6/10 in the Herald’s changing world quiz.

Once more not reading answer properly cost a point. Sigh – shades of school reports and teacher’s comments on lack of attention to detail.

Word of the day


Otiant – idle, resting; to make someone else grow dull.

Old ashes not always dead ashes


Every winter the fire service warns about the need to carefully dispose of ashes and every winter at least one fire is caused by someone who doesn’t follow that advice.

We’ve had a couple on the dairy farm in the past.

The first was caused when a worker put the ashes in a plastic bucket and put the bucket on the wooden verandah.

He rang to tell my farmer and said he’d put it out. My farmer told him to call the fire brigade anyway, went to check and found smoke coming from behind the wall boards.

The brigade got there just in time to stop the fire spreading into bird nests in the ceiling.

The second fire was caused by a staff member who put old ashes on a vegetable garden. Wind fanned them into life again and blew sparks into a macrocarpa hedge several metres away.

Neither of these examples was as bad as one covered in the media a couple of years ago. It told of someone who vacuumed up the ashes then put the vacuum cleaner in the hall cupboard where it burst into flames.

Steam going out of milk price


The trade weighted price dropped 5.1% at this morning’s GlobalDairyTrade auction.

Prices were: Whole milk powder down 4% to $3,475/MT;  skim milk powder down  5.2% to $3,488/MT; anhydrous milk fat down  12.5% to $4,614/MT;  butter milk powder up 0.3% to $3345; rennet casein down 1.4% to $9,992/MT; milk protein concentrate down 10.2% to $5,525/MT.

Cheese which sold on this platform for the first time went for $4,315/MT.

This is the third auction in a row in which the TWI has dropped suggesting the steam is going out of dairy prices. Prices are now at a similar level to this time last year and still above the long term average.

In a newsletter to shareholders Fonterra chair Sir Henry van der Heyden says the company has signed an agreement with the government of Yutian County to develop 3rd China farm.

This is expected to increase Fonterra’s production in there to around 90 million litres. They’re on track to start milking on a 3,200 cow farm in November.

The next step in the company’s strategy is to build high-quality fresh milk supply for Chinese customers.

Oh for a department that takes less


Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills says fewer taxes will help the economy grow:

The best translation I’ve found for Te Tari Taake, IRD’s Maori name, is “the department which takes”. “Taking” is the existential truth about taxes, including Labour’s proposed capital gains tax. Given taxes take money off people after they’ve earned it, is it possible taxes can directly grow an economy? Of course not.

While taxes support economic and social endeavours, economies grow by people taking risks and being rewarded for those risks. Right now, we need to grow our economy and that means exporting goods and services. The challenge we all face is how to expand the economic cake so that everyone can get a slice, whether that’s a farmer, a factory worker or a primary school teacher.

More taxes and higher tax rates don’t necessarily mean a higher tax take but they do hamper productivity.

Conversely fewer taxes and lower tax rates can lead to a higher tax take because people are rewarded better for working and risk taking and don’t waste time and energy trying to avoid taxes.

What’s now before us all is a clear choice. In the “red corner” Labour has gone where David Lange and Michael Cullen feared to go. Lange was blunt, saying a capital gains tax “is the sort of tax you introduce if you want to lose not just one election, but the next three”.

Over in the “blue corner” is the partial privatisation of state assets and a gradual reduction in the Government’s overall size. Perhaps Chris Trotter was right when he suggested we are a nation of socialists, but it’s also a question of degree.

Even Labour voters own properties, businesses, shares and even farms.

Labour doesn’t appear to understand that and also underestimates the large number of people who don’t own assets yet but aspire to in the future.

For farmers, the prospect of yet more asset taxes on top of taxing agriculture’s biological emissions is fairly unattractive.

Farmers are already included in the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and like everyone else are paying extra for fuel and energy.

Labour’s plan to fast-track agriculture into the ETS is something else, though. While New Zealand may be the odd one out in the OECD for not having a capital gains tax, this logic equally applies to the ETS; New Zealand is the “odd one out” for bringing biological emissions into such a scheme. Strangely, all this talk about gleaning tax income through the ETS seems to have skipped right past its intended purpose, to reduce emissions.

It would be bad enough if Labour’s policy was intended to reduce emissions, but it’s not. It’s a simple tax, imposed on farmers to be redirected elsewhere.

