NZ day 2

THe first day of the convention proper, not very many people today. I answered some questions about our products, and am starting to become a bit more confident. Someone had vandalised Neville – we found him this morning with his pants around his ankles, and a crack in his foot than runs right up the calf. Poor Neville. He never hurt anyone.

Did a single row on the Melon Shawl this afternoon while waiting for the guys to go out for dinner. That has to be at least 3 minutes of leisure time today !

We went to the Harbour for drinks and dinner, I had a very ordinary risotto (tasted like plastic) at a seafood restaurant. There wasn’t a single vegetarian main or entree on the menu – let alone vegan. I asked the waitress for a “special” meal, and I appreciated the effort they went to, but hell, how about some bloody flavour????

Came back to the hotel to find that the wireless network I was using yesterday has been secured, so I can’t check the election results. Mum and Mark have been great about keeping me up to date with text messages, but I feel a long way away. I haven’t seen a live animal in two days now. It’s freaky.

I can’t explain how desperate I am to see Jussi, and possibly even meet her new feline companions. Maybe tomorrow….

New Zealand, Day One

We saw sheep as the plane came in to land!

Straight from the airport to the convention centre. Spent all afternoon setting up the booth, did a frantic search around for something I could eat, and settled on a spinach and fetta quiche. Cold. In a brown paper bag, eaten while racing back to the hall.

There was a cocktail reception under the sky tower, where I had a pain killer with a lovely glass of NZ Bubbly, and then a glass or two of red. I was shattered. The pain in my back and shoulder was pretty bad after such a long day, and I was really looking forward to a nice meal, and a comfy bed.

Alas, it was not to be. We met up with the rep from one of the companies whose products we sell – at 10pm, after dropping our bags at our hotel. The hotel is a bit crappy, but that is a story for another day. Splashed some water on my face, then off to the posh city hotel. At this point I was starving, and really tired (having had less than 4 hours sleep the night before). I wasn’t allowed to order water, so I had a cocktail, snaffled all the available bar food that didn’t have corpse in it, and tried not to let my hunger and tiredness let me get out of sorts.

Eventually, I asked the bartender for a banana, and begged to go home. Caught a cab back to the hotel, did a bit of unpacking, and hurled my sorry carcass into bed.

Imgp0005 2

Meet Neville. I wired him up myself. Impressed?

OK, a small mention of politics

Well, hell there is a state election on. I will get over it, I promise.

Mark is running a booth at Denistone East Public School. During the last federal election, Our Mighty Leader saw fit to visit this booth during the day – it’s a fairly big one.

So big, that it would appear he is short a couple of booth workers.

So if you can spare a couple of hours (one hour even) to help out, give someone a lunch break, pass out bottled water, and maybe even hand out a how to vote or two, please email Mark (markATnettleDOTorg).

Resume normal transmissions.

Family Values


If I read that phrase one more time before I get on the plane, there may be real danger of my head exploding.

One of the local candidates (Robyn Peebles) has a red corflute, with her picture, and the words “Family Values“. And frankly, I am insulted that this woman thinks that she can represent the values of my family.

My family may not be representative of most families, but it’s still a family, and we have values.

We think that marriage has value, whether or not it produces children. We believe that there should be equal access to marriage rites and formalities, equal access regardless of colour, gender, religion, or ethnicity. We believe that the common denominator should be love alone, and that love in all its forms should be celebrated, revered, and cherished.

I value life as I value love. I believe that non human animals should be treated with respect, and that animal rights are the next frontier of humanity.

We value the earth, and believe that if we don’t take care of it NOW, we won’t have to worry about the future.

We value science, and an intelligent examination of our earth, and our history. We believe in learning from history, and using thoughtful analysis of fact to make decisions about the world, and our part in it.

We value diversity in our community, in our restaurants, in our entertainment, in our natural environment, and in the values and opinions of others. You don’t have to agree with someone to value their opinion, but you need to value their opinions to represent them.

So this is why I am a big Greenie. My experience of the Greens has been overwhelmingly positive. A Green may disagree with you, but she is likely to let you have your say. He may think you need an education, but he’s more likely to try to help educate you than berate you. And she’ll never claim to understand your point of view unless she really thinks she gets it.

Duck, duck, frog. Difference is inherent in humanity, and claiming that my values are universal is as insulting as John Howard claiming to represent “ordinary Australians”.

Sorry, another rant tonight, but at least this one comes with a cure picture :).

Why I love Murray, NZ

Murray may just be the answer to my prayers. He might be the man who can make all my work on the weekend worthwhile.

