Dominion Post, Gisborne District Council, Parenting

Should we fence all rivers to protect toddlers from slack parents?

The Dominion Post devotes half this morning’s front page to the bleatings of a drowned toddler’s uncle that the council should have fenced the river in which his 2 year old nephew drowned.

A family hit by a drowning tragedy had repeatedly pleaded with the council to build a fence where a toddler died.

Sukhraj Singh, 2, died and his cousin Archilles Kaui, 3, remains in hospital in a critical condition after the pair wandered into Gisborne’s Taruheru River on Thursday.

“I’ve been asking myself all night, would this have happened if the fence was put up in our neighbourhood? And the answer is no. Because those toddlers would not have been able to get past the fence”, Sukhraj’s uncle Hemi Jahnke said.

And why were the toddlers able to get anywhere near the river? The Dom finally reveals all in paragraph 10:

Before the tragedy, Archilles’ mother, Diana McIntyre, had been visiting Sukhraj’s mother, Jamie Taewa, at her home in Atkinson St. It was thought about 10 to 15 minutes passed before the women noticed the two toddlers had wandered off.

Well sorry, but any mother who lets a toddler out of her sight for 10 or 15 minutes near a river has no one to blame but herself if the child drowns.

That’s a hard thing to write at this sad time, especially as the poor mother may well have arrived at the same conclusion and does not necessarily share the uncle’s view.

But for the uncle to blame the council (ie the rest of us) is outrageously unfair.

Members of the family were part of community group Kia Kaha Mangapapa, a charitable trust started to try to make a positive difference in the area. The idea of a fence at the reserve was brought up at several hui called with Gisborne District Council last year. Archilles’ parents, Ms McLean and Frank Kaui, attended one of the meetings.

Mr Jahnke said the council had agreed to put up the fence.

“They did have a plan for the fence but because the fence was going to cost too much it started getting smaller and smaller. Eventually it turned into just a fence around the culvert.”

He was angry with the council.

“How many lives have been lost in river accidents because the council says they haven’t got enough money?

“And them listening now is not going to bring back Sukhraj. It’s not going to bring back a baby boy. But someone needs to be held accountable.”

Damn right. And I think most of us have a fair idea who.

Gisborne District Council acting chief executive Nedine Thatcher-Swann said it was “inconclusive” whether fencing the reserve would have made a difference at this stage.

Fencing every waterway into which a poorly supervised toddler could wander would certainly make a huge difference to the amount of public money available for other services. Or to Gisborne residents’ rates bills.

In my view the Council did exactly the right thing in refusing to assume the role of parents.

“Around the country and the world it is very unusual to find our natural environments – rivers, lakes or ponds – fenced.”

And so it should be. Do we really want to turn our country into an unsightly baby-prison, just so we can protect our toddlers from slack parents?

I grew up in a house near the Waiwhetu Stream in Fairfield, Lower Hutt. The Stream got a bad press for being badly polluted down the industrial end, but the suburban reaches were and are a delightfully meandering waterway that greatly enhances the ambience of the area.

It remains unfenced, despite being bounded by houses for miles, and is dotted with reserves, also unfenced.

Presumably, parents who choose to live there, like mine did, also take responsibility for watching their children.

I hope the Dominion Post will reflect on the message their story sends, and provide some balance in the coming days.

Advertising, Advertising Standards Authority, Dominion Post, Maorification

Ad that Dom banned cleared by ASA

My ACT ad that contained 40 statements of fact has been cleared by the Advertising Standards Authority.

MAORI RADICALS ADVERT NOT IN BREACH – ASA

The Advertising Standards Authority has rejected a complaint about ACT’s controversial “Fed up with pandering to Maori radicals?” newspaper advertisement.

Twelve people argued the advert was “misleading, offensive, racist, in breach of the requirement for a due sense of social responsibility and likely to play on fear”.

The ASA said a political party advocating a robust view on matters of public interest allowed the public to see the party’s position. There was no breach of codes and no grounds for the complaints to proceed, it ruled.

Yet the Dominion Post refused to “allow the public to see the party’s position”. 

As a private company, they had the right to ban the ad. (Whether they had the right to charge ACT full price for the space is another matter.)

But the public also has the right to know that the capital’s daily newspaper is politically biased against ACT.

This is the ad that the Herald ran, and the Dom banned:

What sort of democracy do we live in when a monopoly newspaper can be so cravenly politically correct as to ban a question that most of its readers would answer Yes to, backed by 40 true statements?

Architecture, Basin Reserve, Beehive, Dominion Post, Kilbirnie Indoor Sports Centre, Taj Mahal toilets, The Cake Tin

The Evans Bay Turtle

What is it about Wellington and its circular landmarks with eccentric nicknames?

