Shall We Dance?


Deborah Kerr would have been 89 today.

Word of the day


Blatteroon – a senseless babbler, a person who won’t stop talking.

Tax cuts part of bigger plan for economic growth


Discussion on tomorrow’s tax cuts have focussed on who gets what. Although, as Macdoctor points out, who keeps how much of what they earn, would be more accurate.

Setting that aside, while the immediate impact on individuals is important, the long term gain for the economy is more significant:

The Government’s tax changes tomorrow will strengthen economic growth and help New Zealand families get ahead, Finance Minister Bill English says.

“New Zealanders will benefit immediately from tax cuts and they will benefit more over time from the lift in growth and jobs this package will create,” Mr English says.

“But we must remember that these changes are being made for important and over riding economic reasons. This has never been a lolly scramble.

“As well as improving the incentives to work, the package tilts the economy towards savings, investment and exports and away from the unsustainable borrowing, consumption and over investment in housing of the past decade.

“Treasury estimates the tax changes will add about 1 per cent to economic growth over the next few years. They are just the next step in the Government’s wider programme to get the economy growing faster.”

National’s policy will allow us to keep more of what we earn and leave us free to choose what we do with it. It will also rebalance the economy away from borrow and spend to sustainable growth and  the better paying and more secure jobs which come with that.

Contrast this with Labour’s plan to take GST of fresh fruit and vegetables.

That will complicate the world’s simplest consumption tax and add to compliance costs.

If it had any impact on prices the wealthy would benefit far more than the poor. But there’s unlikely to be any price fall from zero rating GST because prices of fresh produce are influenced by so many other factors and are a very small aprt of most people’s expenditure. 

“This is the first part of the most significant tax reform package in New Zealand for nearly 25 years,” Mr English says. “For ordinary New Zealanders it will reward effort, encourage savings and help families to get ahead,” Mr English says.

“At all taxable income levels, the personal tax cuts will more than offset the rise in GST. When other tax base broadening measures such as tighter property investment rules are taken into account, low, middle and high income groups broadly receive about the same proportionate increase in disposable income.

“After the GST-income tax switch, an average income family will be about $25 a week better off, an average wage earner about $15 a week better off and a couple on NZ Super about $11 a week better off. These benefits will actually grow over time as wages increase.

What’s likely to lead to better long term prosperity for us and the country – allowing us to keep more of what we earn or a futile attempt to get us to eat more greens?

Seeking a mountain song


Friends have asked me to take the funeral service for their mother tomorrow.

She was a high country woman, born and brought up on a station where she in turn brought up her own family.

She loved the mountains and hills and the family want to sing a hymn or song which reflects that.

I ToThe Hills Will Lift Mine Eyes came to mind but they’d like another suggestion.

There must be another hymn or song that expresses love for the mountains, hills and/or high country but I can’t think of it and no-one else I’ve asked can either.

If you can think of one which might be appropriate I’d be grateful for any suggestions.

Does not compute


The Healthy Food Guide I bought yesterday had two prices printed on the cover.

One was $5.50 including 12.5% GST before October 1 the other, from October 1 was $5.70 including GST of 15%.

Does that mean the extra 2.5% on the cost of the magazine is 20 cents?

I didn’t think so and the handy TV3 calculator confirmed my doubt – the GST increase will be 12 cents.

The company could have rounded the price down to $5.60 but has chosen to round it up eight cents to $5.70.

It may be able to justify the extra eight cents because of other price rises but it shouldn’t try to blame it on GST.

She’ll be right when you’re turning left


How hard is it to understand that if you’re turning right you give way to all traffic?

The response to Transport Minister Steven Joyce’s announcement that from 2012 left turning traffic will no longer have to give way to vehicles turning right suggests some people find it very difficult.

As a rule of thumb if another vehicle would drive into your driver’s door if  it keeps going when you take the right of way, you should give way to it.

That makes sense except if you’re turning left and the other one is turning right which is what our current law requires. The one turning right would bang into the driver’s door of the one turning left if the left one took right of way but this is the exception which proves the rule.

There are several problems with the left turning vehicle being required to give way. We’re the only country in the world which applies that rule which confuses travellers coming here and us when we drive elsewhere.

If the right turning driver is prudent s/he will wait to ensure the vehicle indicating it’s going left is not only going to go left but is also going to give way because sometimes it’s indicating to go left because the indicator hasn’t turned off and sometimes the driver doesn’t give way when s/he should.

Then sometimes the one turning left does give way although the right turning driver often sees a vehicle behind the one turning left which will go straight ahead so the one turning right has to give way to that.

But sometimes the driver in the one turning left hasn’t checked the rear vision mirror and gives way to the right turning one which is giving way to the vehicle behind the left turning one. Then sometimes the one behind the one turning left holds back although the one turning right still hesitates and the one turning left still gives way (are you keeping up here? If not Offsetting Behaviour explains it more clearly).

If we go back to the way the road rule used to be, and the way it applies everywhere else, the right turning vehcile gives way to all traffic which should end the confusion, make intersections safer and help traffic flow better.

Though regardless of the road rule, prudent drivers will prepare to give way even if they have right of way, just in case the drivers who ought to give way don’t.

