Word of the day


Misosophy – hatred of knowledge or wisdom.

Generalising about Gen Y


Gen Y was the topic of my discussion with Jim Mora on Critical Mass today.

It was prompted by a series published in The Age:

Who are they? Talking about Me generation

Love Life Asking Y

Don’t say we are lazy brats, whatever

Entering into the sprit of things

Going for the good life


Tuesday’s answers


Monday’s questions were:

1. Who wrote: “To be a humorist, one must see the world out of focus.”?

2. What are the bingo calls for 5, 45 and 76?

3. Who is the Secretary General of the UN?

4. What is the common name for digitalis?

5. It’s lengua in Spanish, langue in French and whatero in Maori, what is it in English?

Points for answers:

Andrei got four right and a bonus for being multi-lingual and wins this week’s electronic bouquet. (I’m not sure that whatero  is the word for tongue in the sense of language but the Spanish and French words are so I’m accepting that.)

David got three and a bonus for reminding me a genus ought to have a capital letter).

Robert got one right and a bonus for humour.

PDM got two and a bonus for knowing the other numbers.

The answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

Some more foreign than others


Why does an increasingly more urbanised population care so much about farmland?

Most will never own it nor want to; some may visit a farm but many will never get any closer to one than a trip down State Highway 1 at 100 kph, or faster.

In spite of that they’re very keen to have a say in who the owners can sell it to – or rather not sell it to.

At the moment any sale of five hectares or more of farmland must go before the Overseas Investment Commission if a foreigner wants to buy it.

I don’t have a problem with some oversight over land sales to people from other countries, but why five hectares?

Depending where it is that could be more than enough for at least one thriving horticulture business or not enough to carry a  single stock unit. Why doesn’t the ownership of flat, fertile land where the climate is temperate matter if who owns rough, hilly, less productive land where it blows and snows does?

If you looked at farms from the road you may be able to tell something about the owners’ ability as farmers but I doubt if you’d be able to work out where they came from. Even if you went on to the farms and spoke to managers and staff it probably wouldn’t be obvious if the owners were New Zealanders or not.

I can see why people wouldn’t want all or even most land owned by foreigners and I also understand the danger of vertical integration of the supply chain by foreigners. They can’t take the land with them but they could take the produce and valuable export dollars.

But it doesn’t need a total ban on land sales to foreigners to keep processing and some of the export returns here.

However, the anti-foreign ownership feeling isn’t just about people from overseas. A Curia poll (on which Cactus Kate, Kiwiblog and Whale Oil have commented) shows those asked regarded some people as more foreign than others.

Sixty five percent of people polled wanted land sold only to New Zealand residents. That dropped to 55% if staff were locals; 54% if the owners paid tax here; and 52%  if the extra capital from the owners tripled exports.

But the most telling result was on the question which moved from foreigners in general to specific nationalities. If the buyers were from Australia 18% were extremely uncomfortable and 42% weren’t uncomfortable at all; if the buyers were French 31% were extremely uncomfortable and 24% weren’t at all uncomfortable; if the buyers were Chinese 41% were extremely uncomfortable and 21% weren’t uncomfortable at all; if the buyers were British 23% were extremely uncomfortable and 31% weren’t at all uncomfortable and if the buyers were from the USA 27% were extremely uncomfortable and 24% weren’t uncomfortable at all.

This means that the opposition isn’t necessarily to foreign ownership per se – the strength of feeling varies with where the would-be owners come from.

That explains why the possible sale of the Crafar Farms to Chinese owners has caused an uproar but the actual sale of Big Sky dairy farm in the Maniototo to Harvard University’s global investment fund has hardly raised an eyebrow.

There is some logic in the desire for some control of farm sales to foreigners. But this poll shows that arguments for a total ban on sales to foreigners is based on emotion and one of those emotions is xenophobia.

Carter not a John A Lee


Chris Carter is the first MP to be expelled from the Labour Party since John A. Lee was kicked out in 1940.

Both expulsions were prompted by criticisms of their leaders but that’s where the comparison ends.

It wasn’t just Carter’s criticism of Phil Goff. You only have to look at his interview on Q&A to see that he still feels aggrieved and has no remorse.

Well, I got angry about being hung out to try over it, cos I was working my guts out and there was no private travel, it was all government business, and I felt Mr Goff hadn’t been loyal to me. You know, loyalty’s a two-way thing, Paul.

He keeps saying he’s loyal to Labour but his actions contradict that.

Any MP who doesn’t realise it’s not about him/her, it’s about the party is a liability.

Carter doesn’t get that and because he doesn’t he won’t go quietly.

October 12 in history


On October 12 in history:

539 BC – The army of Cyrus the Great of Persia took Babylon.

Portrait of Cyrus the Great.jpg

1216 King John of England lost his crown jewels in The Wash.

1279  Nichiren, a Japanese Buddhist monk founder of Nichiren Buddhism, inscribed the Dai-Gohonzon.


1398  The Treaty of Salynas was signed between Grand Duke of Lithuania Vytautas the Great and the Teutonic Knights, who received Samogitia.


