Mobile misconnect


We were half way to Wanaka on Thursday afternoon when I realised I’d left my phone at home.

When we got back an hour ago I found it in my car where it must have been since I went to town on Wednesday.

The battery was flat but it’s now charged enough to tell me I missed six calls and had four messages.

Fortunately none of them was urgent and they were all from people who would have known to call my farmer when they couldn’t get hold of me if they really needed to.

I don’t remember when I got my first mobile but I do remember how it was before then. Toll calls were reserved for matters of great importance and anything else was conveyed by letter.

There are lots of advantages of relatively cheap mobile calls and texting but the weekend has proved that I can do without access to them  for a few days.

Rain Man


Happy birthday Dustin Hoffman, 73 today.

Word of the day


Cacography – bad hand writing or spelling.

Guilty on both counts.

Like Pooh’s friend Wol my spelling tends to be a bit wobbly and my handwriting is even worse.

I once spent several minutes trying to transcribe some shorthand before working out I’d written in long hand.



Employers who have had to deal with  employee who has committed a sackable offence but can’t be sacked will have no sympathy at all for the Labour Party.

The party’s council met yesterday and decided Chris Carter has a case to answer but they can’t give him the DCM yet.

The Council confirmed that Mr Carter has a case to answer under the Party’s disciplinary rules and the Council will continue to deal with this matter in accordance with the principles of natural justice.

In other words they want him to go but are hamstrung by rules which mean they can’t just kick him out of the party. Even if they did, he could still stay in parliament as an independent MP.

If he was a list MP, the party might be able to relieve him of his seat, but as an electorate MP he’s entitled to stay until the next election unless he chooses to resign.

Regardless of what the decision is on his party membership, Phil Goff has made it quite clear Carter won’t be welcome back in caucus.

Carter had been selected as the candidate for Te Atatu in the next election but the party has reopened nominations.

They close on October 8 which means another couple of months of speculation on Carter and whether he’ll try to stand again.

It’s too much to hope the party will learn anything from this which will make their employment policy any more employer friendly.

But any employer who’s found it difficult to get rid of someone whose committed a sackable offence may get a little bit of enjoyment by reflecting on the wonders of karma.

Splitting to double benefit doesn’t add up


Another sign that something’s rotten in the welfare state: couples are splitting to get extra benefit.

A community leader in New Zealand’s “DPB capital” of Kawerau says 70 per cent of those claiming the benefit in the town have partners “round the back door”.

Kay Brereton of the Beneficiary Advocacy Federation said couples who might be getting $200 below their living costs on the $324 weekly couple unemployment benefit were being tempted to split.

One could then get $278 on the domestic purposes benefit (DPB) and the other could get $194 on the single dole – a total of $472, and almost $150 extra a week.

“In the current financial reality, more and more couples will be looking to maximise their income,” Ms Brereton said.

People living separately and claiming two benefits would get more than if they lived together. That’s because their outgoings on rent, food, power and other basic costs would be lower for one household than two.” But they’d spend more too because their outgoings on rent, food, power and other basic costs would be higher for two households than one.

Couples who deliberately arrange their affairs by living apart to maximise benefit payments are committing fraud. But as Lindsay Mitchell says: Forget  illegal. What about immoral?

Her post DPB – same story, different decade is also pertinent as is Deborah Coddington’s column time to wake up to reality of child-bashing shame.

The benefit which was designed to give temporary help to women and children leave hopeless relationships,  still does for some. But it’s a trap for others and is one of the factors in our appalling record of child abuse.

North Otago vs the nuns


Plan by the Dominican sisters to take the altar from Teschemakers chapel have met strong opposition from North Otago.

Supporters of protecting the chapel and keeping its contents are planning to meet on site to stop the first stage of its removal which is scheduled to begin tomorrow.

The altar came from Italy and was donated by the Hart family in 1926.

The sisters own the contents of the chapel but not the building which is on is on a 10 hectare site. The land and a 28 bedroom house were given to the nuns by Peter MCarthy in 1911. He dontated a further 40 hectares in 1918. The McCarthy family maintained a close relationship with, and gave a lot of support to, the sisters who lived there until the property was sold in 2000.

Dr Hirotomo Ochi who bought Teschemakers in 2000 had planned to redevelop the property into an international health science education centre. It was undergoing extensive refurbishment when he died.

The directors of the business which now own the property have abandoned those plans and put the property on the market.

