Harawira to force by-election


Hone Harawira has annoucned he’s going to resign from parliament to force a by-election.

The by-election is expected to cost $500,000. Under Electoral Commission rules, a by-election cannot occur with less than six months until an election, but Harawira’s announcement will come just one month ahead of that deadline.

What a waste of money.

Although there is one way to stop him – call an earlier election.

John Key announced in February that the election would be on November 26 – just a few weeks earlier and it would be within six months of Harawira’s resignation.

Word of the day


Abscissin – plant hormone which triggers the fall of autumn leaves.

Appropriate sponsors


John Drinnan, the Herald’s media commentator muses on the suggestion that sponsorship might be introduced to RadionNZ National:

With its medical disease of the week, Kathryn Ryan’s Nine to Noon could be brought to you by Prozac. Chris Laidlaw would work well with extra strong coffee. Mary Wilson on Checkpoint would suit Mack trucks. . .

It would be hard to beat the Mack Truck for mary Wilson on Checkpoint, but who could sponsor other programmes like Morning and Midday reports, Afternoons, Nights, Country Life or Kim Hill on Saturday morning?



From last week’s bad 4/10 to this week’s worse 3/10 in NZ History Online’s quiz.

With friends like these . . .


Hone Harawira is launching the Mana Party today with help from some friends:

It was earlier thought plans to rally together left-wing activists like Sue Bradford and Matt McCarten in to the party had fallen over.

But details emerging this morning suggest Bradford and McCarten could be intimately involved with the party – possibly as candidates. . .

. . .  A list of speakers for Saturday’s Mana Party launch released this morning includes Bradford, McCarten and veteran left-wing activist John Minto.

With friends like these there is no doubt Mana will be a left wing party and it might mean they will contest some general electorate seats not just the Maori ones.

New leader has no mandate for demands


Don Brash grabbed the leadership of Act in an unorthodox manner with reportedly the support of only three MPs.

Former leader Rodney Hide has been gracious in defeat and given the new leader his support. The fifth member of the Act caucus, John Boscawen apears to be demonstrating that loyalty to the party is paramount and is supporting the new leader.

The party board will ratify the leadership decision today but that still doesn’t give Brash any mandate for making demands of Prime Minister John Key.

He is leading a wee party which got into parliament with only 3.65% of the party vote thanks to the seat of Epsom which was won by Hide, the leader he’s deposed.

He is confident he will lift the vote well above that in November and he might well do so. If he does and National is in a position to form a government he could start negotiating for ministerial places then, but only then.

However, he wants some influence sooner:

Mr Hide has said he wants to stay on in his roles as local government and regulatory reform minister.

However, Dr Brash said last night that he expected to discuss the issue with Mr Key next week.Those are held at the discretion of the Prime Minister but it is also the convention in a coalition that the leader of the party in which those portfolios are held has a view on that.”

He indicated he would ask Mr Key to give Mr Hide’s portfolios to another MP, citing as a precedent Mr Hide’s decision to strip Heather Roy of her portfolios because of her coup attempt.

That isn’t a valid comparison. Roy had done her best to replace Hide inflicting great damage on her party in the process.

 Hide by contrast has put the party first by stepping aside without any public display of acrimony.

If his replacement insists on attempting to take his portfolios from him it would be understandable if Hide decided the party, and the man who calls him a friend, no longer deserved his loyalty.

Regardless of that, the election is only seven months away and it would be unnecessarily disruptive to change ministers at this late stage without a much better reason than to reward someone else for disloyalty to her leader who happens to hold the portfolios.

I have a great deal of respect for Dr Brash but if he attempts to replace Hide as a minister he will be attempting to wield influence well out or proportion to his position. He should put his intellect and energy into helping his new party become part of the next government and leave this one be.

To do otherwise would risk damaging this government and reduce the chances of both National and Act being part of the next one.

