Word of the day


Snow – frozen precipitation in the form of white or translucent hexagonal ice crystals that fall in soft, white flakes; a falling of snow; a snow storm.




7/10 in Stuff’s Biz Quiz.

Restaurant rule of relativity


The quality of food at a restaurant or cafe is inversely proportional to the number of pictures on the menu.

I’ve tested this rule at home and abroad and found it reasonably reliable.

No pictures on the menu doesn’t guarantee good food but lots of pictures almost certainly guarantees bad food.

Allowing list or electorate only would create two classes of MPs


MMP’s party lists are designed to ensure that the number of seats a party gets in parliament is proportional to the amount of support it gets in the election.

They are used for positive discrimination to make parliament more reflective of the population.

Lists also enable people who can’t stand for a seat or who stand but don’t win, to enter, or stay in, parliament.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Some people have to resign from their jobs once they declare they are standing for parliament. Going for a list place means they’d be out of work for a much shorter time than if they sought selection in a seat.

People dont’ seem to be too exercised by people who stand in unwinnable seats and then enter parliament on the list – Katherine Rich was well regarded as an MP and Chris Finlayson and Hekia Parata, have both proved to be assets in government.

What does upset a lot of people though is the MPs who lose seats then come in on the list.

Change in that area would attract popular support but it isn’t without fish hooks.

If anyone who stood for a seat and didn’t win it could then not come in on the list the wee parties would stand in few if any electorates and just run lists.

That would be a pity because most candidates who fight an electorate campaign have to engage with voters of all persuasions and learn the practical implications of policy which they wouldn’t if they were just seeking a list seat.

It would also create difficulties for Labour and National. It would be much harder to find candidates to stand in unwinnable seats if they knew they didn’t also have a chance of entering parliament on the list.

We’d end up with two classes of MPs – electorate ones who weren’t on the list and list MPs who never stood in seats.

It would be better to apply the rule not to all who stand and fail, but to those who hold a seat then lose it.

MPs rejected by their electorate could be barred from returning on the list for that term. But their party could select them again, either for a seat or list only, in the next election and let voters decide if they wanted them.

Can’t make law if don’t understand and keep it


Labour just don’t get it – they aren’t above the law.

The Electoral Finance Act they pushed through was a dog’s breakfast. National repaled it and replaced it with legislation on which Labour was consulted and for which they voted.

While not as bad as the EFA, it’s far from perfect but that’s what happens, when you aim for concensus you oftn end up with compromise.

But good law or bad, it is the law and it is incumbent on those who make it to understand it and keep it.

Labour doesn’t appear to understand the law for which they voted, they don’t want to keep it and are criticising officals for administering it.

Kiwiblog posts on posts written by Damien O’Connor and Clare Curran at Red Alert in which they complain about the Electoral Act and the Electoral Commission.

MPs who neither understand nor keep the law cannot be entrusted with making it.

Key climbs out of hole, Goff digs deeper


What a happy coincidence for the Opposition.

John Key was in Washington with the expectation of good publicity when the story broke on the suspicion Israelis in Christchurch during the February earthquake were spies.

Key, caught on the hop, initially stonewalled with a not-in-the-public-interest response. Within a few hours he accepted that was wrong and gave a much better explanation, with details.

Phil Goff saw an opportunity to score points from this and complained he hadn’t been briefed. But he had and as David Farrar points out at Kiwiblog Goff not only made false accusations about the Prime Minister, he attacked the SIS.

Everyone makes mistakes, even leaders. But good leaders accept they got something wrong and do their best to put it right.

Key did that, Goff has yet to do so properly.

Keeping Stock links to a Stuff story in which Goff admits he was briefed but didn’t remember:

”If there had been anything of substance said to me I’m sure I would recollect it.”

Once more, Key got pushed into a hole and climbed out. Goff jumped into a hole and kept digging.

July 26 in history


657  Battle of Siffin.

811  Battle of Pliska; Byzantine emperor Nicephorus I was slain, his heir Stauracius was seriously wounded.

Solidus-Nicephorus I and Staraucius-sb1604.jpg

920 Rout of an alliance of Christian troops from Navarre and Léon against the Muslims at Pamplona.

1309  Henry VII was recognized King of the Romans by Pope Clement V.

1469  Wars of the Roses: Battle of Edgecote Moor – Pitting the forces of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick against those of King Edward IV.

Roses-Lancaster victory.svg

1581 Plakkaat van Verlatinghe (Act of Abjuration). The declaration of independence of the northern Low Countries from the Spanish king, Philip II.

1745  The first recorded women’s cricket match took place near Guildford,.

1758  French and Indian War: Siege of Louisbourg ened with British forces defeating the French and taking control of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Map of Louisbourg 1758.png

1803 The Surrey Iron Railway, arguably the world’s first public railway, opened in south London.

Iron railway plaque.jpg

1822  José de San Martín arrived in Guayaquil, Ecuador, to meet Simón Bolívar.

1847 Liberia declared independence.

1856 George Bernard Shaw, Irish writer, Nobel Laureate, was born (d. 1950).

1861 American Civil War: George B. McClellan assumed command of the Army of the Potomac following a disastrous Union defeat at the First Battle of Bull Run.

1863 American Civil War: Morgan’s Raid ended –  Confederate cavalry leader John Hunt Morgan and 360 of his volunteers were captured by Union forces.


1865 New Zealand’s parliament moved from Auckland to Wellington.

Parliament moves to Wellington

1875  Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist, was born  (d. 1961).

