (Down by 8% this year) and interest rates are going up whilst he plays some sort of larger than life boys game of 'brinkmanship' with the EU and the USA. His approach screams of the old polices of the Soviet Union, a time in history that does not fit well in this new century. Listening to the Russian spokespersons on TV takes me back to the bad old days in the UN when one of their famous leaders thumped the desk. Mr Putin, do you not see that the only real loser in this situation are your beloved Russian people as your economy nose-dives? Is it worth it? You threaten to cut off gas supplies to Ukraine and the EU. Do you not understand that in the long term you are doing them a favour? The vast scientific and economic resources will finally deliver policies that lead the EU towards a place where they do not depend on Russia or the Middle East for energy supplies. They will seek alternative sources and even though that will take time, the end result will be that you no longer hold the trump card you think you possess now.
Of course there may be a more sinister plan: As you gradually whittle away the freedoms of Russians (I note your latest rantings re Google and asking Russians not to use this 'CIA sponsored world control mechanism!') and prepare to take your nation back to the iron-fisted policies of your predecessors, you are of course cementing in the power you already hold.
Ordinary Russians, especially the older ones, remember the 'bad old times,' but in their minds, the certainty that a 'strong (bullying) leader and the promise of jobs, health care, age care, all tend to equip them with a tolerance of such a leadership style. Russia has never known 'democracy' and all that that represents in their history, apart from a brief period after the fall of the old Communist Party. I am not saying that democracy in its Western form is without faults, but the increasingly obvious plans you have for Russia point to a very tense time in  the future, both for Russia and the world. It seems that you are prepared to head for this chasm, caring little for your people or those around the world who will suffer with you as you leap into the 'unknown.' Ordinary Russians are fast losing their 'voice.' Indeed it is only a very short time, before they will not be able to read blogs like mine or communicate on FB. Luckily the resilience and spirit of the Russian people will win through in the end. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Chilli sauce---sweet or sour---over to you.

Chillies are really cheap at the moment in NZ, especially in the northern regions. When my sister brought me two big bags of them---what to do. Well, I settled on tow methods, one my own and the other, via my friend Doug, with a little twist, as I am known to do!
I cut up  half of them and died hem in the fan oven at bout 70C for a few hours, then blitzed them in my kitchen thingy.
For the others I just cut, left the seeds in and added some salt (up to you how much), white vinegar, a little sugar and olive oil. I blitzed them too and ---chilli sauce that I keep in the fridge. I used medium sized chillies so they were not too hot.  Yummy----go do!  Such fun. Now just add both versions to your favourite dishes.

ANZAC Day--its meaning is even more inportant now.

Today many thousands of New Zealanders braved the early morning chill to go out, many with their families to honour those whom have served NZ and Australia. We remember those young men (and women) who went off to fields far away, to lands they had only dreamed about, most with the idea that they were fighting for something special, but also with a sense of adventure. My own grandfather went to Egypt (That wasn't so bad, given the stories he told me when he visited for meals as Mum cook in the kitchen---I did tell her many years later and she just smiled)  and then onto the terrible battlefields of France, where he was gassed, went to England to recover and met my grandmother, so in a sense I owe it to that war for my very own existence. He brought that lovely nurse back to NZ, to become the parents of my dear mother.
It is wonderful to see the increasingly high attendances at these morning services of young people. They are gaining a sense of 'who we are' and an understanding of the bond between Australia and NZ, strained as it is in some aspects these days. All around the world at this time, NZers and Aussies stand together as they remember the sacrifices our forefathers made for our two nations.
In my younger days, I did not favour the ANZAC day ceremonies as I believed that the day was a glorification of war. I could not have been more wrong. As with most Kiwis now, we see those times as the 'coming of age' of both NZ and Australia. Sure there was an element of 'where Britain goes, so did we,' but that was an overhang from colonial days, and a period in our growth as a nation that was reflected in many other countries around the world. We have come of age and it is days like ANZAC day that show our understanding of that journey, along with an increasing knowledge of our own not so flattering history re Treaty of Waitangi issues.
Today is also a time when we look towards events in modern day Europe and wish for a peaceful resolution to the Ukrainian dilemma. I do not think that NZ would become involved in any unfortunate conflagration in that region, but whatever happens there, will have a ripple effect for us.
NZ has little influence of the world stage, but that should not stop us from speaking out to the main  protagonists, be they in Kiev, Moscow, Washington of the capitals of the EU. The ANZAC nations must speak with a united voice----for peace and a dignified resolution to this latest crisis that once again threatens world peace. It is also a time that Australia should examine how it lives alongside its cousins across the ditch. We can not afford to have divisions between us---no family should. 'Big bothers should not be bullies.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Hellensville---a lovely little town.

I took a trip today to Hellensville with my sister and good friend, Doug. Small town, New Zealand, yes, but what a lovely little place; nice cafes, and the basics re shopping. I did note that clothing shops weren't present--blame the big boys down the road and the online shopping for that, I guess.
It feels like you have slipped back in time a bit, but I say that in a nice way---that is what I like about the place. Take a look at the prices for houses in the real estate agents and you get a picture of 'affordable housing.' Is that not a good reason to move there?
What needs to happen is for employment opportunities to match that. What will it take to attract a few medium sized employers to the town? It has good rail links to the north and south so transport shouldn't be a problem. Between Hellensville and Auckland there is this beautiful 'green belt.' Developing hubs along the rail link and the main road, would also make sense.
I get the feeling that Hellensville's day in the sun is about to happen again. It just needs to be a bit bigger to make the commute to the 'big smoke,' via rail work again. I know the brief experiment of a few years ago didn't pan out, but was it really well thought out and were the trains capable of making the journey without breaking down? Maybe the electrification needs to go as far as this town, although they are still trying to figure out if the big town south of Auckland (Pukekohe) makes economic sense too, so we may have to wait a while before we see moves in that direction again.
New Zealand needs its small towns to thrive. We need that spread in our population and be able to offer an alternate to the ever expanding of our big cities. I for one, given the right employment would move there in a flash. May you thrive, Hellensville.

Campbell Live---keep up the pressure on these low-life sellers of 'hell.'

