The Great Race

26/07/2010

Happy birthday Blake Edwards, 88 today.

This was my favourite film when I was a child and I blame it on never having grown out of the as-yet-unfulfilled desire to have a food fight.


Ban wrong response to concerns over foreign ownership

26/07/2010

The Green Party’s members bill seeking to ban overseas investment in New Zealand land over five hectares is the wrong response to concerns over foreign ownership.

The media release says:

Today Dr Norman released a Member’s Bill that would effectively stop the purchase of New Zealand’s productive dairy industry by restricting the sale of farmland over five hectares to overseas investors.

I think that should read restricting the sale of farmland over five hectares to New Zealanders because the Bill says:

4 Purpose

The purpose of this Act is to: prevent foreign ownership of sensitive land.

 5 Sections 16 and 17 deleted and replaced

Sections 16 and 17 of the principal act are deleted and replaced with

16 No overseas investment in sensitive land

No consent can be granted for overseas investment in sensitive land.”

This is  a knee-jerk reaction to concerns over the purchase of the Crafar farms by Chinese investors. 

If there is a problem with overseas investment in our land, this Bill isn’t the solution.

Not all land over 5 hectares is sensitive, nor is it all farmland.

 New Zealanders’ lack of wealth in comparison to that of people  from some other countries could make us vulnerable but overseas investment can have benefits too.

It’s not just who owns land but what they do with it, and its produce, which matters and most of that is controlled by local authority regulations and central government laws.

A blanket ban on land sales over five hectares is an overreaction to what, at least at this stage, is a problem of perception rather than reality.

We need to have a discussion on the benefits and risks of foreign ownership and if there is a need for legislation it should be based on facts not emotion as this Bill is.


The Snow Goose

26/07/2010

Paul Gallico, was born 103 years ago today.

He’s one of my favourite authors and The Snow Goose is one of my favourite books.

Part 2 is here.

Part 3 is here.

Part 4 is here.

Part 5 is here.


Employment law changes neither anti-worker nor anti-union

26/07/2010

Dear Helen Kelly,

Re: the  letter you wrote to Prime Minister John Key:

On the issues – we oppose them. They show a disregard for the working people of this country. They paint a picture of workers as lazy, untrustworthy skivers, that are out of control and need to be disciplined. Workers are painted as acting deceitfully when applying for positions (so 90 days are important) taking sickies, misusing union membership and a range of other generalisations that demean the people we work with every day. Employers on the other hand are painted as generally fair minded people that will use all powers reasonably.

On the contrary, the proposed changes are a mild rebalancing of employment law which paints a picture of employers as slave-driving, untrustworthy bullies who are out of control and need to be disciplined. Employers are painted as acting deceitfully when employing people (the 90 days trial for smaller businesses hasn’t been the disaster you and other unions feared), who will demand sick-notes for every absence, hate unions and a range of other generalisations that demean the people who work hard to provide jobs for people every day. Employees on the other hand are painted as generally fair minded people who will use all rights reasonably.

Apart from the slur on working people this analysis disregards the fact that many employers are not “fair minded individuals” but corporate entities that employ CEOs and managers to maximise profit.

Apart from the slur on employers this analysis disregards the fact that the majority (I think it’s 90%) of New Zealand businesses are small to medium enterprises employing fewer than 10 people. Maximising profits is sensible practice which makes the business and jobs more secure and enables employers to offer improved pay and conditions for staff.

 We work with global corporate entities in this country who comply with a wide range of minimum standards and regulations which make their work practices decent here. These same corporates work in unregulated economies employing people under atrocious conditions.

Ms Kelly, you can’t use employment law in New Zealand to fight the global war on capitalism.

You might however, try to understand to see that the measures the government is proposing help employers take on new workers and make workplaces better for existing staff who suffer if another worker doesn’t fit in or work well.

You might also admit that unrestricted access to workplaces has been abused by some union representatives.  The Inquiring Mind has a good example of this.

You may not believe that employers like happy workplaces for their own sake, but surely you can see they have a vested interest in ensuring their workers are happy because that helps productivity.

You however, have a vested interest in unsettling and upsetting workers because that will help you increase membership.

You sound like you’ve come to believe your own rhetoric which has turned a small employer-friendly molehill into a worker and union hating mountain. That’s not good for employers or the people they employ.


Monday’s quiz

26/07/2010

In case you’re wondering why these questions, it’s Maori language week.

1. What do maui and katau  mean in English?

2. What do maunga, whenua and moana,  mean in English?

3. What do nota, hauta, rawhiti, and rato mean in English?

4. What are the Maori words for the numbers 1-10?

5.  What  do kata and aue mean in English?

(Apologies to pursits for the absence of macrons, I don’t know how to do them).


