Word of the day


Facinorous – depraved, infamous, atrociously wicked.

Deluded musing isn’t news


Why did the paper even bother with this story:

Winston Peters says the Government has pestered him to accept an overseas ambassadorship – to get him out of politics and out of the country.

Comments from Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully and Peters’ friend Richard Griffin which follow make it quite clear he’s at best deluded.

The story’s from the someone-says-something, everyone-else-denies-it file which shouldn’t have got into print.

 Can you believe what he says? Is deluded musing news?

Did you see the one about


Australia sux (New Zealand seven) –  DeusExMacintosh at  Skeptic lawyer adds to his her series of topical comics with one on Julia Gillard’s visit.

Great fictional teachers – Teaching the Teacher looks at fictional inspiration.

Egypt: now what? Liberty Scott has some answers.

A bit of a walk in Mt Aspring National Park – Like Minds reminds me (with stunning photos) that it’s far too long since I’ve been there.

Both can’t be right


The Coastal Coalition thinks the Marine and Coastal Areas Bill goes too far.

Hone Harawira, his supporters and some other Maori groups, including Ngai Tahu, think it doesn’t go far enough.

Both can’t be right.

John Key says free public access is guaranteed:

The Marine and Coastal Area Bill replaces the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004, a piece of legislation which divided New Zealand and discriminated against Maori property rights.

The Marine and Coastal Area Bill recognises the importance of New Zealand’s beach culture as a value we all share. It also recognises the Kiwi value of a fair go, and ensuring no-one is denied access to justice.

The Marine and Coastal Area Bill guarantees free public access for all New Zealanders, makes sure the public foreshore and seabed can never be sold, and restores the ability of iwi to test their property rights through the Courts.

The MaCA applies only to the wet bit of the beach and beyond  i.e. from the high tide mark to the 12 mile limit.

A fact sheet countering the Coastal Coalition’s claims is here.

First wool battle lost but campaign not over


The announcement that Wool Partners Co-operative was unable to get half the national wool clip signed up wasn’t unexpected.

It was always a big ask and the continued extensions to closing day showed the co-op was struggling to get the support it needed.

Opposition from other players, which included misinformation didn’t help, and rising prices might have persuaded some that the co-op wasn’t needed.

However, the loss of this battle doesn’t mean the campaign is over.

Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre spokesman said the co-op is down but not out.

“To be successful, truly successful, a cooperative has to be built from the bottom up.  What I take heart from is that despite some of the worst years for profitability, so many had shared up.

“Yet wool growers have now spoken and the requirements of the WPC prospectus have not been met so we need to move on.

“Federated Farmers is determined to make certain that we don’t look back on this day as an opportunity wasted. 

It’s why Federated Farmers is keen to talk with Wool Partners International and all industry players about a grower owned model. I’m still personally convinced that together in a cooperative we can make things happen for our industry. 

“Consolidation and unity is important to wool growers as is much closer involvement in the selling of our fibre.

“There have been many reports into wool but most conclude that farmers should remain owners of their fibre until at least the end of first stage processing.  There’s something fundamental about that.

“WPC put up an option that they felt might meet this requirement and got the largest voluntary capital raising the wool industry has ever seen, with 40 million kilograms committed.

“That tells me a sizeable minority of wool growers want a cooperative. They put their money where their mouth was.

“Doing nothing isn’t an option for farmers or the meat and wool industry.  Wool is integral to the sheep industry’s long term prosperity.

Although the meat industry has got most of the blame for poor returns in recent years, low prices for wool, pelts, tallow and other by-prooducts was also responsible.

A shortage of sheep and rising demand for wool is giving much better prices this season but unless there are some fundamental changes to the way wool is marketed we can’t rely on them holding up.

WPC chair Jeff Grant offers some hope for those who want to see some changes:

WPC planned to raise $65 million to buy assets and use the commitment from growers to supply half the country’s wool clip, to have a greater influence on the market.

