Either the Dominion Post political quiz is getting harder or I’m paying less attention to the news.

I got only 7/10 today.

Not sure where that leaves me when Kiwiblog declares 8/10 a failure.



Celebrating Cliff Richard’s birthday with Congratulations .

It was the Spanish canción del verano (summer song) in 1968. I’d have been at Intermediate school at the time.

The Garden Party


A bonus book for NZ Book month in honour of  Katherine Mansfield’s birthday:

The Garden Party, Katherine Mansfield’s New Zealand Stories, illustrated edition.

This book 16 stories, illsutrated with a selection of New Zealand and British pictures from the Auckland City Art Gallery which opened in 1888, the year Katherine Mansfield was born.

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If you’re a fan you may be interested in the Katherine Mansfield Society.

Did you see the one about:


There’s a frickin’ elephant in the school room at Not PC – on being hooked on phonics.

Treasure hunting  at Waitaki Blog on the anchor’s away and back.

Pie eyed at Roarprawn where today’s taste doesn’t live up to yesterday’s memory.

LMNO Key  – goNZo Freakpower  s(p)ells out the (p)roblem of a missing letter.

Yes you have found us out – The Hand Mirror asks, Y?

Twas the night before the announcement – Cactus Kate spots Machiavelli in Auckland’s lab saga.

Science or magical thinking? at Sciblogs – Alison Campbell takes a scientific look at homeopothy.

Fly bye


The total of more than $1358 for return flights for two people between Oamaru and Wellington seemed a bit steep so I was going to try flights from Dunedin and Timaru instead.

Then I remembered that Eagle Air operates the service to Christchurch and connects with Air New Zealand Flights there.  However, when you book online for a return Oamaru-Wellington flight you don’t get any options for the onward legs. But if you try a multi-stop flight from Oamaru to Christchurch, Christchurch to Wellington and back you usually get some cheaper options.

I tired that and found that if we were prepared to spend an extra hour or two in Christchurch we could fly for nearly $500 less.

That’s a significant saving and I can’t understand why the website doesn’t offer options, especially when the Oamaru flights are going to stop at the end of the year because too few people have being using the service.

I wonder how many prospective passengers go to book online, find the price is too high and don’t know to try the multi-stop option?

It’s no use if you’re on a tight timetable. But if it doesn’t matter too much when you arrive and it takes a couple of hours to drive to Timaru or Dunedin airports, flying from Oamaru and spending an extra hour or two in Christchurch en route makes little difference to the overall travelling time.

A previous District Council fought hard to get flights back to Oamaru, it would be a shame to lose the service. 

If too few passengers is the problem, it might make a difference if would-be travellers were given some cheaper  options when they try to book online rather than just the most expensive one.

PGW befriends British rural firm


PGG Wrightson Real Estate has entered into an association with Bidwells, one of Britain’s oldest rural real estate and agribusiness consulting firms.

The relationship is expected to provide a wider market for New Zealand rural properties and also provide opportunities British and Europeans who want to invest in agribusiness.

It sounds good to me but just wait for the howls of anguish from people who don’t like the idea of overseas investors buying farmland.



Tessa Duder’s heroine Alex is articulate, feisty, talented, determined and fragile.

She is a champion swimmer, aiming to qualify for the Olympics. She’s also a hockey player, musician and an amateur dramatist who faces health problems and a tragedy.

The book gripped me from the opening sentence, held me through to the last word and stayed with me long after I finished it.

It is the first book in a quartet and the author maintains the high standards she set in the first book in all of the other three.

Alex won the New Zealand Story Book of the Year in 1988 and it also won the Esther Glen Award for children’s writing.


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Post 14 in the post a day for New Zealand Book Month challenge.

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Rob posts on 101 Great Tramps and Grant Smithies’ SoundTrack.

Over at In A Strange Land Deborah posts on Seadog: A tale of Old New Zealand by Dorothy Butler, illustrated by Lyn Kriegler.

MPs’ expenses need independent oversight


Independent oversight is needed to implement and control rules over MPs’ expenses an expert on political corruption says.

New Zealand is one of the least corrupt nations in the world, but MPs are in danger of maintaining a perception of impropriety by insisting on controlling the rules surrounding expenses themselves, corruption watchdog Transparency International founder Jeremy Pope told NZPA.

He said we should be grateful that New Zealand politicians don’t fall into the ‘rob the public purse blind’ category.

