Word of the day


Oculoplania – letting one’s eyes wander while assessing someone’s charms.

MPs getting plastered


First it was Young Farmers, now MPs are getting plastered  too.

The Parliamentary ‘Let’s Get Plastered for Breast Cancer event is part of a nationwide campaign by Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) to remind women of the importance of staying in touch with their breast health.

Thirty MPs and staff are taking part, making plaster casts of their busts, which will be revealed at an anonymous exhibition of breast sculptures to be held at Parliament next Tuesday, 12 October.

“We are delighted that MPs and parliamentary staff are supporting this event.  It’s a fun way to highlight the need for women to monitor their breast health and stay alert to any changes,” says RWNZ National President, Liz Evans. 

“Breast screening is the best tool for diagnosing breast cancer, but for women outside the 45-69 year age range covered by the national screening programme, self-awareness is vital.”

Next week’s event at the Beehive is being hosted by National list MP Dr Jackie Blue, who was also New Zealand’s first breast physician.  She maintains a keen interest in breast cancer awareness.

Rural Women is selling plaster kits for $10 with the profits donated the the NZ Breast Cancer Foundation. More than 20 breast sculpture events have been organised around the country.

Another chapter for Carter’s book


Chris Carter has given up on being the candidate for Te Atatu.

“In good conscience I cannot campaign on behalf of a leader I have criticised,” Mr Carter said.

“It would not be fair to him or ethical of me. I hold this view while at the same believing the Labour Party, with its values of social democracy and concern for the welfare of ordinary people, is the best party to serve the interests of New Zealanders.”

Mr Carter said he remained a loyal Labour supporter.

This will make another interesting chapter in the book he’s threatening to write.



I’m obviously not concentrating when compiling the daily history posts – only 5/10 in NZ History Online’s weekly history quiz.

Technorati survey for State of Blogosphere


Technorati has been tracking the blogosphere through  its State of the Blogosphere study since 2004.

They are  inviting bloggers to participate in this year’s survey.

The goal of the study is to create a complete snapshot of the activities and interactions that make up the Blogosphere by asking you, the bloggers, to share some information about your habits. The survey includes questions like how, when and why you blog. Is this a side business, full time job or something you do for fun?

It took about 15 mintues to complete.

Results will be published on its website on November 3.

Will polls influence vote?


In general elections advertising or polling which might influence voters is not permitted after midnight on election eve.

With postal voting for local body elections campaigning and polling continues after the ballot papers have been distributed.

The ODT published a poll  last weekend of Clutha, Central Otago, Waitaki and Queenstown Lakes Districts which showed a couple of close results but will it influence the vote?

In Clutha Juno Hayes, the sitting mayor, had 34.8% with challengers Hamish Anderson and Bryan Cadogan tied on 31.3%.

In Central Otago sitting mayor Malcolm Macpherson had 38.7% support with Tony Lepper on 37.8% and Jeff Hill on 23.4%.

The Clutha race appears to reflect dissatisfaction with the incumbent but the split in the opposition may let him slip through. However the poll had a margin of error of 11.4% so it’s still anyone’s race.

In Central results show those who support the incumbent should vote for him and those who don’t you’d have a better chance of unseating him if they vote for Lepper than Hill.

In Queenstown Lakes Vanessa Van Uden received 62.5% support with Simon Hayes on 32.8%. In Waitaki sitting mayor Alex Familton had 54.8% support with current deputy mayor Gary Kircher gaining 37.5%.

Both should give the leaders some comfort but with margins of error of 9.6% in Queenstown Lakes and 9.3% in Waitaki there  is still the possibility of an upset.

Did the poll influence my vote? No, I posted my ballot paper on Tuesday after reading the results but they didn’t show change my mind over who I was supporting.

However, had I not already decided who I was supporting the poll may have been a factor I took into account.

UPDATE: The NBR quotes AUT University’s Institute of Public Policy director David Wilson who says those worried about the influence of polls shouldn’t underestimate voters.

Someone told someone but we don’t know who


In nine years with Labour in power did anyone leak anything of significance in order to sabotage government policy?

After less than two years with National in power there have already been two leaks designed to do that.

The first was information from the cabinet paper on a stocktake of minerals on Schedule 4 land. The second was information from a  Cabinet paper on lifting performance and service delivery in the State Sector.

The State Services Commissioner, Iain Rennie,  investigated and discovered someone told someone something they shouldn’t have but was unable to determine who:

In respect of the minerals inquiry it was found that there was a deliberate unauthorised disclosure. There was not sufficient evidence to establish who disclosed the information. The evidence does not indicate that disclosures were more likely to have come from the Public Service than other parties who had access to the information disclosed.

In respect of the machinery of government paper investigation it was found that there was a deliberate unauthorised disclosure of information relating to the options contained in the Cabinet paper. No one person was identified as having deliberately disclosed the information. However, at least one aspect of what was being proposed was probably disclosed by a public servant. The report found that the evidence lead to the conclusion that one of the sources for the journalists was either someone in the National Library, or someone being told something by someone in the National Library, who then passed this information on. This is a disappointing finding as it indicates a lapse from the high standard of professionalism held by the majority of public servants.

In the introduction to his statement Mr Rennie said:

The unauthorised disclosure of government information strikes at the heart of the crucial relationship of trust that needs to exist between Ministers and their officials, for the business of government to work as it should. Ministers have a right to make decisions in a calm and deliberative manner and through processes which are not destabilised by premature and unauthorised disclosure.

