The Dominion Post hasn’t started its weekly political quiz yet but does have a daily trivia quiz – I managed 13/15 today.

Word of the day


Malversation – misbehaviour, corruption, misuse of public or other funds; misconduct in public office; corrupt administration.



Poets by Janet Frame is this Tuesday’s Poem.

Among other Tuesday poems linked in the side bar are:

Taupiri by Robert Sullivan.

Bipolar Opposites Detract by Andrew Bell.

The Way Through The Woods by Rudyard Kipling.

Dating by Mary McCallum.

The Weather Cock Points South by Amy Lowell.

What happened to what’s his name?


Does anyone know what happened to what’s-his-name, the MP for that electorate in Auckland, the one who has a list of 17 colleagues who want to change leader?

He was at or near the top of news bulletins off and on for weeks while he was cauisng a fuss in his caucus but once he was expelled the media was no longer interested in him.

That’s how the media works. Scrapping is newsworthy, a lone MP adrift on the back benches isn’t.

Hone Harawira and the hullabaloo he’s causing the Maori Party is attracting the same level of attention. But if he’s kicked out of the party he’ll find he’s in the same waka as what’s-his-name, just another loner paddling in the political shallows.

Ministry of Primary Industry good start


A government has two main ways to influence the economy – by facilitating increased productivity and by reducing its own costs.

In his speech to parliament yesterday Prime Minister made a commitment to do both by improving efficiency and lowering the cost of the public service.

Front-line public services are the priority for this Government. We want to free up money for these services by reducing the costs of back-office and administrative functions.

We have already taken several steps to achieve that.

Since coming into office we have reduced the number of full-time equivalent staff positions in the core government administration by five per cent.

We began procurement reforms last year, and from the first four projects we expect to save around $115 million over the next five years.

We have also made progress in reducing the number of government agencies, for example; by bringing Archives New Zealand and the National Library into the Department of Internal Affairs; and by merging two science agencies to create the Ministry of Science and Innovation.

Even so, the government bureaucracy is still a long way from being a lean and efficient organisation.

The Government machine still consists of more than 80 Crown Entities each with their own Board, 38 Departments, more than 70 portfolios and more than 60 separate Budget Votes. The costs of running this machinery are still too high.

Clearly, there is more to be done to make the government bureaucracy smaller and better.

Therefore, I have asked for advice on further reforms to streamline and improve the performance of the government bureaucracy.

Amalgamating ministries or departments with a similar focus is one easy way to reduce overheads without compromising services.

TV1 said the Ministries of Agriculture and Forestry and Fisheries were likely to be turned into a single Ministry of Primary Production.

MAF used to stand for the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. 

They have a lot in common. Bringing them back into a single super-ministry with forestry makes sense and will save money.

It would be a good start in the government’s programme to build better public services.

Which among the more than 80 Crown entities,  38 departments, more than 70 portfolios and more than 60 separate Budget votes offer similar potential for saving money and improving service?

February 9 in history


On February 9:

474 Zeno was crowned as co-emperor of the Byzantine Empire.

Tremissis-Zeno-RIC 0914.jpg

1555 Bishop of Gloucester John Hooper was burned at the stake.

 The Martyrdom of John Hooper as depicted in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.

1621 Gregory XV becomes Pope, the last Pope elected by acclamation.

Portrait by Guercino

1770 Captain Cook completed his circumnavigation of the North Island.

Cook completes circumnavigation of North Island

1773 William Henry Harrison, 9th President of the United States, was born (d. 1841).


1789 Franz Xaver Gabelsberger, German inventor of the stenography, was born (d. 1849).

 1825 After no presidential candidate received a majority of electoral votes, the United States House of Representatives elected John Quincy Adams President.

1849 New Roman Republic was established.

1865 Mrs. Patrick Campbell, British actress (b0rn Beatrice Stella Tanner), was born (d. 1940).


1870 – The U.S. Weather Bureau was established.


1874 Amy Lowell, American poet, was born (d. 1925).

1885 The first Japanese government-approved immigrants arrived in Hawaii.

1889 The United States Department of Agriculture was established as a Cabinet-level agency.

USDA logo.svg

1891 Ronald Colman, English actor, was born (d. 1958).

1895 William G. Morgan created a game called Mintonette, which was soon referred to as volleyball.

1897 – Charles Kingsford Smith, Australian pilot, was born  (d. 1935).


1900 Wanganui Opera House opened.

Wanganui Opera House opened

 1900 The Davis Cup competition was established.

 Monument to the Davis Cup at Stade Roland Garros in Paris

1920 Under the terms of the Spitsbergen Treaty, international diplomacy recognised Norwegian sovereignty over Arctic archipelago Svalbard, and designated it as demilitarized.

1926 Garret FitzGerald, 7th Taoiseach of the Republic of Ireland, was born.

1934 The Balkan Entente is formed.

1936 Stompin’ Tom Connors, Canadian country singer, was born.

1940  Brian Bennett, British musician (The Shadows), was born.

1940 – J. M. Coetzee, South African author, Nobel laureate, was born.

1942 – Year-round Daylight saving time was re-instated in the United States as a wartime measure to help conserve energy resources.

1942 Carole King, American singer, was born.

1943 World War II: Allied authorities declare Guadalcanal secure after Imperial Japan evacuates its remaining forces from the island, ending the Battle of Guadalcanal.

1944  Alice Walker, American writer, was born.

1945 Mia Farrow, American actress, was born.

1945 The Battle of the Atlantic – HMS Venturer sank U-864 off the coast of Fedje, Norway, in a rare instance of submarine-to-submarine combat.

HMS Venturer (P68)

1947 Carla Del Ponte, Swiss UN prosecutor, was born.

1950 Second Red Scare: Senator Joseph McCarthy accused the United States Department of State of being filled with Communists.

1955 Charles Shaughnessy, British actor, was born.
1960 Joanne Woodward received the first star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
1960 Holly Johnson, British singer (Frankie Goes to Hollywood), was born.

1962 Jamaica became independent.

1964 The Beatles made their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, performing before a “record-busting” audience of 73 million viewers.

1965 The first United States combat troops were sent to South Vietnam.

1969 First test flight of the Boeing 747.

1970 Glenn McGrath, Australian cricketer, was born.

Glenn McGrath 01 crop 2.jpg

1971 The 6.4 Richter Scale Sylmar earthquake hits the San Fernando Valley area of California.

1971  Satchel Paige became the first Negro League player to be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

1971 Apollo 14 returned to Earth after the third manned moon landing.

Apollo 14-insignia.png

1975 The Soyuz 17 Soviet spacecraft returned to Earth.

1991 Voters in Lithuania voted for independence.

1994 Vance-Owen peace plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina was announced.

1995 Space Shuttle astronauts Bernard A. Harris, Jr. and Michael Foale became the first African American and first Briton, respectively, to perform spacewalks.

Bernard Anthony Harris Jr.jpg   Michael Foale.jpg

1996 The Irish Republican Army declared the end of its 18 month ceasefire shortly followed by the explosion of a large bomb in London’s Canary Wharf.

2001 The submarine USS Greeneville (SSN-772) accidentally struck and sunk the Ehime-Maru, a Japanese training vessel.

 Divers inspect the wreckage of Ehime Maru off Oahu, November 5, 2001.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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