Wednesday, December 30, 2009

An argument on the Titanic?

Cartoon from the Manawatu Standard of December 10, 2009.

Santa leaves carbon footprint

Cartoon from the Manawatu Standard of December 9, 2009.

Tough times for polar bears

Tom Scott's cartoon from the Dominion Post of December 2, 2009.

New Zealand's (largely invisible) pollution

It's amazing how successful New Zealand has been in marketing its "clean, green" image, when one considers the reality. In an article headlined Manawatu River Gets Black Mark for Pollution, dated November 26, 2009, TVNZ had this to say:

The Manawatu River has been rated as one of the most polluted in the western world.

According to new research by a Nelson science institute, the waterway is heavily fouled with treated sewerage and farm run-off.

Cawthorn Institute says the Manawatu is now near the top of a list of 300 rivers and streams across North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand when it comes to detrimental changes in oxygen levels.

Dirty dairying practices and poor sewage treatment are considered the culprits for the alarming ranking.

In May this year a prominent Manawatu businessman and farmer, Ken Thurston, was fined nearly $200,000 for polluting the river.

In 2007, the Horowhenua District Council pumped five millions of litres of partially treated waste, including tampons and condoms, directly into the river for 48 hours.

Health officials now fear the water is so dirty it will make swimmers sick.

Horizons Regional Council is proposing to clean it up by regulating the amount of effluent farmers can discharge into the river.

"We know that for the Manawatu while it's not safe all year round for swimming, it is for the most of the time. Inside 20 years, our target is to give the people complete confidence that it's in the right type of place," says council spokesman Greg Carlyon.

And the council is rejecting accusations that it is not doing enough stop the pollution.

"It'd be a great news story if it was true but it's not, what Horizons did is commission the research that's been commented on in the media and is telling us that around dissolved oxygen particles for water quality we had some really elevated levels," says Carlyon.

Farmers say the council-commissioned research will now be used to stage further attacks on their livelihood, with Horizons due to implement new stricter regulations next year.

That, say farmers, will further impact their earnings.

"They need a consent to farm for a lot of these farmers and some of the costs involved will put them out of business...for others it's just a cost that could have been spent directly to do the work instead of just playing the bureaucrats," says Federated Farmers spokesman Gordon McKeller.

The full Cawthorn report will be formally presented to the regional council next month.

(Tom Scott's cartoon is from the Dominion Post of December 1, 2009.)

Christians deny global warming

I assume Messrs Barrett and Salt are Christians, as I don't think non-Christians read the New Zealand Christian newspaper Challenge Weekly. Their views certainly accord with the view of many Christian fundamentalists that God is in charge of the planet, which he has given to us as a glorified playground, and that we don't really have to worry about its future.

Click on the above image to enlarge it.

Maori holding NZ back, say letter writers

Click on the above image to enlarge it.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Penguins seek global warming asylum

The following article, from NZPA, is dated November 19, 2009:

Four icebergs sighted off the Auckland Islands, 400km south of Bluff, are slowly heading toward New Zealand.

Expedition leader on the tourist ship Spirit of Enderby, Rodney Russ said it was the first time in almost 40 years of visiting the area that he had seen icebergs among the islands.

"They currently appear to be moving north at about 1.25kmh," he said in a statement.

"It is possible that they might reach New Zealand intact -- but they are showing signs of deteriorating and breaking up."

Three years ago, a flotilla of icebergs -- including one 1km long -- drifted to Southland's Catlins coast, with some coming as close as 25km to land.

It was 1931 when icebergs were last reported so close to the mainland. One Otago helicopter company charged $500 a seat for flights to the ice.

In the latest flotilla, the largest iceberg so far sighted was 80m long.

"We first sighted them 10 (nautical) miles off the eastern entrance to Carnley Harbour in the Auckland Islands," he said.

Improved weather conditions today allowed the ship to sail close by the icebergs, which had travelled 19 nautical miles to the north.

The Spirit of Enderby left the Auckland Islands on Wednesday to sail to Macquarie Island, 600km to the southwest, and is expected to encounter more icebergs.

