Word of the day


Bletcherous – disgusting in design or function; aesthetically unappealing.

In-season produce cheaper


I picked up a couple of capsicums and half a dozen kiwifruit on my way round the supermarket without looking at the prices.

When I got to the checkout I found that the two capsicums cost nearly $5 each but the six kiwifruit came to just 93 cents.

The lesson from that is to buy in-season. 

Horticulture New Zealand points out  that seasonality and weather have a big impact on prices:

Horticulture NZ says . . .  an expected shortage of some vegetables due to this week’s adverse weather, highlights the seasonality of produce which determines the retail price.

Chief executive Peter Silcock says a lot of the products that are expensive now such as tomatoes, capsicums and lettuces, are not in season now so therefore they will not be cheap.

Another lesson is that I’d have gained a lot more from the removal of GST from buying the out-of-season capcicums than in-season kiwifruit.

That’s not surprising. Geoff Simmons points out there are holes in Labour’s health by stealth line.

The poorest 10 per cent of New Zealand families spend about $10 a week on fruit and vegetables. At the other end of the spectrum, the richest 10 per cent spend around $30 a week.

This means taking GST off fruit and vegetables will give the poorest just over $1 extra a week. That will barely make a dent in their food bill. Meanwhile, the richest will get just under $4.

John Pagani disputes that but Scrubone dug deeper and found

In short, there is basically no evidence that this policy will do a heck of a lot – and that’s an admission from people who really really wish it did.

The removal of GST from fresh fruit and vegetables is a feel-good policy based on emotion not fact.

It might reduce the price but not significantly for the people who need it most.

Friday’s answers


Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said. “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”

2. In which year did National first win an election and who was its first Prime Minister?

3. It’s compleanno  in Italian; cumpleaños  in Spanish; and huritau in Maori, what is it in English? (In case you’re wondering why no French, it would have made it too easy).

4. Who were Cain & Abel’s parents?

5. Which is Africa’s highest mountain and in which country is it?

Points for answers:

Andrei wins an electronic banana cake for five right (is this the third week in a row?)

David got two.

Gravedodger got four with bonuses for extra information and wit.

Cadwallader got 3 1/2.

James got four with a bonus for knowing how to get to the mountain.

Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »



6/10 in NZ History Online’s quiz.

National + Labour –


Trans Tasman spots the differences between National and Labour:

Key’s skill has been to make National look positive, and Labour negative. National wants to improve life in NZ, Labour simply to soften the rough edges. National seeks to fix policies which clearly haven’t worked in the past, Labour still clings to a “tax-and-spend” ethic, which is well past its “use-by” date. Even in areas which have proven controversial such as national standards in education, National is seen to be striving to lift performance.

National’s policies are aspirational, Labour’s are motivated by envy; National wants to foster independence, Labour wants to encourage dependence; National aims to reduce the burden of the state, Labour plans to increase it.

National’s aim to win 48% of the vote in the election is very ambitious.

But it’s offering positive policies which appeal to a broader group in contrast to Labour which has negative policies of little appeal to anyone beyond its core supporters.

Positive engagement beats political posturing


Federated Farmers is promising to engage positively on new rules for the way livestock are treated for tax purposes.

Feds President Bruce Wills said:

“Federated Farmers will now examine Inland Revenue’s proposals for reasonableness and real-world workability. Let me also stress that farmers do understand the importance of paying their fair share of tax.

“With livestock, there’s been some concern at the ease farmers have switched between the Herd Scheme and the National Standard Cost scheme. This is especially the case when livestock values are extremely volatile.

“Broadly speaking, the Herd Scheme treats livestock as a capital asset using Inland Revenue’s national average market values. The National Standard Cost scheme values purchased livestock at cost plus associated costs of husbandry.

“Farmers, as small and medium sized businesspeople, are heavily reliant on their accountant for tax advice. It’s a complicated area and you do rely on your advisors to interpret it for you.

“Federated Farmers will now start consultation with our membership to develop a position to take back to Inland Revenue,” Mr Wills concluded.

The conciliatory tone reflects the recent change in leadership of Feds and the reasoned response is a pleasant change from the political posturing which is too often the first reaction to new proposals.

The paper on proposed changes to taxing livestock was one of two released by the government yesterday.

The other is seeking feedback on proposals on the tax treatment of mixed-use assets such as cribs which are used for private purposes and also let for financial return.

The issues papers and a fact sheet are available here.

August 19 in history


1504 Battle of Knockdoe.

1561 An 18-year-old Mary, Queen of Scots, returned to Scotland after spending 13 years in France. 

1612  The “Samlesbury witches“, three women from  Samlesbury, were put on trial, accused for practising witchcraft, one of the most famous witch trials in English history. 

1631  John Dryden, English poet, was born  (d. 1700).


1666  Second Anglo-Dutch War: Rear Admiral Robert Holmes led a raid on the Dutch island of Terschelling, destroying 150 merchant ships, an act later known as “Holmes’s Bonfire“. 

