Let Busted Blonde bathe in champers

July 31, 2010

Busted Blonde wants to win her weight in champagne.

As part of its 40th birthday celebrations NBR is offering the chance to win your weight in ‘Veuve Clicquot’ and she’s entered.

Brunette and Cactus Kate are supporting her and you can too by voting for her.

I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting BB (or Brunette and CK) but her reputation has preceded her and if even half what I’ve heard is true she would use the champers for a party to remember.


15/15 and 7/10

July 31, 2010

15/15 in the TV3 weekly news quiz - the answers to music and TV programme questions were guesses but I knew the rest.

7/10 in the NZ Herald current affairs quiz with some guesses right and some wrong.


You don’t have to be mad to work in parliament . . .

July 31, 2010

If anyone had a case for saying their job made them mad it would be MPs.

They work long hours in an unnatural environment surrounded by Alpha personality types knowing every misstep is likely to end up in the media. Most have to live away from their families and when they go home they have to deal with electorate duties. Even Wellington based MPs spend a lot of time travelling round the rest of the country – and further afield.

To make matters worse they’re surrounded by people who are may be as much rivals as allies and not all your enemies are on the other side.

It’s a high pressured and unnatural life and it would be understandable if that had an detrimental impact on their mental health.

If it did, it wouldn’t be helpful if colleagues started publicly questioning your state of mind.

I agree with Inventory 2 who said:

 The personal attacks on Carter and the innuendo around his mental health reflect very poorly on Labour in our humble opinion.

This isn’t the first time Labour, which prides iteslf on its sensitivity, has been less than sensitive over mental illness. Regardless of  my state of mind, that strategy  would definitely make me mad – at least in the sense of being furious.

UPDATE: Apropos of attacks  getting personal, Kiwiblog has a post on the post deleted from Red Alert.


Few farmers on the rich list

July 31, 2010

There’s good news in the National Business Review’s 2010 Rich List.

It’s behind the pay-wall or in the print edition so I’ll restrict the copy and paste to the opening paragraphs:

It may surprise some people that, despite perceptions to the contrary, wealth is no easy come, easy go phenomenon. Of course, there are exceptions, such as those who have heavily borrowed to create property empires.

You will find a few have dropped off this year’s Rich List but others have joined. The country is not littered with abandoned mansions, repossessed yachts and collapsed businesses.

Private philanthropy – helped by permissive tax advantages – has largely continued.

If you think being equally poor is better than being unequally rich you won’t be cheered by that. But if you realise that you don’t help the poor by hurting the rich this is encouraging.

It means most of our wealth generators have got through the recession relatively unscathed which is good for them and gives a glimmer of hope for the wider economy.

Another positive sign is the growth of wealth earned from intellectual property and ideas. Those are both assets which generally aren’t disadvantaged by our geographic isolation.

The hard work most of the rich listers undertook to earn, and retain, their wealth isn’t detailed but there is information on their philanthropic activities which reflects well on their generosity.

The list doesn’t purport to be exhaustive but even so I’m always surprised by how few farmers appear on it.

That could be because farming wealth may be in the hands of  individuals, families,  trusts  or private companies and therefore harder to calculate.

It could also mean, that in spite of fears that corporate farming is taking over the country, the family farm is still alive and well - if not making enough to earn its owners a place on the rich list.


If Goff can’t who can?

July 31, 2010

It’s not impossible for Labour to win the next election with Phil Goff as leader.

What those of us in the blue ranged of the spectrum would regard as a disaster and those in the red range might call a miracle, could happen. But it is unlikely.

That begs the questions: If Labour can’t win with Goff as leader, could it win with anyone else in that very hot seat?

The Australian Labor Party is ahead in the polls after a change of leader, but it wasn’t battling the 20 point gap with Labour does here.

That gap could narrow but it is unlikely to close altogether – with or without a different leader.

Even Labour insiders are admitting that. Trevor Mallard said on Focus on Politics last night (starting at 6:16):

No-one in caucus that I know thinks that anyone could do a better job than Phil has done. I think many of us know it’s going to be hard to win the next election. But it’s possible and Phil is the person who can do that and no-one else can.

When a senior MP says that Labour’s unlikely to win and if Goff can’t lead Labour to an election victory no-one else it’s hardly likely to inspire voter confidence in the party regardless of whoever is leading it next year.


