More milestones


When I posted on today in history I missed a couple of milestones.

Fifty years ago today Mr Rural Radio, the host of the Farming Show, Jamie McKay was born.

Five years ago today goNZo Freakpower  was launched. That makes the man behind it, Will de Cleene, one of the grandfathers of New Zealand blogging.

Courting trouble


Bloggers beware: the Crown Law Office is reviewing internet publication after recent cases raised questions over contempt of court and suppression order breaches.

It’s nearly 30 years since I studied media law at journalism school. We weren’t using computers and had never heard of the internet so what we learned applied to print and broadcast media.

But I’ve always blogged on the theory that the laws which applied then still apply now whether they’re published in old media or new.

Comment which might influence a case before it’s concluded, publishing information that’s been suppressed or indentifying – explicitly or not – someone who has name suppression are all courting trouble.

Contempt of court has always been a serious charge and I don’t think the medium in which the offending comments were published would make a difference.

Tuesday’s answers


We have a new champion: Steve gets four points plus a bonus for being the first to get KLM and another bonus for humour – intended or not – for his answer to 4.

Cadwallader got one right, a bonus for being first with that answer and a bonus for inventiveness for the answer to 2.

Gravedodger got three (although I think  strictly speaking ammonium carbonate is a by-product of hartshorn) and the bonus he sought for handling all those wee bales (now known as weetbix).

Rob got three right and a bonus for lateral thinking with his answer to 4, though it wasn’t right.

Andrei got two right, another point for being close with 2 and adding extra information about hart (although hartshorn is a substance from the antlers not the antlers themselves) with a bonus for being first with Madeleine Albright.

Paul gets four points and a bonus for humour for his answer to 4.

PDM got one and a bonus for humour – intended or not – for his answer to 1.

Samo also got four right and a bonus for extra information.

P.S. Because I have a problem with typso typos, I’ve accepted Bayton which was given as the answer twice instead of Baynton.

Monday’s questions were:

1. What is the oldest airline still operating under its original name?

2. What is hartshorn?

3. Who wrote Jane and the Dragon?

4. Who said, I’ve never been to New Zealand before. But one of my role models, Xena, the warrior princess, comes from there.”?

5. What is the common name for alfalfa?

The answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

Top rural websites


Scoop reports  the top 10 New Zealand rural websites for domestic traffic from Nielsen NZ Market Intelligence in September:

1. 70, 683.

2.         38,805.

3.                                 13,125.

4.               11,504.

5.            8,927.

6.             4,772.

7.                3,276.

8.                      3,216.

9.      2,686.

10.               1,707.

It doesn’t surprise me that the Met Service is so popular. When you work outside and so much you do is affected by the weather forecasts are very important. I helped one of our staff set up a new laptop recently and he has the Met Service site as his homepage.

Stuff includes most of the provinical papers and has good rural news and features.

Countrywide and NZ Farmers Weekly are the most highly regarded of the give away papers which turn up in rural mail boxes. The popularity of the papers and dial up or slow broad band for internet conncetion might explain why their websites don’t get more hits.



Sting by Raymond Huber  gives a bees-eye view of the world.

It’s the story of Ziggy, a bee who knows he’s different and his search to find out why.

It’s aimed at children but will be enjoyed by adults too. I was both entertained and educated by it.

dairy 10008

Post 13 in the post a day for New Zealand Book Month challenge.

book month logo green

Deborah continues to meet the post a day challenge at In A Strange Land with Taniwha written and illustrated by Robyn Kahukiwa.

Rob catches up with two cook books and a garden book: Food For Flatters  by Michael Volkering;  Rowan Bishop’s  The Good Health Adventure Guide and The Yates Garden Guide.

Not part of the post a day challenge, but apropos of NZ Book Month, at The Sound of Butterflies Rachael King comments on the Sunday Star Times story with stats which indicate only 5% of the books New Zealanders buy are New Zealand books. She  says local books would sell better if they were placed with international fiction and not in a separate section of book shops.

