Myers: The Gift Card from hell

Don’t look a gift card in the mouth. Unless it is a Myers Gift Card

The other day I was given a Myer Gift Card to the value of $100.  The gesture and gift was welcomed but not very useful.  The card cost the buyer $100 (There was no discount on offer – $100 for $100 card only).

Now there is not much I consider to be of interest or of value worth buying in Myers, so the gift card represented a bit of a problem.  I was thinking of giving it away but it got me thinking about gift cards per say and the problems associated with them and why they are not worth purchasing or giving away.

A store restricted card, such as a Myer Card, is of limited benefit to the person who is the receiver of the gift.  You are forced into spending it in Myers. The only one that benefits from the card is Myers.  What’s more they are a one time use card that you are just throw away when finished and they add to the rubbish and environmental pollution.

Not even Myer’s value it.  I tried to exchange the card for a more friendlier card a Coles/Myer/Office Works gift card. One that could be used in places that I am more likely to spend.  Unfortunately Myers would not accept the card as legal tender to buy the alternative card . Stuck with a Myer gift card, a gift card from hell, a card I could not use or exchange for another gift card sold in their store.

I ended up selling the card outside of Myers at a discounted rate. Some 30 minutes later and a lot of protest at what I consider to be an unfriendly, unhelpful store. I am told they sell on eBay for $85-$90. I was more interested at the time what others thought it was worth.  I did turn down a offer of $20. The $100 card was eventually sold for $50. (Photo of Jack the successful buyer – I hope it gives him more satisfaction then it gave me).

This brings me back to the question of gift cards and what a company, relative or friend can offer as an alternative.  A training voucher, a card that has broader appeal, a petrol voucher or even a Paypal or Myki card would be a better gift.  If you thinking of buying a gift card. Think again. Think about the environment and do not purchase or offer a Myer or store gift card.

Oh if your interested I intend to place the $50 in the church box. A charity gift card, if there is one, would be of more interest. Myers is not a charity.

Melbourne City Council – Holding them to account

Gallery

Welcome to the 2012 Melbourne City Council Election – Unaligned Independent Candidate’s web site Please vote one below-the-line Anthony van der Craats How To Vote Unfortunately due to unfair and unjust limitations voters wishing to support Independent Candidates MUST vote … Continue reading

Going Solar A shadow of doubt and practicality hangs over the Greens

The Greens candidature for the City of Melbourne centers around a catch phrase of “A solar panel on every roof” delivering renewable energy for Melbourne.

Whilst the push for clean renewable energy is a worthy cause issues of practicality make it impossible to install a solar panel on every roof. Most of inner Melbourne with the exception of the tallest buildings are in shadow. Solar panels just would not work in a high density built environment. What happens if you or your neighbors invest in the installation of a solar system and a building near-by is later built that casts a shadow across your roof, do you have the right to claim or seek compensation for the loss of sunlight. Melbourne’s planning scheme provides for four hours of sunlight at the equinox and in many circumstances in the inner city this is not achievable. The Solar dream is just that. A dream limited by the practical realities of physics more so then political policy. The City Council’s luxury six star administration building itself has failed to deliver in the promises with many features of the building’s design not living up to expectations or functionality. An independent building performance audit should be undertaken and less self adulation and promotional activity. But that would place another dent in the City Council’s reputation of competence and an honest performance appraisal is beyond comprehension.

The Greens are not in a winning position to secure the Lord mayoralty but they will secure a seat at the Council table. Hopefully the Green’s will make a positive contribution to Melbourne’s future development but ideology should not supersede or dictate realities on the ground or as the case may be “up on the roof”.

Going Solar A shadow of doubt and practicality hangs over the Greens

The Greens candidature for the City of Melbourne centers around a catch phrase of “A solar panel on every roof” delivering renewable energy for Melbourne.

