Hard options, hard truth

March 14, 2011

Jim Hopkins tells the hard truth:

“Easy options are off. Whichever we choose in the next little while, they’ll come from the hard, harder or hardest range. That’s all there is in stock.

And it’s not just politicians who need to understand this – some do already, they just ain’t saying nowt.

It’s us, ladies and gentlemen. We’re the ones who’ve got to understand how hard it’s going to be. And not only understand it but accept it too. If easy options are off, so are most of the petty complaints that preoccupy us.”

New Zealand went into recession before the  rest of the world, the recovery was at best hesitant before the earthquake and it was obvious that there was no money for an election-year spend-up.

The need for reduced spending and increased efficiency is even greater than it was, as is the need to produce more.

Don’t blame the MPs, people. It’s our neglect as much as theirs. They took their NIMBY cue from us. In this most insular of lotus lands, we were the ones who didn’t want any ripples on the pond. Well, forget ripples. Now we’ve got to save the pond.

And you don’t need to pay $880,000,000 to realise that’s just got 100 times harder. There’s a whole city to rebuild. No. There’s actually two cities to rebuild. One tangible, the other intangible, but no less real. New Zealand is a city. We are. In population terms, we’re a city trapped in a country’s body. And the city’s got to put the country to work.

Starting now, we must do more things and new things here. That’s not an option. It’s a necessity.

The commodities we produce are getting record prices but we need to produce more of them and more of different produce the world wants too.

We don’t have enough people here now. We could soon lose even more. The city of New Zealand could get even smaller.

And if you think that’s fine, because we don’t need a crowd, then you’re missing the point. We do need a crowd. No ifs, no buts. All the problems we had have just got worse. A trouble shared, remember … More people aren’t part of the solution. They are the solution.

Immigration, irrigation, excavation; like it or not, and many won’t, they’ve just become necessities. We’ve got to welcome more people, make more milk, mine more stuff. We can do all those things quickly. Or start to, anyway – and more besides, of course – provided we realise how urgent things are.

That isn’t a call for unfettered growth.

It is possible to have economic growth with the population and production increases that requires without threatening our culture and environment.

But it isn’t possible to maintain, let alone achieve much needed improvements to, our standard of living unless and until our economy grows.

March 14 in history

March 14, 2011

On March 14:

1489 The Queen of Cyprus, Catherine Cornaro, sold her kingdom to Venice.

Gentile Bellini 002.jpg

1590 Battle of Ivry: Henry of Navarre and the Huguenots defeated the forces of the Catholic League under the Duc de Mayenne during the French Wars of Religion.


1647 Thirty Years’ War: Bavaria, Cologne, France and Sweden signed the Truce of Ulm.

Jacques callot miseres guerre.gif

1681 – Georg Philipp Telemann, German composer, was born (d. 1767).

1757 Admiral John Byng was executed by firing squad, on-board the HMS Monarch, for neglecting his duty.


1794 Eli Whitney was granted a patent for the cotton gin.


1804 – Johann Strauss, Sr., Austrian composer, was born (d. 1849).


1833 – Lucy Hobbs Taylor, first female dentist in the United States, was born (d. 1910).

1844 – King Umberto I of Italy, was born (d. 1900).

1864 – Casey Jones, American railroad engineer, was born (d. 1900).


1868 – Emily Murphy, Canadian women’s rights activist, first female magistrate in the British Empire, was born (d 1933).

1869 Defeat of Titokowaru.

Von Tempsky's death Kennett Watkins.jpg 

1879 – Albert Einstein, German-born physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1955)

1900 The Gold Standard Act was ratified, placing United States currency on the gold standard.

1903 The Hay-Herran Treaty, granting the United States the right to build the Panama Canal, was ratified by the United States Senate.

1905 Chelsea Football Club was founded.

Chelsea FC.svg

1910 Lakeview Gusher, the largest U.S. oil well gusher near Bakersfield, California, vented to atmosphere.


1914 – Bill Owen, British actor, was born (d. 1999).

1915 Cornered off the coast of Chile by the Royal Navy after fleeing the Battle of the Falkland Islands, the German light cruiser SMS Dresden was abandoned and scuttled by her crew.


1933 – Sir Michael Caine, British actor, was born.

1936 – Sir Bob Charles, New Zealand golfer, was born.

1939 Slovakia declared independence under German pressure.

1942  Orvan Hess and John Bumstead became the first in the world to successfully treat a patient, Anne Miller, using penicillin.


1945 World War II – The R.A.F. first operational use of the Grand Slam bomb, Bielefeld, Germany.

British Grand Slam bomb.jpg

1945 – Walter Parazaider, American saxophonist (Chicago), was born.

1947 – Pam Ayres, British poet, was born.


1948 – Billy Crystal, American actor and comedian, was born.

1951  Korean War: For the second time, United Nations troops recaptured Seoul.

1958 – Albert II, Prince of Monaco, was born.

1964  A jury in Dallas, Texas found Jack Ruby guilty of killing Lee Harvey Oswald, assassin of John F. Kennedy.

1968 – Megan Follows, Canadian actress, was born.

1972  Italian publisher and former partisan Giangiacomo Feltrinelli was killed by an explosion.

1976 – Daniel Gillies, Canadian born New Zealand actor, was born.

1978  The Israeli Defense Force invades and occupies southern Lebanon, in Operation Litani.


1979 A Hawker Siddeley Trident crashed into a factory near Beijing, killing at least 200.

1980 Split Enz reached No 1 with I Got You from their True Colours  album.

Split Enz hit No.1 with 'I got you'

  1980 A plane crashesd during final approach near Warsaw killing 87 people, including a 14-man American boxing team.

1984Gerry Adams, head of Sinn Féin, was seriously wounded in an assassination attempt.

1989 General Michel Aoun declared that he will act for the liberation of Lebanon.

1994 Linux kernel version 1.0.0 was released.


1995 Astronaut Norman Thagard became the first American astronaut to ride to space on-board a Russian launch vehicle.


1998 An earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale hit southeastern Iran.

2005 Cedar Revolution: hundreds of thousands of Lebanese went into the streets of Beirut to demonstrate against the Syrian military presence in Lebanon and against the government.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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