April 30 in history


On April 30:

313  Roman emperor Licinius unified the entire Eastern Roman Empire under his rule.

132 Licinius.jpg

1006  Supernova SN 1006, the brightest supernova in recorded history, appeared in the constellation Lupus.


1315 Enguerrand de Marigny was hanged on the public gallows at Montfaucon.

1492 Spain gave Christopher Columbus his commission of exploration.

1513  Edmund de la Pole, Yorkist pretender to the English throne, was executed on the orders of Henry VIII.

John de la Pole, 1st Earl of Lincoln.jpg

1651 Jean-Baptiste de la Salle, French educational reformer, Catholic saint, was born (d. 1719).

1662 Queen Mary II of England was born (d. 1694).

1671  Petar Zrinski, the Croatian Ban from the Zrinski family, was executed.

Petar Zrinski (1621-1671)

1789  George Washington took the oath of office to become the first elected President of the United States.


1794  The Battle of Boulou was fought, in which French forces defeated the Spanish under General Union.

Bataille de Boulou.jpg

1803  Louisiana Purchase: The United States purchased the Louisiana Territory from France for $15 million, more than doubling the size of the young nation.

Location of Louisiana Purchase

1838  Nicaragua declared independence from the Central American Federation.

1864  Pai Marire warriors were defeated at Sentry Hill.

Pai Marire defeated at Sentry Hill Taranaki

1865 ex-Governor Robert Fitzroy committed suicide.

Ex-Governor FitzRoy commits suicide

1871 The Camp Grant Massacre took place in Arizona Territory.

1894 Coxey’s Army reached Washington, D.C. to protest the unemployment caused by the Panic of 1893.


1900 Hawaii became a territory of the United States, with Sanford B. Dole as governor.

1900  Casey Jones died in a train wreck in Vaughn, Mississippi, while trying to make up time on the Cannonball Express.


1904 The Louisiana Purchase Exposition World’s Fair opened in St. Louis, Missouri.

1907  Honolulu, Hawaii became an independent city.

1909  Queen Juliana of the Netherlands,  was born (d. 2004).


1925 Dodge Brothers, Inc was sold to Dillon, Read & Company for $146 million plus $50 million for charity.

Dodge Logo

1927  The Federal Industrial Institute for Women, opened in Alderson, West Virginia, as the first women’s federal prison in the United States.

Alderson Federal Prison Camp entrance.jpg

1927 – Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford became the first celebrities to leave their footprints in concrete at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood.

Grauman's Chinese Theatre, by Carol Highsmith fixed & straightened.jpg

1933 Willie Nelson, American musician, was born.

1937  The Philippines held a plebiscite for Filipino women on whether they should be extended the right to suffrage; more than 90% voted in the affirmative.

1938  The animated cartoon short Porky’s Hare Hunt debuted in movie theatres, introducing Happy Rabbit.

1938 The first televised FA Cup Final took place between Huddersfield Town and Preston North End.

1939  The 1939-40 New York World’s Fair opened


1939  NBC inaugurated its regularly scheduled television service in New York City, broadcasting President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s World’s Fair opening day ceremonial address.

NBC logo.svg

1943  World War II: Operation Mincemeat: The submarine HMS Seraph surfaced in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Spain to deposit a dead man planted with false invasion plans and dressed as a British military intelligence officer.


1945 World War II: Fuehrerbunker: Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun committed suicide after being married for one day. Soviet soldiers raised the Victory Banner over the Reichstag building.


1946 King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, was born.

1947 The Boulder Dam was renamed Hoover Dam a second time.

Hoover Dam

1948 The Organization of American States was established.

1949 António Guterres, former Prime Minister of Portugal, was born.

1953  In Warner Robins, Georgia, an F4 tornado killed 18 people.

1953 Merrill Osmond, American musician (The Osmonds), was born.

1954 Jane Campion, New Zealand film director, was born.

1956 Former Vice President and Senator Alben Barkley died during a speech in Virginia. He collapsed after proclaiming “I would rather be a servant in the house of the lord than sit in the seats of the mighty.”

1959 Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, was born.

