Just a conincidence


New Zealand is to host next year’s Pacific Islands Forum.

“I am delighted my fellow Pacific leaders have accepted New Zealand’s offer to host next year’s Forum,” says Mr Key.

“The Auckland event will mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Forum, which held its first Leaders’ Meeting in Wellington in 1971.

“Next year’s Forum will also coincide with the start of the Rugby World Cup, and I know the region’s leaders are as keen as I am to see New Zealand and Tonga kick off the opening match in the Pacific’s biggest international sporting event since the 2000 Sydney Olympics.”

That timing is of course just a lucky coincidence 🙂

Maybe this time


Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean’s bill on Easter trading laws was drawn from the Member’s Ballot in parliament today.

The Shop Trading Hours Act Repeal (Waitaki Easter Trading) Amendment Bill 2010 seeks to allow all retailers within districts covered by the Waitaki Electorate to trade on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. It aims to address the anomaly that occurs within parts of the Queenstown Lakes and Central Otago areas, where Queenstown has an exemption to trade over Easter, but other towns do not.

Mrs Dean said she believed her bill had the potential to create a new era for tourism retailers in her electorate.

“I made a commitment to the people that I represent that I would keep working on Easter trading until the law was changed. Today is the first step in that process and I am pleased and proud that we have reached this milestone.  

“I am taking a regional approach with my bill this time as the entire Waitaki Electorate relies heavily on tourism, and is a busy place over the Easter period.

“Despite setbacks in the past, I am now confident that we can successfully achieve Easter trading law changes which will mean that retailers in busy tourist towns, like Wanaka, can open their doors if and when they chose to do so.

“I am not about forcing people to open on Easter Sunday, but rather I want everyone to have the choice.

“I acknowledge that some people may not support my bill on religious grounds, but I believe the time has come to recognize that many people work over Easter in essential services like hospitals, police and the fire service, and they do so without adversely impacting on family life.

“In fact many young people in tourist towns like Wanaka see extra work over Easter as an opportunity to earn extra cash.

“I am hoping that Parliament will send the Waitaki Bill to select committee so that we can have a fresh look and an informed debate around the realities of commerce over Easter, and addressing the anomalies that exist in the present laws.

“I believe people are now ready for change and I am confident that I will get the support that I need to make these progressive changes happen.”

This is Jacqui’s second attempt to address the anomalies  in current law which enable shops in Queenstown to open but prevent  shops selling  the same thing a few kilometres over the hill in Wanaka from opening. The current law also enables some businesses, for example service stations to sell a range of items normally sold in supermarkets or book shops which can’t open.

Easter Sunday isn’t a public holiday and the proposed law change isn’t a threat to religion. The law and what it allow or disallows does not make a day holy.

Nor is the proposed change a threat to employees. They will not be forced tow ork and shops which prefer not to open will be free to stay closed.

The Bill is simply an attempt to get a common sense solution for a small part of the country and it will in effect be legalising what already happens because many Wanaka retailers open illegally and accept the costs as part of their costs.

Rotorua MP Todd McLay’s bill on Easter trading was lost by a handful of votes last year.

Word of the day


Adoxography – skilled writing on a trivial topic.

This begs the question: is there a word for unskilled writing on an important topic?

Having asked that I then wonder if there are words for skilled writing on important topics and unskilled writing on trivial ones.

Other than blogging which could fit any of those definitions 🙂

Peopleism is key to equality


Hoen Harawira and Pita Sharples have got what minor parties want – lots of publicity and a dog whistle to the people they hope might vote for them.

But what they want is wrong.

Appeals to victimhood and separatism might give  them power in the short term but they won’t lead to long term success and harmony.

If they’re uncomfortable about the idea of their children choosing partners from a different culture they need to get out more.  I know Maori who have no interest in their own culture and non-Maori who are passionate about it.

We’re not a monocultural society or even a bicultural one. New Zealand is multicultural and we’re  richer because of it.

Interaction with people from a variety of cultures gives us the ability to understand and appreciate differences and to take the best from all of them to make us and our country better.

If they could take their blinkers off they’d be able to look around the world  and at history and find any societies which were based on racial purity were doomed.

Intermingling and intermarriage is a wonderful example of synergy where the whole is better than the sum of its parts.

They think you want equality for Maori but the key to equality is peopleism not racism.

We must accept and appreciate people as people regardless of racial, cultural or any of the other differences which could separate us. We need to look at what unites us and that’s that we are all people – different people with different values and practices maybe, but under the skin where it really matters we’re the same.

As Shylock might have said, had Shakespeare set the Merchant of Venice in New Zealand:

Hath not a pakeha eyes? Hath not a pakeha hands, organs,
dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with
the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject
to the same diseases, heal’d by the same means,
warm’d and cool’d by the same winter and summer
as a Maori is? If you prick us, do we not bleed?
If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us,
do we not die? . . .

This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t acknowledge, and even celebrate differences. But the minute any of us start thinking the things which separate us are more important than those we have in common we’re on the road to separatism.

If they think that’s a destination to aim for they’re not only deluded they’re dangerous.

