Black day, black night

September 2, 2010

Keeping Stock reckoned it was a black morning for very good reasons.

He was referring to the Talls Blacks’ wins over Lebanon and Canada at the FIBA World Basketball champs and the Black Ferns’ win over France which enabled them to qualify for their fourth consecutive World Cup berth.

Now it’s a black night for equally good reasons – the Silver Ferns have just beaten Australia in the second netball test to level the Constellation Cup series.


Explanatory note

September 2, 2010

A very happy birthday to Derek Fowlds,  who turns 73 today, and thanks for the pleasure his acting still gives:


Word of the day

September 2, 2010

Bescumber – to spray with excrement, to discharge ordure or dung upon.


Blogging takes insiders beyond the Bowen Trianagle

September 2, 2010

Colin Espiner has posted his last post at On The House:

 . . . It’s true that blogging has changed the way political journalists write; the style is more colloquial, and the topics we choose to write about are not always the ones that would fill the august pages of The Press or the Dominion Post.

But I’d argue – certainly for myself – that the standards never wavered. Off the record remained just that. Gossip over a glass of wine did not find its way on to these web pages – at least not without the author’s express permission.

For a while On The House became required reading in the Beehive, and I’m proud of the fact that Prime Minister John Key and many of his ministers read most of what I wrote.

I’m even more proud of the fact that he often went on to read what you wrote, too.

Because if there’s one thing that blogging has taught me about journalism it is that the old “sermon from the mount” approach to writing – particularly opinion writing – is no longer acceptable in the new multimedia environment.

Readers expect to have their own say about what is served up to them. I have certainly had to develop a thicker skin to cope with what has been served back to me.

I learned not to question Idiot/Savant on climate change issues, since he’d read all the United Nations reports. I learned to double-check what I wrote about Labour, because if not Jennifer would correct me – all the way from Texas.

I learned that whenever I wrote anything about law and order it would earn a diatribe from Adolf Fiinkensein (is that really your name, Adolf?) or that if I wrote about the smacking debate I was asking for trouble from Alan Wilkinson.

Other regulars on the site . . . helped keep me on the straight and narrow and were quick to correct me when I was wrong – or simply misguided.

It must be all too easy for those inside what Rob Hosking calls the Bowen Triangle – the confines in which political insiders operate in Wellington – to become insulated from other people and views, to think their views are the only views.

Blogging – and the response he got to it – took Espiner beyond the Bowen triangle’s boundaries.

Political analysis and journalism are the better for it.


It’s not north saving south, urban paying rural

September 2, 2010

The government’s honouring the Deposit Guarantee Scheme which will return funds to people who lent money to South Canterbury Finance has unleashed a nasty stream of north vs south, urban vs rural vitriol.

It’s not supported by the facts and it may be partially fuelled by a failure to differentiate between depositors and borrowers.

The people who are getting their money back are the  depositors, the ones who invested funds in SCF. They came from all around New Zealand and overseas.

Timaru District Mayor Janie Annear said the guarantee had provided relief nationwide not just South Canterbury.

“South Canterbury Finance is a business which is much wider that just South Canterbury. The Government’s prompt response has minimised the impact of New Zealand’s shaky post-recession recovery.

“All investors, irrespective of where they live, will be pleased that the Government guarantee scheme has worked as promised.”

SCF chief executive Sandy Maier said only about a quarter of the investors were from South Canterbury and the rest of the country had benefited from the scheme.

“`Fifty five per cent [of the investors] are spread through the South Island, and around 40 per cent in the North Island and the rest in Australia and Fiji.

“Undoubtedly this has been a massive decision for the Government to pay the guarantee out and it will have let a lot of people, including those in South Canterbury, breathe easier. I am hugely thankful as well.”

If one group is likely to be under-represented among investors it is farmers. They don’t usually have much cash to  spare and if they do they generally put it back into their farms.

Then there’s the borrowers. They’re the ones who got loans from SCF. They too came from all over New Zealand and in an ODT interview  CEO Sandy Maier said:

South Canterbury was largely caught out by increasing its lending to property developers during boom time.

Many of those debts were never repaid, and it ended up booking losses of about $200 million.

Property development isn’t usually f arming. It’s much more likely to have been urban than rural and some of it was in the North Island, including Auckland.

In an interview with Interest.co.nz Maier said:

Speaking to interest.co.nz after SCF’s receivership was announced yesterday, Maier said he still believed the best value in SCF was as one. This includes its “Bad Bank” which holds about NZ$700 million worth of loans, and its “Good Bank” which holds about NZ$900 million of small ticket rural lending. Then there’s Helicopters NZ, a 79.7% stake in Scales Corporation and 33% stake in Dairy Holdings which were tipped in by owner Allan Hubbard earlier this year.

If the small ticket rural lending is in the “Good Bank” those borrowers are paying their interest and are expected to be able to pay back what they’ve borrowed when their loans fall due.

The 33% stake in Dairy Holdings  is one of the assets which will be sold to help recoup some of the money the government is putting in to the company.

If farms are among the businesses with loans which turn sour the farmers will be treated like other debtors. Finance companies are always lenders of last resort . If the farms have to be sold the farmers will almost certainly lose any equity they had. 

Taxpayers should be grateful the campaign to prevent land sales to foreign owners hasn’t yet gained much traction because limiting sales to New Zealanders will depress the price and reduce the amount the receivers get back.

SCF was a victim of its own success as money poured in it moved from its traditional lending to more risky ventures.

South Island farmers weren’t  responsible for bad decisions made by the company and none will be getting anything from the taxpayer  unless they had deposits with the company. In that case they’ll be treated the same way as all other depositors.

