Word of the day


Edippol – a mild oath.

Cunning plan could save farms and camping grounds


A new pressure group Save the Camping Grounds is hoping to enlist the support of Save the Farms to save both.

SCG spokesperson Roland Canvas said the suggestion that Department of Conservation camping grounds be handed over to private companies was an outrage.

“A private company will want to make a profit which is completely unfair to those of us who’ve been enjoying camping sites for as little as $6 a night,” Mr Canvas said.

“Camping is a New Zealand birth right and the idea that anyone should make money from running camping grounds; providing, maintaining and cleaning facilities; and supervising campers is ridiculous.”

Mr Canvas said concerns over taxpayers subsidising campers’ holidays was a red herring.

“Have you seen all those flash camper vans and caravans spreading like slow moving lice across the land? There’s not many of us old fashioned campers left prepared to spend a night on a stretcher under canvas anymore. We’re an endangered species, looking after them is core business for DoC.  If they can save the kakapo they can look after campers.”

Mr Canvas said no tent would remain unpitched in their attempts to keep the camping grounds as they were.

“We’ve come up with a plan so cunning you could pin a guy rope on it and call it a tent,” he said.

“We’ve approached Save The Farms, the group which wants to prevent the sale of private land to foreigners, and proposed they join our campaign then all the farms they save could be turned into camping grounds.

“They save the farms, we not only save the camping grounds we’ve got, we get more of them. They’ll be happy, we’ll be happy, DoC can chalk up another rare species out of danger and who cares about the deficit when you’re on holiday anyway?” Mr Canvas said.

Voters not parties determine who wins electorates


Most voters don’t want the National Party to stand aside in Epsom and Ohariu to help coalition partners if a Horizon poll conducted for the Sunday Star Times (not online) can be believed.

In Epsom, only 16% think National should stand aside, with 55% saying it shouldn’t. The bulk of Act (53%) want National to stay out of the electorate.

In Dunne’s Ohariu electorate, 48% want National to field a candidate, 16% want it to stand aside and 36% don’t know. Of National’s 2008 voters, 54% oppose the party standing aside for United Future.

This is a sorry reflection on the respondents’ understanding of MMP and recent history.

It’s the voters in the electorate who’ll determine who wins the seat not National.

National fielded candidates in both seats in 2008,  and previous elections, it was the people in those electorates who voted tactically who gave the seats to Rodney Hide and Peter Dunne.

Having Act in this parliament gives National the ability to govern with its support although at times it has turned to its other coalition partner, the Maori Party, to pass legislation Act didn’t favour.

It’s debatable whether there is any advantage to National in having Dunne in parliament.

If around half those who voted for the Green candidate had voted for the Labour one in Ohariu in 2008 Dunne would have lost his seat and United Future would have gone with him. The votes which that party received would have been distributed among the other parties in parliament and National would have got another MP.

From 1999 – 2005 votes for Dunne enabled him to prop up the Labour-led government.

Dunne’s hold on the seat was strongest in 2002 when National was at its weakest, since then his majority has slipped and the electorate could now be regarded as marginal.

Hide had a bad year as party leader last year, although he performed well as a minister. If he’s worked hard in his electorate the people of Epsom might overlook his use of the perks he’d campaigned against and return him to parliament.

As in previous elections they’ll work out what to do themselves regardless of any nods or winks from National.

Someone had to say it


Someone had to say the chances of finidng the remains of the men who were killed in the Pike River mine  are almost impossible and someone has:

The ferocity of the fire in the Pike River mine could make it almost impossible to find any human remains should recovery teams ever make it underground, a forensics expert says.

Phil Glover, a forensic fire investigator with nearly 40 years’ experience in New Zealand and Australia, said the harsh reality was that the intensity of the fire in the confined spaces of the West Coast mine made it unlikely there were any bodies left to recover.

“There wouldn’t be much left of them – you might find small fragments of bone and ash but that’s probably about it,” said Glover. “As hard as it is . . . I would not be putting people in there under any circumstances.”

Glover said if a retrieval team did make it underground, the dark, cramped and volatile conditions they would have to work under would make the task of finding human remains virtually impossible.

“I don’t know how I would feel if it was one of my family down there, but the practical side of me would be saying that this is their last resting place.”

If there is are grounds for criticism of how the recovery has been handled it could be that families might have been given false hope that if a recovery crew could get to where the men were there would be anything left to bring out.

Shortly after the second explosion there was talk about the need to use DNA for identification but the implications of that might not have been clear to everyone.

It’s human to hope even when it seems hopeless. While some of the families accepted the sad reality that they’d not see the men they’d lost again others kept hoping that first rescue and then recovery was possible.

Their anger at the end of the recovery efforts is understandable but for their own sakes they need to take a lead from those who have faced the facts and start looking forward.

January 17 in history


On January 17:

1287– King Alfonso III of Aragon invaded Minorca.