There are two types of people . . .


. . . those who do things well before they’re needed so they can complete everything without pressure.

And those who – sorry no time to finish sentence got an urgent deadline.

Pastoral lease rent changes welcomed


Proposed changes to the way rents are calculated on pastoral lease properties has been welcomed by farmers.

The previous administration had changed the way rents were set to include amenity values. They also reflected inflated values paid by the government and overseas purchasers, including Shania Twain.

The result was that properties with good views or close to lakes had to pay much higher rents which were completely unrelated to the earning capacity of the land.

In a media release, High Country Accord chair Jonathan Wallis said that farmers had never sought anything other than a fair rent which reflects the rights and obligations of the parties under the leases.

 “The new system brings transparency and certainty to a process that was becoming increasingly complex and costly to implement correctly.” 

Perhaps the last significant alienation of Crown land, pastoral leases were created under the Land Act 1948. They were seen as the ideal form of tenure set to balance the relative demands of pastoralism, with the needs of conservation in lands already identified as requiring separate management to other classes of rural land. 

“The purpose of the legislation, created more than 60-years ago, remains as valid today as it did then,” says Mr Wallis. 

“The Crown chose to retain an interest in how the land was managed through constraining the land use through the terms of the lease and the provisions of the Land Act. However, although the Crown retained an interest in how the land was managed, the majority of rights to the land were retained by the lessees, not unlike freehold ownership.” 

“The incentive for farmers to invest and transform what were once termed ‘wastelands of the Crown’ into economically and environmentally sustainable enterprises came in the perpetually renewable nature of the lease, implicit that rent could only be charged against the unimproved pastoral proposition with all improvements remaining the property of the lessee.” 

The contractual nature of the lease meant considerable consultation between the Government and the lessees was required to ensure the balance of property rights remained unchanged from one system to the next.

Mr Wallis says it would be wrong to assume that agreement was reached on every last component but he has acknowledged the extremely high standard of input and review from independent experts in developing this policy.

He says the challenge of moving to a different system of setting rents with more transparency was to leave the essential property rights of high country farmers unchanged.

“The new system does not change the fundamental nature of the lease but unlike the current system for setting rents which has a fixed rental rate, the new system incorporates a variable rate to allow the rent to more closely follow the economics of pastoral farming.”

 “The current policy towards Crown Pastoral Land is a refreshing contrast to recent times which has certainly taken its toll on the high country community both from a social and financial perspective.”

 “The Government has looked to a rational solution for setting rents in accordance with the law and not in a manner which suits those who have a particular axe to grind from time to time. I applaud them for this sensible approach,” says Mr Wallis. 

Federated Farmers also welcomed the changes:

Federated Farmers is welcoming the Land Information Minister, the Hon Maurice Williamson’s, announcement approving a new system for setting rents for South Island high country pastoral leases.

“We think that the Earning Capacity Rent has the possibility to work effectively, so we’re welcoming it with cautious optimism,” says Donald Aubrey, Federated Farmers vice-president.

“The High Country Accord has been working arduously to get these new rents, which will be based on a property’s earning capacity and we’d like to congratulate them for their efforts.

“Although I’m optimistic about the changes, I’m slightly disappointed that we were unable to get greater relief for those facing back rents of up to five years.

“This will place a considerable financial burden on these farmers, but we’re happy to see that Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) is prepared to accept the payments over five years.

The proposed changes announced by Minister of Land Information Maurice Williamson and Agriculture Minister David Carter require  legislation which the ministers hope to have before the house later this year.

Mr Williamson says the new system for setting rents takes into account a number of factors, including the productive capacity of the lease and pastoral economic conditions.

“The way rents are currently calculated is complicated and costly and often produces disputes over both the process used and the result,” he says.

Agriculture Minister David Carter says the new system will provide greater certainty to farmers.

“It is simpler to administer, more transparent and provides a fair rent. It will allow farmers to get on with the job of farming and looking after the high country rather than fighting bureaucracy.”

There are 231 pastoral leases, mainly in Canterbury and Central Otago, which cover around 1.6 million hectares of pastoral land.

The ODT reports:

Modelling by Government officials shows the new system will not alter the total amount of rent it collects from lessees, but should remove disputes over the rent-setting process, which had prompted more than half the 231 South Island lessees to dispute their latest rent reviews.

The proposed system will base rents on farm productivity and current livestock values, which the Government says is a transparent and objective process.

This calculation would happen every 11 years and take into account a farm’s carrying capacity in its unimproved state, or base, then the subsequent increase in numbers, with the rent charged on a per livestock unit basis.

Under the land value based system, rent was calculated every 11 years at 2.25% of the value of land exclusive of improvements.

The two systems recognised that the Crown owns the land in an unimproved state but the lessee owns the improvements such as fertiliser, pasture, tracks, fences and buildings.

Forest and Bird isn’t as positive as farmers:

Forest and Bird South Island conservation manager Chris Todd said he had hoped the rentals would be based on a system that was more wide ranging.

“We were a bit disappointed that the review didn’t include the idea of rewarding good environmental stewardship with rental discounts.”

