Word of the day


Pandiculation – the act of stretching and yawning.



The combination of sport and numbers isn’t a good one for me and that was reflected in 4/10 – all of which were guesses –  in the Herald’s sports quiz.




A must-do-better 5/10 in the Herald’s changing world quiz.

Friday’s answers


Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said: The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessing; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries”?

2. What is Allium sativum?

3. Where in mianland New Zealand is Mount Domet?

4. It’s herbe in French, erba  in Italian,  hierba in Spanish and taru in Maori, what is it in English?

5. Ra was the Egyptian god of what?

Points for answers:

James earned his quietly happy with four.

Rob and Andrei both got four definite and a near enough is good enough for # 3 which wins them an electronic chocolate cake each.

Adam got four (with credit for honesty).

David got two and a bonus for having been to or close to #3.

George got two – although I’ll award a thrid if you can prove there’s another Domet near Karamea. (I found one in the Chathams but not another in mainland NZ – or the Mainland.

Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

Labour doesn’t understand own CGT proposal


Does Labour understand it’s own capital gains tax proposal?

Trans Tasman says they don’t:

In a press statement issued August 3, Labour’s finance spokesman David Cunliffe stated categorically “KiwiSaver funds will not incur capital gains tax on their share investments under Labour’s policy proposals. KiwiSaver funds which invest in shares are already taxed as portfolio investments entities (PIEs) at the PIE rate of 28%, or as widely-held superannuation funds taxed at 30%.”

Revenue spokesman Stuart Nash added “in neither case would the KiwiSaver fund attract additional capital gains tax,as tax is already paid on a trading basis.”

Trans Tasman says that’s incorrect:

One of the big attractions of KiwiSaver funds is they do NOT pay tax on share _trading gains.
Based on a written response from Cunliffe to the Shareholders’ Association on July 20, in circumstances where currently no tax is payable on capital gains, the 15% CGT would apply under Labour’s proposal. So KiwiSaver funds would suffer CGT on share trading gains, which are currently exempt from CGT, at the rate of 15%. And where Labour says PIEs are taxed at 28%, the maximum rate, they are actually taxed at the rate of the investor, which could be lower than 28%, ie at 10.5%, or 17.5%. Widely-held superannuation funds are taxed at 28%, not the 30% rate, as Cunliffe contended.

One of the reasons simple tax rules are better is that they are easier, and less expensive to administer and more difficult to avoid.

If Labour’s CTG is so complex it’s own MPs don’t understand it, how will the IRD, accountants, lawyers and individual taxpayers get on?

MPs can agree when it matters


Our parliamentary system tends to be adversorial and we see a lot more of MPs at odds than in agreement.

However, yesterday there was unaninimity on two important pieces of legislation.

The first was the Electoral (Administration) Amendment Bill (No 2) 

The Bill, introduced by Justice Minister Simon Power,  establishes a new Electoral Commission, which will be a one-stop shop for electoral matters.

“I’m pleased that the Government’s electoral law reform programme, including the rewrite of controversial electoral finance laws, has attracted the wide support of Parliament,” Mr Power said.

“Such cross-party support will help to ensure New Zealand’s electoral laws are enduring.”

Unlike the Electoral Finance Act which was driven by ideology, caused division and was dumped when the government changed, this one is driven by common sense, has cross party support and so will endure.

The second piece of legislation which passed unanimously was the  Child and Family Protection Bill.

This was also introduced by the Justice Minister and is to protect child victims of family violence. It:

• Clarifies that when a protected person dies, their children will remain protected. This will avoid any legal confusion at a time when a grieving family is already under stress.
• Makes it clear that protecting children from all forms of violence – a principle of the Care of Children Act 2004 – includes protection from psychological abuse and direct and indirect abuse.
• Ensures that a child of a protection-order applicant will continue to be protected if they live at home past the age of 17.
• Ensures a focus on the best interests of the child by giving parents an opportunity to review care and contact arrangements soon after a temporary protection order is made.
• Avoids any opportunity for a lapse between a temporary order and a final protection order coming into effect which could have resulted in a victim having no protection.
• Makes it easier to obtain protection for children at risk of unlawful removal from New Zealand.
• Creates a new offence in the Adoption Act 1955 for improper inducement of consent to an adoption, punishable by up to seven years’ imprisonment. This enables New Zealand to ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and ensures New Zealand is meeting its international obligations to protect children from economic and sexual exploitation.

This is very different from electoral reform but it is also too important for political posturing.

If only there was similar agreement on what caused the  3,867 domestic violence cases in the Family Court which each involved at least one child in the 2009/10 year and how to solve them.

News or views?


The headline says: PM about to take stick to welfare system.

The story says:

The welfare system will be the subject of Prime Minister John Key’s speech to the National Party conference this weekend and that means solo-parents, sickness and invalid beneficiaries could get hit.

If you read on you get some balance:

Picking up a benefit is part of life for many people whether they like it or not.

There is always been some kind of queue and Mr Key says it is time it was shortened.

“I think you judge a society by the way it looks after it’s sick and it’s vulnerable. But you also judge a society by how many dependent people you create and I think as a country we are creating too many dependent people.”

But neither the headline nor the end of the first sentence are news, they’re views. The choice of language makes them opinion rather than fact.

There is another view – that increasing independence is better than fostering dependence, that welfare reform wouldn’t be hitting beneficiaries but helping them and wider society.

