Fools Rush In


Peggy Lee would have been 90 today.



Happy birthday Stevie Nicks – 62 today.

Down A Country Road I Go


Day 27 of New Zealand Music Month – Phil Garland sings Down A Country Road I Go.

Homeopathic Farm Support wins Enterprising Rural Women Award


Tineke Verkade of Homeopathic Farm Support  won Rural Women NZ’s Enterprising Rural Women Award.

Tineke was the North Island winner. She is pictured (middle) with Judy Bailey who presented the award and Rural Women national president Margaret Chapman.

Flooded roads prevented the South Island winner, Tracey Robinson of Cosy Toes from attending  last night’s award announcement at the Oamaru Opera House..

When the two finalists were announced, there was some controversy over the North Island award going to a homeopathic company. But judges were not looking so much at what a business did as how, and how well, it was run.

Listening to Tineke speaking last night, no-one could doubt her passion and commitment.



Only 10/15 in this week’s Dominion Post political trivia quiz.

Bother – would have got at least another two had I engaged brain before clicking.

It’s still raining


We’ve now had about 180 mls of rain  in the last couple of days, considerably more than we’d had in total since  the start of the year as this Otago Regional Council graph shows:

State Highway 1 closed from the north yesterday morning. The radio told us it had closed from the south too, but it was open until late afternoon.

I had to go into Oamaru yesterday morning and on the way home stopped in Enfield to pick up a Road Closed  sign which had blown over. While I was doing that a car stopped and the driver asked for directions to Christchurch.

They were Australian tourists. Their map had only main roads so I brought them home to print some Google maps for them. My farmer rang Rural Transport because truck firms usually have the most reliable information on roads. Rex told us the only way to get north from here was the very long way – inland to Omarama then north via Tekapo, Fairlie and Geraldine.

I managed to get in to town to MC  the Enterprising Rural Women Awards last night and the road was still open when I came home.

It’s still raining but my farmer has just phoned from the top of the farm. He says there’s no snow on the Kakanui Mountains and he can see a break in the weather to the south.

As timing goes it could be worse – cows are being dried off and no-one’s lambing or calving.

However hundreds of people will be trying to shift home because the current dairy season ends on Monday and this is when sharemilkers, dairy farm managers, staff and stock move farms in large numbers.

Roads closed throughout Canterbury and Otago will make that difficult.

It’s time to accept the ETS and make it work for us


Federated Farmers is continuing its campaign against the ETS and I think that’s a mistake.The interview on Checkpoint (at 18:09) with Federated Farmers President Don Nicolson did their cause little good.

He’s correct that only the biological component of agriculture are exempt, at least for now. But any other cost increases in the likes of power and fuel will fall on everyone, not just farmers.

Until recently I might have agreed with continuing to campaign against the ETS but for some time I’ve been thinking it’s time to stop fighting it and make it work for us.

This was confirmed at the National Party’s Mainland conference at the weekend.

The ETS has been the hot – no pun intended – issue at regional conferences. In acknowledgement of that  Minister for Climate Change Issues Nick Smith changed his speech from water issues to deliver a speech entitled Our national interests and the ETS.

He started by acknowledging the debate over the science, econmics and international politics of who should do what, when. Then explained why New Zealand was going to introduce transport, electricity and industrial sectors into the modified ETS.

 He started with the science:

We don’t claim a consensus or a perfect scientific understanding of the earth’s climate system. But we are satisfied that enough is known to be of concern and that action is justified to curb our growth in emissions. This is about sound risk management. New Zealanders expect governments to prudently manage risk of phenomena like earthquakes. We all pay EQC levies even though we may not need the billions that have been collected. We see managing the risk of climate change in a similar context.

Then came the politics:

The international politics of this issue is as hard as the science. Two stark facts dominate the global debate. 80% of the increase to date has been caused by developed countries that make up only 20% of the population. This is why there is such a rigid position from developing countries that we must move first to curb our emissions.