I have switched channels lately as Campbell Live concentrates on exposing the activities of the sellers of so-called 'legal highs.' These parasites care nothing for the misery they cause; not just to the users, many of whom are barley teenagers, but to the families who have to try to pick up the pieces after the insidious substances have done their damage.
How can these 'businesses' justify their stance---that they are merely  providing what the 'community' wants? Would they let members of their own families partake in the substances they so willingly sell to others?
Good on you, TV3---keep showing the faces behind the misery. Let us see who they are, so that we can shun them, avoid them, not include them in our circles, not let them belong to our friendship groups or clubs. Then again, they are probably transitory 'citizens' within our neighbourhoods, moving from town to city, island to island as they go about their evil trade. I see them as little different to those who cook 'P' (Methamphetamine) in  the motels, flats, apartments, outbuildings and even mobile labs (Vans), spreading their own brand of destruction, the only divergence being that one is still legal!
Know who is selling the 'legal highs' in your community. Let them know how you feel about their chosen career. Confront them, but do not put yourself in danger. Perhaps it would be best to achieve your goal of ridding your community of these leeches by joining up with friends and neighbours in the latter exercise.
Mr Dunne (You know the Cabinet Minister, who has a son who is the legal brains behind the trade)  says the laws he introduced will eventually cut into the ranks of those selling 'legal highs.' That is not good enough, Mr Dunne. Yes, I know there are issues around a complete ban and that there will be an element of 'forcing the substances underground' or into the hands of the gangs, but even that would mean that our corner shops are not openly selling. You must, on our behalf, find a way of banning these 'new' products. Do that, and the people of your electorate may even vote you back in for yet another term. If not---well---you know what to do, voters in Mr Dunne's electorate!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Shane Jones has gone---time to take a leaf out of Tamati's book, Labour---just get on with it and win!

I like Shane Jones. I believe he would have been right up there in the next Labour Government. He is a 'terrier' in Parliament, just the person needed to shake the Government benches but the fact is, he about to go. There is no point in analysing why he went and how it happened. It is time to get on with concentrating on the real issues that beset this nation and follow the fine example of Tamati in Rotorua. That man impresses me mightily, re his efforts to reach out and meet the electorate and the manner in which he has drawn support from a wide range of voters. He is concentrating on the issues and seeing the bigger picture, albeit from his Rotorua base. Come on Labour people; don't get sucked into the endless and pointless discussions that National would have you do! Get in behind your local candidates and the leader of the Labour Party. The leadership battle is over and should be put behind us. Any other strategy is wasted  and will keep Labour in the doldrums. Shane has gone and will no doubt contribute in other areas for the betterment of New Zealand and the wider world stage. Now, go forth and multiply the votes!

Golly Dolls (Gollywogs) in shops selling 'legal highs.' Which one is offensive!

WE had the prospect of the Human Rights Commission rejecting the complaints that selling Golly Dolls; they dare not call them gollywogs anymore, is  against the law. Apparently the commission receives about 6 complaints from people likening the sale of Gollywogs to the display of Nazi symbols. Give me a break. Are we so thick-skinned that we get offended by these harmless dolls. Hell, do all dolls have to be the Ken and Barbie type examples; ones which I contend do far more harm than any imagined insult re the former dolls. I would very much like to see people getting off their chuffs and stopping the sale of 'legal highs' in our streets than get myself upset by these 'blasts from the past.' Any racist connotations are long gone and if a kid was wandering around with a cute black gollywog, I wold not take offence. I would however be extremely concerned if I saw a kid outside a shop that sells that other dangerous 'crap!' For Goodness sake, let's fight the issues that need to be fought.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Ukraine----what are you going to look like a year from now?

Given the pressures building on this beleaguered country, it is anyone's guess but perhaps Putin's wish that Ukraine will be a shadow of its former self. From Russia's perspective, the eastern regions along with parts of the south and west will have returned to the fold of  Mother Russia. To many Russians, this is as it should be. For those looking West,' such a scenario is tantamount to national genocide.
The present regime in Kiev is not without some questions as to its legality. Let's face it, the present leader and his followers were not elected just as the regime he displaced was also somewhat shadowy to say the least. There are also extreme right nationalist forces backing the new regime, a position that Putin makes clear is unacceptable. What to do?
There have been calls from both sides of the 'divide' to have a referendum to sort out where the borders of a Ukraine might lay, but it is the delivery of this exercise that many hold little hope for a fair or level playing field. Both sides are capable and have indeed demonstrated a propensity to either stifle open debate or have control over the means of promulgating a range of views. Both sides could be said to be guilty of that.
Underlying the Ukraine question is the position of Putin re Governance in Russia and the performance of the Russian economy. Perhaps he is following the age-old strategy of 'foreign adventures' to draw the eye of his people away from the lack of performance in his economy----nothing new about that, nor belonging to Russian leaders alone.
There will be a tit-for-tat response between the UE and Russia with the USA feeding the issue from beyond, playing its cards for its own reasons and foreign policy. In the end, Ukraine is merely the chess-board for other struggles; albeit an unwilling one, caught in the middle of personalities and darker forces at work in the Russian economy and vested interests in the West. What's new! Now is very much time for cool heads to prevail.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Aussies label New Zealanders living in Australia as the new' winging poms.'

Carping Kiwis
• 40 per cent of Kiwis living in Australia are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their financial position.
• 46 per cent describe themselves as poor, struggling or just getting by.
• More than a quarter have encountered discrimination because of their nationality.
• Only 1 per cent see Aussies as "caring, friendly, hospitable people''.
OK, so now it is official; the 'once strong bond between Australians and New Zealanders is a thing of the past; that is if you are one of the 40% of Kiwis living in Australia who are not living the 'good life.' We should be careful about reading too much into the results of the survey conducted by the highly respectable Monash University. Many New Zealanders are successful in Australia and it must be stated that for those arriving there since 2001 the facts were there for them to see---they were not going to reap the benefits that many other immigrant groups expect, an arrangement willingly signed off by a previous Labour Government in New Zealand (an unpalatable fact for many Labour supporters in NZ!).
However, it is a truth that Kiwis are treated differently and the 'arrangement' needs to be at least revisited or made consistent between the two nations. Aussies arriving in NZ (but remember far less of them are making the reverse journey!) face no such obstacle and other immigrant groups, new to Australia raise their eyebrows in disbelief that such a situation exists. So much they think for the so-called special relationship between NZ and Australia.
Perhaps it is time for many 'Kiwaussies' to return to the 'Land of the Long White Cloud and bring their skills with them. Leave the land that digs its wealth from the earth, the land of extremes and vast distances, the land of unmentionable life forms (No, I'm not talking about Aussies themselves--or am I?)  that threaten pain and suffering, even death on a daily basis, the land that once welcomed us with open arms but now spurns us. Come back to New Zealand; bring your new Aussie families and we will make them welcome.
Do we institute a 'level playing field' for new Australian arrivals? I see there is a move to make this so, but perhaps we need to rise above the level of our 'caring' cousins across the Tasman and show them the real meaning of 'family.'
Happy Easter, my ANZAC 'friends.'