This isn’t a case of the north saving the south, urban people paying for rural mistakes.

 It’s a business failure which won’t be quite as serious for the wider economy as it might have been. Depositors all over New Zealand and overseas will get their money back and an orderly sale of assets will realise more than the firesale which would have resulted had the company been left to fall over.


Welcome recovery in milk prices at acution

September 2, 2010

The first of Fonterra’s globalDairy Trade twice-monthly auctions resulted in a welcome recovery in price.

Anhydrous Milk Fat went up 9.5%, Butter Milk Powder was up 10.6%, the price for Skim Milk Powder increased 15.8%, Whole Milk Powder increased by 18.8% and all products on a trade-weighted basis went up 16.9%.

Although prices in the last three auctions were still above the long term average they had dropped which was concerning.

Fonterra’s recent decision to hold the forecast payout for the season at $6.90 to $7.10 was based on confidence prices would firm. This morning’s auction provides welcome confirmation of that.


September 2 in history

September 2, 2010

On September 2:

44 BC  Pharaoh Cleopatra VII of Egypt declared her son co-ruler as Ptolemy XV Caesarion.

 
Denderah3 Cleopatra Cesarion.jpg

44 BC  The first of Cicero’s Philippics (oratorical attacks) on Mark Antony.

 

31 BC  Final War of the Roman Republic: Battle of Actium – off the western coast of Greece, forces of Octavian defeated troops under Mark Antony and Cleopatra.

 
The Battle of Actium, by Lorenzo A. Castro, painted 1672.

1649  The Italian city of Castro was completely destroyed by the forces of Pope Innocent X, ending the Wars of Castro.

 
Castro blaeu.jpg

1666  The Great Fire of London breaks out and burns for three days, destroying 10,000 buildings including St Paul’s Cathedral.

 

1752  Great Britain adopted the Gregorian calendar, nearly two centuries later than most of Western Europe.

 

1789  The United States Department of the Treasury was founded.

US-DeptOfTheTreasury-Seal.svg

1792  During what became known as the September Massacres of the French Revolution, rampaging mobs slaughtered three Roman Catholic Church bishops, more than two hundred priests, and prisoners believed to be royalist sympathisers.

 

1807  The Royal Navy bombarded Copenhagen with fire bombs and phosphorus rockets to prevent Denmark from surrendering its fleet to Napoleon.

Copenhagen on fire 1807 by CW Eckersberg.jpg

1833  Oberlin College was founded by John Shipherd and Philo P. Stewart.

 
Oberlin College seal

1856  Tianjing Incident in Nanjing, China.

1862  American Civil War:  President Abraham Lincoln reluctantly restored Union General George B. McClellan to full command after General John Pope’s disastrous defeat at the Second Battle of Bull Run.

1867 Mutsuhito, Emperor Meiji of Japan, married Masako Ichijō. 

 

1870  Franco-Prussian War: Battle of Sedan – Prussian forces took Napoleon III of France and 100,000 of his soldiers prisoner.

 
Karte zur Schlacht bei Sedan (01.09.1870).jpg

1885  Rock Springs massacre:  150  miners, who were struggling to unionize so they could strike for better wages and work conditions, attacked their Chinese fellow workers, killing 28, wounding 15, and forcing several hundred more out of town.

1898 Battle of Omdurman – British and Egyptian troops defeat ed Sudanese tribesmen and establish British dominance in Sudan.

 
21lancers.JPG

1901  Vice President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt uttered the famous phrase, “Speak softly and carry a big stick” at the Minnesota State Fair.

 

1925  The U.S. Zeppelin the USS Shenandoah crashed, killing 14.

USS Shenandoah Wrack.jpg 

1935  Labor Day Hurricane  hit the Florida Keys killing 423.

1937 Derek Fowlds, British actor, was born.

1945 World War II: Combat ended in the Pacific Theatre: the Instrument of Surrender of Japan was signed by Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and accepted aboard the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

 

1945 Vietnam declared its independence, forming the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

1946  Interim Government of India was formed with Jawaharlal Nehru as Vice President.

 

1957 President Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam became the first foreign head of state to make a state visit to Australia.

A portrait of a middle-aged man, looking to the left in a half-portrait/profile. He has chubby cheeks, parts his hair to the side and wears a suit and tie. 

1958 United States Air Force C-130A-II was shot down by fighters over Yerevan, Armenia when it strayed into Soviet airspace while conducting a sigint mission. All crew members were killed.

1959 Guy Laliberté, founder of Cirque du Soleil, was born.

 

1960  New Zealand enjoyed perhaps its greatest day ever at an Olympic Games. First Peter Snell won gold in the 800 m, and then within half an hour Murray Halberg won the 5000 m to complete a remarkable track double in Rome’s Olympic Stadium.

Golden day for Kiwi runners in Rome

1960 The first election of the Parliament of the Central Tibetan Administration. The Tibetan community observes this date as Democracy Day.

1967 The Principality of Sealand was established, ruled by Prince Paddy Roy Bates.

Flag of Sealand.svg Coat of Arms of Sealand.png

1990  Transnistria was unilaterally proclaimed a Soviet republic; the Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev declared the decision null and void.

1992  An earthquake in Nicaragua killed at least 116 people.

 

1996  A peace agreement was signed between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Moro National Liberation Front in Malacañang Palace.

1998  Swissair Flight 111 crashed near Peggys Cove, Nova Scotia. All 229 people on board were killed.

1998 The UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda found Jean Paul Akayesu, the former mayor of a small town in Rwanda, guilty of nine counts of genocide.

Sourced from NZ History Online 7 WIkipedia


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