The under-50s won’t remember when the twin-domed Welsh Dragon Bar in the middle of Kent and Cambridge Terraces used to be a public toilet block, known by all as the Taj Mahal.

At the far end of the same dual-dragstrip is the Basin Reserve, so named after the 1855 earthquake turned Basin Lake into a swamp, which the council then turned into a sports reserve.

Over in Thorndon there’s the parliamentary Beehive, which Sir Basil Spence designed on the back of a serviette. And the Cake Tin, named by yours truly in response to a call for a nickname by the Evening Post’s Angus Morrison.

(Note: popular rumour has it that the Cake Tin was named by an Auckland talk show host, which is why it wasn’t popular for a long time with Wellingtonians. Still others say it was Andrew Mehrtens. Being a rather obvious name, it was probably all three of us.)

And now we have a new stadium to name: the Kilbirnie Indoor Sports Centre in Evans Bay. It’s not quite circular, but near enough.

The Dom Post’s Hank Schouten is calling for nicknames, so I sent in this letter:

Like the Cake Tin, the new Kilbirnie Indoor Sports Centre is a good example of smooth, single-minded design.

Now, what to call it?

I worry that the architects’ favourite, The Limpet, while anatomically accurate, might be a bit, well, limp to catch on.

So what about the Saucer (as in flying), the Clam, the Oyster, the Stingray, the Flounder, the Slater or the Frisbee?

(Had they built it where Councillor Andy Foster wanted, it could have been the Downtown Indoor Sports Centre — DISC.)

A friend of mine argues noisily for The Trilobite, a creature I had not heard of, but which it clearly resembles.

But the nickname with the best combination of stickability and seaside relevance would have to be the Turtle.

What do you think? Feel free to suggest a name of your own. I may run a poll of the best of them.

But to me, if I squint as I drive round the bays I see a beached, bleached white turtle shell whose occupant is wisely staying indoors.

(As well he might. When I drove past on Monday, there was thick snow just around the corner in Shelly Bay.)

NZ child poverty, OECD, Sunshine Coast Daily

How we make the news in Aussie these days

The Tasman wage gap, which John Key once pretended to want to close, is also a poverty gap.

Here’s how it’s being reported in Australia. 

Of course, setting the poverty line at 60% of median income is a typical lefty linguistic trick. 

Poverty is starvation. Being only 60% as rich as the averge person is envy.

Still, relative to 30 other First World nations, New Zealand’s performance is shameful:

20th for children living in poor households

21st for infant mortality

29th for measles immunisation rates

29th for child health and safety

3oth for teen suicides.

Thanks Ross for sending me this clipping.

Al Gore, climate change, Dominion Post, Lord Monckton

Well done, DomPost

After hammering the Dominion Post on Close Up for banning my ACT ‘Maori radicals ad’ that contained 40 statements of truth, I’m pleased to be able to congratulate the paper for yesterday making these two letters their lead and second letters of the day:

Where does that ‘science’ definition leave Al Gore, then?

Lorna Sutherland’s comments (Letters, August 8) highlight an interesting attitude to democracy and proper science. 

(That’s meant to say August 8. Of all the eccentric habits of WordPress, automatically turning the number eight followed by a close bracket into a smile takes the cake!) 

Does she agree that her denial that Lord Monckton should be permitted a platform to discuss climate change extends to former United States vice- president Al Gore, who is similarly lacking expertise and experience in science?

Is she aware that Dr John Abraham’s comments on Lord Monckton are subject to critical comments about misrepresentation and falsehoods ?

By what measure would we ever give the Greens, Niwa’s Dr James Renwick or anybody else the right to decide what may be presented by any person on any subject in public?

Real science is proven by sceptical trial and debate. False science has hidden data, insufficient record of proof, and protection from open query and dissenting opinion.

Real science isn’t proven by so-called consensus, authority or taking someone’s word for it.

Is Ms Sutherland aware no peer- reviewed scientific proof appears to exist that climate change, warming or whatever is driven by human-induced carbon-dioxide emissions, and the theory is supported by conjecture only?

I suggest she take tuition on what it means to live in a democracy.

GRAHAM CLAYTON
Taupo 

What have these people to fear?

Our climate change scientists and, maybe, politicians, seem to be running scared. They have refused to debate climate change with Lord Monckton because the matter is now agreed upon and settled among scientists. Really?

It was also said that to debate with him would give Lord Monckton and his unscientific ideas credibility. If our scientists’ views, which cost a lot of money, are so right, what have they to fear?

IRENE FAGAN
Island Bay

Well said, Graham and Irene.