September 30 in history


On September 30:

1399  Henry IV was proclaimed King of England.

1744  France and Spain defeated the Kingdom of Sardinia at the Battle of Madonna dell’Olmo.

1791  The Magic Flute, the last opera composed by Mozart, premiered at Freihaus-Theater auf der Wieden in Vienna.

1791  The National Constituent Assembly in Paris was dissolved; Parisians hailed Maximilien Robespierre and Jérôme Pétion as incorruptible patriots.

1813  Battle of Bárbula: Simón Bolívar defeated Santiago Bobadilla.


1832 Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis, American labour activist, was born (d. 1905).

1860 Britain’s first tram service begins in Birkenhead, Merseyside.

1882  The world’s first commercial hydroelectric power plant (later known as Appleton Edison Light Company) began operation on the Fox River in Appleton, Wisconsin.

1888  Jack the Ripper killed his third and fourth victims, Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes.

1895  Madagascar became a French protectorate.

1901 Hubert Cecil Booth patented the vacuum cleaner.


1903  The new Gresham’s School was officially opened by Field Marshal Sir Evelyn Wood.


1906  The Real Academia Galega, Galician language’s biggest linguistic authority, started working in Havana.

Logo of the Royal Galician Academy

1921 Scottish actress Deborah Kerr was born (d 2007).

1924 US author Truman Capote was born.

1927  Babe Ruth became the first baseball player to hit 60 home runs in a season.

1931  Start of “Die Voortrekkers” youth movement for Afrikaners in Bloemfontein.


1935  The Hoover Dam, was dedicated.

Hoover Dam

1935 US singer Johnny Mathis was born.

1938  Britain, France, Germany and Italy signed the Munich Agreement, allowing Germany to occupy the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia.

1938  The League of Nations unanimously outlawed “intentional bombings of civilian populations”.

1939  General Władysław Sikorski became commander-in-chief of the Polish Government in exile.


1943 Marilyn McCoo, American singer (The 5th Dimension), was born.

1943 Ian Ogilvy, British Actor, was born.


1945  The Bourne End rail crash, in Hertfordshire killed 43 people.

1949  The Berlin Airlift ended.

1954  The U.S. Navy submarine USS Nautilus was commissioned as the world’s first nuclear reactor powered vessel.


1955  Film icon James Dean died in a road accident aged 24.

1957 US actress Fran Drescher was born.

1962 Sir Guy Powles became New Zealand’s first Ombudsman.

Government watchdog appointed

1962  Mexican-American labour leader César Chávez founded the United Farm Workers.

UFW logo.png

1962  James Meredith entered the University of Mississippi, defying segregation.


1965  General Suharto took power after an alleged coup by the Communist Party of Indonesia. In response, Suharto and his army massacred over a million Indonesians suspected of being communists.


1965 The Lockheed L-100, the civilian version of the C-130 Hercules, was introduced.


1966  The British protectorate of Bechuanaland declared its independence, and became the Republic of Botswana. Seretse Khama took office as the first President.

1967  BBC Radio 1 was launched and Tony Blackburn presented its first show; the BBC’s other national radio stations also adopted numeric names.


1968  The Boeing 747 was shown to the public for the first time at the Boeing Everett Factory.


1970  Jordan made a deal with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) for the release of the remaining hostages from the Dawson’s Field hijackings.

1975  The Hughes (later McDonnell-Douglas, now Boeing) AH-64 Apache made its first flight.

1977  Philippine political prisoners, Eugenio Lopez, Jr. and Sergio Osmeña III escaped from Fort Bonifacio Maximum Security Prison.

1979  The Hong Kong MTR commenced service with the opening of its Modified Initial System (aka. Kwun Tong Line).

MTR Corporation.svg

1980  Ethernet specifications were published by Xerox working with Intel and Digital Equipment Corporation.

1982  Cyanide-laced Tylenol killed six people in the Chicago area.

1986 Martin Guptill, New Zealand cricketer, was born.

Martin Guptill 2.jpg

1986 Mordechai Vanunu, who revealed details of Israel covert nuclear program to British media, was kidnapped in Rome.


1989  Foreign Minister of West Germany Hans-Dietrich Genscher‘s speech from the balcony of the German embassy in Prague.

1990 The Dalai Lama unveiled the Canadian Tribute to Human Rights in Ottawa.


1991  President Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti was forced from office.

1993  An earthquake hit India‘s Latur and Osmanabad district of Marathwada (Au rangabad division) leaving tens of thousands of people dead and many more homeless.

1994  Aldwych tube station (originally Strand Station) of the London Underground closed after eighty-eight years of service.

Main entrance on the Strand, London

1999 Japan’s worst nuclear accident at a uranium reprocessing facility in Tōkai-mura, northeast of Tokyo.

2004 The first images of a live giant squid in its natural habitat were taken 600 miles south of Tokyo.


2004 – The AIM-54 Phoenix, the primary missile for the F-14 Tomcat, was retired from service.

AIM-54 6 Pack.jpg

2005 – The controversial drawings of Muhammad were printed in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

2006 the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia adopted the Constitutional Act that proclaimed the new Constitution of Serbia.

Coat of arms or logo.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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