Ever Decreasing Circles


Happy birthday Richard Briars, 76 today.

Word of the day


Haptodysphoria – the uncomfortable or unpleasant sensation some people get when touching soft surfaces for instance cotton wool or peach skins.

Sandra Goudie to retire


 Coromandel MP Sandra Goudie has announced she will retire from politics after this year’s election.

 Sandra won the seat from then-Green co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons in 2002. This was a notable achievement when the tide was so strongly against National and meant the Greens have since then had to rely on winning 5% of the party vote to stay in parliament.

It was difficult to miss Sandra in her brightly coloured Falcon and her successive election margins showed she was a popular and effective local MP.

“After nine fantastic years serving the people of the Coromandel,” Ms Goudie says, “it’s time to park up the Falcon.

 “I shall always treasure driving my faithful purple Ford Falcon V8 through our electorate – Coromandel Town, Whitianga, Thames, Whangamata, Paeroa, Waihi, Te Aroha, Katikati and Waitoa, and places in between. We have a beautiful electorate and great people.”

 Ms Goudie says her greatest contribution to Coromandel has been her open-door policy for constituents.

 “People’s political preferences have never stopped me helping them,” Ms Goudie says.

 “My staff and I have helped countless people in Coromandel. I would like to say a big thank you to my staff for their work and dedication over the years.

 “On a personal level, I was proud to win the Coromandel seat back for National. I now hold the tenth highest electorate majority in New Zealand following the 2008 election, of which I am also very proud, and acknowledge all those who have helped me to achieve that.

 “I was elected in 2002, and a lot has happened since then. The construction and opening of the Whangamata Marina was an emotional experience for all of us. Since it opened, a number of people originally opposed to it have said to me it’s been terrific for the area.

 “The progress we’ve made with the Kōpū Bridge has been exciting, and now we’re waiting for it to be finished next year. I’m also proud of giving people a voice about mangroves in Coromandel. Sadly bureaucrats have been slow to move on this issue.

 “It has been a real honour to serve as MP for Coromandel, and to be part of the National-led Government which is doing great things for New Zealand. Thank you to all the people who have supported me through the years.”

  Very little of the hard work local MPs do for their constituents gets noticed by the media or public. Kiwiblog writes of one of her campaigns.

Not all MPs will make it in to Cabinet but those who like Sandra help countless constituents and stand up for local issues also make a very valuable contribution to the country.

The selection for the seats will be keenly contested and help with the on-going refreshment of the National caucus.

Friday’s answers


Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who was the 2010 New Zealander for the Year?

2. What is a Malus domestica?

3. Who wrote Flowers For Mrs Harris?

4. Who said:  “A good holiday is one spent among people whose notions of time are vaguer than yours.”

5. Doug and Rowland Smith broke which record this week?

Points for answers:

Simfarmer got one right and a bonus for having the right priorities.

Fred got two right, a bonus for being specific about the shearing and another for the answers to #3 & #4 which could be right even if it’s not what I was seeking.

Andrei got three right.

Gravedodger got three right and a bonus for #3 & 3$ on the same grounds I awarded Fred.

Adam got two right.

Bearhunter got three.

Gravedodger  wins an electronic box of nectarines for highest points with most right. Andrei and Bearhunter get an electronic bag of cherries because they answered the same number of questions correctly and Fred gets one for gaining the same number of points.

The answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

Good news for wool in spite of word war


A war of words has broken out between the Wool Exporters Council and Wool Partners Co-operative.

WEC says the wool co-op will never get over the line and reckons the co-op isn’t answering its questions.

WPC in return says that wool merchants and exporters aligned with the WEC are trying to undermine efforts to float the co-op.

While that’s going on there has been good news for the industry.

Wool Partners has made a second premium offer to growers who can supply high quality wool required by two British carpet manufacturers.

America’s largest carpet manufacturer has joined Wools of New Zealand’s Clean Air Certified programme.

Wool Partners International Chief Executive Officer Iain Abercrombie says Karastan’s certification and adoption of the programme is a further endorsement of the work Wools of New Zealand is undertaking to position New Zealand wool as the premier natural carpet fibre, produced in ethically sustainable manner.

 “This is further verification of the programmes we have been discussing with New Zealand growers to gain the recognition and the true value of the high quality wools they produce.”

 “It is intensive marketing backed by technical expertise developed by Wools of New Zealand, to delight consumers with the sheer luxury of naturally produced New Zealand wool.”

Programmes like this also require research and that’s been given a boost by the government.

Minister of Agriculture David Carter and Minister of Research, Science and Technology Wayne Mapp announced the investment of $17.25 million over five years in a wool research consortium tasked with lifting the economic return of the wool industry.

“The success of the strong wool sector hinges on developing new uses and markets for the industry – and with the growers themselves realising its full potential,” says Mr Carter.

“We are committed to growing New Zealand’s export earnings from wool fibre, and from value-added wool products developed through market-led research programmes,” Dr Mapp says.

The consortium participants are the Wool Research Organisation of New Zealand Inc (WRInc), and other New Zealand industry stakeholders. Key providers will include AgResearch and New Zealand universities. . .

“The wool industry is collaborating across the value chain to address key research questions, and the Government is supporting them,” says Dr Mapp.

Mr Carter says increased research and development for the wool sector was one of the key recommendations of his Wool Taskforce, which presented its report last year.

