Carter kicked out of caucus


He’s been guilty of troughing, of whining, of lack of self knowledge and now Chris Carter is guilty of stupidity:

MP Chris Carter has been suspended from the Labour Party after admitting to sending an anonymous letter claiming there is a plot to overthrow leader Phil Goff.

“His actions were stupid and disloyal,” Labour leader Phil Goff told a press conference this afternoon.

“There are no more chances. His future in the Labour Party is at an end.”

He was stupid to write the letter, more stupid to deliver it to parliament where security cameras operate and stupider still to address the letter by hand because Goff recognised his writing.

UPDATE: TV3 has a transcript of the letter:

Just a heads up on two issues you might find quite interesting in the Labour caucus.

1) Next Tuesday the union based MPs will challenge Goff’s position on the tradability of the 4th week of the month’s annual leave entitlement. There is general outrage that in an unguarded media moment Goff bucked the caucus and CTU position that the 4th week was not tradable for cash and essentially supported Key’s position. This issue has brought to a head the growing discontent in the caucus with both Goff’s leadership style and his poor polling. David Cunliffe has a big smile on his face and many in the caucus now expect a move against Goff and King before the election.

2) George Hawkins has been challenged in his electorate by a member of the Engineers union. Nominations close on 1 September. George is threatening a by-election and since the party is broke there is panic in the ranks over this prospect.

Zorba The Greek


Happy birthday Mikis Theodorakis, 85 today.

Blogger spotted with rock bands and movie stars


New Zealand’s number 1 blogger (who has just marked his blog’s seventh birthday) has been spotted in the company of rock bands and film stars.

But not in person, one of the questions in TV3’s daily quiz  asks David Farrar is the man behind what popular New Zealand blog?

The choices are: Public Address, Whale Oil Kiwiblog,  or The Standard.

I got 7/15 but some of that was down to luck because several questions referred to films and music about which I knew little.

One of the questions I got wrong was the number of NZ Prime Minsiters who served less than one full year. I was sure there’d be more than one but the only one I could name was Mike Moore.

Making investment too safe is risky


Her investments were handled by her son but she took an intelligent interest in them.

When the annual report of a company arrived she read it then rang her son and told him to sell all the shares she had in it.

Her reason?

The chair wasn’t wearing a tie in the board photo.

The sartorial standards of a board chair may not be very solid ground on which to base investment decisions but in this case the investor’s action was right. Soon after her shares were sold the company went under taking a lot of other people’s money with it.

There are some very sad stories of people who put their faith, and their money, in companies whose rhetoric outperformed returns and who lost the lot and – in the cases of those who’d borrowed to invest – more.

This has resulted in calls for tighter regulations for financial advisors and directors.

Some of the actions of some of the people involved in companies built on very shaky foundation warrant this but making investment too safe is risky.

As Stephen Franks opines:

The deterrent of the prosecutions could see the birth of  impeccable candour among company directors, ushering in a new age in which fear of prosecution makes it  possible to take at face value nearly all public commercial discourse, assuming statements have been checked to exhaustion for possibly misleading inferences. The resulting public confidence will see a flood of renewed saving and direct  investment by the newly trusting “mums and dads”.

Or we could be watching a dramatic acceleration of the great decline in  opportunities for direct public investment, as promoters directors and major shareholders decide that the compliance costs (and risks) of public offering far outweigh any lowered costs of capital.

And in another post:

Our new law must target crooks, people with criminal mens rea (guilty minds). It must not treat foolishness and over-optimism and carelessness as if they are similar species of wickedness. Because law that conflates them all will scare honest people into doing nothing, or spending time on fruitless compliance back-covering.

If regulations go too far they will place unrealistic responsibilities on directors and make it difficult to find them willing to do much or serve on boards  at all.

Protecting investors from bad directors is a worthy goal, but the law which aims to protect might also stifle innovation and growth which require varying elements of risk.

Investors and the wider economy will gain nothing and lose a lot if that happens.

It is a no brainer


If you had a head injury in Southland or Otago, would it be better to be operated on in Dunedin or Christchurch?

There’s general agreement in the south that closer to home would definitely be better for clinical and other reasons.

The ODT calls it a no-brainer and it’s backed up by doctors who say that lives may be lost if Dunedin Hospital’s two fulltime neurologists are lost and neurology services move to Christchurch.

In a rare front page editorial the ODT says:

The obvious solution to South Island neurosurgery services is to allocate them in a combined form, as has been proposed by the Southern District Health Board, with four surgeons based in Christchurch and two in Dunedin. . .

Our principal argument in favour of retaining a service in the South is based on emergency. While there may be many medical causes of illness where neurosurgical intervention is required, the most obvious cause for most people is from road accident trauma and the like.

The prospect of initial patch-up treatment in Dunedin before transfer to Christchurch for surgery is a fearful one in terms of the possible consequences for the health and recovery of patients from Otago and Southland.

It’s not just the time it would take to get patients from Dunedin to Christchurch, it’s the time it could take to get from wherever illness or accident strikes throughout Otago and Southland to Dunedin as well.

On cost alone, the centralisation of services in Christchurch may not make sense; even with the extraordinary absence of a cost-benefit analysis it appears likely centralisation would add a further burden to Southern health costs, with an inevitable flow-on effect on savings having to be made elsewhere.

We do not doubt, too, that should Dunedin lose neurosurgery – a service established in the city in 1943 – the further downgrading of medical services will be obvious, undermining the hospital’s tertiary level status, the medical school, the university and the city; and creating a precedent for removing other crucial services.

