RSA on-line for Anzac Day


The RSA has gone on-line for Anzac Day with its poppy appeal and  remembrance website

Visitors to the website will be able to leave a message on the Wall of Remembrance,  find an Anzac Day Service and other activities around the country related to Anzac Day and remembrance and   follow bloggers in Gallipoli, Timor Leste, Christchurch and around New Zealand as they prepare for and commemorate Anzac Day.

It’s also possible for people to upload their own photos of their Anzac Day commemorations and support the RSA’s welfare fund for returned servicemen and women and their families by making a donation to the 2011 Poppy Appeal.

Word of the day


Gourmandise – relish and taste for good food; appreciation of or interest in good food and drink.

Has best-by reached its use-by date?


The delights of oysters are lost on me.

Some food takes several tries before you acquire a taste for it but the strength of my dislike at my first taste of an oyster was such I’ve never bothered to try one again.

When they’re so expensive and those who like them really, really like them it would be stupid to waste them on me.

No oysters are a good oysters to me which means that I am not the best judge of whether or not they’ve have gone off. When I discovered some when cleaning out the fridge in our crib in Wanaka and noticed they’d reached their use-by date I sought the advice of friends who were visiting.

All were sure that the use-by date for oysters should be taken seriously so I threw them out.

When I got home later that day, my farmer who’d left Wanaka before me, asked if I’d found the oysters and brought them with me.

He was less than impressed when I said yes to the first part of the question and explained my no to the second part.

Had it been a best-by date I would almost certainly have ignored it and left it to him to do the look-and-smell-test but I take use-by dates seriously.

The distinction between the two is however, lost on many people:

Economist Richard Denniss, executive director of the Australia Institute, said yesterday its survey of New Zealand households found each threw out about $450-worth of food a year.

This equates to a national figure of about $751 million of food being discarded annually. . .

“Whether it’s because it was off, or people just didn’t like the look of it, we don’t know,” Dr Denniss said.

“We know best-before dates for some people are an indicator that they should be cautious, and for others they are a deadline they wouldn’t possibly cross.”

“Milk and yoghurt don’t become poisonous the day after the best-before date. It’s possible to put your nose in and determine whether they are still okay or not. We found younger people in particular, and also higher-income people, pay more attention to the best-before dates.”

He said shoppers needed more information about the health consequences of food spoilage.

“The consequences of processed meat going off are quite different to the consequences of milk going sour.”

Best-by and use-by dates are relatively new.

We used to use our eyes, noses, tastebuds and judgement to determine whether on not food was safe to eat.

Given the danger and costs of food poisoning, to the sufferer and potentially employers and the health system, use-by dates on food which could cause problems are sensible.

But a produced-on date for other food would leave it up to consumers to use their senses, and sense, to determine if it was safe to eat.

That might save some waste and make it more likely use-by dates were taken seriously.

That would not, however, be enough to convince my farmer that I was right to throw out the ones  he left in Wanaka.

They’re loans not gifts


Student loans might be interest free while studying and for those who stay in New Zealand afterwards but they’re not gifts.

They are required to be repaid and, for those who go overseas, with interest.

Tightening up the rules around who gets a loan, how much they can claim and the requirement to repay it is long over due.

People who with overdue fines are stopped at the border if they try to leave the country. There would be an uproar if people with student loans were treated that way but when the 15% of those with loans are overseas and owe 55% of the debt they are an obvious target for tighter rules.

Suggestions by Tertiary Minister Steven Joyce are reasonable. Giving those who’ve had loans and go overseas a three year holiday before they’re required to start repayments is far too generous:

. . . we have this thing called the three-year repayment holiday right now, which the previous government started, which seems to have been a pragmatic decision that they made that they weren’t collecting it anyway, so let’s pretend that we won’t collect it. I’m concerned about that. I think it sends the wrong message that somebody can sit overseas for three years and not make any commitment at all towards repayment. Now, when you go on your OE, perhaps you go six months or a year without getting an income, but, actually, once you’re over there for about a year, you’ve got to be living on something, and we’re thinking that we might change the length of that repayment holiday. . .

. . . Everybody who goes overseas automatically gets it, and I’m thinking maybe we’ll look at something like an application requiring them to leave a contact in New Zealand, for example, and actually limiting the period of time to a lot less than three years.

 Using debt collection agencies and recalling the whole loan if people ignore requests to make repayments; and allowing people over 55 to take loans for fees but not living costs is also sensible.

Interest-free student loans was an election bribe before the 2005 election. It was one of the dead rats National swallowed during the 2008 campaign.

Swallowing it doesn’t mean the government can’t tighten the rules to make it a bit easier to digest.

These changes will do that, saving money without imposing unreasonable costs on graduates.

The only way is . . . ?


Any hopes Labour might have taken from last week’s One News Colmar Brunton poll which showed a slight increase in support will have been dashed by last night’s 3 News Reid poll which shows they’ve dropped 3.8 to just 27.1%.

That would mean they’d get just 34 seats. Several sitting MPs would lose their jobs and only one new MP would come in on the list – former party president Andrew Little.

If, as often happens, loss of party support leads to fewer votes for individual MPs the party could also lose some electorate seats. That wouldn’t affect the overall number of MPs they get but it would further weaken the party.

The only way to go from 27% ought to be up  which is what happened last time Labour was there and it could happen again. But this poll shows not just Labour but left as a whole is less popular.