1689 Samuel Richardson, English writer, was born  (d. 1761).
1692 Salem witch trials:  one woman and four men, including a clergyman, were executed after being convicted of witchcraft. 

1745  Prince Charles Edward Stuart raised his standard in Glenfinnan – the start of the Second Jacobite Rebellion, known as “the 45″.

1768 Saint Isaac’s Cathedral was founded in Saint Petersburg. 

1772  Gustavus III of Sweden staged a Coup d’état, in which he assumed power and enacted a new constitution that divided power between the Riksdag and the King.

1782 American Revolutionary War: Battle of Blue Licks – the last major engagement of the war, almost ten months after the surrender of the British commander Lord Cornwallis.

1812 War of 1812: American frigate USS Constitution defeated the British frigate HMS Guerriere off the coast of Nova Scotia, earning her nickname “Old Ironsides”.


1813  Gervasio Antonio de Posadas joined Argentina’s second triumvirate.

1839  Presentation of Jacque Daguerre’s new photographic process to the French Academy of Sciences.

1853 Edward Gibbon Wakefield was elected to the New Zealand Parliament.

Wakefield elected to Parliament

1861 First ascent of Weisshorn, fifth highest summit in the Alps.


1883 Coco Chanel, French clothing designer, was born  (d. 1971).


1895 American frontier murderer and outlaw, John Wesley Hardin, was killed by an off-duty policeman in a saloon in El Paso.

1902 Ogden Nash, American poet, was born  (d. 1971).

1919 Afghanistan gained full independence from the United Kingdom.

1927  Metropolitan Sergius proclaimed the declaration of loyalty of the Russian Orthodox Church to the Soviet state.

1928 Bernard Levin, English journalist, author, and broadcaster, was born  (d. 2004). 

1930 Frank McCourt, Irish-American author, was born  (d. 2009).

1934  The first All-American Soap Box Derby was held in Dayton, Ohio.

1934  The creation of the position Führer was approved by the German electorate with 89.9% of the popular vote.

1939 Ginger Baker, English musician (Cream), was born.


1940 Johnny Nash, American singer-songwriter, was born.


1940 First flight of the B-25 Mitchell medium bomber.

1942  Operation Jubilee – the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division led an amphibious assault by allied forces on Dieppe, France and failed. 

1944  As his damaged Hawker Typhoon fighter-bomber rapidly lost height, Pilot Officer James Stellin struggled to avoid crashing into Saint-Maclou-la-Brière, a village of 370 people in the Seine-Maritime region. He succeeded, but at the cost of his own life.

Kiwi pilot's sacrifice saves French village

1944  Liberation of Paris – Paris rose against German occupation with the help of Allied troops.

1945   Viet Minh led by Ho Chi Minh took power in Hanoi.

1946 Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States, was born.


1951 John Deacon, English musician (Queen), was born.


1953  Cold War: the CIA helped to overthrow the government of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran and reinstated the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

1955 In the Northeast United States, severe flooding caused by Hurricane Diane, claimed 200 lives.


1960  Cold War: in Moscow, downed American U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers was sentenced to ten years imprisonment by the Soviet Union for espionage. 

1960  Sputnik 5 – the Soviet Union launched the satellite with the dogs Belka and Strelka, 40 mice, 2 rats and a variety of plants. 

1980  Saudia Flight 163, a Lockheed L-1011 TriStar burned after making an emergency landing at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh killing 301 people.


1981  Gulf of Sidra Incident: United States fighters intercepted and shot down two Libyan Sukhoi Su-22 fighter jets over the Gulf of Sidra.


1987  Hungerford Massacre: Michael Ryan killed sixteen people with an assault rifle and then committed suicide.

1989  Polish president Wojciech Jaruzelski nominated Solidarity activist Tadeusz Mazowiecki to be the first non-communist Prime Minister in 42 years.

1989  Raid on offshore pirate station, Radio Caroline in North Sea by British and Dutch governments.

1989 Several hundred East Germans crossed the frontier between Hungary and Austria during the Pan-European Picnic, part of the events which began the process of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. 

1990  Leonard Bernstein conducted his final concert, ending with Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7. 

1991  Collapse of the Soviet Union, August Coup: Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev was placed under house arrest..

1991  Hurricane Bob hit the Northeast, United States. 

1999  Tens of thousands of Serbians rallied to demand the resignation of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia President Slobodan Milošević.

2002 A Russian Mi-26 helicopter carrying troops was hit by a Chechen missile killing 118 soldiers.

2003 A car-bomb attack on United Nations headquarters in Iraq killed the agency’s top envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello and 21 other employees.

2003  A Hamas planned suicide attack on a bus in Jerusalem killed 23 Israelis, 7 of them children in the Jerusalem bus 2 massacre.

2005 The first-ever joint military exercise between Russia and China, called Peace Mission 2005 began.

2005 A series of strong storms lashed Southern Ontario spawning several tornadoes as well as creating extreme flash flooding in Toronto and its surrounding communities. .


2009  A series of bombings in Baghdad, killed 101 and injured 565 others.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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