Whilst the push for clean renewable energy is a worthy cause issues of practicality make it impossible to install a solar panel on every roof. Most of inner Melbourne with the exception of the tallest buildings are in shadow. Solar panels just would not work in a high density built environment. What happens if you or your neighbors invest in the installation of a solar system and a building near-by is later built that casts a shadow across your roof, do you have the right to claim or seek compensation for the loss of sunlight. Melbourne’s planning scheme provides for four hours of sunlight at the equinox and in many circumstances in the inner city this is not achievable. The Solar dream is just that. A dream limited by the practical realities of physics more so then political policy. The City Council’s luxury six star administration building itself has failed to deliver in the promises with many features of the building’s design not living up to expectations or functionality. An independent building performance audit should be undertaken and less self adulation and promotional activity. But that would place another dent in the City Council’s reputation of competence and an honest performance appraisal is beyond comprehension.

The Greens are not in a winning position to secure the Lord mayoralty but they will secure a seat at the Council table. Hopefully the Green’s will make a positive contribution to Melbourne’s future development but ideology should not supersede or dictate realities on the ground or as the case may be “up on the roof”.

Going Solar A shadow of doubt and practicality hangs over the Greens

The Greens candidature for the City of Melbourne centers around a catch phrase of “A solar panel on every roof” delivering renewable energy for Melbourne.

Whilst the push for clean renewable energy is a worthy cause issues of practicality make it impossible to install a solar panel on every roof. Most of inner Melbourne with the exception of the tallest buildings are in shadow. Solar panels just would not work in a high density built environment. What happens if you or your neighbors invest in the installation of a solar system and a building near-by is later built that casts a shadow across your roof, do you have the right to claim or seek compensation for the loss of sunlight. Melbourne’s planning scheme provides for four hours of sunlight at the equinox and in many circumstances in the inner city this is not achievable. The Solar dream is just that. A dream limited by the practical realities of physics more so then political policy. The City Council’s luxury six star administration building itself has failed to deliver in the promises with many features of the building’s design not living up to expectations or functionality. An independent building performance audit should be undertaken and less self adulation and promotional activity. But that would place another dent in the City Council’s reputation of competence and an honest performance appraisal is beyond comprehension.

The Greens are not in a winning position to secure the Lord mayoralty but they will secure a seat at the Council table. Hopefully the Green’s will make a positive contribution to Melbourne’s future development but ideology should not supersede or dictate realities on the ground or as the case may be “up on the roof”.

Norway lays down a challenge to Melbourne City Council Greens challenged to bring in quotas on thier green house gas travel

Norway has decided to place quotas on green house gas emissions generated by public servants travelling the globe on public taxes. Something we think Melbourne City Council should also adopt.

Melbourne City Council is renowned for its glob trotting Councillors and Staff seeking overseas five-star luxury holidays at ratepayers expenses. The City of Melbourne is set to top the Overseas holiday expenses yet again this year. The previous City Council, under the leadership of John So, spent over 1 Million dollars in overseas travel.

Greens Councillor, Frazer Brindley managed to talk the City Council into funding travel expenses related to his executive position held an international environment confest organisation. he was elected to the ICLIE executive ion the basis that the City Council would foot the bill for all travel costs.. Why the Council is funding a third party’s executive governance cost is anyone guess.

No restrictions when it comes to the City Council’s overseas holidays and South African Safaris. Cr Brindley’s African sunset tour last year generated around 60% of the annual Co2 emissions for an average family car so he could attend an ICLIE executive meeting. Why could they not have arrange an Internet hook-up to discuss their corporate governance is anyone guess.

Executive travel and international “Confests” are big business and generate significant Green house gas emissions whilst pumping the brave new world of international corporate tourism .

So much to the Greens commitment to fiscal and environmental responsibility.

Come January 1 Public commuters have been hit with a congestion tax to help fund the City Council’s Travel budget and their new competitive busting Tourist bus whilst public transport users are left waiting for a ride.

In the meantime Melbourne’s “Car Free Council still refuses to publish the costs associated wit the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayors Limousine. The City Council continues to hide the costs associated with the lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayors limos.
Shame Fraser Shame.