This would provide incentives for high country farmers to undertake activities such as carbon farming or retiring areas of the lease to protect fragile soils.


`What we want is incentives to look after the land. It’s still an incredibly good deal for anyone who’s farming to get a rent that’s comparable for a whole farm to a unit in the city.”

Their main concern was the way in which these lands were cared for. There were a lot of issues such as wilding trees, pests, overgrazing and they were going backwards in their biodiversity, Mr Todd said.

It is not possible to make a comparison between pastoral leases and units in a city. Pastoral leases are for land exclusive of improvements, a principle which has been tested in the courts.

Leaseholders are restricted to pastoral farming. They require permission for any other activities and rents are adjusted if that increases the earning capacity.

The Crown didn’t want what they described as “wastelands” when the leases were established and it’s farmers’ good stewardship which has protected the often fragile environment on these high country properties.

August 5 in history


On August 5:

642  Battle of Maserfield – Penda of Mercia defeated and killed Oswald of Bernicia.

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910  The last major Viking army to raid England was defeated at the Battle of Tettenhall by the allied forces of Mercia and Wessex, led by King Edward and Earl Aethelred.

1100 Henry I was crowned in Westminster Abbey.

1305 William Wallace, wass captured by the English and transported to London where he was put on trial and executed.


1388 Battle of Otterburn, a border skirmish between the Scottish and the English in Northern England.

Battle of Otterburn

1583 Sir Humphrey Gilbert established the first English colony in North America, at what is now St John’s, Newfoundland.


1620 The Mayflower departed from Southampton on its first attempt to reach North America.


1689 – 1,500 Iroquois attacked the village of Lachine, in New France.

1716 The Battle of Petrovaradin.

1735  New York Weekly Journal writer John Peter Zenger wasacquitted of seditious libel against the royal governor of New York, on the basis that what he had published was true.

1763 Pontiac’s War: Battle of Bushy Run – British forces led by Henry Bouquet defeated Chief Pontiac’s Indians at Bushy Run.

The Battle of Bushy Run.jpg

1772 The First Partition of Poland began.


1858 Cyrus West Field and others completed the first transatlantic telegraph cable after several unsuccessful attempts.


1860 Carl IV of Sweden-Norway was crowned king of Norway, in Trondheim.


1861   The United States government levied the first income tax as part of the Revenue Act of 1861 (3% of all incomes over US $800; rescinded in 1872) to help pay for the Civil War.

1861  The United States Army abolished flogging.

1862 Joseph Merrick, the “Elephant Man” , was born (d. 1890).


1862 American Civil War: Battle of Baton Rouge.

Battle Baton Rouge.jpg

1864  American Civil War: the Battle of Mobile Bay began – Admiral David Farragut led a Union flotilla through Confederate defenses and sealed one of the last major Southern ports.

Bataille de la baie de Mobile par Louis Prang (1824-1909).jpg

1870 Franco-Prussian War: the Battle of Spicheren resulted in a Prussian victory.

1884 The cornerstone for the Statue of Liberty was laid.

1888  Bertha Benz drove from Mannheim to Pforzheim and back in the first long distance automobile trip.


1901  Peter O’Connor set the first IAAF recognised long jump world record of 24ft 11¾ins.

1908 Harold Holt, 17th Prime Minister of Australia, was born(d. 1967).


1914  World War I: The German minelayer Königin Luise laid a minefield about 40 miles off the Thames Estuary. She was intercepted and sunk by the British light-cruiser HMS Amphion.

SS Konigin Luise.jpg

1914 In Cleveland, Ohio, the first electric traffic light was installed.

1925 Plaid Cymru was formed with the aim of disseminating knowledge of the Welsh language.

Plaid Cymru.gif

1930 Neil Armstrong, American astronaut, was born.

Neil Armstrong pose.jpg

1940 World War II: The Soviet Union formally annexed Latvia.

1944  World War II: possibly the biggest prison breakout in history as 545 Japanese POWs attempted to escape outside the town of Cowra, NSW.


1944  Holocaust: Polish insurgents liberated a German labour camp in Warsaw, freeing 348 Jewish prisoners.

1949  In Ecuador an earthquake destroyed 50 towns and killed more than 6000.

1957  American Bandstand debuted on the ABC television network.

American Bandstand.svg

1960  Burkina Faso, then known as Upper Volta, became independent from France.

1962 Nelson Mandela was jailed.

1963  The United States, United Kingdom, and Soviet Union signed a nuclear test ban treaty.

1964  Vietnam War: Operation Pierce Arrow – American aircraft from carriers USS Ticonderoga and USS Constellation bombed North Vietnam in retaliation for strikes which attacked U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin.

1979   In Afghanistan, Maoists undertake an attempted military uprising.


1988 The Cartwright report condemned the tratment of cervical cancer.

Cartwright Report condemns cervical cancer treatment

1995  The city of Knin, a significant Serb stronghold, was captured by Croatian forces during Operation Storm.

2003  A car bomb exploded in Jakarta outside the Marriott Hotel killing 12 and injuring 150.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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