Nessun Dorma

January 21, 2010

Happy Birthday, Plácido Domingo – 69 today.


Ambassador Moore

January 21, 2010

Isn’t the response to the appointment of Mike Moore as our next Ambassador to the USA entertaining?

In the media release announcing the appointment Foreign Minister Murray McCully said:

“As a former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Director-General of the World Trade Organisation and co-chair of the US-NZ Partnership Forum, Mr Moore is the best possible candidate for this important role.

 Phil Goff welcomed the appointment but Kiwiblog notes Red Alert has not yet managed any congratulatory messages.

Many National supporters were unhappy when Labour appointed Jim Bolger to chair KiwiBank and KiwiRail but the government support of those institutions was anathema to many from the right. Moore’s appointment can’t be directly compared with those when Labour worked hard to advance free trade when it was in power and International relations usually have cross party support.

Audrey Young points out Moore beat McCully in his first election to parliament. Obviously the Minister has long got over that but maybe Labour people have longer, and more bitter, memories.

Moore has earned a good international reputation since leaving parliament. I think he’ll be a strong advocate for New Zealand in the post – as long as the Americans can understand his sometimes idiosyncratic use of the English language 🙂


You can’t:

January 21, 2010

The Tax Working Group says our tax system is sick.

One of the symptoms of that sickness is this:

The top 10% of income earners now pay 44% of all personal income tax (if the impact of WfF, New Zealand Superannuation and other benefits including the unemployment benefit are included, the top 10% of taxpayers now pay 76% of net tax).

Andrei Zen Tiger referred to that in a comment three posts back and said ouch.

Ouch indeed.

That is unsustainable, unfair and reminds me of this quote, attributed (wrongly I think) to Abraham Lincoln:

You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatreds.
You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away a man’s initiative and independence.
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.


Northland drought official

January 21, 2010

It’s official – Northland is suffering from drought.

Agriculture Minister David Carter said:

The Government has declared Northland as a medium-level drought zone, following a recent meeting of the Northland Rural Support Trust, and a drought recovery package is now in place to help affected farmers,” says Mr Carter.

All three of Northland’s districts – the Far North, Whangarei and Kaipara – are affected.

Drought relief measures offered by the Government include tax assistance for farmers under the Income Equalisation Scheme, farm management advice, welfare support and funding for Rural Support Trusts to provide help.

In the bad old days this sort of help would have been regarded as very parsimonious, but these days farmers know that it’s not the government’s job to bail them out of bad weather.

Those of us who remember farming pre-1984 might recall that the expectation of government assistance could encourage bad practices.

Farmers sometimes delayed making decisions in the hope that the government would step in. When it did, those who had sensibly destocked early, for example, got no help but those who’d delayed got subsidies.

It wasn’t good for farming and it wasn’t good for taxpayers either.

Drought is difficult and depressing, but it’s not an excuse for subsidies.

What is needed is practical help and sustained wet weather.

Federated Farmers has started on the practical assistance, It  has reactivated its Droughtline – 0800 DROUGHT (0800 376 844), – which matches farmers with surplus feed with those in need.

As for the weather, all we can do is pray – let it rain.


January 21 in history

January 21, 2010

On January 21:

1189 – Philip II of France and Richard I of England began to assemble troops to wage the Third Crusade.

Siege of Acre.jpg

1525 – The Swiss Anabaptist Movement is born when Conrad Grebel, Felix Manz, George Blaurock, and about a dozen others baptize each other in the home of Manz’s mother in Zürich, breaking a thousand-year tradition of church-state union.

1643 Abel Tasman was the first European to reach Tonga.

Fragment of “Portrait of Abel Tasman, his wife and daughter” attributed to Jacob Gerritsz Cuyp,

1749 – The Verona Philharmonic Theatre was destroyed by fire.

1789 The first American novel, The Power of Sympathy or the Triumph of Nature Founded in Truth, was printed in Boston, Massachusetts.

  • 1793 – After being found guilty of treason by the French Convention, Louis XVI of France was executed by guillotine.
  • 1824   Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, American, Confederate army general was born.

    Stonewall Jackson.jpg

    1864 – The Tauranga Campaign started during the New Zealand Land Wars.

    1887 – Brisbane received a daily rainfall of 465 millimetres (18.3 inches), a record for any Australian capital city.

    1893 – The Tati Concessions Land, formerly part of Matabeleland, was formally annexed to the Bechuanaland Protectorate, which is now Botswana.

    1899 – Opel manufactured its first automobile.

    Opel logo.svg

    1905 Christian Dior, French fashion designer, was born.

    Christian Dior
    Christian Dior - book cover.jpg

    1908 – New York City passed the Sullivan Ordinance, making it illegal for women to smoke in public, but the measure was vetoed by the mayor.

    1911 – The first Monte Carlo Rally.

    1915 – Kiwanis International  was founded in Detroit, Michigan.

     
    Kiwanis-logo.png

    1919 – Meeting of the First Dáil Éireann in the Mansion House Dublin. Sinn Féin adopted Ireland’s first constitution. The first engagement of Irish War of Independence, Sologhead Beg, County Tipperary.

    1921 The Italian Communist Party was founded at Livorno.

    1924 Benny Hill, English actor, comedian, and singer, was born.

    1925  Albania declared itself a republic.

    1938 Wolfman Jack, American disk jockey and actor, was born.

    1940  Jack Nicklaus, American golfer, was born.

    JackNicklaus.cropped.jpg

    1941 Plácido Domingo, Spanish tenor, was born.

     

    1942,  Mac Davis, American musician, was born.


    1944 New Zealand & Australia signed the Canberra Pact, which was an undertaking by both countries to co-operate on international matters, especially in the Pacific.

    NZ and Australia sign the Canberra Pact

    1950 Billy Ocean, West Indian musician, was born.

     1953 Paul Allen, American entrepreneur, co-founder of Microsoft, was born.

    1954 – The first nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Nautilus (SSN-571), was launched in Groton, Connecticut by Mamie Eisenhower, the First Lady of the United States.

    1958 – The last Fokker C.X in military service, the Finnish Air Force FK-111 target tower, crashed, killing the pilot and winch-operator.

    1960 – Miss Sam, a female rhesus monkey, lifted off from Wallops Island, Virginia, aboard Little Joe 1B – an unmanned test of the Mercury spacecraft.

     

    1968 Battle of Khe Sanh – One of the most publicised and controversial battles of the Vietnam War began.

    1974 Rove McManus, Australian television host and comedian, was born.

    1976 – Commercial service of Concorde began with London-Bahrain and Paris-Rio routes.

    1976 Emma Bunton, English singer (Spice Girls), was born.

    1977 – President Jimmy Carter pardoned nearly all American Vietnam War draft evaders.

    1981 – Tehran released United States hostages after 444 days.

    1997 – Newt Gingrich became the first leader of the United States House of Representatives to be internally disciplined for ethical misconduct.

    1999 – War on Drugs: In one of the largest drug busts in American history, the United States Coast Guard intercepted a ship with over 4,300 kg (9,500 lb) of cocaine on board.

    2002 – The Canadian Dollar set all-time low against the US Dollar (US$0.6179).

    2008 – Black Monday in worldwide stock markets. FTSE 100 had its biggest ever one-day points fall, European stocks closed with their worst result since 11 September 2001, and Asian stocks dropped as much as 15%.

    Sourced from NZ hisotry Online & Wikipedia.


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