July 31 in history

July 31, 2010

On July 31:

30 BC  Battle of Alexandria: Mark Antony achieved a minor victory over Octavian’s forces, but most of his army subsequently deserted, leading to his suicide.

M Antonius.jpg

781 The oldest recorded eruption of Mt. Fuji.

904 Thessalonica fell to the Arabs, who destroyed the city.

1009  Pope Sergius IV became the 142nd pope, succeeding Pope John XVIII.

Sergius IV.jpg

1200 Attempted usurpation of John Komnenos the Fat.

1423  Hundred Years’ War: Battle of Cravant – the French army was defeated at Cravant.

1451  Jacques Cœur was arrested by order of Charles VII of France.

 

1492 Jews were expelled from Spain when the Alhambra Decree took effect.

 

1498 On his third voyage to the Western Hemisphere, Christopher Columbus became the first European to discover the island of Trinidad.

 

1658 Aurangzeb was proclaimed Moghul emperor of India.

 
Aurangzeb as the young emperor

1667   Treaty of Breda ended the second Anglo-Dutch War.

 

1703  Daniel Defoe was placed in a pillory for the crime of seditious libel after publishing a politically satirical pamphlet, but was pelted with flowers.

 

1741  Charles Albert of Bavaria invaded Upper Austria and Bohemia.

 

1777 Pedro Ignacio de Castro Barros, Argentine statesman and priest, was born (d. 1849).

1777 The U.S. Second Continental Congress passed a resolution that the services of Marquis de Lafayette “be accepted, and that, in consideration of his zeal, illustrious family and connexions, he have the rank and commission of major-general of the United States.”

Gilbert du Motier Marquis de Lafayette.jpg

1790  First U.S. patent was issued to inventor Samuel Hopkins for a potash process.

 

1800 Friedrich Wöhler, German chemist and founder of organic chemistry, was born.

 

1803 John Ericsson, Swedish inventor and engineer, was born (d. 1889).

 

1856  Christchurch, New Zealand, was chartered as a city.

1860 Mary Vaux Walcott,  American artist and naturalist, was born (d. 1940).

1865 The first narrow gauge mainline railway in the world opened at Grandchester, Australia.

1895  The Basque Nationalist Party (Euzko Alderdi Jeltzalea-Partido Nacionalista Vasco) was founded by Basque nationalist leader Sabino Arana.

Basque Nationalist Party.png

1909  Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Austrian writer and polyglot, was born (d. 1999).

1912  Milton Friedman, American economist, Nobel laureate (d. 2006).

MiltonFriedman.jpg

1913 The Balkan States signed an armistice at Bucharest.

 

1919 German national assembly adopted the Weimar constitution.

1921 Peter Benenson, British founder of Amnesty International, was born (d. 2005).

Amnesty International logo.svg

1930  The radio mystery programme The Shadow  aired for the first time.

 
Shadow Death From Nowhere.jpg

1932  The NSDAP won more than 38% of the vote in German elections.

NSDAP Reichsadler.svg

1936  The International Olympic Committee announced that the 1940 Summer Olympics would be held in Tokyo. However, the games were given back to the IOC after the Second Sino-Japanese War broke out, and are eventually cancelled altogether because of World War II.

 

1938 Bulgaria signed a non-aggression pact with Greece and other states of Balkan Antanti (Turkey, Romania, Yugoslavia).

1938 Archaeologists discovered engraved gold and silver plates from King Darius in Persepolis.

1940 A doodlebug train in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio collided with a multi-car freight train heading in the opposite direction, killing 43 people.

1941  Holocaust: under instructions from Adolf Hitler, Hermann Göring, ordered SS General Reinhard Heydrich to “submit to me as soon as possible a general plan of the administrative material and financial measures necessary for carrying out the desired final solution of the Jewish question.”

 

1943 Lobo, American singer and songwriter, was born.

 1944  Geraldine Chaplin, American actress.

1944 – Jonathan Dimbleby, British journalist and television presenter.

1945  Pierre Laval, the fugitive former leader of Vichy France, surrendered to Allied soldiers in Austria.

 

1945  John K. Giles attempted to escape from Alcatraz prison.

1948  New York International Airport (later renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport) was dedicated.

1951  Japan Airlines was established.

1954 First ascent of K2, by an Italian expedition led by Ardito Desio.

 

1959  The Basque separatist organisation ETA was founded.

 
ETAren anagrama Altsasun (square).jpg

1964 Jim Corr, Irish singer and musician (The Corrs), was born.

 

1964  Ranger 7 sent back the first close-up photographs of the moon, with images 1,000 times clearer than anything ever seen from earth-bound telescopes.

