Real work better than charity

May 29, 2011

The generous support for earthquake recovery in Canterbury has been heart warming.

Money raised will go to help people in need and rebuild community facilities like sports grounds and meeting places.

Good planning and co-operation should result in more multi-purpose facilities which are better-used and less expensive for the users.

While these are an important  part of the city’s recovery the best aid for Christchurch and its people is real jobs and there’s been welcome announcements of more of those in the past week.

Kathmandu is building a new warehouse in the city:

“After examining a number of options, the board has decided to build a 5000sqm facility at Woolston in Christchurch, near our head office,” Mr Halkett said. . .

The decision also reflected the Kathmandu board’s belief in the economic future of Christchurch and its commitment to the company’s heritage in the city, he said.

Not all businesses are able to stay in the city and Christhchurch’s loss of Lion’s brewing capacity in that city has led to a $20 million expansion in Dunedin with a doubling in job numbers.

However, the company is also building a $15 million brewery in Christchurch. That investment and the jobs which come with it will be another small piece in the big recovery project.

Savings matter

May 29, 2011

One of the reasons the government is determined to get back into surplus quickly is the risk  to the economy from an over reliance on foreign borrowings.

This is one of the factors sited by Moody’s for its decision to downgrade the credit ratings of four major banks

The bank was concerned about a lack of domestic savings and high debt levels:

Moody’s analyst Marina Ip says an over-reliance on foreign borrowings was also a negative for the banks.

She says funding loans from overseas increases the risks banks face of a credit crunch if the world economy worsens.

Part of the government’s strategy to return to surplus is reducing its contribution to Kiwisaver. The reason it’s done that is simple – borrowing by the government to give people money to save isn’t really saving because the money eventually has to be paid back.

The public contribution to Kiwisaver is still very generous – $1000 when a Kiwisaver account is opened and on-going contributions. This is the easiest money most of us will ever get.

The tax credit will be halved  and the tax-free status of employer contributions will go if  National is returned to power but we’re still getting something for nothing more than deferring a small proportion of our own spending.

We’re being asked to contribute more of our own money – 3% rather than the current 2% but that’s what saving should be – setting aside some of our current earnings to secure a better income in the future. There’s no virtue in saving other people’s money, especially if it’s borrowed.

Employers’ contributions will rise to match those of employees and some are concerned about what that will cost. The answer to that is to build the employer contribution into the salary package. That reinforces the message that savings require the deferral of expenditure , having less now so we’ve got more later.

Savings matter to individuals and the country. The more we save ourselves the more we have to lend. For too many years we haven’t saved enough so individuals, businesses and governments have had to borrow from overseas.

The institutions we borrow money from also lend to the economic PIGS – Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain. The less we have to rely on them the more secure our economy is.

But real savings use our own money not that borrowed from other people.

May 29 in history

May 29, 2011

363 Roman Emperor Julian defeated the Sassanid army in the Battle of Ctesiphon, under the walls of the Sassanid capital, but was unable to take the city.

Taq-e Bostan - fallen Roman.jpg

1167 Battle of Monte Porzio – A Roman army supporting Pope Alexander III was defeated by Christian of Buch and Rainald of Dassel.

1176 Battle of Legnano: The Lombard League defeated Emperor Frederick I.

1630 Charles II of England was born (d. 1685).

Baby in white christening robe 

1414  Council of Constance.

1453  Byzantine-Ottoman Wars: Ottoman armies under Sultan Mehmed II Fatih sacked and captured Constantinople after a siege, ending the Byzantine Empire.


1660 English Restoration: Charles II (on his birthday) was restored to the throne of Great Britain.

Seated man of thin build with chest-length curly black hair

1677  Treaty of Middle Plantation established peace between the Virginia colonists and the local Natives.

1727  Peter II became Tsar of Russia.

1733 The right of Canadians to keep Indian slaves was upheld.

1780 American Revolutionary War: At the Battle of Waxhaws Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton massacred Colonel Abraham Buford’s continentals.

Waxhaw massacre sketch.jpg

1790  Rhode Island became the last of the original United States‘ colonies to ratify the Constitution and was admitted as the 13th U.S. state.

