Praise for PI Ministry


Trans Tasman praises the Ministry for Pacific Island Affairs:

The Ministry for Pacific Island Affairs is one of the smallest agencies but it has helped reduce one of the great evils of our region. Pacific people around the world – many of them in NZ – are responsible for sending approximately $US600m a year back to the Pacific Islands. It is the major source of income in the region and until recently, charlatans were charging 25% fees or more to process the remittances. Now this can be done for 3 to 4%. Sure, the Ministry had some powerful friends helping it such as the Reserve Bank, but without its drive, the usurious rates taking money from the most needy could still be in place.

Usurious is the word for processing fees of 25% or more.

I think these rates were also applied to money earned by workers employed for harvest under the Recognised Seasonal Employment Scheme.

They do a really good job for orchardists and market gardeners and are paid reasonably for that. But skimming 25% or more off their pay in fees when they took it home would leave them with far less than minimum wages.

Word of the day


Bdelygmia – litany of abuse, series of critical epithets, descriptions, or attributes.

Thursday’s quiz


1. Who is New Zealand’s current poet laureate?

2. What is the difference between a metaphor and a simile?

3. It’s chanson; canzone in Italian; canción  in Spanish and harihari in Maori, what is it in English?

4. What was Sam Hunt’s dog called?

5. Who wrote The Magpies and what did they the magpies) say?

(In case you’re wondering  about the motivation for these questions, it’s National Poetry Day tomorrow).

If you can’t trust them with the rules you can’t trust them to rule


What can you say about a party that breaks the rules it helped to enact, makes a half-hearted apology, says it won’t do it again then does it again while under investigation by the police?

Whaleoil has a flyer that was delivered in West Auckland yesterday.

It has the parliamentary crest which means you and I paid for it. That is stretching the rules because it is for political not parliamentary purposes.

It has no authorisation statement. That is breaking the rules.

What does it say about Labour?

They’re broke and so desperate they’ll stretch the rules around parliamentary funding and they’ll break the law – again – even while under investigation for the same offence.

If you can’t trust a party to work within the rules you can’t trust them to rule.

Can’t keep borrowing and hoping


Quote of the week from Liberty Scott:

You cannot keep borrowing to pay for consumption now in the hope you can borrow more in the future.

The post, which I recommend reading in full,  is about the European Union. The line quoted has universal application for individuals, businesses and nations.

It highlights one of the flaws of Labour’s tax policy. It’s not balanced by any policy to reduce spending and will require an enormous amount of extra borrowing in the short to medium term.

Borrowing for infrastructure and other investment which will help economic growth isn’t necessarily bad. Borrowing to pay for consumption was part of what Labour did wrong in its last term and they don’t appear to have learned from that mistake.

To stand or not to stand


National and Act are being criticised for a possible deal under which Act wouldn’t stand candidates in marginal seats.

MMP allows such deals and it’s not very different from parties telling supporters how to rank their preferences under Preferential Voting systems.

While there might not have been an overt deal before, minor parties have made it clear they aren’t seeking electorate votes in previous elections.

I’ve attended meet-the-candidates meeting in Waitaki, and before that Otago every election since MMP was introduced and every Green candidate has told supporters s/he’s only interested in the party vote and they should give their electorate vote to Labour.

Minor parties are unlikely to win electorate seats and when it’s the party vote that determines the make-up of parliament, not winning seats doesn’t affect how many MPs they get. But standing or not standing candidates in electorates can influence the outcome for those seats.

In 1999 the Green Party candidate for Otago got 1,872 votes. In the 2002 election the party didn’t stand a candidate in the electorate and Gavan Herlihy, the sitting National MP lost to Labour’s David Parker by 684 votes. Act’s candidate Gerry Eckhoff got 1,294 votes and while not all those votes would have gone to National, enough probably would have to have enabled him to hold the seat.

Not putting up electorate candidates can come at a cost. Regardless of whether or not they’re seeking electorate votes, having a candidate contesting a seat can help boost list votes.

However, standing in every electorate is expensive and it also requires a party to have enough potential candidates, of sufficient calibre, to ensure they don’t do more harm than good.

If a party doesn’t have enough resources – human and financial – to contest all seats properly, it’s  better putting its efforts into the party vote alone.

July 21 in history


356 BC Herostratus set fire to the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

285 Diocletian appointed Maximian as Caesar and co-ruler.


365 A tsunami caused by an earthquake estimated to be 8.0 on the Richter Scale devastated Alexandria, killing 5,000 people in Alexandria, and 45,000 more outside the city.

1403 Battle of Shrewsbury: King Henry IV defeated rebels to the north of  Shropshire.

1545  The first landing of French troops on the coast of the Isle of Wight during the French invasion of the Isle of Wight.

1568 Eighty Years’ War: Battle of Jemmingen – Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, Duke of Alva defeated Louis of Nassau.

