Word of the day

November 30, 2011

Braw – grand, super; fine or fine looking; dressed in a splendid manner or gaudy fashion.


Many measures of diversity

November 30, 2011

Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty is unhappy about the first decline in the number of women MPs since MMP was introduced and is blaming National.

National having only three female MPs in the top 20 shows a lack of commitment to gender representation.

“No country or Parliament is better off if women are blocked from political leadership,” Ms Delahunty said.

No-one’s blocking anyone and it’s got nothing to do with National’s commitment to gender representation.

National has a lot of electorate MPs which reduces the number of places available on the list, many are long serving, including those selected before MMP was introduced.

Among those with relatively new MPs are the three big central South Island electorates Waitaki, Rangitata and Selwyn, which might be regarded by some as conservative. All are represented by National women, – Jacqui Dean, Jo Goodhew and Amy Adams respectively. So is Waimakariri which Kate Wilkinson won on Saturday and Nicky Wagner is waiting for specials to see if she can take Christchurch Central which finished with a draw on election night.

There haven’t been many opportunities for new candidates in the last two elections but it is probable that a good number of the older MPs will retire this term or next which will provide openings for new entrants.

Anyone, man or woman, who wants to be a National MP should start working towards selection now if they haven’t already done so. That means taking an active role in the party and building up membership.

National is the only party which allows members to choose their candidate providing an electorate has sufficient members to do so.Candidates who’ve proven themselves as active members will have a better chance of winning selections.

Gaining selection with the support of members is far better than hoping you’ll get a winnable list place through tokenism.

Kiwiblog has a chart showing the demographics  of the new parliament, illustrating gender isn’t the only measure of diversity.

What he doesn’t show though is what the MPs did before entering parliament nor how many got a pay rise and how many took a cut.

That’s another measure of diversity in which I suspect National would do very well.


14/20

November 30, 2011

14/20 in the ultimate Scottish quiz which earned me a: Not bad, you ken your stuff but if you give it one more try you may just come out as clan chief.

Had I got a couple more I’d have got a: Congratulations! You really are a chieftain o’ the quizzin’ race.

Can I have a bonus for understanding what ken meant and recognising the misquotation in chieftain o’ the quizzin’ race.)


iPredict predicts Nats to lose a seat

November 30, 2011

iPredict was a reliable indicator of election results and its now predicting that National could lose an MP after special votes are counted.

That will make it a bit more difficult to pass legislation and increase the need for support from the Maori Party.

Other predictions are:

*     Labour favoured for 2014 election, with National’s party vote forecast to fall

*     Parker favoured for Labour Leader and new 2014 PM stocks launched

*     Act, Maori Party and  United Future leaders, and Bridges and Tremain, expected to be Ministers outside Cabinet

*     Adams, Foss and Guy expected to be promoted to Cabinet

*     English safe in Finance and Collins set to take Justice

*     Brownlee’s hold on Economic Development and Energy & Resources less certain

*     Tolley and Coleman to lose Education and Immigration

*     Commerce up for grabs

iPredict’s stocks on the new Cabinet suggest that a 20-member Cabinet would consist (in order of probability) of:

      1.    Gerry Brownlee (100%)

      2.    John Key (99%)

      3.    Bill English (99%)

      4.    Steven Joyce (98%)

      5.    Tony Ryall (98%)

      6.    Christopher Finlayson (98%)

      7.    Paula Bennett (98%)

      8.    Judith Collins(98%)

      9.    Hekia Parata (98%)

      10.   Anne Tolley (98%)

      11.   Murray McCully (96%)

      12.   Tim Groser (96%)

      13.   Jonathan Coleman (95%)

      14.   Nick Smith (95%)

      15.   Amy Adams (93%)

      16.   Craig Foss (93%)

      17.   Kate Wilkinson (93%)

      18.   Nathan Guy (89%)

      19.   Phil Heatley (89%)

      20.   David Carter (89%)

*     Ministers Outside Cabinet are expected to be (in order of probability):

      1.    Peter Dunne (92%)

      2.    Tariana Turia (91%)

      3.    Pita Sharples (90%)

      4.    John Banks (74%)

      5.    Simon Bridges (66%)

      6.    Chris Tremain (66%)

 Someone with a better grasp of predictions markets than me might be able to explain why the PM and deputy aren’t absolute certainties for staying in cabinet.