1848  Wisconsin was admitted as the 30th U.S. state.

1864  Emperor Maximilian of Mexico arrived in Mexico for the first time.


1867  The Austro-Hungarian agreement – Ausgleich (“the Compromise“) – was born through Act 12, which established the Austro-Hungarian Empire.


1868  The assassination of Michael Obrenovich III, Prince of Serbia.

Mihailo Obrenović III.jpg

1874  G. K. Chesterton, English novelist, was born (d. 1936).


1886 Chemist John Pemberton placed his first advertisement for Coca-Cola, it appeared in the Atlanta Journal.

1900N’Djamena was founded as Fort-Lamy by French commander Émile Gentil.

1903 Bob Hope, British-born comedian and actor, was born (d. 2003).

1903  May coup d’etat: Alexander Obrenovich, King of Serbia, and Queen Draga, were assassinated in Belgrade by the Black Hand (Crna Ruka) organization.


1906 T.H. White, British author, was born (d. 1964).

Once future king cover.jpg

1913 Igor Stravinsky‘s ballet score The Rite of Spring received its premiere performance in Paris, provoking a riot.

 Nicholas Roerich‘s 1913 set design for Part I: Adoration of the Earth.

1914  Ocean liner RMS Empress of Ireland sank in the Gulf of St. Lawrence with the loss of 1,024 lives.

Empress of Ireland.jpg

1917 – John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States, was born (d. 1963).

1919Einstein’s theory of general relativity was tested (later confirmed) by Arthur Eddington’s observation of a total solar eclipse in Principe and by Andrew Crommelin in Sobral, Ceará, Brazil.


1919 The Republic of Prekmurje founded.


1924  AEK Athens FC was established on the anniversary of the siege of Constantinople by the Turks.

1935  The Hoover Dam was completed.

Hoover Dam

1939  Albanian fascist leader Tefik Mborja is appointed as member of the Italian Chamber of Fasces and Corporations.

1940  The first flight of the F4U Corsair.


1941 Doug Scott, British mountaineer, was born.

1942  Bing Crosby, the Ken Darby Singers and the John Scott Trotter Orchestra recorded Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas”.


1945 Gary Brooker, musician (Procol Harum), was born.

1945  First combat mission of the Consolidated B-32 Dominator heavy bomber.

1948  Creation of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation

1950  The St. Roch, the first ship to circumnavigate North America, arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia .

St. Roch wintering in the Beaufort Sea.

1953 Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first people to reach the summit of Mount Everest, on Tenzing Norgay’s (adopted) 39th birthday.


1954  First of the annual Bilderberg conferences.


1959 Rupert Everett, English actor, was born.

1961 Melissa Etheridge, American musician, was born.

1963 Tracey E. Bregman, American actress, was born.


1967 Noel Gallagher, English musician (former Oasis), was born.

1969  General strike in Córdoba, Argentina, leading to the Cordobazo civil unrest.

1973  Tom Bradley was elected the first black mayor of Los Angeles.


1975 Melanie Brown, English musician and actress (Spice Girls), was born.

1978 Adam Rickitt, British actor, was born.

Rickett platt.jpg

1982 – Pope John Paul II became the first pontiff to visit Canterbury Cathedral.

Pope John Paul II on 12 August 1993 in Denver (Colorado)

1985 – Heysel Stadium disaster: At the European Cup final in Brussels 39 football fans died and hundreds are injured when a dilapidated retaining wall collapses after Liverpool F.C. fans breached a fence separating them from Juventus F.C. fans.

1985  Amputee Steve Fonyo completed cross-Canada marathon at Victoria, British Columbia, after 14 months.

1988  U.S. President Ronald Reagan began his first visit to the Soviet Union.


1990 The Russian parliament elected Boris Yeltsin president of the Russian SFSR.

1999  Olusegun Obasanjo took office as President of Nigeria, the first elected and civilian head of state in Nigeria after 16 years of military rule.


1999 Space Shuttle Discovery completed the first docking with the International Space Station.

A planform view of the ISS backdropped by the limb of the Earth. In view are the station's four large, gold-coloured solar array wings, two on either side of the station, mounted to a central truss structure. Further along the truss are six large, white radiators, three next to each pair of arrays. In between the solar arrays and radiators is a cluster of pressurised modules arranged in an elongated T shape, also attached to the truss. A set of blue solar arrays are mounted to the module at the aft end of the cluster.

