Showing posts from April, 2015

Easing the Mediterranean refugee crisis

I've just written to New Zealand's Minister of Immigration in support of a proposal I've come across to ease the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean.

To be honest, what I'd really like him to do (and what I've written to him about in the past) is to actually allow people to seek asylum in New Zealand.  Currently NZ Immigration puts considerable effort into making sure asylum seekers never reach our shores.  We actively prevent these people from exercising a legal right, presumably in the fear that, if they come, we may find them legitimate refugees and have to let them stay.

However, I don't think I'm going to get any traction on that, but maybe traction on this proposal is possible: after all, it doesn't just come from me - it comes from the UN's special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants!

My letter is below.  Maybe you would like to send something similar?

Dear Hon. Mr. Woodhouse, I am horrified by the recent deaths in the Mediterranean of …

DIY Yuba "Go-Getter" pannier

For Christmas 2014 I decided to do something I'd been dreaming of for ages: make Martin a pannier for his cargo bike.  Several panniers for the Yuba Mundo are commercially available: the Baguette, the Go-Getter and slings.  I decided to model my pannier on the Go-Getter: it has more capacity than the Baguette and better suited the materials I had available than did a sling.  I finished it in February and now it gets a work-out every week fetching our groceries from the market :-)

Here's how it was done :-)  Regular blog readers might not be that interested in what follows - it's long and detailed!

White chocolate alternatives

Since we stopped eating non-fair trade cocoa products we haven't been able to buy white chocolate: no one sells it fair trade in New Zealand :-(  This has led to the discovery that I rather like white chocolate, so I've recently been on a mission to make my own.

So far I've yet to even source fair trade cocoa butter (Piko Wholefoods in Christchurch sell it but they don't ship to the North Island), so I've been working with coconut butter and fractionated coconut oil instead.  Over the course of many yummy experiments I've finally come up with two recipes that give passable imitations of white chocolate :-)

Coconut butter 'white chocolate' Coconut butter is what you get when you grind dessiccated coconut to a liquid (just like how you grind peanuts to make peanut butter).  It's solid at room temperature here in Auckland (except possibly in mid-summer), but returns to liquidy form if you leave it in the hot water cupboard for a few hours.  If you want…

Alternate banking

Over Lent, Martin and I have been doing a study series called the Household Covenant.  It looks at seven areas of daily life (work and leisure, consumption, giving etc.) and considers what the Bible has to say.  You are then asked to make a commitment to change one thing in each area over the next 12 months.

Last week's topic was 'savings and investment'.  In considering our commitment, we looked at what types of savings and investments we currently have.  These are:
money for day-to-day use (currently with the ASB)medium-term savings for emergencies and replacement of larger assets (these were with Prometheus, a non-bank deposit taker that invested in environmental and social projects, but are currently with the ASB and the receivers as Prometheus has recently gone into receivership)Kiwisaver (currently with SuperLife Ethica and Grosvenor Growth SRI)
From early next year we also expect to start to accumulate retirement savings.

We are comfortable with the ethics of our Kiw…