Monday’s quiz


1. A cold coming we had of it,/just the worst time of the year/For a journey, and such a long journey;/The ways deep and the weather sharp. . .  Who wrote this and about whom was it written?

2. What is a metrosideros excelsa?

3. Who said, “I stopped believing in Santa Claus when my mother took me to see him in a department store, and he asked for my autograph.“?

4. Chef Richard Gordon is a shareholder in which Waitaki Valley wine company?

5. Which MP is patron and a former national president of Young Farmers?

Lockwood tops Trans Tasman roll call


Speaker of the House Lockwood Smith has beaten Prime Minsiter John Key to the top spot in Trans Tasman’s annual roll call.

This year on 9.25 out of 10 Lockwood Smith is top of the pile. Smith gets the nod because of his stellar performance as Speaker. He has been a revelation. A journeyman politician for most of his time in the House, Smith has finally found his niche. His score more than doubles from 4.5 last year to 9.25.

Trans Tasman says “his insistence Ministers answer questions properly swept away decades of ducking and dodging allowed by his predecessors. Runs the House fairly, rarely raises his voice and is a student of standing orders and speakers’ rulings.” He has had regular contact with the media and introduced a new route for the procession so the public could see it.

He created “an overdue infusion of good sense and a real commitment to Parliament.” Trans Tasman says Smith is probably the best Speaker since National’s Matthew Oram in 1950-57.

John Key is 2nd on 9 and Hone Harawira is at the bottom on 0.

The full commentary and list is here.

As always, the list appears to place a lot more importance on what MPs do in Wellington and doesn’t reflect the very good work many do in their electorates. Election results for Jacqui Dean. Jo Goodhew and Eric Roy, for example, show their constituents have a higher opinion of them than Trans Tasman does.

No conspiracy


The NZ Herald has printed Don Brash’s response to Garth George’s column today.

George’s column was published on Thursday and Brash  submitted his response that morning. When it hadn’t been printed by Saturday, he emailed it directly to George and copied it to other people.

At least two other boggers bloggers and I posted the response on Saturday.

Some people criticised the Herald for not printing the rebuttal earlier.

I side with the Herald on this.

It has a responsibility to give people a right of reply as soon as practical. But limited space sometimes means that’s not as soon as preferable.

I don’t think there was any conspiracy on the Herald’s behalf, it’s just a case where bloggers were able to respond faster.

We can’t have it both ways


New Zealand’s argument to counter the food miles fallacy is that we convert grass to protein in the most efficient way possible.

Our soils and climate which enable us to grow good pasture and leave stock outside all year rounds give us a natural advantage over farmers in other countries where pastoral farming isn’t possible.

It’s less expensive and has less impact on the environment to let animals graze pastures than to harvest feed and take it to the stock.

Why then would anyone want to copy the more expensive methods farmers in other countries have to use by putting cows inside, if only for part of the year?

No doubt the people applying for resource consent for stabling dairy cattle for eight months of the year have done their sums and are confident the business case is sound.

The environmental impacts will be addressed through the resource consent process and any animal welfare issues will have to be settled before the projects can proceed.

But I’m concerned about the impact this will have on our credibility.

Either we make the most of our natural advantage and use that to promote our pasture raised produce or we start copying less efficient producers overseas.

We can’t have it both ways.

Does anyone remember . . .


 . . . who won Britain’s Got talent this year?

Just wondering, because Susan Boyle who came second, is breaking records with the release of her first album.

One at a time


When it comes to sexual relationships, one at a time has always struck me as a good idea.

The reaction to Tiger Woods’  tales or straying suggests that my view may be regarded as unusual.

Some reckon whatever happened should be between him and his wife – and possibly his children – oh and the several other women with whom he’s had liaisons.

I have some sympathy with that. If it’s not about golf  or his public life, it’s not our business and prolonged publicity will only make it harder for his wife and children.

But there’s a difference between leaving his private life private and condoning what he did.

Of all the reactions to the stories of Woods’ infidelity, what surprises me most is the attitude that there’s nothing wrong with it, summed up by Peter Williams in his Herald column:

He shouldn’t be ashamed. He’s far from the first. And there will be plenty more to follow.

He isn’t the first and won’t be the last, but why shouldn’t he be ashamed?

Work which takes partners away from each other can’t be easy – just look at how many MPs’ marriages fail – and there must be plenty of temptation for a fit, famous and wealthy man.

But are men – and women, because infidelity isn’t confined to blokes – really incapable of maintaining loving monogamous relationships even when they’re apart?

December 7 in history


On December 7:

521 Saint Columba, Irish Christian missionary to Scotland, was born.

1732  The Royal Opera House opens at Covent Garden, London.

1863 Richard Sears, American department store founder, was born.

1888 Joyce Cary, Irish author, was born.

1900 Max Planck discovered the law of black body emission.

1921 Pramukh Swami Maharaj, Indian spiritual leader, was born.

1923  Ted Knight, American actor, was born.

1928 Noam Chomsky, American linguist and political writer was born.


1930 W1XAV in Boston, Massachusetts broadcast video from the CBS radio orchestra program, The Fox Trappers. The broadcast included the first television commercial in the United States, an advertisement for I.J. Fox Furriers, who sponsored the radio show.

1941 Attack on Pearl Harbor – The Imperial Japanese Navy attacked the US Pacific Fleet and its defending Army Air Forces and Marine air forces at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Because of the time difference due to the International Date Line, the events of December 8 occurred while the date was still December 7 to the east of this line.

Attack on Pearl Harbor Japanese planes view.jpg

1962 Prince Rainier III of Monaco revised the principality’s constitution, devolving some of his power to advisory and legislative councils.

1963 The Bassett Road machine gun murders  took place.

1970 The first ever general election on the basis of direct adult franchise was held in Pakistan for 313 National Assembly seats.

1972  Apollo 17, the last Apollo moon mission, was launched. The crew took the photograph known as “The Blue Marble” as they leave the Earth.

1975 Indonesia invaded East Timor.

1988 Yasser Arafat recognised the right of Israel to exist.

1995 The Galileo spacecraft arrives at Jupiter, a little more than six years after it was launched by Space Shuttle Atlantis during Mission STS-34.

Galileo Preparations - GPN-2000-000672.jpg

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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