1999 – Charlotte Perrelli win the Eurovision Song Contest 1999  for Sweden with the song Take Me to Your Heaven.

2001 U.S. Supreme Court ruled that disabled golfer Casey Martin could use a cart to ride in at tournaments.

2004  The World War II Memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipeida.

Daring or desperate?

May 28, 2011

Why would a left wing MP challenge a right wing blogger to a cycle race?

Trevor Mallard did that to Cameron Slater.

Was it an act of daring or is he really desperate for publicity?

Cameron has accepted and issued a counter challenge – a boxing match.

Will the answer to that be daring or desperate?

Word of the day

May 28, 2011

Contumely– rudeness or contempt arising from arrogance; insolence; an insolent or arrogant remark or act.

Saturday smiles

May 28, 2011

An atheist was enjoying a quiet day’s fishing on Lake Taupo when suddenly his boat was attacked by a giant  taniwha. In one easy flip, the beast tossed him and his boat high into the air. It then opened it’s mouth waiting below to swallow them both.

As the man sailed head over heels and started to fall towards the open jaws of the fearsome creature, he cried out, “Oh, God! Help me!”

Suddenly, the scene froze in place and as the atheist hung in mid-air a booming voice came out of the clouds and said, “I thought you didn’t believe in Me!”

“God, come on, give me a break!” the man pleaded, “Just seconds ago I didn’t believe in taniwha either!”

“Well,” said God, “now that you are a believer, you must understand that I won’t work miracles to snatch you from certain death in the jaws of the monster, but I can change hearts. What would you have me do?”

The atheist thinks for a minute then says, “God, please have the tanwha believe in You also.”

God replies, “So be it.”

The scene starts in motion again with the atheist falling towards the ravenous jaws of the monster. The taniwha  folds his claws together and says, “Lord, bless this food You have so graciously provided…”

Political version of Four Weddings and Funeral

May 28, 2011

Quote of the week in Federated Farmers’ Farm Review (not online):

Two Political Parties and Some Self Serving Unions could be a political version of Four Weddings and a Funeral, but without the comedic touch.

To whom would that be referring?

Desperate sign of desperation

May 28, 2011

It’s not my land and it’s not my city so the outcry over the plan to erect a Wellywood sign on a hill overlooking our capital passed me by until I realised I would be paying for it, albeit a tiny amount.

I fly in and out of Wellingtona several times a year, using the airport which is going to put up the sign and therefore some portion of the airfare I pay must be paying for this wanton wannabeness.

If you apply the adage  if you can’t be first you must be better to the sign then the airport board which wants to erect it appears to have got it wrong.

Imitation may be the most sincere form of flattery but it doesn’t necessarily make the imitator right.

Wellywood was a clever enough word play linking Wellington with Hollywood, but turning it into a sign which imitates the one which overlooks the USA’s film capital isn’t so smart. As  Lonely Planet  says:

Lonely Planet New Zealand commissioning editor Errol Hunt said he was “torn” on the idea of a Wellywood sign, seeing it as partly bold, and partly cringe-worthy.

“On one hand, it’s a bit cheeky, a bit quirky, which does feel right. On the other hand, the tryhard-o-meter is beeping furiously.”

Jim Hopkins says it even better:

It is, after all, simply evidence, writ large, of how provincial, insecure and derivative we can be.

If you have to try that hard to impress people, you really shouldn’t bother. Better to pull your bottom lip over your top lip and pretend you don’t exist.

The Wellywood sign is just the biggest, dumbest version of all those gormless billboards we see bestrewn along the roadside all over the country, halfway between nowhere and somewhere else. . .

Well, of course it’s tacky, y’ daft ha’porths!

But it’s not tacky enough. It’s limp tacky, wimp tacky.

It should be wacky tacky. If it’s going to be tacky, it’s got to be Oh! tacky. Nothing less will do. . .

Since all such signs and symbols invite derision, get in first. Create one that will transcend silliness and scale the highest heights of kitsch. Then, when people say, “Strewth, that’s awful!” you can reply, with a satisfied grin on your gob, “Thank you.”

That sums it up – the sign is bad, but not bad enough,  a desperate sign of desperation, not that I’m likely to see it.

In spite of many flights to and from Wellington I have  no idea which hill the sign is destined to despoil. I am usually reading, sleeping or,  in the case of Wellington sometimes more than exciting landings, praying, and don’t recall seeing a hillside on any descent or take-off. 

On my most recent trip a couple of days ago all I saw was cloud until just before we touched down and more cloud when we took off again yesterday.

Therefore, in the spirit of the tackiness of the sign and with apologies to Ogden Nash I leave you with:

Deck your grassy hill in signs, the hill is yours my sweeting,

 I’ll not see it flying in, nor when I’m retreating.

Trans Tasman traffic changing direction

May 28, 2011

Bill English was criticised a few weeks ago for suggesting that lower wages here was a competitive advantage.

What do the critics say now that Heinz Watties is moving some of its production from Australia to New Zealand?

After an extensive review of the trans Tasman manufacturing footprint and capabilities, the decision has been made to consolidate production of sauces, beetroot, and some canned meal products from facilities Girgarre (Victoria), Brisbane and Wagga Wagga (NSW), to facilities in Hastings.

Heinz Wattie’s Chief Operating Officer Michael Gibson says Heinz operates a number of factories across Australia and New Zealand and share production between the two countries depending on how customers and consumers can be best served in both markets. The decision to consolidate manufacturing is a critical step in the plan to become more competitive in a challenging environment and to accelerate future growth.

It all comes down to costs of production:

Australia’s supply chain director, Mike Robinson, says the change is the result of a global productivity review, and is not a result of the strong Australian dollar.

“There is pressure on suppliers from customers and consumers. But there are a number of factors,” he said.

“The cost of raw materials, labour, energy. All of these have pressure on suppliers which mean that we have to maintain competitiveness.”

People are going west across the Tasman but if production moves east to New Zealand then people will follow.

Australia is rich in natural resources but it doesn’t have the plentiful supply of water which helps us produce electricity at a cheaper cost.

Having lower wages isn’t good in the long term but can be a factor which helps economic growth in the short term. As the economy grows, wages will increase .

Hat tip: Adolf at No Minister

Protest for privileged

May 28, 2011

People are planning to march up Queen Street today in support of wealthy beneficiaries and foreign banks.

They’re not saying that. They think they’re opposing Budget announcements:

Groups opposed to the Government’s planned changes to KiwiSaver, family tax credits and public services and state asset sales, announced in last week’s Budget, will march along Auckland’s Queen Street . . .

If the changes to family tax credits can be criticised for anything it’s not going far enough. Giving public money to high income earners, regardless of how big their families are, is not what the welfare state was designed to do.

People in Kiwisaver will still get $1,000when they join and any further subsidy from the government is generous, even if it isn’t quite as generous as it’s been.

Changes to public services are designed to shift costs from the backroom to the front line. How can anyone protest about that?

The alternative  to the partial sale of state assets is to cut spending  severely or add to already heavy borrowing from overseas banks which would add to our already precarious financial situation.

Given the parlous state of the nation’s books the government could have been forgiven for a slash and burn Budget. Instead it went for what Rob Hosking described as a trim and singe.

Today’s protest is for the privileged and will say a lot more about the politics of the participants than the Budget which delivered moderate measures to solve some very serious problems.

May 28 in history

May 28, 2011

585 BC – A solar eclipse occured, as predicted by Greek philosopher and scientist Thales, while Alyattes was battling Cyaxares in the Battle of the Eclipse, leading to a truce. This is one of the cardinal dates from which other dates can be calculated.

1503 James IV of Scotland and Margaret Tudor were married. A Treaty of Everlasting Peace between Scotland and England signed on that occasion resulted in a peace that lasts ten years.


1533 The Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer declared the marriage of King Henry VIII  to Anne Boleyn valid.

1588 The Spanish Armada, with 130 ships and 30,000 men, sets sail from Lisbon heading for the English Channel. 


1644  Bolton Massacre by Royalist troops under the command of the Earl of Derby.

1660 King George I of Great Britain, was born (d. 1727).

1754  French and Indian War: in the first engagement of the war, Virginia militia under 22-year-old Lieutenant Colonel George Washington defeated a French reconnaissance party in the Battle of Jumonville Glen.

