Word of the day


Talionic – pertaining to revenge in kind, punishment identical to the offence – an eye for an eye.

How much are we paying for this?


The front of this card, delivered to mail boxes in Oamaru at the weekend, was bright red. It asked people to oppose the partial sale of state assets.

If you look very carefully at the bottom left hand corner you’ll see the House of Representatives symbol which shows you and I are paying for it.

Thanks Fonterra


The Rise Up Christchurch- Te Kotahitanga  Telethon broadcast on Maori Television yesterday raised $2,561,015.30 for earthquake relief.

Fonterra gave a last minute donation of $1 million.

It had already given  $500, 000 to cover  production costs so that all money raised goes to the government’s earthquake appeal.

Fonterra’s backing of Rise Up Christchurch – Te Kotahitanga continues our long-term commitment to Christchurch. We were able to provide immediate practical support to Christchurch with our tankers, water supply, milk products and a skilled team of 24 Search and Rescue volunteers. The Co-operative has previously donated $2 million cash from consolidated funds to the Red Cross Christchurch appeal, while its staff and shareholders raised another $1.9 million which has also been sent to Red Cross.

If my addition is correct that’s $5,400,000 from the co-operative, its staff and suppliers. Not a bad effort from the company and industry which cops more than its fair share of criticism.

How realistic is 4% growth?


A growth rate of 4% coming out of recession isn’t high by historical standards and it’s roughly in the middle of predictions by bank economists.

 That hasn’t stopped people questioning how realistic Budget predictions for this rate of growth are.

At the National Party’s Mainland Conference Prime Minister John Key and Finance Minister Bill English gave some of the reasoning behind the figure.

This included the bright outlook for primary produce and the impact from the rebuild in Canterbury, not just on that region but throughout the rest of the country.

Then there is a less scientific measure – Bill was talking to a farmer last week and he was happy.

Labour pains, National delivers


Prime Minister John Key’s message to National’s Mainland conference contained policy to take the country forward without leaving people behind.

He covered some of the Budget highlights including the commitment to the rebuild of Christchurch and getting government finances in order because:

I am simply not prepared to leave our children and grandchildren with a ticking time-bomb of debt. So this Budget does the hard yards of getting our books in order.

Other highlights included policies to increase jobs and wages and reduce interest rates:

A family with a mortgage now pays a floating interest rate around five percentage points lower than they did in Labour’s last year in office.

For a family with a $200,000 mortgage, for example, that means $200 a week more in their pocket.

That makes a huge difference to such a family, and it makes home ownership affordable for many more New Zealanders.

Interest rates matter for everyday Kiwis and that’s why this Government is focused on keeping them lower than Labour.

And unlike Labour, this Government won’t be raising taxes and it won’t be imposing a new capital gains tax.

We are proud that as a result of our tax reforms last year, three-quarters of income earners now have a top tax rate of 17.5 per cent or less.

That says to New Zealanders that if they want to get ahead, if they want to do better for themselves and their family, and if they work hard and save hard, then this Government will support them. 

We want you to keep more of what you earn. We want you to have choice.  Labour doesn’t like choice; they don’t like people to spend their own money, they like to leave them with pocket money.

Well, pocket money ends in my household when one is about 16.  So I’m proud to lead a Government that ensures people can make their own money and their own choices.

Fourth, this Budget invests in public services and infrastructure for our future. 

It clearly demonstrates National’s priorities, $1.4 billion more for education, $1.7 billion more for health and more money to improve law and order in our communities.

And unashamedly we’ve done some trimming. Less money for bureaucracy, less money for backroom administration, less money for Wellington waste.

It continues our investment in the building blocks of future growth, including an injection of hundreds of millions of dollars into an ultra-fast broadband network, so Kiwis can make the most of future technology.  That’s on top of our ongoing investment in New Zealand’s growth arteries – our highways and public transport networks.

Finally, it’s a Budget that ensures the Working for Families, KiwiSaver, and Interest Free Student Loan schemes will continue to deliver for the thousands of people that rely on them.

We’ve listened to New Zealanders who say they want these schemes to last in good weather and bad and we’ve made the changes to ensure they can. 

The contrast with Labour leader Phil Goff’s message to his party’s conference could hardly have been greater: higher taxes and job losses.

Just a few days ago Goff was grandstanding about the price of lamb at the supermarket and now he’s planning to force farmers into the ETS by taxing livestock which will push prices up further. None of our competitors are imposing this cost on farmers for good reason – science has yet to come up with effective ways to reduce animal emissions. This is not a tax to change behaviour but simply to punish.

At No Minister Adolf joins the dots between last week’s ill-founded rant about dairy farmers’ taxes and this policy  and The Veteran acknowledges they’re consistent in dumping on the productive sector.

This is classic divide and rule politics but it won’t just hit farmers, it will lead to job losses and higher prices for food.

Increasing the minimum wage is just as stupid and those who will be hurt the most by it are those who already find it hardest to get work.

What a contrast –  Labour is preaching envy and division while National is practising aspiration, encouragement and unity.

Labour will drag people down, National is helping people up.

