No silly games over election date


 Prime Minister John Key has announced the election will be held on November 26.

“I believe it is in the country’s best interests to know the date of the General Election early in election year,” says Mr Key.

“It creates certainty for New Zealanders and allows people to plan accordingly. This is particularly true this year when the Rugby World Cup, the third largest sporting event in the world, is being hosted by New Zealand.

This is a refreshing change from the political game-playing which the ruling party usually indulges in over the date, keeping it quiet for as long as possible to maximise its advantage and disadvantage the other parties.

This time it’s the interests of the country, not the ruling party, which come first.

One group who will benefit form the early announcement is officials who are responsible for organising polling places and employing staff.

Now everyone knows the date, it  also means everyone  knows when the rules over what can be spent in the last three months before election day take effect.

Word of the day


Lalochezia – emotional relief from the use of  indecent or vulgar language; relief of tension through filthy talk.

The Motor Camp


When we walked into Wellington’s Circa Theatre last night to see The Motor Camp I could almost smell the sea air and sun screen.

It could have been any New Zealand beach-side camping ground.

The characters were recognisable too. Frank Redmond, the liberal,  left teacher’s college lecturer, Jude, his wife the professor and their teenage daughter Holly, who had an amazing range of petulant, were in one caravan. On the neighbouring campsite were Mike Hislop, a building contractor, his wife Dawn Tairoa who does the accounts, and son, Jared Tairoa,  part boy, part man who has perfected mooching. The Dutch accented voice of , Zonneveld, the camp owner barking orders through the loud speaker provided a running gag.

The audience were laughing from the opening lines. There were lots of one-liners and double entendres and some contemporary political references. Mirth also came from body language, facial expressions and what wasn’t said. Some of the lines became more meaningful in hindsight as the play developed.

This is a comedy but it has depth, subtlety and some character development. I had no sympathy at all for Frank at the start but that changed in the scene when he realised Jarred can’t read.

The plot required the audience to suspend disbelief at times but the clever dialogue and skill of the actors made that easy.

The second half had more serious moments but the play finished with laughter and earned sustained applause for the cast: Danielle Mason (Jude), Florence Mulheron Holly), Olivia Violet Robinson Dawn), Tim Spite (Frank), Phil Vaughan (Mike), Anthony Young (Jared) and Cees Ebskamp Zonneveld).

If you’re in Wellington and need a laugh, you’ll get plenty at The Motor Camp.

It’s written by Dave Armstrong based on a story by Danny Mulheron who is the director and is on at Circa Theatre until February 19.

(Thanks to the review at Kiwiblog without which is what prompted me to go)

Dairy price up again


The trade weighted index for Fonterra’s globalDairy Trade auction increased 7.2% at this morning’s auction.

The price of Anhydrous milk fat went up 9.2%; there was no change in the price of butter milk powder, skim milk powder increased 8.5%; and whole milk powder went up 5.7%.

The TWI is now back up to levels not seen since late 2006.

GDT Trade Weighted Index

$5b and rising


Finance Minister Bill English has costed Labour’s policy – $5 billion and rising.

The annual cost of Labour’s spending promises is $5 billion and climbing – and Phil Goff still can’t explain how he will pay for them, Finance Minister Bill English says.

“Every time he opens his mouth, Goff confirms that Labour’s borrow and hope recipe would add hundreds of millions of dollars more to Government borrowing. That would saddle New Zealand with more debt to foreigners, which would have to be paid back with interest.

“It would almost certainly lead to a credit ratings downgrade for New Zealand, pushing up interest rates for Kiwi families and businesses, and costing jobs.”

Annual cost of Labour’s policies, as at 1 February 2011

Operating spending policies    
Tax-free threshold of $5,000 1300 Goff speech 25/1/11
GST off fresh fruit and vegetables 250 Goff speech 27/9/10
Not take dividends from state-owned power companies 700 Goff speech 13/9/09
Restore funding to early childhood education 400 Goff announcement 31/1/11
Restore R&D tax credits 330 Goff speech 12/5/10
Increase paid parental leave to 18 weeks 50 NZ Herald 18/1/11
Capital spending policies    
Restore full contributions to the NZ Super Fund 2000 Goff speech 12/5/10
Plus uncosted/vague policies    
Make Working for Families more generous for under 2s   NZ Herald 18/1/11
Six-year Agenda for Change for children   King speech 16/10/2010
‘Active management’ of the economy   Goff speech 6/12/10

The extravagant bribes from Labour before the 2005 election are responsible for a lot of the economic problems we’re now having to deal with.

The party and its leader should have learned from that but we have $5b to prove they haven’t.

Holidays and holy days


Few, if any, of our public holidays could truly be described as holy days for most people; but if one day is still regarded as sacred for many it is Anzac Day.

This is one of the reasons Prime Minister John Key has not shown great enthusiasm for the idea of Mondayising it when it falls on a weekend, or, as it does this year when it coincides with Easter Monday, another holiday.

Mr Key said the idea was complicated by emotive and pay issues.

For a start off, Anzac Day is here to commemorate those who went and fought for freedom and democracy in New Zealand. Are we just saying any old day will count?”

I don’t think any day should count for Anzac Day.

It doesn’t for Christmas which most people observe on December 25th regardless of which day of the week that happens to fall on.