Washington Pennsylvania Mapb.jpg

1759 William Pitt the Younger, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born (d. 1806).


1774  American Revolutionary War: the first Continental Congress convened.

Congress voting independence.jpg

1830 President Andrew Jackson signed The Indian Removal Act which relocates Native Americans.


1853 Carl Larsson, Swedish painter, was born (d. 1919).

1858 Carl Rickard Nyberg, Swedish inventor, was born (d. 1939).


Carl Richard Nyberg, painting from around 1920.

1859  Big Ben was drawn on a carriage pulled by 16 horses from Whitechapel Bell Foundry to the Palace of Westminster.

1860 One of the worst storms ever to hit the east coast of England, sank more than 100 ships and killing at least 40 people.

1863 American Civil War: The 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the first African American regiment, leaves Boston, Massachusetts, to fight for the Union.


1892  John Muir organised the Sierra Club.

Logo of Sierra Club

1905  Russo-Japanese War: The Battle of Tsushima ended with the destruction of the Russian Baltic Fleet by Admiral Togo Heihachiro and the Imperial Japanese Navy.

Admiral Tōgō on the bridge of Mikasa

1908 Ian Fleming, English author, was born (d. 1964).


1912 Patrick White, Australian writer, Nobel Prize laureate, was born (d. 1990).

1918  The Democratic Republic of Armenia and the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic declared their independence.



1920 Dennis Gunn was convicted of the murder of a postmaster and sentenced to death. In what was possibly a world-first involving a capital crime, Gunn’s conviction was based almost entirely on fingerprint evidence.

Fingerprints help convict murderer

1926  28th May 1926 coup d’état: Ditadura Nacional was established in Portugal to suppressthe unrest of the First Republic.

1930 The Chrysler Building in New York City officially opened.

Chrysler Building by David Shankbone Retouched.jpg

1931 Carroll Baker, American actress, was born.

1934  Quintuplets, Yvonne, Annette, Cécile, Émilie, and Marie, were born to Ovila and Elzire Dionne, and later become the first quintuplets to survive infancy.


1934 – The Glyndebourne festival in England was inaugurated.

1936 Betty Shabazz, American civil rights activist was born (d. 1997).


1936 Alan Turing submitted On Computable Numbers for publication.

1937 The Golden Gate Bridge was officially opened by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

1937  Neville Chamberlain became British Prime Minister.

A well-dressed, aging man is seated in a chair and looks sideways towards the camera.

1940  World War II: Belgium surrendered to Germany.

1940  World War II: Norwegian, French, Polish and British forces recaptured Narvik in the first allied infantry victory of the War.

1942  World War II: in retaliation for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, Nazis in Czechoslovakia killed more than 1800 people.


1944 Rudy Giuliani, 107th Mayor of New York City, was born.

1944 Gladys Knight, American singer and actress, was born.

1944 Patricia Quinn, Northern Irish actress, was born.

1945 John Fogerty, American musician (Creedence Clearwater Revival) was born.

1952  Memphis Kiddie Park opened in Brooklyn, Ohio.

Little Dipper corner.jpg

1952 – The women of Greece gained the right to vote.

1961 Peter Benenson‘s article “The Forgotten Prisoners” was published in several internationally read newspapers was later thought of as the founding of Amnesty International.

1964 The Palestine Liberation Organization was formed.

Plo emblem.png

1970 The formerly united Free University of Brussels officially split into two separate entities, the French-speaking Université Libre de Bruxelles and the Dutch-speaking Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

Ulblogo.jpgSeal of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel

1974 Northern Ireland’s power-sharing Sunningdale Agreement collapsed following a general strike by loyalists.

1975 Fifteen West African countries sign the Treaty of Lagos, creating the Economic Community of West African States.

1977 In Southgate, Kentucky, the Beverly Hills Supper Club fire killed 165 people.

1978 Second round of the presidential elections in Upper Volta which was won by incumbent Sangoulé Lamizana.

1979 Constantine Karamanlis signed the full treaty of the accession of Greece with the European Economic Community.


1982 Falklands War: British forces defeated the Argentines at the Battle of Goose Green.


1984 Beth Allen, New Zealand actress, was born.


1987 19-year-old West German pilot Mathias Rust evaded Soviet Union air defenses and lands a private plane in Red Square.

