Rock Around The Clock


Bill Haley would have been 85 today.

There were plenty of clips to choose from. I opted for this because it’s still one of the best songs for getting people on a dance floor:

Giving Up Smoking


Dave Allen would have been 74 today.

Alps to Ocean cycle trail’s a goer


The Alps to Ocean cycle trail from Mount Cook to Oamaru harbour is one of eight new cycleway projects approved for funding under the New Zealand Cycle Trail project.

In a media rlease, acting Tourism Minister Jonathan Coleman said the $18.85 million investment in the eight new trails will provide a significant economic boost to the communities involved.

“These trails will showcase the very best that New Zealand has to offer in terms of our landscapes, culture and communities. They will be a key draw-card for both international and domestic visitors, and add a further dimension to our vibrant tourism sector,” Dr Coleman said.

“I am delighted that construction will be underway on these trails this summer, and I look forward to them becoming part of Nga Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail.”

The other trails are in Opotiki/Gisborne, Taupo, Hawke’s Bay, Nelson/Tasman, Westport, Queenstown and Clutha.

All had to complete extensive feasibility studies before applying for funding.

This announcement follows the evaluation of feasibility studies submitted to the Ministry of Tourism in May. Due to the diligent work of the applicants, funding for these trails has been confirmed four months ahead of schedule enabling construction to begin as soon as possible.

The Ocean to Alps trail will take cyclists 314 kilometres, descending 780 metres with a prevailing tail wind.

The trail starts near Mount Cook, passes Lakes Pukaki, Ruataniwha, Ohau, Benmore and Aviemore and the towns of Twizel, Omarama, Otematata, Kurow and Duntroon.

  It then goes south east following the Fossil Trail through the Waiarreka Valley into Oamaru and the port.

The latter part of the trail goes through an area few people visit now and will introduce cyclists to the beauty of North Otago’s downlands.

Tuesday’s answers


Monday’s questions were:

1. What is  litotes?

2. What does Puketapu mean?

3. Who said: “New Zealand is a country of thirty thousand million sheep, three million of whom think they are human.”?

4. What are  the capitals of Paraguay and Uruguay?

5. What does the Scoville scale measure?

Andrei got three.

Gravedodger also got three right and a bonus for extra info for #2.

Paul got four plus a bonus for humour and inventiveness.

Mr Gronk got 1 1/2 – it was sacred.

Ray got two and a bonus for extra info – I knew the Palmerston hill was Puketapu but not why.

PDM got one right and I’ll give him 1/2 for # 2 & 3 plus a bonus for wit.

Bearhunter won the electronic boquet with a perfect score.

Tuesday’s answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

Fewer growers with fewer options


North Otago used to have lots of market gardeners.

Among the options for selling their produce was an auction market in Oamaru where local shops and supermarkets did most of their buying.

As supermarket power increased and buying centralised the demand at the auction fell and the market eventually closed.

There’s now no local auction and a lot fewer local market gardeners.

Local supermarkets still buy some produce locally but most of our vegetables go to a central market in, I think, Christchurch. It goes all over the country from there and some may even end up back in local supermarkets.

Having fewer growers with fewer options means they have less power to negotiate and are price takers rather than price makers.

That doesn’t however, explain why the price most have to take is so often well below the price their produce eventually makes at the supermarkets.

A lot of factors contribute to the difference in the price growers get and consumers pay including transport, overheads and wastage.

But more people between paddock and plate usually means a lower return to producer and greater cost to consumer. This is one of the reasons for the rise in popularity of farmers markets where produce goes directly from grower to eater.

However, that’s not necessarily the most efficient way to shop which is why supermarkets have a place. Unfortunately for producers that place often seems to be the one which gives them the worst return.



Honesty compels me to tell you that luck had a lot to do with my 8/10 score in this week’s NZ History Online quiz.

Does farming give best return on $1668.7m?


Landcorp has confirmed it’s bidding for the 16 Crafar farms.

That’s a board decision and because it’s an SOE the government can’t interfere.

It might however, ask some questions on behalf of the taxpayer including:

  • How will the costs of borrowing affect Landcorp’s already dismal return of  around .6% on its  $1668.7m  investment?
  • If a debt to debt plus equity ratio of 11.1% at last balance date was above plan, what’s planned for the current year?
  • How will the purchase fit with the company’s mission: “To provide shareholding ministers with maximum sustainable financial returns“?
  • If the bid is successful will the company keep all of the other farms it owns and leases?
  • How much land does the company plan to own and lease?

And the public might ask:

  • Do we really want the state which already farms 1.5 million stock units on 105 properties with a total area of 374,948 hectares to add another 16 farms to its portfolio?
  • What do we want in return for our  $1668.7m investment?
  • Is farming the best way to get it?

Then perhaps we could have a calm and reasoned discussion on state ownership of assets in general and Landcorp in particular.

Selling everything at once would be stupid, but so is keeping everything for fear of the emotional reaction that greets a hint that perhaps state ownership isn’t always the best use of scarce public capital.

There will be a case for keeping some SOEs and there is a case for selling others. One reason for sales is that the opportunity cost of ownership for some of the assets is far greater than the return from them.