This reminded me of  an interview earlier this year in which Mark Prebble told Kathryn Ryan:

“Public servants have to implement the policies of the government of the day

Many people come to government to try to support a good cause. They don’t realise the one who has to determine which good cause is to be supported is the democratically minister of the day. And quite a lot of departments, not slinging off at their professionalism but say DOC, you get a lot of people who join DOC because they know they want to save a kakapo and if not a kakapo it will be the lesser spotted whatever. And if the lesser spotted whatever is not on the minister’s list of priorities they’ll find it hard to do.

A key part of the role of senior public servants is to explain to them well it is the minister who has to take the heat in public about that and the public servant really isn’t just employed to follow their own interests and if they want to follow their interests they can go and work in the private sector like anyone else. . .

. . . No public servant should be zealous about the particular cause they’re interested in. They should be zealous about democracy and respecting the law. . .”

The  public service must be apolitical.

This doesn’t mean public servants can’t hold political views but it does mean they can’t be political in their work and they can’t  use knowledge gained in their work to further their political aims.

October 7 in history


On October 7:

3761 BC – The epoch of the modern Hebrew calendar (Proleptic Julian calendar).

336  Pope Mark died, leaving the papacy vacant.

Marcus (papa).jpg

1513  Battle of La Motta: Spanish troops under Ramón de Cardona defeated the Venetians.

1542  Explorer Cabrillo discovered Santa Catalina Island off the California coast.


1571  The Battle of Lepanto – the Holy League (Spain and Italy) destroyed the Turkish fleet.

Battle of Lepanto 1571.jpg

1763 George III  issued British Royal Proclamation of 1763, closing aboriginal lands in North America north and west of Alleghenies to white settlements.


1776 Crown Prince Paul of Russia married Sophie Marie Dorothea of Württemberg.

1777 American Revolutionary War: The Americans defeated the British in the Second Battle of Saratoga, also known as the Battle of Bemis Heights.


1780  American Revolutionary War: Battle of Kings Mountain American Patriot militia defeat Loyalist irregulars led by British colonel Patrick Ferguson in South Carolina.

KingsMountain DeathOfFerguson Chappel.jpg

1800  French corsair Robert Surcouf, commander of the 18-gun ship La Confiance, captured the British 38-gun Kent inspiring the traditional French song Le Trente-et-un du mois d’août.

Robert Surcouf portrait.jpg

1826  The Granite Railway began operations as the first chartered railway in the U.S.

1828  The city of Patras, Greece, was liberated by the French expeditionary force in Peloponnese under General Maison.


1840  Willem II became King of the Netherlands.

1864  American Civil War: Battle of Darbytown Road: the Confederate forces’ attempt to regain ground that had been lost around Richmond is thwarted.

1864 American Civil War: U.S.S. Wachusett captured the CSS Florida Confederate raider ship while in port in Bahia, Brazil.

CSS Florida

1868  Cornell University held opening day ceremonies; initial student enrollment was 412, the highest at any American university to that date.

The Cornell University Seal

1870  Franco-Prussian War – Siege of Paris: Leon Gambetta fled Paris in a balloon.


1879  Germany and Austria-Hungary signed the “Twofold Covenant” and created the Dual Alliance.

1900 Heinrich Himmler, German Nazi official, was born (d. 1945).

1912  The Helsinki Stock Exchange‘s first transaction.

Fabianinkatu 14.jpg

1914 Sarah Churchill, British actress, was born (d. 1982).

1916 Georgia Tech defeated Cumberland University 222-0 in the most lopsided college football game in American history.

GT Cumberland 222 scoreboard.jpg

1917 Count Felix Graf von Luckner, the German “Sea-Devil” was imprisoned in New Zealand.

German 'Sea Devil' imprisoned in NZ

1919  KLM, the flag carrier of the Netherlands, was founded. It is the oldest airline still operating under its original name.

KLM logo.png

1920  The Suwalki Agreement between Poland and Lithuania was signed.

1931  Desmond Tutu, South African archbishop and Nobel Laureate, was born.

1933  Air France was inaugurated, after being formed from a merger of 5 French airlines.

Air France logo 2009.svg

1934  Aeromexico was inaugareted 75 years after it becomes the # 1 airline in Mexico.

1940  World War II: the McCollum memo proposed bringing the United States into the war in Europe by provoking the Japanese to attack the United States.


1942  World War II: The October Matanikau action on Guadalcanal began as United States Marine Corps forces attacked Japanese Army units along the Matanikau River.


1944 World War II: Uprising at Birkenau concentration camp, Jews burned down the crematoria.

1949  German Democratic Republic (East Germany) formed.

Flag Coat of arms

1952 Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister and former President of the Russian Federation, was born.

1955  Beat poet Allen Ginsberg read his poem “Howl” for the first time at a poetry reading in San Francisco.

1958  President of Pakistan Iskander Mirza, with the support of General Ayub Khan and the army, suspended the 1956 constitution, imposed martial law, and cancelled the elections scheduled for January 1959.


1959 U.S.S.R. probe Luna 3 transmitted its first ever photographs of the far side of the moon.


1962  U.S.S.R. performed nuclear test at Novaya Zemlya.


1963  John F. Kennedy signed ratification for Partial Test Ban Treaty.


1977  The adoption of the Fourth Soviet Constitution.

1977 CPA 4774.jpg 

1982  Cats opened on Broadway.


1985  The Achille Lauro was hijacked by Palestine Liberation Organization.


1993  The Great Flood of 1993 ended at St. Louis, Missouri, 103 days after it began.

Flood waters inundated parts of Jefferson City, MO and threatened the Missouri State Capitol during the "Great Flood of 1993".

2001  The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan started with an air assault and covert operations on the ground.

2004 King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia abdicated.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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