1377 Pope Gregory XI moved the Papacy back to Rome from Avignon.

St Catherine before the Pope at Avignon

1524 Beginning of Giovanni da Verrazzano‘s voyage to find a passage to China.

1608 Emperor Susenyos of Ethiopia surprised an Oromo army at Ebenat; his army reportedly killed 12,000 Oromo at the cost of 400 men.

1648 England’s Long Parliament passed the Vote of No Addresses, breaking off negotiations with King Charles I and thereby setting the scene for the second phase of the English Civil War.

1773 Captain James Cook and his crew became the first Europeans to sail below the Antarctic Circle.

1820  Anne Brontë, British author, was born  (d. 1849).

1852 The United Kingdom recognised the independence of the Boer colonies of the Transvaal.

1853 The New Zealand Constitution Act (UK) of 1852, which established a system of representative government for New Zealand, was declared operative by Governor Sir George Grey.

1863  David Lloyd George, British Prime Minister, was born  (d. 1945).

1865 Charles Fergusson, Governor-General of New Zealand, was born (d. 1951).

1877  May Gibbs, Australian children’s author, was born.

 A “Banksia Man” abducting Little Ragged Blossom, from Snugglepot and Cuddlepie.

1899 Al Capone, American gangster, was born  (d. 1947) .


1899 Nevil Shute, English author, was born (d. 1960).

1904 Anton Chekhov‘s The Cherry Orchard received its premiere performance at the Moscow Art Theatre.

1905  Peggy Gilbert, American jazz saxophonist and bandleader, was born (d. 2007).

1912 Sir Robert Falcon Scott (Scott of the Antarctic) reached the South Pole, one month after Roald Amundsen.

Five men(three standing, two sitting on the icy ground) in heavy polar clothing. All look exhausted and unhappy. The standing men are carrying flagstaffs and a Union flag flies from a mast in the background.Scott's party at the South Pole. Left to right: Wilson; Bowers; Evans; Scott; Oates Scott’s group took this photograph of themselves using string to operate the shutter on 17 January 1912, the day after they discovered Amundsen had reached the pole first.

1917 The United States paid Denmark $25 million for the Virgin Islands.


1927 – Norman Kaye, Australian actor and musician, was born (d. 2007)

1928 Vidal Sassoon, English cosmetologist, was born .

Sassoon (left) with Figaro Claus Niedermaier

1929 Popeye the Sailor Man, a cartoon character created by Elzie Crisler Segar, first appeared in the Thimble Theatre comic strip.


1933  Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, French-born Pakistani diplomat (UN High Commissioner for Refugees), was born (d. 2003).

1933  Shari Lewis, American ventriloquist, was born(d. 1998).

 Shari’s daughter,Mallory Lewis with Lamb Chop

1941 Dame Gillian Weir, New Zealand organist, was born.

1942 Muhammad Ali, American boxer, was born.

Muhammad Ali NYWTS.jpg

1942 Ita Buttrose, Australian journalist and businesswoman, was born.

1945  Soviet forces capture the almost completely destroyed Polish city of Warsaw.

1945 – The Nazis began the evacuation of the Auschwitz concentration camp as Soviet forces closed in.

1946 The UN Security Council held its first session.

1949 Mick Taylor, British musician (The Rolling Stones), was born.

1949 The Goldbergs, the first sitcom on American television, first aired.

1950 The Great Brinks Robbery – 11 thieves stolel more than $2 million from an armored car Company’s offices in Boston, Massachusetts.

1956 Paul Young, English musician, was born.

1961 President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivered a televised farewell address to the nation three days before leaving office, in which he warned against the accumulation of power by the “military-industrial complex“.

1962 Jim Carrey, Canadian actor and comedian, was born.

1964  Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States, was born.

1966 A B-52 bomber collided with a KC-135 Stratotanker over Spain, dropping three 70-kiloton nuclear bombs near the town of Palomares and another one into the sea in the Palomares incident.

 The B28RI nuclear bomb, recovered from 2,850 feet (869 m) of water, on the deck of the USS Petrel.

1973 Ferdinand Marcos became “President for Life” of the Philippines.

1982 “Cold Sunday” in the United States  -temperatures fell to their lowest levels in over 100 years in numerous cities.

 National Weather Service surface weather map from January 17, 1982.

1983 The tallest department store in the world, Hudson’s, flagship store in downtown Detroit closed due to high cost of operating.

1989 Stockton massacre: Patrick Purdy opened fire with an assault rifle at the Cleveland Elementary School playground, killing five children and wounding 29 others and one teacher before taking his own life.

1991  Gulf War: Operation Desert Storm began early in the morning.

1991 – Harald V became King of Norway on the death of his father, Olav V.

1995 The Great Hanshin earthquake: A magnitude 7.3 earthquake near Kobe, Japan, caused extensive property damage and killed 6,434 people.

2002 Mount Nyiragongo erupted in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, displacing an estimated 400,000 people.

2007 The Doomsday Clock was set to five minutes to midnight in response to North Korea nuclear testing.

2008 – British Airways Flight 38 crash landed just short of London Heathrow Airport with no fatalities.

2010 – Rioting began between Muslim and Christian groups in Jos, Nigeria, resulting in at least 200 deaths.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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