Silver Threads & Golden Needles


Happy birthday Linda Ronstadt, 64 today.

Wild(e) card for Auckland mayor?


Trans Tasman has heard a whisper that former MP & Wellington mayor Fran Wilde may stand for the Auckland mayoralty.

TT has several ears close to the ground and the whispers it writes about are usually pretty reliable.

On The Sunny Side Of The Street


Librettist and lyricist, Dorothy Fields was born 105 years ago today.

Incentives work – but not in eyes of unions


Nick Smith’s contention that experience rating will improve work place safety may seem optimistic, but I think it’s right.

Businesses will receive discounts and loadings on their ACC workplace levies from 1 April next year to provide stronger incentives to improve workplace safety and to make ACC’s levies fairer, ACC Minister Dr Nick Smith announced today.

“New Zealand’s workplace safety does not compare well internationally with more than one worker killed and another 600 injured each week,” Dr Smith said. “The averaged levy system means businesses with good workplace safety are carrying the cost of others that are less safe. This detracts from the incentives for improving safety. The new system of accident experience rating will reward those businesses that have safer work and return to work practices.

No sane employer would have an unsafe workplace because ACC levies those with high and low accident rates the same but employers with good safety records do resent paying to cover those with bad ones.

Incentives work. If employers and employees know that levies will be lower for safer workplaces and those which help injured staff return to work, and higher for those with bad records, they are likely to do more for accident prevention and rehabilitation.

“The proposal is that employers paying more than $10,000 a year in ACC workplace levies will be subject to a discount or loading of up to 50% based on their claims history. This approach will apply to the approximately 5000 employers who employ more than 30 people and involves approximately 690,000 employees or more than 30% of the workforce.

“Experience rating is more difficult for smaller employers so a simple system of no-claims bonuses and high-claim loadings will apply. The proposal is that if no weekly compensation claim has been lodged in the preceding three years, the employer will receive a 10% no-claim bonus on their ACC levies. Penalties will apply where there has been more than four weekly compensation claims in the last three years. An expected 220,000 small businesses will receive a discount under the proposed policy and approximately 1000 will pay a high-claim loading.

You would think unions and the Labour Party, which are supposed to work for workers’ interests, would be pleased with the proposed changes, but no, such is their jaundiced view of employers they think they’ll lead to accident cover-ups.

Macdoctor points out that this is tosh.

Employers are required to report an injury accident within 24 hours. You’d be really stupid to try and cover one up because health professionals also alert ACC when someone comes to them after an accident.

You’d be even stupider to keep a staff member from seeking medical assistance after an accident and if anyone that stupid is probably not adhering to a lot of other workplace regulations.

But ACC charges and employment regulations shouldn’t be based on the tiny minority of bad employers who ignore them anyway.

They should be clear and simple for the majority of employers who know that a safe and happy workplace is good for employees and business.

The proposed changes will give them even more incentive for ensuring staff have a safe environment and follow safe practices and that anyone who is injured is helped back to work as soon as possible.

Auntie Talking To Her Niece


But is it poetry? is a question often asked of modern poems from those who lament the lack of rhythm and rhyme.

They might also think that prose poem is an oxymoron.

But that’s the offering on this Tuesday’s Poem Auntie Talking to Her Niece by Joan Flemming.

Stop them starting


Smoking used to be socially acceptable almost anywhere.

Forty years ago it was rare for people to ask if others minded if they smoked, even in the homes of non-smokers.

Gradually that changed and people started asking, though at first it was a token gesture in the expectation that no-one would say no.

Then as legal restrictions on smoking in enclosed public places increased it became socially unacceptable elsewhere. Now it’s rare for a smoker to ask if anyone minds if they smoke, they don’t expect to smoke inside.

There’s nothing glamorous about standing outside in all weathers getting your tobacco fix and I’ve wondered why that, combined  with steep increases in prices, hasn’t led to a decrease in people who start smoking. At last it has.

The Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) survey which has been run yearly since 1999, showed 5.6 percent of students aged 14 to 15 (year 10) smoked daily, compared to 15.6 percent when the survey started.

The survey also revealed 64 percent of students had not taken a single puff of tobacco, compared to 31.6 percent in 1999.

An encouraging trend revealed in the survey was the reduction in smoking across different ethnicities, the report’s author Janine Paynter said.

“We’re seeing that some of the inequalities in tobacco use are closing and it is particularly encouraging to see a decent reduction in the daily smoking rate for Pacific girls,” Dr Paynter said.

The easiest place to stop smoking is before you start and it is very unusual for adults to start.

A drop in the number of young people starting is an encouraging sign that smoking may at last be a dying habit.



6/10 in NZ History Online’s weekly quiz.

Could blame it on yesterday’s long day and late night, but honesty compels me to admit that a shorter day and earlier night wouldn’t have helped.

July 15 in history


On July 15:

1099 First Crusade: Christian soldiers took the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem  after the final assault of a difficult siege.


1207 John of England expelled Canterbury monks for supporting Archbishop of Canterbury Stephen Langton.

1240  A Novgorodian army led by Alexander Nevsky defeated the Swedes in the Battle of the Neva.


1381  John Ball, a leader in the Peasants’ Revolt, was hanged, drawn and quartered in the presence of Richard II of England.