1973  Watergate Scandal: U.S. President Richard Nixon announced that top White House aids H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman and others had resigned.

1975 Fall of Saigon: Communist forces gained control of Saigon. The Vietnam War formally ended with the unconditional surrender of South Vietnamese president Duong Van Minh.

1980 Accession of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

1988 Queen Elizabeth II officially opened World Expo ’88 in Brisbane, Australia.


1993  CERN announced World Wide Web protocols would be free.

1993 Virgin Radio broadcast for the first time in the United Kingdom.


1995 U.S. President Bill Clinton became the first President to visit Northern Ireland.

1999 Cambodia joined the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bringing the number of members to 10.

2004 U.S. media release graphic photos of American soldiers abusing and sexually humiliating Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison.

2008  Two skeletal remains found near Ekaterinburg, Russia were confirmed by Russian scientists to be the remains of Alexei Nikolaevich, Tsarevich of Russia and one of his sisters Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna.

2009 Chrysler  filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Chrysler LLC logo.svg

2010 – Hailed as the largest World’s Fair in history, Expo 2010 opened in Shangai.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

The Royal Wedding – live blogging


12:34: I do love a lovely wedding, and this was a really lovely one. They look happy, I hope they are.

12:32: Everyone back into the palace.

12:30: Fly past.

12:29: A second kiss. Very decorous, a peck rather than a snog.

12: 27: The Queen leads other members of the royal family onto the balcony. The crowd is excited. They kiss (Kate and WIllaim that is, not the crowd).

12:26: The Duke and Duchess are on the balcony waving.

12:25 Net curtains on the palace window behind the balcony – tell me no!

12:22: The Brits do secuirty and crowd control well too – all those people and no sign of anything untoward.

12:05: Photos here and here.

12:03:Offical royal wedding pages here.

11:59:  Three hours of bell ringing might be a wee bit much for most people, not least those doing the ringing. Wonder if they wear ear protection? Do they do it in shifts?

11:44:  The Brits do do pomp and ceremony well, don’t they?

11:34: They’re calling it the wedding of the century – it’s been glorious but with 89 years (90 if you’re a pedant) to go that’s a big call.

11:26:  It’s not easy getting out of a carriage gracefully in a long dress and a longer trains, but she does it.

11:25: Back at the palace. Those are very well behaved horses.

11:20:  There’s a reason for that royal wave – the royal arms would get very tired if they did too much ordinary waving.

11:11: The sun is shining, they’re smiling and waving to the crowd.

11:09: WIlliam puts on his cap and gloves. Into the carriage.

11:08:  They walk out of the Abbey to cheers from the crowd and the peal of bells.

11:05: They bow and curtsy to the Queen.

 11:04  Prince WiIliam and Princess Kate (or is it now Princess Catherine?), the DUke and Duchess of Cambridge, return to a fanfare.

11:03 The clergy go to the door.

11:02:  The families return. The choir is still singing.

10:53: Pippa gives Kate her bouquet, they walk forward into a chapel, followed by their parents and siblings, to sign the register. The choir sings.

10:52: God Save the Queen. She doesn’t sing but Prince Phillip does.

10:50: Another prayer.The choir sings Amen.

10:47: Hymn – Jerusalem. Elton John doesn’t seem to be over familiar with this either. Many in the crowd outside are singing more enthusiastically.

1044: PrayersI know Roman Catholics don’t say the last bit of the Lord’s Prayer (for thine is the kingdon . . . ) but didn’t realise Anglicans don’t either.

 10:40 The choir sings while WIlliam and Kate move to the, is it the nave? Pardon my ignorance of church architecture is showing. No it’s not the nave, it’s the alter.

10:39:  He finishes with a prayer which William and Kate wrote.

10:32:  Address by the Bishop of London. He starts quoting Saint Catherine of Sienna – Be who you are mant to be and you will set the world on fire.

10:27 Anthem This is the Day The Lord Hath Made, commissioned specially for the service as a gift to th couple.

