Upstaged

February 19, 2010

I wasn’t watching TV news last night but a friend who was told me that during a report on a political matter an Opposition point of view was sought.

And who did they ask? Helen Clark.

David Farrar reckons Labour supporters still yearn for her, perhaps at least one reporter does too.

It can’t be much fun being Phil Goff, holding the poisoned chalice of a leadership which no-one else will touch and still being upstaged by his predecessor.


Wondering Star

February 19, 2010

Lee Marvin would have been 86 today.


Tears of a Clown

February 19, 2010

Happy birthday Smokey Robinson – 70 today.


No sales this term

February 19, 2010

The government’s response to the Capital market Task Force report has prompted questions about the possible sale of State Owned Enterprises.

One of National’s election promises was that is wouldn’t sell any state assets in its first term.

That doesn’t preclude discussion on possible sales, possibly only partial, in a future term.

Landcorp would be a good place to start. I can’t think of any good reasons for the government to be involved in farming and some of the SOE’s farms were sold under the previous administration.

Listing would shine a bit of daylight on the operation of SOEs and there could be benefits from the financial rigor required of publicly listed companies.

Divesting even part of the shareholding from the government to individuals would free up public money for other things and provide much-needed opportunities for investment in something other than property.


Is NZ cream double anyway?

February 19, 2010

Medusa left a comment yesterday asking why we can’t get double cream.

I’ve seen it in recipes and overseas supermarkets but have never come across it here.

So what makes cream double?

Wikipedia says it’s all to do with fat content. Double cream in the UK has a minimum of 48% milk fat; in the USA it’s 38 – 40% and in Australia 48 – 60%.

New Zealand cows are bred to produce milk with a high fat content because most of our milk goes for export butter, cheese and milk powder rather than fresh milk for local consumption.

Dairy farmers are paid per kilo of milk solids (which used to be called milk fat) rather than per litre of milk as happens in most other countries.

I’m wondering if that means all the cream in our supermarkets has at least a 48% milk fat unless it says it’s light.


Consent delays could cost councils

February 19, 2010

The government is following through it’s promise to streamline the RMA with a proposal for efficiency incentives on the processing of consent applications.

In announcing the plan, Environment Minister Nick Smith said:

“Last year’s report on resource consent processing identified that 31% of resource consents were processed late and another 28% involved an extension of time,” Dr Smith said. “The report also identified that this problem had got progressively worse over the last decade.

“This new policy of a financial penalty on councils for late consent processing is designed to reverse this trend and get councils focused on providing a timely service.”

The discount regulations suggested approach is that councils must provide a discount of 25% for a consent one week late, with an additional 5% per week up to a maximum of 80%. The regulations also set out procedures for determining fault, and definitions to ensure the incentives are workable.

“It has long been councils’ policy that a penalty is loaded on ratepayers for failing to pay rates on time. If it’s good enough for the goose; it’s good enough for the gander. This new policy applies the same principle where the council fails to meet statutory timeframes.

“These regulations will set the minimum discount for lateness but councils will have the option of developing their own tougher regime if they wish. For instance, some councils already offer a free consent if late (i.e. a 100% discount) and will be able to continue to do so.

“This new policy is about recognising that time is money. New Zealand’s economic recovery cannot be held back by inefficient and costly red tape.

It would be difficult to quantify the cost of prolonging the resource consent process. But most applicants complain about the time taken to process applications and comment that a private business wouldn’t survive if they worked so slowly. One of the reasons for that is that private businesses are very aware of the cost of delays.

Incentivising efficiency, or disincentivising delay, will ensure that councils and their staff also understand the dollar value of delay.

It’s a policy that could well be applied to some central government agencies and their processes too.

More information on the proposal is available at the Environment Ministry.


February 19 in history

February 19, 2010

On February 19:

197 Roman Emperor Septimius Severus defeated usurper Clodius Albinus in the Battle of Lugdunum, the bloodiest battle between Roman armies.

Septimius Severus busto-Musei Capitolini.jpg

1473 Nicolaus Copernicus, mathematician and astronomer, was born.

1594 Having already inherited the throne of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth through his mother Catherine Jagellonica of Poland, Sigismund III of the House of Vasa was crowned King of Sweden, succeeding his father John III of Sweden.

1600 – The Peruvian stratovolcano Huaynaputina explodeed in the most violent eruption in the recorded history of South America.

