The tail’s preparing to wag the dog

Mixed Member Proportional Representation (MMP) is a vast improvement over our old First Past the Post voting system. Sections of the community who were marginalised under First Past the Post now have a voice. That’s certainly true of Maori, the Greens, and Winston First’s indefatigable blue rinse brigade.
To a degree it’s a good thing.

How long before it becomes an anchor around the legislative neck and makes government impossible?

Where will it all end?

Somebody tell me what to do

I’d like a Gray Power Party to boost my New Zealand Superannuation. What about a Kate Sheppard Ladies’ Party with a persondate to banish manholes to Personchuria. Can we do without a Jockstrap Party to declare the Rugby World Cup ours as of right? There’s definitely a need for a Petrolheads’ Party for the promotion of phallic exhaust pipes for the under-endowed, and a Wouldn’t Work in an Iron Lung Party for the equitable redistribution of filthy capitalistic gains.

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Check your prejudices

ballot box

People don’t vote for policies

In the UK a couple of elections back, the website Vote For Polices showed that when asked to chose their preferred policies without knowing which party’s policies they were, voters preferred the Green Party. The Conservatives fared badly.

vote for policies choices

For whom did they vote in the real world? Yep; the Conservatives, who should have been fourth choice.

Now it’s your turn

Here are two websites where you can check your actual preferences for the imminent New Zealand election. I think “I Side With” is the most realistic:

Please check them out. You will be surprised. For me, I Side With produced a more credible result than Vote Compass; they allow users more sensible fine-tuning of the alternatives. Even so, I was surprised to find that New Zealand First came high on my list.

That led me to check New Zealand First’s policies, and another surprise – despite Winston Peters’ devious, opportunistic, and waka-jumping ways – his party’s policies are, mostly, surprisingly sensible.

Not enough to encourage me to vote for him though.

Sorry Winnie.

Here is my result from “I Side With”

Some of my old friends will be horrified, but my swing to the left has been on-going since waking up to the total failure of neo-liberal policies.

Here are my results from “Vote Compass”

Mana’s position was a surprise too, but despite Hone Harawera’s radical activist past, his policies too are generally sensible. I’d like to see him make his peace with the Maori Party and avoid splitting their vote.

 

 

 

 

SuperBike

Volto e-bike review

After researching the available electric bikes in New Zealand, I concluded that the best bang for the buck is the range of 3 e-bikes from Volto in Tauranga. A 10 minute test drive on one of Pete Wilcox’s bikes at Rockgas Wanganui‘s e-bike agency left me smitten.

The Volto bikes are manufactured in China, but designed by New Zealanders for our conditions.

TDE_blue_web1200
The Volto Falcon e-bike

Safety first

Contrary to my expectation, I feel safer on the e-bike in city traffic than I do on my conventional bike. The extra acceleration available, especially from a standstill, makes it easier to keep up with the flow in busy city traffic; you’re not being shunted to the side of the road and made vulnerable to negligent car drivers who’re dying to open their doors in your face, or to suddenly back out of an angled parking space because they didn’t see you coming. Or maybe because they did.   :o)

At stop signs and traffic lights, the same applies; I’m less vulnerable because I can accelerate as easily as a car, again, avoiding being shunted to the side of the road.

The bike

The Volto (mine’s a Falcon) has 3 power levels; I haven’t found it necessary to go beyond level 1, even on steepish hills. Higher levels give you more boost on the flat, but when you’re putting in extra effort on a steep hill you get maximum assistance even on level 1. My perception: hills are flattened by a factor of about five; head winds are forever vanquished.

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Evernote

Top choice for note taking software

Evernote logo

If you have random data scattered around your computer, a digital scrapbook of clippings, recipes, scanned receipts, reference data, web clippings… stuff that you squirrel away because maybe you’ll need it one day then Evernote is your friend.

I’ve been testing a number of other similar programs but, bang for buck, Evernote is still my #1 choice.

It’s come into a bit of flack recently because the company have changed the rules for the free version, and changed the pricing structure. We’ll cover that later in this post.

Evernote makes filing and quickly retrieving your data easy. Your notes, files and images are saved to your computers’ hard drives and simultaneously to Evernote’s own servers. Its main raison d’etre is quick and easy location of those data. You have the advantages of online storage, instant powerful search capability, and automatic synchronization between your computers, tablets, and smartphones and between them and the cloud.
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Big Oil is holding us to ransom, right?

Wrong

It’s Big Pharma and the Banksters.

Big Oil well

The average earnings as a percentage of turnover by oil companies over recent years is around 5%.

The average earnings as a percentage of turnover by the banks and the manufacturers of pharmaceuticals is around 20% !

So if you’re in need of $100,000 annual treatments for treatment for breast cancer, or if you’re an African with AIDS earning $1 a day, I hope you’ll be pleased that the drug manufacturers are doing so well.

The latest figures I’ve found courtesy of the BBC:
profit margins

If all else fails guys, RTFM

Read The F**king Manual!Red Peak cartoon

The New Zealand Flag Consideration Panel are an august and varied bunch of highly respected and accomplished Kiwis from a wide range of backgrounds.

12 people on a committee is probably 8 or 9 too many to come up with a good outcome, but you’d expect a good decision anyway from smart people given clear guidelines.

Except!

They totally ignored their mandate. The makeup of most of the final 40 selection, and all of the final four, didn’t meet the criteria they’d been given. Those criteria were clear, in line with the advice of vexillologists, and borne out by many other successful national flags.

Like most people, I didn’t appreciate the vast difference between a static 2 dimensional corporate type logo and a 3 dimensional flag moving dynamically in the breeze. I listened to people who understood the task and now I get it. Not so the $640 a day Eminent and August Persons Group. They didn’t get it and they still don’t. Nor does tunnel visioned Prime Minister John Key.

Decide for yourself:

A dearth of decency

Keep calm and avoid selfish peopleWhat is it with people?

A while back I gave one of my favourite places, Whanganui’s Red Eye Café, a miss because some inconsiderate idiot had parked precisely dead centre between two car parks taking up both and leaving no space for my little Freelander. I headed down the road for Oggie’s Café instead.

On the way I passed a man pushing a beat up van in the opposite direction. I stopped a hundred metres up the road and walked back to lend a hand. “May I help?” said I.

He looked at me dead-faced and said “No.”

Nothing more. No thank you; it’s OK; or kiss my backside. Just a flat expressionless “No.”

“You’re welcome.” I said, and trudged back up the road in a less enthusiatic frame of mind.

Perhaps for the first time in human history, the Good Old Days really did have something going for them. No wonder we have selfish and venal politicians and up-themselves media celebrities. The ubiquitous screen is corroding our ability to communicate and relate to people face-to-face; and it’s giving us Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, and the Kardashians.

The incidents I talked about above are becoming common. It’s going to get worse. From the cradle we’re encouraging our children to sink into the digital world, more and more they’re communicating electronically and learning how to behave from mainly toxic and obnoxious media.

There will be unhappy consequences.

ignorance