Go Samoa


Rugby World Cup story of the week: The day I met a real winning Dunedin dame by the UK Sunday times’ rugby writer Stephen Jones.

I love the way the provinces have got behind the teams. Some commentators have been unkind enough to suggest full stadiums for minnows’ matches is a reflection on how little there is to do in somewhere like Palmerston North. I prefer to see it as people getting into the spirit of the occasion and thoroughly enjoying themselves.

I stopped in Ashburton for Turkish takeaways on my way home from Christchurch last night and was served by a Romanian who’d enjoyed having his national team in New Zealand but was understandably disappointed in their performance.

They  lost all their games, their last against Georgia ended with a  score of 25 – 9.

Canada and Japan tied on 23 points in their game.

Italy scored a bonus point in their 27 – 10 win against the USA.

In another example of hope triumphing over experience I’m backing Samoa in tonight’s Rugby World Cup match against South Africa.


PM without the politics


John Key introduced his Prime Minister’s hour on RadioLIVE by saying it would be a politics-free zone.

He interviewed All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, film director Sir Peter Jackson, a rugby league player (I think it was a Warrior, but I missed his name) and finished with a chat to Paul Henry as he passed the microphone over to him.

And how did he do?

Interviewing well is an art and given he’s used to being on the other side of the mic I think he did very well.

I would say that of course, but so too did other listeners:

Comment From cherylcheryl: ] John Key is doing very well 🙂

Comment From PatPat: ] I’m impressed with Jk’s easy style. No wonder NZ loves him.

Comment From MaggieMaggie: ] The coolest Prime Minister on the planet! John Key is a natural! Take confidence to pull this off as a Rookie Radio D.J.

I wouldn’t want him to give up his day job, but his performance this afternoon shows he has options should he decide to have a career change.



Do you know your Warriors’ history? the Herald asked.  The 3/10 I got – all of which were guesses – shows I know nothing.

Apology won’t heal the harm – updated


Labour MP Darien Fenton has apologised for the vitriolic attack she made on Sir Peter Leitch when she took exception to his support for John Key.

He is a man with a very big heart and no doubt he will accept the apology.

But it won’t heal the harm the comments have done to Labour.

She says she wasn’t calling for a boycott but she said she wouldn’t use the Mad Butcher shops, even though Sir Peter no longer owns them:

The owner of The Mad Butcher chain, Michael Morton, says Labour MP Darien Fenton is grossly misguided in suggesting a boycott of the butcheries.

“She is having a go at The Mad Butcher founder, Sir Peter Leitch, simply because he made some nice remarks about the Prime Minister, John Key. Well he has made favourable comments in the past also about the former Prime Minister, Helen Clark, and she (Ms Fenton) didn’t get mad about that,” said Mr Morton today.

“Sir Peter hasn’t owned The Mad Butcher for more than two years now, although he still promotes the brand.

“Her postings on the internet are mean-spirited. Peter has earned his knighthood– he has not only done a lot for New Zealand in supporting the Warriors and contributing to charity, but he is also apolitical.

“And to also try to drag the company into her argument is ridiculous. I think she owes apologies all round.”

The apology as printed in the Herald doesn’t specify whether she takes back her threat not to buy from the Mad Butcher again.

It is unlikely her rant had any impact on the businesses but it inflicted another wound on her party, even though her leader Phil Goff was far more gracious:

I’m a real Warriors fan. I’ve been going to their matches for years and have
caught up with the Mad Butcher many times. He is a great guy and a great
ambassador for rugby league. He is absolutely entitled to express whatever
opinion he likes. Go the Warriors against Manly.”

Fenton’s comments were what Keeping Stock refers to as a SMOG – a Social Media Own Goal.

She made them on Tuesday and it’s taken until Friday for her to realise she “went too far”.

In the meantime it’s gone around the blogs and into the mainstream media reminding voters yet again that Labour is making too much of a mess of opposition to be trusted anywhere near government.

UDPATE: Whaleoil, who broke the story, had a phone call from Sir Peter who said how badly hurt he was.