1410  Battle of Grunwald: allied forces of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania defeated the army of the Teutonic Order.

Grunwald bitwa.jpg

1573 Inigo Jones, English architect, was born (d. 1652).


1606 Rembrandt, Dutch artist, was born (d. 1669).

1685  James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth was executed at Tower Hill  after his defeat at the Battle of Sedgemoor.

1741 Alexei Chirikov sighted land in Southeast Alaska and sent men ashore in a longboat, making them the first Europeans to visit Alaska.


1779 Clement Clarke Moore, American educator, author, and poet, was born  (d. 1863).

1789 Gilbert du Motier, marquis de La Fayette, was named by acclamation colonel-general of the new National Guard of Paris.

Gilbert du Motier Marquis de Lafayette.jpg

1799  The Rosetta Stone was found in the Egyptian village of Rosetta by French Captain Pierre-François Bouchard during Napoleon’s Egyptian Campaign.


1806  Pike expedition: United States Army Lieutenant Zebulon Pike began an expedition from Fort Belle Fountaine to explore the west.

1815  Napoléon Bonaparte surrendered aboard HMS Bellerophon.


1823 A fire destroyed the ancient Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in Rome.

1838 Ralph Waldo Emerson delivered the Divinity School Address at Harvard Divinity School, discounting Biblical miracles and declaring Jesus a great man, but not God. The Protestant community reacted with outrage.

1850  Mother Cabrini, Italian-born Catholic saint, was born  (d. 1917).

1870 Reconstruction era of the United States: Georgia became the last of the former Confederate states to be readmitted to the Union.

1870 Rupert’s Land and the North-Western Territory were transferred to Canada from the Hudson’s Bay Company, and the province of Manitoba and the North-West Territories were established from these  territories.

1870 The Kingdom of Prussia and the Second French Empire started the Franco-Prussian War.


1888  The stratovolcano Mount Bandai erupted killing approximately 500 people.


 1905  Dorothy Fields, American librettist and lyricist, was born (d. 1974).

1906 Rudolf “Rudi” Uhlenhaut, German automotive engineer and test driver (Mercedes Benz), was born  (d. 1989).

1911 Edward Shackleton, English explorer, ws born  (d. 1994).

1914 Akhtar Hameed Khan, pioneer of Microcredit in developing countries, was born (d. 1999).

1914 Hammond Innes, English writer, was born (d. 1998).

1916  In Seattle, Washington, William Boeing and George Conrad Westervelt incorporated Pacific Aero Products (later renamed Boeing).

The contemporary logo integrates the Boeing logotype with a stylized version of the McDonnell Douglas symbol

1918 World War I: the Second Battle of the Marne began near the River Marne with a German attack.

German gains in early 1918

 1918 – Joan Roberts, American actress, was born.

Okla bway 1943.jpg

1919   Iris Murdoch, Irish writer, was born (d. 1999).


1920 The Polish Parliament establishes Autonomous Silesian Voivodeship before the Polish-German plebiscite.

Coat of arms of Autonomous Silesian Voivodeship

1926  Leopoldo Galtieri, Argentine dictator, was born (d. 2003).

1927  Massacre of July 15, 1927: 89 protesters were killed by the Austrian police in Vienna.

1929  First weekly radio broadcast of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir radio show, Music and the Spoken Word.

1931 Clive Cussler, American author, was born.

Black Wind.jpg

1933 Jack Lovelock’s set a world record for a mile run at Princeton University, beating the old record for the mile, held by Jules Ladoumegue, by almost two seconds. It was dubbed the ‘greatest mile of all time’ by Time Magazine.

Lovelock smashes world mile record

1934 Continental Airlines commenced operations.

1943 Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Irish astrophysicist, was born.


 1946 Linda Ronstadt, American singer, was born.


1946  Hassanal Bolkiah, Sultan of Brunei, was born.

1947 Peter Banks, British guitarist (Yes), was born.

1954 First flight of the Boeing 367-80, prototype for both the Boeing 707 and C-135 series.

1955 Eighteen Nobel laureates signed the Mainau Declaration against nuclear weapons, later co-signed by thirty-four others.

1956 Marky Ramone, American musician (Ramones), was born.

1959  The steel strike of 1959 began, leading to significant importation of foreign steel for the first time in United States history.

1974  In Nicosia, Greek-sponsored nationalists launched a coup d’état, deposing President Makarios and installing Nikos Sampson as Cypriot president.


1979 U.S.President Jimmy Carter gave his famous “malaise” speech, where he characterised the greatest threat to the country as “this crisis in the growing doubt about the meaning of our own lives and in the loss of a unity of purpose for our nation.”

1983 The Orly airport attack in Paris left 8 people dead and 55 injured.

1996  A Belgian Air Force C-130 Hercules carrying the Royal Netherlands Army marching band crashed on landing at Eindhoven Airport.

2002  Anti-Terrorism Court of Pakistan handed down the death sentence to British born Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and life terms to three others suspected of murdering Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

2003  AOL Time Warner disbanded Netscape Communications Corporation. The Mozilla Foundation was established on the same day.

Mozilla Foundation logo.svg

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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