1492  Christopher Columbus‘s expedition landed on The Bahamas. The explorer believed he has reached South Asia.

1654  The Delft Explosion devastated the city, killing more than 100 people.


1692  The Salem Witch Trials were ended by a letter from Massachusetts Governor William Phips.


1773 America’s first insane asylum opened for ‘Persons of Insane and Disordered Minds’ in Virginia

1792  First celebration of Columbus Day in the USA held in New York

1793  The cornerstone of Old East, the oldest state university building in the United States, was laid on the campus of the University of North Carolina.

1810  First Oktoberfest: Bavarian royalty invited the citizens of Munich to join the celebration of the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen.

1822  Pedro I of Brazil was proclaimed the emperor of the Brazil.

Half-length painted portrait of a brown-haired man with mustache and goatee, wearing a uniform with gold epaulettes and the Order of the Golden Fleece on a red ribbon around his neck and a black and red sash of office across his chest

1823  Charles Macintosh, of Scotland, sold the first raincoat.


1866 Ramsay MacDonald, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom,was born (d. 1937).


1871  Criminal Tribes Act (CTA) enacted by British rule in India, which named over 160 local communities ‘Criminal Tribes’, i.e. hereditary criminals.


1872 Ralph Vaughan Williams, English composer, was born (d. 1958).


1892  The Pledge of Allegiance was first recited by students in many US public schools, as part of a celebration marking the 400th anniversary of Columbus’s voyage.


1901  President Theodore Roosevelt officially renamed the “Executive Mansion” the White House.

1915 World War I: British nurse Edith Cavell was executed by a German firing squad for helping Allied soldiers escape from Belgium.

Edith Cavell.jpg

1917 World War I: The First Battle of Passchendaele resulted in the largest single day loss of life in New Zealand history.

NZ's ‘blackest day’ at Passchendaele

1918 The arrival of the Niagra was blamed for introducing a deadly new influenza to New Zealand.

<em>Niagara</em>'s arrival blamed for flu pandemic

1918  A massive forest fire killed 453 people in Minnesota.

Cloquet Fire of 1918

1928 An iron lung respirator was used for the first time at Children’s Hospital, Boston.

1933  The United States Army Disciplinary Barracks on Alcatraz Island, was acquired by the United States Department of Justice.

1935 Luciano Pavarotti, Italian tenor, was born (d. 2007).


1942 Melvin Franklin, American singer (The Temptations), was born (d. 1995).

1942 World War II: Japanese ships retreated after their defeat in the Battle of Cape Esperance with the Japanese commander, Aritomo Gotō dying from wounds suffered in the battle and two Japanese destroyers sunk by Allied air attack.


1945  World War II: Desmond Doss was the first conscientious objector to receive the U.S. Medal of Honor.

DossDesmondT USArmy.jpg

1948 Rick Parfitt, British musician (Status Quo), was born.

1953 “The Caine Mutiny Court Martial” opened at Plymouth Theatre, New York.


1960  Cold War: Nikita Khrushchev pounded his shoe on a desk at United Nationa General Assembly meeting to protest a Philippine assertion of Soviet Union colonial policy being conducted in Eastern Europe.

1960  Inejiro Asanuma, Chair of the Japanese Socialist Party, was assassinated by Otoya Yamaguchi, a 17-year-old.


1962 Columbus Day Storm struck the U.S. Pacific Northwest with record wind velocities; 46 dead and at least U.S. $230 million in damages.


1964 The Soviet Union launched the Voskhod 1 into Earth orbit as the first spacecraft with a multi-person crew and the first flight without space suits.

Voskhod1 patch.jpg

1968 Equatorial Guinea became independent from Spain.

1976 China announced that Hua Guofeng was the successor to the late Mao Zedong as chairman of Communist Party of China.


1979 The first in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy comedy science fiction series by Douglas Adams was published.


1979 The lowest recorded non-tornadic atmospheric pressure, 87.0 kPa (870 mbar or 25.69 inHg), occurred in the Western Pacific during Typhoon Tip.


1983 Japan’s former Prime Minister Tanaka Kakuei was found guilty of taking a $2 million bribe from Lockheed and was sentenced to 4 years in jail.


1984  Brighton hotel bombing: The Provisional Irish Republican Army attempted to assassinate Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her cabinet. Thatcher escaped but the bomb kills five people and wounded 31.

1988 Jaffna University Helidrop: Commandos of Indian Peace Keeping Force raided the Jaffna University campus to capture the LTTE chief and walked into a trap.

1988 Two officers of the Victoria Police were gunned down executional style in the Walsh Street police shootings.

1991  Askar Akayev, previously chosen President of Kyrgyzstan by republic’s Supreme Soviet was confirmed president in an uncontested poll.


1997  Sidi Daoud massacre in Algeria; 43 killed at a fake roadblock.

1999  Pervez Musharraf took power in Pakistan from Nawaz Sharif through a bloodless coup.


1999 – The Day of Six Billion: The proclaimed 6 billionth living human in the world is born.

2000 The USS Cole was badly damaged in Aden, Yemen, by two suicide bombers, killing 17 crew members and wounding at least 39.

USS Cole (DDG 67) underway

2002 Terrorists detonated bombs in Paddy’s Pub and the Sari Club in Kuta, Bali, killing 202 and wounding over 300.

2005  The second Chinese human spaceflight Shenzhou 6 launched carrying Fèi Jùnlóng and Niè Hǎishèng for five days in orbit.

Shenzhou 6.svg

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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