Friday’s answers


Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said: “Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy,
boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence. In other words, it is war minus the shooting.”?

2. It’s guerrier in French,  guerriero in Italian, guerrero in Spanish (to my surprise I couldn’t find it in Maori), what is it in English?

3. A statue of whom overlooks the Octagon in Dunedin?

4. What are the capital cities of Romania, Samoa and Tonga?

5. The Hang Seng is the stock exchange of which country?

Points for answers:

Gravedodger, Andrei and Mort win an electronic chocolate cake each – GD for five right with a good try for the warrior bonus and a bonus for correctly identifying Hong Kong’s status and Andrei for five and a bonus for language skills for Bucureşti. Mort got five and the warrior bonus.

David got 3 and 2/3 with the warrior (I wonder why that didn’t come up when I searched www.maoridictionary.co.nz?) and another bonus for deduction.

Cadwallader got four.

Adam got 3 2/3 with a bonus for correcting me on Hong Kong’s status (I can’t take points off the others when they answered the question set and it was my fault the question was wrong).

PDM got three – and a don’t-know-what-you’re-missing for never having been to Dunedin (best in spring or autumn).

Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »



6/10 in the Herald’s changing world quiz.

Live PM on RadioLIVE


Prime Minister John Key is hosting a RadioLIVE show from 2pm this afternoon.

In a first for RadioLIVE, the show will feature the Prime Minister, listeners and some very special guests including Sir Richard Branson and Richie McCaw.

General Manager of RadioLIVE Jana Rangooni says:   “This has been done in the UK and US but not, to the best of my knowledge, in New Zealand. 

“We hope to make this an annual event for whoever is the Prime Minister at the time.”

RadioLIVE listeners will have the opportunity to talk to John Key directly, sharing what’s on their minds, and putting questions to the Prime Minister via phone and www.radiolive.co.nz.

In the not too distant past, people flocked to public meetings to hear politicians.

These days politicians have to make more of an effort to go to the people and doing it via the radio waves is a very good way to do that.

The PM was on NewsTalk ZB a couple of weeks ago taking questions from callers on everything from politics to the personal which included the last film he’d been to (The King’s Speech).

Man gives birth


I don’t know who this bloke is but I can see why he’s made the news:

Mike Myers has given birth to his first son, it has been revealed.

What I don’t understand is why this evolutionary development hasn’t got more coverage.

Fonterra milk supply still to crest


Fonterra has sent a newsletter to suppliers saying it has a milk wave coming in at the moment.

The company has had a strong spring and if it continues, it will mean one of the biggest year-on-year increases in milk production for a number of years, Gary Romano, Managing Director of trade and operations said.

The combination of a  good autumn followed by a reasonable winter generally throughout the country, has meant
that this week Fonterra will exceed last year’s peak three weeks early.

“Over the last six days milk collection is on average up more than 15% on a daily basis throughout the country compared to last year. In the lower North Island alone this week we have collected 19% more milk than we did for the same week last year. This is putting pressure on milk collection, manufacturing, and the supply chain.

“We have the tankers to collect the forecasted milk but one problem at any of the sites can have a  big flow on effect and can push the schedule back and result in late off farms. In cases where milk volumes exceed milk estimates it means more partial collections. We’re very conscious of the disruption this is causing on farm.

“Across NZ we have been averaging 40 to 150 late off farms across our 10,000 farmers over the past few weeks. The problem is also being amplified by some of our competitors cancelling their daily DIRA milk on occasions and we are having to now find somewhere to process that milk.”

“We are still three weeks out from the traditional peak which usually comes around October 20. We have already got contingencies in place to cope with higher than budgeted/forecasted milk volumes and we are doing everything we can to minimise the impact on your farms. But if the milk wave continues we could be heading for a Super Flush and this could result in more late off farms.

Our production is up and neighbours are also reporting higher yields.

However, the law of supply and demand means that this could result in a fall of prices.

In other milk news, Waikato dairy co-operative Tatua has announced its highest ever payout of $8.10 a kilo with a 58 cent retention.

