Word of the day


Taraadin – a compromise, a way of solving a problem without anyone losing face; a win-win solution.

Stats NZ’s basket follows food fashion


Additions and subtractions from the basket of goods Statistics NZ uses to compile its food price index reflect changing fashions in eating habits.

1993:  grapes, frozen mixed vegetables, mussels, over the counter milk, infant formula and ethnic meals were added;  Brussels sprouts, frozen beans, canned meat (corned beef) canned sardines, rolled oats and white pepper were removed.

1999: avocado, alfalfa sprouts, capsicum, taro, fresh pasta and energy drinks replaced delivered milk, milk powder, quiche and baked potatoes.

2002: instant noodles and olive oil appeared and soya bean cooking oil went.

2006: spring onions, canned soup, soy sauce, dried herbs, ground coffee,  bottled water and complete frozen meals were added;  Worcestershire sauce, pepper corns, soup powder and takeaway soup were removed.

2008: fresh pineapple, cooked chicken, soy milk, free range eggs, hummus dip and chilled fruit juice were added in place of fresh peaches, saveloys and condensed milk.

2011: dried apricots, frozen berries, frozen chicken nuggets and flatbread were added and nothing was taken out.

The next review will be carried out in 2014.

Information for the FPI review came from a survey of about 3,100 households, from food manufacturers and distributors and supermarket scan data from the Nielsen Company.

Pragmatism makes us politically tartan


Why all the surprise over the idea that New Zealanders have a socialist streak?

When Prime Minister John Key said all New Zealanders had a “socialist streak” it referred to their caring for others, he says . . .

Key said he could vaguely remember the meeting and said his comment was during a discussion about very right-wing policies.

“I think New Zealand is a very caring country, I think New Zealanders do have a heart.”

New Zealanders did not want to see the “overt” signs of poverty here that were present overseas, he said.

Asked if he had a socialist streak he said “absolutely” and pointed to Government programmes to help people during the global recession.

“I’m a product of the welfare state.”

The only thing I’d take issue with is the notion that you have to be socialist to care or that caring makes you a socialist.

Margaret Thatcher said, no one would remember the Good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions – he had money too.

She also said, the trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.

Being a capitalist doesn’t mean you don’t care about others and it’s capitalism that gives you the means to help them.

But life isn’t black and white and single colour polices aren’t always the best solution.

People like me nail our colours to a party’s mast but those colours tend to be tartan. The background for mine has varying shades of blue with some green (note the small g) and yellow squares, and the odd pink or even red stripe.

It’s called pragmatism. You stand firmly on your principles and philosophy but are driven by the will to find what works rather than by pure ideology.

And regardless of what your politics are, if you don’t care about people then you’ve missed the point.



6/10 in the NZ Herald’s travel quiz.

Labour’s early list ranking handicap for next term


Opposition parties are usually in a disadvantage in election year because they don’t know when election day will be.

That’s not the case this time. Prime Minister John Key announced November 26 as polling day in early February, six months ago.

If a party didn’t know the election date, ranking its list early would be a prudent move. But Labour doesn’t have that excuse this year and its April ranking was far too early.

Had they waited, the party could have used the polls which are consistently showing poor results for Labour to get rid of some of its dead wood.

Instead the list is stacked with long-serving MPs, some of whom lost seats, and its likely to have very small infusion of fresh blood in November.

John Armstrong might be right that  some senior Labour MPs have already given up on this election  and already trying to win the next one.

Their volunteers will not be impressed by that news which means they are working for people who’ve already held up the white flag. Nor will their hard core supporters.

Winning their loyalty again will take a lot of bridge building and it won’t be helped by a caucus which won’t look very different from the tired, old one they’ve got this term.

Hat tip: Keeping Stock.

Two weeks and three months


It’s just under two weeks until the Rugby World Cup kicks off.

It’s just three months to election day.

It would make me feel a lot more confident about voter intelligence if so many people didn’t keep saying the outcome of the former could influence the result of the latter.