The crew of the vessel has been put on special `iceberg lookout' as these icebergs pose a significant risk to ships, Mr Russ said.

"We have never had `iceberg alerts' in the Subantarctic islands before," he said.

Australian scientists last week reported another mass of 20 icebergs drifting north past Macquarie Island.

Glaciologist Neal Young said satellite images showed a group of icebergs, roughly spread over an area of 1000km by 700km, moving with the ocean current away from Antarctica.

The larger icebergs looked as though they had recently been calved off one of the massive icebergs which originally broke off Antarctica's Ross Ice Shelf and the Ronne Ice Shelf in 2000.

  • The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of November 21, 2009.

  • Kiwis flocking to Australia

    The following AAP article, dated November 12, 2009, gives background information:

    Australia should shut the door to thousands of New Zealanders to help stabilise the nation's population at 26 million by 2050, federal Labor backbencher Kelvin Thomson says.

    Migration from New Zealand is uncapped and the number of Kiwis permanently settling has jumped from 16,400 in 2002-03 to 47,800 last financial year.

    Mr Thomson says if Australia is to avoid an "environmental disaster", net overseas migration needs to be slashed from 213,500 to 70,000 a year.

    In particular, the trans-Tasman travel arrangement with New Zealand would need to be renegotiated to do away with "the open door", he said in a speech to a community group in Melbourne on Wednesday.

    Instead, New Zealanders should be offered places made available when people leave Australia to live elsewhere.

    Mr Thomson says population growth in Australia is now a "runaway train".

    Official projections show the country having 35 million people by 2050, which is unsustainable, he said.

    Stabilising the population at 26 million would address "the declining quality of life in our cities, the traffic congestion and the disappearing backyards and open spaces".

    Mr Thomson also wants to cut the skilled migration and family reunion programs, allowing Australia to boost its refugee intake from 13,750 to 20,000 a year.

    The baby bonus should be abolished and family benefit payments restricted to just two children per family, he said.

    The savings made would allow Australia to invest more in skills and training domestically, and increase foreign aid "to enable us to be compassionate, decent international citizens".

    Mr Thomson has delivered several speeches in recent months rejecting Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's assertion that population growth is good for Australia and the economic prosperity of the nation.

    He has called for the rolling back of laws that allow international students to apply from Australia for a skilled permanent residence visa within six months of completing their course.

    More controversially, in August he said the country's migration intake should be slashed so authorities could run more rigorous security checks on applicants.

  • The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of November 13, 2009. It shows Prime Minister John Key talking to Deputy Prime Minister Bill English.

  • Things look up for dairy farmers

    The depiction of smalltown New Zealand in the above cartoon, from the Manawatu Standard of November 12, 2009, is anachronistic. It shows what small towns looked like in the late 19th century. But in stressing the importance, in such rural towns, of dairy giant Fonterra's payout to dairy farmers, it is spot on.

    The following article, from Top News of November 11, 2009, provides background information:

    As confirmed by Fonterra in a recent statement, the company will be increasing its payout to dairy farmers by as much as 20%. The firm also shared that the price of solid milk products would increase by around $1.10 to $5.70 per kilogram. Distributable profit will also be lowered by 15 cents, to stand at 35 cents.

    It has been calculated that the increase would add nearly $110,000 into the bank account of each dairy farmer.

    "The improvement in global dairy markets reinforces that dairying is a business that’s in good heart with sound long-term prospects, both for Fonterra shareholders and the broader New Zealand economy", shared Fonterra Chairman, Sir Henry van der Heyden.

    Fonterra's payout to farmers is made up of two parts - payout on milk solids and distributable profits. While the former is related mostly to milk powder rates, the latter is affected by price of product such as cheese and casein.

    Fonterra has shared that recent trends have renewed the company's confidence in the global dairy market.