Westland Milk has delivered its second highest payout  of $7.58.

Lessons for NZ


Storm clouds are gathering over international markets but Finance Minister Bill English has returned from the United States with a lesson for New Zealand:

 “We mustn’t get psyched out by all of this. We have to hold steady, stick with our policy mix, put even more emphasis on sharpening our competitiveness to sell abroad.” NZ needs to do more work on supporting the export effort offshore. English told Trans Tasman “we are positioning ourselves to crank up that effort after the election.”

That’s a very simple recipe which requires National to be in government after the election.

There is a high probability of that but no certainty. The election is eight weeks from tomorrow and the opposition will spend it grasping any negative statistic to try to persuade voters to vote for a change.

However, successive  polls and the latest update from iPredict suggest the public generally accepts that National has managed well in the face of an unprecedented series of natural and financial crises outside its control and are prepared to give the blue team a second term.

The high level of support is based on several factors, including the popularity of Prime Minister John Key.

Trans Tasman’s view is: While Key’s popularity is a phenomenon which will have a crucial influence in the election, voters have decided National are better economic managers, and they are convinced it’s not sensible to change direction in the middle of a global financial crisis.

Support for national is also helped by the lack of a viable alternative owing to Labour’s disunity and poor performance.

Another lesson for New Zealand is that a party which doesn’t manage to do a credible job of leading the opposition can’t be trusted to lead a government.

September 30 in history


1399  Henry IV was proclaimed King of England.

1744  France and Spain defeated the Kingdom of Sardinia at the Battle of Madonna dell’Olmo.

1791  The Magic Flute, the last opera composed by Mozart, premiered at Freihaus-Theater auf der Wieden in Vienna.

1791  The National Constituent Assembly in Paris was dissolved; Parisians hailed Maximilien Robespierre and Jérôme Pétion as incorruptible patriots.

1813  Battle of Bárbula: Simón Bolívar defeated Santiago Bobadilla.

1832 Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis, American labour activist, was born (d. 1905).

1860 Britain’s first tram service begins in Birkenhead, Merseyside.

1882  The world’s first commercial hydroelectric power plant (later known as Appleton Edison Light Company) began operation on the Fox River in Appleton, Wisconsin.

1888  Jack the Ripper killed his third and fourth victims, Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes.

1895  Madagascar became a French protectorate.

1901 Hubert Cecil Booth patented the vacuum cleaner.

1903  The new Gresham’s School was officially opened by Field Marshal Sir Evelyn Wood.

1906  The Real Academia Galega, Galician language’s biggest linguistic authority, started working in Havana.

1921 Scottish actress Deborah Kerr was born (d 2007).

1924 US author Truman Capote was born.

1927  Babe Ruth became the first baseball player to hit 60 home runs in a season.

1931  Start of “Die Voortrekkers” youth movement for Afrikaners in Bloemfontein.

1935  The Hoover Dam, was dedicated.

1935 US singer Johnny Mathis was born.

1938  Britain, France, Germany and Italy signed the Munich Agreement, allowing Germany to occupy the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia.

1938  The League of Nations unanimously outlawed “intentional bombings of civilian populations”.

1939  General Władysław Sikorski became commander-in-chief of the Polish Government in exile.

1943 Marilyn McCoo, American singer (The 5th Dimension), was born.

1943 Ian Ogilvy, British Actor, was born.

1945  The Bourne End rail crash, in Hertfordshire killed 43 people.

1949  The Berlin Airlift ended.

1954  The U.S. Navy submarine USS Nautilus was commissioned as the world’s first nuclear reactor powered vessel.

1955  Film icon James Dean died in a road accident aged 24.

1957 US actress Fran Drescher was born.

1962 Sir Guy Powles became New Zealand’s first Ombudsman.

Government watchdog appointed

1962  Mexican-American labour leader César Chávez founded the United Farm Workers.

1962  James Meredith entered the University of Mississippi, defying segregation.

1965  General Suharto took power after an alleged coup by the Communist Party of Indonesia. In response, Suharto and his army massacred over a million Indonesians suspected of being communists.

