Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Lend me your eyes

Moaning pensioners: According to an OECD survey, a lower proportion (equal with the Netherlands and the Czech Republic) of pensioners are below the poverty line than in any other OECD country.
Michael Littlewood, co-director of the University of Auckland Retirement Policy and Research Centre, said: "There are several possible explanations for New Zealand's favourable international position but the most obvious difference between New Zealand and the other 29 OECD countries is the simple, generous New Zealand superannuation pension."
Well, that's good news, right? But trust old people to see the dark cloud next to their silver lining:
However, social policy researcher Charles Waldegrave said if the study were to use the official New Zealand poverty threshold (60 per cent of disposable income levels), New Zealand would place last in the same study. "Most of our superannuants sit in the band between 50 and 60 per cent of median household income."
So... what if the other countries in the study used those same criteria? Would we still come last? Thanks anyway, Charles.
Grey Power president Les Howard said that older people still struggled financially in New Zealand because of flaws in our superannuation system and the effect of the economic downturn.
He's right. I hereby recommend that all old people move to one of those countries that have not been affected by the economic downturn. You know... those ones... over there...

Think tank wank:
Remember popular British PM Tony Blair? Remember how popular he ended up? Remember all those popular initiatives he introduced? Private financing of public projects (or is it the other way around?); Anti-Social Behaviour Orders; the Iraq War. Well, one of the people behind all this innovation is here to advise our government on how to shoot themselves in the foot. What is his innovation? Innovation.

Apparently social innovation is the key to beating the economic crisis, according to Young Foundation founder Geoff Mulgan, rather than bailing out carmakers and retail banks. Which, funnily enough, is exactly what his (and Blair's) own government is doing at the moment, so perhaps he would be of more use over there.

Anyway, what a load of wank.

Welcome back to Rebecca Barry, opinion columnist. Today's opinion: aren't scooters great? Thanks for that. Please don't click the link.

Editing the Telegraph:
Here's an excerpt from the Wikipedia entry on the New Zealand Herald:
The Herald was traditionally seen as a staid centre-right newspaper, and given the nickname "Granny Herald" into the 1990s. This changed with the acquisition of the paper by Independent News & Media in 1996, and today the Herald is generally editorially centre-left on international geopolitics, diplomacy, and military matters, often printing material from British newspapers such as The Independent and The Observer...
Centre-left, you say? Damn librul media. Anyway, this made me laugh when I read it, having looked through the World section of yesterday's paper. Only nine things happened in the world on Sunday, and three of them involved Barack Obama. One of them was what his wife wore. But I digress. The point is that eight of those nine articles were sourced from the Daily/Sunday Telegraph - aka the Torygraph, the broadsheet of the conservative political right. It's not so much that I care about the bias of the world section - it's not as if I get my world news from the Herald - but more that they seem to be more concerned with bulk-buying from one news outlet than getting the 'best' coverage of world events. Today all the world articles are sourced either from the Telegraph or Associated Press, the ultimate source for lazy editors. Perhaps the Telegraph are running some sort of 'buy one, get one free' scheme. At any rate, the Herald need to update their Wikipedia page.



  1. Perhaps the Telegraph's world desk is just A+

  2. Its like buses. Nothing for days, then all of a sudden, three come along all at once.

  3. I used to work with a proud Yorkshireman and UKIP (UK Independence Party) member. We would often walk up to the shops to get lunch together, where he would buy his copy of the Telegraph, or as he used to call it - his daily dose of bigotry.

  4. Surely he could get more virulent bigotry considerably cheaper by buying the Daily Mail instead?

  5. I think the Mail may be a bit like a full fat burger meal:

    You may wish you could have a full-on load of bigotry every day. But, especially when you are getting on in years, you have to look after your heart - and, as usual, that costs money.

  6. If investing 1% of taxes in some vague, non-fungible concept like "Innovation" is the way out of recession, why not just invest directly in the important stuff - e.g. 50% in "Happiness", 30% in "Love", 20% in "Feeling awesome every morning no matter how much you've had to drink the previous night" etc.

    Also... damnit I clicked that link... "join the scooterlution"... "scootlings"... casual references to being in Rarotonga... only two sources, one of which was a friend... "to the behest of" which I'm sure doesn't make sense in that sentence... tell me that wasn't on the opinion page.

  7. What the frick was that scooter article? Is this the same pointless woman who wrote about moving back from London as though it was a novel, ground-breaking topic for any young New Zealander? Add to gazzaj's complaints the utterly pointless use of statistics, and the random comment about the gym (why point out how close it is to your home if you're apparently not even a member...?) and yes, I also think 'to the behest of' made no sense.

  8. Yeah I'm not totally sure... but behest means command, so you can have "obediance to the behest of" someone, or something can be "due to the behest of"... but how can the impossibility of slouching on a scooter logically be commanded by 40-somethings? And shouldn't it be "at the behest of", even if it was something that was capable of being behested?

  9. To answer your questions:

    - Yes, it was on the Opinion page
    - Yes, it was the same woman who wrote no opinion about living in the UK
    - Yes, I do want to shoot myself

  10. it should definitely be ‘at the behest of’ and I doubt a bunch of 40-year old scooter riders have put in an official request to any scooter manufacturers. The spelling and grammar of the Herald could fill an entire blog post. Rebecca Barry used to write the Herald's entertainment pages and is a good writer, especially on music, but she’s been stuck in a ridiculous place in the paper, and either given stupid topics, or allowed to choose stupid topics to write about. I think the Herald probably just felt sorry for her coming back from her OE with no job (see her first article) and thought they’d give her one.