Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reserve Bank's forecasts discouraging

"Worsening global economic conditions have led the Reserve Bank [to] shave nearly 1% off its growth forecasts for the next three years," Rob Hosking reported in The National Business Review of December 8.

"GDP growth is now expected to total 8.3% over the next three years: back in September the Reserve Bank's forecast was for 9.1%. Volatility from the Eurozone and a 'modest' downturn in the hitherto booming Asia-Pacific export markets are all cited as reasons for a more restrained growth path.

"A 'soft' domestic economy is the other main reason.

"Several factors are driving this: the almost daily news diet of economic crises in the north Atlantic economies is having an effect on consumer and — to a lesser extent, surprisingly — business sentiment. The noises of financial panic from offshore will also have a more tangible impact on retail interest rates."

The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of December 17, 2011.

Kids queue with Christmas wishes

Cartoon from the Manawatu Standard of December 7, 2011.

NZ Government generous: building more jails

"Compared with other Western democracies, New Zealand seems to be keen on sending its citizens to prison," Roger Brooking comments at Pundit.

"Our prison population has been rising for the last 50 years, and in October 2010 reached a total of 8,892 inmates. New Zealand now locks up 199 people per 100,000 of its population.

"According to the International Centre for Prison Studies at Kings College in London, this gives us the second-highest rate of imprisonment out of 29 countries in the Western world. This is higher than Britain and Canada, even though those countries both have greater rates of violent crime than New Zealand. And it puts us in the company of Third World countries like Gabon, Namibia and Libya (currently in a state of civil war), which have very similar rates of imprisonment to ours. It even puts us higher than Colombia, despite the drug-related murder and violence going on there."

The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of November 8, 2011.

National and Labour square off

"Show me the money [that will pay for Labour's policies]," Prime Minister John Key snarls at the hapless Phil Goff, leader of the opposition, shortly before the November 26 general election.

The response comes in no uncertain terms from the electorate (which returned Key's National Party to power nonetheless).

The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of November 7, 2011.

A referendum on the operation?

A good point, even though the analogy doesn't really work. If you believe in democracy, you can't oppose the right of the people of any country to have a say on their future. Or do we now believe that democracy is "a luxury we can no longer afford" — like the rule of law?

The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of November 4, 2011.

New Zealand's clean, green image fouled

Two farmers survey the MV Rena, which ran aground on Astrolabe Reef, off Tauranga, on October 5, spilling large amounts of oil. Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of October 14, 2011.

New Zealand badly tarred

The world's financial situation is compared to that of the MV Rena, stuck on Astrolabe Reef, off Tauranga, since October 5. Oil from the stricken container ship has fouled local beaches.

The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of October 11, 2011.

Think Big makes a comeback

"Hekia" is Hekia Pareta, currently the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Minister for Ethnic Affairs, the Acting Minister of Energy and Resources, and Associate Minister for ACC and for the Community and Voluntary Sector.

Think Big was an interventionist state economic strategy that saw the government borrow heavily overseas and use the funds for large-scale industrial projects. "Some commentators believe the schemes delivered net benefits to the private sector only," says Wikipedia.

The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of August 31, 2011.

Only the (ignorant) poor pay tax

Cartoon from the Manawatu Standard of August 26, 2011.

New Zealand and India get engaged

"The talks between John Key and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [in New Delhi on June 28] were supposed to be all about a free trade deal, but they took a detour to defence," Patrick Gower, of 3 News, reported on June 29.

"We now have what is being called a 'deeper relationship' with a nuclear superpower.

"It has helped New Zealand almost close a deal that could double trade by one billion dollars virtually overnight and be as big as that with China over time.

" 'The India-New Zealand relationship is poised for all round expansion,' says Mr Singh.

"John Key says that both nations see 'potential for far deeper and richer cooperation'.

"Translated, that means opening up the 10th-biggest economy in the world to Kiwi exporters is 'oh so close'.

"India has certainly been welcoming, even if the opening tune was a little offbeat.

"But New Zealand had to give something back — and this was the surprise.

"Mr Key revealed that New Zealand and India will also be working together to deepen their defence relationship.

"India is a nuclear superpower whose armed forces number one and a half million; New Zealand's number just 14,000."

The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of June 29, 2011.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Rich pickings for building industry

On June 8, Fairfax News reported:

"Contractors carrying out property inspections of quake-damaged Christchurch homes are being paid about $4000 a week.

"The Earthquake Commission (EQC) has employed 414 contractors to carry out the assessments on its behalf, Radio New Zealand reported.

"Builders and contractors had inspected almost 20,000 damaged homes in Christchurch, EQC said.

"Contractors are paid $75 an hour, while the builders, who inspect the damage, receive $60 an hour, the broadcaster said.

"Contractors who are not from Christchurch are put up in EQC-selected hotels and given a daily allowance of $70.

"If they choose to arrange their own accommodation they receive $130 a day to cover expenses."

The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of June 9, 2011.

Celebrities blamed for misleading adverts

The most misleading advertisements of recent times were those in which Richard Long, who fronted One News between 1988 and 2003, promoted Hanover Finance, which in 2008 froze repayments to investors owed $554 million.

Long's voiceover ads ran several times each night late in 2007 saying, "This One Weather update is brought to you by Hanover, a New Zealand business with the size and strength to withstand any conditions."