I have no inside knowledge on who might or might not stay as or become a minister but I’d put the chances of all those in iPredict’s 20 who were ministers in the 2008-11 government at or near 100% too.

That doesn’t leave much room for promotions but stability was one of the words used often in campaigning so I’m not expecting much change.

One commentator (sorry, can’t find the link) wrote of the possibility of three whips and some under-secretaries which would be one way to promote more MPs without making cabinet bigger.


Free to vote – or not

November 30, 2011

The low turn out for the election has prompted inevitable calls to make voting compulsory.

That would be an expensive waste of time and energy that would be better spent elsewhere.

I can think of a great deal many other useful ways to spend public money than on detecting and prosecuting people who don’t think or care enough to participate in the political process in this small but important way.

The apathy and ignorance here contrasts starkly to the lengths people go to in order to vote in other countries.

Early on Monday, queues formed outside polling stations in Cairo before the official opening time of 08:00 (06:00 GMT).

A high turnout was reported in many areas, and in places queues were said to have stretched up to 3km (two miles).

It is disturbing that people on the other side of the world are so keen to vote when many here simply couldn’t be bothered.

But that is no argument for compulsion. If we’re really free to vote we must also be free to not.


Scotland The Brave

November 30, 2011

It’s St Andrew’s Day.

Probably best known as the patron saint of Scotland, his patronage also covers of Ukraine, Russia, Sicily, Greece, Romania, Diocese of Parañaque, Philippines, Amalfi, Luqa (Malta) and Prussia; Diocese of Victoria, fishermen, fishmongers, rope-makers, golfers and performers.

You can find 10 more facts about him here

In recognition of my tartan genes and in memory of my father who would have been 99 a couple of weeks ago, here’s Scotland the Brave:

P.S. While searching YouTube for a clip to post I came across this one of the Black Watch march past in Dundee, which was Dad’s home town, and on another clip this comment:

There’s an old scottish saying…

We’ll play the bagpipes until the english love ‘em!

P.P.S. It’s also Andrei’s name day.


24/25

November 30, 2011

Definitely a political tragic – 24/25 in the NZ Herald’s how many new MPs can you name quiz.


Dalziel not ruling out mayoralty bid

November 30, 2011

Quelle surprise – Labour MP Lianne Dalziel isn’t ruling out moving from central government to local government.

Dalziel said yesterday there were no guarantees the seat would remain within its current boundaries, or even exist, after the March 2013 census.

“I will stay full term but I’m not going to rule out going for the mayoralty because I don’t know what’s going to happen to the boundaries,” she said.

“I’m committed to serving my electorate for the next three years.

“I’m not going to retire from politics early and I will announce if I’m going to stand at the following election when we have the details of the new boundaries. That won’t be until the census has been taken.”

This is not unexpected, there’s been speculation that she would swap a seat in parliament for the Christchurch mayor’s chair for some time.

But what if the boundaries don’t change in the next three years?

The census was supposed to have taken place this year which would have left plenty of time for boundary changes to be worked out before the 2014 election.

But the postponement to 2013 would put pressure on the boundary setting process and even more on parties which wouldn’t be able to begin selecting candidates until the new boundaries were settled.

Parties usually start preparing for candidate selection early in the year before the election which is the year of the next census.

It would be at least the end of that year before boundary changes were confirmed, less than 12 months before the next election.

That doesn’t give parties much time to set up electorate structures, hold the special general meetings needed to form new electorates then select candidates.

The census was postponed because of the earthquake, it might be better to postpone the boundary changes too so they don’t take effect until the 2017 election.


And then there were five

November 30, 2011

When Helen Clark resigned the leadership of the Labour Party on election night three years ago, there was no competition for her job.

Phil Goff was handed the worst job at the wrong time.