They say: “You caused the problem, you’re wealthier, you need to take the lead”. It’s on this basis that Kyoto was stitched together.

But there is an equally compelling statistic on the future. More than 80% of the increase in emissions this century will come from developing countries. That’s why countries such as China, India and Brazil are pivotal to the post-Kyoto framework.

 And then there’s domestic politics:

 Labour’s scheme would have doubled costs, required the early entry of agriculture and given less support for industry.

 We have Labour and the Greens arguing our ETS is too soft, too slow, and too generous to business. . . 

 ACT has championed the cause of the Kyoto forest owners. They argue that carbon credits are a “property right”, “belonging to those who planted them” and must not be “confiscated”. That’s fair enough, but paying these out is set to cost about $1.6 billion over the Kyoto period until 2013. It’s odd then for ACT to argue the carbon debits that rest with emitters under Kyoto through to 2013 don’t belong to them and must be paid for entirely by the taxpayer. This is the ‘socialise your losses, capitalise your gains’ ETS. It is a recipe for a Greek-style fiscal tragedy.

 Why is starting soon in our interests?

 The sooner we start, the easier the transition will be; it will protect our green brand and market access and encourage afforestation and renewable energy.

 While Labour was in power 56% of new energy generation built was thermal, only 44% was renewable. Since National came to power 80% of consent applications have been for renewable energy.

 The price signals the ETS sends are crucial for foresters.

New Zealand lost 30,000 hectares of trees in Labour’s last four years in office, more than in any period since records began in the 1930s. Their confusing and shifting policies on the ETS contributed to this. Again, like electricity these are long-term investments that need certainty. In 2009, the deforestation stopped and there was a small gain in forest area of 500 hectares. Forester’s intentions indicate increased plantings of 4700 hectares this year, 5700 hectares next year, and still more of 7700 hectares in 2012. This confidence will be lost if we blink on the ETS, yet these plantings are crucial to New Zealand’s long-term climate change targets.

National campaigned amending the ETS in 2009 and introducing it this year. 

We’ve halved the cost to businesses and consumers. We’ve slowed the pace, deferring sector entry dates. We’ve removed the disincentives for businesses to grow and ensured that small and medium businesses are not discriminated against in the allocations to trade exposed businesses. We’ve put regular reviews in the law in 2011 and regularly thereafter so we can reassess our approach relative to international progress and the latest science.

 National promised foresters would receive credits for trees planted since 1989 and the country signed and ratified the Kyoto protocol. Without an ETS we’d miss our reduction  target by 11 million tonnes.

 There are alternative measures to meet our commitments:

You could regulate and tell citizens what sort of light bulbs they must use, how much water they can have in their shower, what sort of cars they can buy and tell business what sort of power plants they must build. An ETS encourages emissions reductions without reverting to a Nanny State.

All advice New Zealand has received says that  the Australian approach would cost more and achieve less. 

The crucial point here is that countries face a Kyoto cost either as taxpayers or as emitters, and all of the economic advice is that it is more efficient and cost effective to put the cost on those who can do something about how much they emit.

New Zealand is not leading the world. In the EU emission s are 10 tonne per capita and here they’re 18 tonnes. The EU’s emissions have dropped 9% since 1999, ours have increased by 24%. (I accept that a good deal of our increase is from agriculture, most of the production of which is exported). The EU scheme started five years ago and covers 43% of emissions, ours which is due to start in July covers only 23%.

The claim of New Zealand leading the world would be true if we were insisting on implementing an all gases, all sectors scheme on 1 July. We’re not. The scheme only provides for a half-obligation. Our plans to move to a full obligation in 2013 and to include additional sectors are conditional on progress being made internationally. We’ve got reviews of the ETS in our legislation scheduled for 2011 and regularly thereafter. A key test will be in ensuring New Zealand does not carry an unfair burden of the cost of constraining emissions and that our approach takes the least cost way of meeting our international obligations.

