Inside the red zone


Cerra has released a photographic tour of Christchurch’s red zone showing the earthquake damage.

Hat tip: Laughy Kate.

Word of the day


Imbonity – want of goodness; lack of good qualities.

What about the workers?


Matt McCarten said Hone Harawira delayed his resignation from parliament to consult his staff.

He’d discovered that when he lost his job they would too.

Parliamentary Services staff employment terminates if the MP they work for loses a seat in a general election. I think they receive redundancy though (three months?). I’m not sure if that applies when MPs retire or resign.

Harawira’s decision to consult his staff on their prospective job-loss appears considerate. It would be even more considerate if he didn’t inflict the employment termination on them.

And what about all the other workers paying tax which will be wasted on an unnecessary by-election so close to the general one in November?

If we were consulted most of us would have no trouble coming up with a very long list of better ways to spend $500,000.

Competition brings down prices


I greeted the announcement that the government was going to require Meridian and Genesis to swap some of their assets with wariness.

Dividing the power schemes on the Waitaki River and its tributary between two companies had both benefits and costs and I wasn’t sure if it would work.

But in the last week we’ve had letters alerting us to cheaper deals from Genesis now it’s generating hydro power in competition with Meridian which used to have a monopoly on the Waitaki.

Competition works.

Hone’s going to force by-election


Mana Party spokesman Matt McCarten told Morning report that Hone Harawira is going to resign this week which will force a by-election in Te Tai Tokerau.

The Maori Party has decided to stand a candidate. That makes it more likely that Labour will also stand in the hope the split between Hawawira and the Maori Party will allow its candidate to come through the middle.

The behaviour of Harawira’s mother and sister at the Maori Party hui on Saturday suggest it won’t be a polite campaign.

A six to eight week campaign doesn’t leave much time for whoever is elected to justify the expense. The by-election will cost around $500,000 – which is about $23,800 a sitting day before parliament rises for the general election.

Labour nit picking shows desperation


When a government preaches the need for austerity it opens itself to attack from the opposition if it doesn’t practice restraint itself. But Labour hasn’t managed to gain traction on anything of significance which has left them resorting to nit picking.

Rather than showing up the government it merely illustrates how desperate the opposition is. 

With a lack of anything serious to attack on they’re now getting into the really silly territory.

They tried to make hay with the overspend on the DPS spend. But when it’s been over-budget for four years it looks more like under-budgeting than over spending.

Phil Goff’s attempt to show John Key has DPS protection inside parliament when Helen Clark didn’t was discredited by Cameron Slater who came up with photos showing Clark shadowed by DPS staff not only in parliament but in the cabinet room.

Then they tried to blame the PM for the cost of painting Premier House. If they’d come up with a case to show a less expensive option for housing him, visiting dignitaries and security staff;  hosting official functions, charity fundriasers and the other uses to which Premier House is put they might have got somewhere.

But all their complaint about the cost did was make them look petty and silly when repairs and maintenance are the concern of Internal Affairs and not the Prime Minister.

Given the large, old wooden house hadn’t been painted since 2000, the sum of $215,000 isn’t expensive. Delaying the job would risk letting the building deteriorate and make the eventual repaint more costly.

The opposition’s job is to oppose. It’s a good reflection on the government that they’re nit-picking instead because it means they haven’t found anything of greater moment on which to mount an attack.

May 9 in history


On May 9:

1457 BC – Battle of Megiddo  between Thutmose III and a large Canaanite coalition under the King of Kadesh – the first battle to have been recorded in what is accepted as relatively reliable detail.

Thutmosis III statue in Luxor Museum

1012 BC – Solar Eclipse seen at Ugarit, 6:09–6:39 PM.

328  Athanasius was elected Patriarch bishop of Alexandria.

1092  Lincoln Cathedral was consecrated.

Lincoln Cathedral from Castle Hill.jpg

1450  ‘Abd al-Latif (Timurid monarch) was assassinated.

1502 Christopher Columbus left Spain for his fourth and final journey to the New World.


1671  Thomas Blood, disguised as a clergyman, attempted to steal England’s Crown Jewels from the Tower of London.


1726  Five men arrested during a raid on Mother Clap‘s molly house in London were executed at Tyburn.

1800 John Brown, American abolitionist was born (d. 1859).

1837 Adam Opel, German engineer and industrialist was born (d. 1895).

1860 – J. M. Barrie, Scottish author, was born (d. 1937).


1868 The city of Reno, Nevada, was founded.

1873 Der Krach: Vienna stock market crash heralded the Long Depression.

1874  The first horse-drawn bus made its début in the city of Mumbai, traveling two routes.

1877 Mihail Kogălniceanu read, in the Chamber of Deputies, the Declaration of Independence of Romania. This day became the Independence Day of Romania.


1887  Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show opens in London.


1893 William Moulton Marston, American psychologist, writer, was born (co-creator, Wonder Woman) (d. 1947).


1901 Australia opened its first parliament in Melbourne.


1904 The steam locomotive City of Truro became the first steam engine in Europe to exceed 100mph.


1907 The first School Journal was published.

First School Journal published

1911 The works of Gabriele D’Annunzio placed by the Vatican in the Index of Forbidden Books.


1914 Hank Snow, American country music singer and songwriter, was born (d. 1999).

1915 World War I: Second Battle of Artois between German and French forces.

Capture of Carency aftermath 1915 1.jpg

1919  Arthur English, English actor and comedian, was born (d. 1995).

1920 Richard Adams, English author, was born.


1920 Polish-Soviet War: The Polish army under General Edward Rydz-Śmigły celebrated its capture of Kiev with a victory parade on Khreschatyk.

