Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien


Edith Piaf was born on this day in 1915.

Skinny Chocolate Brownie #2


I’d planned to make the Healthy Food Guide’s Skinny Chocolate Brownie for dinner but had no stewed apple.

I didn’t have any fresh apples to stew either but I did have frozen raspberries which I thawed, mashed a bit and added in place of the apple.

The result was even better than the original recipe. The colour was richer and there was a subtle hint of raspberry which enhanced the chocolate flavour.

I didn’t have walnuts which the recipe required and used hazlenuts instead.

 But I think because the raspberry seeds add texture it doesn’t need nuts at all and next time I”ll leave them out.

Getting it right from the start


Prevention is always better than cure and that’s the aim of  taking a whole of government approach to addressing the factors which lead to crime.

Justice Minister Simon Power and Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples said there will be an initial approach on four areas:

Antenatal, maternity, and early parenting support.
• Programmes to address behavioural problems in young children.
• Reducing the harm caused by alcohol.
• Alternative approaches to managing low-level offenders, and offering pathways out of offending.

A Ministerial Meeting on the Drivers of Crime in April, hosted by the Ministers reached a broad agreement that the drivers of crime are complex, social, inter-generational, and require early intervention.

Power said:

“Though responsibility for reducing crime sits with justice-sector agencies, many of the tools to address the drivers of crime are in other sectors, such as health, education, parenting support, housing, recreation, and economic, social and community development.

“The focus will be on improving outcomes by tackling fragmentation, ensuring ministerial and chief executive co-ordination and leadership of the work programme, improving value for money, and improving the relationship between government and the community.”

 Sharples said:

“Far too many Maori end up in our youth justice and prison facilities, wasting the most productive years of their lives. Far too many Maori are victims of crime. And far too many Maori children grow up in households and communities disrupted by crime and punishment.

“Anything we can do to promote Maori control over their own destiny, community strength and resilience, and pro-social behaviour by Maori will reduce crime overall, and help improve the social and economic position of Maori in the long term.”

Mr Power said the factors that drive crime also contribute to other negative outcomes, such as being a victim of crime, poor health, early school leaving, and unemployment.

“This means efforts to reduce crime cannot be pursued separately from efforts to address other social harms, but need to be part of a co-ordinated response across sectors.

“Several other Ministers are already leading work that could make a significant contribution to addressing the drivers of crime.

Celia Lashlie got in to trouble for describing a young boy who would grow up to be a murderer. But poverty, poor parental education, drug and alcohol abuse  and other factors which give children a poor start in life also predispose them to crime.

Taking a whole of government approach from before children are born won’t be easy nor will it be cheap. But it’s an important part of any crime reduction strategy.

Getting things right from the start to prevent children getting in to trouble is preferable to trying to get them on a more positive pathway once they’re in the criminal justice system.

Vendor beware


It’s usually the buyer who needs to beware, but Federated Farmers is cautioning would be farm sellers to  conduct strict due diligence before entering into sale and purchase agreements.

The warning follows news a trust which is thought to have backing from Dubai World has signed up 28 farms in Southland.

It goes against every commercial norm for major capital items to be sold on a ‘no-deposit’ basis and farms are as big a capital item as you can get,” says David Rose, Federated Farmers rural security spokesperson. . .

“I must say that I am extremely nervous of reports that no-deposits are being taken. It’s pretty fundamental that a deposit be exchanged as a tangible sign of good faith.

“Our second concern relates to the financial backer being reported as Dubai World – the Emirates’ owned and controlled corporate lender.

“On 27 November, the Federation warned that Dubai World was close to defaulting on a substantial part of its $82 billion (US$60 billion) debt. Only on Monday, another Emirates, Abu Dhabi, injected US$10 billion in order to save Dubai World from an immediate default.

“Given these pressing business issues, we are naturally concerned that the supposed backer may not be prioritising the purchase of Southland farms. The fact that a reported deposit milestone has already been missed is further cause for alarm. . . “

Another factor which requires caution is the possible need for these purchases to go before the Overseas Investment Commission which could delay sales or derail them completely.

