Word of the day


Independence – freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others.

Politics no place for shrinking violets


The transition from top dog to one of the pack is never easy, even in a voluntary organisation like Federated Farmers.

The president’s role is important and demanding but it comes to a sudden end. One day you’re the chair, next you’re just another farmer looking for something to occupy yourself.

So why not try politics?

That’s what Don Nicolson is considering but he’s being unusually coy about it:

He’s slightly cagey about the next step, saying people keep suggesting he moves into politics, but he’s waiting for an invitation first.

“I am hoping somewhere it’s either politics or business that I get into. I’m quite happy to get into politics but no-one is really asking. I’m being told I should be in politics by many people and under MMP the question is can I cut it and tolerate that?

“I’m prepared to give it a go – but I’ve got to be asked,” he says.

Why wait to be asked?

Politics isn’t for shrinking violets. It’s for people with passion, dedication, a strong sense of what they believe in and commitment to a party.

The latter is particularly important because when the going gets tough as it ineveitably will, MPs have to know why they’re there and remain loyal to their party.

It’s not hard to see from Nicolson’s statements that it’s Act he’s thinking of and he has skills which could benefit the party. But if I was them, I’d be wary about someone who didn’t feel strongly enough about becoming an MP to be proactive about it.

Hat tip: Imperator Fish

NZ agritech co wins international design award


Hamilton agritech company  Simcro, won a  Silver IDEA award in the medical and scientific category of the 2011 Industrial Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) awards for its Optiline sheep drencher.

Simcro chief executive Will Rouse said the award vindicated the strong research and development focus that Simcro has developed in the last five years.

“Specialising in customised animal health delivery systems to the pharmaceutical industry has become a very successful business model,” he said.

A Media release from the company explains how the drencher was developed:

In 2006, Novartis Animal Health, Switzerland, challenged Simcro and several of their global competitors to supply a revolutionary new sheep drenching system to launch a new drench, ZOLVIX. Simcro rose to the challenge with the development of the Optilinesheep drench gun.

The company challenged the design of the traditional pistol-grip style drench gun, which had not changed from its basic form in 30 years.

The inherent design flaw of the pistol-grip gun is that the drench nozzle points away from the operator, requiring them to rotate their hand through 180 degrees to administer the drench into the sheep’s mouth. 

The resulting incompatible bio-mechanics create significant operator fatigue and discomfort, and with sustained use, injury to the wrist, forearm and back.

The Optiline drench gun overcomes these problems by having the drench nozzle protruding from the base of the operator’s hand, allowing for a natural presentation of the drench gun with precise control, thus greatly minimising stress to the operator and animal.

New Zealand is generally well regarded for the quality of its agricultural production and methods but agritech inventions, like this, and the inventors, often don’t get the prominence they deserve.

Simcro’s website is here.

Apropos of this, a recent  Listener profiled another inventor, John Hartstone, who invented a meter for measuring milk production which is credited with increasing production all over the world.

Unity gives power


It’s July 4th here but still yesterday in the USA so I’m getting in early in wishing them a happy Independence Day.

When I was studying in Spain I was bemused by the Anti-Americanism among many of my fellow students who came from all parts of the world.

A lot of it seemed to be based on envy of its power. One day I said to the Europeans, it was the united bit which gave the USA its power and that Europe could be as powerful if they provided a united front.

“But,” one replied, “They have many states under one government, we have many countries, each with an independent government,. The European Union provides economic unity but we’ll never be able to provide a really united front.”

How long can we blame failed policies of noughties?


Nearly three years into National’s first term, peole are beginning to ask how long supporters can get away with blaming the last government and the failed policies of the noughties.

Given the left are still blaming Sir Roger Douglas for what happened when he was Finance Minister, and as Keeping Stock points out, quite a lot which happened after he resigned, we should still have a couple of decades to go.

Matt McCarten got vitriolic in his Herald column yesterday.

I don’t support everything Douglas did nor the way he did it and he’s done little, if anything, for Act and the country in this come-back term.

But New Zealand would be a much poorer and sadder country if those “failed” policies of the 80s which he started hadn’t happened.

Few in Labour would admit it but the fact they tinkered with some of those policies but did very little to reverse them when they had nine years to do so, shows they too accept they were necessary.

July 4 in history


836  Pactum Sicardi, peace between the Principality of Benevento and the Duchy of Naples.


993  Saint Ulrich of Augsburg was canonized.


1054  A supernova was observed by the Chinese  the Arabs and possibly Amerindians near the star Tauri.

1120  Jordan II of Capua was anointed as prince after his infant nephew’s death.

1187  The Crusades: Battle of Hattin – Saladin defeated Guy of Lusignan, King of Jerusalem.

Hattin Estoire d'Eracles.jpg

1253  Battle of West-Capelle: John I of Avesnes defeated Guy of Dampierre.


1456 The Siege of Nándorfehérvár (Belgrade) began.


1534 Christian III was elected King of Denmark and Norway.


1569  The King of Poland and the Grand Duke of Lithuania, Sigismund II Augustus signed the document of union between Poland and Lithuania, creating new country known as Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.

1610  The Battle of Klushino between forces of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Russia during the Polish-Muscovite War.

Kłuszyn 1610.JPG

1744  The Treaty of Lancaster, in which the Iriquois ceded lands between the Allegheny Mountains and the Ohio River to the British colonies, was signed.

1754 French and Indian War: George Washington surrendered Fort Necessity to French Capt. Louis Coulon de Villiers.

1774  Orangetown Resolutions adopted in the Province of New York, one of many protests against the British Parliament’s Coercive Acts

1776  American Revolution: the United States Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Second Continental Congress.


