To my mind, John Key has been getting worse as he goes along. I remember listening to an interview he gave on Nat Radio right after ousting Don Brash, and I was (to my surprise) impressed. Key was brimming with confidence, articulate, energetic... and (at least as I recall) he answered questions directly, without fluffing around. Part of me (the pinko lefty labour-voting part) thought, uh-oh, here's some serious competition. However - maybe it's just because the contrast with Brash (cf clueless extremism, woeful political instinct etcetc) was so pronounced - but I also felt a great sense of relief that a decisive, sensible person would end up in charge if National actually won the next election.
Suffice to say, I don't feel so confident any more! Key ducks, he flubs, and that AWFUL video ("I'm ambitious for NZ") just sank my boat (probably the PR company's idea, but if Key can't spot a stinker like that, I'm not brimful of optimism for his future as PM). A shame, as I think he WILL end up as PM at this rate, but I don't think he'll survive long and I can't see another leader of HC's competence anywhere on the political spectrum.
Ps my mum lives on Waiheke, so we'll probably be there too! And having complained for years myself about all the 'townies' clogging up the roads with their flash cars, we'll be taking ours, as Mum's decrepit little Honda City is in no fit state to carry a baby seat. Parenthood makes pragmatists of us all...
Well done Rich, you're officially a smartypants. Mind you, given current high interest rates, 9% has always seemed like a bloody stingy rate of return to me, given that you could get as much as 8.5% just by sticking your money in a savings account last time I checked. Can't understand why people would bother going there, naivete notwithstanding...?
Word of the year: Debenture (= unsecured debt backed only by the integrity of the borrower, not by collateral).
Wrt James Harton & patronising commiserations... as a new(ish) mummy of a 13 week old lass, I have to say all those people were right, I didn't know what I was geting myself into! But the big surprise was not that breastfeeding was agonising for the first 2 weeks; that babies can apparently store up litres of poo at a time; or that they get themselves horrendously worked up over nothing, and then fall peacefully into angelic sleep just as suddenly once you've gone spare trying all manner of strategies and tonics to calm them without success; etc etc.
Nope, the surprising, overwhelming thing (other than the really impressive man-sized farts) was the absolute adoration I felt for this funny little creature right from the moment I clapped eyes on her. This will sound terribly soppy but the toughest thing in the first few weeks of parenting wasn't any of the above - it was putting her down in her own bed when all I wanted to do was cuddle and smooch her! A couple of days after we arrived home, I went for a 20 min walk round the block by myself and bawled my eyes out from halfway as I missed her so much!
Thankfully, that was mainly hormones and I have gotten a grip now(!) but my adoration has grown rather than diminished - all my plans to parent with a firm and consistent hand are in disarray as she has me wrapped around her little finger. But - the other pleasant surprise was that the mummy-skills just seemed to be there... as soon as she arrived, I felt like I knew what to do! So bollocks to nasty, judgmental, bah-humbug types who don't believe in procreating. Also bollocks to the vast swag of parenting manuals and experts who love to boss insecure new parents about! Parenting is the bomb, it'll make you nostalgically remember all the best parts of your own childhood and give you the best excuse in the world to recreate them. Some parts are hard, but (unless you're quite unlucky) it's mostly a gas!
Ok, enough shmoo! My own advice is specifically to the bloke: if mummy is breastfeeding, she'll be powerfully thirsty all the time, so offer her a drink whenever she sits down with baby to feed... honestly, you feel fine until baby starts to suck, and then it's like you've been teleported into the desert.
Has anyone heard a broadcast journalist put that contradiction to Sue Kedgley?
NO, and this is what I've found most irritating with regard to media coverage on this issue (with yourself a notable exception, Russell) - plenty of airtime has been given to the opponents of the bill (and I guess rightly so) but in a fairly uncritical way, I think... ie they've been given lots of opportunity to rail against the bill, more or less unchallenged - even when they talk bollocks like "the majority of New Zealanders oppose this legislation" (don't you hate that??).
Only now that it's been 'parked' do we get any kind of cool-headed analysis of what the bill was actually trying to achieve, and the disadvantages of not going with it. It seems to me that this approach is intended to prolong the debate (and the newsworthiness of the story) rather than illuminate the issues.
Wrt Bart's comments on the Greens - yep I'm similarly disappointed. Mostly, I support and admire their political stance, and I think they've got some great brains... but then they have these episodes of going all wild and woolly on particular issues (GE was a classic) and refusing to engage in rational debate, at which point I just give up on them again. Not so different from other political parties I guess, but they do aim to be "the thinking person's political party" so it galls me all the more when they insult my intelligence.
Hmph. I don't think Copeland's decision has all that much to do with the Bradford bill - given that he's been seriously ruminating on this move since January (a VERY long time in politics!). I think he's conscious that UF has been bleeding support because it's not clearly distinguishing itself from the major parties (as was the case with the Alliance/ Progressives/ whatever they ended up being called), and he's betting that he's not going to end up representing UF in Parliament after next year anyway - so if he wants to establish any kind of platform & profile for a new party before the next election, he'd better make the break now.
Copeland's position of the Bradford bill is a useful justification for his move as it's better to make the break because of a point of difference (as opposed to just being fed up generally), and it's guaranteed to get some media coverage and the germ of a support base from people who are conservative Christians but want a less rabid alternative than Brian Tamaki. I don't consider his move to be a cynical one, rather I believe it's a fair political strategy - but that's my explanation for why the rationale he's offered doesn't bear close scrutiny.
Finn Family Moomintroll! one of my favourite kids' series ever! I'd completely forgotten about them, thanks for the reminder David/ Joe...
Fascinating post, I'm willing to bet that solutions to global warming lie in the soil and the sea, as bacteria & fungi are the main regulators of global nutrient & energy cycles. It's all very tantalising, hope we hear more...
I'm bloody delighted at yesterday's outcome, myself, and sorely tempted to describe it in such terms as "sensible" and common-sense" - but I won't, for fear of sounding like a United Future voter (:P)...
I sigh when I see all this dicussion, straw-polling and the like around the employment of light smacks versus riding crops, as I think these examples avoid the heart of the difficulty with defining an appropriate level of force to use on a child. I mean, what about one or more heavy smacks? Or very frequent use of light-to-medium smacking whenever a child comes within arm's reach, just because they're an annoyance? There's a lot more to consider than how and where each individual smack is administered.
In own my childhood I recall going to friends' houses and witnessing awful parental behaviour that really amounted to systematic bullying - a smack for some minor, unintentional affront, followed by several more for crying about it, then perhaps a few more again for not fixing up the original problem properly etcetc. I also think that it's this 'normalising' use of smacking/ hitting/ pushing around that ultimately leads to worse violence, as the lesser punishments lose their effectiveness.
I don't buy the argument that parents can discipline their kids just as they like unless violence is at a level that threatens life or limb. Reminds me of the bad old days when domestic violence was none of our business either.
I recognise there are a lot of other ways to be mean to kids than hitting, but I'm happy to see this one go the way of the 'rule of thumb'.
"Sarah, please provide hard evidence. Easy to intimate that it was rigged, hard to prove."
Ah yes, indeed. I have no proof at all, just a feeling (by the pricking of my thumbs...)