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So it's a done deal; I have a new job in Auckland and the family are moving - this week - so i've flown back down (having started work in Auckland a month ago) to help pack up the house and 'finish up' with our Wellington business.

That business includes Laura's last day at Kindergarten (now completed... one of those happy-sad events!!) - Lauras (pre-emptive) 5th birthday party (tomorrow) and then a bout of frantic packing, before the moving company shows up on Monday to pick up our stuff.

Tuesday, road-trip ahoy.. to Auckland via Wellington Airport (our kitties are being flown up).

So yes. Been at work a month and i'm already taking a week off - but with good reason! :-) And i'll be very glad to have the family with me (i've missed them heaps!)

Anyway, about the photo. I follow @flyairnz on Twitter and was fortunate enough to score a limited-edition T-Shirt comemorating Air New Zealand's first flight ("ZK-AMA"). It arrived a few days ago. I figured that my AirNZ flight home to Wellington (likely to be my last flight for a while!) was an ideal opportunity to 'christen' the shirt.

Even more interestingly, I had seat 1D (front row, isle seat) and the Purser had one of those faces that I was sure i'd seen somewhere before. Turns out, I had... on the now famous Body-Painted in-flight safety video. So noting that the AirNZ Twitter folks wanted pics of folks wearing their shirt, it seemed like an obvious many-birds-with-one-stone opportunity.

Geoff was great to talk to and very helpful during the flight, and as usual, AirNZ's service was excellent. Must admit i'm going to miss having semi frequent occaisions to fly with them.

I don't usually rant about the Government, but this annoys me no end.

After yesterdays news that motor vehicle registrations would be going up substantially - particularly for motorcyclists, utilities, light vans and so on - I can't say i'm also surprised to hear that Fuel Prices are also going up thanks to the Emmissions Trading Scheme.

And yet a part of me is still shocked. I wonder if the Government realises that when the net result is negative, the taxpayer is no better off?

Yes we've had tax cuts. But we've had taxes move to other places, and in the end, are we truly better off?

But wait, there's more. The Prime Minister is quoted as follows:

"But Mr Key said taxpayers would still be ahead as wage increases were expected to outstrip overall inflation."

Wait. Government is now promising folks pay rises?

As a former government employee, I can tell you right now that I havn't seen an inflation-related wage increase since early 2006. And i'm under no illusions as to whether these are promised at all, to be honest. I'm more likely to negotiate a salary increase by way of performance, than to see any sort of committment around adjustments due to inflation!

The article linked above seems to be noticing a similar trend, as the reporter notes: "Households and businesses also face other rising costs in the form of October's GST increase, and higher ACC levies and vehicle registration fees.". Yet the above quote from Mr Key is a direct response to this.

What planet are you on, PM? When it comes down to it, consumers are hurting because of increased cost-of-living all over the place. Don't be under any illusions that a reshuffle of _how_ the money is collected is going to in any way improve the situation for joe-public, especially when you're taking on new, taxpayer-funded initiatives like ETS. I don't disagree with the need to start taking the cost of managing our environment into consideration - but lets be realistic, please! This is going to hurt a lot of people, and no amount of pulling-the-wool is going to change it.

Went noseying for lunch on Saturday when I was in the Wairau Valley on the North Shore.

Came across an 'open 7 days' bakery. *cough*

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Now... last time I checked... 7 days literally meant... Monday to Sunday... and yet we can see that (at the time of signwriting last update) this joint was most definately closed on Sundays. At some stage more recently they've obviously taken to closing on Saturdays as well (thus the paper covering the signwriting, instead of getting it properly done).

So our '6 days' bakery is actually only open '5 days'. Good grief, mate. stupidmuch? How about fixing your signwriting up so that it actually portrays your services accurately, instead of making you look awful .. well.. silly?

Apologies if anyone noticed the blakjak.net outage during the above timeframe; it appears the server simply 'ran out of juice'... It has been rebooted and we're looking into why it hung, and what we can do to prevent it occuring in future. An upgrade may well be on the cards. :o)

So...

Today I hear about the passing of 'Lindsa' who I mainly knew from Twitter.

A guy with a quick wit whos comments were entertaining. Turns out he was fairly well regarded in the NZ Twittersphere and there's lots of 'OMG' going around at the moment.

This tacks onto more interesting news from the twittersphere: Lynne Pope tweeted that our mutual friend Nic had had an altercation with some motorists who objected to his taking a photo of their car. Of course, their car was illegally parked in a disabled car park at the time, and Nic runs a website dedicated to outing folks who do this. Unfortunately it appears that today, Stuff have picked it up and spun it in the negative.

Nic tweeted: "Am at A&E because this arvo a car parked illegally in disability space backed out while I was still talking to them. Flipped wheelchair"

Unfortunately the news article talks about Nic having 'grabbed the steering wheel' and other such nonsense. Ever seen a person in a wheelchair reach high enough to get their arm in the window and grab the steering wheel? Nic has of course pointed out he didn't do this. I more think that the driver knew they were in the wrong, and were caught doing wrong, and didn't like it.

The reporter who put the above Stuff article together should seriously be pulled up over the one-sided nature of their article. Yes, Nic is in discussions with Campbell Live (and yes, i'll be watching) but that's no reason to take other people's skin at face value.

I know Nic well enough to know he's probably closer to the truth than is being reported, that's enough for me. :( SADFACE.

... but I never realised quite how fractured their political parties are.

Came across this excellent explanation of exactly how this transpired. (Thanks to @1littlebird for retweeting it).

Illuminating!

Welcome to the 21st Century, our Aussie friends! :) Just remember, we've had two female Prime Ministers in New Zealand and we're still here =)

Caught some video and stills.

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I'm willing to bet you've not seen this sorta detail out of a model Fire Truck before! (Thanks to Bob Channing via NZFire)


The AA?

Or Transit NZ?:

Both images taken ~0800 this morning. Who would YOU believe?

In response to The Edge Radio Station's 'Hug a Ginga Day' promotion for this Friday one Father in Christchurch was quite vocal in his protests - supporting his two red-haired kids who get heckles enough as it is, he says.

CloseUp@7 picked it up on behalf of TVNZ and interviewed Dom Harvey (The Edge DJ) along with the Father concerned, and his kids, and a Social Psychologist.

The interview was a whole bunch of Fail. I've just attempted to submit this to their website comment list:
Sainsbury failed to keep control of the Interview. The 'concerned Dad' doesn't seem to 'get it'. All those attacking Dom Harvey need to get a grip.
The Edge is taking a light hearted view of the 'discrimination' that red-heads are all familiar with and deal with all the time - esp in school. Why not turn a negative around and make it positive? Mountain. Out. Of. Molehill.
CloseUp@7 didn't exactly score itself another fan tonight. /me back to Campbell Live...

Wonder if it'll get past their censor :-)

Seriously though, I see this as fully turning a negative (general crap that Redheads cop is really not all that fair) around and making it a positive. If we're going to single them out, lets make it for positive reasons, not negative ones.

Fact is, folks are going to discriminate. Instead of trying to focus on futilte attempts to stop it, why not simply provide an avenue to turn the whole thing 180 degrees?

Good intentioned as the Dad above was, he didn't help his case tonight, especially when he wouldn't let Mark Sainsbury get a word in edgewise. He was still ranting as they cut to commercial...

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