Leading a party thrown out of office after nine years in government in opposition to a new government and very popular Prime Minister is a thankless task. It was made worse by the ill-discipline and disloyalty of caucus.

In spite of dissatisfaction with him and his leadership, none of his colleagues had the courage to challenge him, preferring him to take the fall for the inevitable election loss.

Now that’s over and Goff has resigned, there are at least five lining up to replace him.

Among those to put up their hands for the leadership or deputy role were David Parker, David Cunliffe, David Shearer,  Grant Robertson, and Nanaia Mahuta, although Mr Goff said he could not rule out other candidates. 

With that many contenders it is possible the new leader won’t be the most popular, but the least unpopular.

 


November 30 in history

November 30, 2011

1554 Philip Sidney, English courtier, soldier, and writer, was born (d. 1586).

1667 Jonathan Swift, Irish writer and satirist, was born (d. 1745).

1700 – Battle of Narva — A Swedish army of 8,500 men under Charles XII defeated a much larger Russian army at Narva.

1718 – Swedish king Charles XII died during a siege of the fortress Fredriksten in Norway.

1782 – American Revolutionary War: Treaty of Paris — Representatives from the United States and Great Britain signed preliminary peace articles (later formalised as the 1783 Treaty of Paris).

1786 – Peter Leopold Joseph of Habsburg-Lorraine, Grand Duke of Tuscany, promulgated a penal reform making his country the first state to abolish the death penalty. Consequently, November 30 is commemorated by 300 cities around the world as Cities for Life Day.

1803 – In New Orleans, Louisiana, Spanish representatives officially transferred the Louisiana Territory to a French representative.

1804 – The Democratic-Republican-controlled United States Senate began an impeachment trial against Federalist-partisan Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase.

1810  Oliver Winchester, American gunsmith, was born (d. 1880).

1824 – First ground was broken at Allenburg for the building of the original Welland Canal.

1829 – First Welland Canal opened for a trial run.

1835 Mark Twain, American writer, was born  (d. 1910).

1853 – Crimean War: Battle of Sinop — The Imperial Russian Navy under Pavel Nakhimov destroyed the Ottoman fleet under Osman Pasha at Sinop, a sea port in northern Turkey.

1864 – American Civil War: Battle of Franklin — The Army of Tennessee led by General John Bell Hood mounted a dramatically unsuccessful frontal assault on Union positions commanded by John McAllister Schofield around Franklin, Tennessee, Hood lost six generals and almost a third of  his troops.

1868 – The inauguration of a statue of King Charles XII of Sweden.

1872 – The first-ever international football match took place at Hamilton Crescent, Glasgow, between Scotland and England.

1874 Sir Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Nobel laureate,was born (d. 1965).

1886 – The Folies Bergère staged its first revue.

1902 – American Old West: Second-in-command of Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch gang, Kid Curry Logan, was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment with hard labour.

1908 – A mine explosion in the mining town of Marianna, Pennsylvania killed 154.

1934 – The steam locomotive Flying Scotsman became the first to officially exceed 100mph.

1936 – The Crystal Palace was destroyed by fire.

1939 – Winter War: Soviet forces crossed the Finnish border in several places and bombed Helsinki and several other Finnish cities, starting the war.

1940 – Lucille Ball married Desi Arnaz in Greenwich, Connecticut.

1942 – Guadalcanal Campaign: Battle of Tassafaronga — A smaller squadron of Japanese destroyers led by Raizō Tanaka defeated a US cruiser force under Carleton H. Wright.

1949 the first National government was elected in New Zealand, led by Sidney Holland.

Election of first National government

1953 – Edward Mutesa II, the kabaka (king) of Buganda was deposed and exiled to London by Sir Andrew Cohen, Governor of Uganda.

1953 June Pointer, American singer (Pointer Sisters), was born (d. 2006).

1954 – In Sylacauga, the Hodges Meteorite crashed through a roof and hit a woman taking an afternoon nap in the only documented case of a human being hit by a rock from space.

1955  Billy Idol (born William Michael Albert Broad), British musician, was born.

1965 Ben Stiller, American actor, was born.

1966 – Barbados gained independence.

