Word of the day


Dyslogy – an inability to express ideas or reasoning in speech because of a mental disorder; dispraise, uncomplimentary remarks.

6/10 and 2/10


6/10 in the Herald’s news quiz.

Just  2/10 in the sports quiz.

Friday’s answers


Thursday’s questions were:

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?

Points for answering:

Andrie got three with a bonus for a whole lot more extra information.

Bulaman got four (accepting the translation of Mont Blanc).

Cadwallader got three; a nearly for the second attempt (you got the city on the wrong side of the Rio Plato) and a bonus for good try for the third.

Gravedodger got three (and a you’re welcome to hum but you really don’t want me to sing).

Adams wins an electronic batch of croissants for five right.

Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

Activist or MP?


Activists fight the system, MPs must work within the law to change it.

Hone Harawira showed by his refusal to read the affirmation at his swearing in yesterday, as required by law, he is still a better activist than an MP.

It has given him publicity and will probably please his supporters.

But an electorate MP is supposed to represent all his/constituents, and it has left them without an MP until parliament sits again on August 2.

In The House has the video of the swearing in here (was his cloak falling off – at about 1:44 – as he walked up, a sign?).

Lockwood Smith’s explanation (starts about 5:10) makes it clear Harawira knew what was requried by law and his decision to not comply with the law as advised was deliberate.

What’s fair?


Labour justifies policies of high taxation and redistribution as being “fair”.

But a question from Michael Woodhouse to Bill English shows that the income tax burden already falls on very few people:

2.MICHAEL WOODHOUSE (National) to the Minister of Finance: What progress has the Government made in making the tax system fairer?

Hon BILL ENGLISH (Minister of Finance): In Budget 2010 we recognised there were parts of the community who, over the past decade, have simply not paid their fair share of tax. The Government raised the effective tax rate on property with a number of different measures, including denying depreciation on long-life assets, tightened the eligibility for Working for Families so that those with high economic incomes could not use paper losses to qualify, and allocated $120 million to the Inland Revenue Department to better enforce the rules. These measures have been successful, and we have achieved a more balanced and fair tax system that supports growth and provides good incentives in the economy.

Michael Woodhouse: How does the tax system interact with income support, which the Government provides?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: Income support and the tax system need to be seen together. We tax those who earn income at progressive rates, although 75 percent of taxpayers pay no more than 17.5c in the dollar now. We also support those on low and median incomes with dependent children. A single-income family with two children pays no net tax until their income reaches $50,000 a year. This year Treasury projects we will collect $26 billion of income tax. Net of tax we will pay about $12 billion in income support and another $8 billion for superannuation.

Michael Woodhouse: Which groups now pay most of the tax collected by the Government?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: Our tax and transfer system is highly redistributive, and the number of people paying income tax is surprisingly small. The lowest-income 43 percent of households currently receive more in income support than they pay in income tax. The 1.3 million households with incomes under $110,000 a year collectively pay no net tax—that is, their total income support payments match their combined income tax. The top 10 percent of households contribute over 70 percent of income tax, net of transfers—over 70 percent of income tax, net of transfers. This system is highly redistributive and we believe it is fair.

Michael Woodhouse: What steps has the Government taken to prevent the erosion of the tax base?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: When we became the Government we found a pretty chaotic tax system, where a lot of wealthier people were simply not paying their fair share of tax, so we set out to tighten the taxation of property, beef up enforcement by the Inland Revenue Department, and reduce widespread income-sheltering through trusts. The Inland Revenue Department did an exercise where it tabulated New Zealand’s 100 richest people, and found that over half of them were not paying the top personal tax rate. That is how badly the tax system was operating.

Kiwiblog has a chart which shows how many – and how few – New Zealanders are net taxpayers.

Labour’s justification for a capital gains tax is fairness, but given how few people pay income tax now the policy is really motivated by envy, as Mike Hosking put it

The only people who truly believe in more taxes, and more taxes at the top end, are the envious who want to chop the tall poppies and somehow see it as unfair that they don’t have what others do and the true lefties who argue income redistribution is good for a fair and just society. But they’re the ones who paused to tell you that by putting down their book on Marxism, the world has moved on from the Labour style tax approach.

This is a country built on graft, inspiration, risk taking and just a lot of ordinary people who want to rely on themselves and their skills to do well in life. They don’t like Governments picking their pockets in a needlessly overt fashion.

Hat tip Keeping Stock

Lawyers, accountants welcome Labour’s tax package


Lawyers and accountants were delighted with the official announcement of Labour’s tax package.

Principal for legal tax specialists Grabbit and Grabmore, Ms Finda Loophole, said the complexity of the proposed tax changes would provide a welcome fillip for tax professionals.

“The average punter might think no tax is a good tax and simple taxes are better, but for us the more complex and the more exemptions there are the better,” she said.

“We’ve been having a lean time since National lowered tax rates and simplified the system and there’s no doubt Labour’s policy would provide a welcome boost to our business.

“Where there’s complexity in law there’s an opportunity for us to interpret it; where there’s an exemption there’s an invitation for us to assist our clients to qualify for it.

“Show me the tiniest gap and we’re duty bound to turn it into a loophole through which our clients will cruise.”

Tax accountant Ms Fairly Numbered said her practice also welcomed the announcement.

“If they’ve got complexity and exemptions, we’ve got business,” she said.

July 15 in history


1099 First Crusade: Christian soldiers took the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem  after the final assault of a difficult siege.