“The Wool Research Organisation’s constructive engagement through the Wool Unity Group has shown what can be achieved by better cohesion and co-operation within the wool industry,” Mr Carter says.

Collaboration and co-operation are working to good effect for research. It would also help with the marketing and wool exporters would be better employed concentrating on work which would maximise returns for growers than bickering with WPC which is trying to do that.

Not always the lucky country


Daytime temperatures never got lower than the mid 30s when we were in the Northern Territory and Northern Western Australia in August and we were very aware of the fire danger.

We were also conscious of humidity but the locals told us this was nothing, it was still the Dry and we wouldn’t know humidity until we’d been there in the Wet.

It was difficult for us to understand what somewhere so dry could be like in the wet. An average rainfall of 800mm ( a little more than 30 inches) is less than half as much again as North Otago’s, but it’s a lot when most of it falls from late November until March.

The stations we visited were geared for both the Wet and the Dry. Calving was timed to coincide with peak feed and allow most stock to be fattened and sold before the rains came. Most workers went away for summer with only a skeleton staff were kept on to look after stock which remained.

It seemed to be a very tough life to us and not just because of the climate. Katherine and Kununurra are thousands of kilometres away from reasonable population centres which could provide domestic markets so cattle was shipped live to Indonesia and exactly what they could sell was subject to changing whims of the government there. It had recently decided it wanted to be self-sufficient in beef in a few years and dropped the live weight of cattle it would accept. That was forcing the stations to rework their budgets and would have a significant negative effect on the bottom line.

But the people we spoke to loved it. They might go over to Queensland for a holiday during the wet but they were always happy to get back home.

They’ll be on holiday now, I hope it’s not in the area which has been flooded.

We often look in wonder, sometimes even envy, at our neighbours across the ditch but it’s not always the lucky country.

Australia was generous in its support for us after the Canterbury earthquake and during the Pike River mine disaster, now it’s our turn to help them.

Most of our banks are accepting donations. Red Cross is sending a team across to help and you can make an online donation here.

January 14 in history


On January 14:

83 BC Marcus Antonius, Roman politician, was born (d. 30 BC).

M Antonius.jpg

1129 Formal approval of the Order of the Templar at the Council of Troyes.


1301 Andrew III of Hungary died, ending the Arpad dynasty.

1514  Pope Leo X issued a papal bull against slavery.

Cardinal Giovanni de' Medici.jpg

1539 Spain annexes Cuba.

1639 The “Fundamental Orders“, the first written constitution that created a government, was adopted in Connecticut.

1724 – King Philip V of Spain abdicated the throne.

1761  The Third Battle of Panipat between the Afghans under Ahmad Shah Durrani and the Marhatas. The Afghan victory changed the course of Indian History.

1784  United States Congress ratified the  Treaty of Paris with Great Britain.

 Benjamin West‘s painting of the delegations at the Treaty of Paris: John Jay, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Henry Laurens, and William Temple Franklin. The British delegation refused to pose, and the painting was never completed.

1814  Treaty of Kiel: Frederick VI of Denmark ceded Norway to Sweden in return for Pomerania.

1875 Albert Schweitzer, Alsatian physician, Nobel laureate, was born  (d. 1965).

1883 – Nina Ricci, Italian-born French fashion designer (d. 1970)

1886  Hugh Lofting, English author, was born  (d. 1947).

1891 Bob  Fitzsimmons won the world middleweight boxing title.

Bob Fitzsimmons wins world middleweight boxing title
1904  Sir Cecil Beaton, English photographer, was born  (d. 1980).
1907 An earthquake in Kingston, Jamaica killed more than 1,000.
1934  Richard Briers, English actor, was born.

1938 – Norway claimed Queen Maud Land in Antarctica.

1940  Sir Trevor Nunn, English theatre director and film director, was born.

1941  Faye Dunaway, American actress, was born

1943  Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill began the Casablanca Conference to discuss strategy and study the next phase of World War II.

 Free French leaders Henri Giraud and Charles de Gaulle in front of Roosevelt and Churchill at the Casablanca Conference, January 14, 1943

1943 –  Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first President of the United States to travel via aeroplane while in office when he travelled from Miami, Florida to Morocco to meet with Winston Churchill.

1950The first prototype of the MiG-17  made its maiden flight.

1952 NBC’s long-running morning news program Today debuted, with host Dave Garroway.

1967  The Human Be-In, takes place in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, launching the Summer of Love. Between 20,000 to 30,000 people attended.

 Poster advertising the ‘Human Be-In’ designed by Michael Bowen.

1970 Diana Ross & The Supremes’ final concert appearance at The Frontier Hotel- Las Vegas

1972 Queen Margrethe II of Denmark ascended the throne, the first Queen of Denmark since 1412 and the first Danish monarch not named Frederick or Christian since 1513.


1994  Samir Patel, American spelling bee winner, was born.

1998  Researchers in Dallas, Texas presented findings about an enzye that slows aging and cell death (apoptosis).

1999 Toronto, Mayor Mel Lastman was the first mayor in Canada to call in the Army to help with emergency medical evacuations and snow removal after more than one meter of snow paralysed the city.

2004 – The national flag of Georgia, the so-called “five cross flag“, was restored to official use after a hiatus of some 500 years.

See adjacent text.
2005  Landing of the Huygens probe on Saturn’s moon Titan.
Huygens probe dsc03686.jpg
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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