10:24: Bible reading by James Middleton- Romans chapter 12. Let love be genuine, hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good . . . Either he’s using a teleprompter or he’s got a very good memory.

10-:20 The second hymn – Love Divinewe sang it at our wedding,

10:17: A ring for her but not for him.

10:12 Dearly beloved –the Dean begins the service with the  traditional words.

10:11 Sophie’s veil is off her face, she looks happy.

10:10: The first hymn – Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer. Elton John doesn’t appear to know it.

10:09: Harry looks nervous, William looks happy.

10:08: What restraint – William hasn’t glanced back yet.

10:05: Kate, her father and the Dean walk slowly down the aisle. Her veil is over her face.

10:04: William and Harry are led to the alter steps as the choir sings I Was Glad.

10:03: Is that a tear in her mother’s eye?

10:00: It’s 11am in England. Kate and her father have arrived at the Abbey, PIppa is coming out to greet her. Kate’s dress is simple and elegant with a train which is several metres long. It was made by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen.

9:59: All that waiting by all those people who cheer as the bride and her father glide past in seconds.

9:56: Pippa Middleton (stunning in a sleek, champagne coloured gown), the flower girls and page boys are going into the Abbey.

9:55: She looks happy.

9:51: Kate Middleton, wearing lace and carrying a posey, has got into the car with her father, Michael. My, what a long train.

9:49: The Queen and Duke have arrived at the Abbey. Her outfit looks more subdued inside. She gets a  fanfare fromt he band and a kiss from her son.

9:48: Two page boys in mini-military uniforms.

9:44 Charles and Camilla  are going into the Abbey.

9:43:  The bridesmaids (in champagne coloured dresses) are getting in to the cars.

9:41: The Queen and Prince Phillip have left the palace – she’s in yellow, he’s in red – would it be impolite to say they’re colours I wouldn’t put together?

 9:40:  Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie are wearing what Lyn of Taw would describe as visual symphonies on their heads.

9:38: Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, are on their way to the Abbey.

9:35 Prince Andrew, his daughters Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie; Prince Edward and Princess Sophie are leaving the palace.

9:33: Carole MIddleton and her son James have arrived at the Abbey.

9:30:  The junior royals are travelling from Buckingham Palace to the Abbey. Mini vans don’t have quite the same impact as Rolls Royces or carriages.

9:26 – Carole Middleton, Kate’s mother, in sky blue is on her way to th Abbey.

9:24:  In other news the Blues have beaten the Highlanders 15 -10 at Carisbrook. The Breakers have won the basketball final against the Taipans.

9:22:  The fascinators many women are wearing are fascinating – and surely better for the people sitting behind you than a large hat.

9:20: The princes took off their caps as they entered the Abbey and are chatting to the Dean.

9:12: Princes William and Harry have left Clarence House on their way to the Abbey – William in red, the dress uniform of the Irish Guards.

9:05: British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha hold hands as they walk into Westminster Abbey.

9:pm: Commonwealth leaders arriving including the Keys and Julia Gillard – the latter in pink.

8.35: Promgramme:

From 8:50pm               Governors-General and Prime Ministers of Realm Countries (including John Key), the Diplomatic Corps, and other distinguished guests arrive at the Abbey 

 9:10pm                        The Bridegroom and Prince Henry of Wales (Prince Harry) leave Clarence House for Westminster Abbey (arrive at 9:15pm)

 9:20pm                        Members of Foreign Royal Families arrive at Westminster Abbey from Buckingham Palace 

 9:20pm                        Carole Middleton (Mother of the Bride) leaves the Goring Hotel for Westminster Abbey (arrive 9:27pm)

 9:25pm                        Members of the Royal Family (except those listed below) leave Buckingham Palace for Westminster Abbey (arrive at 9:30pm)

 9:35pm                        The Duke of York, Princess Beatrice of York, Princess Eugenie of York, The Earl and Countess of Wessex ,The Princess Royal and Vice Admiral