1965 The Lockheed L-100, the civilian version of the C-130 Hercules, was introduced.

1966  The British protectorate of Bechuanaland declared its independence, and became the Republic of Botswana. Seretse Khama took office as the first President.

1967  BBC Radio 1 was launched and Tony Blackburn presented its first show; the BBC’s other national radio stations also adopted numeric names.

1968  The Boeing 747 was shown to the public for the first time at the Boeing Everett Factory.

1970  Jordan made a deal with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) for the release of the remaining hostages from the Dawson’s Field hijackings.

1975  The Hughes (later McDonnell-Douglas, now Boeing) AH-64 Apache made its first flight.

1977  Philippine political prisoners, Eugenio Lopez, Jr. and Sergio Osmeña III escaped from Fort Bonifacio Maximum Security Prison.

1979  The Hong Kong MTR commenced service with the opening of its Modified Initial System (aka. Kwun Tong Line).

1980  Ethernet specifications were published by Xerox working with Intel and Digital Equipment Corporation.

1982  Cyanide-laced Tylenol killed six people in the Chicago area.

1986 Martin Guptill, New Zealand cricketer, was born.

1986 Mordechai Vanunu, who revealed details of Israel covert nuclear program to British media, was kidnapped in Rome.

1989  Foreign Minister of West Germany Hans-Dietrich Genscher‘s speech from the balcony of the German embassy in Prague.

1990 The Dalai Lama unveiled the Canadian Tribute to Human Rights in Ottawa.

1991  President Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti was forced from office.

1993  An earthquake hit India‘s Latur and Osmanabad district of Marathwada (Au rangabad division) leaving tens of thousands of people dead and many more homeless.

1994  Aldwych tube station (originally Strand Station) of the London Underground closed after eighty-eight years of service.

1999 Japan’s worst nuclear accident at a uranium reprocessing facility in Tōkai-mura, northeast of Tokyo.

2004 The first images of a live giant squid in its natural habitat were taken 600 miles south of Tokyo.

2004 – The AIM-54 Phoenix, the primary missile for the F-14 Tomcat, was retired from service.

2005 – The controversial drawings of Muhammad were printed in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

2006 the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia adopted the Constitutional Act that proclaimed the new Constitution of Serbia.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

Word of the day


Perspicaciousness – keenness of perception and discernment; having or showing penetrating mental discernment; clear-sighted.



8/15 in Stuff’s food and fashion quiz (most correct answers for food rather than fashion).

Thursday’s quiz


1. Who said: “Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy,
boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence. In other words, it is war minus the shooting.”?

2. It’s guerrier in French,  guerriero in Italian, guerrero in Spanish (to my surprise I couldn’t find it in Maori, there’s a bonus if you can), what is it in English?

3. A statue of whom overlooks the Octagon in Dunedin?

4. What are the capital cities of Romania, Samoa and Tonga?

5. The Hang Seng is the stock exchange of which country?

Rage against the writing of a slight


Diana Wichtel was less than enthusiastic in her review in The Listener of Rage, a drama based on the 1981 Spirngbok tour.

Co-writerTom Scott responded with this letter to the editor:

I have just read Diana Wichtel’s scornful review of Rage, which I co-wrote and co-produced for TV1 (Television, September 17).
My first response was to wonder if Diana and I had just recently gone through a particularly nasty and brutal divorce, but I have no recollection of marrying her. This doesn’t mean I didn’t marry her. I’m just saying I could well have blacked it out.

I am prepared to go to counselling with her if you think this would help sort out this mystery.

I missed seeing Rage when it screened but I’m now planning to watch it in the hope that the script is as witty as the co-writer’s letter.

Gallagher gains lifetime achievement award


Bill (now Sir William) Gallagher made his first electric fence in 1937.

How he did it and the development of his business makes inspirational reading.

He has made a significant contribution to farming, business and New Zealand in general. The  New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards Trust has recognised his contribution to the dairy sector, in particular by presenting him with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Trust chair Barbara Kuriger says SWilliam is ir known as one of New Zealand’s most astute businessmen and chairs the successful Hamilton exporter of animal management, fencing and security systems, Gallagher Group.

