Word of the day

November 8, 2010

Honorificabilitudinitatibus – with honour, characterised by honour, deserving respect.


John Carter not seeking re-election

November 8, 2010

Northland MP and Minister John Carter is not seeking re-election.

“It is time for me to relinquish my position as MP in Northland,” Mr Carter said. “After lengthy consideration, I have come to the conclusion that I will not seek re-election in 2011.  

 “This is my eighth term as MP for Northland, the region where I was born and bred. I believe I have represented Northland well for 23 years.  The investment I have made in the region for all of my constituents over this time has been hugely enjoyable and rewarding.  However, the time has arrived for me to move on in my life, thus giving an opportunity for new representation in Northland.

“I have had an incredible journey during my 23 years in Parliament, with many great experiences and an accumulation of achievements that I feel have steadily improved the lot of the people who have consistently put their faith in me to represent them.

“Being a Minister is the pinnacle of an MP’s career and I am enjoying the portfolios I have this term (Minister of Civil Defence, Minister for Racing, Minister for Senior Citizens and Associate Minister of Local Government).

“Civil Defence has certainly stood out and I hope I was able to give some assurance to the people of Canterbury in the early days after the 4 September earthquake.

 “I have also enjoyed being part of the team that prepared the legislation to set up the super city of Auckland.

“Politics is about people and as politicians we have to spend a lot of time listening to what people want. I chaired the Auckland Governance Legislation Committee and believe we reflected the views of the different interest groups involved with the legislation for a unified Auckland city in the best possible way.

“I have also seen first hand, how responsive our Civil Defence Emergency Management Plan is in securing the safety of people. We are leaders in the world in this regard.

“As anyone who knows me will know, I will be working hard for the people of Northland and for those whose interests I represent with my portfolios until the day I leave Parliament Buildings towards the end of next year.”

John has been a very popular and hard working MP in one of the North Island’s biggest electorates and one of the country’s poorest.

He is an enthusiast who loves his job and was thrilled to become a Minister two years ago.

This won’t have been an easy decision for him but it’s important to have renewal in caucus and his resignation will provide the opportunity for a new candidate.


Kiwifruit under threat from disease

November 8, 2010

The government has reacted swiftly to notification of a disease which could threaten the $1.5 billion kiwifruit industry.

Biosecurity Minister David Carter is reassuring kiwifruit growers that the Government is treating a newly discovered vine infection on a North Island kiwifruit orchard very seriously, and is making all necessary resources available.

“Swift action is underway to confirm whether the vine infection is Psa, a bacterial kiwifruit vine disease.  MAF Biosecurity New Zealand is working closely with ZESPRI, Plant & Food Research and New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc.

“We are confident that robust testing will quickly determine the next steps.

“This potential risk to our kiwifruit industry is being taken seriously.  While the strain of the disease is not yet known, all necessary precautions have been put in place on the orchard to avoid the disease spreading. 

“It is imperative that a considered and responsible approach to this potential threat is taken by all primary sector stakeholders while the kiwifruit industry and Government works out exactly what we are dealing with,” says Mr Carter.     

MAF Biosecurity  said precautions have been taken to mitigate any risk the disease will spread while they wait test results to identify the infection.

All parties are taking the suspected threat seriously and are acting quickly to minimise the risk. If Psa is confirmed, MAFBNZ will work with ZESPRI and NZKGI to implement an agreed action plan.

In the meantime ZESPRI is working with the industry to advise of the current situation, understand how widespread the issue may be and encourage best practice orchard hygiene.

Psa carries no risks associated with human or animal health, and does not affect plants other than kiwifruit vines. This is about the health of the vines, not the health of the fruit.

Being an island insulates us to some extent from biosecurity risks. But it takes only one person carrying something infected into the country to put our plants or animals at risk.

This is why the screening at airports is so strict although not everyone appreciates the need for it.

We were at an agri-business dinner when the discussion turned to immigration procedures. One of the bankers at our table said he never declared he’d been on a farm even if he had because he didn’t want to be delayed.