Labour pains, National delivers.

May 23 in history


1430 Siege of Compiègne: Joan of Arc was captured by the Burgundians while leading an army to relieve Compiègne.

Jeanne Arc.jpg

1498 Girolamo Savonarola was burned at the stake in Florence on the orders of Pope Alexander VI.


1533 The marriage of King Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon was declared null and void.


1568 The Netherlands declared their independence from Spain.

1568  Dutch rebels led by Louis of Nassau, brother of William I of Orange, defeated Jean de Ligne, Duke of Aremberg and his loyalist troops in the Battle of Heiligerlee, opening the Eighty Years’ War.

Battle of Heiligerlee 1568

1618 The Second Defenestration of Prague precipitated the Thirty Years’ War.


1701  After being convicted of piracy and of murdering William Moore, Captain William Kidd was hanged.

William Kidd.jpg

1706 Battle of Ramillies: John Churchill, the 1st Duke of Marlborough, defeated a French army under Marshal Villeroi.

King's Horse at Ramillies 1706.jpg

1805 Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned King of Italy with the Iron Crown of Lombardy in the Cathedral of Milan.


1810 Margaret Fuller, American journalist and feminist, was born  (d. 1850).

1813  Simón Bolívar entered Mérida, leading the invasion of Venezuela, and was proclaimed El Libertador (“The Liberator”).

1820 James Buchanan Eads, American engineer and inventor, was born  (d. 1887).

1829 Accordion patent granted to Cyrill Demian.

A convertor free-bass piano-accordion and a Russian bayan.jpg

1844  Declaration of the Báb: a merchant of Shiraz announced that he was a Prophet and founded a religious movement. He is considered to be a forerunner of the Bahá’í Faith, and Bahá’ís celebrate the day as a holy day.

1846 Mexican-American War: President Mariano Paredes of Mexico unofficially declared war on the United States.

A convertor free-bass piano-accordion and a Russian bayan.jpg

1855 Isabella Ford, English socialist, feminist, trade unionist and writer, was born (d. 1924).

1863 Organisation of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Battle Creek, Michigan.


1863  The Siege of Port Hudson.

Siege of Port Hudson.png

1863  American Civil War: Sergeant William Harvey Carney became the first African American to be awarded the Medal of Honor, for his heroism in the Assault on the Battery Wagner.


1873  The Canadian Parliament established the North West Mounted Police, the forerunner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

1875 Alfred P. Sloan, American long-time president and chairman of General Motors, was born  (d. 1966).

1907  The unicameral Parliament of Finland gathered for its first plenary session.


1911 The New York Public Library was dedicated.


1915  World War I: Italy joined the Allies after they declared war on Austria-Hungary.

1923  Launch of Belgium’s SABENA airline.

1928 Nigel Davenport, English actor, was born.

1929 The first talking cartoon of Mickey Mouse, “The Karnival Kid“, was released.

1933 Joan Collins, English actress, was born.

1934  American bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde were ambushed by police and killed in Black Lake, Louisiana.


1934 The Auto-Lite Strike culminated in the “Battle of Toledo”, a five-day melée between 1,300 troops of the Ohio National Guard and 6,000 picketers.

1939  The U.S. Navy submarine USS Squalus sank  during a test dive, causing the death of 24 sailors and two civilian technicians.

USS Sailfish;0819202.jpg

1945 World War II:  Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS, committed suicide while in Allied custody.

1945  World War II: The Flensburg government under Reichspräsident Karl Dönitz was dissolved when its members are captured and arrested by British forces at Flensburg in Northern Germany.

1949 Alan Garcia, President of Peru, was born.

1949  The Federal Republic of Germany was established and the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany was proclaimed.

1951 Tibetans signed the Seventeen Point Agreement for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet with China.

Seventeen-Point Plan Chinese 1.jpg

1956 Mark Shaw, New Zealand rugby footballer, was born.

1958  Explorer 1 ceased transmission.


1966   Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu, the first Maori Queen,  was crowned. 

Coronation of first Maori Queen

1967 Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran and blockaded the port of Eilat at the northern end of the Gulf of Aqaba to Israeli shipping, laying the foundations for the Six Day War.

1995  Oklahoma City bombing: The remains of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building were imploded.

Several fire-damaged cars located in front of a partially destroyed multi-story building.

1995  The first version of the Java programming language was released.

Java logo.svg

1998 The Good Friday Agreement  was accepted in a referendum in Northern Ireland with 75% voting yes.

2002  The “55 parties ca;use”of the  Kyoto protocol was reached after its ratification by Iceland.

2004 Part of Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport‘s Terminal 2E collapsed, killing four people and injuring three others.

Aeroports de Paris logo.svg

2005 The fastest roller coaster in the world, Kingda Ka opened at Six Flags Great Adventure.

Kingda Ka.jpg

2006  Alaskan stratovolcano Mount Cleveland erupted.


2008  The International Court of Justice (ICJ) awarded Middle Rocks to Malaysia and Pedra Branca (Pulau Batu Puteh) to Singapore, ending a 29-year territorial dispute between the two countries.


Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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