   Timothy Laurence leave Buckingham Palace (arrive at 9:40pm)

 9:38pm                        The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall leave Clarence House for Westminster Abbey (arrive at 9.42pm)

 9:40pm                        The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh leave Buckingham Palace for Westminster Abbey (arrive at 9.45pm) 

 9:48pm                        The Bridesmaids and Pages leave the Goring Hotel for Westminster Abbey (arrive at 9.55pm) 

 9:51pm                        The Bride, accompanied by Michael Middleton, leaves the Goring Hotel for Westminster Abbey 

10:00pm                       The Marriage Service begins 

                                       Service will be conducted by Very Reverend John Hall, Dean of Westminster Abbey

                                       Vows will be presided over by Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury

   Sermon delivered by Right Reverend Richard Chartres   

11:15pm                       The Carriage Procession of the Bride and Bridegroom with a Captain’s Escort of the Household Cavalry, followed by The Queen’s Procession with a

   Sovereign’s Escort of the Household Cavalry, leaves Westminster Abbey for Buckingham Palace

11:30pm                       The Bride’s Carriage Procession arrives at Buckingham Palace

11:40pm                       Members of the Royal Family and Members of Foreign Royal Families arrive at Buckingham Palace

From 11:40pm             Guests arrive at Buckingham Palace for the Reception  


12:25am                       The Queen and the Bride and Bridegroom, together with their Families, appear on the Balcony to wave to the crowd

12:30am                       Fly Past by the Royal Air Force and Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (includes the traditional kiss)

8:25 My farmer is watching the rugby but I’m enjoying watching people arrive at Westminster Abbey.

Earlier this evening Prime Minsiter John Key and his wife Bronagh showed off their wedding finery – she in a Trelise Cooper pink lace dress with a royal blue coat and hat, he in a greenstone-washed merino suit. Tv3 here; TV 1 here and here.

We’re not amused


The ABC’s plans for a satirical commentary of this evening’s royal wedding were scuttled by Clarence House.

So we’re not amused but thanks to Clarke and Dawe we are excited:

Eyes left


Political eyes have been looking right this week but now there’s a reason to look left.

Keeping Stock has come across an open letter urging people to attend tomorrow’s launch of Hone Harawira’s Mana Party written by Mike Treen.

Who? That’s what I thought but Inventory 2 has the answer:

Mike Treen is a life long socialist activist and National Director of Unite New Zealand, a union which has “successfully organized young workers in fast foods”.

Not surprising then that the new party will promote policies including:

Our strategy on taxes will be targeted at wealth such as capital gains taxes, death duties, and asset taxes. We will want to abolish GST with sometime like a financial transaction tax (we’d like to call it the Hone Heke Tax). The rich need to pay their fair share. As a start the last tax cut should be cancelled.

The OECD report released this week advocated a capital gains tax. But I can’t see how  anyone with a modicum of understanding of economics would support anything else in this extreme left dogma.

Who do they think already pays most of the tax which allows the aspiring leader of the yet to be formed party to swan around the country?

Independent MP Hone Harawira spent $43,000 on travel in three months – nearly as much as the entire Maori Party’s bill of $44,410.

If the party manages to jump through the hoops required to become registered then Harawira will get extra funding as the leader of a party in parliament.

Word of the day


Gamidolatry – worship of marriage.

Friday’s answers


Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who wrote Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds, . . .:?

2. Who wrote the poem How Do I Love Thee? and what is its first line?

3. Who composed the wedding march known as here Comes the Bride and for which Sakespeare play was it written?

3b – Is that enough questions about love and marriage?

4. When did Don Brash become an MP?

5. At which university did Rodney Hide teach?

Points for answers: (allowing both Wagner and Mendelssohn for #3 becaue I got the question wrong. Mendelssohn composed the march from Midsummer Night’s Dream but it’s Wagner’s bridal chorus which is known as Here Comes the Bride).

Andrei got 3 1/2 (you got the composer but missed the play).