South Korea mourns!

The terrible tragedy off the Southern coast of South Korea had thrown a nation into mourning. Once again, as with the ill-fated flight into the Indian Ocean of a Malaysian airliner, we see officials struggling to find, first survivors and then to answer the age-old question of ---why and what happened? On this occasion it seems that the Government has moved every resource at its disposal and one again we see the sad images on screen of relatives and loved ones of those 'missing' as they hope for the almost impossible. That most of the victims are young, makes the loss even more difficult. The young lives, unrealised as to their potentials and families with gaps, reminded each year in the future on the anniversary of the sinking of the ship, remind us of the delicate balance between life and death, as the death toll mounts the anger strengthens. The Deputy Principal of the school from which the young people came has already unnecessarily taken his own life, a decision that just deepens the sadness for those living.
No doubt we will learn of the events that took place in the frigid waters, but nothing can make amends for the suffering of these grieving families. South Korea is the focus of many nations at this special time of the year. They should know that.
We are thinking of you South Korea.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

I almost got arrested, courtesy of Perdy, my Jack Russell!

I am at a loss as to what to call this blog, but here are some starters:
'He' sent me to purgatory!
1) The bitch on the motorway.
2) Pukeko versus Jack Russell.
3) Where's my feckin phone when I need it!?
4)  'Of course I'm not a demented criminal, officer--I always walk along the motorway, with mud stained clothes!'
5) I could not have shimmied under that fence, a year ago!

OK, you get the picture. I have probably summed up my afternoon already but here's the unabridged version.
I had half of an Easter egg today and it really tested the 'new' me. Yes, I felt sick so a long walk in the drizzle was in order. Off we went to our beloved Onehunga Bay; the very one that delivered my lunch yesterday, in the form of the beautiful mushrooms. Two days could not be so different in their outcome!
On arriving at the car park, there in the distance was Finn, one of Perdy's BFFE (best friends for ever)  jumping with joy at the prospect of whatever mischief the two could get up to. Man, they delivered. About half way down the back path siding the motorway, both dogs disappeared into the bushes. I had seen a flash of a dark coloured bird flying into scrubby bushes and I should have known what was about to eventuate. I knew that there were gaps whereby a small dog could escape onto the motorway, but so far Perdy had always come back after a quick look. She did but a few minutes later the dogs disappeared again. Once again Perdy came back and was content on chasing her orange ball.
We continued our walk, chatting away, enjoying the mild weather, not at all put off by a few drops of rain. The world was as it should be---well for a while.
All of a sudden, Fin started barking and we heard that desperate sound birds make when they are cornered. My friend shot into the bushes, where both dogs had headed. They were chasing the Pukeko, which is a swamp bird, well known for its stroppy nature. It had escaped under the fence; Finn could not follow, but Perdy most definitely could!---and did.
I pushed my way through the bushes, catching site of the Pukeko as it faced up to Perdy. It was having nothing of the crazy dog and the two alternated between mad thrusts--one pecking and the other lunging, like a mongoose. Neither made contact from what I could see, and neither was giving up. Needless to say, Perdy had entered into a world; one in which I was not present.
The Pukeko moved closer to the motorway and my head filled with horrible scenarios, all resulting in a loss that drove me to desperation. How the hell was I going to get through that fence. I could not climb over it---but there was a larger gap.
I know I could not have done what I was about to do a year ago---I would not have fitted and would have most likely suffered some sort of fit or hearft attack. I slivered under the gap, almost ripping my clothing and covering my back with mud. I followed the two fighting animals, one bird and a crazy dog, who WAS NOT listening to her master.
 I followed them through the bushes, marvelling at the Lancewoods and young Totara trees. How the heck could I even notice such wonders of nature at a time like this? The Pukeko was still trying to attack Perdy who nimbly jumped out of the way. I hoped that the bird would somehow connect and deliver a telling blow in order to stop her tormentor. NO such luck.
Several times I almost caught Perdy before she chased the bird further down the motorway. By now I was several hundred metres along the side of the motorway. How was I going to catch the little sod?
Just when I thought I had her, both of them slipped back under the fence, heading back into the park, where my friend Jenny was with Finn, calling out to Perdy.
I hoped that they would stay on that side. In the meantime I crashed back through the scrub and walked along the motorway, back towards the only gap I could get through. I must have been quite a sight, because someone obviously rang the police; probably reporting an escaped criminal, because that is what I looked like by this time. Yes---a police car pulled up along side me. I approached it, readying my unlikely story. I was thinking of ringing the SPCA, the fire department and all sorts of other 'useless in this situation,' organizations.
 The policeman rolled own his window with a look on his face of utter confusion.
'My bloody Jack Russell---it's chasing a damned Pukeko---I was gonna ring you, but I lost my phone somewhere in the bushes,' I stammered. 'But I think the bitch has just got back under the fence---I was gonna ring ya but what the heck could you do---she isn't exactly coming to me eh, but I think she will stay there now---my friends on the other side.'
He didn't say a word. Apart from the fact that he couldn't get a word in, with my mad diatribe (Stop laughing, sister Janice!)
The policeman smiled and just put the window up and continued on his way. He had not said a word!
I slithered back under the fence and there was my phone: It had dropped out of my pocket when I had followed Perdy.
I did not know what to expect but a sight met me that could have been so much worse. There was Jenny, with both dogs, Finn walking on his own, and Perdy firmly attached to Finn's lead, looking as if nothing had happened. She greeted me with a lick and I teetered between screeching my tits off and just accepting that---this is what Jack Russells do!
The walk back to the car, was one of relief mixed with---hell--what more can this park of adventure deliver in the space of 24 hours. Oh well---it's our park and we take what comes There may be a slight difference in approach when we head down the motorway side from now on though. Me thinks, it may be on leash or at least--closely supervised!
If this was a year ago, when I was very much fatter (pre bariatric surgery days, I am not sure the result would have been the same. What is Perdy doing right now?---why---she's asleep on the bed, probably dreaming of that damned Pukeko! What a day.

This one's for China. The country that is starting tn overtake my other readers. Great!