Ranger 6

1970 Black Tot Day: The last day of the officially sanctioned rum ration in the Royal Navy.

1972 – Operation Motorman: British troops moved into the no-go areas of Belfast and Derry. End of Free Derry.

Derry mural 6.jpg

1972 – Three car bombs detonated in Claudy, Northern Ireland, killing nine.

1973 A Delta Air Lines jetliner crashed while landing in fog at Logan Airport, Boston, Massachusetts killing 89.

1976 John Walker won gold in the 1500 metres at the Montreal Olympics.

John Walker wins gold in Montreal

1976 NASA released the  Face on Mars photo.

 

1978 Will Champion, English musician (Coldplay), was born.

 

1980 Mils Muliaina, New Zealand rugby union player, was born.

1980 Mikko Hirvonen, Finnish rally driver, was born.

Mikko Hirvonen - 2006 Rally Argentina.jpg

1981 – General Omar Torrijos of Panama died in a plane crash.

 

1981 A total solar eclipse occured.

 

1987  A rare, class F4 tornado ripped through Edmonton, Alberta, killing 27 people and causing $330 million in damage.

1988  32 people died and 1,674 injured when a bridge at the Sultan Abdul Halim ferry terminal collapsed in Butterworth, Malaysia.

1991  The Medininkai Massacre in Lithuania. Soviet OMON attacked Lithuanian customs post in Medininkai, killing 7 officers and severely wounding one other.

1992  A Thai Airways Airbus A300-310 crashed into a mountain north of Kathmandu, Nepal killing 113.

1999  Lunar Prospector – NASA intentionally crashed the spacecraft into the Moon, ending its mission to detect frozen water on the moon’s surface.

Lunar Prospector
 

2002  Hebrew University of Jerusalem was attacked when a bomb exploded in a cafeteria, killing 9.

2006  Fidel Castro handed over power temporarily to brother Raúl Castro.

 

2007 Operation Banner, the presence of the British Army in Northern Ireland, and the longest-running British Army operation ever, ended.

British Army roadblock 1988.jpg

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


They’re not drinking our milk there

July 30, 2010

We like to think our milk is welcome anywhere.

Sadly it’s not:

Protests in India organised by Hindu nationalist political party Shiv Sena against imports of New Zealand dairy products have turned ugly with party workers draining thousands of litres of milk at Pune, 100km south of Mumbai.

The attack on a local milk tanker – and on five other tankers earlier in the week – followed threats to burn a ship carrying imports of milk from New Zealand.

Protesting the National Dairy Development Board’s (NDDB) decision to import 30,000 tonnes of milk powder and 15,000 tonne of ghee from New Zealand, the party members – known as “Shiv Sainiks” yesterday stopped a local milk tanker and drained the milk, NDTV reported. . .

Farmers have asked government officials to scrap the imports and have threatened to set on fire a ship due to arrive in Mumbai on August 18 with the New Zealand dairy products.

A Shiv Sena official in Satara, Viraj Kharade, toldNDTV: “We will spill more milk, we will stone milk tankers and further intensify our agitation as we want the government to focus their attention on this issue.”

We have begun looking to Asia for new markets for our products.

There are large populations with an increasing number of people earning more who are wanting to buy protein.

But this story shows that there may be large hurdles between our protein and the people who want to buy it.


Dr Zhivago

July 30, 2010

Happy birthday Geraldine Chaplin, 66 today.


National Poetry Day

July 30, 2010

It’s National Poetry Day which aims:

  •  
    • To heighten the profile of the New Zealand Post Book Awards and the poetry finalists in particular
    • To encourage access to poetry in a variety of communities
    • To popularise poetry with new audiences
    • To celebrate the unique and vibrant voices that make up New Zealand poetry
    • To support new and emerging poets

The link above will take you to events around the country including:

Brian Turner at Oamaru Library; a poetry evening with Diane Brown, Rogelio Guedea, Michael Harlow, Amos Mann, Sarah Paterson, Jenny Powell and MC, Cy Mathews at Dunedin City Library; and 24 hours of poetry in Wanaka,  which includes  overnight poetry readings on Wanaka Beats 107.3FM, free poetry in local cafes, art-and-poetry competition at Art Upstairs, a public magnetic poetry board in the centre of town, poetry for kids at Wanaka Library and an Open Mic Night, featuring guest reader David Eggleton who is also running a poetry workshop at Wanaka Library.