    John Key and the national debt

    As transTasman noted on October 15, 2009:

    Finance Minister Bill English who returned at the weekend from London, reports Aust and NZ are “flavour of the month” with overseas investment markets which see the two countries coming out of the recession in better shape than others in the OECD. Aust and NZ did not have a banking crisis, public finances are under control and both are benefiting from the Chinese slipstream. In this climate NZ should have no trouble raising debt, (it needs to borrow $250m a week over the next 3 to 4 years), but the cost of financing the debt will be around $700m a year and add significantly to the fiscal strains of the next decade. Having worked itself out of the last debt cycle over 30 years NZ now faces another debt cycle which may be just as long. Getting out of it won’t be helped by the public perception the Govt is throwing tax-payer’s money away on the free-to-air broadcast rights for the Rugby World Cup.

  • Tom Scott's cartoon is from The Dominion Post of November 3, 2009.

  • Saturday, October 31, 2009

    'Pay freeze in employees' best interests'

    Cartoon from the Manawatu Standard of October 21, 2009.

    The article below, dated October 19, 2009, is a "joint media release" headlined "$29m Tui profit justifies pay freeze – Yeah right" from

    Tui workers in Timaru and Greymouth are giving a collective ‘yeah right’ to Dominion Breweries over the company’s attempt to impose a pay freeze.

    More than 50 Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union and Service and Food Workers Union members began a four day strike this morning, while DB employees in other parts of the country are considering action of their own.

    EPMU national secretary Andrew Little says workers are outraged that DB is trying to impose a pay freeze at a time when it’s still making healthy profits.

    “Beer prices have gone up and frankly selling beer in New Zealand is as easy as organising a piss up in a brewery.

    “DB posted a profit of $29 million for the last financial year, and while we’re all aware of the impact of the recession this is a business that can easily afford to give its workers a fair pay increase.

    “Given their healthy profits it’s just not credible for DB to plead poverty. They shouldn’t be surprised when their workers say ‘yeah right’ to a pay freeze.”

    SFWU assistant national secretary Neville Donaldson says workers have shown good faith in the company.

    “Over the last few years our members have shown flexibility and productivity but are not seeing anything in return. This dispute is as much about respect as it is about money.

    “Rather than use the recession to attack our members DB needs to recognise the steps its workforce has taken to help the business succeed and make them a fair offer.”

    The strike started this morning and will continue until Thursday. Further action has not been ruled out.

    How lucky are we!

    Industrial action a thing of the past?

    From the Manawatu Standard of October 7, 2009.

    Is the recession really over?

    From the Manawatu Standard of October 1, 2009.

    Sunday, October 4, 2009

    Text Link Ads pays me $15

    I have just been paid $15 by Text Link Ads for placing a text-link ad at, one of my many websites. To make money in this way, click on the "Earn While Snoring" advertisement in the column on the right.

    Wednesday, September 30, 2009

    Doing one's 'bit' . . . with organic lemons

    Tom Scott's cartoon in The Dominion Post of September 16, 2009.

    Who's financially illiterate?

    Cartoon from the Manawatu Standard of September 10, 2009. Unfortunately, Mike Moreu has retired as the Standard's cartoonist. Although some of Moreu's cartoons betrayed a lack of understanding of the issue concerned, they were occasionally brilliant.

    Saturday, September 12, 2009

    MP's housing allowance more than minimum wage

    A cynical view of the review of MPs' housing allowances. The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of September 8.

    A press release from the Alliance Party on the same day begins:

    Alliance Party co-leader Kay Murray says it is good news that MPs have decided to shave $1.5 million off their taxpayer-funded housing allowance.

    But MPs will still be entitled to $37,500 a year on top of their $130,000-plus salaries and other allowances, to spend on their accommodation – regardless of whether they already own a home in Wellington.

    The sum of $37,500 a year, or approximately $720 a week, apparently reflects the market rentals in Wellington.

    Ms Murray says MPs should spare a thought for beneficiaries and those on the minimum wage or just above who live in Wellington.

    "A 40-hour week at $12.50 per hour – the minimum wage – will earn a worker a gross income of only $26,000 a year, which is $11,500 less than MPs calculate they need simply for accommodation costs."