Why am I pleasantly surprised that China is the country that is starting to read my blogs at a rate that is fast approaching 'light speed.' Think about it for a moment. There are probably more English speakers now in China than there are in the UK and one hell of a lot more than in my own country of 4.4 million people. So----I am assuming that many of these  English speaking 'friends' are reading English language books,  both for enjoyment and to further improve their English. I just hope that my particular version doesn't get them into trouble because of my Kiwi English. I better be careful that I do not use language that is too colloquial.
OK, my Chinese blog readers; I am about to relaunch one of my books (ROSKILL) on Amazon. It will be available as hard copy and as a download. I believe that my 'producer' is making available free as a download form to those who buy the hard copy on Amazon. I think the price is about $US15 for the hard copy version. Roskill is a story about a problem we face in New Zealand re dangerous drug---we call it 'P.' You possibly know it as Methamphetamine. Unfortunately, some of the 'precursors' needed for 'cooking (manufacturing) the drug are smuggled in illegally form China. The New Zealand police, border control and other agencies are working closely with the Chinese authorities to try to stop this terrible trade. The drug destroys families and businesses. Lives are damaged and it is very difficult to break away from this drug. I guess China knows only too well about what happens when a drug is introduced to society and the terrible costs. One only needs to look back into history and the 'Opium Wars,' when Britain caused terrible harm to Chinese society in the 19th Century. My book, ROSKILL, tells the story of a family and how it is nearly destroyed when the father starts taking 'P.' It is a book that all teenagers should read and parents too, because how often have you told your children to behave in a certain manner, but do not do so yourself, as parents? It is a book that tells of a problem that can be found in any country, city or town, around the world. IT is a story that will resonate with all countries; telling of the pain that unites us all as inhabitants of the world community.
Look out for the launch in my website, my Chinese readers (and others). I have invested much in the way of resources to make sure that ROSKILL is a quality product. I have employed book designers, editor, proof-readers and digital producers to make sure ROSKILL is as good as I can get it. It is now over to you to decide whether this has all been worth while. Go to my website and check out a free sample. Then---once it is live and ready to purchase (should be available from late April) or download, buy your copy. I would really appreciate your feedback. Please share this blog on your social media circle and with your friends.
Kind regards,
Neil Coleman. (Writer of uniquely New Zealand stories.)

Friday, April 18, 2014

The 'Bay' gives back---mushrooms for a late lunch.

It rained, the sun shone and Perdy didn't give a stuff. She had lost one of her orange balls during our morning walk--yes the Bay claimed yet another ball. Oh well, it seems that the God of the Bay felt sorry for me so she led me to a little treasure trove of fresh mushrooms. Mother nature had sent gentle rain overnight, bringing about 8 beautiful little mushrooms, right by the fence near the road---just waiting for me to stumble across them. Perdy had led me there---maybe she too felt a bit guilty, having dropped her ball---God knows where, but there they were sinning in the sun, waiting my discovery. Good things happen to those who are patient and mine was rewarded with a lunch of mushrooms cooked with the chilli nuts I had made earlier in the day. Yes the Bay provides in more ways then one: friendship, companionship[ and the occasional  wonderful surprise.
Yummy mushrooms down at the Bay.

Roast your own chilli nuts!

I am sure many of you love to chomp away on roasted chilli nuts. Yum! When you buy them in those small packets at the local liquor store--you know when you feel like an aperitif before dinner---a glass of your favourite wine with some nuts on the side. Do that often and you will notice that the costs add up. Why not do your own nuts and save some money!
OK---off you go to the local supermarket bulk food section and purchase about half a kilo of raw peanuts--shelled of course unless you are areal glutton for punishment!
While you are their, buy some chilli flakes or look at my previous blog re drying your own red chillies and blasting them in your food processor. Man----I'm on a roll!
Right--here goes. Heat your wok up with about two tablespoons of canola or other oil. Chuck in the nuts, add some salt (garlic if you dare!) and add about a tablespoon of the chilli flakes---more if you are a 'hottie' or less if not!
Just heat them through for a few minutes and then spread them on an oven tray, lined with baking paper. Cook them in your fan oven at about 80-100C for as long as it takes to get them golden brown. Taste them---it won't kill you unless you have been overly generous re the chilli. Let them cool and pack them in jars or plastic snap bags. They make a great gift---if they last that long!

Japan swicthes illegal whale hunt to the Pacific Ocean---surprised?

It seems that those celebrating the important victory re Japan hunting whales in the Antarctic were way to premature in their belief that the 'hunting' had stopped.Why are we surprised that we hear today that the Japanese are simply switching to the Pacific. The so-called 'scientific' researching excuse is just that or worse---a lie. The Japanese possibly lost face when the international court ruled against their previous hunting expeditions, so here we go again and expect the same response from the international community. Japan need s to be isolated in its endeavours to continue this barbaric practice. They do not need to catch whales for food. They are a rich nations and they have many alternatives to whale meat. Indeed the young, in Japan, predominantly support the ban on hunting whales. It is time Japan took note of world opinion, because if they don't, they should expect further action from protests groups, governments, including Australia and New Zealand. They will of course try to bully those nations that dare to raise the issue again in the courts, but this time but they need to know that opposition to their illegal pursuit will grow. Shame on this proud or should I say---stubborn nation!

Make your own chilli flakes.

if  you shop around in Auckland at the present, I am sure you will come across very cheep fresh red (or green) chilli's. The markets are best for that I think. Now, take the next step and make your own wonderful chilli flakes or powder.
I cut them length ways and placed them on a wide tray in the fan oven at  about 70C. The secret is to leave the oven door slightly open. It takes about 4 hours. Stir them a bit throughout process. Cool them and then put them into your food processor with the baled cutter. I used a very cheap machine that I brought from the Warehouse for about $20. Process them using a combination of pulse and higher speed. If you want them fine, just process longer. Make sure they are totally dry before putting them into containers. Wow---the smell is just downright wonderful. Enjoy. Now- I wonder if I can do the same for red peppers and make my version of Paprika!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Ukraine---back from the edge----I hope so!