Gravedoger earned a large slice of electronic wedding cake for a clean sweep and a bonus for supporting love and marriage.

Bearhunter also earned a large slice of electornic wedding cake for a clean sweep- and yes Wagner’s music was for Lohengrin.

David got 3 1/2.

Rob got 3 1/2 with a bonus for extra information.

Adam got 4 1/2.

Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

Happily ever after


Dear Kate and William

In fairytales, couples marry and live happily ever after. In real life it’s not quite that easy.

When making the vows most think only of the better, not realising that often it comes only after, and sometimes because of, the worse.

You won’t have some of the pressure many others face in ordinary day to day life. But you’ll have others, not least that of being in the public eye.

Today your marriage ceremony is expected to be watched by 2 billion people, your every move will be recorded and dissected.

I will be among those watching and wishing you well. Some people are cynical about weddings in general and yours in particular. But I’m with Robert Saxton who said: In a time when nothing is more certain than change, the commitment of two people to one another has become difficult and rare. Yet, by its scarcity, the beauty and value of this exchange have only been enhanced.

While a marriage ceremony is public, and yours more than any other, you are making a private commitment. It will be in front of others but between the two of you. 

In spite of all the people watching, the vows you exchange will be made  to and for each other. It is only you two, alone together, who can honour and uphold the promises and make your partnership work.

You are having what many regard as a fairytale wedding but it won’t be a fairytale marriage. In real life there is no such thing but there are long and happy unions.

I wish you that and, in the words of Pinky Agnew:

May God grant you:

Enough love to give each other trust, Enough trust to give each other faith,

Enough faith to give each other strength, Enough strength to give each other courage,

Enough courage to give each other freedom, And enough freedom to give each other love.

Most votes are in the middle


National understandably gets criticism for going too far to the right from the left – that’s where the opposition ought to be.

But it also has to face criticism from the right, including from within its membership, for not going far enough.

A party which wants to stay in power needs the support of its own members and supporters but under MMP that’s not enough, it needs the support of swinging voters and most of those are in or near the centre.

That’s something parties towards the far ends of the political spectrum and their supporters don’t seem to realise. They are convinced of their positions but they can never persuade many others to join them there.

As Trans Tasman says:

There’s an odd similarity between Harawira bid to get into Parliament with his own party and Don Brash’s – both will be too extreme to have any real impact on policy.

If either Harawira or Brash and their parties are in a position to exert influence on or in the government after the election they will get some concessions, but that’s all.

Both bigger parties would  lose too much from the centre if they went too far to accommodate coalition or support partners on the extremes.

Labour and Peter Dunne are already trying to use the spectre of a Brash-led Act party pulling National to the hard right but that ploy can be used against them. 

What would most voters rather have – a Labour,Maori Party, Green, NZ First, Dunne and maybe Harawira hodge-podge or National strong enough to stand its ground if its coalition partners pull too far?

April 29 in history


On April 29:

711  Islamic conquest of Hispania: Moorish troops led by Tariq ibn-Ziyad landed at Gibraltar to begin their invasion of the Iberian Peninsula (Al-Andalus).

Tariq ibn Ziyad

1429 Joan of Arc arrived to relieve the Siege of Orleans.

Joan of Arc at the Siege of Orleans by Jules Lenepveu

1483 Gran Canaria, the main of the Canary Islands was conquered by the Kingdom of Castile, an important step in the expansion of Spain.

1624 Cardinal Richelieu became Prime Minister of Louis XIII.

1672 Franco-Dutch War: Louis XIV of France invaded the Netherlands.

1707  Scotland and England unified in United Kingdom of Great Britain.

 1770 James Cook arrived at and named Botany Bay, Australia.


1832 Évariste Galois released from prison.


