Word of the day


Thrasonical – bragging, boastful.

Do we really need all the definite articles?


Why do radio news reports preface so many offices with a the?

The Prime Minsiter John Key said . . . , the leader of the opposition Phil Goff went . . . , the All Black captain Richie McCaw played  . . .

I’m not sure if it’s something new, or if I’ve just started noticing it, but nothing would be lost from the sense of the sentences if they started without a definite article.

Water is the key


Federated Farmers’ new president Bruce Wills says water is the key to both economic growth and environmental enhancement:

Water is to New Zealand what black coal is to Australian exports.  It’s the true backbone.

The challenge for us as the agricultural sector, from farm to processing plant, is to state the environmental case.   If we do not put the environmental case alongside the business case, the regulatory brakes will come on at the behest of the wider community. 

This is our call to step up.

It’s no good for us to have access to investment cash, willing investors and a world wanting our exports, if schemes get knocked back in the Environment Court or by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Half the game is to meet limits around water quantity. In this arena, rural water infrastructure can deliver positive wins for the environment, one example being minimum ecological flows while delivering reliable water to primary producers.

Native fish and water fowl cannot inhabit rivers that dry up over summer.

But the other half of the game will be to meet limits around water quality.  This is where the real challenge comes.

Will increased production from irrigated land inexorably drive increased leaching? Can we secure environmental integrity alongside economic growth? These are tough questions being asked right now let alone what will come.

In the next four decades, we could easily increase the amount of people we can feed some 2.5 times.  From 20 million to 50 million people plus.  We have immense opportunities to export agricultural services but none of these things matter, unless we can take our communities with us.

The world is short of food, many areas in New Zealand have the potential to produce more providing they can get reliable water.

The challenge is to convince those who might oppose development, that irrigation and the increased production it enables won’t come at the expense of the environment.

Our district has been transformed by irrigation.

Instead of playing catch-up between droughts, farmers have been able to budget on reliable production under irrigation. Rural communities have had a population boost as new jobs have been created. Soils which would have blown away in droughts, have been anchored down by pasture thanks to irrigation.

As well, independently audited environmental farm plans, ensure the protection and enhancement of land and waterways.

The NZIER looked at “The economic impact of increased irrigation” last November, estimating the economic benefits for ‘NZ Inc’of 14 schemes under development.

These 14 schemes will deliver an irrigated area of 350,000 hectares, 270,000 hectares being in Canterbury. 

By 2026, these 14 schemes will deliver extra production worth $2 billion a year at the farm gate and almost $4 billion in exports.  This, by the way, is 2010 dollars too.

This is a significant increase on the $23 billion in primary exports from 2008/9Off-farm infrastructure costs with water storage are relatively modest compared to the real gains in agricultural output. 

Water storage offers bangs for modest bucks.  The 2011 National Infrastructure Plan goes further echoing what Federated Farmers has said for years.  Water is our unique competitive advantage and is fundamental to economic growth. 

The economic and social benefits are obvious.

The challenge is to provide the evidence that rather than coming at an environmental cost, irrigation can protect and enhance land and waterways and provide enhanced habitats for wildlife.

No Dunne deal for Labour?


The NBR reports that Peter Dunne won’t be Revenue Minister if Labour is in a position to be offering cabinet posts.

After Mr Dunne called Labour’s proposals, “a load of nonsense,” Mr Cunliffe made it clear Mr Dunne’s lease with Labour had expired.

“There goes Peter Dunne’s job as Minister for Revenue in any future Labour government,” Mr  Cunliffe said.

Passing quickly over the slim chances Labour will be in a position to offer anyone a cabinet seat after the election, being criticised by that party might not do Dunne any harm in his electorate.

It has rankled with National supporters in Ohariu that they put Dunne into parliament only to have him prop up a Labour-led government for three terms.

Labour isn’t in a position to rule him out altogether, but being unpopular with that party might make him more popular with his own constituents.


It’s not all Goff’s fault


Anthony Hubbard rates Phil Goff as one of the top politicians, but not for reasons he’ll necessarily appreciate:

. . . it is fair to point out that Goff has efficiently carried out some of the necessary tasks of the new leader of a defeated governing party.