If you’re looking for poetic blogs a good place to start is Tuesday’s Poem:

At the hub we will have the Best Book of Poetry winners & finalists for 2010: Brian Turner, Bernadette Hall, Michael Harlow & Selina Tusitala Marsh. And Tuesday Poets will post a poem with NZ as a theme or – for the overseas poets – poems on the joys of poetry.

Check out the Live Blog Roll below for posts titled: ‘NZ Poetry Day’. Some of our ‘Tuesday Poems’ this week have a NZ theme too so be wide-ranging.

You could also try writing your own, as  goNZo Freakpower did.


CTU puts politics in front of jobs

July 30, 2010

The Council of Trade Unions is withdrawing its co-operation with the government on trade agreement  issues.

Helen Kelly, CTU President, said: “We have always raised our concerns – sometimes very strongly – about trade agreement negotiations in terms of tariff reductions, labour standards and other matters but we have also been prepared to work with government and business to promote the best possible outcome for New Zealand.”

“But now this Government has gone down a path which tries to compete with other countries through reducing fairness at work for New Zealand wage and salary earners.”

The Government had invited Richard Trumka, the President of the AFL-CIO (central union organisation in USA) to New Zealand and a visit was scheduled for early next year. This visit would have been significant for both countries. The CTU has agreed with the AFL-CIO that he should now not come given the attacks this Government has unleashed on wage and salary earners. It would be untenable for him to be here meeting a Government that stands against all he believes in.

Not surprisingly Trade Minister Tim Groser is unimpressed:

It is disappointing that the Council of Trade Unions has requested the United States union movement pulls its support for the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement, Trade Minister Tim Groser says.

“Negotiating new trade agreements is one part of the Government’s broad-based plan for faster growth and more jobs. The CTU’s moves against this particular trade opportunity are puzzling and could actually cost jobs,” Mr Groser says.

“It’s particularly disappointing that the CTU is prepared to put petty politics ahead of New Zealand’s economic and trade interests.

“New Zealand and New Zealanders stand to benefit substantially from further successful trade deals – particularly with large and influential economies such as the United States. These deals will help us create higher-paying jobs and enjoy better living standards.

“I’m therefore sure the CTU’s members will be keen to know why their organisation is, in effect, working against their own interests in such a way.”

Quite.

We are a tiny nation which depends on trade to fund and supply the many things we can’t grow and make ourselves.

We are at considerable disadvantage because of other countries’ restrictive trade practices.

They make our goods more expensive for overseas consumers and reduce returns to our producers which has a detrimental impact on our economy which in turn hampers opportunities for job creation and retention.

This government, and the previous one, put considerable effort into trade deals. The CTU’s petty politicking has just made that more difficult.


WDC consents for Mackenzie dairying quashed

July 30, 2010

The High Court has quashed resource consents and certificates of compliance which the Waitaki District Council issued for three cubical dairying operations in the Mackenzie Basin.

The Environmental Defence Society, which brought the action, said:

  “Clearly there has been a failure of public policy at all levels. The Government has failed to provide national guidance; the regional council has failed to identify nationally important landscapes; and the two district councils have failed to develop coherent and effective district plans.

“There is now a real window of opportunity to prepare a long-term Strategic Plan for the area. In our view that should be led by the local community but both Environment Canterbury and the Ministry for the Environment should be involved. It needs to look at the landscape, natural values and social and economic development options for the Mackenzie Country over the next 25 or more years.

The court quashed the consents becasue of an error of process, it did not consider the merits or otherwise of the case.

I wonder if opponents to the application realise the applicants could run the same number of beef cattle without having to apply for any consents at all because pastoral farming is a permitted activity?

Resource consent was needed not for the number of animals but the type of farming. Dairying required the construction of housing and disposal of effluent. Neither of these would apply for free range beef cattle.


Pity the volunteers

July 30, 2010

The Chris Carter circus is all very amusing for those of us looking on from the outside but it will be anything but funny for insiders.

Phil Goff will be fuming. Instead of attention focussing positively on Labour for attacking the government it’s on him, his caucus and the Te Atatu MP.

He may also be worried. What if Carter isn’t a lone wolf but a stalking horse?