1967 – The People’s Republic of South Yemen gained independence.

1967 – The Pakistan Peoples Party was founded by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

1971 – Iran seized the Greater and Lesser Tunbs from the United Arab Emirates.

1981 – Cold War: Representatives from the United States and the Soviet Union began to negotiate intermediate-range nuclear weapon reductions in Europe.

1989 – Deutsche Bank board member Alfred Herrhausen was killed by a Red Army Faction terrorist bomb.

1993 – U.S. President Bill Clinton signed the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (the Brady Bill) into law.

1994 – MS Achille Lauro fire off Somalia coast.

1995 – Official end of Operation Desert Storm.

1998 – Exxon and Mobil signed a $73.7 billion agreement to merge, creating Exxon-Mobil, the world’s largest company.

1999 – In Seattle, protestests against the WTO meeting by anti-globalization protesters caught police unprepared and forced the cancellation of opening ceremonies.

1999 – British Aerospace and Marconi Electronic Systems merged to form BAE Systems, Europe’s largest defense contractor and the fourth largest aerospace firm in the world.

2004 – Longtime Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings of Salt Lake City, Utah finally lost, leaving him with US$2,520,700, television’s biggest game show winnings.

2004 – Lion Air Flight 538 crash landed in Surakarta, Central Java, killing 26.

2005 – John Sentamu became the first black archbishop in the Church of England with his enthronement as the 97th Archbishop of York.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


When A City Falls

November 29, 2011

Those of us haven’t lived through the Canterbury earthquakes can’t fully understand what it’s like, but this film, When A CIty Falls, will help.

Hat tip: Raymond Huber


Word of the day

November 29, 2011

Barbigerous – bearded, hairy.


Goff & King stepping down

November 29, 2011

Phil Goff has announced he will step down from Labour’s leadership on December 13th and deputy Annette King will also resign.

There’s no right time to do this.

A delay would only prolong speculation and constant media attention on will-he-won’t-he and he’s  giving his successor a couple of week’s grace more than his predecessor gave him.

However, doing it this quickly doesn’t leave the party time for the rigorous review which ought to follow its election defeat.

 


Sarcasm, good work environment, parenting

November 29, 2011

Discussion with Jim Mora on Critical Mass today began with the science of sarcasm (hat tip: Whaleoil).

Then we moved on to 11 rules for building a good work environment from Dave Packard.


Labour’s problems

November 29, 2011

The worst election result in decades proved what most people already know – Labour has a lot of problems.

Chris Trotter identifies problems outside the party  including challenges from younger, more vibrant organisations and the absence of strong ideological themes.

Patrick Gower sees problems within:

The caucus are too focussed on the egos and the power brokers and the factions  and the personal history to see through the mist.

Both are right but none of these problems will be solved easily and it will take a lot more than a change of leader to do so.


Standby fares nationwide from Air NZ

November 29, 2011

Air New Zealand is to introduce off-peak standby fares nationwide after trialling it in Dunedin and Christchurch.

 

It must be better for the airline to have someone in a seat than no-one and if you don’t have to get to your destination by a specific time it’s a very good way to travel cheaply.

When I was a student I travelled all over New Zealand on student standby fares.


Help the Farming Show team with Movember

November 29, 2011

Like Cactus Kate I’m not keen on moustaches but I am a sucker for a good cause and couldn’t resist the plea from Jamie Mackay.

He and the blokes at Farming Show HQ in Dunedin have got behind Movember and are soliciting donations:

Near and Dear Friend and/or Acquaintance/Colleague

It’s Movember and time to focus on men’s health. To show my commitment, I’m donating my face to the cause by growing a moustache for the entire month of November, and we desperately need your support. I have been told I look like a “rat staring out a drainpipe” but I’m prepared to sacrifice personal vanity and pride because it’s all in the name of raising vital awareness and funds for prostate cancer and male depression.

To aid my fundraising I have enlisted the services of a wonderful philanthropist, Sir Eion Edgar, who has very generously agreed to match my personal fundraising on a 1:1 basis up to $4000.  So for every dollar you donate as from today, Movember will benefit by $2.  I have put my money where my (upper) mouth is by donating $1000 from my charitable speaking fund.