BBC, climate change, Lord Monckton, TVNZ

STATE MOUTHPIECE MUZZLES MONCKTON: Is TVNZ the new BBC?

UPDATE: Since I wrote this post about TVNZ banning climate sceptic Lord Monckton, it so happens that I myself have been invited to appear on Close-Up tonight to talk about race issues. Should this drive more visitors here, I’m promoting this post to the home page so it’s the first thing they see! I saw and met Monckton today in Wellington and his accounts of similar attempts by the Left to shut him down and smear him were chilling. I’ll be posting on the experience soon. Now on with this post of two days’ ago…

You may recall the recent Close-Up interview with global cooling-warming (take your pick — he does) proponent James Hansen.

And do you recall which sceptic our government TV channel brought in to debate with him to provide balance?

Me neither. 

That’s because they didn’t make him debate anyone.

(The science is settled, remember?)

Now fast forward to this week. Same programme. Same channel. Same issue.

Only this time, the visiting climateer is a sceptic — with a flair for political incorrectitude.

He’s none other than Margaret Thatcher’s former science advisor Lord Christopher Monckton, here for a few days after a rip-roaring tour of Australia.

Now whatever else Monckton may be, he’s not boring. He’s articulate, amusing and opinionated, in the great tradition of British celebs.

In other words, he’s great television. 

So why won’t TVNZ let him on?

Because they can’t find anyone to debate him.

Huh?

Seems at government TV, only the sceptics get challenged. Warmists — even confused ones who used to be coolists —  just get believed.

We’ll come back to TVNZ’s obvious bias later.

But isn’t there something fishy about not one of our loud, proud warm-mongers being prepared to defend their position on this supposed crisis?

After all, the government has just conspired to ratchet up the price of your food and petrol and most everything else.

Why? Because of the supposed desperate need to impose a carbon trading scheme on our already struggling economy.

So wouldn’t you think Nick Smith would be itching to get stuck into the guy who’s been telling him for years that the climate crisis is a hoax?

Or John Key, who used to agree it was a hoax — till he figured there were more votes in saying it wasn’t?

Or any number of Greens, those brave eco-warriors whose relentless pessimism and loathing for their species got us into this mess?

Or one of the eleven experts at the so-called Victoria University climate debate I went to and blogged about — all of them clustered courageously on the same side?

Why doesn’t even one of these ‘believers’ have the courage to defend their position against the man they like to dismiss as a ‘potty peer’ and a ‘swivel-eyed loon’?

Seems Monckton is a man the warm-mongers love to hate, but hate to debate.

Why?

Seems that after all their huff and puff about the science being settled, Messrs Key, Smith, Norman, Trenberth and co. are decidedly unsettled by the thought of being found out.

(As, of course, was Al Gore.)

Of course, they’ll say tangling with Monckton is beneath them. He’s a nutter. Must be. Listen to that posh voice! Get a load of  those big bug eyes!

(The result of an hereditary condition, oddly enough unconnected with the ability to think.)

No mention of why Margaret Thatcher would choose him out of thousands to advise her on matters scientific.  They didn’t dub Maggie the Iron Lady for being soft in the head.

If these climate sages are so sure of their case, why not front up and use their superior logic to shut Monckton up once and for all?

Isn’t that what a real expert would do?

What does their mass no-show tell you about the honesty of our nation’s climate scientists and cabinet ministers?

And prime minister?

And anyway, why does TVNZ feel the need to have anyone at all debate Monckton? Why not apply the same standards to the sceptic as they applied to the scaremonger/warmist/coolist?

Is TVNZ trying to outdo the Biased BBC?

New evidence of eco-exaggeration

How ironic that Close-Up’s attempt to close down the climate debate should come in the same week as the Daily Mail ran this story:

Climate change far less serious than ‘alarmists’ predict says NASA scientist

This is, of course, another NASA scientist, not Hansen: 
Dr Roy Spencer, who works on the space agency’s temperature-monitoring satellites, claimed they showed ‘a huge discrepancy’ between the real levels of heating and forecasts by the United Nations and other groups.

After looking at the levels of radiation in the atmosphere over the past ten years, he believes the Earth releases a lot more heat into space than previously thought.

In other words, the computer models were wrong — just as thousands of sceptics (sorry, deniers; sorry, denialists) have been saying.

Now, come to think of it, this is not the first time I’ve heard about global heat escaping harmlessly into space. I first heard a leading sceptic bring it to light about two years ago.

And which sceptic would that have been?

You guessed it: the apparently not-so-mad Monckton.

I’ll be at his Wellington talk on Friday. I hope to see you there. (Whether you see him on state telly is another matter.)