A capital gains tax, central to Labour’s revenue model, doesn’t raise much money until 2018. To meet what could be seven heavy budget deficits, the choice is either to borrow more or to cut spending. Greece, which has a capital gains tax, remains “Exhibit A” as to why borrowing is extremely risky.

Meanwhile, a close examination of government spending is notably absent from Labour’s policy.

Of course it is, they spent up large through the good times and have no idea how to cut things back now there’s very real need for restraint.

We also hear much talk from politicians about building an entrepreneurial culture but, to do that, risk-takers need to be rewarded for those risks they take.

No capital gains tax and reasonable personal and company tax rates are big positives in attracting people, ideas and capital to New Zealand. Shouldn’t we be extolling this internationally?

This proposed capital gains tax includes foreign currency transactions making it like a financial transactions tax on exporters.

Labour’s proposed tax will make things a lot worse for exporters already struggling with a high kiwi dollar. It will hit them hard, whether that’s a dairy company or a movie studio.

Exporters buy currency hedges in order to smooth exchange rate volatility and their overall financial risk. Taxing this is baffling and will only increase risk when exporters least need it.

Exports are one of the major ingredients in the recipe for recovery, holding them back will hobble economic growth.

The United States also has a capital gains tax and while it benefits accountants and lawyers, it did not prevent or minimise the sub-prime-fuelled real estate bubble.

As the fallout from this continues today, all a capital gains tax does is create added compliance costs and complexity. In a financial version of “Whac-a-Mole”, regulators move on one side while an army of expensive advisers counter that move on the other.

A CGT didn’t stop Australia’s housing bubble either. Does anyone know of any country where it did?

So perhaps the biggest question voters need to ask themselves is one of trust. If a capital gains tax is introduced by any party, there’s absolutely no guarantee a future government won’t widen its scope. As the GST increase shows, a proposed capital gains tax of 15 per cent is not cast in stone.

All it takes is a regulatory amendment. With more loopholes than Swiss cheese to make it electorally palatable, it seems more like a bureaucratic throwback to the 1970s.

Oh yes, once the tax is established, it could easily be increased.

Rather than believe a tax will save the economy, it is time to have a discussion about growing the economic cake for all New Zealanders. On current evidence, that is the one discussion we’re not having.

A department which takes less would help.

So would more of what National is doing – encouraging savings, investment and export-led growth.

Epsom stitch-up?


Labour is accusing National of a stitch-up in the selection of Paul Goldsmith as the Epsom electorate candidate.

National has the most democratic selection process and most difficult to rig of any party in New Zealand.

At least 60 members in the electorate, who have been in the party for at least 6 months, choose the candidate by preferential voting.

It would be impossible for National’s board or leadership to influence selection. Such is the feeling about the importance of local selection, any attempt to sway the vote would almost certainly have the opposite affect.

It’s more than a bit rich for Labour to make this accusation against National when its selection process can be not just swayed but determined by unions and/or the party hierarchy.

It’s even richer if the rumour Kiwiblog reports is true – that Labour’s leadership and council have selected list MP David Parker as their Epsom candidate.

Keeping Stock has another example of Labour’s leadership exerting its power in last year’s selection for Mana.

July 20 in history


356BC Alexander the Great, Macedonean king and conqueror of Persia, was born (d. 323 BC).


70 Siege of Jerusalem: Titus, son of emperor Vespasian, stormed the Fortress of Antonia. The Roman army was drawn into street fights with the Zealots.

911 Rollo laid siege to Chartres.

1304 Wars of Scottish Independence: Fall of Stirling Castle – King Edward I  took the stronghold using the War Wolf.

1402  Ottoman-Timurid Wars: Battle of Ankara – Timur, ruler of Timurid Empire, defeated forces of the Ottoman Empire sultan Bayezid I.

1656  Swedish forces under the command of King Charles X Gustav defeated the forces of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth at the Battle of Warsaw.

Swedish King Charles X Gustav in skirmish with Polish Tatars near Warsaw 1656

1712 Riot Act took effect in Great Britain.

1738  French explorer Pierre Gaultier de Varennes et de la Vérendrye reached the western shore of Lake Michigan.

1810 Citizens of Bogotá, New Granada declared independence from Spain.

1822 Gregor Mendel, German scientist, father of modern genetics, was born (d. 1884).

1864 American Civil War: Battle of Peachtree Creek – Confederate forces led by General John Bell Hood unsuccessfully attacked Union troops under General William T. Sherman.