I can understand how employees feel short changed that 2 of the 11 public holidays fall on weekends this year – although not why Labour only find it’s a problem now they’re not in government.

But I also understand the reluctance to move commemoration away from the actual date, especially as it could then start a move to make the nearest Monday the holiday to make a long weekend every year.

The other problem is pay rates.

When the 25th and/or 26th are on weekends, the public holiday, when time and a half pay rates and a day in lieu apply go to those who work on the Monday not Christmas or Boxing Day.

I think – and please correct me if I’m wrong – that  means someone works Christmas Day for ordinary Saturday or Sunday pay but someone else gets Christmas Day off and works Monday at holiday rates.

If there is to be any change for Anzac and Waitangi Days, rather than Mondayising the holiday, the Monday should be Saturday or Sundayised.

That way the commemoration stays on the date and people who work on that day get holiday pay. But the following Monday is like the ordinary weekend day that was missed ie a day off but without penal rates for those who work or holiday pay for those who don’t.

February 2 in history


On February 2:

962 Pope John XII crowned Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor.


1032 Conrad II, Holy Roman Emperor became King of Burgundy.

1536  Pedro de Mendoza founded Buenos Aires, Argentina.

1653  New Amsterdam (later renamed The City of New York) was incorporated.

1709 Alexander Selkirk was rescued after being shipwrecked on a desert island, inspiring the book Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe.

Statue of Alexander Selkirk in Lower Largo

1790 The U.S. Supreme Court convened for the first time.

Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg

1812 Russia established a fur trading colony at Fort Ross, California.

1829  William Stanley, inventor and engineer, was born (d. 1909).

1848 Mexican-American War: The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed.


1848 California Gold Rush: The first ship with Chinese emigrants arrives in San Francisco, California.

1876 The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs of Major League Baseball was formed.

1880 The first electric streetlight was installed in Wabash, Indiana.

1882 James Joyce, Irish author, was born (d. 1941).

Half-length portrait of man in his thirties. He looks to his right so that his face is in profile. He has a mustache, a thin beard, and medium-length hair slicked back, and wears a pince-nez and a plain dark greatcoat, looking vaguely like a Russian revolutionary. 

1882 The Knights of Columbus were formed in New Haven, Connecticut.

1887 In Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania the first Groundhog Day was observed.

1899 The Australian Premiers’ Conference decided to locate Australia’s capital (Canberra) between Sydney and Melbourne.

1901 Queen Victoria’s funeral took place.

1905 Ayn Rand, Russian-born American author and philosopher, was born.

Half-length monochrome portrait photo of Ayn Rand, seated, holding a cigarette

1913 Grand Central Station opened in New York City.

Grand Central test.jpg

1922 Ulysses by James Joyce was published.


1925 Serum run to Nome: Dog sleds reached Nome, Alaska with diphtheria serum, inspiring the Iditarod race.

 Statue of Balto, the lead dog on the last relay team.

1925 – The Charlevoix-Kamouraska earthquake struck northeastern North America.

1931 – Les Dawson, British comedian, was born (d. 1993).

1933 Adolf Hitler dissolved the German Parliament.

1934 The Export-Import Bank of the United States was incorporated.

1935 Leonarde Keeler tested the first polygraph machine.


1940 David Jason, English actor, was born.

1940  Frank Sinatra debuted with the Tommy Dorsey orchestra.

1946 The Proclamation of Hungarian Republic was made.


1947 Farrah Fawcett, American actress, was born.

1948 Al McKay, American guitarist and songwriter (Earth, Wind & Fire), was born.

1957 Iskander Mirza of Pakistan laid the foundation-stone of the Guddu Barrage.

1967 The American Basketball Association was formed.

1971 Idi Amin replaced President Milton Obote as leader of Uganda.

1972  The British embassy in Dublin was destroyed in protest over Bloody Sunday.

1974 The men’s 1500-metre final at the 1974 Christchurch Commonwealth Games was called the greatest middle distance race of all time. Tanzanian Filbert Bayi won in a new world record time of 3 minutes 32.16 seconds. New Zealand’s emerging middle distance star John Walker came second, also breaking the existing world record. The remarkable feature of this race was the fact that the third, fourth (New Zealander Rod Dixon) and fifth place getters ran the fourth, fifth, and seventh fastest 1500m times to that date. The national records of five countries – Tanzania, Kenya, Australia, Great Britain and New Zealand – were all broken in this race.

‘The greatest middle distance race of all time’

1974 The F-16 Fighting Falcon flew for the first time.

1976 The Groundhog Day gale hits the north-eastern United States and south-eastern Canada.

Groundhog Day gale of 1976

1987 The Philippines made a new constitution.

1989 Soviet war in Afghanistan: The last Soviet Union armored column left Kabul.

1989 Satellite television service Sky Television plc launched.

1990  F.W. de Klerk allowed the African National Congress to function legally and promised to release Nelson Mandela.

ANC logo

1998 A Cebu Pacific Flight 387 DC-9-32 crashed into a mountain near Cagayan de Oro, Philippines, killing 104.

2002 Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange married Máxima Zorreguieta.


2007 Four tornadoes hit Central Florida, killing 21 people.

2007 – Widespread flooding in Jakarta, began, eventually killing 54 and causing more than US$400 million in damages.

A Jakarta taxi submerged by flooded water.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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