Close loss but still a win


Hekia Parata may have lost the election for the seat of Mana but she’s still a winner:

BUCHANAN, Kelly ALL   37
CRAWFORD, Julian Lloyd ALCP   107
DU PLESSIS, Colin ACT   132
FAAFOI, Kris LAB   10,397
LOGIE, Jan GP   1,493
McCARTEN, Matt IND   816
PARATA, Hekia NAT   9,317

She finished only 1080 votes behind Labour’s Kris Kris Faafoi and with 1352 special votes to be counted he won’t be entirely confident the seat is his for at least a week.

The official result is expected to be posted on December 1.

By-elections usually go against a government so National will be delighted that its candidate managed to whittle the 6155 majority retiring MP Winnie Laban had in 2008 to just 1080.

This close loss is a win for Hekia, her campaign team and her party.

They didn’t turn the red seat blue but they did turn it to a faded shade of pink.

Haven’t they done well? To quote her campaign slogan – Heak, Heck Yeah!

Kiwiblog is at campaign HQ:

Word of the day


Quidnunc – one who always wants to know what’s happening; a gossip or busybody.

A time to hold back


The imperative to get the news and get it first sometimes has to be put on hold.

The interviewer on TV3 did his best to get some of the names of the miners trapped in the Pike River mine from those he was interviewing this morning. All have held firm because their families want privacy.

That should be respected.

There aren’t many degrees of separation in New Zealand so many will know people, or know people who know people, who may be among those trapped.

But our understandable interest in the names must come second to the needs and wishes of the families and rescuers.

The media have a right to keep us up to date with what’s happening but they should respect the decision not to identify the miners and families.

West Coast MP Chris Auchinvole told the interviewer that he and  the Ministers, Gerry Brownlee and Kate Wilkinson who had come to the Coast, were there to help but keeping out of the way until needed.

They recognise there is a time to hold back and the media should too.

Turning red to blue a big ask


A win for National candidate Hekia Parata in Mana today would be like Labour winning Bay of Plenty.

That commentators are even contemplating a loss for Labour is a very good reflection on Hekia and the campaign she and the party have run.

Labour started on the wrong foot by selecting a candidate supported by HQ and unions rather than the electorate. The late entry of Matt McCarten which gives another focus for disaffected left voters hasn’t helped.

If Hekia did win, a strange twist of MMP would give National another MP in parliament on the list to replace her and Labour would end an MP down by losing an electorate.

I’m not predicting that, even with a terrific candidate and a faultless campaign, turning a deep red seat to blue is a big ask. But  whatever happens today, Hekia can’t lose – even if she doesn’t take the seat she’s rattled the opposition and anyone who can do that in the heat of a by-election is a winner.

First don’t make it worse


The news that rescue efforts to free up to 27 West Coast miners trapped after an explosion could take days must be frustrating for the family and friends.

But the 69 days it took to free the Chilean miners are an indication of how difficult rescuing miners can be.

One of the reasons for that is the guiding principle of any rescue attempt must be – first don’t make it worse.

Rescuers have to move slowly to ensure they don’t endanger any more lives or inadvertently make matters worse for the trapped miners.

We are still marvelling that no-one was killed by the Canterbury earthquake. Is it too much to hope that there will be a similar miracle in the Pike River mine?

November 20 in history


On November 20:

284 – Diocletian was chosen as Roman Emperor.

762 – During An Shi Rebellion, Tang Dynasty, with the help of Huihe tribe, recaptured Luoyang from the rebels.

1194 – Palermo was conquered by Emperor Henry VI.

1407 – A truce between John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy and Louis of Valois, Duke of Orléans was agreed under the auspices of John, Duke of Berry.

1695 – Zumbi, the last of the leaders of Quilombo dos Palmares in Brazil, was executed.

1620 – Peregrine White,  was born – first English child born in the Plymouth Colony (d. 1704).


1700 – Great Northern War: Battle of Narva – King Charles XII of Sweden defeated the army of Tsar Peter the Great at Narva.

1739 – Start of the Battle of Porto Bello between British and Spanish forces during the War of Jenkins’ Ear.

1765  Sir Thomas Fremantle, British naval captain, was born  (d. 1819).

1820 – An 80-ton sperm whale attacked the Essex  (a whaling ship from Nantucket, Massachusetts) 2,000 miles from the western coast of South America (Herman Melville’s 1851 novel Moby-Dick was in part inspired by this story).