Edward Rydz-Smigly.jpg

1926 Admiral Richard E. Byrd and Floyd Bennett claimed to have flown over the North Pole (later discovery of Byrd’s diary seemed to indicate that this did not happen).

   Floyd Bennett.jpg

1927  The Australian Parliament first convened in Canberra.

1929 Kay Dotrice, British actress, was born (d. 2007)

1930  Joan Sims, British actress, was born (d. 2001)

1932  Geraldine McEwan, English actress, was born.

1933  About 25,000 books were burned by the Nazis in Germany.

1933  Jessica Steele, English romance novelist, was born,


1934 – Alan Bennett, British author, was born.

1935 – Roger Hargreaves, English children’s author (Mr. Men) was born (d. 1988)


1936  Albert Finney, British actor was born.


1936 – Glenda Jackson, English actress and politician was born.


1936 Italy formally annexed Ethiopia.

1937 – Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy took to the airwaves becoming an overnight radio sensation.

1940  World War II: The German submarineU-9 sank the French coastal submarine Doris near Den Helder.

U-9 IWM HU 1012.jpg

1941  World War II: The German submarine U-110 was captured by the Royal Navy. On board was the latest Enigma cryptography machine which Allied cryptographers later used to break coded German messages.

U-110 and HMS Bulldog

1942 Holocaust: The SS murdered 588 Jewish residents of the Podolian town of Zinkiv (Khmelnytska oblast, Ukraine). The Zoludek Ghetto was destroyed and all its inhabitants murdered or deported.

1945  World War II: Ratification in Berlin-Karlshorst of the German unconditional surrender of May 8 in Rheims, France, with the signatures of Marshal Georgy Zhukov for the Soviet Union, and for the Western Headquarters Sir Arthur Tedder, British Air Marshal and Eisenhower’s deputy, and for the German side of Colonel-General Hans-Jürgen Stumpff as the representative of the Luftwaffe, Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel as the Chief of Staff of OKW, and Admiral Hans-Georg von Friedeburg as Commander-in-Chief of the Kriegsmarine.


1945 New Zealand celebrated victory in Europe.

NZ celebrates Victory in Europe

1945 – Steve Katz, American musician (Blood, Sweat & Tears), was born.


1946 – King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy abdicated and was succeeded by Humbert II.

1946 –  Candice Bergen, American actress, was born.

1949 Rainier III  became Prince of Monaco.


1949 Billy Joel, American musician, was born.

1950  Robert Schuman presented his proposal on the creation of an organized Europe, indispensable to the maintenance of peaceful relations.

1950 – L. Ron Hubbard‘s Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health was released.


1955 Cold War: West Germany joined NATO.

1955 Sam and Friends debuted on a local United States television channel, marking the first television appearance of both Jim Henson and what would become Kermit the Frog and The Muppets.

Tv sam and friends.jpg

1960  The FDA announced it would approve birth control as an additional indication for Searle’s Enovid, making Enovid the world’s first approved oral contraceptive pill.

Pilule contraceptive.jpg

1961  Jim Gentile of the Baltimore Orioles became the first player in baseball history to hit grand slams in consecutive innings.

1962 David Gahan, English singer (Depeche Mode), was born.

1964 Ngo Dinh Can, de facto ruler of central Vietnam under his brother President Ngo Dinh Diem before the family’s toppling, was executed.

Tall Caucasian man standing in profile at left in a white suit and tie shakes hands with a smaller black-haired Asian man in a white shirt, dark suit and tie. 

1969 – Carlos Lamarca led the first urban guerrilla action against the military dictatorship of Brazil in São Paulo, by robbing two banks.

1970 Vietnam War: In Washington, D.C., 75,000 to 100,000 war protesters demonstrated in front of the White House.

 1971 – Paul McGuigan, English bassist (Oasis), was born.

1974  Watergate Scandal: The United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee opened formal and public impeachment hearings against President Richard Nixon.

1980 Liberian freighter MV Summit Venture collided with the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay, making a 1,400-ft. section of the southbound span collapse. 35 people in six cars and a Greyhound bus fell 150 ft. into the water.


1980 – In Norco, California, five masked gunman hold up a Security Pacific bank, leading to a violent shoot-out and one of the largest pursuits in California history. Two of the gunmen and one police officer were killed and thirty-three police and civilian vehicles destroyed in the chase.

1987 A Polish LOT Ilyushin IL-62M “Tadeusz Kościuszko” (SP-LBG) crashed after takeoff in Warsaw killing 183 people.

1988 The new Australian Parliament House opened in Canberra.


1992 Armenian forces captured Shusha, marking a major turning point in the Karabakh War.

Tank memorial Stepanakert.JPG

2001   Accra Sports Stadium Disaster: 129 football fans died in a stampede (caused by the firing of teargas by police personnel at the stadium)that followed a controversial decision by the referee handling a crucial match between arch-rivals Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko.


2002  The 38-day stand-off in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem ended when the Palestinians inside agree to have 13 suspected militants among them deported to several different countries.

2002 – In Kaspiysk, Russia, a remote-controlled bomb exploded during a holiday parade killing 43 and injuring at least 130.

2004 Chechen president Akhmad Kadyrov was killed in a land mine bomb blast under a VIP stage during a World War II memorial victory parade in Grozny.

2006 Estonia ratified the European Constitution.


Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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