Norway to buy greenhouse quotas

Norway plans to offset the greenhouse gases caused by state employees’ flights abroad by buying emissions quotas to help combat global warming, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said.

His office said Norway was probably the first country in the world to buy such quotas.

“The government has decided that when state employees travel by plane abroad, we will buy quotas for the emissions caused by the trip,” Stoltenberg said in a New Year speech.

“We want to set an example. We hope that companies, organisations and other countries will follow,” he said.

Emissions by planes on international flights are excluded from the goals of the UN’s Kyoto Protocol, a plan that binds 35 rich nations to cut emissions from burning oil, coal and natural gas by five per cent below 1990 levels by 2008-12.

Stoltenberg did not say how much his plan would cost.

Norway’s NTB news agency estimated the cost at about $US400,000 ($A508,000) a year.

Most scientists say emissions from burning oil, coal and natural gas are to blame for a global rise in temperatures that may wreak havoc with the climate by causing more floods, desertification, heatwaves, spreading disease and raising sea levels.

Some companies, including Norway’s oil group Statoil, already have similar policies of paying for emissions caused by employees’ flights.

According to the Carbon Neutral Company, a passenger travelling one way from Oslo to Washington would account for emissions of 0.7 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

It suggests a compensating investment of about $US12 ($A15.24) in windmills or planting trees.

“In many parts of the country we have had the warmest autumn and winter months for 100 years,” Stoltenberg said.

“We notice it in our daily lives – skis are standing unused. Children are not making snowmen. Researchers say polar bears are threatened.”

2007 – Reuters

Norway lays down a challenge to Melbourne City Council Greens challenged to bring in quotas on thier green house gas travel

Norway has decided to place quotas on green house gas emissions generated by public servants travelling the globe on public taxes. Something we think Melbourne City Council should also adopt.

Melbourne City Council is renowned for its glob trotting Councillors and Staff seeking overseas five-star luxury holidays at ratepayers expenses. The City of Melbourne is set to top the Overseas holiday expenses yet again this year. The previous City Council, under the leadership of John So, spent over 1 Million dollars in overseas travel.

Greens Councillor, Frazer Brindley managed to talk the City Council into funding travel expenses related to his executive position held an international environment confest organisation. he was elected to the ICLIE executive ion the basis that the City Council would foot the bill for all travel costs.. Why the Council is funding a third party’s executive governance cost is anyone guess.

No restrictions when it comes to the City Council’s overseas holidays and South African Safaris. Cr Brindley’s African sunset tour last year generated around 60% of the annual Co2 emissions for an average family car so he could attend an ICLIE executive meeting. Why could they not have arrange an Internet hook-up to discuss their corporate governance is anyone guess.

Executive travel and international “Confests” are big business and generate significant Green house gas emissions whilst pumping the brave new world of international corporate tourism .

So much to the Greens commitment to fiscal and environmental responsibility.

Come January 1 Public commuters have been hit with a congestion tax to help fund the City Council’s Travel budget and their new competitive busting Tourist bus whilst public transport users are left waiting for a ride.

In the meantime Melbourne’s “Car Free Council still refuses to publish the costs associated wit the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayors Limousine. The City Council continues to hide the costs associated with the lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayors limos.
Shame Fraser Shame.



Norway to buy greenhouse quotas

Norway plans to offset the greenhouse gases caused by state employees’ flights abroad by buying emissions quotas to help combat global warming, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said.

His office said Norway was probably the first country in the world to buy such quotas.

“The government has decided that when state employees travel by plane abroad, we will buy quotas for the emissions caused by the trip,” Stoltenberg said in a New Year speech.

“We want to set an example. We hope that companies, organisations and other countries will follow,” he said.

Emissions by planes on international flights are excluded from the goals of the UN’s Kyoto Protocol, a plan that binds 35 rich nations to cut emissions from burning oil, coal and natural gas by five per cent below 1990 levels by 2008-12.

Stoltenberg did not say how much his plan would cost.

Norway’s NTB news agency estimated the cost at about $US400,000 ($A508,000) a year.