1987  A robot probe found the wreckage of the USS Monitor.


1991 The capital city of Addis Ababa, fell to the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, ending both the Derg regime and the Ethiopian Civil War.

T-55s civil war.JPG

1995  Neftegorsk was hit by a 7.6 magnitude earthquake that killed at least 2,000 people, 1/2 of the total population.

1996  U.S. President Bill Clinton’s former business partners in the Whitewater land deal, James McDougal and Susan McDougal, and Arkansas Governor Jim Guy Tucker, were convicted of fraud.

1998 Nuclear testing: Pakistan responded to a series of nuclear tests by India with five of its own, prompting other nations to impose economic sanctions.

1999 After 22 years of restoration work, Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece “The Last Supper” was put back on display.

1999 – Two Swedish police officers were murdered with their own fire arms by the bank robbers Jackie Arklöv and Tony Olsson after a car chase.

2002 NATO declared Russia a limited partner in the Western alliance.

2002  The Mars Odyssey found signs of large ice deposits on Mars.

2001 mars odyssey wizja.jpg

2003 Peter Hollingworth became the first Governor-General of Australia to resign his office as a result of criticism of his conduct.

2004  The Iraqi Governing Council chose Ayad Allawi, a longtime anti-Saddam Hussein exile, as prime minister of Iraq’s interim government.


2008 The first meeting of the Constituent Assembly of Nepal formally declared Nepal a republic, ending the 240-year reign of the Shah dynasty.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

Word of the day

May 27, 2011

Badaud – an idle, markedly stupid individual who believes just about anything and is a half-witted gossip; a person given to idle observation of everything, with wonder or astonishment; a credulous or gossipy idler.


May 27, 2011

8/10 in NZ History Online’s weekly quiz.

(It helps if you read the today in history strips first).

Friday’s answers

May 27, 2011

Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said: “In passing, also, I would like to say that the first time Adam had a chance he laid the blame on woman.

2. It’s l’argent in French, soldi in Italian, dinero in Spanish and moni in aori, what is it in English.

3. Who brought us this in Hogsnort Rupert’s song?

4. What is/are Ovis Aries ?

5. What is a philtrum?

Points for answering :

STMTTC – wins an electronic banana cake for five right (ignoring the feral before sheep).

David gets three with a bonus for extra information and another for having to correct me again on capitalising speicies’ names (I remembered that I keep getting it wrong but couldn’t remember which is right).

Paul gets three plus a bonus for wit – who knows? Ewe did.

PDM got two with a  bonus  1/2 a point and a grin for deduction  about the sheep.

GD gets three with a bonus for inventiveness for #5.

Adam got two and a bonus for noticing and correcting my typo.

Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

Voting on voting

May 27, 2011

The Electoral Commission has begun its campaign to educate people about the options in this year’s referendum on the electoral system.

We’ve had MMP for 15 years and a disturbing number* of people still don’t understand how it works.

How much are people going to absorb about the other options in six months when many still don’t know there’s going to be a referendum?

* Disturbing number = an unknown amount based on anecdote and memory of media stories on surveys.

It may or may not include the 1.6% of people in the NZ Herald survey who want Hone Harawira to be the next Prime Minister.

Aucklanders more intelligent than rest of NZers?

May 27, 2011

How do you explain this:

New Zealand First’s figures show consistent support between Auckland (2.6 per cent) and the rest of the country (2.7 per cent) and between genders.

But there is a big variance in support for leader Winston Peters as preferred prime minister between Auckland voters (3 per cent) and the rest of New Zealand (6.7 per cent).

Does it mean Aucklanders are more intelligent than the rest of us, or at least there are fewer deluded people there?

What is the implication of this?

New Zealand First is also disproportionately supported by those aged 65 and over.

Its overall party-vote support in the poll was 2.7 per cent but it was supported by 7.6 per cent of the elderly.