Battle of Jemmingen by Frans Hogenberg

1718 The Treaty of Passarowitz between the Ottoman Empire, Austria and the Republic of Venice was signed.

1774 Russia and the Ottoman Empire signed the Treaty of Kuchuk-Kainarji ending the Russo-Turkish war.

 Here at 10-21 July 1774 was signed the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca. . .

1831 Inauguration of Léopold I of Belgium, first king of the Belgians.

1858 Alfred Henry O’Keeffe, New Zealand artist, was born (d. 1941).

1861 American Civil War: First Battle of Bull Run – the first major battle of the war began.

1865 Governor George Grey oversaw the capture of the Pai Marire (Hauhau) pa at Weraroa, Waitotara.

Capture of Weraroa pa

1865  Wild Bill Hickok shot and killed Davis Tutt in what is regarded as the first true western showdown.

1873 Jesse James and the James-Younger gang pulled off the first successful train robbery in the American Old West.

1899 Ernest Hemingway, American writer, Nobel laureate, ws born (d. 1961).

1904  Louis Rigolly,  became the first man to break the 100 mph (161 km/h) barrier on land. He drove a 15-liter Gobron-Brille in Ostend.

1918  U-156 shelled Nauset Beach, in Orleans, the first time that the United States was shelled since the Mexican-American War.

1919  The dirigible Wingfoot Air Express crashed into the Illinois Trust and Savings Building in Chicago, killing 12 people.

1920 Isaac Stern, Ukrainian-born violinist, was born  (d. 2001).


1922  Mollie Sugden, British comedic actress, was born  (d. 2009).

1924 Don Knotts, American actor, was born (d. 2006).

1925  Scopes Trial: high school biology teacher John T. Scopes was found guilty of teaching evolution in class and fined $100.

1925  Sir Malcolm Campbell became the first man to break the 150 mph (241 km/h) land barrier at Pendine Sands in Wales. He drove a Sunbeam to a two-way average of 150.33 mph (242 km/h).

1944 World War II: Battle of Guam – American troops land on Guam starting the battle.

First flag on Guam
1944  Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg and fellow conspirators were executed in Berlin, Germany for the July 20 plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler.

1946 Barry Whitwam, British musician (Herman’s Hermits), was born.

1948 Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam), English singer/songwriter, was born.

1948 Garry Trudeau, American cartoonist, was born.

1949 Hirini Melbourne, New Zealand musician and composer, was born (d 2003).

1949  The United States Senate ratified the North Atlantic Treaty.

1951 Robin Williams, American comedian/actor. was born.

1953 Jeff Fatt, Chinese-Australian actor was born.

1954  First Indochina War: The Geneva Conference partitioned Vietnam into North Vietnam and South Vietnam.

1955 Howie Epstein, American musician (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers), was born (d. 2003).

1956 Michael Connelly, American author, was born.

1959 Elijah Jerry “Pumpsie” Green became the first African-American to play for the Boston Red Sox, the last team to integrate.

1961 Jim Martin, American musician (Faith No More), was born.

1961  Mercury-Redstone 4 Mission – Gus Grissom piloting Liberty Bell 7 became the second American to go into space (in a suborbital mission).

Apollo 1 Prime Crew - GPN-2000-001159-grissom.jpg

1964  Singapore Race Riot – every year since then, Racial Harmony Day is celebrated on this day.

1966 Sarah Waters, British novelist, was born.

1969  Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin became the first men to walk on the Moon, during the Apollo 11 mission.

1970  After 11 years of construction, the Aswan High Dam in Egypt was completed.

Aswan High Dam

1972  Bloody Friday bombing by the Provisional Irish Republican Army around Belfast, Northern Ireland – 22 bomb explosions, 9 people killed and 130 people seriously injured.

1973 In the Lillehammer affair in Norway, Israeli Mossad agents killed a waiter whom they mistakenly thought was involved in 1972′s Munich Olympics Massacre.

1976 Christopher Ewart-Biggs British ambassador to the Republic of Ireland was assassinated by the Provisional IRA.

1977  The start of a four day long Libyan-Egyptian War.


1983 The world’s lowest temperature was recorded at Vostok Station, Antarctica at −89.2°C (−129°F).

1994  Tony Blair was declared the winner of the leadership election of the British Labour Party, paving the way for him to become Prime Minister in 1997.

1995 Third Taiwan Strait Crisis: The People’s Liberation Army began firing missiles into the waters north of Taiwan.

Taiwan Strait.png

1997  The fully restored USS Constitution (aka “Old Ironsides”) celebrates her 200th birthday by setting sail for the first time in 116 years.

Constitution sailing in Massachusetts Bay with six sails set and a crowd of civilian boats in the background with passengers aboard observing

2004 The United Kingdom government published Delivering Security in a Changing World, a paper detailing wide-ranging reform of the country’s armed forces.

2005  Four terrorist bombings in London – all four bombs failed to detonate.

2008  Bosnian-Serb war criminal Radovan Karadžić was arrested in Serbia and indicted by the UN’s ICTY tribunal.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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