He has drawn the scorn and disgust of people all along the political spectrum, including those who used to support Labour. He has given the party time to regroup and to start looking for another leader. And he has started the process of changing party policy. Goff, who naturally belongs to the right of Labour, has presided over a turn to the left. This is a tribute to his courage or a sign of his desperation, or possibly both. But Goff has served loyally in the worst job in parliament.

I agree with his last sentence and that he has started the process of changing party policy, but the change has been in the wrong direction.

People have generally accepted the need for financial restraint. They’re doing it as individuals and households and have the very reasonable expectation that politicians will be similarly Presbyterian with public money.

Instead, Labour has announced no policy which shows they recognise the borrow, tax and spend policies of their nine years in government were wrong and have given no indication they will be any less profligate should they be trusted with the public purse strings again.

However, that is not all Goff’s fault. He is, as Hubbard says, towards the right of his caucus and it is those further to the left who appear to be driving Labour’s policy.

One of them will almost certainly succeed Goff soon after the election but a change of leader by itself won’t help the party’s popularity.

That will take policy which appeals to swinging voters and there aren’t many of those to the left of Labour where those behind Goff are going.

July 25 in history


285 Diocletian appointed Maximian as Caesar, co-ruler.


306 Constantine I was proclaimed Roman emperor by his troops.


864 The Edict of Pistres of Charles the Bald ordered defensive measures against the Vikings.


1139  Battle of Ourique: The independence of Portugal from the Kingdom of León declared after the Almoravids, led by Ali ibn Yusuf, were defeated by Prince Afonso Henriques.


1261  The city of Constantinople was recaptured by Nicaean forces under the command of Alexios Strategopoulos, re-establishing the Byzantine Empire.


1536  Sebastián de Belalcázar on his search for El Dorado founded the city of Santiago de Cali.


1547 Henry II of France was crowned.

1567 Don Diego de Losada founds the city of Santiago de Leon de Caracas, modern-day Caracas, the capital city of Venezuela.

1593  Henry IV of France publicly converted from Protestantism to Roman Catholicism.


1603 James VI of Scotland was crowned bringing the Kingdoms of England and Scotland into personal union.


1722 The Three Years War began along the Maine and Massachusetts border.

1755  British governor Charles Lawrence and the Nova Scotia Council ordered the deportation of the Acadians.


1758 Seven Years’ War: the island battery at Fortress Louisbourg in Nova Scotia was silenced and all French warships destroyed or taken.

1788 Wolfgang Mozart completed his Symphony number 40 in g minor (K550).


1792 The Brunswick Manifesto was issued to the population of Paris promising vengeance if the French Royal Famiy was harmed.

1795 The first stone of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct was laid.

The aqueduct

1797 Horatio Nelson lost more than 300 men and his right arm during the failed conquest attempt of Tenerife.


1799 David Douglas, Scottish botanist, was born (d. 1834).


1799 At Aboukir in Egypt, Napoleon I of France defeats 10,000 Ottomans under Mustafa Pasha.

Cavalry battlescene with pyramids in background 

1814 War of 1812: Battle of Lundy’s Lane.

Battle of Lundys Lane.jpg

1837 The first commercial use of an electric telegraph was successfully demonstrated by William Cooke and Charles Wheatstone on 25 July 1837 between Euston and Camden Town.


1853 Joaquin Murietta, the Californio bandit known as “Robin Hood of El Dorado”, was killed.


1861 American Civil War: the Crittenden-Johnson Resolution was passed by the U.S. Congress stating that the war was being fought to preserve the Union and not to end slavery.

1866 The U.S. Congress passed legislation authorizing the rank of General of the Army (commonly called “5-star general”). Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant becomes the first to be promoted to this rank.


1869 The Japanese daimyō began returning their land holdings to the emperor as part of the Meiji Restoration reforms.


1894 The First Sino-Japanese War began when the Japanese fired on a Chinese warship.

First Sino-Japanese War, major battles and troop movements

1898  The United States invasion of Puerto Rico began with U.S. troops led by General Nelson Miles landing at harbour of Guánica.

1907  Korea became a protectorate of Japan.

1908 Ajinomoto was founded. Kikunae Ikeda of the Tokyo Imperial University discovered that a key ingredient in Konbu soup stock was monosodium glutamate (MSG), and patented a process for manufacturing it.