1207 John of England expelled Canterbury monks for supporting Archbishop of Canterbury Stephen Langton.

1240  A Novgorodian army led by Alexander Nevsky defeated the Swedes in the Battle of the Neva.


1381  John Ball, a leader in the Peasants’ Revolt, was hanged, drawn and quartered in the presence of Richard II of England.

1410  Battle of Grunwald: allied forces of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania defeated the army of the Teutonic Order.

Grunwald bitwa.jpg

1573 Inigo Jones, English architect, was born (d. 1652).

1606 Rembrandt, Dutch artist, was born (d. 1669).

1685  James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth was executed at Tower Hill  after his defeat at the Battle of Sedgemoor.

1741 Alexei Chirikov sighted land in Southeast Alaska and sent men ashore in a longboat, making them the first Europeans to visit Alaska.


1779 Clement Clarke Moore, American educator, author, and poet, was born  (d. 1863).

1789 Gilbert du Motier, marquis de La Fayette, was named by acclamation colonel-general of the new National Guard of Paris.

Gilbert du Motier Marquis de Lafayette.jpg

1799  The Rosetta Stone was found in the Egyptian village of Rosetta by French Captain Pierre-François Bouchard during Napoleon’s Egyptian Campaign.

1806  Pike expedition: United States Army Lieutenant Zebulon Pike began an expedition from Fort Belle Fountaine to explore the west.

1815  Napoléon Bonaparte surrendered aboard HMS Bellerophon.

1823 A fire destroyed the ancient Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in Rome.

1838 Ralph Waldo Emerson delivered the Divinity School Address at Harvard Divinity School, discounting Biblical miracles and declaring Jesus a great man, but not God. The Protestant community reacted with outrage.

1850  Mother Cabrini, Italian-born Catholic saint, was born  (d. 1917).

1870 Reconstruction era of the United States: Georgia became the last of the former Confederate states to be readmitted to the Union.

1870 Rupert’s Land and the North-Western Territory were transferred to Canada from the Hudson’s Bay Company, and the province of Manitoba and the North-West Territories were established from these  territories.

1870 The Kingdom of Prussia and the Second French Empire started the Franco-Prussian War.

1888  The stratovolcano Mount Bandai erupted killing approximately 500 people.

1905  Dorothy Fields, American librettist and lyricist, was born (d. 1974).

1906 Rudolf “Rudi” Uhlenhaut, German automotive engineer and test driver (Mercedes Benz), was born  (d. 1989).

1911 Edward Shackleton, English explorer, ws born  (d. 1994).

1914 Akhtar Hameed Khan, pioneer of Microcredit in developing countries, was born (d. 1999).

1914 Hammond Innes, English writer, was born (d. 1998).

1916  In Seattle, Washington, William Boeing and George Conrad Westervelt incorporated Pacific Aero Products (later renamed Boeing).

The contemporary logo integrates the Boeing logotype with a stylized version of the McDonnell Douglas symbol

1918 World War I: the Second Battle of the Marne began near the River Marne with a German attack.

German gains in early 1918

1918 – Joan Roberts, American actress, was born.

Okla bway 1943.jpg

1919   Iris Murdoch, Irish writer, was born (d. 1999).


1920 The Polish Parliament establishes Autonomous Silesian Voivodeship before the Polish-German plebiscite.

1926  Leopoldo Galtieri, Argentine dictator, was born (d. 2003).

1927  Massacre of July 15, 1927: 89 protesters were killed by the Austrian police in Vienna.

1929  First weekly radio broadcast of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir radio show, Music and the Spoken Word.

1931 Clive Cussler, American author, was born.

Black Wind.jpg

1933 Jack Lovelock’s set a world record for a mile run at Princeton University, beating the old record for the mile, held by Jules Ladoumegue, by almost two seconds. It was dubbed the ‘greatest mile of all time’ by Time Magazine.

Lovelock smashes world mile record

1934 Continental Airlines commenced operations.

1943 Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Irish astrophysicist, was born.

1946 Linda Ronstadt, American singer, was born.

1946  Hassanal Bolkiah, Sultan of Brunei, was born.

1947 Peter Banks, British guitarist (Yes), was born.

1954 First flight of the Boeing 367-80, prototype for both the Boeing 707 and C-135 series.

1955 Eighteen Nobel laureates signed the Mainau Declaration against nuclear weapons, later co-signed by thirty-four others.

1956 Marky Ramone, American musician (Ramones), was born.

1959  The steel strike of 1959 began, leading to significant importation of foreign steel for the first time in United States history.

1974  In Nicosia, Greek-sponsored nationalists launched a coup d’état, deposing President Makarios and installing Nikos Sampson as Cypriot president.

1979 U.S.President Jimmy Carter gave his famous “malaise” speech, where he characterised the greatest threat to the country as “this crisis in the growing doubt about the meaning of our own lives and in the loss of a unity of purpose for our nation.”

1983 The Orly airport attack in Paris left 8 people dead and 55 injured.

1996  A Belgian Air Force C-130 Hercules carrying the Royal Netherlands Army marching band crashed on landing at Eindhoven Airport.

2002  Anti-Terrorism Court of Pakistan handed down the death sentence to British born Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and life terms to three others suspected of murdering Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

2003  AOL Time Warner disbanded Netscape Communications Corporation. The Mozilla Foundation was established on the same day.

Mozilla Foundation logo.svg

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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