National has halved the costs Labour’s scheme would have imposed:

The cost to an average dairy farm of the fuel, power and processing impacts of the ETS is 0.5% of returns. The ETS will impose less cost on the average farmer than a 0.1% increase in interest rates.

And there are opportunities for farmers to make savings.

The obvious way a farmer could offset the cost of the ETS for the average farm is to plant on unproductive areas of the farm in forest. An area of only 6 hectares would offset the 1 July 2010 electricity and power costs of the ETS.

There are many new technologies available to reduce on farm energy costs. For example, the installation of heat pump technology in the dairy shed can deliver more than $2000 a year in savings in electricity. Studies of irrigation also show thousands of dollars of savings from modest efficiency improvements in systems.

Households could also become more energy efficient and make savings from that:

For instance just correcting the tyre pressure on the average car can save $130 per year. Changing driving habits for the average motorist can save $300 a year. The Government is helping to offset the ETS cost for a household by providing an $1800 home insulation grant and a $1000 grant for solar hot water systems. These would each save an average household $400 a year in energy costs, greatly exceeding the ETS costs of a $165 per home.

One reason our emissions have increased in the past two decades is mixed messages and an inconsistent approach.

Businesses and the economy need a steady and consistent approach, and that’s what your Government is delivering.

We Kiwis value our clean green brand and want to be part of the solution, and not the problem, on climate change. We don’t want to lead the world in emissions growth anymore than leading the world in emissions cuts. We know we need to be planting more trees. We know we should be building more renewable power stations. And we know we should be investing more in energy efficiency. Doing nothing is not an option. Our very moderate ETS is the sensible way for a National government to make progress.

A PDF of the power point slides is here. The ODT and Oamaru Mail reported on the speech and Stephen Franks posted on a similar speech delivered to the Central North Island conference and gives his views.

The whole speech follows the break.

  Read the rest of this entry »

May 26 in history


On May 26:

451   Battle of Avarayr between Armenian rebels and the Sassanid Emire.

Battle of Avarayr.jpg

113 5 Alfonso VII of León and Castile was crowned in the Cathedral of Leon as Imperator totius Hispaniae, “Emperor of All the Spains”.

1293 An earthquake in  Kamakura, Japan  killed about 30,000.

1328  William of Ockham, Franciscan Minister-General Michael of Cesena and two other Franciscan leaders secretly left  Avignon, fearing a death sentence from Pope John XXII.

1538  Geneva expelled John Calvin and his followers from the city.


1637  Pequot War: A combined Protestant and Mohegan force under Captain John Mason attacked a Pequot village massacring approximately 500 people.


1647 Alse Young was the first person executed as a witch in the American colonies.

1670  In Dover, England, Charles II of Great Britain and Louis XIV of France signed the Secret Treaty of Dover.


1689 Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, English writer was born (d. 1762).


1736 Battle of Ackia: British and Chickasaw soldiers repelled a French and Choctaw attack on the Chickasaw village of Ackia.


1770 The Orlov Revolt, a first attempt to revolt against the Turks before the Greek War of Independence, ended in disaster for the Greeks.


1783  A Great Jubilee Day was held in Trumbull, Connecticut to celebrate the end of the American Revolution.

1822 116 people die din the Grue Church fire, the biggest fire disaster in Norway’s history.

1828 Mysterious feral child Kaspar Hauser was discovered wandering the streets of Nuremberg.

1830  The Indian Removal Act was passed by the U.S. Congress.

1857 Dred Scott was emancipated by the Blow family, his original owners.


1863 Robert Fitzsimmons, Boxing champion who live din Timaru, was born (d. 1917).

Robert Fitzsimmons.jpg

1865 American Civil War: Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith, commander of the Confederate Trans-Mississippi division, was the last general of the Confederate Army to surrender, at Galveston, Texas.


1868 The impeachment trial of U.S. President Andrew Johnson ended with Johnson being found not guilty by one vote.

1869  Boston University was chartered by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.


1879  Parihaka Maori, led by Te Whiti and Tohu Kakahi, embarked upon a ploughing campaign to protest against European settlement on confiscated Maori land.