Naylor Love has been contracted by the sisters  Holy Name Parish which has the legal rights to the contents and where the chapel will go, to begin the removal of the marble altar and other fittings from the chapel tomorrow morning.

Many people and heritage bodies in North Otago made submissions to the Dominican Sisters’ Leadership team in Christchurch and the Holy Name parish in Dunedin to retain the chapel with all its fittings and fixtures –  most particularly the altar – based on their heritage value.

It was thought the altar wouldn’t be removed until the end of August and a public meeting was called for next Friday in the hope those concerned about the chapel and its contents could come up with a plan to protect the chapel and keep the contents in it.

Now that dismantling has been scheduled to start on tomorrow, the public are being invited to gather at the chapel from 6am. The organisers hope to prevent the first stages of the removal of the altar and buy time for other legal measures to be explored.

The ODT has an interview with Suzy Scott, nee McCarthy, Peter’s granddaughter here and other stories here and here.

August 8 in history


On August 8:

1220 Sweden  was defeated by Estonian tribes in the Battle of Lihula.

1503  King James IV of Scotland married Margaret Tudor.



1509  The Emperor Krishnadeva Raya was crowned, marking the beginning of the regeneration of the Vijayanagara Empire.


1576  The cornerstone for Tycho Brahe’s Uraniborg observatory was laid on Hven.


1588  Anglo-Spanish War: Battle of Gravelines – The naval engagement ended, ending the Spanish Armada’s attempt to invade England.


1647  Battle of Dungans Hill – English Parliamentary forces defeated Irish forces.

1709  Bartolomeu de Gusmão demonstrated the lifting power of hot air in an audience before the King of Portugal.


1786  Mont Blanc was climbed for the first time by Jacques Balmat and Dr Michel-Gabriel Paccard.

1793 The insurrection of Lyon.

1794 Joseph Whidbey and George Vancouver led an expedition to search for the Northwest Passage near Juneau, Alaska.

1870 The Republic of Ploieşti, a failed Radical-Liberal rising against Domnitor Carol of Romania.


1876  Thomas Edison received a patent for his mimeograph.


1879 Bob Smith, American founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, was born (d. 1950).


1908 Wilbur Wright made his first flight at a racecourse at Le Mans.

1910  The US Army installed the first tricycle landing gear on the Army’s Wright Flyer.

1911 The millionth patent was filed in the United States Patent Office by Francis Holton for a tubeless vehicle tire.

1915 The Wellington Battallion captured Chunuk Bair.

Wellington Battalion captures Chunuk Bair

1918  Battle of Amiens began a string of almost continuous victories with a push through the German front lines (Hundred Days Offensive).

"Amiens, the key to the west" by Arthur Streeton, 1918.

1929 Ronald Biggs, British Great Train robber, was born.

1929  The German airship Graf Zeppelin began a round-the-world flight.


1937 Dustin Hoffman, American actor, was born.

1940 The “Aufbau Ost” directive was signed by Wilhelm Keitel.

1942 In Washington, DC, six German would-be saboteurs (Operation Pastorius) were executed.

1942  The Quit India resolution was passed by the Bombay session of the AICC, leading to the start of a civil disobedience movement across India.


1945 The Soviet Union declared war on Japan and began the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation.


1946  First flight of the Convair B-36.


1947 Pakistan’s National Flag was approved.


1949  Bhutan became independent.

1950 Ken Kutaragi, Founder of PlayStation, was born.


1961 The Edge, (Favid Evans) Irish guitarist (U2), was born.


1963 Great Train Robbery: a gang of 15 train robbers stole 2.6 million pounds in bank notes.

1967 The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was founded by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

1968 Jurō Wada successfully performed Japan’s first heart transplant.

1973 – Kim Dae-Jung, a South Korean politician and later president, was kidnapped.


1974  Watergate scandal: U.S. President Richard Nixon announced his resignation, effective the next day.


1980  The Central Hotel Fire, Bundoran , Ireland.

1988  The “8888 Uprising” in Burma.


1989    STS-28 Mission – Space Shuttle Columbia took off on a secret five-day military mission.


1990  Iraq occupied  Kuwait and the state was annexed to Iraq.

1991  The Warsaw radio mast, at one time the tallest construction ever built, collapsed.


1991  John McCarthy, British journalist held hostage in Lebanon for more than five years by Islamic Jihad, was released.

2000  Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley was raised to the surface after 136 years on the ocean floor.


2007 An EF2 tornado touched down in Kings County and Richmond County, New York State, the most powerful tornado in New York to date and the first in Brooklyn since 1889.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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