The news that Russia, the EU, Ukraine and the USA have met and possibly de-escalated the Ukrainian crisis is a good sign but can we believe that Putin will play his part and call off his 'wolves' who have illegally occupied the Government buildings in Eastern and Southern Ukraine? If he does not, then he is supporting the chaotic situation. No 'State' can allow such 'occupations of government buildings.
At the same time, there obviously needs to be some sort of 'believable and legal' referendum to decide the position of some of the border areas of Ukraine. If this took place in a manner that is above the corruption and unfair practices we have witnessed so far, as in the Crimea, then all parties must accept the result.
Ukraine is edging towards that position but there is doubt about the legality of that regime too. The mess that is Ukraine cannot continue in its present pathway. Putin will play the chaos for his own aims and unless the EU, USA and NATO make it very clear that the consequences of Putin's actions will outweigh any perceived gain on his part, then the future of Ukraine as a sovereign nation is still in doubt. Lets hope that these latest moves towards a solution are carried through to a calmer and peaceful region. The people deserve that at least.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Finally, Labour concentrates on policy rather than side-issues in the house!

David Cunliffe’s  announcement today that Labour would be ‘unashamedly pro Kiwi’ when it came to Government services and programmes, comes at a time when I was beginning to think that all Labour was interested in doing was to play silly games in the ‘House.’ Take for example the fiasco around Judith Collins and her ‘possibly corrupt’ practices around her partner’s business interests in China. This issue was never going to ‘bring down a Government,’ and even if Collins left Cabinet, so what! It is hardly what the voters and prospective Labour voters in particular even give a moments thought. Labour and other parties play these posturing games, intent on scoring minimal pints while the rest of us are more worried about the big issues and getting New Zealanders jobs, is by far the bigger picture.
 So, David---good on you. It is about time we started to hear real policies; ones that will contribute to more jobs and a higher Government tax take so that there is more money in the kitty for ’Research and Development grants; the area where national made cuts, just another example of short term policies that cut into our future. Let’s see more of what you plan, Labour. Give us reason to vote for you rather than against the present clique in Wellington.

This election must be about 'housing.

The election in September, 2014 must be about housing, health and education. Sure there are other issues and one in particular that is not worth giving much credence; that is the part the Mana and their bedfellow, the Internet Party will play. For the moment, forget about that wasted space on the political spectrum because the above issues affect the lives of a great many more New Zealanders.
Take housing: If you live in Auckland, Christchurch and parts of Wellington, the chance of buying your first home is becoming a pipe dream; for those seeking to purchase in the ‘queen city,’ even more so. As of April, 2014 the cost of an average house is just under NZ$700,000. If one settled for less desirable areas (and people are finally getting the message that this is what they need to do in order to get onto the property ladder) $400,000 doesn’t buy much.
If you are able to raise the mortgage, you face massive repayment, leaving very little to enjoy the fruits of your labour. This situation must be spawning a whole new class in New Zealand; that of the disenchanted and hopeless. Knowing that you cannot achieve what most of us have taken as a ‘birth right,’ in NZ over the years, must be putting a pressure on society that will have major ramifications further down the track. The frustration levels will build as the goal post to home ownership gradually become a distant haze on the horizon.
What will young people do, if they cannot realize their dreams? Do they give up and gradually transform Aucklander into a ‘renting’ city or do we come up with a solution n that involves long term leasing as they do I n countries like Switzerland? That would require a massive mind change on the part of Kiwis. Do we look at Auckland differently and finally come to the conclusion that perhaps allowing this city to keep growing at the expense of the ‘regions,’ is not a desirable attribute. How do we channel resources and people back into the regions?
Politicians in the past have minced words around the issue but never succeeded in delivering meaningful policy. The National Party and its more ‘hands off’ policies is hardly going to alter its base policies; ones that its supporters actually benefit from the impossible housing situation in Auckland. The Labour Party in turn, has so far only played around with the idea, knowing that leaning too hard on those who have gained from past policies, will turn on them, taking voters who normally have a ‘spot for the Labour Party, but who would also like to be part of the ‘haves’ in society. It is this dream, the one where by homeownership is equated with ‘freedom of choice’ that Labour voters get a little nixed up, and thus nothing ever changes.
It is going to take a brave government, who would tackle this ‘Auckland problem and I doubt that nay party at the present has policies that are anything more than ‘platitudes. It has been mooted that  capital gains tax, if implemented, ‘could make a difference,’ and various incentives by local council in the regions, combined with Government policies could play their part too,  but I can see nothing on the horizon re this 2014 election that leans far in this direction.
New Zealand is at a cross road. We cannot let the lack of access to affordable housing stay on the back-burner.’ It is going to increasingly be part of contribution to a New Zealand that most of us want no part of: namely, an unfair and divided society. We need our politicians to make some hard calls and not let factional divisions rule; usually those who have and have always had the power in New Zealand. Attacking immigrants is not the answer, but fine-tuning who can own and buy New Zealand real estate, is not such a radical move; it exists in many other countries around the world, but it is not the magic bullet, needed to inspire the dream that New Zealanders are losing sight of.
So let this year be one in which the hard question are asked about what type of society do we wish for. Then, bring about a ‘stage’ upon which it can function. Do our politicians have it in them to have this important debate?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A 'nice' couple came 'a-visiting' It cost NZ$1.2 million---BARGAIN!

I am not a ‘royalist,’ and I don’t easily get sucked in by the visits of ‘dignitaries.’ Neither do I spit venom at the sight of flag-waving crowds; many of whom are in possession of the Union Jack version of the flag, or the happy faces lining the streets of the cities and towns lucky enough to receive the good-looking family from the extreme North.
I know that Face Book had all the usual comments pertaining to the’ royal leaches’ and many more comments. I was not taken in; indeed it quickly became apparent that a huge numbers of New Zealanders, some of them ‘new arrivals to our increasingly ‘non-British’ makeup were hugely enjoying the visit. Little girls dressed as princesses, throwing away the PC ideals that have plagued us for decades about gender equality and various other twists on the theme. Mothers giggled in anticipation of meeting the handsome ‘one day to be King.’
For ten days, New Zealand almost forget about the other ‘evils,’ besetting the world, as we cast ourselves back to a time gone by. For all of this happy welcoming to our shores of the Royal Couple, we paid a tiny NZ$1.2 million. It is pretty damn clear that this will more than come back to us in the form of huge publicity. There were very few overseas channels that I have access to that did not regularly show stunning pictures of New Zealand landscapes and no amount of money can beat that for publicity. Expect yet another jump in tourist visit.
Now, it’s the turn of our Aussie cousins. I bet they will be just as ‘taken,’ by the ‘we three.’

I am being cruel, am I not? Should I make fun of the 'Dear Leader?'

