List still seen as second best


In spite of more than 14 years with MMP there’s still a perception that an electorate seat is better than a list one.

Electorate MPs do sometimes opt to seek a list place only, but usually only towards the end of their careers as Michael Cullen did and Lockwood Smith plans to.

It’s much more common for list MPs to try for an electorate seat – some more than once.

The Labour Party has today chosen list MP Phil Twyford as its next candidate in the Te Atatu electorate, replacing ousted MP Chris Carter.

Mr Twyford has saved himself from the embarrassment of missing out on his fourth hope for an electorate seat. He lost out on the Waitakere seat to Carmel Sepuloni. He was also earlier discouraged by the party hierarchy from putting his name forward in two seats – Mt Albert, now held by David Shearer, and Auckland Central, in which Jacinda Ardern will stand.

The question now is, will Chris Carter stay for the full term or will he go early and prompt another by-election?

Word of the day


Obganiate  to irritate with reiteration; to annoy someone by constant repetition.

Saturday’s smiles


Apropos of the previous post, even though I’ve used it before:

If the three wise men had been women: they would have arrived in time to help with the birth, cleaned the stable, brought food and useful gifts; and there’d now be peace on earth.

Ministry’s role not to narrow choice


Among John Armstrong’s awards for the year is:

The Tammy Wynette “Stand by your Man” Award: Pansy Wong for demonstrating what she really thought of her former role as Minister of Women’s Affairs by putting her husband, Sammy, first, her career second

 Armstrong misunderstands the role of the Ministry. It’s not there to narrow choices for women but broaden them.

Its website says:

The Ministry of Women’s Affairs is the Government’s source of advice on issues relevant to advancing the well-being of women. This encompasses women having real choices and using their strengths to maximise social and economic success.  

There is a perception, which I think Armstrong illustrates, that women who choose to put family before a career are somehow letting themselves, and other women down.

But if  the Ministry’s actions match its words it will not be prising open the door to new roles and opportunities for women with one hand while slamming shut the door to traditional ones with the other.

I regard the Ministry as one of the low hanging fruit which could be picked to reduce the red in the government’s books. But if it is successful in its aim to help women have real choices, the Ministry will acknowledge and be equally supportive of those who choose to put family before a career as those who don’t.



6/10 in the NZ History Online weekly quiz.

How would you like your Christmas tree?


Spotted by friends in Dunedin, a sign reading:

 Christmas trees for sale – free range, organic.

I’m not sure how you define a free range tree but they cost $6 which was a bargain compared with those we saw advertised in Christchurch for $35. That included delivery but the advertisement didn’t mention whether or not they were organic and/or free range.

December 18 in history


On December 18:

1271  Kublai Khan renamed his empire “Yuan” (元 yuán), officially marking the start of the Yuan Dynasty of Mongolia and China.


1620 – The Mayflower landed in present-day Plymouth, Massachusetts with 102 Pilgrims on board.

MayflowerHarbor.jpgMayflower in Plymouth Harbor by William Halsall (1882)

1642  Abel Tasman and his men had the first known European encounter with Maori.

First contact between Maori and Europeans

1707 Charles Wesley, English Methodist hymnist, was born.

1777 The United States celebrated its first Thanksgiving, marking the recent victory by the Americans over General John Burgoyne in the Battle of Saratoga in October.


1778 Joseph Grimaldi, English clown, was born.

1849 Henrietta Edwards, Canadian women’s rights activist, was born.

1863 Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria, was born.

1878 Joseph Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union, was born.

1888 – Richard Wetherill and his brother in-law discovered the ancient Indian ruins of Mesa Verde.


Cliff Palace

1890  Edwin Armstrong, American inventor (FM radio) was born.

1898  Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat set the new land speed record going 39.245 mph (63.159 km/h), in a Jeantaud electric car. This is the first recognised land speed record.

1900 The Upper Ferntree Gully to Gembrook Narrow-gauge (2 ft 6 in or 762 mm) Railway (now the Puffing Billy Railway) in Victoria opened.

 The Monbulk Creek Trestle Bridge.

1905 – Irving Kahn, American financial analyst and investor, was born.

1908  Celia Johnson, English actress, was born.

1910 – Eric Tindill, New Zealand cricketer and rugby player, was born.

1912 The Piltdown Man, later discovered to be a hoax, was found in the Piltdown Gravel Pit, by Charles Dawson.


1913 Willy Brandt, Chancellor of Germany, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, was born.

1916  Betty Grable, American actress, was born.

1935  Jacques Pépin, French chef, was born.

Jacques Pépin 2006.JPG

1938 Chas Chandler, English musician (The Animals), was born.

1943  Keith Richards, English guitarist (The Rolling Stones), was born.


1946  Steve Biko, South African anti-apartheid activist, was born.


1946 – Steven Spielberg, American film director, was born.


1963 Brad Pitt, American actor, was born.

A Caucasian male in his mid-40s with brown hair. He is wearing a black suit and white shirt with a black bow-tie.

1966 Saturn‘s moon Epimetheus was discovered by Richard L. Walker.

The planet Saturn

1969  Home Secretary James Callaghan‘s motion to make permanent the Murder (Abolition of Death Penalty) Act 1965, which had temporarily suspended capital punishment in England, Wales and Scotland for murder (but not for all crimes) for a period of five years, was carried by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

1973 Soyuz 13, crewed by cosmonauts Valentin Lebedev and Pyotr Klimuk, was launched.

1987  Larry Wall released the first version of the Perl programming language.

1997  HTML 4.0 was published by the World Wide Web Consortium.

1999 NASA launched into orbit the Terra platform carrying five Earth Observation instruments, including ASTER, CERES, MISR, MODIS and MOPITT.

TERRA am1.jpg

2006 – The first of a series of floods struck Malaysia. The death toll of all flooding was at least 118, with over 400,000 people displaced.

Kota Tinggi was severely flooded between December 2006 and January 2007. Kota Tinggi means high city/fort in Malay.

2009 – The 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference closed with the signing of the Copenhagen Accord.

COP15 Logo.svg

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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