The immediate and heated reaction from the farmers left him in no doubt over the the stupidity of doing that.


Monday’s quiz

November 8, 2010

1. Which blood group is generally regarded as the universal donor and which is the universal recipient?

2. What do pitch and yaw describe?

3. Who said: “Farming looks mighty easy when your plough is a pencil and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.”?

4. In Spanish and Italian it’s avena, in French it’s l’avoine, in Maori it’s oti – what is it in English?

5. What do the biceps and triceps do?


Two years and what have they done?

November 8, 2010

 It’s two years since the election which put the National led government in to power and what has it done?

A recent edition of Trans Tasman provides part of the answer:

  The collective output of Ministers has been significant. To a degree the real achievements of the Govt have been obscured – the biggest tax reform in a decade, a swifter re-balancing of the economy, and the most far-reaching local body reform (in the shape of Auckland’s “super-city”) in NZ’s modern history. Just as significantly, NZ has weathered a recession Labour’s David Cunliffe says is the worst in 70 years, with unemployment remaining below double digit levels and well below most OECD countries, inflation at 1.5%, and real take-home pay rising. The Govt has increased spending on infrastructure, and decisions in the next few weeks will be announced on its ultrafast broadband initiatives, which it has shaped without any of the “cock-ups,” as one Minister put it, which have occurred in Australia.

Below the radar, the Govt has several programmes aimed at transforming the way NZ Inc does its business. These include public-private partnerships (one prison at Wiri, two schools, base-management in defence are on the immediate horizon). In housing, which constitutes the biggest asset on the state’s books, the Govt has formulated a new policy for partnerships between itself and community groups. Ministers say these changes have been demanded by the sector itself, which has come to accept the old state-provides-all model is not as effective in meeting housing needs as a more commercially driven model.

The Defence White Paper, to be released shortly, will incorporate wide-ranging reforms which will enable a greater share of the defence budget to be directed to the front-line forces. . . .

The list isn’t exhaustive and few, if any, of the achievements have 100 percent support.

Though polls consistently show an encouraging level of support for the government, and more so for Prime Minister John Key, nothing can be taken for granted.

The recession has left no money for a great election year spend-up, which may in the long term be good for the country -we’re still paying for the expensive bribes Labour made to wrest the 2005 election from National.

National and its allies have a year – give or take a few weeks – to continue the work of turning New Zealand round and convince voters to let them carry on.


Where do higher wages come from?

November 8, 2010

“Because higher wages don’t come from government; higher wages come from businesses.”Jeremy Moon on Q&A.

He’s right – though governments do influence how difficult or easy it is for businesses to generate the wealth which enables them to pay higher wages.

Smaller government and the burden that imposes on taxpayers, lower taxes and fewer regulations which are easier to comply with all reduce the costs of doing business.

That leaves more in the business to be spent on wages and expansion which leads to economic growth. That in turn both enables government to provide better social services and reduces the need for some of them.

The more people in better paid jobs, the less need there is for government support which leaves more money for education and health care which makes people more employable . . .

It’s a virtuous circle from which individuals and the country benefit.


November 8 in history

November 8, 2010

On November 8:

1519 – Hernán Cortés entered Tenochtitlán and Aztec ruler Moctezuma welcomed him with a great celebration.

 

1520 – Stockholm Bloodbath began A successful invasion of Sweden by Danish forces resulted in the execution of around 100 people.

 

1576 – Eighty Years’ War: Pacification of Ghent – The States-General of the Netherlands met and united to oppose Spanish occupation.

 

1602 The Bodleian Library at Oxford University opened to the public.

Bodleian20040124CopyrightKaihsuTai.jpg

1620  The Battle of White Mountain ended in a decisive Catholic victory in only two hours.

Battle of White Mountain

1656 Edmond Halley, British astronomer and mathematician, was born.

1745  Charles Edward Stuart invaded England with an army of ~5000.

1793 – The French Revolutionary government opened the Louvre to the public as a museum.