    Recession squeezes the police

    New Zealand has enough money to send troops to Afghanistan, but not enough money to maintain essential services at current levels. On September 3, the police were told to find $21 million in cost savings as the Government continued its review of departments.

    The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of September 7.

    Monday, August 31, 2009

    CEO makes big 'sacrifice'

    There was a time, not so long ago, when a CEO's "performance bonus" rewarded him or her for expanding the business. These days, one suspects such bonuses are for the individual's ruthlessness in both getting rid of "surplus" workers and inducing those who remain to work under increasingly harsh conditions. This cartoon by Mike Moreu is from the Manawatu Standard of August 27, 2007.

    The taxation merry-go-round

    Does lower (direct) tax compensate for increased GST (goods and services tax)? Maybe it does, if it becomes a reality for the low-income earner. This cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of August 20, 2009.

    'Fat cats' roasted in media

    When incomes go down, and people start to lose their jobs, those perceived to be living off the fat of the land, at the taxpayer's expense, can come in for more than the usual amount of criticism. The above cartoons, from the Manawatu Standard of August 17, 2009 (top), and August 10, 2009, reflect the public anger over the reports of former MPs jetting off on largely taxpayer-funded holidays.

    The words on the newspaper read: LONDON: Smartly dressed gang in suits escape after huge heist.

    Are night classes really appreciated?

    One of the consequences of the recession in New Zealand has been a cut in funding to educational institutions, and in particular in the funding to night schools for so-called "hobby courses".

    The above cartoon (click to enlarge) is from the Manawatu Standard of August 7, 2009.

    Friday, July 31, 2009

    'Red carpet' out for foreign investors

    Mike Moreu's cartoon of July 25, from the Manawatu Standard, shows New Zealand Finance Minister Bill English enticing foreign investors to our fair shores.

    The following article on New Zealand's new foreign investment policy is a press release from the Labour Party, dated July 24:

    THE Finance Minister’s argument that New Zealand needs more foreign investment because Kiwis don’t save enough is laughable given National’s gutting of Kiwisaver, Labour’s Associate Finance spokesperson David Parker said today.

    “If Bill English believes poor savings is a major contributing factor for needing more foreign investment, can he please explain his decision to cut Kiwisaver in half?” David Parker said.

    “Kiwisaver was designed to encourage savings and tackle New Zealand’s current account deficit. Cutting it in half as National did when it took power further entrenched our poor savings track record.

    “The reality is National this week has shown its hand. Bill English has made his move towards privatisation and loosened foreign investment ownership legislation.

    “National is preparing the ground to enable the privatisation of NZ infrastructure by weakening legislative controls.

    “Bill English says he doesn’t know what strategic assets are, and so is dumping restrictions on their sale to overseas buyers. Well, in Labour we know, and are surprised that he doesn't.

    "Labour favours foreign investment in manufacturing industries, but there is no need to loosen existing rules to achieve this because those sorts of applications are not turned down now. What Labour opposes is the sale of important infrastructure assets, and that is what this rule change is designed to enable.

    “Selling those sorts of assets – like airports and electricity generators - makes NZ poorer. It does not create extra jobs. New Zealanders lose the future profits (including the monopoly profits that infrastructure companies extract by virtue of their monopoly advantages).

    “The foreign investors reap those profits, bank them offshore, and spend them outside of New Zealand. New Zealand gets poorer, not richer, over time by selling our infrastructure. New Zealand needs quality foreign investment, but allowing airports and electricity companies to be flogged off is not in New Zealand’s best interests.

    “This is part of National's privatisation agenda. Who purchased the cornerstone shareholdings of Telecom, Contact and Air New Zealand when they were privatised?

    “Overseas shareholders. History shows they benefited more than New Zealand.

    “Using New Zealand’s poor savings record as a smokescreen for the sale of infrastructure and increased foreign ownership of New Zealand land is disingenuous.

    “So is Bill English's folksy statement that the man in Gore doesn't care if he is employed by a NZ owned company or an overseas owned one, what he needs is a job. This implies there will be more jobs if we sell our infrastructure, which is just not true.

