Category: Politics

Rankin on Sunday

Christine Rankin on TVNZ's Sunday

Christine Rankin on TVNZ's Sunday

Christine Rankin appeared on Sunday last night.

Janet McIntyre read a statement from Margo McAuley’s sister. Christine Rankin read her own.

What possesses Christine Rankin to keep trying to justify her life to the nation? She should just be quiet. The more appropriate course of action would have been to accept the Family Commission position and then shut up. Just don’t engage with the media. Perhaps she’s using Glenda Hughes, who similarly instructed Tony Veitch to talk to the media when what he should have been doing was keeping his head down.

Christine Rankin knows how the media works. She knows that everything she says, especially now, will cause controversy. As hard as it is for her she needs to button her lip and take advice from the Prime Minister and only comment on things to do with families and children.

”As far as I’m concerned she’s been appointed a commissioner, one of seven in a part-time job, to advocate for families and particularly because of her expertise when it comes to abused children,” Mr Key said today.

”That’s what I want to hear her talking about and nothing else.”

Christine Rankin stupidly went on prime time television and made a statement that completely contradicts what Margo McAuley’s family believes happened – this only piques our interest.

Now we all want to know who is telling the truth.

Christine and Margo

Christine Rankin

Christine Rankin

I couldn’t understand why I was getting an extraordinary number of hits on my Margo McAuley blog post until I saw the Herald on Sunday.

A mainstream newspaper has finally revealed what many of us in Wellington have known for months – that Margo McAuley tragically took her own life in part because of her husband’s affair with Christine Rankin.

Six months after Margo McAuley’s funeral Christine Rankin is appointed a Family Commissioner.

Should we be concerned?

Christine Rankin confessed to Mark Sainsbury on the day after her appointment that after four marriages (the last to Margo McAuley’s ex-husband) she has “learned a lot”. The question would be, does whatever she has learned help her in any way to be a Family Commissioner?

Christine Rankin had an affair with the man that was married to Margo MacAuley, and in helping to break up that marriage, however under pressure that marriage was, added to Margo MacAuley’s grief that in turn led her into taking her own life.

Can Christine Rankin act appropriately as a Family Commissioner? Can National continue to support her appointment? Can National continue to support Paula Bennett who went behind Peter Dunne’s back to appoint her in the first place?

There will be more to come on this I’m sure.

Push Play stopped

The Sunday Star Times reported on May 3 that John Key and the National Government are following through on overhauling the sporting sector. This includes cutting budgets at SPARC, the agency that gave us Push Play and Mission On.

The jury is out on Mission On and whether it has provided impetus to young people to do things other than sit in front of a television or computer screen. Ironically Mission On was based around a website, and so Key immediately dismissed it as being a waste of tax money. In fact, Key suggested they could provide sporting equipment to every primary school in the country for the money spent on the Mission On site. This may have been true but it takes teachers to teach, and giving kids soccer balls is less than half the solution. And what do the 28,268 kiwi kids who have signed up to Mission On do once the website is closed down. National would have them join the local rugby club.

The Push Play campaign has surely been successful in getting New Zealanders to think about making healthy choices. “Take the stairs instead of the lift”, “Exercise for 30 minutes every day”…all of these little homilies, that I remember, are as a result of the long term Push Play campaign.

It seems ludicrous to me that a government that will, and is, witnessing an increase in obesity and associated health problems is removing this sort of encouragement from our daily lives. They say they will concentrate on providing funding to sports clubs. This will only target some of New Zealand.

The effectiveness of campaigns like Push Play and Mission On are difficult to measure. But that doesn’t mean we should throw them out.

SPARC are now going to align their strategy with National’s objectives – concentrating on school sport, children’s sport, high performance development and identification of our next sporting heroes. Anyone not already a member of a sports club will undoubtedly miss out.

Internet blackout

Internet blackoutJust watched on my ‘copy’ of the TV3 6 o’clock news the protest that took place in the grounds of Parliament today lunchtime.

Protesters were concerned about Section 92a of the Copyright Act. This section says if a user is accused of downloading material (such as video’s and music) that they don’t hold the rights to (in other words illegal downloads) then their ISP can cut off their internet connection.

Now, there is something to be said about ‘innocent until proven guilty’ – and in this case it seems that your privileges can be removed before you have been tried and found guilty.

But, I would say to the protesters, if you don’t want your connection cut then don’t illegally download music and videos that aren’t yours to download. Haven’t you seen the ads? Illegal downloading is stealing. Simple as that.

On the other hand, being punished before being found guilty doesn’t seem fair either.

In saying all of that – copyright laws in New Zealand need some serious work. As an ex-photographer the fact that a commissioner of a photographer owned the copyright before the image had even been taken riled me. As far as I know this section of the act has not been repealed, and we continue to lag behind the rest of the world in protecting the rights of those that make the work.

So, perhaps Section 92a is trying to right some of those wrongs. As Arthur Baysting from APRA pointed out on the TV3 item, incomes of performers and artists has reduced drastically from illegal downloading. But is Section 92a the best way to fix the problem?

Cost of healthcare

Last week our house was wracked with ill health – the week before I returned to work. So bad was it that I was tempted to ask the powers that be to change my compulsory leave to ‘sick leave’.

Anyway, as a result of all this illness Sugar dragged herself to the after hours doctor. Because it was a statutory holiday the fee (a consultation which resulted in an antibiotic prescription) was $90 compared to the normal $70. If she had visited our regular doctor the fee would have been $47.

While Sugar was paying, a woman, obviously ill, came in and asked reception how much the fee was. When she was told the fee was higher because of stats she asked when it would be back to the normal rate.

“In two days time” was the response.

The woman turned around and left. She’s probably lying in a diabetic coma somewhere unable to drag herself back to the clinic.

I digress. The beef is this. Our doctor pays (and is subsidised by the government) to have his patients taken care of by this clinic while he is on holiday and in the weekends.

In the old days before After Hours clinics he might have got a locum to cover for him, and the fee would likely have stayed around the same charge ($47). Now however we all need to pay 50% more on a normal after hours day and 100% more if it’s on a public holiday.

Is this extortion? I think so. Restaurants and cafes only charge 15% more on statutory holidays, and that’s optional.

It’s obvious that people are going untreated with this fee structure – evidence provided by the woman who turned on her heels at the thought of paying the $90.

Israel 400 – Palestine 4

In the two years since Palestine have been sending rockets (6000+) over the wall into Israel they have killed 4 people.

In the three days since Israel launched attacks on Palestine they have killed 400.

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