“We selected Sir William for this award as he has taken a proud and iconic New Zealand company and succeeded internationally. He is also viewed by the trustees as an outstanding New Zealander and a fine example to current and prospective business people.

“His company’s contribution to New Zealand farming systems has been huge.”

. . . In presenting the award, Mrs Kuriger said: “Sir William is a natural leader, whose communication skills and business influence is nationally and internationally recognised. He has created a work environment that encourages personal empowerment and independent thinking.

“A true entrepreneur, he has a sense of urgency and controlled risk taking, which is supported and managed by the positive team he works with.”

She said Sir William’s major skill was his ability to communicate across language and social barriers with an emphasis on ethics and integrity in his professional and personal dealings.

“Sir William has a strong and active commitment to the environment he lives and works in – he is a major sponsor of the Rescue Helicopter, Waikato Stadium, Mounted Police, Gallagher Family Hospice, Gallagher Hockey Centre and the establishment of the Performing Arts centre at Waikato University.”

There probably isn’t a farm in New Zealand which doesn’t use electric fences and Galaher’s electric fencing has also been one of New Zealand’s export success stories.

NZDIAT’s lifetime award is well deserved recognition of not only what Sir William has done but the way he has done it.

Accidental MPs


Retiring MP Sue Kedgley admitted in her valedictory speech that she entered parliament by accident:

I am what you might call an accidental MP – someone who arrived in this House by accident, not by design. I casually agreed to put my name on a Green Party list for the ninety-nine election, at a time when the Green Party was polling at zero per cent. And the next thing I knew Jeanette Fitzsimons was on the phone, telling me I had just become an MP.

This isn’t the first time MPs who thought they had no hope of being MPs have found themselves with a  seat in parliament.

In 2002 National bled votes to Act, United Future (or whatever it was called then) and New Zealand First candidates who stood with little if any hope of winning gained a list seat. Few of those accidental MPs did anything of note and most have now thankfully been forgotten.

MMP’s lists enable people who would never win an electorate to get into parliament. But we got accidental MPs with FPP too. In 1990 a high tide for National brought in candidates in seats previously thought unwinnable by the party, for example Gilbert Myles who won the seat of Roskill.

This reinforces the importance of parties having strong membership and quality candidates.

It’s all very well running people who haven’t got what it takes to be MPs in seats they’ll never win to wave their parties’ flags. But putting them on the list where they might be swept into parliament by an unexpected tail wind or selecting them in electorates they could win inflicts them on us all.

Being a good MP is a very demanding job, parties owe it to us to ensure the people they select have not just the skills and abilities to do it well but also have the will to do it at all.

September 29 in history


522 BC – Darius I of Persia killed the Magian usurper Gaumâta, securing his hold as king of the Persian Empire.

480 BC  Battle of Salamis: The Greek fleet under Themistocles defeats the Persian fleet under Xerxes I.

61 BC  Pompey the Great celebrated his third triumph for victories over the pirates and the end of the Mithridatic Wars on his 45th birthday.

1227  Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, was excommunicated by Pope Gregory IX for his failure to participate in the Crusades.

1364  Battle of Auray: English forces defeated the French in Brittany; end of the Breton War of Succession.

1547 Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes  Saavedra was born (d. 1616).

1650 Henry Robinson opened his Office of Addresses and Encounters – the first historically documented dating service – in Threadneedle Street, London.

1717  An earthquake struck Antigua Guatemala, destroying much of the city’s architecture and making authorities consider moving the capital to a different city.

1758 Horatio Nelson was born (d. 1805).

1810 English author Elizabeth Gaskell was born (d. 1865).

1829  The Metropolitan Police of London, later also known as the Met, was founded.

1848  Battle of Pákozd: Hungarian forces defeated Croats at Pákozd; the first battle of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848.

