Telecommuting is meant to be the way of the future, and a new study might explain why. In the survey of 1013 US office workers, carried out for IT company Citrix, 43 per cent said they sometimes watch TV or a movie while "working" from home, 35 per cent do household chores and 28 per cent cook dinner. Other popular activities include taking a nap (26 per cent), having the occasional drink (24 per cent) and playing video games (20 per cent). And don't forget the saving on clothing: nearly half of those who have worked from home say they're most likely to wear jeans and a t-shirt when on the job. Another 25 per cent don't bother getting out of their pyjamas, and 7 per cent strip down to their underwear, or work in the buff.

Warning, cute alert: Taiwan's EVA Air has teamed with Japanese cartoon character Hello Kitty, to create a series of themed aircraft. Passengers aboard the Happy Music Jet, the Speed Puff Jet or the others in the fleet can revel in a wall-to-wall Hello Kitty experience, with everything from the exterior paint job, to the luggage tags and the crew uniforms reflecting the theme.

As reported, there has been a big push back from some in the health sector at the appointment of former National MP Katherine Rich to the new Health Promotion Agency, which is taking over from ALAC and the Health Sponsorship Council. But ministers remain adamant that the new body should have a diverse range of views, and not only represent "wowsers".


Yes, we know farming is big business, serious stuff, but the Insider couldn't help being bemused at the heading on a press release heralding this week's Federated Farmers national conference: "Lock up your livestock Auckland, Federated Farmers is coming to town." Quite what they were warning against is probably best left unimagined.

There was plenty of heated rhetoric in Parliament as the Government passed legislation to sell 49 per cent of the state-owned energy enterprises. But the apparent rancour disguised a surprising level of co-operation over the smooth running of the House. Despite Opposition MPs protesting about the rushed proceedings, the Government allowed more than seven hours debate during the committee stage of what was a short two-part bill. This week it looked as if the Government was running out time to pass bills that had to be dealt with before the House rose, and that Leader of the House Gerry Brownlee would have to use Urgency to get everything done. But the Opposition allowed him to use extended hours to get through the workload. Which shows that for all the posturing, politicians can work together

In comparison to past years, the opening of the Queenstown Winter Festival was rather short on politicians or celebrities. However classical music fans bundled up in the Queenstown Memorial Hall for the Michael Hill International Violin Recital, where guests included Sir James Wallace and ex-NZX boss Mark Weldon. The glamour was saved for a private dinner afterwards at Sir Michael's house.

Radio NZ reporter Julian Robins has helped confirm the prejudices of many National ministers about the state broadcaster, by leaving the Press Gallery to work for Labour. And Bill English's press secretary Grant Fleming has confirmed the prejudices of many senior Labour MPs about Gallery journalists in general, by moving to Westpac as head of government relations, after moving to English's office from the Gallery office of the now deceased NZPA.

The changes to KiwiRail's balance sheet might finally bring an end to one of the more curious valuation calculations to be sprung upon any government. Then-Finance Minister Michael Cullen was bemused when a revaluation of the land and the railway infrastructure put a value of $5 billion on something he bought for $1. He then paid $680 million for the rest of the railway assets and somehow that all ended up being valued at more than $13 billion. Some have accused the Government of revaluing the assets to prepare KiwiRail for sale, but as one senior minister told the Insider, the idea is ludicrous: even if they wanted to sell KiwiRail, no one would want to buy. The "asset", which is still valued at more than $6 billion, will need $4 billion poured into it.