Word of the day

September 17, 2010

Abapical – lowest point, opposite of apex.


Garrett going

September 17, 2010

RadioNZ reports that David Garrett has quit the Act Party.

Radio New Zealand understands that if Mr Garrett is ejected from the ACT caucus he won’t go without a fight and is likely to stay on as an independent MP.

However, Midday Report says he’s taking two weeks off to consider his future.

Qutting the party is the best thing he can do for Act but I can’t see how he can continue in parliament as an independent.

The next person on Act’s list in Hilary Calvert of Dunedin.

iPredict has a contract on this possibility.


Online re-enrolment next year, online voting when?

September 17, 2010

Justice Minister Simon Power is to introduce legislation enabling voters to re-enrol and update their details online in time for next year’s general election. 

Cabinet has decided that legislation to be introduced to Parliament in November, is the first step in a process that will also eventually allow voters to use the Internet to enrol for the first time.

Currently, voters have to complete and sign a written form when enrolling and making changes to their details.

The Electoral (Administration) Amendment Bill No.2 allows voters to re-enrol and make changes to their details online using the ‘igovt’ government logon service, which is run by the Department of Internal Affairs. This will take effect from the middle of next year when the legislation is expected to be passed.

The changes will also ensure that all electoral enrolment offences include Internet-based acts.

The Government will also give voters the option of enrolling online, subject to a satisfactory trial of the online re-enrolment service.  A programme for full online enrolment will be developed after next year’s election and introduced in separate legislation.

“Taking advantage of the Internet will make it as simple as possible for people to participate in elections,” Mr Power said.

“In particular, it will make enrolling more accessible to people aged between 18 and 24 who make up approximately 40 per cent of un-enrolled eligible voters.”

 It is sensible to make use of technology providing there are safeguards which enable verification of identity.

Young people are more likely to use online enrolment. They’re also more likely to shift addresses between elections and enrolment packs may not catch up with even if they’ve left a forwarding address.

Full online enrolment will use a robust identify verification service (IVS) which is under development by the Department of Internal Affairs.

“The identify verification service will require voters to provide proof of identity before completing sensitive online transactions with government agencies. 

“The staged roll-out will allow the IVS to be developed in order to make sure the integrity of the electoral system is maintained.”

It’s not a big step from online re-enrolment to online enrolment but it is quite a way from there to online voting.

There’s something about the experience of voting by going to a polling booth with others who are exercising their democratic freedom.

It may also encourage better participation – postal voting for local body elections is cited as one reason participation is much lower than for general elections.

I don’t favour compulsory voting – if we’re free to vote we should also be free to not vote. But robust democracy requires wide participation and online voting could make that easier.


Saved from fire by timely visit

September 17, 2010

Fire fighters and electricians keep warning us not to leave appliances running when we leave home and I’m usually very careful about following that advice.

In spite of that we came home after a weekend away a couple of weeks ago to find the dishwasher making strange noises and a light flashing on it.

I turned it off and called an electrician.

He still hadn’t turned up when I left home last Thursday and my farmer turned the dishwasher on again. It made strange noises and the light flashed so he turned it off again.

He left home on Friday and our daughter came home the next day to find the dishwasher on, making strange noises, the light flashing and a very hot smell. She turned it off at the wall and unplugged it.

The electrician turned up on Monday, diagnosed reasonably serious malfunctions and said it was lucky one of the problems was the pump. That had meant there was water round the hot bits and our daughter had turned up before it evaporated.

Had she not made this timely visit we’d probably have come home to charred remains.

As it is we’ve had a lucky escape and a reminder to follow the advice not to leave appliances running when you leave home.


Feds asks councils to stick to basics

September 17, 2010

Federated Farmers is asking councils to stick to basics in its first manifesto for local body candidates and voters.

President Don Nicolson says:

“New Zealand’s 85 current local councils collected in rates last year, enough money to fund the New Zealand Police more than two and half times over.  For many farmers, rates are now among their biggest working expenses,”

“The vital role of councils has been underlined by the Canterbury earthquake.  Basic services are taken for granted until the likes of water, wastewater and roads are suddenly lost.

“Our local councils also control assets worth nearly $99 billion with debts of around $7.5 billion.  Every aspiring councillor needs to understand, the huge governance role they are seeking election to undertake.

“Candidates need to understand that rates are not there to fund ‘dreams and schemes’, but come from the hard work of property owners.   This is the reason why Federated Farmers believes its Manifesto is a positive contribution to the 2010 local authority campaigns.

There hasn’t been much policy from any of the candidates standing in our area and campaign statements often combine the mutually exclusive desires of lower rates and more services.

“It provides both candidates and voters a yardstick to assess policies, pledges and positions.  While there’s naturally a rural dimension to the Manifesto, the points are pretty much universal for urban and rural voters alike.

“What we want to see emerge are councillors committed to sound and equitable policies. Yet to get them, voters actually have to vote.

Nicolson said that in the last local body election on 44% of those eligible to vote did so.

” You can’t help but suspect that most of the people who ‘demand’ more be spent on local services, come from the other 56 percent who never bothered voting.

“It’s a major reason why farmers must vote in high numbers to ensure quality candidates are either elected or retained.  Yet it’s doubly important to ensure these candidates understand the concerns of farmers and have the wherewithal to do something about them.

“While the system of funding local government is badly flawed, a bold council can take positive action that will make a real difference to the amount farmers and property owners pay in rates.