The rest of caucus will also be angry. Even if they agree with Carter that Labour can’t win the next election with Goff as leader, he’s added poison to the chalice because anyone who took over would be splattered with mud from this mess.

But the people who will be really upset, and for whom I have real sympathy, are the volunteers.

They’re the ones who do the fund raising and the organising. They pound the pavements delivering pamphlets, they phone talkback write letters to the editor, comment on blogs, perhaps even contribute to one. They sit through meetings, in often cold halls, to provide moral support for candidates and MPs.

They are the ones who give their time, their energy and their money for a cause they believe in. They stick with the party through thick and thin, in opposition and government.

And most do it in the knowledge the only reward they will get is seeing some of the policies they support and may have helped shape take effect.

Carter thinks Labour can’t win the election with Goff as leader. He should also realise the party won’t get anywhere without volunteers and he’s just kicked them in the shins.


July 30 in history

July 30, 2010

On July 30:

762  Baghdad was founded.

1419  First Defenestration of Prague.

1502 Christopher Columbus landed at Guanaja in the Bay Islands off the coast of Honduras during his fourth voyage.

 

1549 Ferdinando I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, was born (d. 1609).

 

1608  Samuel de Champlain shot and killed two Iroquois chiefs which set the tone for French-Iroquois relations for the next 100 years.

 

1619  The first representative assembly in the Americas, the House of Burgesses, convened for the first time.

 

1629  An earthquake in Naples killed 10,000 people.

1733  The first Masonic Grand Lodge in what became the United States was constituted in Massachusetts.

1756 Bartolomeo Rastrelli presented the newly-built Catherine Palace to Empress Elizabeth and her courtiers.

 

1811  Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, leader of the Mexican insurgency, was executed by the Spanish.

Miguel Hidalgo.jpg

1818 Emily Brontë, English novelist, was born (d. 1848).

 

1825 Malden Island was discovered.

 

1859 First ascent of Grand Combin.

1863 Henry Ford, American industrialist, was born (d. 1947).

 

1863 Indian Wars: Chief Pocatello of the Shoshone tribe signed the Treaty of Box Elder, agreeing to stop the harassment of emigrant trails in southern Idaho and northern Utah.

1864 American Civil War: Battle of the Crater – Union forces attempt edto break Confederate lines at Petersburg, Virginia by exploding a large bomb under their trenches.

Battle of the Crater.jpeg

1866 New Orleans’s Democratic government ordered police to raid an integrated Republican Party meeting, killing 40 people and injuring 150.

1871  The Staten Island Ferry Westfield’s boiler exploded, killing over 85 people.

 

1893 Fatima Jinnah, Pakistani Mother of the Nation, was born (d. 1967).

1898 Henry Moore, English sculptor, was born (d. 1986).

 

1916  Black Tom Island explosion in Jersey City.

1925 Alexander Trocchi, Scottish writer, was born (d. 1984).

 
Cover

1926 Christine McGuire, American singer (The McGuire Sisters), was born.

1930  Uruguay won the first Football World Cup.

 1932  Premiere of Walt Disney’s Flowers and Trees, the first cartoon short to use Technicolor and the first Academy Award winning cartoon short.

 

1935 Ted Rogers, English comedian and game show host, was born (d. 2001).

1940 Sir Clive Sinclair, English entrepreneur and inventor (pocket calculator, home computer), was born.

 

1941 Paul Anka, Canadian singer and composer, was born.

 

1945   Japanese submarine I-58 sank the USS Indianapolis, killing 883 seamen.

  

1947 Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austrian-born American actor and 38th Governor of California, was born.

 

1950 Frank Stallone, American singer and actor, was born.

1953  Rikidōzan held a ceremony announcing the establishment of the Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance.

1956  A joint resolution of the U.S. Congress was signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, authorizing In God We Trust as the U.S. national motto.

 

1958 Kate Bush, English singer/songwriter, was born.

1958 Daley Thompson, English decathlete, was born.

1965  US President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Social Security Act of 1965 into law, establishing Medicare and Medicaid.

 

1969 Vietnam War: US President Richard M. Nixon made an unscheduled visit to South Vietnam and met  President Nguyen Van Thieu and U.S. military commanders.

1971  Apollo 15 Mission – David Scott and James Irwin on Apollo Lunar Module module, Falcon, landed with first Lunar Rover on the moon.