1861 American Civil War: Maryland’s House of Delegates voted not to secede from the Union.

1863 William Randolph Hearst, American publisher, was born (d. 1951).

1864 The Theta Xi fraternity was founded at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.

1882  The “Elektromote” – forerunner of the trolleybus – was tested by Ernst Werner von Siemens in Berlin.


1899 Duke Ellington, American jazz pianist and bandleader, was born (d. 1974).

1901 Hirohito, Emperor of Japan, was born (d. 1989).

1903 A 30 million cubic-metre landslide killed 70 in Frank, Alberta.


1915 Donald Mills, American singer (Mills Brothers), was born (d. 1999).

1916 World War I: The British 6th Indian Division surrendered to Ottoman Forces at Kt in one of the largest surrenders of British forces up to that point.

1916 Easter Rebellion: Martial law in Ireland was lifted and the rebellion was officially over with the surrender of Irish nationalists to British authorities in Dublin.


1933 Rod McKuen, American poet and composer, was born.

1934 Otis Rush, American musician, was born.

1938 Bernard Madoff, American convict, who was a financier and Chairman of the NASDAQ stock exchange., was born.

1945 World War II: The German Army in Italy unconditionally surrendered to the Allies.

1945 World War II: Start of Operation Manna.


1945 World War II – Fuehrerbunker: Adolf Hitler married his long-time partner Eva Braun in a Berlin bunker and designated Admiral Karl Dönitz as his successor.

1945 – The Dachau concentration camp was liberated by United States troops.


1945 – The Italian commune of Fornovo di Taro was liberated from German forces by Brazilian forces.

1946  Former Prime Minister of Japan Hideki Tojo and 28 former Japanese leaders were indicted for war crimes.


1952 Anzus came into force.

ANZUS comes into force

1953 The first U.S. experimental 3D-TV broadcast showed an episode of Space Patrol on Los Angeles ABC affiliate KECA-TV.

1954 Jerry Seinfeld, American comedian, was born.

Jerry Seinfeld (1997) cropped.jpg

1957 – Daniel Day-Lewis, British-Irish actor, was born.

A smiling man wearing a gray hat with piping above the band, and a tan Western style shirt, stands in an office, posing for the camera.

1958 Michelle Pfeiffer, American actress, was born.

1958 Eve Plumb, American actress, was born.

1965 Pakistan’s Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) successfully launched its seventh rocket in its Rehber series.


1967 After refusing induction into the United States Army the day before (citing religious reasons), Muhammad Ali was stripped of his boxing title.

Muhammad Ali NYWTS.jpg

1968  The controversial musical Hair opened on Broadway.


1970 Andre Agassi, American tennis player, was born.

Andre Agassi 2005 US Clay Court.jpg

1970 Vietnam War: United States and South Vietnamese forces invaded Cambodia to hunt Viet Cong.

1974 President Richard Nixon announced the release of edited transcripts of White House tape recordings related to the Watergate  scandal.


1975 Vietnam War: Operation Frequent Wind: The U.S. began to evacuate U.S. citizens from Saigon prior to an expected North Vietnamese takeover. U.S. involvement in the war ended.

Vietnamese refugees disembarking helicopter, Operation Frequent Wind.jpg

1979  Jo O’Meara, British singer (S Club), was born.

1980 Corazones Unidos Siempre Chi Upsilon Sigma National Latin Sorority Inc. was founded.

1980 Kian Egan, Irish singer (Westlife), was born.

1986 Roger Clemens then of the Boston Red Sox set a major league baseball record with 20 strikeouts in nine innings against the Seattle Mariners.

1986 A fire at the Central library of the City of Los Angeles Public Library damaged or destroyed 400,000 books and other items.

1991 A cyclone struck the Chittagong district of southeastern Bangladesh with winds of around 155 mph, killing at least 138,000 people and leaving as many as 10 million homeless.


1992   Riots in Los Angeles  following the acquittal of police officers charged with excessive force in the beating of Rodney King. Over the next three days 53 people were killed and hundreds of buildings were destroyed.


1997 The Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993 enters into force, outlawing the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons by its signatories.

1999 The Avala TV Tower near Belgrade was destroyed in the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.

CK building on fire 1999.jpg

2002 The United States was re-elected to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, one year after losing the seat that it had held for 50 years.