July 6 in history


On July 6:

371 BC – The Battle of Leuctra, Epaminondas defeated Cleombrotus I.


1044 The Battle of Ménfő.


1189 Richard I (Richard the Lionheart) was crowned King of England.


1253  Mindaugas was crowned King of Lithuania.


1348  Papal bullof Pope Clement VI protecting Jews during the Black Death.

Clemens VI.gif

1415  Jan Hus was burned at the stake.

1483 Richard III was crowned King of England.

1484 Portuguese sea captain Diogo Cão finds the mouth of the Congo River.

1495  First Italian War: Battle of Fornovo: Charles VIII defeated the Holy League.


1535  Sir Thomas More was executed for treason against King Henry VIII.

1560 The Treaty of Edinburgh was signed by Scotland and England.

1573 Córdoba, Argentina, was founded by Jerónimo Luis de Cabrera.


1609 Bohemia was granted freedom of religion.


1630 Thirty-Years War: 4,000 Swedish troops under Gustavus Adolphus landed in Pomerania, Germany.


1777  American Revolutionary War: Siege of Fort Ticonderoga: After a bombardment by British artillery under General John Burgoyne, American forces retreated from Fort Ticonderoga, New York.

The star-shaped fort is visible in the center of the photograph, with its inner buildings roofed in red. The fort is surrounded by forest, and a body of water (a portion of Lake Champlain) is visible behind the fort.

1781 Sir Stamford Raffles, British statesman, was born (d. 1826).

1785 The dollar was unanimously chosen as the monetary unit for the United States.

$1 Coin

1801  Battle of Algeciras: The French navy are defeated by the Royal Navy.


1809 The second day of the Battle of Wagram –  French victory over the Austrian army in the largest battle yet of the Napoleonic Wars.


1854  The first convention of the United States Republican Party was held.


1885 Louis Pasteur successfully tested his vaccine against rabies on Joseph Meister, a boy who was bitten by a rabid dog.


1887 Annette Kellerman, Australian swimmer, was born (d. 1975).


1887  David Kalakaua, monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii, was forced at gunpoint, at the hands of the Americans, to sign the Bayonet Constitution giving Americans more power in Hawaii while stripping Hawaiian citizens of their rights.

1892 Dadabhai Naoroji elected as first Indian Member of Parliament in Britain.


1892 – 3,800 striking steelworkers engaged in a day-long battle with Pinkerton agents during the Homestead Strike, leaving 10 dead and dozens wounded.

1893 Pomeroy, Iowa, was nearly destroyed by a tornado that killed 71 people and injured 200.

1905 Alfred Deakin became Prime Minister of Australia for the second time.

1907 Frida Kahlo, Mexican painter, was born (d. 1954).

1907 George Stanley, Canadian politician and designer of Canada’s Flag, was born  (d. 2002).


 1917  Arthur Lydiard, New Zealand running coach (d. 2004)

1917 World War I: Arabian troops led by Lawrence of Arabia and Auda ibu Tayi captured Aqaba from the Turks during the Arab Revolt.


1918  Sebastian Cabot, English actor, was born (d. 1977).

1919  The British dirigible R34 lands in New York, completing the first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by an airship.


1921 Nancy Reagan, First Lady of the United States, was born.

1923 An Auckland−Wellington express ploughed into a huge landslip that had slumped across the tracks at Ongarue, north of Taumarunui in the King Country. Seventeen people were killed and 28 injured.

Main trunk express train disaster

1925 Bill Haley, American singer, was born  (d. 1981).

1927 Janet Leigh, American actress, was born  (d. 2004).

1933  The first Major League Baseball All-Star Game was played in Chicago‘s Comiskey Park. The American League beat the National League, 4–2.

1936 Dave Allen, Irish comedian, was born  (d. 2005).

1936  A major breach of the Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal  sent millions of gallons of water cascading 200 feet into the River Irwell.


1939 Holocaust: The last remaining Jewish enterprises in Germany were closed.

1942 Anne Frank and her family went into hiding in the “Secret Annexe” above her father’s office in an Amsterdam warehouse.


1944 The Hartford Circus Fire, one of America’s worst fire disasters, killed approximately 168 people and injured over 700.


 1946 – Sylvester Stallone, American actor, was born.


1947  Richard Beckinsale, English actor, was born (d. 1979).

1947  The AK-47 went into production in the Soviet Union.

Rifle AK-47.jpg

1951 Geoffrey Rush, Australian actor, was born.

1957 Althea Gibson won the Wimbledon championships, becoming the first black athlete to do so.

Althea Gibson in 1956.

1958 Jennifer Saunders, English actress,comediene and screenwriter, was born.


1962 Nuclear test shot Sedan, part of Operation Plowshare.


1964  Malawi declared its independence from the United Kingdom.

1966  Malawi becomes a republic, with Hastings Banda as the first President.

1967 Biafran War: Nigerian forces invade Biafra, beginning the war.

Biafra independent state map-en.svg

1975 The Comoros declared independence from France.

1978 Kevin Senio, New Zealand rugby player, was born.

1978 The Taunton sleeping car fire occurred in Taunton, Somerset killing twelve people.


1986 Davis Phinney became the first American cyclist to win a road stage of the Tour de France.

1988 The Piper Alpha drilling platform in the North Sea was destroyed by explosions and fires. 167 oil workers were killed, making it the world’s worst offshore oil disaster.

1989  The Israeli 405 Bus slaughter  -14 bus passengers were killed when an Arab assaulted the bus driver as the bus was driving by the edge of a cliff.

1998  Hong Kong’s Kai Tak Airport was closed and the new Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok becomes operational.

View of HK Airport from air.JPG

2003  The 70-metre Eupatoria Planetary Radar sent a METI message Cosmic Call 2 to 5 stars: Hip 4872, HD 245409, 55 Cancri, HD 10307 and 47 Ursae Majoris that will arrive to these stars in 2036, 2040, 2044 and 2049 respectively.

2006  The Nathula Pass between India and China, sealed during the Sino-Indian War, re-opened for trade after 44 years.

2009  Jadranka Kosor became the first female Prime minister of Croatia.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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