200% good start to lambing

26/07/2010

We’re lambing again for the first time in about 12 years.

The first ewe to deliver produced twins which gives us a 200% start to lambing.

However, with 10,999 more ewes to lamb the odds of maintaining that percentage are tiny.


Waitaki shows how to use council credit card

26/07/2010

The Waitaki District Council has only one credit card which is locked in the council safe and requires authorisation by the chief executive or financial manager before it can be used.

The ODT reports that in the last two years it had been used for just 24 transactions totalling $11,126.

The Dunedin City Council has a less Presbyterian approach to credit cards. The ODT found that in the last three years the DCC’s 206 credit cards had been used for purchases totalling more than $4.8 million.

Exactly what those purchases were has not been divulged because council chief executive Jim Harland wants the paper to pay the cost of getting the spending details.

In his response, Mr Harland said he would detail the spend after the newspaper paid the estimated $8278 it would cost to research, collate, and produce it.

The newspaper’s last request was processed free of charge, despite the draw on council staff hours, as he accepted there needed to be a degree of accountability for senior staff, he said. . .

. . . Mr Harland cited privacy and harassment concerns to decline the newspaper’s request to release information about staff who might have apologised, made repayments, or had otherwise been spoken to about possibly inappropriate spending.

Mr Harland also declined to release the positions and names of those behind the $4.3 million spend, citing privacy and harassment concerns.

Naming them would subject them to publicity not warranted by their positions, he said.

THe ODT isn’t the only paper having problems extracting information on council credit cards. The Sunday Star Times is attempting to find out who Manakau mayor Len Brown wined and dined to the sum of $810 charged to his mayoral card. 

If council employees are spending council money on council business, where’s the problem? If they’re not, don’t the public whose rates fund councils have a right to know about it.

 If they took as much care to use the card correctly as the Waitaki Council does they, and their ratepayers, would have nothing to worry about.


July 26 in history

26/07/2010

On July 26:

657  Battle of Siffin.

811  Battle of Pliska; Byzantine emperor Nicephorus I was slain, his heir Stauracius was seriously wounded.

 
Solidus-Nicephorus I and Staraucius-sb1604.jpg

920 Rout of an alliance of Christian troops from Navarre and Léon against the Muslims at Pamplona.

1309  Henry VII was recognized King of the Romans by Pope Clement V.

1469  Wars of the Roses: Battle of Edgecote Moor – Pitting the forces of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick against those of King Edward IV.

Roses-Lancaster victory.svg

1581 Plakkaat van Verlatinghe (Act of Abjuration). The declaration of independence of the northern Low Countries from the Spanish king, Philip II.

 

1745  The first recorded women’s cricket match took place near Guildford,.

1758  French and Indian War: Siege of Louisbourg ened with British forces defeating the French and taking control of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Map of Louisbourg 1758.png

1803 The Surrey Iron Railway, arguably the world’s first public railway, opened in south London.

 
Iron railway plaque.jpg

1822  José de San Martín arrived in Guayaquil, Ecuador, to meet Simón Bolívar.

 
 

1847 Liberia declared independence.

1856 George Bernard Shaw, Irish writer, Nobel Laureate, was born (d. 1950).

1861 American Civil War: George B. McClellan assumed command of the Army of the Potomac following a disastrous Union defeat at the First Battle of Bull Run.

 

1863 American Civil War: Morgan’s Raid ended –  Confederate cavalry leader John Hunt Morgan and 360 of his volunteers were captured by Union forces.

Morganmap.jpg

1865 New Zealand’s parliament moved from Auckland to Wellington.

 Parliament moves to Wellington

1875  Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist, was born  (d. 1961).

 

1878 Poet and American West outlaw calling himself “Black Bart” made his last clean getaway when he stole a safe box from a Wells Fargo stagecoach. The empty box was found later with a taunting poem inside.

 

1882 Premiere of Richard Wagner‘s Parsifal at Bayreuth.

 

1882 The Republic of Stellaland was founded in Southern Africa.

1887 Publication of the Unua Libro, founding the Esperanto movement.

 

1890 In Buenos Aires, the Revolución del Parque forced President Juárez Celman’s resignation.

 

1891  France annexed Tahiti.

1894 Aldous Huxley, English-born author, was born (d. 1963).

Blurry monochrome head-and-shoulders portrait of Aldous Huxley, facing viewer's right, chin a couple of inches above hand

1895 Jane Bunford, Britain’s tallest-ever person, was born (d. 1922).

1897  Paul Gallico, American author, was born  (d. 1976).

 

1908  United States Attorney General Charles Joseph Bonaparte issued an order to immediately staff the Office of the Chief Examiner (later renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation).