I am so lucky that I do not live near the North Korean embassy. Hey, do they even have one in New Zealand?  If the answer to both points is yes, then I could be in deep doggie poo! The report on the hair salon in London, which just happens to be very close to the North Korean Embassy, received a visit from two men in dark suits, requesting the said salon to desist from using a picture of the ‘Dear Leader’ to advertise for solutions re ‘a bad hair day.’ It appears that the embassy staff was most put out that such actions could take place. This of course would never happen in the ‘mad fantasyland’ next to South Korea. Anyone contemplating such vial actions would need to be ‘re-educated or possibly put to death with a flame thrower!’
The police were called and decided to take no action as no laws were broken; in other words the message was given to the North Koreans to pull their heads in! What must it be like working for this psychotic regime; having to represent it to the rest of the world, in a nation that actual values freedom of choice, where criticism of the government (OK, I won’t go too far in my praise of one of the world’s oldest democracies, because there are those who will not believe me) is actually ---ah---OK! Indeed UK citizens thrive on having that right.
Can’t you see the officials in the embassy, peering through shrouded windows, aiming their directional mikes at the salon in the hope that they can record people’s conversation about their beloved homeland and ‘Dear Leader?’ They would of course be disappointed; firstly because they wouldn’t understand the Cockney accents (I made that one up out of desperation!) and words would be used that just wouldn’t figure in their appropriately assumed world views, or should I say, that espoused by their Dear Leader.
I suspect that in the next few days, the British secret service will revive a visit from several bedraggled North Korean officials, who will be seeking political asylum, as they fear for their lives. They had not delivered the result desired by tier God-like leader; hence their lives are now in danger.  Extrapolate this extreme situation to the whole of North Korea and you start to get a picture of what life is like for other than those close to the Dear Leader or those in the army. AND—we worry about a few nut-head pro-Russian fanatics; stooges of Putin who would drag us closer to the Cold War of old. Mmm----- maybe Putin is a clone of you know who!

Boko Haram---no other word to desrcibe them other than ---EVIL!

We have witnessed many incidents whereby the Boko Haram group of fundamentalist Islamists have terrorised the people of Northern Nigeria. We have seen them murder, bomb, mutilate and kidnap the citizens of Nigeria. What possible faith-based justification can they give for their evil actions? How can they use the plight of 100 young girls (who they have just kidnapped) to push their cause, which I assume is to establish a Sharia law based nation in Nigeria? Where in their holly book, if indeed they can even read it, does it give them the right to follow such pathways? I feel for moderate Muslims, who bear the brunt of any response for the actions of their extremist relations. The former are no different to any religious group, who have the same wishes for their families, the same desire for peace as the rest of the vast bulk of humanity.
We hear that extremist groups are a response to the injustices of Governments  and the exclusion of minorities (and sometime majorities, when it comes to income sharing within nations) but the violent, criminal and destructive choices Boko Haram follow are an insult to all people, no matter what their religious or otherwise choices. That the Government of Nigeria is corrupt is a fact, but the response from Boko Haram will go down in history as somewhere up there like the Khmer Rouge. They must be stopped now. Dialogue will obviously fail, because they do not ‘listen.’ They just show their intolerance and ignorance through violence and hate.

Romania--wow----someone is reading my blogs there a great deal today!

Fantastic! I love it when I see a country figuring big time as a ‘new’ reader of my blogs. Yes, I know there have a been a few hits on my website and blog from Romania in the past, but 20 in one day is more than just coincidental. I am most pleased and when something like this happens, I always Google that country to increase my knowledge. The links between Romania and NZ are primarily in the sporting field (Rugby, in particular) and a very small number of immigrants. Let them increase and decrease NZ’s dependence on just a few other large economies. Smaller nations, especially those of NZ’s relative ‘smallness’ on the world scene, should stick together more.
OK< keep reading ‘me,’ Romania and hopefully download or buy the hard copies of my books. That can happen once the ‘upload to Amazon is completed in the next week or so. I just signed off the final reviews so that the book, ROSKILL can go to the printers.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Armed masked thugs are a substitute for following due process , Mr Putin!

Russia expects the world to believe that the images of armed, masked thugs, breaking into State department and police buildings in the Eastern a part of Ukraine, signify the populaces’ widespread desire to leave Ukraine and be part of Russia. Russia claims that it has no agents on Ukraine’s soil and that the spectre of discontent is fed by the majority of citizens in those ‘disputed regions.’
Get real, Mr Putin. Do you really want to take us back to those times from yesteryear that resemble some sort of tragic comic opera? That ‘stony face’ you present to the world is not at all believable!? The utterings of your underlings are total lies, albeit based on a belief that Russia feels encircled by the forces of the USA, NATO and the EU. OK, you may have reason to call for ‘diplomatic’ activity to lessen those long held feelings but you do not have the legitimacy to repeat what you have ‘achieved’ in the Crimea. If there is such massive resistance to the Kiev Government (Which I am not proposing as a shining example of democratic processes!) why are there not huge numbers on the streets of those cities and towns in Eastern Ukraine? Unlike your own country where police interrupt and arrest those who go against your will, Ukrainians still have the right to protest. They are not doing that to the extent that your intervention is warranted.
Yes, let’s have a referendum, in those territories under dispute; not one in the West of the country, because as you say that is tantamount to the Scottish people havening their fate decided by people in England and Wales. OK, let such a referendum take place about the future direction of Eastern and possibly Southern Ukraine, but it must be under the direction of the UN. How can we trust a Russian designed and led process given what has happened so far to this former Soviet outpost?
IN the meantime, pull back, Mr Putin. You are taking us all to place that we thought had become part of history. You are re-igniting the Cold War and you must take responsibility for your actions. There are better ways; ones based on honesty, not bullying and overriding of natural justice. Just remember, all dictators eventually face the wrath of tier people. I cannot believe that the tensions you are feeding within your own country will not come back to bite you in your rear-end!’

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Climate change---to those who still have their heads in the sand, or their wallets----we all share planet earth.