1909  Louis Blériot made the first flight across the English Channel in a heavier-than-air machine, from Calais to Dover in 37 minutes.


1915  RFC Captain Lanoe Hawker became the first British military aviator to earn the Victoria Cross, for defeating three German two-seat observation aircraft in one day, over the Western Front.

Lanoe Hawker.jpg

1917 Sir Thomas Whyte introduced the first income tax in Canada as a “temporary” measure (lowest bracket 4% and highest 25%).

1920 Telecommunications: the first transatlantic two-way radio broadcast.

1925 Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union (TASS) was established.


1930 Murray Chapple,  New Zealand cricketer, was born (d. 1985).

1934 Nazis assassinated Austrian Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss in a failed coup attempt.

1940  General Guisan ordered the Swiss Army to resist German invasion and makes surrender illegal.


 1942  Bruce Woodley, Australian musician (The Seekers), was born. 


1942 Norwegian Manifesto called for nonviolent resistance to the Nazis

1943  Jim McCarty, English musician (The Yardbirds), was born.

1943  Benito Mussolini was forced out of office by his own Italian Grand Council and replaced by Pietro Badoglio.


1944 Operation Spring – one of the bloodiest days for the First Canadian Army during WWII:  1,500 casualties, including 500 killed.

1946 Operation Crossroads: an atomic bomb was detonated underwater in the lagoon of Bikini atoll.

Mushroom-shaped cloud and water column from the underwater nuclear explosion of July 25, 1946. Photo taken from a tower on Bikini Island, 3.5 mi (5.6 km) away. 

1946   Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis staged their first show as a comedy team.


1948  The Australian cricket team set a world record for the highest successful run-chase in Test cricket history in the Fourth Test against England.

Man in double breasted suit, hair parted down the middle, sitting on a long bench in a sports stadium, posing with a cricket bat, held vertical and supported on his thigh.Donald Bradman, the Australian captain.

1951 Verdine White, American musician (Earth, Wind & Fire), was born.

1953 Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank, was born.

1956 Italian ocean liner SS Andrea Doria collided with the MS Stockholm in heavy fog and sank the next day, killing 51.


1957  Republic of Tunisia proclaimed.


1958 The African Regroupment Party (PRA) held its first congress in Cotonou.

1959  SR-N1 hovercraft crossed  the English Channel from Calais to Dover in just over 2 hours.


1965  Bob Dylan went electric as he plug in at the Newport Folk Festival, signaling a major change in folk and rock music.


1969 Vietnam War: US President Richard Nixon declared the Nixon Doctrine, stating that the United States expected its Asian allies to take care of their own military defense. 

1973 Soviet Mars 5 space probe launched.

1978 The Cerro Maravilla incident – two young Puerto Rican pro-independence activists were killed in a police ambush.

1978  Louise Brown, the world’s first “test tube baby” was born.

1981 The invasion of  Hamilton’s Rugby Park by 350 anti-tour demonstrators forced the Springboks-Waikato match to be abandoned.

Anti-Springbok protestors derail Hamilton match

1983  Black July: 37 Tamil political prisoners at the Welikada high security prison in Colombo were massacred by the fellow Sinhalese prisoners.

 Sinhalese mob burns Tamil shops.

1984  Salyut 7 Cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to perform a space walk.

USSR Stamp 1983 SouzT7 Salyut7 SouzT5 Cosmonauts.jpg

1993  Israel launched a massive attack against terrorist forces in Lebanon.

1993 The St James Church massacre in Kenilworth, Cape Town, South Africa.

1994  Israel and Jordan signed the Washington Declaration, which formally ends the state of war that had existed between the nations since 1948.

1995 A gas bottle exploded in Saint Michel station in Paris. Eight were killed and 80 wounded.

1996 In a military coup in Burundi, Pierre Buyoya deposed Sylvestre Ntibantunganya.

1997  K.R. Narayanan was sworn-in as India’s 10th president and the first Dalit— formerly called “untouchable”— to hold this office.


2000  Air France Flight 4590, a Concorde supersonic passenger jet, F-BTSC, crashed just after takeoff from Paris killing all 109 aboard and 4 on the ground.


2007  Pratibha Patil was sworn in as India’s first woman president.


Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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