    “National is laying the groundwork for increased privatisation. They should just admit it,” David Parker said.

    Friday, July 24, 2009

    How saving money can end up costing more

    This cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of July 22, 2009. (Click on the cartoon to enlarge it.)

    Tuesday, July 21, 2009

    Thursday, July 9, 2009

    New Zealand banking inquiry scuppered

    To understand these cartoons*, you have to know something about the background. The following article by Adam Bennett, headlined Cunliffe hits out over bank inquiry, appeared in the July 2, 2009, edition of The New Zealand Herald:

    National, Maori Party and Act members of Parliament's finance and expenditure committee voted against an inquiry into the margins banks are charging on variable rate mortgages and short-term business lending, Labour's David Cunliffe says.

    Chairman and National MP Craig Foss said following a briefing from the Reserve Bank, the committee yesterday voted against either an inquiry into the relationship between the official cash rate and short-term interest rates or a wider investigation into "recent banking practices including a particular focus on retail interest-rate margins".

    Labour Party finance spokesman Cunliffe told the Business Herald his party had favoured the broader inquiry covering margins on medium-term rates and credit-card borrowing as well as short-term rates.

    However, on being informed by the Reserve Bank that it was reasonably happy with the medium-term picture, Labour's position was that it would have been satisfied with a narrower inquiry. That was an approach Government members had given "every indication" of supporting.

    Not only does that mean there will be no further action on it from the committee, but it also in my view calls into question the integrity of the process.

    "We went through an exploration, the prima facie case was established by the Reserve Bank, and Government members voted against it anyway.

    "Thousands of New Zealand homeowners, businesses, farmers and exporters have every reason to ask why Parliament's watchdog on the economy is, by a majority vote, choosing to stay muzzled," Cunliffe said.

    Federated Farmers' economics and commerce spokesman, Philip York, said his organisation had also gained the impression there was cross-party support for an inquiry and was now disappointed with the committee's decision.

    Foss said yesterday's decision was made following "various briefings", including additional presentations from the Reserve Bank.

    "I think the committee has a lot more information at hand to reach the conclusion by majority that it did today, but I'm sure all members will be looking forward to the next Financial Stability Report and the next Monetary Policy Statement from the RBNZ."

    Foss also echoed Prime Minister John Key's comments last month that an inquiry was of limited value.

    "At the end of the day an inquiry could only ever inquire. Could it affect and impact on actual interest rates or effect change? Obviously it can't."

    Campaigns director Andrew Campbell of bank workers' union Finsec said the decision "shows the Government is either impotent or on the side of Australian-owned banks".

    "The mere thought of the taxpayer having a look at how they set interest rates is seen as too much. That is a blow to transparency," he said.

    Calls for an inquiry into short-term interest margins came after the RBNZ repeatedly said it was concerned these particular margins were too high given April's 50-basis-point OCR cut.

    The committee picked up on this criticism and published a report calling on the banks to bear more of the burden of the recession.

    It emerged the committee had also received advice from its special adviser warning that excessive bank margins may be worsening the effects of the recession.

    Neither BNZ bank, which has said it would welcome the chance to respond to the committee, nor Westpac, which said it saw no value in an inquiry, would comment yesterday.

    * The first cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of July 4, 2009, and the second cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of July 8, 2009. The character on the right in the second cartoon, saying "No, no, no! I meant REAL solutions!", is Prime Minister John Key.

    Tuesday, June 30, 2009

    Jobs Summit 'incubation period' ends

    During the past 12 years, whenever my company has failed to perform to its owners' expectations, it has invariably called for "ideas". But in the end, it has ignored most of these, and simply made more workers "redundant".

    The above cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of June 29, 2009.

    Sunday, June 28, 2009

    McDonald's has the last laugh

    Fast-food outlets seem to be among the few businesses prospering at the moment. Incidentally, what's the point of telling people they should eat more healthy food when they are increasingly unable to afford to buy it?

    (The above cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of June 26, 2009. Click on the cartoon to enlarge it.)