The two coalition supporters Labour could rely on also lost support. The Green Party dropped .5 to 7.7%. New Zealand First had a similar drop to 2.8% which is only just over half way to the 5% threshold needed to get into parliament without winning an electorate.

The Maori Party which could choose to go with Labour or National, or stay out of government had a slight increase in support – up .2% to 2.5% and Act which would go with National or stay on the cross benches was up 1.1 t0 1.7%.

National went up 2.9 to 57.5% and dearly as I would like that sort of result on election night it would be virtually impossible to translate that level of support into votes.

Although Kiwiblog says the TV3 poll was the most accurate one in the last two elections it’s still seven and a bit months until election day and anything could happen before then.

Labour might be in despair about their lack of traction but National can’t afford to be complacent when the only likely way to go from these poll heights is down.

However, those of us on the centre right can take heart that the public does appear to realise that borrow and spend policies won’t help and policies which lead to more savings, investment and export growth is what we need.

April 18 in history


On April 18:

1025 Bolesław Chrobry was crowned in Gniezno, becoming the first King of Poland.


1480 Lucrezia Borgia, Florentine ruler and daughter of Pope Alexander VI, was born  (d. 1519) .

Supposed portrait of Lucrezia Borgia assumed to be by Dosso Dossi [1]

1506 The cornerstone of the current St. Peter’s Basilica was laid.

 A view of Rome on a sunny afternoon looking along the river. A bridge crosses the river and beyond it is a hill on which the grey dome of St Peter's rises above ancient buildings and dark pine trees. 

1518  Bona Sforza was crowned as queen consort of Poland.

1738 Real Academia de la Historia (“Royal Academy of History”) founded in Madrid.

1775  American Revolution: The British advancement by sea began; Paul Revere and other riders warned the countryside of the troop movements.


1783 Fighting ceased in the American Revolution, eight years to the day since it began.

1797 The Battle of Neuwied – French victory against the Austrians.

1831 The University of Alabama was founded.

1847 A Maori raid on the Gilfillan farm at Matarawa, near Wanganui, left four family members dead.

 Gilfillan killings near Wanganui

1848 American victory at the battle of Cerro Gordo opened the way for invasion of Mexico.


1880 An F4 tornado struck Marshfield, Missouri, killing 99 people and injuring 100.

1881  Billy the Kid escaped from the Lincoln County jail.


1889 Jessie Street, Australian suffragette, feminist, and human rights activist, was born  (d. 1970) .


1899 The St. Andrew’s Ambulance Association was granted a Royal Charter by Queen Victoria.

1902  Quetzaltenango, second largest city of Guatemala, was destroyed by Earthquake.

1906 The 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire destroyed much of San Francisco.

1906 – The Los Angeles Times story on the Azusa Street Revival launched Pentecostalism as a worldwide movement.


1909 Joan of Arc was beatified in Rome.

1912  The Cunard liner RMS Carpathia brought 705 survivors from the RMS Titanic to New York City.


1915 Joy Gresham Lewis, American writer, wife of C. S. Lewis, was born (d. 1960) .

1915 French pilot Roland Garros was shot down and glided to a landing on the German side of the lines.

1923 Yankee Stadium, “The House that Ruth Built,” opened.


1924 Simon & Schuster published the first Crossword puzzle book.

1930 BBC Radio infamously announced that there was no news on that day.

1930 Clive Revill, New Zealand born actor, was born.

1940 Mike Vickers, British guitarist and saxophonist was born. 

1942 World War II: The Doolittle Raid – Tokyo, Yokohama, Kobe and Nagoya bombed.

Army B-25 (Doolittle Raid).jpg

1942 – Pierre Laval became Prime Minister of Vichy France.

1943 World War II: Operation Vengeance, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto was killed when his aircraft was shot down by U.S. fighters over Bougainville Island.


1945 More than 1,000 bombers attackedthe small island of Heligoland, Germany.

1946 Hayley Mills, English actress, was born.

1946 The League of Nations was dissolved.

1949  The Republic of Ireland Act came into force.

1954 Gamal Abdal Nasser seizes power in Egypt.

Head and shoulders of a man in his forties smiling. He has dark hair that is pulled back, a long forehead, thick eyebrows and a mustache.  He is wearing a gray jacket and a white shirt with a tie.

1955 Twenty-nine nations met at Bandung, Indonesia, for the first Asian-African Conference.

1958 A United States federal court ruled that poet Ezra Pound was to be released from an insane asylum.


1961 CONCP was founded in Casablanca as a united front of African movements opposing Portuguese colonial rule.

1971 David Tennant, Scottish actor, was born

1974 The prime Minister of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto inaugurated Lahore Dry port.

1980 – The Republic of Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) came into being, with Canaan Banana as the first President.

1983 – A suicide bomber destroyed the United States embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, killing 63 people.

1988 The United States launched Operation Praying Mantis against Iranian naval forces in the largest naval battle since World War II.

OperationPrayingMantis-IS Alvand.jpg

1992 General Abdul Rashid Dostum revolted against President Mohammad Najibullah of Afghanistan and allied with Ahmed Shah Massoud to capture Kabul.


1993President of Pakistan, Ghulam Ishaq Khan dissolved the National Assembly and dismissed the Cabinet.

1996 In Lebanon, at least 106 civilians are killed when the Israel Defense Forces shelled the UN compound at Quana where more than 800 civilians had taken refuge.

2007  The Supreme Court of the United States upheld the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act in a 5-4 decision.

2007 – A series of bombings, two of them suicides,  in Baghdad, killed 198 and injured 251.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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