Tutti Frutti


Happy Birthday Little Richard.

Quote Unquote also celebrates this birthday with another clip and more information.



Happy birthday J.J. Cale.

Sunflower Salad Dressing


Sunflower Salad Dressing

½ cup sunflower seeds                1 Tblsp honey

1 tsp dried basil                                1 tsp oregano

1 tsp rosemary                                  3 cloves garlic

4 sprigs parsley                              2 small gherkins or ½ cucumber

1 ½ C sunflower or safflower oil

2/3 C cider vinegar

¼ cup soy sauce (Kikkoman preferably)

In a food processor process: sunflower seeds, honey, basil, oregano, rosemary, garlic, parsley & gherkins or cucumber.

Add oil, vinegar & soy sauce & whiz til mixed (should be thick).

It tastes much better than it looks – also good for dipping vegetables eg asparagus, carrot sticks.

Brash responds to George


Herald columnist Garth George was one of the people who was less than impressed with the recommendations of the 2025 Taskforce.

Taskforce chair Don Brash said George had got several things wrong in his column. He wrote an op-ed countering that which the Herald hasn’t yet published so he emailed it directly to George and some others, including me.

George’s column is here.

In response Don Brash wrote: 

Garth George was way off beam in his attack on the first report of the 2025 Taskforce. 

Leaving aside the personal invective, he claims that the “biggest absurdity” in the report is the proposition that New Zealand can and should catch up with Australia.  He says that “there is just no comparison between the two countries”, with Australia having five times our population, 32 times our land area, and huge resources of minerals.  Well, those are factual statements about Australia, but they ignore some important facts which he would be aware of had he read the report. 

First, there is no correlation between living standards and population – if there were, India would be super-rich and Singapore would be poor. 

Second, there is no correlation between living standards and land area – if there were, Russia would be super-rich and Finland would be poor. 

Third, there is no correlation between living standards and mineral wealth – if there were, the Congo would be super-rich and Japan would be poor. 

In any event, a recent World Bank study showed that, in per capita terms, New Zealand has more natural resources than almost any other country in the world. 

For most of New Zealand’s history, our standard of living has been very similar to that in Australia – sometimes a bit ahead, sometimes a bit behind.  And the Taskforce didn’t off its own bat decide that catching Australia again by 2025 would be some good idea: the goal was set by the Government itself, and the Taskforce was set up both to advise on how best to achieve the (very challenging) goal and to monitor annually progress towards achieving it. 

Too often in the past, governments have announced grandiose commitments to lift living standards – such as the last Government’s commitment to lift us into the top half of developed countries within 10 years – but then totally ignored those commitments, hoping that nobody would notice it.  It is to the Government’s credit that they made a commitment and then established a mechanism to hold them to account. 

Garth George accuses the Taskforce of recommending a whole range of things which we do not recommend.  For example, he accuses us of recommending a flat personal income tax, and notes that if such a tax were established a whole range of low income people would have to pay more tax.  But whatever the merits of a flat tax, the Taskforce did not recommend such a tax.  What we did say was that, if core government spending were cut to the same fraction of GDP that it was in both 2004 and 2005 (29%), the top personal rate, the company tax rate, and the trust tax rate could comfortably be aligned at 20%.  Under such a tax structure, all those earning above $14,000 a year would pay less income tax, while nobody would pay more income tax. 

Nobody seriously argues that government was vastly too small in New Zealand in 2004 and 2005 (the end of the Labour Government’s second term in office), so why the ridiculous reaction when the Taskforce suggests reducing government spending to that level? 

Mr George also suggests that we recommended abolishing subsidised doctor visits, and implies that we are advocating an American approach to healthcare.  This is again utter nonsense.  We suggested targeting subsidies for doctor’s visits at those who need them, either because they have low incomes or have chronic health problems. 

He suggests that we favoured removing subsidies for early childhood education.  Again, not true.  What we said was that those subsidies – which have trebled in cost from $400 million a year to $1.2 billion a year over the last five years – should be focused on those who need them.

The recommendations of the 2025 Taskforce are actually totally in line with orthodox thinking in most developed countries, and are almost entirely consistent with the recommendations of the recent OECD report on New Zealand.

. . . and then there were 55


A family of quail greeted us when we stopped to visit friends in Alexandra yesterday – Mum, Dad and five little ones.

Our hosts said several families of quail were regular visitors but they had yet to see what friends of theirs had – Mum, Dad and 55 children.

Surely that wasn’t just their own, they must have been nieces and nephews and cousins and friends.

That made me wonder:

Do the Mums & Dads take turns at child minding and what do the other parents do when other quail are minding their babies?

Your Nuts My Lord


Belated birthday wishes to Ronnie Corbett who was 79 yesterday.

December 5 in history


On December 5:

63 BC Cicero read the last of his Catiline Orations.

1360 The French Franc was created.

20 franc coin

1484  Pope Innocent VIII issued the Summis desiderantes, a papal bull that deputised Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger as inquisitors to root out alleged witchcraft in Germany and led to one of the most oppressive witch hunts in European history.

1492  Christopher Columbus became the first European to set foot on the island of Hispaniola, now Haiti.
Hispaniola lrg.jpg
1766 In London, James Christie held his first sale.
1830 Christina Rossetti, English poet, was born.
1839 George Armstrong Custer, American general, was born.
G a custer.jpg
1848 California Gold Rush: US President James K. Polk confirmed that large amounts of gold had been discovered in California.
Panning for gold on the Mokelumne River

1859 John Jellicoe, British admiral, was born.

John Jellicoe Admiral of the fleet.jpg

1872  Harry Nelson Pillsbury, American chess player, was born.


1979  Clyde Cessna, American airplane manufacturer, was born.


Clyde Cessna posing beside the silverwing

1890 New Zealand’s first one-man-one-vote election took place.

1901 Walt Disney, American animated film producer, was born.

1932  German-born Swiss physicist Albert Einstein was granted an American visa.

1932  Little Richard, American singer and pianist, was born.

1933 Prohibition in the United States ended when : Utah ratified the Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution, thus establishing the required 75% of states needed to enact the amendment (this overturned the 18th Amendment which had made the manufacture, sale, or transportation of alcohol illegal in the United States).


Detroit police inspecting equipment found in a clandestine underground brewery during the Prohibition era

1938  J. J. Cale, American songwriter, was born.

1943  Abyssinia Crisis: Italian troops attacked Wal Wal in Abyssinia, taking four days to capture the city.

1936 The Soviet Union adopted a new constitution and the Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic was established as a full Union Republic of the USSR.

1945 Flight 19 was lost in the Bermuda Triangle.

Map of Flight 19’s flight plan and final position on December 5.
1955 E.D. Nixon and Rosa Parks lead the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
1957 Sukarno expelled all Dutch people from Indonesia.

1958  Subscriber Trunk Dialling (STD) was inaugurated in the UK by Queen Elizabeth II when she speaks to the Lord Provost in a call from Bristol to Edinburgh.

1958 The Preston bypass, the UK‘s first stretch of motorway, opened to traffic for the first time.

1963 Eddie “the Eagle” Edwards, English ski jumper, was born.

1964 Captain Roger Donlon was awarded the first Medal of Honor of the Vietnam War.


1983  Dissolution of the Military Junta in Argentina.

2005 The Civil Partnership Act came into effect in the United Kingdom, and the first civil partnership was registered there.

2006 Commodore Frank Bainimarama overthrew the government in Fiji.

Sourced from NZ History Online & wikipedia.

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