Nurses on strike

New Zealand’s largest nursing union held a one-day strike last week, the first such action in over 30 years. The issues are predictable: low pay, low staffing levels, low respect.

Their contract includes provisions that enough nurses still have to show up to provide life saving essential services. I heard one person quoted as saying the contractual minimum life saving staff level was in fact greater than staffing on many normal shifts.

Negotiations continue…

That’s amore

I’ve kinda wanted a pasta maker for a long time. But, then again, how much pasta should I be eating anyway, and it’s probably a lot of work, and do you have to spend hours cleaning up…

We found one yesterday that was too cheap to pass up — one of several treasures from a day trip to Devonport.

It was totally fun. Took me about an hour start to finish to make a meal’s worth of fettuccine size noodles, but I will be quite a bit faster next time. Now I just need a drying rack that’s better than coat hangers suspended from a broomstick…

And here’s the finished product… served with olive oil and parmesan as a side for some farmers market fish (blue moki) and greens.

Taxing

Gas prices have been creeping up since we got here. But new taxes that went into effect this month really made a difference. There was a small national increase, and Auckland slapped a 15-cent / litre levy to help fund road and other infrastructure improvements.

That’s right about $9 per gallon, for you Imperial measurement folks.

On the one hand, I’ve long advocated higher fuel taxes as good public policy. Less oil, less pollution, less traffic, less sprawl. More people use public transit, so that budget goes up. More people bike or walk, so healthcare costs decrease. And so on.

On the other, I don’t know how a working class suburban family with kids is supposed to do it. There’s already an opportunity and activity gap for poorer kids, and if you can’t afford to drive the little monsters to their music lessons how are they supposed to become useful citizens?

Speaking selfishly I think this level of gas tax is great… but I hope it doesn’t leave too many people stranded by the side of the road.