Cutting to the quick


Good journalists are supposed to ask incisive questions, some pride themselves on putting in the knife in a way which leaves the interviewee lost for words.

But today it was the Prime Minister who cut to the quick, and journalists who were stunned into silence.

He’d been asked if he’d send his children to a childcare centre where 80% or all of the staff were fully trained.

“I think if I sent my 15-year-old or 17-year-old to early childhood at the moment they’d have a meltdown,” he quipped.

But what if his wife Bronagh had another?

“I’d be extremely worried because I’ve had a vasectomy.”

In the face of the stunned hacks, he said; “It’s probably too much information for the purposes of a press conference but anyway.”

And while the reporters got themselves together: “Boy, that’s slowed things down. Any other questions?”

A Radio New Zealand reporter had sufficiently recovered by this stage to ask: “Did it hurt?”

“Not overly, actually,” Key replied.

TVNZ then wanted to know if it was a budget cut.

“All I can say is it’s been highly successful but anyway we won’t get into that either.

“Any other questions or are we done for the day?”

There was another, about deep sea digging, and Key said he was happy to dig into a different issue.

All very amusing, but is it news?

If I Had A Hammer


Happy birthday Peter Yarrow – 72 today.

Pokarekare Ana


New Zeaalnd Music Month concludes with Pokarekare Ana sung by Haley Westernra.

We may not always be word perfect, but it’s the song almost every New Zealander can sing.

Monday’s quiz


1. What is an udometer?

2. What do the following coffee shop terms mean:  brevé, granita and lungo?

3. How many monarchs have come from the House of Windsor?

4. Which book won the 2010 NZ Post Children’s Book Award?

5. Who said: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”?

Rural party would make matters worse for rural people


NZ Farmers Weekly reports that opposition to the ETS is fuelling discussions on the formation of a rural party.

It’s only talk and I hope it stops there because it would do more harm than good.

Rural people are not only a minority, we’re diverse. The only thing which unites us is geography – we don’t live in towns or cities – and that isn’t enough on which to base a viable political party.

The Outdoor Recreation Party should serve as a warning.

In spite of the hundreds of thousands of people who enjoy the great outdoors it got nowhere at its first election. It then merged with United Future which went backwards at the next election.

I understand the opposition to the ETS and until recently I might have supported it. But I’ve accepted the fact that it is now law which will come into effect on July 1.

A show of hands at the National Party’s Northern convention yesterday suggests that is the majority view. A discussion on the issue, which showed strong opposition, concluded with a request for a show of hands on whether the ETS should be delayed. I reckoned fewer than a third of the delegates put their hands up for a delay and Audrey Young thinks it was only 20%.

I suspect that 20% was more rural than urban but that’s not grounds for trying to form a rural party.

It wouldn’t be difficult to muster the 500 people needed to form a party, they might even get a few candidates willing to go to the expense and trouble of standing for parliament. If they did they are more likely to take votes from National than any other party and what would that achieve?

At best a weaker National led government. At worst a Labour led one which would include a strong Green element. Both those parties’  plans for the ETS are more radical and expensive than National’s and their other policies are a lot less rural-friendly too.

Those opposing the implementation of the ETS are making a lot of noise but they don’t have the numbers and strong as the anti-ETS is it’s not enough to make a foundation on which to build a viable political party which would be able to make a positive difference to rural people.

Rorts have risks


He had an accident and couldn’t work for several weeks.

When ACC wouldn’t pay him as much as he thought he should be getting he complained to his MP.

The MP asked some questions. The answers showed the couple had arranged their affairs so their children could claim full student allowances.

Their earnings went into a company and both the husband and wife were paid small taxable salaries.

The MP explained the rules. ACC payments are based on your wages or salary. If you arrange things so you don’t appear to earn much then that’s what ACC will base its payment on when you make a claim.

May 31


On May 31:

1279 BC – Rameses II (The Great) (19th dynasty) became pharaoh of Ancient Egypt.

Ramesses II: one of four external seated statues at Abu Simbel

526  A an earthquke in Antioch, Turkey, killed 250,000.

1223 Mongol invasion of the Cumans: Battle of the Kalka River – Mongol armies of Genghis Khan led by Subutai defeated Kievan Rus and Cumans.


1578  Martin Frobisher sailed from Harwich,  to Frobisher Bay, Canada, eventually to mine fool’s gold, used to pave streets in London.

1669   Samuel Pepys recorded the last event in his diary.


1678  The Godiva procession through Coventry began.


1759  The Province of Pennsylvania banned all theatre productions.

1775  American Revolution: The Mecklenburg Resolutions adopted in the Province of North Carolina.

1790 Alferez Manuel Quimper explored the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

File:Manuel Quimper.jpg

1790 – The United States enacted its first copyright statute, the Copyright Act of 1790.

1813  Lawson, Blaxland and Wentworth, reached Mount Blaxland, effectively marking the end of a route across the Blue Mountains.


1819 Walt Whitman, American poet, was born (d. 1892).


1859  The clock tower at the Houses of Parliament, which houses Big Ben, started keeping time.


1862  American Civil War Peninsula Campaign: Battle of Seven Pines or (Battle of Fair Oaks) – Confederate forces under Joseph E. Johnston & G. W. Smith engaged Union forces under George B. McClellan outside Richmond, Virginia.

Battle of Fair Oaks Franklin's corps retreating.jpg

1864 American Civil War Overland Campaign: Battle of Cold Harbor – The Army of Northern Virginia under Robert E. Lee engaged the Army of the Potomac under Ulysses S. Grant & George G. Meade.

Battle of Cold Harbor.png

1866  In the Fenian Invasion of Canada, John O’Neill led 850 Fenian raiders across the Niagara Riveras part of an effort to  free Ireland from the English.

Battle of Ridgeway.jpg

1872 Heath Robinson, English cartoonist, was born (d. 1944).


1884 Arrival at Plymouth of Tawhiao,  Maori king, to claim protection of Queen Victoria.


1889Johnstown Flood: Over 2,200 people died after a dam break sent a 60-foot (18-meter) wall of water over the town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

Debris litters and completely covers the ground above a Pennsylvania Railroad bridge. A small bridge and several mills and smokestacks are viewable in the distance.

1898 Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, American clergyman, was born (d. 1993).


1902 The Treaty of Vereeniging ended the second Boer War war and ensured British control of South Africa.

1910 Creation of the Union of South Africa.

1911  The ocean liner R.M.S. Titanic was launched.

RMS Titanic 3.jpg

1916  World War I: Battle of Jutland – The British Grand Fleet under the command of Sir John Jellicoe & Sir David Beatty engaged the Kaiserliche Marine under the command of Reinhard Scheer & Franz von Hipper in the largest naval battle of the war, which proved indecisive.


1921  Tulsa Race Riot: A civil unrest in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the official death toll was 39, but recent investigations suggest the actual toll was much higher.

1923 Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, was born (d. 2005).

1924  The Soviet Union signed an agreement with the Peking government, referring to Outer Mongolia as an “integral part of the Republic of China”, whose “sovereignty” therein the Soviet Union promised to respect.

1927  The last Ford Model T rolled off the assembly line after a production run of 15,007,003 vehicles.


1930 Clint Eastwood, American film director and actor, was born.


1935  A 7.7 Mw earthquake destroyed Quetta, Pakistan,: 40,000 dead.


1935 Jim Bolger, 35th Prime Minister of New Zealand, was born.


1938 Peter Yarrow, American folk singer (Peter, Paul and Mary), was born.


1939 Terry Waite, British humanitarian, was born.


1941  A Luftwaffe air raid in Dublin claimed 38 lives.

1942 World War II: Imperial Japanese Navy midget submarines began a series of attacks on Sydney.

Ko-hyoteki Sydney.jpg

1943  Zoot Suit Riots began.

1961 Republic of South Africa created.


1962 The West Indies Federation dissolved.

1962  Adolf Eichmann was hanged in Israel.


1965 Brooke Shields, American actress and supermodel, was born.


1967 Phil Keoghan, New Zealand-born US televison personality, was born.

1970  The Ancash earthquake caused a landslide that buried the town of Yungay, Peru; more than 47,000 people were killed.

1970 Ancash earthquake is located in Peru


1971  In accordance with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act passed by the U.S. Congress in 1968, observation of Memorial Day occurs on the last Monday in May for the first time, rather than on the traditional Memorial Day of May 30.

1973  The United States Senate voted to cut off funding for the bombing of Khmer Rouge targets within Cambodia, hastening the end of the Cambodian Civil War.

1975 Mona Blades, an 18 year-old htich hiker disappeared, after last being seen in an orange Datsun.

Mona Blades vanishes

1977  The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System completed.

Trans alaska international.jpg

1981  Burning of Jaffna library, Sri Lanka.

1985 Forty-one tornadoes hit Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ontario, leaving 76 dead.

Sourced from NZ History Online & WIkipedia

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