There is little doubt that the activities of humans have contributed massively to climate change and that even if natural cycles occur, our oceans lakes and rivers are slowly, but at an accelerating rate, turning into habitats that will not sustain life as we know it. The implications are that humans will sooner rather than later, be seriously affected along with many other species, plants and animal.
Despite all the evidence we have this rump in the scientific fraternity, who are in the clutches of big industry and financial oligarch who challenge what is obvious to most. As our oceans become more acidic and the air we breath more polluted, we risk the very existence of life on earth. We already know that the oceans are rising and that has huge implications for many of our largest cities as they struggle to 'keep their heads above water.' In the lifetime of our children, we are going to see nations struggling to feed their populaces, even more so than we do now, and the pressure in more sensitive and highly populated regions becomes more intense, we are in for social upheaval and war on a scale we have never seen before. Politicians who are only interested in short term goals and who don't take in the 'bigger picture,' only add to the problem. What is it going to take---to galvanise Governments around the world to come to an agreement that goes beyond geographic boundaries or economic rivalries? The clock is ticking and by the time we do see agreement, it will be too late. In the meantime we put up with egotistical despots and industrial cliques who care nothing other than for themselves and their plans and ambitions. Unless powers like the USA, China, Russia, the EU and India come aboard re a plan to  curb the use of fossil fuels, then the future is indeed bleak. Maybe we should insist that our leaders are all under 50, knowing that they have an investment in the future of this jewel in the universe---for now!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Putin is about as transparent as my Jack Russell, but at least I can trust my dog! She doesn't lie.

It is obvious now, just what Putin and his cronies in Ukraine are up to. They are steadily increasing the pressure on the East and South of this beleaguered country. First they took the Crimea and to a certain extent I understood that; it was the low down lies that went along with the process that got me. Now, under the pretext that 'things are out of control' and that locals want to unite with Russia, we see Russia preparing to go on to eastern Ukraine in order to 'establish order' and to conduct a phony referendum. The spectre of masked men, presenting as 'concerned citizens, taking over government buildings and building barricades is nothing short of comical, if it was not for the sinister forces behind such actions.
 Russia is now on a course that is going to see it being labelled a pariah state. Who can trust the despotic leader of Russia? He has pummelled his opposition, something easy to achieve in Russia, given its tragic history. I have tried to be neutral in this affair but now, I genuinely believe that Russia is hell bound on rebuilding the Soviet Empire of old, the Cold War re-established and the tension we all lived under for a generation, about to be reignited.
I am not saying that the USA is innocent in this struggle between East and West, but at least there is still a modicum of means to object when the USA goes too far. For Russia, no  such mechanisms exist. Russia is the very 'fascist State' hat it says is being established in   Ukraine. 
The EU needs to cut its dependency on Russian gas and develop alternate energy sources. I am sure that this is happening at a pace now, never seen before. When  they achieve that position, they should cut off support for trading with Russia while it follows such dangerous expansionist policies. The USA too, should take a message from these events. The world is well over the concentration of power in the hands of the Great Powers. We all inhabit this earth; not for the purposes of meeting the needs of the major players. In the meantime, Putin---pull ya head in! To the USA and the rest of the world---remember those fateful words of yesteryear about 'peace in our time.' They were spoken about another tyrant!

Eggs rule---but even they need a 'lift' sometimes.

Since my bariatric operation a year ago, I have come to value the importance of eggs. Gone are the days when we were told that they were our enemy. I well remember the old advert that said, 'if you have an egg in the house you have a meal.' That of course was put out by the 'egg industry,' and when measured against the 'fear of cholesterol,' ,many of us, avoided more than a few eggs a week.
Thankfully, today we have a more 'balanced' approach to eggs and the part they play in a healthy diet. For me, in those early days after my operation, they were a God-send. Those runny poached eggs (well it was one at first) went down a treat and they provided a protein and mineral hit that my body needed and craved. I go through at least 8 a week now and before you get alarmed--they consist of the only protein I have in the meal when I am eating eggs, except when I hit a local cafĂ©. That they are not raising my cholesterol level is backed up by the fact that I don't take any Statins now for that previously worrying condition. Now, once again before the woe-betide brigade, I am not saying that everyone should follow my dietary journey. One should always take into account their particular health issues and discuss those with their doctor. My journey is just that---mine.
Now that I have discarded all the 'but you shouldn't' or 'you're mad,' comments and lets face it---I am not here to convince anyone to jump onto my regime, I can get on  with the real purpose of this blog---I shall share my lovely upmarket (OK--it's not really) version of poached or, yes, fried eggs.
1) Make some wholemeal toast. (one small slice for me)
2) Heat up the fry pan, wok ort whatever you cook your eggs in.
3) Either poach (I put in boiling water with vinegar added, to help keep the whits together) or fry your eggs in a little olive oil, until done top your idea of perfection.
4) Take your toast and lightly spread with some marmite or vegemite and then stick a slice of cheese ( I use the 'tasty Chesdale) which can be as flash as you wish.
5) Cut the toasty/cheese into bite slice pieces and sprinkle with capers.
6) Dish up the eggs and enjoy. The capers provide an enticing lift to the eggs. I love this 'all-day breakfast' with my coffee made in my AeroPress coffee maker. (see an earlier blog about this amazing cheap little implement.\\
Oh so simple and yes---healthy.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Kim and Hone or will it be Hone and Kim? Who's 'top and who's bottom!?'

Political desperation, or is it just good sense 'survival' politics? If you had been watching the news tonight and saw a close-up of Sue Bradford's face, a former politician (or is a reborn aspirant?) then not everybody at the Mana Party 'conference' agrees with the present posturing. She was banned from talking to the media, before tonight's meeting that will decide whether this unholy alliance will go forward. I suspect that there will be blood on the floor later tonight!
I felt a twinge of disbelief crawling up my spine as I listened to KDC telling all; how he often went to bed early, after only managing toast and Ketchup for dinner in his younger days! That feeling grew as I listened his attempts to describe his 'connection' to the poor and how his union with Mana will help Maori.
One cannot help thinking of historical events when Maori were hoodwinked in many ways by my own predecessors. It seems that history does and will repeat and that nothing has been learnt!
KDC, watched by a smirking and slightly uncomfortable looking Hone, attempted to smooth the political bed, citing how he wanted to help Maori. I have this nagging feeling that the only basis for KDC 'putting it out there' and bringing 'much love' to the 'marriage of convenience,' is to further his own agenda---that is to be in a position to expand his business options, via Parliament, by means of a  proxy, because he cannot stand for election himself and in  the long run to somehow influence the lawmakers to keep him safe here in NZ, so that he need not face the 'business wolves' in the USA who he has mightily offended. Not that I have much sympathy for them either, but come on folks--are we going to be sucked in by this parade of the politically stupid!? Oh well---stranger things have and will happen. Bottom line---this is all about KDC and Hone is just being USED. He may yet get a message from his own party tonight and therein lies the seeds for the demise of the Mana Party.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Put aside your political claptrap and do something for New Zealand!