1778 American Revolutionary War: Forces under George Clark captured Kaskaskia during the Illinois campaign.

1790 George Everest, Welsh surveyor, was born (d. 1866).

1802  At West Point, New York the United States Military Academy opened.

1810  The French occupied Amsterdam.

 1816  Hiram Walker, American grocer and distiller, was born (d. 1899).

1817 Construction on the Erie Canal began.


1826 Stephen Foster, American songwriter, was born (d. 1864).

1827  Slavery was abolished in New York State.

1837  Grand Junction Railway, the world’s first long-distance railway, opened between Birmingham and Liverpool.

1840 The Cunard Line’s 700 ton wooden paddle steamer RMS Britannia left Liverpool bound for Halifax, Nova Scotia on the first transatlantic crossing with a scheduled end.

RMS Britannia 1840 paddlewheel.jpg

1845 Thomas Barnardo, Irish humanitarian, was born (d. 1905).


1845  Henry David Thoreau embarked on a two-year experiment in simple living at Walden Pond.

Walden Thoreau.jpg

1855  In Brooklyn, New York, the first edition of Walt Whitman’s book of poems, titled Leaves of Grass, was published.


1862 Lewis Carroll told Alice Liddell a story that grew into Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequels.


1863 American Civil War: Siege of Vicksburg – Vicksburg, Mississippi surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant after 47 days of siege.

Battle of Vicksburg, Kurz and Allison.png

1863 A Confederate Army was repulsed at the Battle of Helena, Arkansas.

1865  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was published.


1868 Te Kooti escaped from the Chatham Islands.

Te Kooti escapes from the Chathams

 1868  Henrietta Swan Leavitt, American astronomer, was born (d. 1921).

1872  Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States, was born (d. 1933) .


1878 Thoroughbred horses Ten Broeck and Mollie McCarty ran a match race, immortalized in the song Molly and Tenbrooks.

1879  Anglo-Zulu War: the Zululand capital of Ulundi was captured by British troops and burnt to the ground, ending the war and forcing King Cetshwayo to flee.


1881 In Alabama, the Tuskegee Institute opened.


1882 Louis B. Mayer, American film producer, was born (d. 1957).


1883 Rube Goldberg,  American cartoonist, was born  (d. 1970).


1886 The people of France offered the Statue of Liberty to the people of the United States.

1886 – The first scheduled Canadian transcontinental train arrived in Port Moody, British Columbia.

1887 The founder of Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, joined Sindh-Madrasa-tul-Islam, Karachi.


1892  Western Samoa changed the International Date Line, so that year there were 367 days in this country, with two occurrences of Monday, July 4.

1894  The short-lived Republic of Hawaii was proclaimed by Sanford B. Dole.

1898 Gertrude Lawrence, English-born actress, was born (d. 1952).

1902 The NZ Boxing Association was formed.

NZ Boxing Association formed at Christchurch

1903 Dorothy Levitt was reported as the first woman in the world to compete in a ‘motor race’.

1910 African-American boxer Jack Johnson knocked out white boxer Jim Jeffries in a heavyweight boxing match sparking race riots across the United States.

Jack Johnson1.jpg

1911 Mitch Miller, American musician, singer and record producer, was born (d. 2010).


1917 Manolete, Spanish bullfighter, was born (d. 1947).


1918 King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV of Tonga was born (d. 2006).


 1918  Ann Landers, American advice columnist, was born (d. 2002).


1918 – Abigal Van Buren, American advice columnist, was born.

 1918 Ottoman sultan Mehmed VI ascended to the throne.

1918 – Bolsheviks killed Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his family (Julian calendar date).


1924 Eva Marie Saint, American actress, was born.

1927  Neil Simon,  American playwright, was born.


1927  First flight of the Lockheed Vega.


1934 Leo Szilard patented the chain-reaction design for the atomic bomb.


1938 Bill Withers, American singer and songwriter, was born.

1939  Lou Gehrig, recently diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, told a crowd at Yankee Stadium that he considered himself “The luckiest man on the face of the earth” as he announced his retirement from major league baseball.

1941  Nazi Germans massacred Polish scientists and writers in the captured city of Lwów.


1946  After 381 years of near-continuous colonial rule by various powers, the Philippines attained full independence from the United States.

1947  The “Indian Independence Bill” was presented before British House of Commons, suggesting bifurcation of British India into two sovereign countries – India and Pakistan.

1950 The first broadcast by Radio Free Europe.


1959  The 49-star flag of the United States debuted in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1969  The Ohio Fireworks Derecho killed 18 people and destroyed more than 100 boats on Lake Erie.

 Map and track of the Ohio Fireworks Derecho

1976  Israeli commandos raided Entebbe airport in Uganda, rescuing all but four of the passengers and crew of an Air France jetliner seized by Palestinian terrorists.

1982  Iranian diplomats kidnapping: four Iranian diplomats were kidnapped by Lebanese militia in Lebanon.

1987  In France, former Gestapo chief Klaus Barbie (aka the “Butcher of Lyon”) was convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to life imprisonment.

1993  Sumitomo Chemical‘s resin plant in Nihama exploded killing one worker and injuring three others.

1997  NASA‘s Pathfinder space probe landed on the surface of Mars.


2004 The cornerstone of the Freedom Tower was laid on the site of the World Trade Center in New York City.

Freedom Tower New.jpg

2005  The Deep Impact collider hit the comet Tempel 1.

Deep Impact.jpg

2006  Space Shuttle program: STS-121 Mission – Space Shuttle Discovery launched.

Space Shuttle Discovery

2006  North Korea tested four short-range missiles, one medium-range missile, and a long-range Taepodong-2.

2008  Cross-strait charter direct flight between mainland China and Taiwan started.


Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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