Crowds rally to support spending cuts


Hundreds of people rallied yesterday in support of government spending cuts in Britain.

The rally was organised in response to a march opposing the cuts earlier this year which attracted thousands.

The difference in numbers shows how difficult it is to sell the need for austerity.

Taxpayers Alliance which helped organise the rally reports on it with quotes from participants:

Matthew Sinclair, Director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:

 It would be awful to see more and more of our money going to pay for interest on the debt instead of sustaining public services, and it would be immoral to leave the next generation with the bill for services today. . .

Annabel, 16, said:

 It’s my generation that will have to pay. I’m glad to see that people are concerned about the size of the national debt. Yes, cuts are difficult, but we are in a bad situation and we need to face up to it. If you have a problem and you put off dealing with it, it gets worse.

That point is often lost on people who oppose the cuts – every cent borrowed today has to be paid back some time.

It is immoral to spend money on luxuries today when it will make it more difficult to provide necessities tomorrow.

Word of the day


 Obganiate – to cause irritation by reiteration.

Child cruelty has many forms


The beauty pageant industry borders on child cruelty at the best of times.

Injecting an eight year old with botox to improve her chances crosses the line for both physical and psychological reasons.

The unrealistic expectations placed on adults to attain an idealised standard of beauty are bad enough. Subjecting children to them too is sick.

Rural round-up


Devastation on the Hawkes Bay Coast – Karl du Fresne posts:

The coastal strip of Central Hawke’s Bay that was devastated by a freak storm recently is very familiar to me. In my childhood and teenage years, the line of sandy beaches that stretches from Kairakau in the north to Porangahau in the south was something of a summer playground.

One of my earliest memories is of a summer holiday in the shearers’ quarters on the sheep station at Kairakau, which were made available to my family out of gratitude for my father’s work in supervising the building of the electricity transmission line that connected the area to the national grid. Most remote properties on that coast had previously depended on generators.

Frankenmilk – Witty Knitter wrties at SkepticLawyer:

From China, the intriguing news that scientists have genetically modified cows to produce milk with human proteins in it. This is not the same things as genetically modifying cows to ‘produce human milk’, as it has been reported.

To me, this is a truly bizarre story. Presumably, this project was the result of several appalling events that have been reported (and maybe more we haven’t heard about) in which babies have become seriously ill and even died from drinking formulas that their parents believed would be nutritious: here, here and here, for example. This makes the comments of Prof Campbell at the end of the first article linked above (asking why people would put poison into food) a little disingenuous. . .

Prime lambs just shy of $200 – Farmers Weekly reports:

Heavy prime lambs fell just shy of the $200 mark as values lifted up to $4/head at Temuka while store lambs also lifted in the market by $2-$4/head, PGG Wrightson livestock representative Rod Sands reported.
Good heavy lambs made from $158 to $$199 and heavy butcher ewes made up to $220. Forward store lambs fetched up to $125. Bull and beef cow prices rose 10-15c/kgLW.
At Tinwald heavy lambs made $190 and store lambs to $120.
The sheep market caught “lamb fever” at Frankton, Allied Farmers agents reported with prime lambs going to $175. . .

Farm award adds to excellent year: Helen de Reus writes:

Third-generation Hillend farmer Stuart Hallum will receive his New Zealand Century Farm Award at Lawrence tonight.

The 65-year-old farms sheep and cattle at Hillend with his wife, Annette, and is now semi-retired. . .

Passion for trials undimmed – Sally Rae reports fro the South Island dog trails:

Geoff Allison has been dog-trialling for more than half a century and his passion for the sport is still as strong as ever.

Born in South Otago, Mr Allison (67) was 9 when his family shifted to South Canterbury.

He started trialling when he was 15, following in the footsteps of his father. . .

X-factor apparent in dogs’ monikers – Sally Rae again:

 It’s all in a name. Forget the usual dog monikers of Bill, Queen and Jess at the South Island sheep dog trial championships – Greg Metherell has been more creative.

Mr Metherell, from Kenmore Station, at Otekaieke, has a huntaway dog simply called X. . .

Major merger sees birth of $50m animal feed firm – Tim Cronshaw writes:

 A national animal feed business with a starting point revenue of $50 million will arise from major fertiliser co-operative Ballance Agri-Nutrients buying into a partnership with Mid Canterbury and Morrinsville firms.