“Good councillors should focus on what the core job of their council is, no mater how unsexy it seems.  It means resisting the ‘dreams and schemes’ of interest groups who are quick to spend other people’s hard earned dollars,” Mr Nicolson concluded.

A property based tax will always disadvantage farmers but there’s no simple way to reform the rating system that would be easy to sell to voters.

However, the best way to reduce the rates burden is to increase the rating base. That requires more people and more businesses.


September 17 in history

September 17, 2010

On September 16:

1111 Highest Galician nobility led by Pedro Fróilaz de Traba and the bishop Diego Gelmírez crowned Alfonso VII as “King of Galicia“.

1176  The Battle of Myriokephalon.

  

1462  The Battle of Świecino (also known as the Battle of Żarnowiec) during Thirteen Years’ War.

1577  The Peace of Bergerac was signed between Henry III of France and the Huguenots.

1631  Sweden won a major victory at the Battle of Breitenfeld against the Holy Roman Empire during the Thirty Years War.

Breitenfeld-2.jpeg

1683  Antonie van Leeuwenhoek wrote to the Royal Society describing “animalcules“: the first known description of protozoa.

 

1778  The Treaty of Fort Pitt was signed, the first formal treaty between the United States and a Native American tribe (the Lenape or Delaware Indians).

1787 The United States Constitution was signed in Philadelphia.

1809  Peace between Sweden and Russia in the Finnish War, the territory which became Finland was ceded to Russia by the Treaty of Fredrikshamn.

1859 Joshua A. Norton declared himself “Emperor Norton I” of the United States.

1862 American Civil War: George B. McClellan halted the northward drive of Robert E. Lee’s Confederate army in the single-day Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest day in American history.

 
Battle of Antietam by Thulstrup.jpg

1862  American Civil War: The Allegheny Arsenal explosion resulted in the single largest civilian disaster during the war.

1883 William Carlos Williams, American writer, was born (d. 1963).

 

1894  The Battle of Yalu River, the largest naval engagement of the First Sino-Japanese War.

Battle of the Yellow Sea by Korechika.jpg

1900  Philippine-American War: Filipinos under Juan Cailles defeated Americans under Colonel Benjamin F. Cheatham at Mabitac.

1908  The Wright Flyer flown by Orville Wright, with Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge as passenger, crashed killing Selfridge who became the first airoplane fatality.

 

1914  Andrew Fisher becamePrime Minister of Australia for the third time.

 

1916 Mary Stewart, English novelist, was born.

MaryStewart TheHollowHills.jpg

1916   World War I: Manfred von Richthofen (“The Red Baron”), a flying ace of the German Luftstreitkräfte, won his first aerial combat near Cambrai, France.

Mvrredbaron.jpg

1923 Hank Williams, American musician, was born (d. 1953).

1924  The Border Defence Corps was established in the Second Polish Republic for the defence of the eastern border against armed Soviet raids and local bandits.

1928  The Okeechobee Hurricane struck southeastern Florida, killing upwards of 2,500 people.

 

1929 Sir Stirling Moss, English race car driver. ws born.

 

1931 Anne Bancroft, American actress, was born (d. 2005).

 
Black-and-white studio publicity headshot of Bancroft (late 1960s).

1939  World War II: A German U-boat U 29 sank the British aircraft carrier HMS Courageous.

 

1939  Taisto Mäki became the first man to run the 10,000 metres in under 30 minutes, in a time of 29:52.6.

1941 New Zealand abolished the death penalty for murder.

Death penalty abolished...for the time being

1941  World War II: A decree of the Soviet State Committee of Defense, restoring Vsevobuch in the face of the Great Patriotic War, was issued

1944  World War II: Allied Airborne troops parachuted into the Netherlands as the “Market” half of Operation Market Garden.

Waves of paratroops land in Holland.jpg

1945 Bruce Spence, New Zealand actor, was born.

 

1948  The Lehi (also known as the Stern gang) assassinated Count Folke Bernadotte, who was appointed by the UN to mediate between the Arab nations and Israel.

1949 The Canadian steamship SS Noronic burned in Toronto Harbour with the loss of over 118 lives.

 

1956 Television was first broadcast in Australia.

1976 The first Space Shuttle, Enterprise, was unveiled by NASA.

 
Space Shuttle Enterprise

1978  The Camp David Accords were signed by Israel and Egypt.

1980  After weeks of strikes at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk, Poland, the nationwide independent trade union Solidarity was established.

 

1980 Former Nicaraguan President Anastasio Somoza Debayle was killed.

1983 Vanessa Williams became the first black Miss America.

1991 – The first version of the Linux kernel (0.01) was released to the Internet.

1992 An Iranian Kurdish leader and his two joiners were assassinated by political militants in Berlin.

 

1993 Last Russian troops left Poland.

2001  The New York Stock Exchange reopened for trading after the September 11 Attacks, the longest closure since the Great Depression.

 
NYC NYSE.jpg

2004 Tamil was declared the first classical language in India.

தமிழ்

2006  Fourpeaked Mountain in Alaska erupted, marking the first eruption for the long-dormant volcano in at least 10,000 years.

 

2007  AOL, once the largest ISP in the U.S., officially announced plans to refocus the company as an advertising business and to relocate its corporate headquarters from Dulles, Virginia to New York.

AOL logo.svg

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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