August 12 in history


30 BC  Cleopatra VII Philopator, the last ruler of the Egyptian Ptolemaic dynasty, committed suicide allegedly by means of an asp bite.

1099  First Crusade: Battle of Ascalon – Crusaders under the command of Godfrey of Bouillon defeated Fatimid forces under Al-Afdal Shahanshah.

1121   Battle of Didgori: the Georgian army under King David the Builder won a decisive victory over the famous Seljuk commander Ilghazi. 

1164  Battle of Harim: Nur ad-Din Zangi defeated the Crusader armies of the County of Tripoli and the Principality of Antioch. 

1281  The fleet of Qubilai Khan was destroyed by a typhoon while approaching Japan.

1323   Treaty of Nöteborg between Sweden and Novgorod (Russia) regulated the border for the first time. 

1332   Wars of Scottish Independence: Battle of Dupplin Moor – Scots under Domhnall II, Earl of Mar were routed by Edward Balliol.

1480   Battle of Otranto – Ottoman troops behead 800 Christians for refusing to convert to Islam.

1499  First engagement of the Battle of Zonchio between Venetian and Ottoman fleets.

1676 Praying Indian John Alderman shot and killed Metacomet the Wampanoag war chief, ending King Philip’s War.

1687   Charles of Lorraine defeated the Ottomans at the Battle of Mohács.

1806  Santiago de Liniers re-took the city of Buenos Aires after the first British invasion.

1851  Isaac Singer was granted a patent for his sewing machine.

1859 Katharine Lee Bates, American poet, was born (d. 1929).

1877   Asaph Hall discovered Deimos

1881  Cecil B. DeMille, American film director, was born (d. 1959).

1883   The last quagga died at the Artis Magistra zoo in Amsterdam.

1886  Sir Keith Murdoch, Australian journalist and newspaper owner, was born (d. 1952).

1889 Zerna Sharp, American writer and educator (Dick and Jane), was born (d. 1981). 

1895 Minnie Dean became the first (and only) woman to be hanged by law in New Zealand.

Minnie Dean

1898  Armistice ended the Spanish-American War.

1898  The Hawaiian flag was lowered from Iolani Palace in an elaborate annexation ceremony and replaced with the American flag to signify the transfer of sovereignty from the Republic of Hawai`i to the United States.

1911 Cantinflas, Mexican actor, was born (d. 1993).

1914 World War I– Britain declared war on Austria-Hungary.

1918  – Guy Gibson, British aviator, awarded Victoria Cross, was born (d. 1944).


 1925  Norris McWhirter, Scottish co-founder of the Guinness Book of Records, was born (d. 2004).


1925   Ross McWhirter, Scottish co-founder of the Guinness Book of Records, was born  (d. 1975).

1932 Queen Sirikit, Queen of Thailand, was born.

1943  Alleged date of the first Philadelphia Experiment test on United States Navy ship USS Eldridge

1944  Waffen SS troops massacred 560 people in Sant’Anna di Stazzema. 

1944  Alençon was liberated by General Leclerc, the first city in France to be liberated from the Nazis by French forces.


1949  – Mark Knopfler, English singer-songwriter and guitarist (Dire Straits), was born.


1952  The Night of the Murdered Poets – thirteen most prominent Jewish intellectuals were murdered in Moscow.

1953  The Soviet atomic bomb project continued with the detonation of Joe 4, the first Soviet thermonuclear weapon.

1953   The islands of Zakynthos and Kefalonia in Greece were severely damaged by an earthquake measuring 7.3 on the richter.

1960  Echo I, the first communications satellite, launched. 

1961  Roy Hay, British guitarist and keyboardist (Culture Club), was born.

1961 Mark Priest, New Zealand cricketer, was born.

1964  South Africa was banned from the Olympic Games due to the country’s racist policies.

1964 – Charlie Wilson, one of the Great Train Robbers escaped from Winson Green Prison.

1969 Violence erupted after the Apprentice Boys of Derry march resulting in a three-day communal riot – the Battle of the Bogside.


1973 Richard Reid, British Islamist terrorist (the “Shoe Bomber”), was born.

1976  Between 1,000-3,500 Palestinians killed in the Tel al-Zaatar massacre, one of the bloodiest events of the Lebanese Civil War.

1977  The first free flight of the Space Shuttle Enterprise

1977 Start of Sri Lankan riots of 1977, targeting the minority Sri Lankan Tamil people – over 300 Tamils were killed.

1978   Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and the People’s Republic of China was signed.

1980   Signature of the Montevideo Treaty establishing the Latin American Integration Association.

 1981  The IBM Personal Computer was released.

1982   Mexico announced it was unable to pay its enormous external debt, marking the beginning of a debt crisis that spread to all of Latin America and the Third World.

1985   Japan Airlines Flight 123 crashed into Osutaka ridge in Japan, killing 520, to become the worst single-plane air disaster. 

1992  Canada, Mexico, and the United States announced completion of negotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

2000  The Oscar class submarine K-141 Kursk of the Russian Navy exploded and sank in the Barents Sea during a military exercise. 

2005  Sri Lanka’s foreign minister, Lakshman Kadirgamar, was fatally shot by an LTTE sniper at his home.

2007  Bulk carrier M/V New Flame collided with oil tanker Torm Gertrud at the southernmost tip of Gibraltar, ending up partially submerged.


Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia