wow! aint that incredible. I suspect it may earn a few comments from the leader of our Conservative Party, but not many people pay much heed to him these days. I am also most pleased because it will mean that our wonderful service people won't be welcome in the Middle East or most of Africa. Not a bad outcome in my view! Let us stay in the Pacific/Asian region. That's where we belong! Read on my friends.
Members of NZ Defence Forces' Overwatch at the 'Pride in Defence Conference'. Photo / NZDF
The New Zealand Defence Force has been ranked number one in an international study assessing the integration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service members in armed forces.
The LGBT Military Index was compiled by Netherlands thinktank the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies.
New Zealand Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Tim Keating said the ranking came as a pleasant surprise.
"We are an equal opportunity employer and we have always valued the diversity of our workforce.
"The NZDF values diversity and recognises the benefits to the organisation of having a diverse and inclusive workplace."
The diversity of the Defence Force reflected the composition of New Zealand society as well as the openness and respect that New Zealanders have for people of different backgrounds, General Keating said.
"We believe that a diverse workplace promotes equity and enhances productivity. Having an inclusive environment that embraces people's individual differences provides opportunities for our personnel to achieve their full potential."
Last year, 10 uniformed members of the NZDF and 15 civilian members of Defence Force LGBT group Overwatch marched in the Auckland Pride Parade.
They were publicly supported by the then Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Rhys Jones.
This year's Auckland Pride Festival ends this weekend with the Pride Parade on Ponsonby Rd and closing party at Victoria Park tomorrow.
Welcome to my new reader in Bulgaria. I am pretty sure I haven't seen you before. Keep reading and share my website and blog with your friends. As I have said many times about new countries reading my blogs---how did you find me? My 'friends' tell me it's by chance alone. I suspect that they may be correct, but I want to believe that it is the start of a beautiful relationship, stretching across the globe, attaining new understanding between cultures and individuals. Well doesn't that sound a lot better than the craziness we hear about other nations not so far from Bulgaria. May you remain peaceful and increasingly prosperous. I hope the shadow of Putinist Russia does not cast its ugly shadow across your fair land. www.authorneilcoleman.com
'I'm gonna sue you, because you are saying mean things about me,' he said. Well not exactly, but please, Mr Craig---if you really want the public to take you and your party seriously, grow some clangers and address the issues. YOU don't make the rules and those that exist are there for a reason. Politics is a robust exchange of ideas, prior to putting g them into practice. All you are noted for is your whinging about what 'others' have said about you. I hear you even take exception to what bloggers are saying about you. That takes the cake. Even the PM is a little aghast at your response to Russell's little asides about you. Come-on---let us see 'policy---what are you going to do about gaining a better future for NZers? At the moment we think you will run the country by the results of whether your latest attempt to sue your opponents has been successful. That is heading in the way that some middle Eastern countries have gone. Hell, once Winston gets onto your case, are you gonna sue him? Fat chance there, dude! The stance you are taking is pathetic and NZ will NOT take you seriously. Unless you change and do so real fast---you are doomed to political oblivion, much like KDC. Toughen up man! www.authorneilcoleman.com
Finally, somone has said it--Government owned supermarkets. It doesn't have to be lkke the daus gone by when 'State-owned could be equated with 'badly run,' or many of the other easy to fling insults at anything run by the State. I say we now have good models for efficient and well run State institutions, so if we want to break the stranglehold that the mostly Aussie owned supermarkets, then it's about time we looked at some new ways of doing things. Read the article below!
It represents a damned good discussion start-point! www.authorneilcoleman.com
Instead of raging against the supermarket mafia, why not tackle them head-on?
Illustration / Anna Crichton
It's a week in which one longs to stick it to the supermarkets, to be sure. If they are not making outrageous demands of their suppliers, they are banding together with "big food" to lobby pliant politicians to stay well clear of effective (read: costly to them) anti-obesity measures.
They pump cheap alcohol into communities with gay abandon, and essentially hold the food-buying public to ransom by dividing billions of dollars in grocery sales between them.
But what to do? Families can frequent farmers' markets, speciality marts, even grow their own veg, but avoiding the big-brand supermarkets is impossible for most. Instead, we've collectively developed a sort of Stockholm Syndrome, believing 40c off a tin of baked beans or tray of chicken thighs makes everything fine and dandy.
Well, today I present an idea that would not only irk the supermarkets but also cause much foaming at the mouth among free-market advocates - a combination of outcomes that makes my proposition almost unbeatable from the outset.
The idea is this: government-owned supermarkets. Wooo! that's got a few of you going, no doubt. It could be the last straw if state-subsidised solar panels have already put you in the hypertensive danger zone. But while the idea sounds outlandish, I beg you to consider a few of its positive facets.
First, New Zealand suppliers would get a better deal. There's no doubt that some supermarkets deliver bargains for consumers, but it's not the supermarket that takes the hit when prices are low, it's the poor supplier. The same supplier whose order can be changed, augmented or scrapped at any time, and who can be billed for all sorts of extra costs. A government-run supermarket, with transparency as part of its modus operandi, would be required to foster consistency and decency with suppliers, as well as its customers and staff - a genuine ethical choice for consumers.
It would also be required to ensure local food gets a fair run alongside cheap, nutrient-deficient imports.
The way I see it, a government-owned supermarket chain (KiwiShop? GovtShop? Godzone Grocer?) would need to pay its way, but not necessarily turn a profit - no more rorting of the poorly paid Kiwi workforce to placate shareholders.
Freedom from profit would also give the government room to enact some of its anti-obesity ideas without upsetting those who believe it is their God-given right to scull Coca-Cola, scarf pies, and ignore that "5+ a day" nonsense. You could sell fruit and vegetables without GST added, for example; you could even provide food coupons as part of a benefit payment. Plain-packaged cigarettes, restrictions on soda sales to minors - it would be a great market testing ground.
By God, there'd be objections. But in a "free market", shouldn't the Government be free to compete against big Australian interests in ensuring a reasonably-priced supply of quality foodstuffs to the populace? It's already happening in banking, after all, and competitors have not collapsed in a screaming heap.
Many other countries regulate their supermarkets heavily; ours seem to be largely left to their own devices, getting a few wet bus ticket-slaps only when it's unavoidable. The best solution to this situation can only be more competition - ideally provided by a party with the people's best interests at heart.