1674 – England and the Netherlands signed the Peace of Westminster, ending the Third Anglo-Dutch War. A provision of the agreement transfered the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam to England, and it was renamed New York.

1743 Luigi Boccherini, Italian composer, was born.

 

1807 Former Vice President of the United States Aaron Burr was arrested for treason and confined to Fort Stoddert.

1819 British explorer William Smith discovered the South Shetland Islands, and claimed them in the name of King George III. 

 Williams Point

1847 – The first group of rescuers reached the Donner Party who had been snowbound. Some of the party resorted to cannabilism to survive.

 The Donner Party Memorial

1861 Serfdom as abolished in Russia.

1878 The phonograph was patented by Thomas Edison.

1883 Parihaka leaders Te Whiti and Tohu were released.

Release of Parihaka leaders Te Whiti and Tohu

 1884 The Enigma tornado outbreak.

1895 Diego Mazquiarán, Spanish matador, was born.

1924 Lee Marvin, American actor, was born.

 

1936 Sam Myers, American musician and songwriter, was born.

1938 Twenty men and one woman were drowned when a sudden cloudburst sent a wall of water surging through a public works camp at Kopuawhara, near Mahia. This was New Zealand’s deadliest 20th-century flood.

21 drown in Kopuawhara flash flood

1940 Smokey Robinson, American singer, was born.

 1942 Nearly 250 Japanese warplanes attacked Darwin killing 243 people.

Darwin 42.jpg

1942 –President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the executive order 9066′, allowing the United States military to relocate Japanese-Americans to Japanese internment camps.

 

1943 Battle of the Kasserine Pass in Tunisia began.

Kasserine Pass.jpg

1945 Battle of Iwo Jima – about 30,000 United States Marines landed on Iwo Jima.

37mm Gun fires against cave positions at Iwo Jima.jpg

1947 Tim Shadbolt, mayor of Invercargill, New Zealand, was born.

1949Ezra Pound was awarded the first Bollingen Prize in poetry by the Bollingen Foundation and Yale University.

1952 Amy Tan, American novelist, was born.

1953 Georgia approved the first literature censorship board in the United States.

1958 Helen Fielding, English writer, was born.

1959 – The United Kingdom granted Cyprus its independence.

1960  Andrew, Duke of York, was born.

1963 – The publication of Betty Friedan‘s The Feminine Mystique launched the reawakening of the Feminist Movement in the United States as women’s organisations and consciousness-raising groups spread.

  Mystique.jpg

1972 The Asama-Sansō hostage standoff begins in Japan.

1976 Executive Order 9066 was rescinded by President Gerald R. Ford’s Proclamation 4417

1978 Egyptian forces raid Larnaca International Airport, in an attempt to intervene in a hijacking situation, without authorisation from the Republic of Cyprus authorities. The Cypriot National Guard and Police forces kill 15 Egyptian commandos and destroy the Egyptian C-130 transport plane in open combat.

1985 William J. Schroeder became the first Artificial heart recipient to leave hospital.

1985 – Iberia Airlines Boeing 727 crashed into Mount Oiz in Spain, killing 148.

1986 Akkaraipattu massacre, massacre of 80 Tamil farm workers by the Sri Lankan Army in the eastern province of Sri Lanka.

1986 – The Soviet Union launched its Mir spacecraft.

1999 – President Bill Clinton issued a posthumous pardon for U.S. Army Lt. Henry Ossian Flipper.

Cadet Henry O. Flipper in his West Point cadet uniform. It has three large round brass buttons left, middle and right showing five rows. The buttons are interconnected left to right and vice-versa by decorative thread. He is wearing a starched white collar and no tie. He is a lighter colored African-American with plated corn rows of neatly done hair. He is facing the camera and looking to the left of the viewer.

2001 An Oklahoma City bombing museum was dedicated at the Oklahoma City National Memorial.

A panoramic view of the memorial. In the center is a large stone structure shaped as a gate with "9:03" at the top. At the center of the gate is a large hole and through it a road can be seen. The Regency Towers building is visible on the right of the image in the background. The gate is reflecting in a pool of water in front of it, and grass and trees are visible to the left and right of the pool. 

2002 – NASA’s Mars Odyssey space probe started to map the surface of Mars using its thermal emission imaging system.

2001 mars odyssey wizja.jpg

2001 Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal was awarded an honorary knighthood in recognition of a “lifetime of service to humanity”.

2007 – Three Salvadoran deputies to the Central American Parliament and their driver were murdered in Guatemala.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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