Memory – Susan Boyle

25/05/2009

Tickets to Cats were sold out weeks ahead when I was in London in 1992.

The only way to get one was to queue for returns. I was third in line when I got to the theatre at about mid day, hoping for tickets to the 8pm show that evening.

It was worth the wait.

I’ve seen the show three times since then – one in Christchurch, twice in Dunedin and will go again when the Oamaru Operatic Society performs it later this year.

If I had to choose a favourite song from Cats it would be Shimble Shanks the Railway Cat, but Memory, which Susan Boyle sang for her semi final performance in Britain’s Got Talent, is a close second.

Hat Tip Something Should Go Here  who showed me it was on YouTube & Barnsley Bill who had a fulelr version.


Tell your president to play by the rules too

25/05/2009

This could have been a New Zealander talking:

One of the best ways we can grow market access . . . is by enforcement. In this challenging economic climate, trading partners must play by the rules if we are going to revive our economy as a global community.

But it wasn’t. It was former Dallas Mayor, US Trade Representative Ron Kirk .

He was talking about US meat exports and is very keen on free trade if his first major policy speech, delivered last month, is anything to go by:

“Now is the time to revive global trade and to lay the groundwork for an even more robust, more open trading system in future decades,”

. . .  While some may doubt the virtue of free trade, Kirk said that more rigorous U.S. trade enforcement will ensure that other nations honor their commitments. “We will use all the tools in USTR’s toolbox to go after those trade barriers,” he said. “Stepping up trade enforcement is about opening up markets, not closing them down.”

He needs to talk to President Obama because free trade is a two way street.

It’s no use having the Trade Representative talking about how important it is for other countries to play by the free trade rules for its meat when the USA has just broken those rules by subsidising its dairy exports.


Rod Carr to chair Infrastructure Board

25/05/2009

Infrastructure Minister, Bill English has announced the appointees to the National Infrastructure Board.

The board has been set up to provide independent advice to the Infrastructure Minister and to help formulate the first 20-year National Infrastructure Plan, which will be completed by the end of the year.

Members have been chosen on the basis of their individual skills and their collective knowledge of infrastructure planning, investment and asset management methods.

The chair will be Dr Rodd Carr, Canterbury University Vice Chancellor and a former managing director of Jade Corporation and a former Reserve Bank  deputy governor. He was a senior executive of Bank of New Zealand and National Australia Bank; is vice-president of the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and a director of Lyttelton Port Company Ltd and Taranaki Investment Management.

Other members are: Sir Ron Carter, Lindsay Crossen, Dr Arthur Grimes, Dr Terence Heiler,  Rob McLeod, John Rae and Alex Sundakov.

It’s an impressive line up and I’m particularly pleased to see Terry Heiler’s name on the list. He’s an engineer, a former director of Landcare Research and chief executive of Irrigation New Zealand.

His profile on the INZ website says:

Dr Terry Heiler is an international consultant in natural resources, specialising in water management and irrigation. His engineering consultancy works with clients in New Zealand, Australia, Asia and with major international development agencies. His prior experience includes 25 years as a principal research engineer – soil and water, and 11 years as director of New Zealand Agricultural Engineering Institute, Lincoln University. He runs a small farming business based in West Melton, Central Canterbury. Terry was appointed as the inaugural chief executive of INZ in July 2006. His role with INZ is primarily leadership of the New Zealand irrigation industry with scientific and accurate advocacy to government and other key decision makers.


Monday’s Quiz

25/05/2009

1. Who wrote A River Rules My Life?

2. Who said, Oozing charm from every pore/he oiled his way across the floor?

3. What is roygbiv?

4. Why are the Mercury Islands so named?

5. What does Lang may your lum reek  mean?


Soft bigotry of low expectations

25/05/2009

We like to think race relations in New Zealand are pretty good.

We’re wrong.

They may not be as bad as they are in some other countries, but they’re not nearly as good as they should be and one of the reasons for that is the soft bigotry of low expectations.

The phrase isn’t original – I think it was first used by George Bush – but it encapsulates the danger of support which harms rather than helps.

One sad example of this is the pressure to have Maori seats on the new Auckland council and the reason given: because Maori won’t be represented without them.

That’s rubbish. Democratic elections allow anyone to stand, they allow anyone to support those who stand and once elected the councillors will be bound – legally and ethically –  to represent all the people in their wards and to act in the best interests of them and the wider city.

Democracy isn’t good enough for some people but those who are arguing for special rights aren’t helping Maori, they’re hindering them, the ones who are supposedly supporting Maori are dragging them down.

They’re telling them, and us, that Maori aren’t good enough to foot it in an equal contest, that people who aren’t Maori wouldn’t vote for Maori candidates, and that the people who are elected wouldn’t fulfil their obligations to listen to Maori views.

That’s bigoted and ignorant.

It’s also self defeating because, as Tariana Turia  said in a discussion on the Maori electorates on Agenda last year, the seats didn’t give Maori a voice:

I think what our people are starting to realise though is that when they voted Maori people into Labour they never got a Maori voice, they got a Labour voice and that was the difference, and they’ve only begun to realise it since the Maori Party came into parliament, because it is the first time that they have heard significant Maori issues raised on a daily basis.

If Maori seats didn’t give Maori a voice in parliament, they won’t on the council either.

Rather than wasting their energy demanding special seats, those who want Maori representation should put their efforts in to encouraging and supporting candidates who will give them a voice.

See also:

Jim Hopkins: We’re all in this together

Glenn Jameson on Time to End Racism in New Zealand

Kiwiblog on Hikoi Day


Tractor sale with free land gamble pays off

25/05/2009

When Shelley and Allan Holland put their International 574 tractor on TradeMe with their 8 hectare Catlins farm thrown in for free and just a $1 reserve they were taking a gamble.

But thanks to the publicity generated by the novelty of the auction and their dedication to responding to the thousands of questions and comments, the gamble paid off.

The tractor would be worth about $5,000, the property had been lsited with a real estate agent for $230,000 and the QV for it was $260,000.

The auction closed last night with the winning bid of: $250,000.


Malvina Major, Hayley Westenra – Barcarolle

25/05/2009

Day 25 of the tune a day challenge for New Zealand Music Month.

Dame Malvina Major deserves a place in NZ Music Month for what she’s achieved in her career and for the assistance she’s given to training young artsits through the Dame Malvina Foundation.

Given this is a rural blog, a mention also needs to be made of her life with her husband on a Taranaki dairy farm.

This clip is a duet with Hayley Westenra.

Catching up on yesterday’s posts:

Inquiring Mind chose Split Enz singing Poor Boy

Keeping Stock continues his Christian Music Sundays with Juliagrace singing Carry Me Away

And Rob gave us Between the Lines from Danse Macabre  and he also captures history with a clip of Karen Hay on Radio With Pictures with what he thinks was “pribablee the first rill koywoi accunt on the Tully“.


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