Ballance will own the majority share with 51 per cent of Seales Winslow with the Carr family’s Winslow Feeds and Nutrition, from Ashburton, holding 24.5 per cent and a similar-sized share taken by feed mill firm Seales Ltd. . .

A place fit for man, beast, frogs and kids – Jon Morgan writes:

When Ray and Lyn Craig entered dairying 20 years ago they wrote a list of goals. At the top, along with a production target long since surpassed, was to own an “aesthetically pleasing” farm.

They have their wish. Their 550-cow farm on the outskirts of Carterton is criss-crossed with streams and drains, all planted with willows, flaxes and a variety of other natives. Three small wetlands have also been created and their flaxes, toetoe and other natives are home to tui, kingfishers, herons and an assortment of ducks.

So impressed were the judges in the Greater Wellington region’s Ballance Farm Environment Awards that they awarded the couple the supreme title and remarked that the riparian plantings were among the best they had seen on a dairy farm. . .



One better than alst week but still nothing to skite about – 5/10 in NZ History Online’s weekly quiz.

No use being right in opposition


Quote of the week from John Armstrong:

Key is increasingly insisting on such “transparency” regarding his Government’s intentions. He sees building public trust in National as one of his essential tasks as leader.

That is one reason why, despite a record Government deficit, next Thursday will not be even a modest reprise of Ruth Richardson’s likewise recession-driven “Mother of All Budgets” in 1991.

Key’s antipathy to such “slash and burn” exercises reflects his ideological leaning as a centre-right moderate, despite Labour’s efforts to paint him in more extreme garb. While it is not obvious, Key also moves with caution. If reforms are to endure, the Government has to carry the public with it.

Just as pertinently, if a government is going to survive under MMP, it has to carry voters with it.

This is something those impatient with the pace of National’s reforms don’t understand.

It’s better to take public with you as you turn the economy round even if it means going more slowly than is ideal, than to rush in, all guns blazing and leave too many casualties in your wake.

The public understands the dire state of the economy but they’d be unlikely to give a slash-and-burn government more than one term.

The slower route back to budget surpluses might be frustrating but it’s better than going backwards which is where parties on the left would take us.

It’s also better than the faster route which would almost certainly erode too much political capital.

It’s good to be right, but it’s no use being so far right if it takes you into opposition.

Sun set, sun rise


The 2010 Agriculture return showed small increases in sheep and dairy cattle numbers, deer remained stable and beef cattle numbers dropped.

Favourable weather conditions with no major lambing losses helped the national sheep flock register a small increase in 2010. The national flock had 32.6 million sheep, 180,000 more than in 2009. This increase follows drought-affected losses of 1.7 million in 2009 and 4.4 million in 2008. The increase in 2010 occurred in the South Island, which had a total of 16.5 million sheep. The North Island number was stable, at 16 million.

Favourable weather with no major lambing losses? What about the blizzards in Southland and cold, wet weather in the lower North Island?

The lambing percentage was 127 percent in the year ended 30 June 2010, after recovering from the two previous years.  This level was last recorded in 2006.

Ah – this return isn’t for the calendar year but the 12 months to June so it’s 2009’s lamb drop not last year’s.

Between 2009 and 2010 the national dairy herd increased by 50,000 to 5.9 million. In 2009, the dairy herd had increased by 280,000, and in 2008 by 320,000.

“The 2010 increase occurred in the North Island, which had close to 3.9 million dairy cattle in 2010. Unlike in recent years, the South Island number did not increase in 2010, remaining at 2.1 million,” agriculture statistics manager Hamish Hill said.

That surprises me. Dairy conversions slowed in the south when prices dropped but they didn’t stop.

Beef cattle numbered 3.9 million, down 4 percent since 2009. The number of deer was stable, at 1.1 million. The North Island is home to over 70 percent of all beef animals, while deer farming is concentrated in the lower South Island.

The area of exotic forest harvested increased by 9 percent, to 43,800 hectares, during the year ended 31 March 2010. This increase was driven by the strong international demand for New Zealand logs. Over 70 percent was harvested in the North Island – mainly in the Bay of Plenty, Waikato, and Northland regions.

I’d expect an increase in forest harvests in the current year too. Prices have gone up and farmers with mature plantations have taken the opportunity to get a return from them.

The agricultural sector, including horticulture, accounts for two-thirds of merchandise exports.

When a former Prime Minisiter (was it Lange?) referred to agriculture as a sunset industry he forgot that the sun always rises again.

Thank goodness it has – primary industry is one of few bright spots amid the economic gloom.

We’re seeing its influence in the Waitaki District which an economic profile by BERL shows did better than the country as a whole in 2010.

May 15 in history


1252  Pope Innocent IV issued the papal bull ad exstirpanda, which authorised but also limited, the torture of heretics in the Medieval Inquisition.

1514  Jodocus Badius Ascensius published Christiern Pedersen‘s Latin version of Saxo’s Gesta Danorum, the oldest known version of that work.


1525 The battle of Frankenhausen ended the Peasants’ War.

1536  Anne Boleyn stood trial on charges of treason, adultery and incest; she was condemned to death by a specially-selected jury.

1567  Mary, Queen of Scots, married  James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, her third husband.


1602  Bartholomew Gosnold became the first European to see Cape Cod.

1618 Johannes Kepler confirmed his previously rejected discovery of the third law of planetary motion.

1648  The Treaty of Westphalia was signed.

The Ratification of the Treaty of Munster, Gerard Ter Borch (1648).jpg

1701  The War of the Spanish Succession began.

Bakhuizen, Battle of Vigo Bay.jpg

1718   James Puckle, a London lawyer, patented the world’s first machine gun.


1755 Laredo, Texas was established by the Spaniards.

1756 The Seven Years’ War began when Great Britain declares war on France.


1776  American Revolution: the Virginia Convention instructed its Continental Congress delegation to propose a resolution of independence from Great Britain.


1791  Maximilien Robespierre proposed the Self-denying Ordinance.

1792 War of the First Coalition: France declaresdwar on Kingdom of Sardinia.

1793 Diego Marín Aguilera flew a glider for “about 360 meters”, at a height of 5-6 meters, during one of the first attempted flights.

1796  First Coalition: Napoleon entered Milan in triumph.

1800 George III survived two assassination attempts in one day.

Full-length portrait in oils of a clean-shaven young man in eighteenth century dress: gold jacket and breeches, ermine cloak, powdered wig, white stockings, and buckled shoes.

1811  Paraguay declared independence from Spain.

1817  Opening of the first private mental health hospital in the United States, the Asylum for the Relief of Persons Deprived of the Use of Their Reason (now Friends Hospital) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1836 Francis Baily observed “Baily’s beads” during an annular eclipse.


1849 Troops of the Two Sicilies took Palermo and crushed the republican government of Sicily.

1850  The Bloody Island Massacre:  a large number of Pomo Indians in Lake County were slaughtered by a regiment of the United States Cavalry, led by Nathaniel Lyon.

1851  Rama IV was crowned King of Thailand.

1858 Opening of the  Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.


1859 Pierre Curie, French physicist, Nobel Prize laureate, was born  (d. 1906).


1862 President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill into law creating the United States Bureau of Agriculture.


1864  American Civil War: Battle of Resaca, Georgia ended.

A photograph of Union cavalry moving through a gap to attack Confederate infantry, with Union foot soldiers and cannons firing at the Confedereates on either side of the ridge

1864  American Civil War: Battle of New Market, – students from the Virginia Military Institute fought alongside the Confederate Army to force Union General Franz Sigel out of the Shenandoah Valley.


1869 Woman’s suffrage:, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton formed the National Woman’s Suffrage Association.


1891  Rerum Novarum, the first document of the Catholic Social Teaching tradition, was published by Pope Leo XIII.

1897  The Greek army retreated with heavy losses in the Greco-Turkish War.

1905  The Russian minelayer Amur laid a minefield about 15 miles off Port Arthur and sank Japan’s battleship Hatsuse, 15,000 tons, with 496 crew.

HIJMS Hatsuse.jpg

1905 – Las Vegas, Nevada, was founded when 110 acres (0.4 km²), in what later would become downtown, were auctioned.


1910 The last time a major earthquake happened on the Elsinore Fault Zone.

1911  The United States Supreme Court declared Standard Oil to be an “unreasonable” monopoly under the Sherman Antitrust Act and ordered the company to be broken up.

1918 The Finnish Civil War ended.1919 – The Winnipeg General Strike begins. By 11:00 a.m., almost the whole working population of Winnipeg, Manitoba had walked off the job.


