In reviews – 27th September ’23

by | Sep 26, 2023

Looking back over the past week and to the weeks ahead – to rate the noteworthy, the cringeworthy, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the truly amazing.

How about honest prices at our airports?

When I went to Sydney a week ago I packed a good number of Whittaker’s chocolate bars in my bag for my brother. He has a sweet tooth and is a huge fan of our best chocolate. You may disagree but to my mind Whittaker’s produces top quality chocolate with a great range that is continually updated. It’s top notch.

So, as I was killing time in Auckland Airport before my flight, I meandered through the duty free stores, more out of curiosity than need. One thing struck me – duty free isn’t cheap. Not like it used to be. I understand that airports are now traps for wary travellers to empty their wallets before their trips begin. However, I was shocked to see a stand in one store filled with Whittaker’s chocolate bars for the obscene price of $11 each. How is that even possible and what does it say to tourists buying Kiwi products? It’s a huge disservice to one of our best brands. It was no surprise to me that the stand was  full because you’d have to be a fool to pay over twice the retail price. The sticker proudly stated the items were ‘tax and duty free’ Good one.

It’s no surprise that it’s an overseas company making its money at Auckland airport duty free and not much more of a surprise that Auckland Airport agreed to give that one company sole rights to duty free at the airport. My advice – buy your gifts before you travel. Support Kiwi and use your consumer power to make a change.

0 stars – price gouging is obscene.

Maybe we need to think in broader terms about flying bans

A story on Stuff this morning reminded me that even our best and brightest aren’t immune to the inconsiderate and thoughtless while travelling. NZ’s first sporting family, Richie and Gemma MCCaw and their children pondered how to deal with some common decency illiterate who had their bare foot plonked on the armrest of one of the kid’s seats. Being decent people, the McCaws didn’t want to cause a fuss or offence, though I’m sure some ploys from his playing days were running through Richie’s mind. Luckily a flight attendant asked the space invader to remove their foot and the issue was resolved.

Personally I don’t think people with such a disregard for others should be allowed on planes. In what world is it cool to stick your feet into someone else’s space? Don’t get me started on people behind you kicking the back of your seat or pulling your seat back when they get in and out of theirs. Honestly, how did we ever get to the top of the food chain?

5 stars  – to the McCaws and their decency, great stuff! 0 stars to the owner of the foot – try harder, much harder.

DNA testing for dogs? Why not

How well do you know your dog, if you have one? If the answer is not that well, then the good people at global genealogy website, Ancestry, have created a product to give you some answers. For some years, Ancestry, and other sites as well, to be fair, have offered at-home DNA test kits that are then analysed and can be used to match with others on their site – as well as giving you a breakdown of the geographical make-up of your DNA. Now they have launched a similar product for our furry best pals.

“We often wish our dogs could tell us what they’re thinking. Just like humans, dogs have a combination of learned and inherited traits. DNA testing can give us insight into common markers shared across different breeds that are often reflected in their behaviours, attributes and personalities,” says Ancestry.

“We look for over 30 unique characteristics that your dog has inherited from the unique mixture of ancestors. So traits like fur colour, fear of loud noises and separation anxiety are assessed based on the likelihood that they were passed down genetically.” (Source: “Ancestry launches dog DNA testing so you can get to know your pet better,” by Issy Rixon, 20 September 2023,

Not only does the DNA results allow dog owners to know their pets better, it matches with other local dogs with similar DNA – win-win!

5 stars – for ingenuity and a sure fire way to rake in cash from dog owners.


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