At the time of writing, there is a possibility of legal action being taken against Long. But even if it isn't, there is no chance of Long endorsing anything again. He has zero credibility.

The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of June 4, 2011.

Friday, December 23, 2011

When the ship sinks, the rich survive

"First Officer Key" is New Zealand Prime Minister John Key — an extremely wealthy man, by the way. The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of June 3, 2011.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

High dollar makes things tough for some

Throughout the year, the Kiwi dollar has ranged between .73c and .87c in value, in relation to the US dollar.

The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of June 1, 2011.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Funny photos from

"A hearty laugh lengthens your life."

That's the comforting assurance of a Swedish proverb that is gaining increasing support from the medical profession.

So a sense of humor is possibly as important, as we grow older, as diet, exercise, and "good, wholesome living" — as my abstemious grandmother used to call it.

But where does one go, on a daily basis, for a guaranteed chuckle, if not always the kind of convulsive laughter that will have everyone within earshot wanting to know what you have discovered?

Well, the answer could be "to" — a site that bills itself as "the funniest on the Net", where you will find galleries of funny pictures, videos and photos that are constantly expanding.

I have just spent half an hour browsing in its "Top FAILs of the day" gallery, where I found several of the journalistic gaffes that every headline and/or advertising copy writer prays to avoid.

"The average North American consumes more than 400 Africans" reminded me of a newspaper headline that appeared shortly after the end of World War II: "Hitler's body not yet found. Famine looms."

I was also amused by the photo, labeled "Ultimate Laziness FAIL", which shows a roadside white line — designed to keep errant drivers out of the ditch — carefully skirting a protruding fallen branch. This reminded me of a similar white line along the side of a New Zealand road, which had gone right over the top of a dead possum.

But whatever your interest or flight of fancy, you are sure to find plenty to keep you entertained at It's a site that will lighten the dullest day — as the 212,789 people who have liked it at Facebook will surely agree.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Chinese vulture wears a panda mask

"China's enormous sovereign wealth fund, the China Investment Corporation, may have set aside up to 1.5 per cent or about $6 billion of its massive foreign exchange reserves to invest in New Zealand assets, including government bonds, companies and potentially dairy farms," the New Zealand Herald reported on May 26, 2011. Some see Chinese investment as predatory, despite outward appearances. The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of May 31.

All will be well if we keep our fingers crossed

On May 19, the New Zealand Treasury said the economy was expected to gather momentum through 2011 and into 2012, and grow by an average of around 3% a year during the next four years. In this cartoon, from the Manawatu Standard of May 21, the Government keeps its fingers crossed.

New Zealand worker caught in a vise

Cartoon from the Manawatu Standard of May 19, 2011. It followed the announcement on March 21, by New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, that the Government would cut $800 million in new spending from the May budget in a bid to reduce the country's debt level.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Thursday, July 7, 2011

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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Quake fault line runs through NZ budget

Cartoon from The Dominion Post of March 23, 2011.

Quakes a body blow to business

Cartoon from the Manawatu Standard of March 23, 2011. Companies have been prevented from entering the devastated central business district of Christchurch even to retrieve vital equipment.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Second Canterbury earthquake drains NZ Treasury

The second Canterbury earthquake, which struck the Christchurch region on February 22, 2011, cost insurers an estimated US$12 billion (NZ$16 billion). The cartoon is from The Dominion Post of March 8, 2011.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Earthquake deals New Zealand a body blow

In the wake of the devastating earthquake that struck the Christchurch area on February 22, the country struggles to put its "lost star" back into place. Sadly — from my point of view, as a lender — the quake has also precipitated a rush of predictions the Reserve Bank will slash the official cash rate.

Whenever there is a crisis, the elderly, who rely on the interest they receive on their savings, are sacrificed. Yet one rarely hears anything said about this. One does, however, hear constant exhortations to save more — despite the pitifully low return the diligent saver receives.

The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of February 26, 2011.

Is industry to have a charitable role?

The ETS issue aside, I think it's a little unrealistic to expect a domestic producer of an item to sell it for less than he/she can make for it overseas. The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of February 21, 2011.

Economic crisis knocked for six by cricket

I read somewhere that while Rome was being sacked, the Romans were at the Games. Well, why shouldn't they have been there? After all, nothing is more important than entertainment. The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of February 19, 2011.

BMW: Better make way (for your superiors)?

Cartoon from the Manawatu Standard of February 18, 2011. It's an allusion to the Government's recent upgrading of its fleet of BMW limousines — a perceived affront to all those queuing at the food bank these days.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Wealth gap widening in New Zealand

I wasn't in New Zealand in the 50s and 60s. (I was in England in the 50s, and in Japan in the 60s.) But I do remember the decades in which society seemed to be moving in a more egalitarian direction. The cartoon is from The Dominion Post of January 26, 2011.

Drought and flood hit Australasia

Sign of the times: Drought in New Zealand, flood in Australia (after a decade of drought). Since this cartoon was published — in the Manawatu Standard of January 13 — parts of New Zealand have also been hit by heavy rain and flooding. It's all a bit depressing, as a constant cycle of drought and flood eventually creates a desert. Stand by for rocketing food prices.

Sharks cut out fast food

Cartoon from the Manawatu Standard of January 6, 2011.

Property developers snap up choice coastal spots

Cartoon from the Manawatu Standard of January 5, 2011.