 

1909 – Vivian Vance, American actress, was born (d. 1979).

 

1922 Blake Edwards, American film director, was born.

 

1928  Gisborne-born Tom Heeney took on Gene Tunney for the world heavyweight title in front of 46,000 spectators at Yankee Stadium, New York. Although he was defeated, his title bid aroused tremendous interest in both New Zealand and the US.

Kiwi boxer fights for world heavyweight title

1928 Stanley Kubrick, American film director, was born (d. 1999).

1936 Mary Millar, English actress, was born(d. 1998).

 

.

1936  The Axis Powers decided to intervene in the Spanish Civil War.

1936  King Edward VIII, in one of his few official duties before he abdicated the throne, officially unveiled the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.

A memorial ceremony. Thousands of people are surround the monument on all sides. A crowd of people are also standing on the main platform of the memorial. 

1937  End of the Battle of Brunete in the Spanish Civil War.

Battle of Brunete.png

1939 John Howard, 25th Prime Minister of Australia, was born.

 

1941 In response to the Japanese occupation of French Indo-China, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the seizure of all Japanese assets in the United States.

1943 Mick Jagger, English singer (The Rolling Stones), was born.

1944  World War II: Soviet army entered Lviv,  liberating it from the Nazis. Only 300 Jewish survivors left, out of 160,000 prior to Nazi occupation.

1944 – The first German V-2 rocket hit Great Britain.

 

1945 Helen Mirren, English actress, was born.

1945  The Labour Party won the United Kingdom general election of July 5 by a landslide, removing Winston Churchill from power.

     
  Attlee BW cropped.jpg Churchill portrait NYP 45063.jpg Archibaldsinclair.jpg
  Clement Attlee Winston Churchill Archibald Sinclair

1945  The Potsdam Declaration was signed.

1945 The US Navy cruiser Indianapolis arrived at Tinian with the warhead for the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

1946 Aloha Airlines began service from Honolulu International Airport.

 

1947  Cold War: U.S. President Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act into law creating the Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the National Security Council.

1948  U.S. President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981 desegregating the military of the United States.

 

1949 Roger Taylor, English musician (Queen), was born.

1950 Susan George, English actress, was born.

1952 King Farouk of Egypt abdicated in favor of his son Fuad.

Profile portrait of a young man facing left. He is wearing a tarboosh over his head and is dressed in military uniform. He is holding a sword and gloves in his left hand.

1953 Fidel Castro led an unsuccessful attack on the Moncada Barracks beginning the Cuban Revolution.

1953  Arizona Governor John Howard Pyle ordered an anti-polygamy law enforcement crackdown on residents of Short Creek – the Short Creek Raid.

1956  Following the World Bank’s refusal to fund building the Aswan High Dam, Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalised the Suez Canal sparking international condemnation.

1957  Carlos Castillo Armas, dictator of Guatemala, was assassinated.

1958 Explorer 4 was launched.

Explorer4 instruments.png

1959 Kevin Spacey, American actor, was born.

 

1963  Syncom 2, the world’s first geosynchronous satellite, was launched from Cape Canaveral on a Delta B booster.

 

1963 – Earthquake in Skopje, Macedonia left 1100 dead

1964 Sandra Bullock, American actress, was born.

1965  Full independence was granted to the Maldives.

   

1966  Lord Gardiner issued the Practice Statement in the House of Lords stating that the House was not bound to follow its own previous precedent.

1968 Vietnam War: South Vietnamese opposition leader Truong Dinh Dzu was sentenced to five years hard labour for advocating the formation of a coalition government as a way to move toward an end to the war.

1971   Apollo 15 launched.

 
Apollo 15-insignia.png

1973 Kate Beckinsale, British actress, was born.

1974  Greek Prime Minister Konstantinos Karamanlis formed the country’s first civil government after seven years of military rule.

 

1975 Formation of a military triumvirate in Portugal.

1977 The National Assembly of Quebec imposed the use of French as the official language of the provincial government.

1989 A federal grand jury indicted Cornell University student Robert T. Morris, Jr. for releasing the Morris worm, the first person to be prosecuted under the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

 

1994 Russian President Boris Yeltsin ordered the removal of Russian troops from Estonia.

1999 Cessation of combat activities after the Kargil War; celebrated as Kargil Vijay Diwas in India.
 

2005   STS-114 Mission – Launch of Discovery, NASA’s first scheduled flight mission after the Columbia Disaster in 2003.

 

2005  Mumbai received 99.5cm of rain (39.17 inches) within 24 hours, bringing the city to a halt for over 2 days.

 

2005  Samir Geagea, the Lebanese Forces (LF) leader, was released after spending 11 years in a solitary confinement.

 

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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