“The present debate needs to be informed that we are goodies and not baddies in all of this.”

But the real problem lay in the absence of accountability, he said.

“Politicians are seen as being accountable to themselves. They have a system that they worked out for themselves and it is administered by the Speaker who is one of themselves.”

While that system could work perfectly well, the public could focus on no independent element in place to keep accountability in check, he said.

Separate handling of allowances would provide protection for the politicians.

“Whether (corruption) is happening or not, it’s important that the issue is really put behind the politicians so they can get on with running the country.

“I think simply to wait for the controversies to die down and feel they’ve gone away — they will only come back again because that is the nature of these things.” The MPs might be playing by the rules, but that was no reason not to change the system, Mr Pope said.

It’s not that MPs are breaking rules, it’s that they set them which is the problem.

An independent body might not make any change to the allowances MPs get and the way they get them. All MPs need offices and many need a second home because of their jobs. The allowances they get now may well provide the best value for taxpayers without putting MPs at a financial disadvantage.

But if a separate body made the rules and oversaw the payments of allowances we could be reassured that the rules are fair and that expenses met from the public purse are reasonable.

Independent oversight might not make MPs’ expenses any more palatable for much of the public but at least it would allay doubts about them.

Bridging the Tasman


It is often cheaper to fly across the Tasman than it is to fly between the North and South Islands.

New Zealand is closer to the east coast of Australia than much of the rest of the country.

We speak more or less the same language, have similar cultures and the many things we have in common are more important than the few which divide us.

Australia is our nearest significant neighbour and provides a market about five times bigger than we have at home.

There is no doubt we need them but the traffic is not all one way, Australia needs us too.

If it is to have the influence and power in the South Pacific to which it aspires, our co-operation and support are essential.

We both have a lot to gain and little to loose from bridging the Tasman and the single economic market to which the government is committed is a vital plank in the bridge.

Commerce Minister Simon Power reiterated the importance of a seamless operating market for Australian and New Zealand businesses in a speech at the Institute of International Affairs seminar.

“Our ambition is that a New Zealand company can conduct its business as easily in Australia as it can at home, and vice-versa,” Mr Power said.

“The easier we can make it for companies to operate in both New Zealand and Australia by removing unnecessary barriers, the greater the opportunities for business to make substantive productivity gains and take up new opportunities that will underpin long-term business growth.”

He said the government has identified a framework of principles and outcomes for accelerating the benefits for business which include:

  • Enabling trans-Tasman businesses to file company information only once while meeting the requirements of both governments.
  • Establishing a single set of accounting standards.
  • Establishing a single insolvency proceeding.
  • Further exploring the sharing of competition and consumer regulations, and cross representation on the New Zealand Commerce Commission and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Changes in immigration and customs controls have made the trip between Australia and New Zealand faster and easier for people. The changes Power is aiming for will make Trans Tasman business easier too.

October 14 in history


On October 14:

1066 the forces of William the Conqueror defeated the English army and killed King Harold II of Englandin the Battle of Hastings.

King of England and Duke of Normandy (more…)
The Duke of Normandy in the Bayeux Tapestry

1322  Robert the Bruce of Scotland defeated King Edward II of England at Byland, forcing Edward to accept Scotland’s independence.


1644 William Penn, English founder of Pennsylvania, was born.

1789 George Washington proclaimsedthe first Thanksgiving Day.

1882 Irish politician Eamon de Valera was born.

1882 the University of the Punjab was founded in present day Pakistan.

1884 George Eastman patented paper-strip photographic film.

1888 NZ writer – Katherine Mansfield was born.


1890  Dwight D. Eisenhower, U.S. general and 34th President of the United States was born.

1894 – E. E. Cummings, American poet was born.

1926 Winnie-the-Pooh, by A.A. Milne, was first published.

1927 English actor R

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Winnie-the-Pooh (original version from 1926)

1927 –English actor Roger Moore was born.

1939 – Ralph Lauren, American fashion designer was born.

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1940 English singer  Cliff Richard was born.

1962 – The Cuban Missile Crisis began when a U-2 flight over Cuba took photos of Soviet nuclear weapons being installed.

1968 Jim Hines of the USA became the first man to break the ten second barrier in the 100 metres Olympic final at Mexico City with a time of 9.95 sec.

 1979 The body of Marty Johnstone, leader of the Mr Asia drug syndicate was found in Lancashire.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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