 

1971  An All Nippon Airways Boeing 727 and a Japanese Air Force F-86 collided over Morioka killing 162.

1974  Watergate Scandal: US President Richard M. Nixon released subpoenaed White House recordings after being ordered to do so by the United States Supreme Court.

1974  Six Royal Canadian Army Cadetswere  killed and fifty-four injured in an accidental grenade blast at CFB Valcartier Cadet Camp.

1975  Three members of the Miami Showband and two gunmen were killed during a botched paramilitary attack in Northern Ireland.

1978  The 730 (transport), Okinawa changed its traffic on the right-hand side of the road to the left-hand side.

 

1979 Carless days were introduced in New Zealand to combat the second oil shock.

Carless days introduced

1980 Vanuatu gained independence.

1980  Israel’s Knesset passed the Jerusalem Law

1997  Eighteen lives were lost in the Thredbo Landslide.

2003  In Mexico, the last ‘old style’ Volkswagen Beetle rolled off the assembly line.

VolkswagenBeetle-001.jpg

2006 World’s longest running music show Top of the Pops was broadcast for the last time on BBC Two after 42 years.

Top of the Pops 2003.jpg

2006 Lebanon War: At least 28 civilians, including 16 children were killed by the Israeli Air Force in what Lebanese call the Second Qana massacre.

 

2009 A bomb exploded in Palma Nova, Mallorca, killing 2 police officers. Basque separatist group ETA is believed to be responsible.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Carter kicked out of caucus

July 29, 2010

He’s been guilty of troughing, of whining, of lack of self knowledge and now Chris Carter is guilty of stupidity:

MP Chris Carter has been suspended from the Labour Party after admitting to sending an anonymous letter claiming there is a plot to overthrow leader Phil Goff.

“His actions were stupid and disloyal,” Labour leader Phil Goff told a press conference this afternoon.

“There are no more chances. His future in the Labour Party is at an end.”

He was stupid to write the letter, more stupid to deliver it to parliament where security cameras operate and stupider still to address the letter by hand because Goff recognised his writing.

UPDATE: TV3 has a transcript of the letter:

Just a heads up on two issues you might find quite interesting in the Labour caucus.

1) Next Tuesday the union based MPs will challenge Goff’s position on the tradability of the 4th week of the month’s annual leave entitlement. There is general outrage that in an unguarded media moment Goff bucked the caucus and CTU position that the 4th week was not tradable for cash and essentially supported Key’s position. This issue has brought to a head the growing discontent in the caucus with both Goff’s leadership style and his poor polling. David Cunliffe has a big smile on his face and many in the caucus now expect a move against Goff and King before the election.

2) George Hawkins has been challenged in his electorate by a member of the Engineers union. Nominations close on 1 September. George is threatening a by-election and since the party is broke there is panic in the ranks over this prospect.


Zorba The Greek

July 29, 2010

Happy birthday Mikis Theodorakis, 85 today.


Blogger spotted with rock bands and movie stars

July 29, 2010

New Zealand’s number 1 blogger (who has just marked his blog’s seventh birthday) has been spotted in the company of rock bands and film stars.

But not in person, one of the questions in TV3′s daily quiz  asks David Farrar is the man behind what popular New Zealand blog?

The choices are: Public Address, Whale Oil Kiwiblog,  or The Standard.

I got 7/15 but some of that was down to luck because several questions referred to films and music about which I knew little.

One of the questions I got wrong was the number of NZ Prime Minsiters who served less than one full year. I was sure there’d be more than one but the only one I could name was Mike Moore.


Making investment too safe is risky

July 29, 2010

Her investments were handled by her son but she took an intelligent interest in them.

When the annual report of a company arrived she read it then rang her son and told him to sell all the shares she had in it.

Her reason?

The chair wasn’t wearing a tie in the board photo.

The sartorial standards of a board chair may not be very solid ground on which to base investment decisions but in this case the investor’s action was right. Soon after her shares were sold the company went under taking a lot of other people’s money with it.

There are some very sad stories of people who put their faith, and their money, in companies whose rhetoric outperformed returns and who lost the lot and – in the cases of those who’d borrowed to invest – more.

This has resulted in calls for tighter regulations for financial advisors and directors.

Some of the actions of some of the people involved in companies built on very shaky foundation warrant this but making investment too safe is risky.