When you live in the country you accept you’ll have to travel for specialist health services. Sometimes there’s not just financial but clinical justification for the centralisation of services, but in this case clinicians are supporting the call to retain Dunedin-based neurologists.

Orthopedic surgeon John Matheson said:

Neurosurgeons worked on the central nervous system and also on the spine and there was a merging of clinical practice between neurosurgeons and his specialty, especially in deformities of the spine.

Traditionally, there had been a close liaison between both departments in Dunedin.

The world-class work being done by the South Island regional spinal service for spinal deformities by Bruce Hodgson and Alan Carstens in Dunedin was complex and involved close clinical liaison between the two specialties on difficult cases.

Often these were children with severe and congenital and acquired defects. . .

“A viable neurosurgical service in Dunedin with two neurosurgeons being able to consult and operate with the orthopaedic surgeons on some occasions is highly desirable.”

Population-based funding has been threatening services in the south for years. In spite of concerted advocacy it is very difficult to get recognition of  the full costs of serving a smaller number of people over a large area.

The Otago and Southland health boards voluntarily merged to save costs and the new Southern board has been working very hard to make savings where it can without compromising  services and clinical standards.

The board and its staff, backed by the ODT and, if letters to the editor are anything to go by, the wider public, are agreed that the loss of neurology services would be going too far.

The ODT has other stories on the issue here and  here.

The issue was discussed on Nine to Noon yesterday.

July 29 in history


On July 29:

1014  Byzantine-Bulgarian Wars: Battle of Kleidion: Byzantine emperor Basil II inflicted a decisive defeat on the Bulgarian army.


1030  Ladejarl-Fairhair succession wars: Battle of Stiklestad – King Olaf II fought and died trying to regain his Norwegian throne from the Danes.

Arbo-Olav den helliges fall i slaget på Stiklestad.jpg

1565 The widowed Mary, Queen of Scots, married Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, Duke of Albany at Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh.


1567  James VI was crowned King of Scotland at Stirling.


1588 Anglo-Spanish War: Battle of Gravelines – English naval forces under command of Lord Charles Howard and Sir Francis Drake defeated the Spanish Armada off the coast of Gravelines, France.

Loutherbourg-Spanish Armada.jpg

1693 War of the Grand Alliance: Battle of Landen – France won a Pyrrhic victory over Allied forces in the Netherlands.

1793  John Graves Simcoe decided to build a fort and settlement at Toronto.

1830  Abdication of Charles X of France.


1836  Inauguration of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.


1847 Cumberland School of Law was founded in Lebanon, Tennessee.

Logo of Cumberland School of Law

1848 Irish Potato Famine: Tipperary Revolt – an unsuccessful nationalist revolt against British rule was put down by police.


1851  Annibale de Gasparis discovered asteroid 15 Eunomia.


1858 United States and Japan signed the Harris Treaty.


1883 Benito Mussolini, Italian dictator, was born (d. 1945).


1891 Bernhard Zondek German-born Israeli gynecologist, developer of first reliable pregnancy test, was born (d. 1966).

1899  The First Hague Convention was signed.

1900 King Umberto I of Italy was assassinated by Italian-born anarchist Gaetano Bresci.


1901  The Socialist Party of America founded.


1905 Stanley Kunitz, American poet, was born (d. 2006).


1907 Sir Robert Baden Powell set up the Brownsea Island Scout camp in Poole Harbour. The camp ran from August 1-9, 1907, and is regarded as the foundation of the Scouting movement.

Brownsea Island Scout camp

1920 Construction of the Link River Dam began as part of the Klamath Reclamation Project.


1921  Adolf Hitler became leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party.


1925 Mikis Theodorakis, Greek composer, was born.


1937  Tongzhou Incident – assault on Japanese troops and civilians by Japanese-trained East Hopei Army in Tōngzhōu, China.


1945  The BBC Light Programme radio station was launched.

1948 The Games of the XIV Olympiad – after a hiatus of 12 years caused by World War II, the first Summer Olympics to be held opened in London.

Olympic logo 1948.png

1957  The International Atomic Energy Agency was established.

Flag of IAEA.svg

1958  U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law the National Aeronautics and Space Act, which created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

NASA seal.svg
NASA logo.svg

1959  John Sykes, British guitarist (Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake, Tygers of Pan Tang), was born.

1965  Tfirst 4,000 101st Airborne Division paratroopers arrived in Vietnam.

1967 USS Forrestal caught on fire  killing 134.

USS Rupertus;025916.jpg

1967  During the fourth day of celebrating its 400th anniversary, the city of Caracas, Venezuela was shaken by an earthquake, leaving approximately 500 dead.

1981 Up to 2000 anti-Springbok tour protestors were confronted by police who used batons to stop them marching up Molesworth Street to the home of South Africa’s Consul to New Zealand.

Police baton anti-tour protestors near Parliament

1981 Marriage of Charles, Prince of Wales to Lady Diana Spencer.


1987  British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President of France François Mitterrand signed the agreement to build a tunnel under the English Channel (Eurotunnel).


1988 The film Cry Freedom was seized by South African authorities.

1987  Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi and President of Sri Lanka J. R. Jayawardene signed the Indo-Lankan Pact on ethnic issues.

1993  The Israeli Supreme Court acquitted alleged Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk of all charges.


2005  Astronomers announced their discovery of Eris.

Eris (centre) and Dysnomia (left of centre), taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. 

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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