Word of the day


Gallophile – lover of France and the French; Francophile.

Theo Spierings new Fonterra CEO


Fonterra has named its new CEO – Theo Spierings, a Dutchman with 25 years experience in the global dairy industry.

Fonterra chair Sir Henry van der Heyden said:

“Mr Spierings has a wealth of experience in managing dairy businesses across Asia, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Europe,” Sir Henry said.

“Most importantly, Mr Spierings has an in-built respect for the co-operative structure and for farmers and their commitment to co-operative principles. He is well recognised by his peers for his people leadership, delivery of results and strong strategic skills.”

This will resonate with Fonterra’s shareholders who are resolute in their determination to retain farmer control and the co-operative structure.

Mr Spierings was acting CEO of Royal Friesland Foods when he presided over all aspects of its complex and highly sensitive merger with Campina. He left the company shortly after completing the merger as, prior to the transaction, both parties had already agreed on an independent CEO to take the new entity forward.

Sir Henry said as well as a 25 year history in the global dairy industry, Mr Spierings had held a variety of general management, operations and supply chain and sales and marketing positions across a number of geographies.

Mr Spierings said the role of CEO for Fonterra was a great opportunity, working in the industry he loved.

“I am honoured to be invited to lead Fonterra into its second decade,” Mr Spierings said.

“The Fonterra Board, Andrew Ferrier and his team have established a strong foundation and my challenge is to build an even more successful global dairy co-operative.

Mr Spierings said he was familiar with both Fonterra and its key people and had great respect for the foresight New Zealand farmers had shown in creating Fonterra in the first place.

“A huge amount has been achieved in the past 10 years since Fonterra was established. Trading Among Farmers – the newly approved capital structure – is a good example. But what makes Fonterra really unique is its combination of low-cost pasture based farming and its status as the world’s largest milk processor.”

With the co-operative already performing strongly, Mr Spierings said it was clear that the challenge ahead was to add another layer of value across the business.

“I am used to working for farmers and I know they demand results. Being entrepreneurs themselves, they expect continuous improved performance of both their co-operative and through-out the value chain,” Mr Spierings said.

”I am acutely aware of Fonterra’s importance to the New Zealand economy and look forward to leading an organisation that has the potential to have such a positive impact on its home country. I thrive on the prospect of contributing to Fonterra’s continued success, which I know is of great importance to not only its farmers and employees, but to every New Zealander.”

Mr Spierings, aged 46, holds a Bachelor of Arts-degree in Food Technology/Biotechnology and a Masters in Business Administration. He is married with three children and currently lives in The Netherlands. He owns and runs his own company which focuses on corporate strategy and mergers and acquisitions in fast moving consumer goods.

The 2011 financial year would be a record one for Fonterra and announcing thre results will be one of Andrew Ferrier’s last duties with the co-operative before his successor takes over on September 26.

Thursday’s quiz


1. Who said: A women who doesn’t wear perfume has no future.

2. Who sang Je ne regret rien?

3. Which is France’s (and Western Europe’s) highest mountain?

4. Which city is regarded as the Paris of the Southern Hemisphere?

5. It’s rire in French, ridere  in Italian, reír in Spanish and kata in Maori, what is it in English?

MMP/SM can’t work for ever with South Island quota


When MMP was first introduced we had 60 general and five Maori electorates, and 55 list seats.

Each time the boundaries changed, as they do after every census, we’ve got at least one more electorate and therefore at least one fewer list seat.

We now have 70 electorates (63 general and seven Maori) and 50 lists seats.

That is because the number of South Island seats is set at 16. After every census the Mainland’s population is divided by 16 to give the number of people in each electorate. The North Island is divided into electorates with that population, plus or minus 5%.

The North Island population grows faster than the South’s so each time the boundaries change the North gets at least one more electorate and the list reduces by a corresponding number.

An increase in the number of Maori seats also eats into list seats.

Whatever system the country opts for in the forthcoming referendum we’ll still have 120 MPs (or more if there’s an overhang).

But if we stick with MMP and no change to the South Island quota the number of electorates will increase and the number of list seats will fall bringing a small drop in proportionality each time.

It will take ages, but if the quota remains we’ll get to a stage where National and Labour have so many electorates there could be big overhangs and the few list seats will go only to the wee parties.

If we opt for Supplementary Member in the referendum we’ll have a similar problem of electorate increases decreasing the number of list seats.

The obvious solution is to reduce the South Island quota but then electorates would have to cover even bigger areas than they do now and the bigger ones are already far too big.

The other alternative, to increase the number of MPs, is unlikely to win support of voters.

Viva La France


Happy Bastille Day to France and merci beaucoup for fine wine, delicious bread and cheese, for delightful perfume and for giving us words and phrases like aide-mémoire, bon mot, chez and je ne sais quoi . . .