1919  Greek invasion of Izmir. During the invasion, the Greek army kills or wounds 350 Turks.

1920 Wanganui mayor  Charles Mackay shot poet and returned soldier Walter D’Arcy Cresswell who alleged that Mackay had made homosexual overtures to him.

Wanganui mayor shoots poet

1920 Council of Lithuania adjourned as the newly elected Constituent Assembly of Lithuania met for the first time in Kaunas.

1928 Mickey Mouse premiered in his first cartoon, Plane Crazy.

Mickey Mouse.svg

1929  A fire at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio killed 123.


1932  The May 15 Incident: in an attempted Coup d’état, the Prime Minister of Japan Inukai Tsuyoshi was killed.


1934 Kārlis Ulmanis established an authoritarian government in Latvia.

1935 The Moscow Metro was opened to public.

1936  Amy Johnson arrived back in England after a record-breaking return flight to Cape Town.

1937 Madeleine Albright, U.S. Secretary of State, was born.

1940  World War II: After fierce fighting, the poorly trained and equipped Dutch troops surrendered to Germany, marking the beginning of five years of occupation.

1940 – McDonald’s opened its first restaurant in San Bernardino, California.

1942 World War II: in the United States, a bill creating the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) was signed into law.


1943 Joseph Stalin dissolved the Comintern (or Third International).

1945 World War II: The final skirmish in Europe was fought near Prevalje, Slovenia.

1948   Egypt, Transjordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia invaded the territory partitioned for the Arab state by the British Mandate of Palestine  starting the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

Ink flag.jpg

1948 Brian Eno, British musician and record producer, was born.

1951 The Polish cultural attache in Paris, Czesław Miłosz, asked the French government for political asylum.


1953 Mike Oldfield, British composer, was born.

1955  The Austrian Independence Treaty was signed.


1955 – The first ascent of Makalu, the world’s fifth highest mountain.

1957  At Malden Island  Britain tested its first hydrogen bomb in Operation Grapple. The device failed to detonate properly.


1958  The Soviet Union launched Sputnik 3.

1960  The Soviet Union launched Sputnik 4.

 1962 – Lisa Curry-Kenny, Australian Ironwoman, was born.

Lisa Curry-Kenny 2.jpg

1963 Project Mercury: The launch of the final Mercury mission, Mercury-Atlas 9 with astronaut L. Gordon Cooper on board. He beccame the first American to spend more than a day in space.

Faith 7 insignia.jpg

1964 – Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark, was born.

1966 Prime Minister Nguyen Cao Ky of South Vietnam’s ruling junta launched a military attack on the forces of General Ton That Dinh, forcing him to abandon his command.


1969 People’s Park: California Governor Ronald Reagan had an impromptu student park owned by University of California at Berkeley fenced off from student anti-war protestors, sparking a riot called Bloody Thursday.


1970  President Richard Nixon appointed Anna Mae Hays and Elizabeth P. Hoisington the first female United States Army Generals.

1970  Philip Lafayette Gibbs and James Earl Green were killed at Jackson State Universit by police during student protests.

1972  The island of Okinawa, under U.S. military governance since its conquest in 1945, reverts to Japanese control.

Map of Japan with Okinawa highlighted

1972 Arthur Bremer shot and paralysed Alabama Governor George Wallace while he was campaigning to be become President.

1974  Ma’alot massacre: In an Arabterrorist attack and hostage taking at an Israeli school, 31 people were killed, including 22 schoolchildren.


1987  The Soviet Union launched the Polyus prototype orbital weapons platform. It fails to reach orbit.


1988  Soviet war in Afghanistan: After more than eight years of fighting, the Red Army began its withdrawal from Afghanistan.

1990 Portrait of Doctor Gachetby Vincent van Gogh was sold for a record $82.5 million, the most expensive painting at the time.


1991  Edith Cresson became France’s first female prime minister.

1997 The United States government acknowledged the existence of the “Secret War” in Laos and dedicated the Laos Memorial in honor of Hmong and other “Secret War” veterans.

2008 California became the second U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage after the state’s own Supreme Court ruled a previous ban unconstitutional.

2010 – Jessica Watson became the youngest person to sail, non-stop and unassisted around the world solo.

Jessica Watson sailing.jpg 

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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