For details of how to see Lord Monckton in Auckland on Thursday, Wellington on Friday and Whangarei on Saturday, hurry to the Climate Realists website.

Warm-mongers pressure PRINZ into pulling plug

Neil and Esther Henderson have been doing an excellent job bringing a dose of sanity to the climate debate — and Lord Monckton to New Zealand.

But one of Monckton’s scheduled events lost its original sponsor thanks to pressure from our brave eco-exaggerators.

Rest assured, though, Neil and Esther have saved the day.

Read this excerpt from their latest newsletter to see what they’ve been up against:

PRINZ, having volunteered to host two of the public events, has received an overwhelming barrage of negative publicity for their gall in allowing someone whose opinions are perceived as being ‘outside the politically correct mantra’ to speak in public.

PRINZ hunted far and wide to find someone to oppose Monckton in a debate and was unable to find anyone willing to front up.

Funny that.

PRINZ was prepared to continue and turn the debate into a ‘discussion’, but the vitriolic hatemail continued to such an extent that PRINZ has now made the decision to pull out of the Auckland event, and we, the CLIMATE REALISTS have taken over the arrangements.

Well done, that couple.

(And a brickbat to PRINZ for being cowed — but a bouquet for still going ahead with their Wellington event.)

The organisers of the business luncheon with Lord Monckton on Thursday have also received some very strongly worded correspondence questioning their integrity in hosting Lord Monckton and urging them (pressuring them!) to cancel.

Are business people are made of sterner stuff than communication people? Surely not!

Neil and Esther continue:

People, this is horrific!!!

What has happened to free speech in New Zealand?

We would like to urge every single one of you who is concerned about what is going on here, to contact Close Up closeup@tvnz.co.nz and challenge them about their decision not to interview Lord Monckton.

Do it now. I sent them this:

Your bias is showing

Mark and team,

 I was going to say I can’t believe your cowardice in canning your interview with Christopher Monckton.

 But then I guess I can.

If any of you at TVNZ still believe in free speech, I urge you to reconsider, stop being brainwashed by socialist liars, and let the man be heard.

Otherwise be prepared to incur the wrath of the blogosphere – a not-insignificant challenger to your supposed omnipotence.

John Ansell

Back to Esther and Neil:

Did Jim Salinger, Gareth Morgan, Rod Oram, Martin Manning, James Renwick, Kevin Trenberth, James Hansen….(think of anyone else you’ve heard prating the AGW mantra) need someone to present an alternative perspective before they were reported in the mainstream media?

We strongly believe Lord Monckton has a right to be heard. And we believe the public of New Zealand has a right to hear him and make up their own minds. There are an amazing number of accusations flying around the internet about Christopher Monckton. Here is a quote from one of our members who shall remain anonymous:

  • “Until this week, I thought Christopher was a rather obscure eccentric Englishman, with a keen interest in mathematics and climate change and a talent for entertainment. “Now, after dredging through endless pages of biography by Greenpeace, Bickmere, Abraham, etc, I’ve discovered that he is an international celebrity of huge importance. “Whole libraries havebeen written about his exploits; newspapers and bloggers record his every move and mood; scholars minutely analyze his spoken word, correspondence, logo, status, etc; activist groups mobilise at his approach.Seldom does little New Zealand have the opportunity to hear directly from an orator capable of generating such controversy and excitement on the world stage.” 

For my money, Monckton did more than any other single person to inform the world about the Climategate scandal and the shonkiness of Al Gore’s movie, and to neuter the Copenhagen talkfest.

I confess I believed Gore at first.

I was wowed by the slickness and clarity of his PowerPoint show.

I loved the way he got up in that cherrypicker to highlight the hockey stick graph.

And I had no reason at all to doubt his facts. (Like the fact that his hockey stick graph was bogus.)

It took brilliant communicators like Monckton — and Bob Carter and Ian Wishart and Jo Nova — to alerted me to the depth of my own gullibility.

Never again.

Neil and Esther:

We need to get out there and let people know that we have a right to doubt —  we have a right to be skeptical about everything we are spoonfed by the media, and having just witnessed what manipulation goes on behind the scenes, we need to call the media to account and demand balanced reporting and open debate.

Damn right we do.

The real deniers are the scientists and journalists who try to deny us our right to be sceptical about scientists and journalists.

I know from personal experience that the media are far more interested in entertaining than informing. And if the facts aren’t entertaining enough, they just make up facts that are.

They need to be exposed every time they do that. Which is almost certainly many times a day.

I am, of course, rather sensitive to press bias, given that less than a month ago the Dominion Post refused to run ACT’s 40 true statements on the race issue.

What has happened to free speech indeed.