The elderly, in general, are closer to dying than younger people so this could mean the party’s support is dying.

But if the number of older people is growing as a proportion of the population and their voting preference changes as they age, the party support could grow.

That’s a very scary thought.

Living standard about more than money but not high without money

May 27, 2011

Treasury has decided there’s more to higher standards of living than material wealth:

Treasury’s understanding of the term living standards goes beyond the narrow material definition – often proxied by GDP – to incorporate a broad range of material and non-material factors such as trust, education, health and environmental quality. In taking a broad approach to understanding living standards, Treasury is in line with other economic institutions internationally. For example, the Australian Treasury acknowledges that “analyses of economic development or progress that only take income into account neglect other important determinants of wellbeing”  . . .

I can’t argue with that. Anyone who thinks the standard of living is all about material wealth knows more about price than value.

The OECD certainly thinks so in its better life initiative:

The Index allows citizens to compare well-being across 34 countries, based on 11 dimensions the OECD has identified as essential, in the areas of material living conditions and quality of life: housing, income, jobs, community, education, environment, governance, health, life satisfaction, safety, work-life balance..

New Zealand performs well on the index which rated factors including  income, employment, education, health, civic participation and satisfaction.

New Zealand performs exceptionally well in overall well-being, as shown by the fact that it ranks among the top countries in a large number of topics in the Better Life Index.. .

. . . When asked, 77% of people in New Zealand said they were satisfied with their life, above the OECD average of 59%.

Our average incomes are lower than those for the OECD but we’re above average for most other factors. However, the report acknowledges that while money can’t buy happiness it contributes to higher living standards.

That reminds me of a quote attributed to Margaret Thatcher:

“No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions – he had money too.”

A high standard of living must take into account more than material possessions, but it still requires material goods and services and the money to buy them unless you remove yourself from society and become wholly self-sufficient.

You don’t need a lot of money to have a good life but you’ll have a better life if you, and your country, have more than enough.

May 27 in history

May 27, 2011

893  Simeon I of Bulgaria crowned emperor of the first Bulgarian empire.

Simeon the Great anonymous seal.jpg

927 Battle of the Bosnian Highlands: Croatian army, led by King Tomislav, defeated the Bulgarian Army.


927  Simeon the Great, Tsar of Bulgaria, died.

Simeon the Great anonymous seal.jpg

1120  Richard III of Capua was anointed as prince two weeks before his untimely death.

1153 Malcolm IV became King of Scotland.

Malcolm iv.jpg

1328  Philip VI was crowned King of France.

1626 William II, Prince of Orange was born(d. 1650).

1703 Tsar Peter the Great founded the city of Saint Petersburg.

1798 The Battle of Oulart Hill took place in Wexford.


1812  Bolivian War of Independence: the Battle of La Coronilla, in which the women from Cochabamba fought against the Spanish army.

1813  War of 1812: In Canada, American forces captured Fort George.

1837 Wild Bill Hickok, American gunfighter, was born  (d. 1876).

1849  The Great Hall of Euston station in London was opened.


1860  Giuseppe Garibaldi began his attack on Palermo, Sicily, as part of the Italian Unification.

Giuseppe Garibaldi portrait2.jpg

1863  American Civil War: First Assault on the Confederate works at the Siege of Port Hudson.

Siege of Port Hudson.png

1878 Isadora Duncan, American dancer ws born (d. 1927).

1883 Alexander III was crowned Tsar of Russia.

1895  Oscar Wilde was imprisoned for sodomy.

1896 The F4-strength St. Louis-East St. Louis Tornado killed at least 255 people and causing $2.9 billion in damage.

1905 Russo-Japanese War: The Battle of Tsushima began.

Admiral Tōgō on the bridge of Mikasa

1907  Bubonic plague broke out in San Francisco, California.

1908  Maulana Hakeem Noor-ud-Din was elected the first Khalifa of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.


1911  Hubert H. Humphrey, 38th Vice President of the United States,  was born (d. 1978).

1912  John Cheever, American author, was born (d. 1982).


1915 Herman Wouk, American writer, was born.

1919  The NC-4 aircraft arrived in Lisbon after completing the first transatlantic flight.


1922  Sir Christopher Lee, English actor, was born.

1923 Henry Kissinger, 56th United States Secretary of State, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, was born.