Now I’m asking you to do likewise and support my Movember campaign (even if it’s only $10 or $20) by making a donation by either:
*Donating online at: http://www.movember.com/m/1653474 and clicking on the “Donate To Me” tile.
*Writing a cheque payable to ‘Movember Donation Fund,’ referencing my Registration ID: 1653474 and mailing it to: Movember, PO Box 12 708, Wellington 6144

Thank you in advance for supporting my efforts to change the face of men’s health. All donations are tax deductible.

The Farming Show team is currently the lying third in the country for fundraising.  With your help, and that of Sir Eion Edgar, we can lead the country in the fight for men’s health.

Cheers.  Your generosity is much appreciated. 

On the Farming Show yesterday Jamie said the team is now in first place.

You’ve got a little more than a day to give a donation that will help them stay there and regardless of where the team comes, you’ll be helping a very good cause.


Acting conservative

November 29, 2011

When John Banks was promoted as the answer for Act, I wondered what the question had been.

Act is supposed to be liberal, economically and socially. John Banks is conservative and now it looks like he might want to be Conservative too.

 

ACT’s lone MP John Banks says he is in favour of talks with Conservative Party leader Colin Craig – as speculation mounts behind the scenes about a merger . . .

I don’t think he will get much enthusiasm for that idea from Act.

Craig isn’t enthusiastic either.

 

“I think the issue here is the ACT party are slightly schizophrenic at the moment. You’ve got John Banks who is at heart a conservative, then you’ve got a party who is at heart libertarian.” . . . 

But he was more optimistic about a relationship with Mr Banks. “I acknowledge Banks as a conservative. I wouldn’t rule out a cup of tea with John Banks … [but] I can’t see us in a merger with ACT – I just think there would be too diametrically opposed issues.”

Maybe Banks is the answer not for Act but for the Conservative.

The voters who backed Banks probably knew what they were getting. But those who voted Act in the belief in what it stood for would be less than impressed to find that its lone MP is already talking of merger with a party whose principles are very different from theirs.

 

 

 

Craig said before the election the Conservative Party could go with National or Labour. Whether Labour or its allies, in particular the Green Party, would want to go with it is a moot point but there is no way Act would go left.

However, if Banks jumped waka it would leave Act free to get back to its liberal roots, although it would be doing so without a presence in parliament, even though the party was the vehicle that got its lone MP there.


Ask not what politics can do for you

November 29, 2011

A million people who could have voted didn’t.

Turnout dropped by just over 90,000, from 79.5 per cent of those on the rolls in 2008 to 73.8 per cent.

Except for an anomaly in 1978 when the rolls were inflated by outdated and duplicate entries, this was the lowest percentage turnout since 1887, when 67.1 per cent of those on the rolls voted. That was before women won the right to vote in 1893.

Moreover, only an estimated 93.2 per cent of the 3,276,000 people who were eligible to vote were enrolled, so the 2,254,581 people who did cast their votes (including special votes) leaves just over 1 million who stayed at home.

 

23 voter turnout 2011 election campaign NZ Politics Daily - Bryce Edwards Otago University liberation blog - www.liberation.org.nz

Among the reasons given by those who didn’t vote were not knowing enough about what parties and candidates were offering and none of them offering what the non-voters wanted.

The best way to address both issues is to understand your own philosophy and principles, find the party which best matches them, get involved with it and take an active part in its policy development.

Those wanting to be engaged shouldn’t be asking what politics can do for them but what they can do for a politics.


November 29 in history

November 29, 2011

800 – Charlemagne arrived at Rome to investigate the alleged crimes of Pope Leo III.

939 – Edmund was crowned King of England as his half-brother Aethelstan died.

1394 – The Korean king Yi Song-gye, founder of the Joseon-Dynasty, moved the capital from Kaesŏng to Hanyang, today known as Seoul.

1777 – San Jose, California, was founded as el Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe.

1781 – The crew of the British slave ship Zong murdered 133 Africans by dumping them into the sea in order to claim insurance.