1878 Poet and American West outlaw calling himself “Black Bart” made his last clean getaway when he stole a safe box from a Wells Fargo stagecoach. The empty box was found later with a taunting poem inside.

1882 Premiere of Richard Wagner‘s Parsifal at Bayreuth.

1882 The Republic of Stellaland was founded in Southern Africa.

1887 Publication of the Unua Libro, founding the Esperanto movement.

1890 In Buenos Aires, the Revolución del Parque forced President Juárez Celman’s resignation.

1891  France annexed Tahiti.

1894 Aldous Huxley, English-born author, was born (d. 1963).

Blurry monochrome head-and-shoulders portrait of Aldous Huxley, facing viewer's right, chin a couple of inches above hand

1895 Jane Bunford, Britain’s tallest-ever person, was born (d. 1922).

1897  Paul Gallico, American author, was born  (d. 1976).

1908  United States Attorney General Charles Joseph Bonaparte issued an order to immediately staff the Office of the Chief Examiner (later renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation).

1909 – Vivian Vance, American actress, was born (d. 1979).

1922 Blake Edwards, American film director, was born.

1928  Gisborne-born Tom Heeney took on Gene Tunney for the world heavyweight title in front of 46,000 spectators at Yankee Stadium, New York. Although he was defeated, his title bid aroused tremendous interest in both New Zealand and the US.

Kiwi boxer fights for world heavyweight title

1928 Stanley Kubrick, American film director, was born (d. 1999).

1936 Mary Millar, English actress, was born(d. 1998).


1936  The Axis Powers decided to intervene in the Spanish Civil War.

1936  King Edward VIII, in one of his few official duties before he abdicated the throne, officially unveiled the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.

A memorial ceremony. Thousands of people are surround the monument on all sides. A crowd of people are also standing on the main platform of the memorial.

1937  End of the Battle of Brunete in the Spanish Civil War.

Battle of Brunete.png

1939 John Howard, 25th Prime Minister of Australia, was born.

1941 In response to the Japanese occupation of French Indo-China, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the seizure of all Japanese assets in the United States.

1943 Mick Jagger, English singer (The Rolling Stones), was born.

1944  World War II: Soviet army entered Lviv,  liberating it from the Nazis. Only 300 Jewish survivors left, out of 160,000 prior to Nazi occupation.

1944 – The first German V-2 rocket hit Great Britain.

1945 Helen Mirren, English actress, was born.

1945  The Labour Party won the United Kingdom general election of July 5 by a landslide, removing Winston Churchill from power.

Attlee BW cropped.jpg Churchill portrait NYP 45063.jpg Archibaldsinclair.jpg
Clement Attlee Winston Churchill Archibald Sinclair

1945  The Potsdam Declaration was signed.

1945 The US Navy cruiser Indianapolis arrived at Tinian with the warhead for the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

1946 Aloha Airlines began service from Honolulu International Airport.

1947  Cold War: U.S. President Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act into law creating the Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the National Security Council.

1948  U.S. President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981 desegregating the military of the United States.

1949 Roger Taylor, English musician (Queen), was born.

1950 Susan George, English actress, was born.

1952 King Farouk of Egypt abdicated in favor of his son Fuad.

Profile portrait of a young man facing left. He is wearing a tarboosh over his head and is dressed in military uniform. He is holding a sword and gloves in his left hand.

1953 Fidel Castro led an unsuccessful attack on the Moncada Barracks beginning the Cuban Revolution.

1953  Arizona Governor John Howard Pyle ordered an anti-polygamy law enforcement crackdown on residents of Short Creek – the Short Creek Raid.

1956  Following the World Bank’s refusal to fund building the Aswan High Dam, Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalised the Suez Canal sparking international condemnation.

1957  Carlos Castillo Armas, dictator of Guatemala, was assassinated.

1958 Explorer 4 was launched.

Explorer4 instruments.png

1959 Kevin Spacey, American actor, was born.

1963  Syncom 2, the world’s first geosynchronous satellite, was launched from Cape Canaveral on a Delta B booster.

1963 – Earthquake in Skopje, Macedonia left 1100 dead

1964 Sandra Bullock, American actress, was born.

1965  Full independence was granted to the Maldives.

1966  Lord Gardiner issued the Practice Statement in the House of Lords stating that the House was not bound to follow its own previous precedent.

1968 Vietnam War: South Vietnamese opposition leader Truong Dinh Dzu was sentenced to five years hard labour for advocating the formation of a coalition government as a way to move toward an end to the war.

1971   Apollo 15 launched.

Apollo 15-insignia.png

1973 Kate Beckinsale, British actress, was born.

1974  Greek Prime Minister Konstantinos Karamanlis formed the country’s first civil government after seven years of military rule.

1975 Formation of a military triumvirate in Portugal.

1977 The National Assembly of Quebec imposed the use of French as the official language of the provincial government.

1989 A federal grand jury indicted Cornell University student Robert T. Morris, Jr. for releasing the Morris worm, the first person to be prosecuted under the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

1994 Russian President Boris Yeltsin ordered the removal of Russian troops from Estonia.

1999 Cessation of combat activities after the Kargil War; celebrated as Kargil Vijay Diwas in India.

2005   STS-114 Mission – Launch of Discovery, NASA’s first scheduled flight mission after the Columbia Disaster in 2003.

2005  Mumbai received 99.5cm of rain (39.17 inches) within 24 hours, bringing the city to a halt for over 2 days.

2005  Samir Geagea, the Lebanese Forces (LF) leader, was released after spending 11 years in a solitary confinement.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia