Barefoot promotion?

John Miller, a podiatrist in Tauranga, has raised the spectre of young people with malformed feet – due to running barefoot.

Surely this is a blatant promotional effort on his behalf. Kiwi kids have always run and played barefoot. Is there any data to suggest that we have worse feet than our counterparts in areas where they don’t run in barefeet?

I’d be more concerned with the popularity of Crocs. Anecdotally I had heard that ACC has noticed a sharp increase in ankle injuries due to the rise in the number of people wearing this type of footwear. This could be a croc of sh*t, but the experience of one of our children wearing Crocs all Easter would support the theory – I got tired of seeing him sprawled on the ground bleeding from the knees.

In our family Crocs are now banned from being worn outside.

Millie Elder

Interesting how Millie Elder, convicted of drug offences, gets a sentence of 12 months supervision and Stuff places the story in the Entertainment section.

TVNZ and Sunday

For two weeks in a row the Sunday program has played only one local item out of the three they usually put to air. That equates to about 12 minutes of a commercial hour on TV.

I’ve been incensed about this for some time, given that Sunday received the lions share of funding from NZ On Air. I have just looked it up online and found this story in the NZ Herald.

$2.77 million dollars for one item a week.  As John Drinnan points out that figure would “keep all of Radio New Zealand – including National Radio and Concert FM – on air 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for a month.”

And what’s more the item tonight from BBC Panorama first aired in the UK on 14 May 2007 – so it’s hardly breaking news.

Motorcycle law change – it’s about time

News late last week that the government is intending to change the motorcycle laws was welcomed by me, and probably many others.

The news reported by the NZ Herald here suggests that learner and restricted motorcycle licence holders would only be able to ride motorcycles which did not exceed a power-to-weight ratio of 150 kilowatts a tonne and were not too physically large for the rider.

This one clause is an eminently sensible idea. There are many 250cc motorbikes that have speed and power that far exceed much bigger engined cruisers.

“Mr Duynhoven said since 2001 the number of motorcycles had risen by 28 per cent and over the same period people injured in motorcycle accidents had increased a “staggering” 80 per cent.”

This has to be due in part to more people taking up motorcycles as an answer to rising fuel costs.

Also, anecdotally I understand that there are far more ‘older’ riders who, having ridden as youngsters on less powerful machines, are now buying big bikes on the full license they passed 30 years before, and not being prepared for the subsequent increase in power of the newer lighter machines.

Mortgage rates going through the roof?

I got such a hard time for my John Key comments by Johnny-Johnny at www.umami.co.nz that I promised him I’d try and find a more balanced argument to ‘reflect’ the other side.

John kindly pointed out to me an NZ Herald article where Helen Clark appeared to be confused about whether mortgage rates were going through the roof or not. I saved the link in my Google Notebook and have only just read the article in it’s entirety.

Here’s the quote which piqued Johnny-Johnny’s interest:

A transcript of the interview shows she suggested plans by National would require big cuts to the public service and would see “your mortgage rate going through the roof because the system couldn’t stand it”.

The presenter responded: “It’s going through the roof with your lot.”

But the Prime Minister dismissed that: “Well no, no, it’s not going through the roof.”

Questioned again, she went on to explain that inflation was “just right on top” of the Reserve Bank’s target band, and was “similar to where things are” in Australia.

Sorry Johnny-Johnny but I have to agree with the Prime Minister that mortgage rates are NOT going through the roof. House prices might have been (look here), but mortgage rates aren’t…indeed there is talk of interest rates reducing before the year end, and if the stats are to be believed house prices are also falling, or at least levelling.

I’m a baby boomer. I bought my first house in 1988 when an interest rate on a first mortgage was around 16.5% (They had peaked at 20.5% in 1987!) There was no such thing back then as a fixed mortgage (they were introduced in the late 90′s), so we were always at the whim of the banks. Take a look at the graph on the Reserve bank site.

I think mortgage rates have a long way to go before they reach the levels of the late 80′s – and I think if they did reach those levels then they would indeed be ‘going through the roof’.

Not so rosy in Australia

John Key is not going to be able to use the “New Zealanders flee to Australia in record numbers” line for much longer as a criticism of the New Zealand economy, and by inference using it to attack Labour.  The economic outlook for the Aussies is as bad there as it is here.

According to The Age the collapse of the American property market is making itself felt in Australia, just as we are seeing a mild collapse here. As well The Business Age says:

  • real estate sales in Melbourne are at an 18 month low
  • job ads fell by 5.9% – the first time since January 2005
  • interest rates are on the rise
  • a Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence Rating survey showed intention to buy was at its lowest in seven years
  • less than a third of Australians expect good financial times in the next 12 months
  • the unemployment rate is up

Does this sound like a place you might want to move to? Does it sound like everything that John Key says is wrong with New Zealand?

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