Parihaka ploughing campaign begins

 1879  Russia and the United Kingdom signed the Treaty of Gandamak establishing an Afghan state.


 1883  Mamie Smith, American singer , was born (d. 1946).

1886 Al Jolson, American singer, was born (d. 1950).

1889 Opening of the first Eiffel Tower lift to the public.


1896 Nicholas II became  Tsar of Russia.

1896  Charles Dow  published the first edition of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.


1904  George Formby, English singer and comedian, was born (d. 1961).

1906 Vauxhall Bridge was opened in London.

1907 John Wayne, American actor, was born (d. 1979).

1908 At Masjed Soleyman (مسجد سليمان) in southwest Persia  the first major commercial oil strike in the Middle East was made.

1915 Antonia Forest, British children’s author, was born (d. 2003).

First edition cover

1917  An F4btornado ripped Mattoon, Illinois apart, killing 101 people and injuring 689. It was the world’s longest-lasting tornado, lasting for over 7 hours and traveling 293 miles.

1918  Armenia defeated the Ottoman Army in the Battle of Sardarapat.

1918  The Democratic Republic of Georgia was established.

1920 Peggy Lee, American singer, was born (d. 2002).

1923  Roy Dotrice, British actor, was born.

1926 Miles Davis, American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer, was born  (d. 1991).

1928 The first motion picture was projected publicly in Athens.

1936  In the House of Commons of Northern Ireland, Tommy Henderson began speaking on the Appropriation Bill. By the time he sat down in the early hours of the following morning, he had spoken for 10 hours.

1938  The House Un-American Activities Committee began its first session.


1940  World War II: Battle of Dunkirk – Allied  forces began a massive evacuation from Dunkirk, France.


1942  World War II: The Battle of Bir Hakeim.


1945  Garry Peterson, Canadian drummer (The Guess Who), was born.

1948 Stevie Nicks, American songwriter, was born.

1948 The U.S. Congress passes Public Law 557 which permanently established the Civil Air Patrol as an auxiliary of the United States Air Force.

Civil Air Patrol seal.png

1951 Sally Ride, American astronaut, was born.


1966Helena Bonham Carter, English actress, was born.


1966 – Zola Budd, South African athlete, was born.


1966 British Guiana gained independence, becoming Guyana.

1969 Apollo 10 returned to Earth after a successful eight-day test of all the components needed for the forthcoming first manned moon landing.

1970 The Soviet Tupolev Tu-144 became the first commercial transport to exceed Mach 2.


1972 Willandra National Park was established in Australia.

1972  The United States and the Soviet Union signed the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

1977 George Willig climbed the South Tower of  the World Trade Centre.

1981 Italian Prime Minister Arnaldo Forlani and his coalition cabinet resigned following a scandal over membership of the pseudo-masonic lodge P2 (Propaganda Due).

1983  A  7.7 magnitude earthquake in Japan, triggered a tsunami that killed at least 104 people and injured thousands.

1986  The European Community adopted the European flag.

See adjacent text.

1991  Zviad Gamsakhurdia became  the first democratically elected President of the Republic of Georgia in the post-Soviet era.

1991  Lauda Air Flight 004 exploded over rural Thailand, killing 223.

1992  Charles Geschke, co-founder of Adobe Systems, Inc was kidnapped.

1998 The United States Supreme Court ruled that Ellis Island, the historic gateway for millions of immigrants, was mainly in the state of New Jersey, not New York.

Ellis Island is located in New York City

2003  Only three days after a previous record, Sherpa Lakpa Gelu climbed  Mount Everest in 10 hours 56 minutes.

2004 The New York Times published an admission of journalistic failings, claiming that its flawed reporting and lack of skepticism towards sources during the buildup to the 2003 war in Iraq helped promote the belief that Iraq possessed large stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction.

2006  The May 2006 Java earthquake killed more than 5,700 people, and left 200,000 homeless.


Sourced from NZ history Online & Wikipedia,

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