Bruce writes: "Cigarette duty-free prices from New Zealand operators are becoming outrageous. Just a few months ago, the standard price for a carton of 200 cigarettes at Auckland airport was $50. Last week I found the price had jumped to $80. What's going on here? The same cigarettes can be bought at Bangkok and Singapore airports for $22. This is straight price gouging in New Zealand. Government duty may have risen, but the duty-free operators are paying no more for the product. It's almost as if they know tobacco won't be on their shelves much longer, and are gouging furiously while they have the opportunity."
Thinking outside the tent
A reader from Kingsland writes: "Our granddaughter wanted to borrow some things for camping, chilly bin/folding chairs etc, also a mirror. I found a handheld one (Granddad said she could use the one in the car) but no - she wanted a full length one! My daughter once took a lawnmower with her on a camping trip - she was very popular as everyone wanted to borrow it to mow their piece of grass in front of their tent."
Calling Dad's bluff
The Daily Mail has a report on time-wasters detailing some of the calls received by the emergency services this year, including this one from North Wales. "An angry dad dialled 999 to report his teenage son for refusing to go to bed. The schoolboy, 14, was playing on his games console at midnight and ignored his parents' pleas to switch it off and get some sleep. The late-night row got so heated the boy's father picked up the phone and dialled 999."
The hard word
For the 7th year running Russell Brown's Hard News readers come up with their Word of the Year. This year's top five are ...
1. Brainfade - the Prime Minister's catch-all explanation for memory lapses.
2. Marmageddon (Like Armageddon, but referring to the devastation caused by the disappearance of marmite after the Christchurch earthquake halted production).
3. Planet Key - John Key's idea of utopia, where there are golf courses and self-cleaning toilets.
4. Gangnam Style - the new Macarena / bird dance, but bigger).
5. "100 per cent Pure" - our tourism brand one-liner isn't supposed to be taken literally, apparently.
Own goal: Mark Zuckerberg's Sister Complains Of Facebook Privacy Breach (and she used to work for the company)
News: Why a shark tank at the mall isn't a good idea. (OMG, look at what happened to the Clarins counter!!)
Geography: Confused between Holland and the Netherlands? Time to clear things up ...
Classic clip: This Iron Chef America judge likes the plentiful peas in this dish...