Just wondering . . .

November 28, 2010

. . .  if anyone actually reads and understands the licence agreement on software upgrades before clicking yes I have read and understood the licence agreement.


Brash mis-reported again

November 28, 2010

An email arrived yesterday saying: I gave a speech this evening to the Orewa branch of the National Party.  Because the electorate chair had made it clear that it was open to the media, several journalists now have copies of it, so I am sending it to a wider group of friends so that you know what I actually said, not just what the media say I said!

It came from Don Brash and when I read the Herald on Sunday this morning I can see why he did that.

The headline says: Brash attacks Maori again.

The intro says:

Former National leader Don Brash attacked Maori in a provocative speech to party faithful at Orewa last night – returning to the issues that propelled him to the leadership six years ago.

Titled Return to Orewa, Brash said Maori have no special rights and there was no grounds for a separate Maori political party.

Further down he is quoted directly:

“The whole concept of a racially based political party would be seen as grossly inappropriate if wanted by any other race than Maori,” he said. “What would be the reaction if a group of New Zealanders of European background decided to set up a ‘European New Zealanders’ Party’?

“There would be outcry, and rightly so.”

Brash said general legislation, such as the Resource Management Act, which requires local councils to consult their communities and Maori separately, should be “insulting” and “patronising” to Maori people.

“The Maori electorates were established for a five-year period in 1867. There is no logic for them at all 143 years later.”

The headline and intro are opinion which in my view misconstrue what he said and the story does not give context to his remarks with this:

National campaigned in at least the last three elections on the principle that all New Zealanders are equal before the law. That principle was enshrined in Article III of the Treaty of Waitangi, which guaranteed that all New Zealanders would have the rights and privileges of British subjects.

Let me say to avoid the slightest ambiguity that I have always supported the Treaty settlement process. I still do. There were clearly gross injustices committed historically, and where those can be established beyond reasonable doubt, compensation should be paid to the descendants of those affected. One can debate how big those settlements should be, but I don’t think any fair person can object to the principle of compensation, provided of course that it is both fair and final.

But there is absolutely no case that I can see for treating Maori people differently in general legislation, as is done for example in the Resource Management Act, which enjoins local councils to consult with their communities and with Maori. If I were Maori, I would find that grossly insulting language, patronizing, and implying as it does that Maori are not part of the community.

Nor are there any grounds for separate Maori political representation, in Parliament or anywhere else. The Maori electorates were established for a five year period in 1867. There is no logic for them at all 143 years later. Maori are absolutely capable of being elected to Parliament on their own merits, and when I was in Parliament there were 21 Members of Parliament with Maori ancestry, only seven of them elected in the separate Maori electorates.

 And of course, the same principle applies to local government. Here in Auckland at the recent election, and without any special legislation, Maori achieved the proportion of elected representatives on the new Council that their numbers warrant.

You can agree of not with what he said but those views are not an attack on Maori.

He is not suggesting they have fewer rights than any other New Zealanders, he is criticising legislation which gives them more.

A European, or any other racially based party would be seen as grossly inappropriate.

It could be seen as insulting and patronising that Maori have to be consulted separately because it suggests they don’t have the same rights and abilities as anyone else.

The Maori seats were established for a five-year period more than 100 years ago, there is no longer any logic for them and the Commission which designed MMP recommended that they went when MMP was introduced.

Like Don I support the settlement of past grievances. Some appalling things were done in the past and while individually no-one today is responsible for that, as a country we do have a responsibility to make amends and pay compensation.

The Maori culture must be respected and protected – if we don’t do it here it won’t be done anywhere else.

The the over representation of Maori in negative statistics and under representation in positive ones must be addressed.

It would be racist to say Maori are not New Zealanders or treat them as anything but New Zealanders. It is racist to treat any group of New Zealanders as anything other than New Zealanders.

Regardless of what happened in the past and any problems there are now, we have to be very, very careful about treating any group as special or different. Special  or different for supposedly positive reasons can very easily become special and different for negative ones.


Performance beats appearance

November 28, 2010

The contrast between Silver Fern Farms and Alliance Group at the Waimumu Field Days earlier this year was marked.

SFF looked smart with its new black and green branded tent. Alliance looked a bit tired under old, white canvas.

When I mentioned that to my farmer he said, “Don’t be fooled by appearances, look at their performance.”

He has been proved right.

In spite of very good PR and distinctive branding, the contents of SFF’s annual report aren’t very flash:

Silver Fern Farms has reported a net operating loss before tax for the 12 months ended 30 September 2010 of $800,000 (2009 profit $5.4m) from total revenue of $1,810m (2009 $2,014m).

In addition, one-off extraordinary restructuring costs of $7.2m were incurred. . .

The company moved its financial end of year to 30 September to be in line with industry convention. This year’s statutory accounts for the 13-month period shows $14.0m net loss (including non-recurring items) after tax, having accounted for two Septembers. September is a loss-making month in the industry’s business cycle, because of the low activity and high fixed cost nature of the business.

Total debt was reduced over the period by $67m to $117m as the company refinanced its banking arrangements, as well as repaying the $75m SFF030 Bond on 15 November 2010. This will save approximately $3m in ongoing interest annually.

Contrast that with Alliance’s annual report which showed an operating profit of of $29.6 million from a turnover of $1.4 billion for the year ending September 30. It will be distributing a pool of $12.6 million to shareholders and a 5% fully imputed dividend.