I think she’s right. The way book shops display their wares, New Zealand books are never near the front. They are ghettoised further back where a casual browser is less likely to come upon them and the bigger the shop the harder it is to find New Zealand fiction.

Some questions have no answers


The discovery of a body believed to be Aisling Symes who went missing a week ago raises a lot of questions.

The hardest ones begin with why? and most of those have no answer.

The discovery of the body gives her family resolution but still leaves them with the tragedy.

The death of a child is against the natural order of things. The support of wider family and friends will be invaluable to the Symes as they deal with it; rushing to judgement by people who don’t know the facts and the intrusion of the media won’t.

The family needs practical help, moral support, love and the space to grieve in private.

What if we didn’t have ACC?


We keep being told ACC is the world’s best no-fault accident insurance scheme.

If a scheme which has a $12.8 billion gap between its net assets and claim liabilities is the best, what would the worst be like?

What would happen if we didn’t have ACC?

People who had minor accidents would look after themselves and most of those who needed treatment would get it through the public health system. If they had on-going problems they might end up on a benefit.

What they wouldn’t get, unless they had their own accident insurance, would be earnings related compensation.

How many would try to sue? I don’t know the answer to that. But if you take away accidents in which the victim is at fault because of carelessness or stupidity and others for which no-one else could be blamed I doubt if it would be a very big number.

Tomorrow the government will announce changes to the scheme to address the gap between income and outgoings. It will leave us paying more for less.

If a compulsory accident insurance scheme is so good, why has no-one suggested we have compulsory health insurance too? If the answer to that is that compulsory health insurance wouldn’t be a good idea, we need to look at ACC and ask if we’d be better off without compulsory accident insurance too.

Those who wanted accident and earnings related insurance could pay for their own. The rest would take the risk of having to rely on public health and benefit systems.

And if Macdoctor is right, we’d have fewer accidents because people might start taking a bit more care.

UPDATE: Liberty Scott has a prescription for improvements.

SFF offer undersubscribed


Silver Fern Farms rights issue raised about $21 million.

The company’s putting a positive spin on it but that’s less than half what they were hoping for.

However, there is no cause for panic. SFF still has the support of its bankers for which we can be grateful because the industry needs financially stable companies.

And SFF had a good news story when it launched consumer-ready chill packs in French supermarkets last week.

Chief executive Keith Cooper said:

‘It’s a first for New Zealand chilled lamb and a first for Intermarche… Small single muscle leg roasts, boneless rumps, French racks, and lamb stir fry are a new generation of products aimed at smaller households who still want the exquisite flavour of lamb without having to visit a restaurant to ensure a superb meal experience.’

Demand for lamb internationally is holding up but it won’t be an easy season for meat companies or farmers.

The high dollar is eroding returns, lamb is expected to earn $1 a kilo less than last season. That means we can expect about $70 for a lamb which would have earned about $85 to $90 a year ago.

October 13 in history


On October 13:

1862 – Mary Kingsley, English writer and explorer, was born.

1884 Greenwich was established as universal time meridian of longitude.

312SFEC LONDON-20070917.JPG
Royal Observatory, Greenwich

1925 – Lenny Bruce, American comedian, was born.

Lenny bruce on stage.jpg

1925 British Prime Minister – Margaret Thatcher was born.

1934 – Nana Mouskouri, Greek singer and politician, was born.

1941 –Paul Simon, American singer and musician, was born.

1959 Marie Osmond, American entertainer, was born.

1968 – Carlos Marin, Spanish baritone and member of Il Divo, was born.

1969 Nancy Kerrigan, US figure skater ws born.

Nancy Kerrigan.jpg

1970 Paul Potts, British Opera singer was born.

1972 Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 crashed in the Andes mountains, in between the borders of Argentina and Chile. The 16 of the 45 on board who lived to be rescued survived by eating the dead.

1975 Dame Whina Cooper led the land march to parliament.

Sourced from NZ History ONline & Wikipedia.

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