Most scientists say emissions from burning oil, coal and natural gas are to blame for a global rise in temperatures that may wreak havoc with the climate by causing more floods, desertification, heatwaves, spreading disease and raising sea levels.

Some companies, including Norway’s oil group Statoil, already have similar policies of paying for emissions caused by employees’ flights.

According to the Carbon Neutral Company, a passenger travelling one way from Oslo to Washington would account for emissions of 0.7 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

It suggests a compensating investment of about $US12 ($A15.24) in windmills or planting trees.

“In many parts of the country we have had the warmest autumn and winter months for 100 years,” Stoltenberg said.

“We notice it in our daily lives – skis are standing unused. Children are not making snowmen. Researchers say polar bears are threatened.”

2007 – Reuters

Norway lays down a challenge to Melbourne City Council Greens challenged to bring in quotas on thier green house gas travel

Norway has decided to place quotas on green house gas emissions generated by public servants travelling the globe on public taxes. Something we think Melbourne City Council should also adopt.

Melbourne City Council is renowned for its glob trotting Councillors and Staff seeking overseas five-star luxury holidays at ratepayers expenses. The City of Melbourne is set to top the Overseas holiday expenses yet again this year. The previous City Council, under the leadership of John So, spent over 1 Million dollars in overseas travel.

Greens Councillor, Frazer Brindley managed to talk the City Council into funding travel expenses related to his executive position held an international environment confest organisation. he was elected to the ICLIE executive ion the basis that the City Council would foot the bill for all travel costs.. Why the Council is funding a third party’s executive governance cost is anyone guess.

No restrictions when it comes to the City Council’s overseas holidays and South African Safaris. Cr Brindley’s African sunset tour last year generated around 60% of the annual Co2 emissions for an average family car so he could attend an ICLIE executive meeting. Why could they not have arrange an Internet hook-up to discuss their corporate governance is anyone guess.

Executive travel and international “Confests” are big business and generate significant Green house gas emissions whilst pumping the brave new world of international corporate tourism .

So much to the Greens commitment to fiscal and environmental responsibility.

Come January 1 Public commuters have been hit with a congestion tax to help fund the City Council’s Travel budget and their new competitive busting Tourist bus whilst public transport users are left waiting for a ride.

In the meantime Melbourne’s “Car Free Council still refuses to publish the costs associated wit the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayors Limousine. The City Council continues to hide the costs associated with the lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayors limos.
Shame Fraser Shame.



Norway to buy greenhouse quotas

Norway plans to offset the greenhouse gases caused by state employees’ flights abroad by buying emissions quotas to help combat global warming, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said.

His office said Norway was probably the first country in the world to buy such quotas.

“The government has decided that when state employees travel by plane abroad, we will buy quotas for the emissions caused by the trip,” Stoltenberg said in a New Year speech.

“We want to set an example. We hope that companies, organisations and other countries will follow,” he said.

Emissions by planes on international flights are excluded from the goals of the UN’s Kyoto Protocol, a plan that binds 35 rich nations to cut emissions from burning oil, coal and natural gas by five per cent below 1990 levels by 2008-12.

Stoltenberg did not say how much his plan would cost.

Norway’s NTB news agency estimated the cost at about $US400,000 ($A508,000) a year.

Most scientists say emissions from burning oil, coal and natural gas are to blame for a global rise in temperatures that may wreak havoc with the climate by causing more floods, desertification, heatwaves, spreading disease and raising sea levels.

Some companies, including Norway’s oil group Statoil, already have similar policies of paying for emissions caused by employees’ flights.

According to the Carbon Neutral Company, a passenger travelling one way from Oslo to Washington would account for emissions of 0.7 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

It suggests a compensating investment of about $US12 ($A15.24) in windmills or planting trees.

“In many parts of the country we have had the warmest autumn and winter months for 100 years,” Stoltenberg said.

“We notice it in our daily lives – skis are standing unused. Children are not making snowmen. Researchers say polar bears are threatened.”