1807 – The Portuguese Royal Family left Lisbon to escape from Napoleonic troops.

1830 – November Uprising: An armed rebellion against Russia’s rule in Poland began.

1832  Louisa May Alcott, American novelist, was born (d. 1888).

1845 – The Sonderbund was defeated by the joint forces of other Swiss cantons under General Guillaume-Henri Dufour.

1847 – Whitman Massacre: Missionaries Dr. Marcus Whitman, his wife Narcissa, and 15 others were killed by Cayuse and Umatilla Indians, causing the Cayuse War.

1849  Sir John Ambrose Fleming, British physicist, was born (d. 1945).

1850 – The treaty, Punctation of Olmütz, signed in Olomouc meant diplomatic capitulation of Prussia to Austrian Empire, which took over the leadership of German Confederation.

1864 – Indian Wars: Sand Creek Massacre – Colorado volunteers led by Colonel John Chivington massacred at least 150 Cheyenne and Arapaho noncombatants.

1864 – American Civil War: Battle of Spring Hill – Confederate advance into Tennessee missed the opportunity to crush the Union army.

1872 – Indian Wars: The Modoc War began with the Battle of Lost River.

1877 – Thomas Edison demonstrated his phonograph for the first time.

1890 – The Meiji Constitution went into effect in Japan and the first Diet convened.

1893 Elizabeth Yates became the first woman in the British Empire to win a mayoral election when she became Mayor of Onehunga.

First woman mayor in British Empire elected

1893 – Ziqiang Institute, today known as Wuhan University, was founded by Zhang Zhidong.

1898  C. S. Lewis, Irish writer, was born(d. 1963).

1899 – Spanish football club FC Barcelona was founded by Joan Gamper.

1910 – The first US  patent for inventing the traffic lights system was issued to Ernest E. Sirrine.

1913 – Fédération Internationale d’Escrime, the international organizing body of competitive fencing was founded in Paris.

1915 – Fire destroyed most of the buildings on Santa Catalina Island, California.

1917  Merle Travis, American singer/guitarist, was born (d. 1983).

1922 – Howard Carter opened the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun to the public.

1929 – U.S. Admiral Richard Byrd becamed the first person to fly over the South Pole.

1932 Jacques Chirac, French President, was born.

1933 John Mayall, British blues musician, was born.

1943 – The second session of AVNOJ, the Anti-fascist council of national liberation of Yugoslavia, was held determining the post-war ordering of the country.

1944 – The first surgery (on a human) to correct blue baby syndrome was performed by Alfred Blalock and Vivien Thomas.

1944 – Albania was liberated by the Albanian partisans.

1945 – The Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia was declared.

1947 – The United Nations General Assembly voted to partition Palestine (The Partition Plan).

1950 – Korean War: North Korean and Chinese troops force United Nations forces to retreat from North Korea.

1952 – Korean War: U.S. President-elect Dwight D. Eisenhower fulfilled a campaign promise by traveling to Korea to find out what can be done to end the conflict.

1961 –  Mercury-Atlas 5 Mission – Enos, a chimpanzee, was launched into space.

1963 – U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson established the Warren Commission to investigate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

1963 – Trans-Canada Airlines Flight 831: A Douglas DC-8 carrying 118, crashed after taking-off.

1965 – Canadian Space Agency launched the satellite Alouette 2.

1972 – Nolan Bushnell (co-founder of Atari) released Pong (the first commercially successful video game) in Andy Capp’s Tavern in Sunnyvale, California.

1987 – Korean Air Flight 858 exploded over the Thai-Burmese border, killing 155.

1990 – The United Nations Security Council passed United Nations Security Council Resolution 678, authorizing “use all necessary means to uphold and implement” United Nations Security Council Resolution 660″ to restore international peace and security” if Iraq did not withdraw its forces from Kuwait and free all foreign hostages by January 15, 1991.

2007 – The Armed Forces of the Philippines laid siege to The Peninsula Manila after soldiers led by Senator Antonio Trillanes staged a mutiny.

2007 – A 7.4 magnitude earthquake off the northern coast of Martinique.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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