2004 Dick Cheney and George W. Bush testified before the 9/11 Commission in a closed, unrecorded hearing in the Oval Office.


2004  Oldsmobile built its final car ending 107 years of production.

Oldsmobile Logo

2005 Syria completed withdrawal from Lebanon, ending 29 years of occupation.

2005 – New Zealand’s first civil union took place.

Sourced from NZ History Online and WIkipedia.

Word of the day


Réclame – art or practice by which publicity or notoriety is secured; a gift for dramatisation or publicity; hunger for publicity, flair for getting attention; showmanship;  public acclaim.

Thursday’s quiz


1. Who wrote Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds, . . .:?

2. Who wrote the poem How Do I Love Thee? and what is its first line?

3. Who composed the wedding march known as here Comes the Bride and for which Sakespeare play was it written?

3b – Is that enough about love and marriage?

4. When did Don Brash become an MP?

5. At which university did Rodney Hide teach?

Hide jumps


Rodney Hide has jumped before what appeared likely to be a definite push.

Act leader Rodney Hide has resigned as party leader.

Hide, the Minister of Local Government, has just announced his decision at a media conference in Auckland.

Dr Don Brash, whose leadership push forced Hide to resign, was at the announcement and will now take over as leader.

Hide has put the good of his party before his personal ambitions but this saga doesn’t reflect well on Act.

A party whose leadership can be overturned by someone outside parliament with the support of just  three MPs in the face of  criticism from the party president isn’t very stable.

Brash sees Act as the vehicle to get his policies implemented but events of recent days show it’s a vehicle in urgent need of maintenance.

He will have to do a lot of work on it to convince people to trust it with their votes.

Fortune favours the bold


It’s looked more like a hostile takeover than a leadership bid. But Virgil was right, fortune favours the bold and Don Brash’s unorthodox challenge might succeed:

Don Brash looks certain to become the new Act leader, with the party’s newest MP, Hilary Calvert, switching sides yesterday after a private meeting in Dr Brash’s Auckland apartment.

A vote could be held at the next caucus meeting on Tuesday, but if Mr Hide accepts he has lost majority support to the former National Party leader, he could resign earlier.

The adage that any publicity is good publicity doesn’t apply to internal ructions in political parties.

If Brash really does have the numbers then the best thing Hide can for do for Act is resign the leadership and hope a new leader can drag the party out of the doldrums where it’s been mired for months.

Update: Hide is to make an annoucnement at noon:

Embattled ACT leader Rodney Hide will make an announcement on his future with the party at midday today.

Sources close to 3 News political editor Duncan Garner say it is believed he will resign as leader, paving the way for Don Brash to take over..

He is expected to hold onto his ministerial portfolios.

Giving up the leadership would be best for the party.

Holding on to his portfolios which also means staying on as an MP is sensible. There’s nothing to be gained by triggering the expense of a by-election this late in the electoral cycle.

P.S. A reader emailed to tell me the comments for this post had been disabled earlier. I’ve no idea how that happ but have ticked the boxes to enable them again.

March record month for dairy exports


There isn’t a lot of good news on the economic front at the moment and most of the bright spots come from primary industries, notably dairy:

Fonterra has recorded its highest ever month for exports with 229,000 tonnes of its dairy products leaving New Zealand shores in March.

Gary Romano, Managing Director of Fonterra Trade & Operations, said the record shipments are the result of continued growth in global demand for high quality dairy products from New Zealand.

“Our supply chain team were effectively closing the door on an export container every 2.6 minutes. That’s equivalent to 560 containers a day.”

“As a result of this effort we expect the record month will inject around $1.2 billion into the New Zealand economy,” he said.

The outlook is for continued high demand and the challenge is to keep up with it.

Increased domestic production will be satisify some of the demand but we can’t do it all here.

Joint ventures and the development of dairy farms in other countries will also be needed if dairy produce is to keep increasing its much-needed contribution to export income.

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