If to charge, who to charge?


Police are considering whether or not to lay charges against Labour for breaching the Electoral Act.

If they decide there’s a case to answer, they can’t charge the party it has to be an individual.

Who will that be?

The breach was made by not including an authorisation statement which is usually attributed to the party manager or secretary.

But it would be most unfair to charge a party employee for an omission which was almost certainly the fault, and responsibility, of the communications/campaign team.

Whoever was in charge, of the stop assets sales campaign ought to be the one to face charges should any be laid.



July 14 in history


1223 Louis VIII became King of France upon the death of his father, Philip II of France.

1698 The Darien scheme began with five ships, bearing about 1,200 people, departing Leith for the Isthmus of Panama.


1769 The de Portolá Expedition established a base in California, and set out to find the Port of Monterey.

Point of San Francisco Bay Discovery

1771 Foundation of the Mission San Antonio de Padua  by the Franciscan friar Junípero Serra.

Mission San Antonio de Padua

1789  French Revolution: Citizens of Paris stormed the Bastille and free seven prisoners.

Prise de la Bastille.jpg

1790  French Revolution: Citizens of Paris celebrated the constitutional monarchy and national reconciliation in the Fête de la Fédération.


1791  The Priestley Riots drove  Joseph Priestley, a supporter of the French Revolution, out of Birmingham, England.

Burning three-story house, surrounded by a mob. People are throwing things out of the windows and belongings are scattered on the street. 

1798  The Sedition Act became law in the United States making it a federal crime to write, publish, or utter false or malicious statements about the government.

 1834  James Abbott McNeill Whistler, American painter (d. 1903).

1858  Emmeline Pankhurst, English suffragette (d. 1928)


1865  First ascent of the Matterhorn by Edward Whymper and party, four of whom died on the descent.


 1868  Gertrude Bell, English archaeologist, writer, spy, and administrator, was born (d. 1926).


1872 Albert Marque, French sculptor and doll maker, was born (d. 1939).

 1881 Billy the Kid was shot and killed by Pat Garrett outside Fort Sumner.

1853 New Zealand’s first general election began.

NZ's first general election begins

1900 Armies of the Eight-Nation Alliance captured Tientsin during the Boxer Rebellion.

Boxer Rebellion.jpg

1902 The Campanile in St Mark’s Square, Venice collapsed, also demolishing the loggetta.


1903 Irving Stone, American writer, was born (d. 1989).

The Agony and the Ecstasy.JPG

1910 William Hanna, American animator, was born  (d. 2001).

1911  Terry-Thomas, British actor, was born  (d. 1990).

1912 Woody Guthrie, American folk musician, was born (d. 1967).

1913 Gerald Ford, 38th President of the United States, was born (d. 2006).

A man in a suit sits, arms folded, in front of a United States Flag and the Presidential seal.

1916 Start of the Battle of Delville Wood as an action in the Battle of the Somme.

Monochrome image on newsprint type paper. Pen and charcoal sketch of multiple= 

1918  Ingmar Bergman, Swedish film and theatre director, was born (d. 2007).

1921 – Leon Garfield, English children’s author, was born (d. 1996).

1924 – James W. Black, Scottish pharmacologist, Nobel laureate, was born.

1928 Nancy Olson, American actress, was born.

1930 Polly Bergen, American actress, was born.

1933 Gleichschaltung: In Germany, all political parties were outlawed except the Nazi Party.

Flag of Nazi Germany

1940 Susan Howatch, English author, was born.

1943  The George Washington Carver National Monument became the first United States National Monument in honor of an African American.


1948  Palmiro Togliatti, leader of the Italian Communist Party, was shot near the Italian Parliament.

1950 Sir Apirana Ngata died.

Death of Sir Apirana Ngata

1958  Iraqi Revolution:  the monarchy was overthrown by popular forces lead by Abdul Karim Kassem, who becomes the nation’s new leader.

1965  The Mariner 4 flyby of Mars took the first close-up photos of another planet.

Mariner 3 and 4.jpg

1969  Football War: after Honduras lost a soccer match against El Salvador rioting broke out in Honduras against Salvadoran migrant workers.

1969  The United States $500, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 bills were officially withdrawn from circulation.


1992  386BSD was released by Lynne Jolitz and William Jolitz beginning the Open Source Operating System Revolution.

386BSD installer screenshot.png

2000 A powerful solar flare, later named the Bastille Day event, causef a geomagnetic storm.


2002  French President Jacques Chirac escaped an assassination attempt unscathed during Bastille Day celebrations.

2003  The United States Government admitted the existence of “Area 51“.

Wfm area 51 landsat geocover 2000.jpg

2007  Russia withdrew from the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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