In the 1970’s under Norman Kirk’s government New Zealand had a chance to set up a fund that could have played a major part in keeping New Zealand at the forefront re caring for its citizens. I am talking about the Superannuation scheme that would have by some estimates had nearly NZ$300 billion in the ‘kitty.’ What happened?---why politics intervened of course and we all remember (Those of us old enough, that is) the dancing Cossacks and other shenanigans, put up by those opposed to the scheme and the subsequent rejection by the ‘voters,’ all in the name of political greed and survival. NZ’s long term future did not come into the debate, that which emanated from the then opposition National Party. Muldoon successfully played into the selfish part of the NZ psyche; the one that hates ‘Nanny State,’ and ‘being told what to do’, even if it is for the benefit of future generations.
Now, we face the possibility of not being able to fund the ‘retirement expenses for many NZers, as the cost of housing, particularly in Auckland and other big cities, is fast approaching a point whereby owning one’s home is just a pipe-dream. Many would say that we have already reached that stage. Forget about a comfortable retirement, unless you have invested in the Kiwi Saver programme at a rate above the minimum level. So we have two major factors, housing affordability and retirement needs that are falling short of the mark. What are politicians doing; you know, those people we put into power to come up with policy that helps to meet our needs and provide for us when we ‘can’t?’ Oh, I forget; there is a groundswell coming from the ‘Right’ that says the Government has no part to play in how people make decisions about their futures.’ Politicians of all hues have an underlying tendency to put their short term survival above the needs of New Zealand as a whole, despite their protestations and verbal espousals to the contrary. Can’t you hear them wiggling in indignant ‘self-love,’ and denial of my words?
While politicians ‘do their thing,’ especially in this important election year, ‘WE,’ the public need to hear real plans that propose to come somewhere near (in proportion, that is) the level of investment our Aussie cousins across the ‘ditch,’ have manage, re the fund they have achieved by having a robust scheme that has gone a long way to meeting the needs of their citizens. I do not think that our politicians are any less as human beings, but what is it that has put us in the position we find ourselves now----facing a future for our elderly, that means we are going to look like we DO NOT CARE about the future?
It is time to stop pussy-footing around re this extremely important issue. The debate needs to happen fast and be taken to the wider community, because we cannot trust our politicians to think in terms, other than that of their own political survival. We do not want to listen to—‘but we have tried to get a scheme in for games, but ‘they’ won’t join with us.’ It is time that ordinary citizens took responsibility to put aside our own selfish ‘I want money now,’ idea and bit the bullet, suffer a little short term ‘adjustment  pain,’ and got on with preparing for a better and more prosperous retirement. That message must be rammed through to our politicians. Will we do that, or do politicians mirror a ‘here and now’ mentality that has pervaded NZ for quite some time? This year, 2014 is our chance to get the balance back.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Swallowing a pram--not a good feeling.

Of course I didn’t swallow a pram! It just feels like it. Don’t you hate it when a tooth cracks, usually the result of an old filling breaking down. In this case it seems to happen to the same tooth every four or five months; one of those back ones that you need for chewing. Then it leaves a sharp jagged edge that cuts ingot your tongue and cheek every time you talk or swallow, making me sound like a demented chipmunk! (Or in NZ’s case –a possum).
The dentist has been gently telling me that I need a crown, but we all know that involves copious amount of cash, so I keep going for the cheap fix. Silly me---I could have paid for it twice over, having gone for the option that inly last a short time, so now that we have the British Royal Family traipsing around NZ at the moment, I thought in honour of their visit I would get my own crown and to hell with the money---Aunty Visa will have to pay for it.
I can think of much better ways to spend my afternoons; you know the feeling: your mouth filled to capacity with dental implements and the dentist chatting away, expecting an answer, which can only come in the form of a grunt or hand movements. I well remember quite wide-ranging chats in the past!
OK, at least I shall have the rough edges rubbed, filed or whatever, off today! Can’t wait to have a smooth-talking mouth again.

Become a follower!

A sign of desperation, you say. NO, not at all. I do want to boost the numbers of readers for my blog and one way to achieve that is to get you to sign on as a ‘follower’, You can always delete that option in the future, If my words get on your nerves. Like dear old Mum used to say---you can always switch channels! So, go do it---no not switch channels---click on the ‘followers option and receive your daily fix of my ‘fix on fixing the world! Too much ‘fixing’ going on here, me thinks.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Massive increase in numbers of USA readers. Why?

Hey, I am not complaining--I'm just curious. There has been a huge lift in the number of readers from the USA. You are already, by far, my largest audience, so I am perplexed as to what is happening out there!
Keep it up though and hopefully you can be instrumental in helping me to push my book, ROSKILL, now that it is almost ready to be re-launched. ROSKILL has been 'professionally' edited and re-worked, plus 'future-proofed,' to make it more relevant to teenagers and their parents. Some people have called ROSKILL, mildly therapeutic, a lable that I am not totally comfortable with. I say its a damned good read; one that gives a very firm message----'Dad said, Don't do drugs.' But then he ignored his own advice.  Out soon---watch this space.

Russia playing games---here we go again!

Putin is playing a very dangerous and transparent game. Any sympathy he may have had re his claim that The Crimea was part of Russia has long since worn thin re his latest move is Eastern Ukraine. It seems that no matter what the Ukraine Government does, re quelling the unrest, much of which has probably being fed by Russian agents. If the Ukraine does not ‘stop the unrest,’ Putin will use that as justification to intervene I order to restore order and to ‘protect’ the Russian speaking minority.
Then again, if the Ukraine sends in troops to stop the rioting and criminal behaviour on the part of a vocal and violent Russian-speaking minority, some of who have been arrested and identified as Russian provocateurs, then Putin will use that as reason to ‘invade’ Ukraine. Putin’s cynical response and statements do nothing to lessen the tension in those volatile regions of Eastern Ukraine. It seems that the Ukraine Government is stymied no matter what it does or does not do.
The EU makes noises and NATO pussy-foots it around. The USA calls for ever increasing sanctions, preferring to avoid the military response that they have so often followed, re other regions. Putin is playing this ‘chaos’ for all he can and he knows that if he holds to his present path he will get what he wants.
 It is not quite that simple, Mr Putin. You are approaching a point whereby your ‘games’ put the whole world at risk and between you and the USA; a new Cold War is being revisited upon an unwilling Europe. Your policies are something that we thought had been left firmly in the past. I guess we were wrong. The nuclear clock is beginning to speed up again; this at a time when there are other issues that face the world---terrorism for one. We need a united world community to face that threat. Is what you are doing in Ukraine and possibly other ‘border areas’, contributing to an answer for that vexing issue?