    Reflections on the 'Jobs Summit'

    I'm surprised that anyone still remembers the "Jobs Summit" of February 27, 2009. I had to go to the New Zealand Herald to refresh my memory. Here is part of what I found:

    "A nine-day working fortnight, an investment fund worth hundreds of millions of dollars and – the surprise item – a cycleway the length of New Zealand are among the few specific ideas to emerge in a 21-point plan to counter the ailing economy.

    "Prime Minister John Key will give priority to working on taxpayer-paid training subsidies for businesses that cut a working fortnight to nine days, with nine days' pay."

    All these proposals seem to have been eclipsed by the continuing loss of jobs.

    (The above cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of June 25, 2009.)

    Monday, June 15, 2009

    No liftoff in economy

    On June 11, the Reserve Bank kept the official cash rate at 2.50 per cent, prompting the above cartoon in the June 12 edition of the Manawatu Standard. Looking at movements in the rate during the past few years, it's hard to believe that, between July 2007 and June 2008 it was unchanged at 8.25 per cent.

    Bank interest rates on the deposits of pensioners are still appallingly low, though they have recently moved to about 4.25 per cent. Someone in the office says, "I'm waiting for the suicide rate among pensioners to skyrocket".

    Saturday, June 6, 2009

    Loaded Web directory a winner

    "Here at Loaded Web we are trying to be the first purely geo-based blog directory. This means we want to organize blogs primarily by geography - where the blogger is from.

    "So we have to grow slowly but surely - first [covering] countries we know a lot about (Canada, the US, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand) before we expand into other countries."

    That's all the info I can find at Loaded Web, which promises to be a very useful directory.

    Yellow Pages for Palmerston North, New Zealand

    Saturday, May 30, 2009

    What does the crystal ball tell you?

    From today's edition of the Manawatu Standard, Palmerston North, New Zealand. Click on the cartoon to enlarge it.

    Goodbye tax cuts, goodbye superannuation

    As New Zealand founders on the rocks of debt, Prime Minister John Key, right, jettisons the Cullen (superannuation) Fund, while Finance Minister Bill English jettisons the promised tax cuts. Oh well, those surpluses were nice while they lasted.

    (The above cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of May 30, 2009.)

    Sunday, May 17, 2009

    Banks are safe, but miserly

    The guy with the wheelbarrow full of cash has a point: the banks, which fall under the Government's deposit guarantee scheme, are safe places in which to put your money. But the downside to safety is that, at present, you won't get more than about 4 per cent interest on your deposit, compared with about 8 per cent a year ago.

    The above cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of May 15, 2009.

    Saturday, May 16, 2009

    More jobs exported to Philippines

    The above cartoon, from the Manawatu Standard of May 14, 2009, couldn't have been published on a "better" day, as this saw the announcement that TeleTech is exporting 144 call-center jobs to Manila. Apparently, New Zealanders will be dispatched to train the Filipino workers.

    Friday, May 1, 2009

    Lane Walker Rudkin hits the wall

    The above cartoon, on the demise of another sector of the New Zealand clothing industry, is from The Dominion Post of April 30, 2009. It's a pity this industry has largely gone down the drain, as the quality of its products was generally high.

    Sunday, April 26, 2009

    Piratical OECD

    A view of the OECD's call for mass privatization in New Zealand. The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of April 20.

    Saturday, April 18, 2009

    Intensive care ward

    If the Chinese stop buying US Treasury bonds, you can bundle the skeleton into a coffin. (From today's edition of the Manawatu Standard.)

    Next holiday in Fiji...or maybe in Foxton

    This blog seems to have turned into a record of business/economy-related cartoons from the Manawatu Standard and Dominion Post. Maybe that's not a bad thing, as a cartoon often summarizes a situation far better than an article. I will, however, eventually get around to commenting again on the economic situation in New Zealand. All I will say at this juncture is that I have not yet been affected by the international crisis. Even my secondhand bookshop, Autumn Leaves, has been making some sales, after launguishing in the doldrums for a few months. Perhaps those who still have jobs (unlike the fellow above) are easing up a little, and thinking that, in the meantime, they may as well get on with life.

