It’s summer!


Three hot days in a row – it must be summer.

Have You Ever Seen The Rain


Happy birthday Tommy Ramone – 61 today.

UP, UP and Away


Ron Townson would have been 77 today.

Things to do at 9am on Sunday


Watching TV at all, let alone a programme on politics, doesn’t usually feature on my list of things to do at 9am on Sundays.

However, programmers at TVNZ have stuck to last year’s scheduling time and that’s when Agenda Q&A will screen again.

It starts this Sunday. Phil Goff and Hone Harawira are the interviewees. Mike Moore and Jeanette Fitzsimons willl join resident polticial analyst  Dr Therese Arseneau and Paul Holmes on the panel.

Prince’s woolly thinking good idea


Prince Charles has been criticised in the past for some woolly thinking, but this time he’s got a good idea and has launched the Wool Project –  a scheme to help sheep farmers around the world boost the price of wool.

Devised by the Prince and the director of the Pastoral Alliance, John Thorley, the scheme was billed as a comeback for wool at the launch on a Cambridgeshire sheep farm on Tuesday (26 January).

The scheme aims to turn around the wool market’s fortunes, which has seen prices slump from 93p/kg in 1997 to 66p/kg last year.

It will promote the green credentials of wool to consumers as well as urging shops to promote it as a fashionable material for clothes, carpets and rugs.

The Prince intends to create a green label to adorn woollen products across the UK and Commonwealth countries such as Australia and New Zealand.

Federated Farmers is supporting the move. Meat & Fibre chair, Bruce Willis, points to wool’s green credentials – it’s a fashionable eco-friendly alternative to synthetics.

It also helps you stay warm when it’s wet and it can be worn for longer in sweaty conditions without getting smelly which makes it ideal for work and tramping clothes.

Icebreaker has shown the way with casual clothing. Christina Perriam, is doing the same for fashion clothing. She features in the current NZ Life & Leisure, in which she says she’s:

. . . focused on relaunching her fashion label, creating key, affordable but beautiful pieces that New Zealand women will treasure and keep in their wardrobes for many years. And then there’s the New Zealand merino sleepwear range which caters for the growing need for organic, healthy, sustainable fibres to be worn next to the skin.

Both Icebreaker and the Christina Perriam range use merino. Finding uses and markets for crossbred wool is more problematic.

Wool carpet is great, but a lot of the world uses tiles rather than carpet.

Wool insulation has been round for a while but it isn’t making much headway against synthetic alternatives, although if my experience is anything to go by that’s not surprising.

Recently I asked about wool insulation at Wanaka’s Mitre 10. Once we’d got past a couple of minutes of crossed wires and established I was talking about wool not wall insulation, the shop assistant rummaged through the brochures on display, all of which were for synthetic materials. She then went in to an office and spoke with someone else who came out with a brochure and a couple of pages printed from a website about wool insulation.

I asked the price and how it compared with the cost of synthetic alternatives. The assistant consulted the woman in the office again and returned to tell me she’d never worked it out but thought wool would be a little bit more expensive, though it wouldn’t cost twice as much.

The producers of wool insulation are being very poorly served if the brochures for their products aren’t with the others and the sales people – or at least the two who were trying to help me – don’t know how the price compares with its synthetic competitors.

The idea of selling wool as an eco-friendly, natural, sustainable fibre pushes a lot of marketing buttons. But the Prince and his project have a lot of work to do if the products already available are marketed this poorly.

Hat Tip: Phil Clarke’s Business Blog.

Fifth rate speech rates fifth


One of the measures of a state of the nation speech is how much prominence the media coverage of it gets.

Was it a deliberate ploy by Jeannette Fitzsimons to exact revenge on Labour by announcing her resignation on the day Phil Goff tried to make himself and his party relevant?

Whether or not it was, two stories related to it and stories featuring Steven Joyce and John Key knocked Goff’s speech in to fifth place on the Stuff politics page:

Meet the Green Party’s new MP

A man once arrested while dressed up as Ronald McDonald is to be the new Green Party MP.

Driver’s licence cost could go up

 The cost of getting a driver’s licence is to go up, with more sweeping changes possible in future as the whole system gets reviewed.

Troubled youth visit hits Key


Prime Minister John Key has told how he and Prince William last week met a 15-year-old girl who had tried to kill herself the day before.

Fitzsimons resigns after 13 years


Green MP Jeanette Fitzsimons has confirmed she will resign from Parliament with her efforts praised by PM John Key.

Cap salaries, Goff says

 Labour leader Phil Goff has called for a cap on public service chief executive wages so they do not get paid more than the prime minister.

Mind you, bottom of the list is about where a speech like this belongs.

His “many not the few” is more than a little rich when it comes from the leader of a party which spent three terms dividing the population into groups whose votes it could buy.

Even the attack on bludgers fails. Labour actively encouraged bludging by making dependent on government handouts so many people who ought to be able to cope with their own resources.

January 29 in history


On January 29:

1842 Auckland’s first Anniversary Day regatta was held.

 1845 “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe  was published in the New York Evening Mirror.

1856 Queen Victoria instituted the Victoria Cross.
A bronze cross pattée bearing the crown of Saint Edward surmounted by a lion with the inscription FOR VALOUR. A crimson ribbon is attached

1860 Anton Chekhov, Russian writer, was born.

head and shoulders engraving of bearded Chekhov in pince-nez and suit

1863 Bear River Massacre.

1874 John D. Rockefeller Jr., American entrepreneur, was born.

1880 W.C. Fields, American actor and writer was born.

1886 Karl Benz patented the first successful gasoline-driven automobile.

1891 Liliuokalani was proclaimed Queen of Hawaii, its last monarch.


1916  Paris was first bombed by German zeppelins.

1933 – Ron Townson, American singer (The 5th Dimension), was born.

1939 Germaine Greer, Australian writer and feminist, was born.

1940 Three trains on the Sakurajima Line, in Osaka collided and exploded while approaching Ajikawaguchi station. 181 people were killed.

1944  USS Missouri (BB-63) the last battleship commissioned by the US Navy was launched.

USS Missouri in her 1980s configuration

1944 Approximately 38 men, women, and children die in the Koniuchy massacre in Poland.

1944 In Bologna the Anatomical Theatre of the Archiginnasio was destroyed in an air-raid.

1945 Tom Selleck, American actor, screenwriter and film producer, was born.

1949 Tommy Ramone, Hungarian-born musician and record producer (The Ramones), was born.

1954  Oprah Winfrey, American talk show host and actress, was born.


1989 Hungary established diplomatic relations with South Korea, making them the first Eastern Bloc nation to do so.

1996 President Jacques Chirac announced a “definitive end” to French nuclear weapons testing.

 Four major types of nuclear testing: 1. atmospheric, 2. underground, 3. exoatmospheric, and 4. underwater.

1996 – La Fenice, Venices opera house, was destroyed by fire.

 The interior of La Fenice in 1837.

1998 In Birmingham, Alabama, a bomb explodes at an abortion clinic, killing one and severely wounding another.

2001 Thousands of student protesters in Indonesia stormed parliament and demanded that President Abdurrahman Wahid resign due to alleged involvement in corruption scandals.

2002 In his State of the Union Address, United Statses President George W. Bush described “regimes that sponsor terror” as an Axis of Evil.

2005 The first direct commercial flights from the mainland China(from Guangzhou) to Taiwan since 1949 arrived in Taipei. Shortly afterwards, a China Airlines carrier landed in Beijing.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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