Word of the day


Rectalgia  – pain in the rectum.

Harawira suspended from caucus


TV3 reports that the Maori Party has suspended Hone Harawira from its caucus:

“Mr Harawira has failed to show the restraint and discipline expected of a caucus member and the Caucus now has no faith or confidence in him. The suspension remains in force until further notice,” says the statement released by Dr Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia.

He has been a waka-rocker from the start.

The leadership is justified in tipping him out.

Keeping him on board left the party in danger of sinking under the weight of his antics.

UPDATE: The party’s statement says:

It is really unfortunate in the political environment when conflict arises such as we have experienced. In the past we have attempted to follow a kaupapa and tikanga process to no avail.  It is for that reason that we looked to the constitution, that Hone helped to shape, to assist us.

Having no regard for the constitution is one thing. It is quite another to have no regard for the kaupapa and tikanga of the party, and that is really what has brought us to this point.

Factions within parties are not new.  We are, however, the only party that comprises membership from one end of the spectrum to the other, and that is why we have relied on our tikanga and kaupapa, the foundation principles of the Maori world, as a guide to our behaviour.

Kaupapa Maori place a high value on unity and working together as a collective.  We must ensure that “members agree to work together, treat each other with respect and act with integrity in their party work” (manaakitanga).

Differences of opinion are fine, but they should be addressed within the group.  We have always respected the right, and made provision for caucus colleagues to speak out on issues which their constituency presents.  We do this, however, always guided by the principle of unity of purpose and direction (kotahitanga).

Ultimately, however, no political movement, divided within itself, can survive.

We have made this decision with heavy hearts. We are especially mindful of the position of Maori Party supporters in Te Tai Tokerau, who will obviously feel loyal to Mr Harawira; but who are also supportive of our kaupapa Maori and the achievements of the Maori Party in Parliament.  We want them to know that we have huge respect for the people of Te Tai Tokerau and our commitment to our people remains unwavering.

Is land more important than IP?


The news that not one but two overseas companies are interested in taking of PGG Wrightson has created little interest.

Yet if Chinese and Canadian companies were trying to buy large amounts of farm land here there would be an uproar.

I am supportive of overseas investment  providing there are safeguards and have fewer concerns about foreign buyers of land than companies.

You can’t take the land with you but you can take intellectual property and PGW has invested a lot in seed development which is of value to the New Zealand economy and farming.

40 degrees yesterday 40 mls today


In North Otago we consider temperatures in the late 20s hot and get very few days when it gets higher than 30 degrees.

Yesterday we hit 40 degrees before a southerly change started cooling things down.

It was raining when we went to bed and we woke to measure a very welcome 40 mls.

It’s still raining which is just what we want to set the farm up for good autumn growth.

WFF lump sums not the answer to affordability


Giving benefits to middle and upper income families is madness. Peter Dunne’s suggestion that people be able to capitalise Working for Families benefits  as a lump sum to buy a home is even worse.

It would add to the burden on the public coffers by bringing forward the payments. The country would be borrowing more to enable a select group – families who could afford to buy a house – to borrow less, or pay more than they could without the lump sum.

WFF payment are based on family income and the number of children. As income increases the benefit decreases imposing a very high effective marginal tax rate.

Offsetting Behaviour has the figures which show that around half the 357,200 WFF recipient families in the 2008 tax year faced an EMT rate of more than 50%.

Why would you work harder, gain higher qualifications or take a promotion if at least half the money you received for doing so was clawed back?

 If people took the lump sum which would be based on their current income, what would happen if their income increased?

They would have to pay back the difference between what they got at the start and what they would be eligible for after a pay increase, increasing the EFT rate.  If not those who took the lump sum and got the benefit from it would in effect get more than those on the same income with the same sized family who didn’t.

Offsetting Behaviour makes another valid point – increasing the demand for houses, by giving some people more money to buy them, won’t solve the problem of home affordability by itself.

Price is affected by supply and demand. If more people have more money but the supply of houses doesn’t increase to meet the new demand then prices will which will negate any gain in affordability.

One of the factors affecting supply, and price, is regulations. A builder told me that tighter regulations in the wake of the leaky homes disaster had imposed new costs of $10,000 on the price of a new home. That was four years ago and the costs of regulations will not have improved since then.

If Mr Dunne wants to make homes more affordable he’d be better addressing the costs imposed by bureaucracy which would help everyone, rather than tinkering with WFF which would apply to only a few people and may not do anything to improve home ownership affordability.