1836  Milton Bradley, American game manufacturer, was born.

1837 Mary Lyon founded Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, which later became Mount Holyoke College.

1847 Bram Stoker, Irish novelist, was born.

1861 – American Civil War: The “Trent Affair” – The USS San Jacinto stopped the United Kingdom mail ship Trent and arrested two Confederate envoys, sparking a diplomatic crisis between the UK and US.

1892  The New Orleans general strike began, uniting black and white  trade unionists in a successful four-day general strike action for the first time.

1895 – While experimenting with electricity, Wilhelm Röntgen discovered the X-ray.

1900  Margaret Mitchell, American author, was born.

1901  Bloody clashes in Athens  following the translation of the Gospels into demotic Greek.

1917  The People’s Commissars gave authority to Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, and Joseph Stalin.

1923  Beer Hall Putsch: Adolf Hitler led the Nazis in an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the German government.

 
Bundesarchiv Bild 119-1486, Hitler-Putsch, München, Marienplatz.jpg

1932 – Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected the 32d President of the United States defeating Herbert Hoover.

1933 – Great Depression: New Deal – US President Franklin D. Roosevelt unveiled the Civil Works Administration, an organisation designed to create jobs for more than 4 million of the unemployed.

 

1935 – A dozen labour leaders came together to announce the creation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO).

 

1936 – New Zealanders Griff Maclaurin and Steve Yates were part of the International Column of anti-fascist volunteers who marched into Madrid, bolstering the city’s defences against the assault of General Franco’s rebel armies.

NZers march into a besieged Madrid

1937 – The Nazi exhibition Der ewige Jude (“The Eternal Jew”) opened in Munich.

1939 The Centennial exhibition opened in Wellington.

 NZ Centennial Exhibition opens

1939 – Venlo Incident: Two British SIS agents were captured by the Germans.

1939 –  Adolf Hitler narrowly escaped the assassination attempt of Georg Elser while celebrating the 16th anniversary of the Beer Hall Putsch.

1941 – The Albanian Communist Party was founded.

 
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1942 – Operation Torch – United States and United Kingdom forces landed in French North Africa. French resistance coup in Algiers, in which 400 civilian French patriots neutralised Vichyist XIXth Army Corps after 15 hours of fighting, and arrested several Vichyst generals.

Torch-troops hit the beaches.jpg

1950  Korean War: United States Air Force Lt. Russell J. Brown shot down two North Korean MiG-15s in the first jet aircraft-to-jet aircraft dogfight in history.

1957 – Operation Grapple X, Round C1: Britain conducted its first successful hydrogen bomb test over Kiritimati in the Pacific.

 

1965 – The British Indian Ocean Territory was created, consisting of Chagos Archipelago, Aldabra, Farquhar and Des Roches islands.

1965 – The Murder (Abolition of the Death Penalty) Act 1965  was given Royal Assent, formally abolishing the death penalty in the United Kingdom.

1965 – The 173rd Airborne was ambushed by over 1,200 Viet Cong in Operation Hump while the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment fought one of the first set-piece engagements of the war between Australian forces and the Vietcong at the Battle of Gang Toi.

1966  Former Massachusetts Attorney General Edward Brooke became the first African American elected to the United States Senate.

1973  The right ear of John Paul Getty III was delivered to a newspaper with a ransom note, convincing his father to pay $US 2.9 million.

1977  Manolis Andronikos,  discovered the tomb of Philip II of Macedon at Vergina.

1978  A 6.1 magnitude earthquake in  Thessaloniki killed 40 people.

1987  Remembrance Day Bombing: A Provisional IRA bomb explode in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland during a Remembrance Day – killing 12 and wounding 63.

2002  Iraq disarmament crisis: UN Security Council Resolution 1441 – The United Nations Security Council unanimously approved a resolution on Iraq, forcing Saddam Hussein to disarm or face “serious consequences”.

Vote: For: 15 Abs.: 0 Against: 0

2003 The Harris Theatere opened commencing a renaissance in the Chicago performing arts community.

The lighted stage of a theatrical production, seen from the left side of the audience in a dark theater. 

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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