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Wednesday 23 January 2013

As I browse the headlines today I see that that kidnapped Chinese workers have been freed in Darfu, Atari files for bankruptcy, Boeing halts deliveries of the 787 dreamliner, the central bank of Japan moves to boost economy. In Central and South Asia Karzai calls for and investigation into prison torture, Bangladeshi TV preacher sentenced to death. But in little New Zealand reparations paid by criminals is going uncollected, Novapay is still causing issues for school teachers, Marmite could be back on the shelves and an economist tries his hand at working in the New Zealand media.

I’m referring to Gareth Morgan who has decided that cats need to be culled. According to Morgan “Cats – they kill for pleasure.” Cats, as far as I have observed over the years of living with various cats, don’t kill for pleasure. One could argue that there is only one species that kills for pleasure. They used to kill for food. The we took away the need to kill for food but left the instinct there. According to John Innes from Landcare Research cats are both part of the problem and solution. Cats do kill native birds but they also kill ship rats which prey on native birds as well. I do agree with the registering of cats for many reasons. Keeping cats inside is possible but they would need to be given a place that they can climb and exercise freely. Without this cats will start to suffer from cabin fever just like humans do after being shut in all the time.

Marmite is set to be back on the supermarket shelf after a long absence. I for one am looking forward to getting the yeast spread back in our cupboard. I have been fortunate enough to have been allowed a few slices of Marmite laden toast from time to time from my sister who has returned from Brussels with a couple of large jars of the black gold from their stock they had delivered to them from various friends and family that had visited them while they were on posting. This is significant for New Zealand as Marmageddon has been going on for quite a while now.

One of the things that surprised me about Marmageddon is that it basically happened over night. I remember going to the supermarket looking on the shelf and found a sign reporting that the supplier was out of stock. I took this to be the supplier was out of stock rather than Sanitarium. It was no big problem. We went to another supermarket and bought it from there. Only the next day did it break on the news. What I fail to believe is that someone in Christchurch went into the warehouse and suddenly found that the stocks had run dry. There has been millions of dollars spent on creating stocking tracking and inventory software that would have been able to tell the people at Sanitarium how long their supplies would have been able to last after they were unable to continue production. Obviously this was a tactic to stop people going out and stocking up on the product and to allow fair product distribution and pricing until the very end.

Just a quick word on safety. A Wellington motorcyclist who hit a sheep said he could have been killed if he had not been wearing good safety gear. This is a classic case of how the right mentally when it comes to safety can save a life. On my travels in the car I often have to frequent a stretch of road that is not only narrow but also has a level rail crossing. No I’m not talking about some back road on the way to some rural area. This crossing is in the Wellington suburb of Johnsonville. I was always taught to slow down at a level crossing and check for trains from either direction before crossing. One would not be surprised at the number of level crossing deaths after watching the number of cars that go straight across the level crossing without checking if the way is clear. Yes the crossing has lights and bells.

The interesting thing about this section of road is that not more than 200 meters away you will find a police car sitting on a straight stretch of road watching for speeding motorists. I have also observed said police car just sitting on the side of the road with no takers from their friendly warning and financial incentive. I have yet to see one police car watching motorists on this stretch of road and issuing ‘warnings’ about the dangers of level crossings or driving on narrow roads.