Protecting the vulnerable


A bill to strengthen the Crimes Act to deal with violent offending against children, and to modernise the law of assault and injuring, is a welcome move from Justice Minister Simon Power.

The four areas  the bill will deal with are:

  • Assault, injury, and serious injury: a new matrix of offences that consistently address both culpability and consequence.
  • Specific offences: offences with a specific (usually aggravating) feature – eg, assault on a child, setting traps, impeding rescue – are rationalised and updated.
  • Offending against children: a new offence of failing to protect a child or vulnerable adult, and reform of other offences dealing with offending against children.
  • Endangering, negligent injury and culpable homicide: a hierarchy of offences that address the range of outcomes arising from grossly negligent behaviour, whether death, injury, or risk of injury results.

“The new offence of failing to protect a child or vulnerable adult will hold accountable household members who fail to notify authorities of a child or vulnerable adult suffering abuse.

“Legislation will ensure it will no longer be an excuse to say you were not involved in abusing a child – the fact that you lived in the household and knew of abuse makes you involved.

Sometimes the people who watch and do nothing are victims of violence and abuse themselves.

But to do nothing when a child or vulnerable adult is being abused is to be complicit in the act.

“The commission also recommended repealing the specific assaults of male assaults female and assault on a child. But, at a time when the Government is working to discourage domestic violence, it would be inappropriate to repeal these offences.

I understand the thinking behind the recommendation. Violence isn’t the sole preserve of men but repealing these acts when there is such a need to counter domestic violence would send mixed messages.

December 19 in history


On December 19:

1154  Henry II of England was crowned at Westminster Abbey.

1606  The Susan Constant, the Godspeed, and the Discovery left England carrying settlers who found, at Jamestown, Virginia, the first of the thirteen colonies that became the United States.

1683  Philip V of Spain, was born.

1820 Mary Livermore, American journalist and women’s rights advocate, was born.

1906 Leonid Brezhnev, leader of the Soviet Union, was born.

The evacuation of Suvla Bay

1915 Édith Piaf, French singer and actress, was born.

1920  King Constantine I was restored as King of the Hellenes after the death of his son Alexander I of Greece and a plebiscite.

1923  Gordon Jackson, Scottish actor, was born.

1924  The last Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost was sold in London.

AX 201 at the Rolls-Royce centenary celebrations, Manchester, 2004

 1925 Robert B. Sherman, American songwriter, was born.

1932  BBC World Service began broadcasting as the BBC Empire Service.

BBC World Service logo

1934  Pratibha Patil, President of India, was born.

1941 The Royal Navy cruiser HMS Neptune struck enemy mines and sank off Libya – more than 750 men lost their lives including 150 New Zealanders.

HMS <em>Neptune</em> lost in Mediterranean minefield

1941 Adolf Hitler became Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the German Army.

1941 – Maurice White, American singer and songwriter (Earth, Wind & Fire), was born.

1944 Zal Yanovsky, Canadian guitarist (The Lovin’ Spoonful, was born.

1946  Start of the First Indochina War.

1972  Apollo program: The last manned lunar flight, Apollo 17, crewed by Eugene Cernan, Ron Evans and Harrison Schmitt, returned to Earth.

Apollo 17-insignia.png

1983  The original FIFA World Cup trophy, the Jules Rimet Trophy, was stolen from the headquarters of the Brazilian Football Confederation.


1984 The Sino-British Joint Declaration, stating that the People’s Republic of China would resume the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong and the United Kingdom would restore Hong Kong to China with effect from July 1, 1997 was signed in Beijing by Deng Xiaoping and Margaret Thatcher.

1998  Lewinsky scandal: The United States House of Representatives forwarded articles I and III of impeachment against President Bill Clinton to the Senate.

2001  A record high barometric pressure of 1085.6 hPa (32.06 inHg )was recorded at Tosontsengel, Khövsgöl Province, Mongolia.

2001 – Argentine economic crisis: December 2001 riots – Riots erupted in Buenos Aires.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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