February 7 in history


On February 7:

457  Leo I became emperor of the Byzantine Empire.

Leo I Louvre Ma1012 n2.jpg

1074 Pandulf IV of Benevento was killed battling the invading Normans at the Battle of Montesarchio.

1238 The Mongols burned the Russian city of Vladimir.

1301 Edward of Caernarvon (later King Edward II of England) became the first English Prince of Wales.

1478 Sir Thomas More, English statesman, humanist, and author, was born (d 1535).

1497 – The bonfire of the vanities occured in which suppoters of Girolamo Savonarola burned thousands of objects including cosmetics, art, and books in Florence.

 Bernardino of Siena organising the vanities bonfire, Perugia, from the Oratorio di San Bernardino, by Agostino di Duccio, built between 1457 and 1461.

1795  The 11th Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified.

1804 John Deere, American manufacturer (Deere & Company), was born (d. 1886).

1807  Battle of Eylau – Napoléon’s French Empire began fighting against Russian and Prussian forces of the Fourth Coalition at Eylau, Poland.

"Napoleon on the field of Eylau" by Antoine-Jean GrosNapoléon on the field of Eylau by Antoine-Jean Gros

1812 Charles Dickens, English novelist, was born (d. 1870).

1819 Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles left  Singapore after just taking it over, leaving it in the hands of William Farquhar.

1842  Battle of Debre Tabor: Ras Ali Alula, Regent of the Emperor of Ethiopia defeated warlord Wube Haile Maryam of Semien.

1856 The Kingdom of Awadh was annexed by the British East India Company after a peaceful abdication of Wajid Ali Shah, the king of Awadh.


1856 – The colonial Tasmanian Parliament passed the first piece of legislation (the Electoral Act of 1856) anywhere in the world providing for elections by way of a secret ballot.

1863  The Royal Navy’s steam corvette HMS Orpheus, bringing supplies and reinforcements for the land wars, hit the Manukau Harbour bar and sank.  Of the 259 aboard, 189 died, making it New Zealand’s worst maritime disaster

   HMS Orpheus.jpgRichard Brydges Beechey‘s 1863 painting of the disaster.

1867 Laura Ingalls Wilder, American author, was born  (d. 1957).


1870 Alfred Adler, Austrian psychologist was born  (d. 1937).


1898  Émile Zola was brought to trial for libel for publishing J’Accuse.

1901  Arnold Nordmeyer, New Zealand politician, was born  (d. 1989).

1904 A fire in Baltimore destroyed over 1,500 buildings in 30 hours.

1907 The Mud March, the first large procession organised by the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS).

 Millicent Fawcett

1922 Hattie Jacques, English actress, was born (d. 1980).

1943  Imperial Japanese naval forces completed the evacuation of Imperial Japanese Army troops from Guadalcanal during Operation Ke, ending Japanese attempts to retake the island from Allied forces in the Guadalcanal Campaign.

 Gunichi Mikawa, commander of the 8th Fleet

1956 Mark St. John, American musician (Kiss), was born  (d. 2007).

1962  Garth Brooks, American singer, was born.

1962 Eddie Izzard, British actor and comedian, was born.


1962 – David Bryan, American musician (Bon Jovi), was born.

1962 The United States banned all Cuban imports and exports.

1967 Bushfires in southern Tasmania claimed 62 lives and destroy 2,642.7 square kilometres (653,025.4 acres) of land.

1974  Grenada gained independence from the United Kingdom.


1979  Pluto moved inside Neptune‘s orbit for the first time since either was discovered.

1984  STS-41-B Mission – Astronauts Bruce McCandless II and Robert L. Stewart made the first untethered space walk using the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU).


1986  Twenty-eight years of one-family rule ended in Haiti, when President Jean-Claude Duvalier fled.

1990  The Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party agreed to give up its monopoly on power.

1991  Haiti‘s first democratically-elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was sworn in.

1991 –  The IRA launched a mortar attack on 10 Downing Street during a cabinet meeting.

1992 –  The Maastricht Treaty was signed, leading to the creation of the European Union.

 The signing of the Treaty

1995  Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, was arrested in Islamabad, Pakistan.

1999 – Crown Prince Abdullah became the King of Jordan on the death of his father, King Hussein.

2009  Bushfires in Victoria left 173 dead in the worst natural disaster in Australia’s history.

Black Saturday bushfiresMODIS Aqua satellite image of smoke and pyrocumulus cloud northeast of Melbourne during the afternoon of 7 February

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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