1927  Ford ceased manufacture of the Ford Model T and began to retool plants to make the Ford Model A.

Successor to the Model T; Ford Model A used for giving tourist rides at Greenfield Village

1930  The 1,046 feet (319 m) Chrysler Building in New York City, the tallest man-made structure at the time, opens to the public.

Chrysler Building by David Shankbone Retouched.jpg

1933  New Deal: The U.S. Federal Securities Act is signed into law requiring the registration of securities with the Federal Trade Commission.

1933 – The Walt Disney Company released the cartoon The Three Little Pigs, with its hit song “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?


1933 – The Century of Progress World’s Fair opened in Chicago.


1935  New Deal: The Supreme Court of the United States declared the National Industrial Recovery Act to be unconstitutional in A.L.A. Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States, (295 U.S. 495).

1937  The Golden Gate Bridge opened to pedestrian traffic, creating a vital link between San Francisco and Marin County, California.


1940  World War II: In the Le Paradis massacre, 99 soldiers from a Royal Norfolk Regiment unit were shot after surrendering to German troops. 

1941 World War II: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed an “unlimited national emergency”.

1941 – World War II: The German battleship Bismarck was sunk in the North Atlantic killing almost 2,100 men.


1942  World War II: In Operation Anthropoid, Reinhard Heydrich was assassinated in Prague.


1943 Cilla Black, English singer and presenter, was born.

1954 Pauline Hanson, Australian politician, was born.

1957 Toronto’s CHUM-AM, (1050 kHz) became  Canada’s first radio station to broadcast only top 40 Rock n’ Roll music format.

1958 Neil Finn, New Zealand singer and songwriter (Split Enz, Crowded House), was born.

1958  The F-4 Phantom II made its first flight.


1960  In Turkey, a military coup removed President Celal Bayar and the rest of the democratic government from office.


1962 The Centralia, Pennsylvania mine fire started.

1965 Vietnam War: American warships began the first bombardment of National Liberation Front targets within South Vietnam.

1967  Australians voted in favour of a constitutional referendum granting the Australian government the power to make laws to benefit Indigenous Australians and to count them in the national census.

1967  The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy was launched  Jacqueline Kennedy and her daughter Caroline.

1968  The meeting of the Union Nationale des Étudiants de France (National Union of the Students of France) took place. 30,000 to 50,000 people gathered in the Stade Sebastien Charlety.


1971 The Dahlerau train disaster, the worst railway accident in West Germany, killed46 people and injured 25.

1975 Jamie Oliver, English chef and television personality, was born.

Jamie Oliver retouched.jpg

1975  The Dibble’s Bridge coach crash near Grassington, North Yorkshire killed  32 – the highest ever death toll in a road accident in the United Kingdom.

1980 The Gwangju Massacre: Airborne and army troops of South Korea retook the city of Gwangju from civil militias, killing at least 207.


1987 Artist Colin McCahon died.

Death of Colin McCahon

1995 Actor Christopher Reeve was paralysed from the neck down after falling from his horse in a riding competition.


1996 First Chechnya War: Russian President Boris Yeltsin met Chechnyan rebels for the first time and negotiated a cease-fire.


1997  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Paula Jones could pursue her sexual harassment lawsuit against President Bill Clinton while he was in office.

1999  The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia indicted Slobodan Milošević and four others for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Kosovo.


2005 Australian Schapelle Corby was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in Kerobokan Prison for drug smuggling by a court in Indonesia.

2006 The May 2006 Java earthquake devastated  Bantul and the city of Yogyakarta killing more than  6,600 people.


Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

Word of the day

May 26, 2011

Zeigarnik – the psychological tendency to remember an uncompleted task rather than a completed one.

(Could it also be defined as the propensity for guilt in a procrastinator?)

Oprah and out

May 26, 2011

Am I the only one in the world who has never watched a single episode of Oprah?

In spite of that omission there’s a process not unlike osmosis by which knowledge of celebrities seeps into your brain and I’ve unconsciously picked up quite a bit about her. That includes the knowledge that today she signed off from her last show.

Have I missed anything of note?

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