As Stephen Franks opines:

The deterrent of the prosecutions could see the birth of  impeccable candour among company directors, ushering in a new age in which fear of prosecution makes it  possible to take at face value nearly all public commercial discourse, assuming statements have been checked to exhaustion for possibly misleading inferences. The resulting public confidence will see a flood of renewed saving and direct  investment by the newly trusting “mums and dads”.

Or we could be watching a dramatic acceleration of the great decline in  opportunities for direct public investment, as promoters directors and major shareholders decide that the compliance costs (and risks) of public offering far outweigh any lowered costs of capital.

And in another post:

Our new law must target crooks, people with criminal mens rea (guilty minds). It must not treat foolishness and over-optimism and carelessness as if they are similar species of wickedness. Because law that conflates them all will scare honest people into doing nothing, or spending time on fruitless compliance back-covering.

If regulations go too far they will place unrealistic responsibilities on directors and make it difficult to find them willing to do much or serve on boards  at all.

Protecting investors from bad directors is a worthy goal, but the law which aims to protect might also stifle innovation and growth which require varying elements of risk.

Investors and the wider economy will gain nothing and lose a lot if that happens.


It is a no brainer

July 29, 2010

If you had a head injury in Southland or Otago, would it be better to be operated on in Dunedin or Christchurch?

There’s general agreement in the south that closer to home would definitely be better for clinical and other reasons.

The ODT calls it a no-brainer and it’s backed up by doctors who say that lives may be lost if Dunedin Hospital’s two fulltime neurologists are lost and neurology services move to Christchurch.

In a rare front page editorial the ODT says:

The obvious solution to South Island neurosurgery services is to allocate them in a combined form, as has been proposed by the Southern District Health Board, with four surgeons based in Christchurch and two in Dunedin. . .

Our principal argument in favour of retaining a service in the South is based on emergency. While there may be many medical causes of illness where neurosurgical intervention is required, the most obvious cause for most people is from road accident trauma and the like.

The prospect of initial patch-up treatment in Dunedin before transfer to Christchurch for surgery is a fearful one in terms of the possible consequences for the health and recovery of patients from Otago and Southland.

It’s not just the time it would take to get patients from Dunedin to Christchurch, it’s the time it could take to get from wherever illness or accident strikes throughout Otago and Southland to Dunedin as well.

On cost alone, the centralisation of services in Christchurch may not make sense; even with the extraordinary absence of a cost-benefit analysis it appears likely centralisation would add a further burden to Southern health costs, with an inevitable flow-on effect on savings having to be made elsewhere.

We do not doubt, too, that should Dunedin lose neurosurgery – a service established in the city in 1943 – the further downgrading of medical services will be obvious, undermining the hospital’s tertiary level status, the medical school, the university and the city; and creating a precedent for removing other crucial services.

When you live in the country you accept you’ll have to travel for specialist health services. Sometimes there’s not just financial but clinical justification for the centralisation of services, but in this case clinicians are supporting the call to retain Dunedin-based neurologists.

Orthopedic surgeon John Matheson said:

Neurosurgeons worked on the central nervous system and also on the spine and there was a merging of clinical practice between neurosurgeons and his specialty, especially in deformities of the spine.

Traditionally, there had been a close liaison between both departments in Dunedin.

The world-class work being done by the South Island regional spinal service for spinal deformities by Bruce Hodgson and Alan Carstens in Dunedin was complex and involved close clinical liaison between the two specialties on difficult cases.

Often these were children with severe and congenital and acquired defects. . .

“A viable neurosurgical service in Dunedin with two neurosurgeons being able to consult and operate with the orthopaedic surgeons on some occasions is highly desirable.”

Population-based funding has been threatening services in the south for years. In spite of concerted advocacy it is very difficult to get recognition of  the full costs of serving a smaller number of people over a large area.

The Otago and Southland health boards voluntarily merged to save costs and the new Southern board has been working very hard to make savings where it can without compromising  services and clinical standards.

The board and its staff, backed by the ODT and, if letters to the editor are anything to go by, the wider public, are agreed that the loss of neurology services would be going too far.

The ODT has other stories on the issue here and  here.

The issue was discussed on Nine to Noon yesterday.


July 29 in history

July 29, 2010

On July 29:

1014  Byzantine-Bulgarian Wars: Battle of Kleidion: Byzantine emperor Basil II inflicted a decisive defeat on the Bulgarian army.

SamuilsDeathBGhistory.jpg

1030  Ladejarl-Fairhair succession wars: Battle of Stiklestad – King Olaf II fought and died trying to regain his Norwegian throne from the Danes.