After getting the final corrections from my boss on monday morning, I made the final changes, and emailed the final .pdf to work, so that it could be sent to the printer for the 9am deadline.

At around 3pm tuesday, I found out that the printer didn’t get the artwork, and that the deadline would pass without our brochure being printed. I had some Awake Disordered Breathing.

The receptionist found Murray, another NZ printer, who reckons he might be able to get the printing done on time. It was a very tense afternoon, and things will continue to be tense until I hear that the brochures have been delivered to the conference within the deadline. Argh.

A message from Lee Rhiannon

A lot of media has focussed in the last few weeks on the Greens drug policy.  If you read the mainstream media, you’d probably be thinking that the Greens are a bunch of pot smoking hippies that want to feed your kids heroin.  I won’t stoop to refuting that rubbish – the facts are there to be seen – all Green policies are on the website for all to see.  Read them and make up your own mind (like I did a few years ago after inspecting the Green animal welfare policy).  I will say that I don’t smoke pot, and that I am keeping all the (prescribed) opiates for myself.

And if you can’t be bothered reading all that – read this message from Lee, sent to me by email because I am on the Greens media alert mailing list.  I like to stay informed.

BTW – recently a lot of people have asked me (well, more than three) if I know who the Green candidate is in their electorate.  Usually, the answer is no, but if you check out this list, you can look up your local Green candidate in your area.  I will have met some of them and though it’s likely that I will have had a favourable impression, I will gladly share it with you if you are interested.



Please consider forwarding this message to your email address list and help correct the misleading information about the Greens drugs policy.

Dear Friend

We write to you to set the record straight about the Greens NSW policy on drugs and harm minimisation and correct the usual pre-election media inaccuracies.

The Greens do not encourage drug use. In particular, our policy aims to eradicate the use of methamphetamines including  ‘ice’. We support tough penalties for importers, manufacturers and suppliers.  See

Prohibition has failed to protect the lives of young people and it has failed to make society safer. The major parties’ policies based on criminal penalties for users have not prevented the growth in ‘ice’ use, dependency and addiction. There are now more than 37,000 regular methamphetamine users and 28,000 dependent users in NSW and the number is growing rapidly.

The Greens want to eradicate ‘ice’. We believe the best way to do this is with significant increases in education to strengthen the resistance of young people to the drug, and new treatment and rehabilitation programs.

Heavy criminal sanctions on users have failed to control the epidemic. And they keep ‘ice’ addicts away from counselling services and treatment programs.

The choice is this: do we want to gaol addicts or do we want to cure them.

The Greens believe that police resources are better focused on the importers, manufacturers and suppliers of ice. We want to destroy the supply chain.

The Greens policy breaks with the bipartisan ‘law and order ‘ approach but it enjoys broad support from public health professionals, with specialist experience with drugs. See below.

The full story on the Greens drugs and harm minimisation policy is available here:

Please pass this email on to interested friends, colleagues and family.


Lee Rhiannon

Greens MP


Health professionals on the Greens drugs policy

Dr Alex Wodak, Director of Drug and Alcohol Services at St Vincent’s Hospital, on ABC 702

VIRGINIA TRIOLI (ABC 702 presenter): Do you think the Greens are on the right track here with their [drug] policy?

DR WODAK: Yes, I do. Yes I do…the plain fact is that, whether we like it or not, the war on drugs has failed, and failed miserably.……..[ABC 702 Mornings 15 March 2007]

Dr Fares Samara, MD, FAChAM (Fellow of the Australasian Chapter of Addictions Medicine): “As a specialist in this field, I wholeheartedly support the Green Party’s policy on drugs and congratulate them for their courage and honesty…And also urge the other parties to have the same courage and adopt harm minimisation policies without hesitation.”


Other professionals who back a health approach to drug taking

Professor Gordian Fulde from St Vincent’s Hospital supports the Greens policy: “I’d worry if there was anything done by law that would deter people coming to an emergency department in trouble because they thought they might get arrested or put in jail,” he said. [Seven News:

Don Stewart, Retired Judge and Royal Commissioner says about ice: “We’ve got to think more instead of the criminalisation of it, and the criminal approach and trying to stamp it out by penalty and criminal law action, we’ve got to think seriously about a medical approach, more seriously about how we can change things for the better.” [ABC Radio National Law Report 13 March 2007]


Media comment on The Greens’ policy

Peter FitzSimons, Sun Herald: “Saying our drug laws are in urgent need of reform doesn’t make the Greens soft on drugs. It simply means they recognise the truth: the system we have is a hopeless joke and only remains in place because we haven’t had politicians of sufficient courage to do anything to change it.” [The Sun-Herald, p2, 18 March 2007]