SFF has done well to reduce debt but still has only a 61.3 percent equity ratio while Alliance had an equity ratio of 81.5%.

Demand for lamb on overseas markets is high but bad weather throughout most of the country and a slow start to spring growth has led to a large drop in the supply of stock.

Farmers are already benefitting from what is a sellers’ market but it will be a tough year for meat companies.

If we judge them by their perofrmance rather than appearances, Alliance will be better able to cope with a tough season than SFF.


November 28 in history

November 28, 2010

On November 28:

1095 – On the last day of the Council of Clermont, Pope Urban II appointed Bishop Adhemar of Le Puy and Count Raymond IV of Toulouse to lead the First Crusade to the Holy Land.

1443 – Skanderbeg and his forces liberated Kruja in Middle Albania.

1520 – After navigating through the South American strait, three ships under the command of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan reached the Pacific Ocean, becoming the first Europeans to sail from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific.

1582 – William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway paid a £40 bond for their marriage licence.

1628  John Bunyan, English cleric and author. was born (d. 1688).

1632 Jean-Baptiste Lully, French composer, was born  (d. 1687).

1660 – At Gresham College, 12 men, including Christopher Wren, Robert Boyle, John Wilkins, and Sir Robert Moray decided to found what became the Royal Society.

 

1729 – Natchez Indians massacred 138 Frenchmen, 35 French women, and 56 children at Fort Rosalie.

1757 – William Blake, British poet, was born  (d. 1827).

1785 – The Treaty of Hopewell was signed.

1811 – Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73, was premiered at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig.

1814 – The Times in London was for the first time printed by automatic, steam powered presses built by German inventors Friedrich Koenig and Andreas Friedrich Bauer, signaling the beginning of the availability of newspapers to a mass audience.

1820  Friedrich Engels, German philosopher, was born (d. 1895).

1821 – Panama Independence Day: Panama separated from Spain and joined Gran Colombia.

Flag Coat of arms

1829  Anton Rubinstein, Russian composer, was born (d. 1894).

1843 – Ka Lā Hui: Hawaiian Independence Day – The Kingdom of Hawaii was officially recognised by the United Kingdom and France as an independent nation.

Flag Coat of arms

1862 – American Civil War: In the Battle of Cane Hill, Union troops under General John Blunt defeated General John Marmaduke’s Confederates.

1893 – Women voted in a national election for the first time in the New Zealand general election.

Women vote in first general election

1895 – The first American automobile race took place over the 54 miles from Chicago’s Jackson Park to Evanston, Illinois. Frank Duryea won in approximately 10 hours.

1904  Nancy Mitford, British essayist, was born.

1905 – Irish nationalist Arthur Griffith founded Sinn Féin as a political party with the main aim of establishing a dual monarchy in Ireland.

1907 – In Haverhill, Massachusetts, scrap-metal dealer Louis B. Mayer opened his first movie theatre.

1910 – Eleftherios Venizelos, leader of the Liberal Party, won the Greek election again.

1912 – Albania declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire.

1914 – World War I: Following a war-induced closure in July, the New York Stock Exchange re-opened for bond trading.

1918 – Bucovina voted for the union with the Kingdom of Romania.

1919 – Lady Astor was elected as a Member of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, the first woman to sit in the House of Commons. (Countess Markiewicz, the first to be elected, refused to sit.)

1920 – Irish War of Independence: Kilmichael Ambush – The Irish Republican Army ambush a convoy of British Auxiliaries and kill seventeen.

1929 – Ernie Nevers of the then Chicago Cardinals scores all of the Cardinals’ points in this game as the Cardinals defeat the Chicago Bears 40-6.

1933  Hope Lange, American actress, was born (d. 2003).

1942 Manolo Blahnik, Spanish shoe designer, was born.

1942 – In Boston a fire in the Cocoanut Grove nightclub killed 491 people.

1943 – World War II: Tehran ConferenceU.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin met in Tehran, Iran to discuss war strategy.

1948  Beeb Birtles, Dutch-Australian musician/singer-songwriter; co-founding member of Little River Band, was born.

1958 – Chad, the Republic of the Congo, and Gabon became autonomous republics within the French Community.

1960 – Mauritania became independent of France.

 

1961 Martin Clunes, British actor, was born.

1962  Matt Cameron, American drummer (Soundgarden, Pearl Jam), was born.

1964 – NASA launched the Mariner 4 probe toward Mars.

Mariner 3 and 4.jpg

1972 – Last executions in Paris, of the Clairvaux Mutineers, Roger Bontems and Claude Buffet, guillotined at La Sante Prison.

1975 – East Timor declared its independence from Portugal.

1975 – As the World Turns and The Edge of Night, the final two American soap operas that had resisted going to pre-taped broadcasts, aired their last live episodes.

1979 – Flight TE901, an Air New Zealand sightseeing flight over Antarctica, crashed into the lower slopes of Mt Erebus, near Scott Base, killing all 257 passengers and crew on board.

257 killed in Mt Erebus disaster

1984 – Over 250 years after their deaths, William Penn and his wife Hannah Callowhill Penn were made Honorary Citizens of the United States.

1987 – South African Airways flight 295 crashed into the Indian Ocean, killing all 159 people on-board.

1989 –  Velvet Revolution – In the face of protests, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia announced it would give up its monopoly on political power.

1991 – South Ossetia declared independence from Georgia.

2008 An Air NZ Airbus A320 crashed off the coast of France.

Air NZ A320 crashes in France

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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