Tanyard creek.jpg

1866 Austro-Prussian War: Battle of Lissa – The Austrian Navy , led by Admiral Wilhelm von Tegetthoff, defeated the Italian Navy.

Die Seeschlacht bei Lissa.jpg

1881 Indian Wars:Sioux Chief Sitting Bull led the last of his fugitive people in surrender to United States troops at Fort Buford, North Dakota.

Sitting Bull - edit2.jpg

1885  The Football Association legalised professionalism in football under pressure from the British Football Association.

1893 George Llewelyn-Davies, English Peter Pan character model, was born (d. 1915).

1898  Spanish-American War: A boiler exploded on the USS Iowa off the coast of Santiago de Cuba.


1902 Jimmy Kennedy, Irish composer, was born (d. 1984).

1903 Ford Motor Company shipped its first car.

1907 A train wreck on the Pere Marquette Railroad near Salem, Michigan killed thirty and injured seventy.

1917  World War I: The Corfu Declaration, which led to the creation of the post-war Kingdom of Yugoslavia, was signed by the Yugoslav Committee and Kingdom of Serbia.

Serbian Historical Archives

1918  Cindy Walker, American singer, was born (d. 2006).

1919  Sir Edmund Hillary, New Zealand mountaineer and explorer, was born (d. 2008).

1921 Air mail service began between New York City and San Francisco.

1921 – Congresswoman Alice Mary Robertson became the first woman to preside over the US House of Representatives.

1922 The League of Nations awarded mandates of Togoland to France and Tanganyika to the United Kingdom.

1924  Teheran, Persia came under martial law after the American vice-consul, Robert Imbrie, was killed by a religious mob enraged by rumors he had poisoned a fountain and killed several people.

1925  Jacques Delors, French President of the European Commission, was born.

1926 A convention of the Southern Methodist Church voted to allow women to become priests.

1928 The government of Hungary issued a decree ordering Gypsies to end their nomadic ways, settle permanently in one place, and subject themselves to the same laws and taxes as other Hungarians.

1930 Sally Ann Howes, English-born singer and actress, was born.

1932  In Washington, D.C., police fired tear gas on World War I veterans part of the Bonus Expeditionary Force who attempted to march to the White House.

1932  Crowds in the capitals of Bolivia and Paraguay demanded their governments declare war on the other after fighting on their border.

1933 Buddy Knox, American singer and songwriter, was born (d. 1999).

1933  Vice-Chancellor of Germany Franz von Papen and Vatican Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli sign a concordat on behalf of their respective nations.

1933  In London, 500,000 marched against anti-Semitism.

1933  Two-hundred Jewish merchants were arrested in Nuremberg and paraded through the streets.

1934  Police in Minneapolis fired upon striking truck drivers, during the Minneapolis Teamsters Strike of 1934, killing two and wounding sixty-seven; Seattle police fired tear gas on and club 2,000 striking longshoremen, and the governor of Oregon called out the National Guard to break a strike on the Portland docks.

1935  A Royal Dutch Airlines plane en route from Milan to Frankfurt crashed into a Swiss mountain, killing 13.

1936 The Montreux Convention was signed in Switzerland, authorising Turkey to fortify the Dardanelles and Bosphorus but guaranteeing free passage to ships of all nations in peacetime.

1938    Dame Diana Rigg, English actress, was born.

1938  Natalie Wood, American actress, was born (d. 1981).

1940 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Hatch Act of 1939, limiting political activity by Federal government employees.

1941 Soviet leader Joseph Stalin consolidated the Commissariats of Home Affairs and National Security to form the NKVD and named Lavrenti Beria its chief.

1942  World War II: The first unit of the Women’s Army Corps began training in Des Moines, Iowa.

1943  Chris Amon, New Zealand racing driver


1943  Wendy Richard, English actress (d.2009).

1944   World War II: Adolf Hitler survived an assassination attempt (known as the July 20 plot) led by German Army Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg.

1944  Franklin D. Roosevelt won the Democratic Party nomination for the fourth and final time at the 1944 Democratic National Convention.