    The above cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of April 16.

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009

    The party goes on

    For some, the guzzling at the trough continues unabated. Meanwhile, the rest of us are told, when we timidly inquire about the likelihood of a pay rise: "You're lucky you have a job" (if, indeed, we do have a job).

    "SOE heads," by the way, are the heads of state-owned enterprises.

    (The above cartoon is from yesterday's edition of the Manawatu Standard in Palmerston North.)

    Friday, April 10, 2009

    G20 'rocket' a fizzer?

    The above cartoon is from yesterday's edition of the Manawatu Standard, which brought the news that six science research positions at Massey University in Palmerston North are likely to be abolished.

    "It is understood six horticulture, farm systems management and earth sciences academics will lose their jobs at the Institute of Natural Resources, a branch of the College of Science," the lead story on Page 1 by Michelle Duff says.

    Monday, March 23, 2009

    News with nudges and winks

    Actually, the coverage of important events and issues in New Zealand is so poor, the media could be accused of criminal negligence. Their preoccupation with sport and other trivia, at a time when the world is hurtling towards destruction, is nothing short of insane. Yes, that's what the people want. But would they want so much, if they had an understanding of the dire situation we are in? Are people going to turn round someday, and say, "Why didn't your tell us?" or "Why didn't you give us more analysis, so that we could have made sounder judgments?"

    (The above cartoon is from today's issue of the Manawatu Standard.)

    Tuesday, March 17, 2009

    No mercy for the old nag

    Something I have noticed is that companies are prepared to run their workers, if not their entire operations, into the ground in a (probably vain) attempt to maintain profits. SOEs, by the way, are state-owned enterprises. The "N" on the corpulent jockey's arm is for "National" — the ruling National Party of New Zealand.

    (The above cartoon is from today's edition of the Manawatu Standard.)

    While employment sinks...

    One of the ironies of New Zealand's recent "jobs summit", which was supposed to lead to the creation/retention of jobs, was the speed with which it was followed by further job cuts.

    (The above cartoon is from yesterday's edition of the Manawatu Standard.)

    The apotheosis of greed

    I still remember someone saying, circa 1991, that the masters of our destiny had decided that only greed and fear would bring out the best in people. Well, now we know where that kind of thinking leads.

    (The above cartoon is from yesterday's edition of The Dominion Post.)

    Sunday, March 15, 2009

    Thinking twitteristically

    I have been a member of Twitter since last year, but have only recently started to post tweets on a daily basis. That's because I didn't realize, until about two weeks ago, what a big thing it is becoming in cyberspace — how, for example, it is making ShortURL (and other such services) redundant through This allows you to change your URLs to TwitPWR URLs, and thereby advertise your Twitter account as well as the services/products/information on your sites. Thus, my URL becomes, and my URL becomes Click these links, and you will see what I mean.

    There is also a way in which you can greatly increase your number of followers, and thus the chances of successfully monetizing your Twitter mini-blog. To find out all about this viral system, go to

    Finally, you can grade your Twitter account at For the grade of my account, go to At the time of writing, my grade is 72 out of 100.

    Wednesday, March 11, 2009

    On tweeting your blog

    I haven't done anything to "tweet my blog" yet. In fact, I don't have a blog at Wordpress at the time of writing. But in view of the increasing importance of Twitter as a communication tool, I'll take action pretty soon. (I have been a member of Twitter since last year. See luckykiwi.)

    Sunday, March 8, 2009

    While Rome burns ... or comes crashing down

    The above cartoon is from yesterday's edition of the Manawatu Standard.

    My impression, too, is that people have little comprehension of the kind of world we are heading into.

    Thursday, March 5, 2009

    Enjoy the pain at Surf Mistress

    The surfmistress

    Of course, I couldn't resist!

    On a more serious note: If you surf here, your URL will be circulated in the OptinCombine of traffic exchanges. In other words, it will receive wider exposure than it would normally get at a traffic exchange.