They planned to secure contracts with carpet retailers in Europe, United Kingdom and the United States and use brands linked to New Zealand’s and wool’s natural, sustainable environment and production systems to command premium prices and grow market share.

At present, most coarse or strong wool is sold at auction or directly to merchants with little or no use of those attributes, which Mr Grant said were increasingly being demanded by discerning customers.

But efforts to change the way strong wool is sold may not have died out, with backers of WPC saying there was sufficient interest from farmers to see if an alternative structure can be salvaged.

WPC had some good ideas to add value to wool and ensure farmers got more for their clip.

The directors won’t be able to do all they’d planned with a lesser amount of wool but I hope they have a Plan B which enables those farmers who are prepared to commit to them to do so and share the better returns.

February 20 in history


On February 20:

1472 Orkney and Shetland were left by Norway to Scotland, due to a dowry payment.

1547 Edward VI was crowned King of England.

Formal portrait in the Elizabethan style of Edward in his early teens. He has a long pointed face with fine features, dark eyes and a small full mouth. In this portrait he looks thin and ill.

1792 The Postal Service Act, establishing the United States Post Office Department, was signed by President George Washington.

1810 Andreas Hofer, Tirolean patriot and leader of rebellion against Napoleon’s forces, was executed.


1835 Concepción, Chile was destroyed by an earthquake.

1872 New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art opened.

Facade of imposing building with Greek columns. Large colored banners hang from the building's top. A crowd of people is in front.

1873 The University of California opened its first medical school.

UC seal.png

1887 Vincent Massey, Governor-General of Canada, was born (d. 1967).

1901 – The legislature of Hawaii Territory convenes for the first time.

1906 Gale Gordon, American television and radio actor, was born  (d. 1995).

1909 Publication of the Futurist Manifesto in the French journal Le Figaro.

1913 King O’Malley drove in the first survey peg to mark commencement of work on the construction of Canberra.

1924 Gloria Vanderbilt, American socialite and clothing designer, was born.

1925 Robert Altman, American film director, was born (d. 2006).

1927 Ibrahim Ferrer, Cuban musician (Buena Vista Social Club) was born, (d. 2005)

1927 – Sidney Poitier, American actor, was born.

1935 Caroline Mikkelsen became the first woman to set foot in Antarctica.

1941  Buffy Sainte-Marie, Canadian singer, was born.

1942 Lieutenant Edward O’Hare becomes America’s first World War II flying ace.

Butch O'Hare.jpg

1943 – The Parícutin volcano erupted Parícutin, Mexico.

1950  Walter Becker, American guitarist (Steely Dan), was born.

1951 Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born.

Head and shoulders of a  smiling man in a suit with dark, greying hair and rounded face with  square jaw

1952 Emmett Ashford became the first African-American umpire in organised baseball.

1954 Yvette Williams won a gold meadl for the long jump at the Olympics.

Yvette Williams sets world long jump record

1962 Mercury programme:  John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth, making three orbits in 4 hours, 55 minutes.


1965  Ranger 8 crashed into the moon after a successful mission of photographing possible landing sites for the Apollo programme astronauts.


1976 The Southeast Asia Treaty Organisation disbanded.

1989 An IRA bomb destroeds a section of a British Army barracks in Ternhill, England

1991  A gigantic statue of Albania’s long-time dictator, Enver Hoxha, was brought down in the Albanian capital Tirana, by mobs of angry protesters.


1998 American figure skater Tara Lipinski became the youngest gold-medalist at the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.

Tara lipinski.jpg

2002 In Reqa Al-Gharbiya, Egypt, a fire on a train injurds over 65 and killed at least 370.

2003 During a Great White concert in West Warwick, Rhode Island, a pyrotechnics display sets the club ablaze, killing 100 and injuring over 200 others.

2005 Spain became the first country to vote in a referendum on ratification of the proposed Constitution of the European Union, passing it by a substantial margin, but on a low turnout.

2010  – Heavy rain caused floods and mudslides,  on Madeira Island leaving at least 43 dead in the worst disaster on the history of the archipelago.

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