1850  The Roman Catholic hierarchy was re-established in England and Wales by Pope Pius IX.

1862  The first professional opera performance in New Zealand was put on by members of ‘The English Opera Troupe’ and the Royal Princess Theatre Company.

NZ's first professional opera performance

1864  American Civil War: The Battle of Chaffin’s Farm.

1885 The first practical public electric tramway in the world opened in Blackpool.

1907 The cornerstone was laid at Washington National Cathedral.

1907 US singer Gene Autry was born (d. 1998).

1911 Italy declared war on the Ottoman Empire.

1913 US film director Stanley Kramer was born (d. 2001).

1916 John D. Rockefeller became the first billionaire.

1918  World War I: The Hindenburg Line was broken by Allied forces. Bulgaria signed an armistice

1932  Chaco War: Last day of the Battle of Boquerón between Paraguay and Bolivia.

1935 US musician Jerry Lee Lewis was born.

1936 Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was born.

1941  World War II: Holocaust in Kiev German Einsatzgruppe C began the Babi Yar massacre.

1943 Polish president Lech Walsea was born.

1943  World War II: U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower and Italian Marshal Pietro Badoglio signed an armistice  aboard the Royal Navy battleship HMS Nelson off Malta.

1951 Michelle Bachelet, former President of Chile, was born.

1954  The convention establishing CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) was signed.

1956 English athlete Sir Sebastian Coe was born.

1957 20 MCi (740 petabecquerels) of radioactive material was released in an explosion at the Soviet Mayak nuclear plant at Chelyabinsk.

1961 Julia Gillard, Australian politician, Prime Minister of Australia, was born.

1962  Alouette 1, the first Canadian satellite, was launched.

1963 The second period of the Second Vatican Council opened.

1963  The University of East Anglia was established in Norwich.

1964  The Argentine comic strip Mafalda, by Joaquín Salvador Lavado, better known by his pen name Quino, was published for the first time.

1966  The Chevrolet Camaro, originally named Panther, was introduced.

1975  WGPR in Detroit, Michigan, becomes the world’s first black-owned-and-operated television station.

1979  Pope John Paul II became the first pope to set foot on Irish soil.

1988 Space Shuttle: NASA launched STS-26, the return to flight mission.

1990  Construction of the Washington National Cathedral was completed.

1990 The YF-22, which later became the F-22 Raptor, flew for the first time.

1991  Military coup in Haiti.

1992  Brazilian President Fernando Collor de Mello resigned.

1995 The United States Navy disbanded Fighter Squadron 84 (VF-84), nicknamed the “Jolly Rogers”.

2004 The asteroid 4179 Toutatis passed within four lunar distances of Earth.

2004 – The Burt Rutan Ansari X Prize entry SpaceShipOne performed a successful spaceflight, the first of two required to win the prize.

2006  Gol Transportes Aéreos Flight 1907 collided in mid-air with an Embraer Legacy business jet, killing 154 total people, and triggering a Brazilian aviation crisis.

2007  Calder Hall, the world’s first commercial nuclear power station, was demolished in a controlled explosion.

2008  The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell  777.68 points, the largest single-day point loss in its history.

2009 An 8.0 magnitude earthquake near the Samoan Islands caused a tsunami .

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

Word of the day


Sacrifice  – the offering of animal, plant, or human life or of some material possession to a deity, as in propitiation or homage; the person, animal, or thing so offered; the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim; the thing so surrendered or devoted; a loss incurred in selling something below its value; the surrender of something of value as a means of gaining something more desirable
or of preventing some evil; osmething given up or lost.

Logic fail


When I first heard a student trying to convince the public that the introduction of voluntary membership for student associations was anti-democratic I thought I must have misunderstood his argument.

Since then I’ve heard several more student advocates advance the same argument and like Adam Smith I’m struggling to understand the logic of their view that democracy is under threat if compulsion is removed.

It might be possible to argue cogently for compulsory student membership. The failure to do so by those who think they represent students merely illustrates the case for those who advocate making membership voluntary.

Student associations take money from most students but truly represent a small minority of them and if the quality of their argument on this issue is anything to go by they do that poorly.

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