August 27 in history,


479 BC Persian forces led by Mardonius were routed by Pausanias, the Spartan commander of the Greek army in the Battle of Plataea.

410 The sacking of Rome by the Visigoths ended after three days.


663 Battle of Baekgang: Remnants of the Korean Baekje Kingdom and their Yamato Japanese allies engaged the combined naval forces of the Tang Chinese and Silla Koreans on the Geum River.

1172  Henry the Young King and Margaret of France were crowned as junior king and queen of England.


1232  The Formulary of Adjudications was promulgated by Regent Hōjō Yasutoki.

1689  The Treaty of Nerchinsk was signed by Russia and the Qing empire. 

1776 The Battle of Long Island:  British forces under General William Howe defeated Americans under General George Washington.

1793 French counter-revolution: the port of Toulon revolted and admitted the British fleet, which landed troops and seized the port leading to Siege of Toulon.

1798 Wolfe Tone’s United Irish and French forces clashed with the British Army in the Battle of Castlebar.

1803 Edward Beecher, American theologian, was born (d. 1895).


1810 Napoleonic Wars: The French Navy defeated the British Royal Navy, preventing them from taking the harbour of Grand Port on Île de France.

1813  French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte defeated a larger force of Austrians, Russians, and Prussians at the Battle of Dresden.

1828 Uruguay was formally proclaimed independent at preliminary peace talks brokered by Great Britain between Brazil and Argentina during the Argentina-Brazil War.

1859 Petroleum was discovered in Titusville, Pennsylvania leading to the world’s first commercially successful oil well.

1875 Katharine McCormick, American women’s rights activist, was born (d. 1967).

1877 Charles Rolls, British co-founder of Rolls-Royce, was born (d. 1910).

1896 Anglo-Zanzibar War: the shortest war in world history (09:00 to 09:45) between the United Kingdom and Zanzibar.


1899 C. S. Forester, British author, was born (d. 1966). 

1904 The foundation stone for Victoria College (now Victoria University of Wellington), was laid.

Foundation stone for Victoria’s first building laid

1904 Norah Lofts, British author, was born (d. 1983).

1908 Sir Donald Bradman, Australian cricketer, was born (d. 2001).


1908 Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th President of the United States, was born (d. 1973). 

1911 Joseph Pawelka escaped from Wellington’s Terrace Gaol – the last in a series of bold but seemingly effortless prison escapes Pawelka made over an 18-month period.

Pawelka's last prison break

1921 The British installed the son of Sharif Hussein bin Ali as King Faisal I of Iraq.

1922 The Turkish army took the Aegean city of Afyonkarahisar from the Greeks.

1928 The Kellogg-Briand Pact outlawing war was signed by the first fifteen nations. 

1932 Antonia Fraser, British author, was born.


1939 First flight of the turbojet-powered Heinkel He 178, the world’s first jet aircraft. 

1942 Daryl Dragon, American keyboardist (Captain & Tennille), was born.

1947 John Morrison, New Zealand cricketer, was born.

1962  The Mariner 2 unmanned space mission was launched to Venus by NASA.

1979  An IRA bomb killed  Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma and 3 others in Sligo. Another bomb near Warrenpoint killed 18 British soldiers. 

1982  Turkish military diplomat Colonel Atilla Altıkat was shot and killed in Ottawa. Justice Commandos Against Armenian Genocide claimed responsibility, saying they were avenging the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians in the 1915 Armenian Genocide.

1985 The Nigerian government was peacefully overthrown by Army Chief of Staff Major General Ibrahim Babangida.

1991 – Moldova declared independence from the USSR.

1993  The Rainbow Bridge, connecting Tokyo’s Shibaura and the island of Odaiba, was completed.

2000  The 540-metre (1,772 ft)-tall Ostankino Tower in Moscow caught fire, killing three people. 

2003 Mars made its closest approach to Earth in nearly 60,000 years, passing 34,646,418 miles (55,758,005 km) distant.

2006  Comair Flight 5191 crashed on takeoff from Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Kentucky killing 49 of the 50 passengers and crew.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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