Saturday’s smiles


Apropos of the earlier post on being a New Zealander:

A specialist on ecclesiastical architecture decided to write a book about famous churches around the world.

He started in Britain. On his first day he was inside a church taking photographs when he noticed a golden telephone mounted on the wall with a sign that read “10,000 pounds per call”.

The author asked the vicar who was strolling by what the telephone was used for.
The vicar said it was a direct line to heaven and that for 10,000 pounds anyone could talk to God.

The author flew to Spain and in Seville’s cathedral noticed a similar golden telephone with a similar sign under it.

He found a priest and asked what the phone was for.

He told him it was a direct line to heaven and that for 10,000 euro he could talk to God.

The author continued his travels around the world’s great churches and in each of them he came across a similar phone with a similar sign stating a similar price for a call to heaven.

His final stop was in New Zealand. He started in Dunedin where he visited Knox Church. There he saw a golden phone but the sign beside it read “40 cents per call.”

The author was surprised so he asked the minister about the phone.

“I’ve travelled all over the world and I’ve seen this same golden telephone in many churches. I’m told that it is a direct line to Heaven, but in Britain the price was 10,000 pounds, everywhere in Europe it was 10,000 euro, or a similar price in local currency, but here it’s only 40 cents. Why is it so cheap?”

The minister smiled and said, “You’re in New Zealand now, mate – it’s a local call”.

The Real Thing


Happy birthday Tom Stoppard – 77 today.

What makes us NZers?


The current Listener looks at the changing definition of what it means to be a New Zealander.

It includes a list of 14 things New Zealanders did last week:

  • Visited a shopping centre/mall – 59%
  • Bought a Lotto ticket – 31%
  • Hired video/DVD/computer game – 19%
  • Bought Big Wednesday ticket – 16%
  • Travelled by bus – 15%
  • Bought Instant Kiwi – 10%
  • Purchased music CD – 8%
  • Ordered pizza by phone – 7%
  • Played pokie/gaming machine – 5%
  • Travelled by train – 4%
  • Bet at TAB – 4%
  • Spent time at internet cafe – 2%
  • Played Keno – 2 %
  • Went to a casino – 2%

I did none of those things but I did:

  • Say gidday, whanau and bugger (though not in the same sentence).
  • Wear gumboots.
  • Eat lamb, blue cod, kiwi fruit, Vogels bread, vegemite and pavlova (though not at the same time).
  • Lie on a wool carpet while reading the ODT.
  • Laugh  at a Garrick Tremain cartoon.
  • Walk on grass
  • Breathe really fresh air.
  • Listen to National Radio.
  • Buy two books (one of which was Hairy MacLary).
  • Wear merino.
  • Watch a haka (albeit on TV).
  • Look up at the night sky and see lots of stars.
  • See a fantail.
  • Marvel at the scenery and think how blessed I am to live here.

Is it standards or teachers at fault?


A teacher told me that the staff at her school were concerned about National Standards until the information on them arrived, then they realised they were already doing all that was required.

Another said they didn’t make the rules but they were going to play the game to the best of their aiblity for the sake of the pupils.

Maybe the principals from those schools aren’t members of the New Zealand Principals Federation which voted overwhelmingly to oppose national standards.

Some principals are saying their schools will boycott training.

That is simply stupid. If they’ve got problems with the standards they’re likely to be the ones who most need training.

WHile they’re acting unpforessionally, many schools and their staff are quietly getting on with implementing the policy of the government, as all public servants are required to do.

If they can do it why can’t the others?

Could it be that the major problem with National Standards isn’t the policy but some teachers and their attitude towards them?

Australia 29 – NZ 28


If it was sport we’d be lamenting being behind the Aussies.

But since it’s tax, their decision to restrict planned cuts in the company tax rate to 29%  from 2013/14 while ours will be down to 28% in the next financial year is something to celebrate.

Finance Minsiter Bill English said:

“Taken together with other measures in the Budget, the reduction in New Zealand’s company tax rate to 28 per cent from the 2011/12 income year will help our competitive position and help provide businesses with the right incentives to invest and export,” Mr English says.

“It is significant that from next year New Zealand’s company tax rate will be two cents in the dollar below Australia’s for two years and then one cent lower. That hasn’t happened for many years.

“New Zealand’s Budget tax package is unique. We have been able to change the tax mix, including significant income and company tax cuts, at a time when many other countries are increasing taxes to tackle rising debt and snowballing deficits.

“The Government will continue with its programme of policies that tilt the economy away from spending, borrowing and unsustainable increases in government spending, and towards saving, exporting and investment in productive parts of the economy.”

The government has taken a lot of criticism this week because of the introduction of fuel and power to the ETS. Some floating voters are saying that’s enough for them to not vote for National next year.

Choosing which party to vote for – or against – on one policy is very short sighted.

The ETS may not be popular but the one Labour rushed through just before the last election was even worse and there are a whole lot of other polices National has introduced which will pull the country back from the downward path along which Labour pushed us.

Among policies introduced which will help the rural sector in particular with spin-offs for the whole country are:

• Rolling out the Primary Growth Partnership. When fully up and running it will invest $140 million a year in primary sector research and development.

• Establishing the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases and allocating $45 million to it.

• Committing $50 million over 10 years to the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre.

• Investing $321 million over four years in research, science, and technology.

• Cutting income tax across the board on 1 October with a top rate of 33 per cent, and increasing GST to 15 per cent.

• Cutting the company rate to 28 per cent from the 2010/11 tax year.

• Reducing tax rates on savings.

• Driving a second phase of RMA reforms.

• Removing regulatory roadblocks to water storage and irrigation.

• Establishing the Wool Taskforce to provide leadership and restore profitability to the strong wool sector.

• Put in place an amended Emissions Trading Scheme to ensure fairer treatment of agriculture, while halving the cost to households.

• Following a more balanced approach to Tenure Review and High Country policy.

• Pursuing an ambitious and wide-ranging array of free trade agreements.

• Implementing graduate bonding schemes for rural vets, and for teachers, doctors, nurses, and midwives working in hard-to-staff areas.

• Investing $7.5 billion over five years to tackle bottlenecks in our roading, electricity, and telecommunications networks.

• Bringing fast broadband to rural schools and households.

• Improving frontline healthcare services with an extra $512 million in this year’s Budget, increasing spending to $13.5 billion in 2010/11.

• An extra $1.4 billion into education over four years for better schooling and early childhood education.

• Significantly increasing penalties for animal welfare offences.

• Delivering the biggest boost in Government funding for animal welfare in over a decade.

• Introducing a number of major new Animal Welfare codes

July 3 in history


On July 3:

324  Battle of Adrianople Constantine I defeated Licinius.

Constantine-cameo.jpgConstantine I crowned as a victorious general.

987 Hugh Capet was crowned King of France, the first of the Capetian dynasty.


1608  Québec City was founded by Samuel de Champlain.

1728 Robert Adam, Scottish architect, was born (d. 1792).


1754  French and Indian War: George Washington surrendered Fort Necessity to French forces.

1767  Pitcairn Island was discovered by Midshipman Robert Pitcairn on an expeditionary voyage commanded by Philip Carteret.

1767  Norway’s oldest newspaper still in print, Adresseavisen, was founded and the first edition published.

1775 American Revolutionary War: George Washington took command of the Continental Army.

1778 American Revolutionary War: British forces massacred 360 people in the Wyoming Valley massacre.


1819 The Bank of Savings in New York City, the first savings bank in the United States, opened.

1839  The first state normal school in the United States, the forerunner to today’s Framingham State College, opened in Lexington, Massachusetts with 3 students.

1844 The last pair of Great Auks was killed.

A large, stuffed bird with a black back, white belly, heavy bill, and white eye patch stands, amongst display cases and an orange wall.

1848  Slaves were freed in the Danish West Indies (now U.S. Virgin Islands) by Peter von Scholten in the culmination of a year-long plot by enslaved Africans.