Arbo-Olav den helliges fall i slaget på Stiklestad.jpg
 

1565 The widowed Mary, Queen of Scots, married Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, Duke of Albany at Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh.

 

1567  James VI was crowned King of Scotland at Stirling.

 

1588 Anglo-Spanish War: Battle of Gravelines – English naval forces under command of Lord Charles Howard and Sir Francis Drake defeated the Spanish Armada off the coast of Gravelines, France.

Loutherbourg-Spanish Armada.jpg

1693 War of the Grand Alliance: Battle of Landen – France won a Pyrrhic victory over Allied forces in the Netherlands.

1793  John Graves Simcoe decided to build a fort and settlement at Toronto.

1830  Abdication of Charles X of France.

 

1836  Inauguration of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

 

1847 Cumberland School of Law was founded in Lebanon, Tennessee.

 
Logo of Cumberland School of Law

1848 Irish Potato Famine: Tipperary Revolt – an unsuccessful nationalist revolt against British rule was put down by police.

 

1851  Annibale de Gasparis discovered asteroid 15 Eunomia.

 

1858 United States and Japan signed the Harris Treaty.

 

1883 Benito Mussolini, Italian dictator, was born (d. 1945).

 

1891 Bernhard Zondek German-born Israeli gynecologist, developer of first reliable pregnancy test, was born (d. 1966).

1899  The First Hague Convention was signed.

1900 King Umberto I of Italy was assassinated by Italian-born anarchist Gaetano Bresci.

 

1901  The Socialist Party of America founded.

SPA-globelogo.gif

1905 Stanley Kunitz, American poet, was born (d. 2006).

 

1907 Sir Robert Baden Powell set up the Brownsea Island Scout camp in Poole Harbour. The camp ran from August 1-9, 1907, and is regarded as the foundation of the Scouting movement.

Brownsea Island Scout camp

1920 Construction of the Link River Dam began as part of the Klamath Reclamation Project.

 

1921  Adolf Hitler became leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party.

 

1925 Mikis Theodorakis, Greek composer, was born.

 

1937  Tongzhou Incident - assault on Japanese troops and civilians by Japanese-trained East Hopei Army in Tōngzhōu, China.

 

1945  The BBC Light Programme radio station was launched.

1948 The Games of the XIV Olympiad – after a hiatus of 12 years caused by World War II, the first Summer Olympics to be held opened in London.

Olympic logo 1948.png

1957  The International Atomic Energy Agency was established.

 
Flag of IAEA.svg

1958  U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law the National Aeronautics and Space Act, which created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

 
NASA seal.svg
 
NASA logo.svg

1959  John Sykes, British guitarist (Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake, Tygers of Pan Tang), was born.

1965  Tfirst 4,000 101st Airborne Division paratroopers arrived in Vietnam.

1967 USS Forrestal caught on fire  killing 134.

USS Rupertus;025916.jpg

1967  During the fourth day of celebrating its 400th anniversary, the city of Caracas, Venezuela was shaken by an earthquake, leaving approximately 500 dead.

1981 Up to 2000 anti-Springbok tour protestors were confronted by police who used batons to stop them marching up Molesworth Street to the home of South Africa’s Consul to New Zealand.

Police baton anti-tour protestors near Parliament

1981 Marriage of Charles, Prince of Wales to Lady Diana Spencer.

 

1987  British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President of France François Mitterrand signed the agreement to build a tunnel under the English Channel (Eurotunnel).

Eurotunnel.svg

1988 The film Cry Freedom was seized by South African authorities.

1987  Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi and President of Sri Lanka J. R. Jayawardene signed the Indo-Lankan Pact on ethnic issues.

1993  The Israeli Supreme Court acquitted alleged Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk of all charges.

 

2005  Astronomers announced their discovery of Eris.

Eris (centre) and Dysnomia (left of centre), taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. 

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Did you see the one about . . .

July 28, 2010

There’s a certain slant of light – Craft is the New Black’s ode to winter.

I guess that means I also need to take my computer – Laughy Kate shares a gift from her mother.

The worm – Skeptic Lawyer finds a canker at the heart of political society.

Now this is what I call inspirational Not PC -  mixes fine art and fine words. While thereanyone who’s every practised work avoidance will relate to Procrastination.

Nine and a bit months - if Julie’s experience at The Hand Mirror was that of most women there’d be a lot more one-child families.


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