Essex photo 03 b.jpg

1841 – Maketu Wharetotara, the 17-year-old son of the Nga Puhi chief Ruhe, killed five people at Motuarohia in the Bay of Islands.

Mass murder in the Bay of Islands

1845 – Argentine Confederation: Battle of Vuelta de Obligado.

1889 –   Edwin Hubble, American astronomer, was born (d. 1953).

1900 – Chester Gould, American comic strip artist, creator of Dick Tracey, was born.

1908 – Alistair Cooke, British-born journalist, was born (d. 2004).

Alistair Cooke, March 18, 1974 interview

1910 –  Francisco I. Madero issued the Plan de San Luis Potosi, denouncing President Porfirio Díaz, calling for a revolution to overthrow the government of Mexico, effectively starting the Mexican Revolution.

1917 – World War I: Battle of Cambrai began.

1917 – Ukraine was declared a republic.

1923 – Rentenmark replaced the Papiermark as the official currency of Germany at the exchange rate of one Rentenmark to One Trillion (One Billion on the long scale) Papiermark.

1925 Robert F. Kennedy, American politician was born (d. 1968).

1936 – Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera,  founder of the Falange, was killed by a republican execution squad.


1937 Parachuting Santa, George Sellars, narrowly escaped serious injury when he was able to sway his parachute just in time to avoid crashing through the glass roof of the Winter Gardens during the Farmers’ Christmas parade.

Parachuting Santa crashes in Auckland Domain

1940 – World War II: Hungary becomes a signatory of the Tripartite Pact, officially joining the Axis Powers.

1942  Joe Biden, 47th Vice President of the United States, was born.

1943 – World War II: Battle of Tarawa (Operation Galvanic) begins – United States Marines land on Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands and suffer heavy fire from Japanese shore guns and machine guns.

1945 – Nuremberg Trials: Trials against 24 Nazi war criminals start at the Palace of Justice at Nuremberg.

1947 – The Princess Elizabeth marries Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten at Westminster Abbey in London.

1952 – Slánský trials – a series of Stalinist and anti-Semitic show trials in Czechoslovakia.

1956 – Bo Derek, American actress, was born.

1962 – Cuban Missile Crisis ended: In response to the Soviet Union agreeing to remove its missiles from Cuba, U.S. President John F. Kennedy ended the quarantine of the Caribbean nation.

1969 – Vietnam War: The Cleveland Plain Dealer published explicit photographs of dead villagers from the My Lai massacre.

1974 – The United States Department of Justice filed its final anti-trust suit against AT&T.

1975 – Francisco Franco, Caudillo of Spain, died after 36 years in power.


1979 – Grand Mosque Seizure: About 200 Sunni Muslims revolted in Saudi Arabia at the site of the Kaaba in Mecca during the pilgrimage and take about 6000 hostages. The Saudi government received help from French special forces to put down the uprising.

1984 – The SETI Institute was founded.

1985 – Microsoft Windows 1.0 was released.

1989 – Velvet Revolution: The number of protesters assembled in Prague, Czechoslovakia swells from 200,000 the day before to an estimated half-million.

1991 – An Azerbaijani MI-8 helicopter carrying 19 peacekeeping mission team with officials and journalists from Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan was shot down by Armenian military forces in Khojavend district of Azerbaijan.

1992 – Fire broke out in Windsor Castle, badly damaging the castle and causing over £50 million worth of damage.

1993 – Savings and loan crisis: The United States Senate Ethics Committee issued a stern censure of California senator Alan Cranston for his “dealings” with savings-and-loan executive Charles Keating.

1994 – The Angolan government and UNITA rebels signed the Lusaka Protocol in Zambia, ending 19 years of civil war.

1998 – A court in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan declared accused terrorist Osama bin Laden “a man without a sin” in regard to the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.

1998 – The first module of the International Space Station, Zarya, was launched.

2001 – In Washington, D.C., U.S. President George W. Bush dedicated the United States Department of Justice headquarters building as the Robert F. Kennedy Justice Building, honoring the late Robert F. Kennedy on what would have been his 76th birthday.

2003 – A second day of the 2003 Istanbul Bombings destroyed the Turkish head office of HSBC Bank AS and the British consulate.

2008 – After critical failures in the US financial system began to build up after mid-September, the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached its lowest level since 1997.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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