1849  The French entered Rome to restore Pope Pius IX to power.


1852  Congress established the United States’ 2nd mint in San Francisco, California.

1863  U.S. Civil War: The final day of the Battle of Gettysburg culminated with Pickett’s Charge.


1866  Austro-Prussian War was decided at the Battle of Königgratz, resulting in Prussia taking over as the prominent German nation from Austria.

Battle of Koniggratz by Georg Bleibtreu.jpg

1884  Dow Jones and Company publishes its first stock average.

Dow Jones & Company logo

1886  Karl Benz  officially unveiled the Benz Patent Motorwagen – the first purpose-built automobile.


1886  The New York Tribune became the first newspaper to use a linotype machine, eliminating typesetting by hand.

1898  Spanish-American War: The Spanish fleet, led by Pascual Cervera y Topete, was destroyed by the U.S. Navy in Santiago, Cuba.


1913  Confederate veterans at the Great Reunion of 1913 reenacted Pickett’s Charge; upon reaching the high-water mark of the Confederacy they were met by the outstretched hands of friendship from Union survivors.


1937 Tom Stoppard, Czech-born, British playwright, was born.


1938  World speed record for a steam railway locomotive was set in England, by the Mallard, which reaches a speed of 126 miles per hour (203 km/h).


1938  President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the Eternal Light Peace Memorial and lights the eternal flame at Gettysburg Battlefield.


1940  World War II: the French fleet of the Atlantic was bombarded by the British fleet, coming from Gibraltar, causing the loss of three battleships: Dunkerque, Provence and Bretagne, and death of 1200 sailors.

1944 World War II: Minsk was liberated from Nazi control by Soviet troops during Operation Bagration.

1944 july 17 moscow german pow.jpg

1947 Dave Barry, American humorist and author, was born.


 1950 – Ewen Chatfield, New Zealand cricketer, was born.

 1951  Richard Hadlee, New Zealand cricketer

1952  Puerto Rico’s Constitution was approved by the Congress of the United States.

1952  The SS United States set sail on her maiden voyage to Southampton. During the voyage, the ship took the Blue Riband away from the RMS Queen Mary.


1959 Julie Burchill, British journalist and author, was born.

1960 Vince Clarke, British songwriter (Depeche Mode, Yazoo, and Erasure), was born.

1962  Tom Cruise, American actor, was born.


1962  The Algerian War of Independence against the French ended.

Semaine Barricades Alger 1960.jpg

1963 In New Zealand’s worst internal civil aviation accident, all 23 passengers and crew were killed when a DC3 crashed in the Kaimai Range. Helicopters were used for the first time in the search and rescue operation that followed.

DC-3 crashes in Kaimai Range

1964 Joanne Harris, British author, was born.

1969  The biggest explosion in the history of rocketry occurred when the Soviet N1 rocket exploded and destroyed its launchpad.

Two N1 Moon rockets appear on the pads at Baikonur Cosmodrome in early July 1969

1970 The Troubles: the “Falls Curfew” began in Belfast.

1970  A British Dan-Air De Havilland Comet chartered jetliner crashed into mountains north of Barcelona killing 113 people.

1977 The Senegalese Republican Movement was founded.

1979  US President Jimmy Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul.

1986  US President Ronald Reagan presided over the relighting of the renovated Statue of Liberty.

1988  United States Navy warship USS Vincennes shot down Iran Air Flight 655 killing all 290 people aboard.

1988 Winston Reid, New Zealand – Danish Football Player, was born.

1988  The Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey was completed, providing the second connection between the continents of Europe and Asia over the Bosporus.


1994 The deadliest day in Texas traffic history when 46 people were killed in crashes.

1996 Stone of Scone was returned to Scotland.


2001 A Vladivostok Avia Tupolev TU-154 jetliner crashed on approach to landing at Irkutsk, Russia killing 145 people.

2004  Official opening of Bangkok’s subway system.

2005  Same-sex marriage was legalised in Spain.

2006 Valencia metro accident left 43 dead.

2006  Asteroid 2004 XP14 flew within 432,308 kilometres (268,624 mi) of Earth.


2009  Mark II.5 Skytrain cars entered service in Metro Vancouver.

Skytrain Mark II-300.jpg

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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