FDR in 1933.jpg 34 Harry Truman 3x4.jpg

1944   Fifty are hurt in rioting in front of the presidential palace in Mexico City.

1944 Attempt to assasinate Adolf Hitler at his Rastenberg headquarters as part of Operation Valkyrie.

1945 John Lodge, English musician (The Moody Blues), was born.

1945 The US Congress approved the Bretton Woods Agreement.

1946 World War II: The US Congress’s Pearl Harbor Committee said Franklin D. Roosevelt was completely blameless for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and called for a unified command structure in the armed forces.

1947  Police in Burma arrested former Prime Minister U Saw and 19 others on charges of assassinating Prime Minister U Aung San and seven members of his cabinet.

Myanmar-Yangon-Aung San Statue.jpg

1947 – The Viceroy of India said the people of the North-West Frontier Province overwhelmingly voted the previous day to join Pakistan rather than India.

1948  U.S. President Harry S. Truman issued a peacetime military draft amid increasing tensions with the Soviet Union.

1948 Twelve leaders of the Communist Party USA were indicted under the Smith Act including William Z. Foster and Gus Hall.

1949 Israel and Syria signed a truce to end their nineteen-month war.

1950 Cold War: In Philadelphia, Harry Gold pleaded guilty to spying for the Soviet Union by passing secrets from atomic scientist Klaus Fuchs.

1951  King Abdullah I of Jordan was assassinated.

1953 Dave Evans, Australian singer (AC/DC), was born.

1953 Marcia Hines, American-born Australian singer, was born.

1954  Otto John, head of West Germany’s secret service, defected to East Germany.

1954 – An armistice was signed that ended fighting in Vietnam and divided the country along the 17th parallel.

1955 Jem Finer, English musician and composer (The Pogues), was born.

1958 Mick MacNeil, Scottish musician (Simple Minds), was born.

1959  The Organization for European Economic Cooperation admitted Spain.

1960 Ceylon elected Sirimavo Bandaranaike Prime Minister, the world’s first elected female head of government.

1960 – The Polaris missile was successfully launched from a submarine, the USS George Washington, for the first time.

1960  The head of the Physics Department at the Israel Institute of Technology, Kurt Sitte, was arrested for espionage.

1961  French military forces broke the Tunisian siege of Bizerte.

1964 Vietnam War: Viet Cong forces attacked the capital of Dinh Tuong Province, Cai Be, killing 11 South Vietnamese military personnel and 40 civilians (30 of whom were children).

1964 – The National Movement of the Revolution was instituted as the sole legal political party in the Republic of Congo.

1968  Special Olympics founded.

Special Olympics logo.svg

1969 Apollo Program: Apollo 11 successfully landed on the Moon.

Apollo 11.jpg
Left to right: Armstrong, Collins, Aldrin

1969 – A cease fire was announced between Honduras and El Salvador, 6 days after the beginning of the “Football War

1974 Turkish occupation of Cyprus: Forces from Turkey invaded Cyprus after a “coup d’ etat”, organised by the dictator of Greece, against president Makarios.

1976  The Viking 1 lander successfully landed on Mars.

Viking spacecraft.jpg

1977 Johnstown was hit by a flash flood that killed80n people and caused $350 million in damage.

1982   The Provisional IRA detonated two bombs in Hyde Park and Regents Park  killing eight soldiers, wounding forty-seven people, and leading to the deaths of seven horses.

1984 Officials of the Miss America pageant asked Vanessa Lynn Williams to quit after Penthouse published nude photos of her.

1985  The government of Aruba passed legislation to secede from the Netherlands Antilles.

1989 – Burma’s ruling junta put opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest.

1992 Václav Havel resigned as president of Czechoslovakia.

1996  In Spain, an ETA bomb at an airport killed 35

1999 Falun Gong is banned in China, and a large scale crackdown of the practice is launched.

2000 – In Zimbabwe, Parliament opened its new session and seats opposition members for the first time in a decade.

2000  Carlos the Jackal sued France in the European Court of Human Rights for allegedly torturing him.

2001  The London Stock Exchange Group plc  went public.

London Stock Exchange Logo.svg

2001  The 27th Annual G8 summit opened in Genoa and Carlo Giuliani, was shot by police.

2002  A fire in a discotheque in Lima, Peru killed more than 25 people.

2003  Sixteen people were injured after two bombs exploded outside a tax office in Nice.

2006 Ethiopian invasion of Somalia Ethiopian troops entered Somalian territory.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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