Public Service and 5 weeks leave

Public servants who have been in the job for more than five years willl now be getting an extra week above the legal limit of 4 weeks.

Already public servants appear to work a gentle forty hour week, with time off for family committments, and in most cases no requirement to achieve sales targets.

How then is an extra week justified? In the private sector extra leave is negotiated based on performance. I have heard of some companies giving an extra weeks leave for long service, but this is generally 10 years or more…a substantial time to be in one job.

I had coffee this week with a friend who is looking for employment – his experience on the hunt for a job was that the public sector were paying 20% more than the private sector. And now they’ll throw in an extra week if you hang in there. If they are already paying above the market average what’s with the added sweetener?

I’d like to know.


New Plymouth power station

So the power crisis is so bad that the mothballed power plant in New Plymouth is getting ready to fire up.

Only one small catch – the workers need to be fully kitted out in asbestos proof suits.

Contact say, according to the Reuters article that they have cleared the safety aspect with the Department of Labour. Good for them. I still reckon they are taking a big risk with exposing their workers to the threat of asbestosis, safety gear or not.

Why don’t we all just put another jersey on, and turn a few switches off at the wall?

Super 14 Rugby cards banned!

Don’t worry – they’ve only been banned from Ngaio Primary school where my boys go.

But, I have to tell you that it’s very interesting that the moment the school stops the trading of rugby cards on the school grounds was the very instant my kids lost all interest in the damn things.

Previously they would constantly ‘trade’ with each other and their friends, but it’s like a switch was turned off and the cards now lie forlornly in the bottom of a dresser draw.

Personally, I’m happy that there’s no more pressure to buy chippies, but at the same time the act of trading did actually teach them a few lessons. How to swap cards without arguing; how to recognise and value the cards and arrive at logical conclusions as to why one was more valuable than another…all good things for the future – sort of like a Stock Exchange for six-year-olds.

National and Kiwisaver

Why is it that whenever John Key reveals policy it’s indirectly, either by an errant backbencher, or as a result of Labour releasing their own.

Tax cuts outlined in Michael Cullen’s budget forced John Key’s hand…he was left with nowhere to turn other than to suggest that his increases in cuts would be brought in sooner than 2011.

Then today a backbencher reveals that National doesn’t believe in making employers contribute to the Kiwisaver scheme.


John Key releases his policy to a crowd of journalists in the Parliament lobby where he publicly marginalises Kate Wilkinson (one of the few remaining women in his party) and states quite bluntly that she didn’t know what she was talking about. So much for her self-esteem.

National need to start releasing some policy and quick. Otherwise they’ll begin to lose votes – probably not enough to lose them the election (OK, so I’m admitting here that they are likely to win) but enough that they’ll have to make some serious deals with other parties to hold on to power.

Click Suite blog

Click Suite has a new blog…now I can write about all things new media in work time. Whohoo!

Go here to take a look.

The hype of Tamiflu

It’s interesting to see on Stuff that the government has had to dispose of a large percentage of expired Tamiflu. Was the bird-flu epidemic just a media beat-up? Did the drug companies add to the frenzy and oversell this wonder drug to the New Zealand government?

I have no doubt that there was a genuine fear of the Avian Bird Flu, but there seems no reason why the concern has diminished other than the media has lost interest in it.

Roche knew a year ago that they had an over supply of Tamiflu in New Zealand, and that it was due to expire. They went so far as to gain approval to sell Tamiflu as a non-prescription pharmacy-only medicine. Public could ‘take the test’ on to determine if they had the flu (the common garden variety) and if they met the requirements they could print out their self diagnosis, take it to a pharmacy, and get some Tamiflu to cure it. It was not widely known that Tamiflu combats ALL flu types, not just the bird flu strain.

I don’t have any evidence as to how much Tamiflu was disposed of via this campaign, but I do know that the website was very popluar. [I project managed the design and build of it].

To gain this approval from the government suggests there was a recognition last year that the drug would be expiring and everyone, government included, would be left with a full medicine cabinet.

So, is bird flu less popular now as a world-wide epidemic? Perhaps global warming, interest rates, typhoons and earthquakes have overtaken this perceived threat. Do a search on the NZ Herald website for ‘tamiflu’ and you’ll see 106 stories on the drug and bird flu in general. Just scanning over the headlines makes for interesting reading.

And check out this site for the cumulative deaths as a result of Avian Bird Flu up to April 10, 2008. Worldwide it’s a minute number.

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