2007 – Reuters

Council replies but provides no answers Why is Council footing the bill for the executive governance expenses of a third party orgainisation?

City of Melbourne replies to concerns related to costs associated with Cr Brindley’s overseas Travel.

We received a half backed response from Cr Brian Shannahan, Chairman of the Council Finance Committee, re: Council Brindley’s executive membership of a third party organisation and his proposed African Safari/Conference to our previous correspondence. (Addditional post)

Cr Shanahan’s reply failed to outline or provide an explanation as to why the Council is paying for the costs of Cr Brindley’s executive membership of a third party organisation and under what provision of the Local Government the Council?

Cr Brindley was appointed to the executive of ICLEI (An international environment talk fest organisation) last year following the Melbourne’s City Council’s agreemeent to pay the cost associated with Fraser’s Brindley membership which includes numerous overseas trip to attend executive meetings. (The African trip is budegeted to cost $9,000.00 for a five day Safari – thats just over a third of a Councillor’s annual allowance)

It is one thing to be a member of this organisation attending the odd conference/junket but another for the Council to pay the “out-of-pocket cost” associated with the executive expenses of a third party organisation.

Surely ICLEI’s executive expenses should be met by ICLEI and not the City of Melbourne. After all they are responsible for their own governance not Melbourne.

The City of Melbourne can find any excuse to pay any expense related to “fact finding tours” and the like if you take such a broad definition of a Councillor’s duties. In our view the executive expenses of ICLEI do not fall under the provision of section 75 of the Local Government Act as they are not directly related to the role or duties of a Councillor.

Why can not Cr Brindley and ICLEI use internet video conferencing for their executive meetings as opposed to jet-setting off around the world, strutting the International stage at the expense of Melbourne ratepayers and the environment? A quick look at the Australian Conservation Foundation web site and you will see they recommend exactly that. Each trip abroad by Melbourne Green Councillor Fraser Brindley is equivalent to approx 15 trees.

In meanwhile the State Government takes no action to address community concern at the ongoing miss use and abuse.

Council replies but provides no answers Why is Council footing the bill for the executive governance expenses of a third party orgainisation?

City of Melbourne replies to concerns related to costs associated with Cr Brindley’s overseas Travel.

We received a half backed response from Cr Brian Shannahan, Chairman of the Council Finance Committee, re: Council Brindley’s executive membership of a third party organisation and his proposed African Safari/Conference to our previous correspondence. (Addditional post)

Cr Shanahan’s reply failed to outline or provide an explanation as to why the Council is paying for the costs of Cr Brindley’s executive membership of a third party organisation and under what provision of the Local Government the Council?

Cr Brindley was appointed to the executive of ICLEI (An international environment talk fest organisation) last year following the Melbourne’s City Council’s agreemeent to pay the cost associated with Fraser’s Brindley membership which includes numerous overseas trip to attend executive meetings. (The African trip is budegeted to cost $9,000.00 for a five day Safari – thats just over a third of a Councillor’s annual allowance)

It is one thing to be a member of this organisation attending the odd conference/junket but another for the Council to pay the “out-of-pocket cost” associated with the executive expenses of a third party organisation.

Surely ICLEI’s executive expenses should be met by ICLEI and not the City of Melbourne. After all they are responsible for their own governance not Melbourne.

The City of Melbourne can find any excuse to pay any expense related to “fact finding tours” and the like if you take such a broad definition of a Councillor’s duties. In our view the executive expenses of ICLEI do not fall under the provision of section 75 of the Local Government Act as they are not directly related to the role or duties of a Councillor.

Why can not Cr Brindley and ICLEI use internet video conferencing for their executive meetings as opposed to jet-setting off around the world, strutting the International stage at the expense of Melbourne ratepayers and the environment? A quick look at the Australian Conservation Foundation web site and you will see they recommend exactly that. Each trip abroad by Melbourne Green Councillor Fraser Brindley is equivalent to approx 15 trees.

In meanwhile the State Government takes no action to address community concern at the ongoing miss use and abuse.