Word of the day


Ergasiophobia –  an abnormal and persistent fear (or phobia) of work, finding work or functioning;  aversion to work; diffidence about tackling a job;



Yet more proof I don’t pay much attention to sports news: just 4/10 in the NZ Herald’s sports quiz and three of those were guesses.

Tech tantrum


The one day I don’t take the precaution of emailing drafts to myself so I can retrieve them from other computers is the day we get a couple of techies in to do some work.

They did the work and left.

Now when you phone us you get the fax and the only copy of the column I’ve written is sitting on a computer that will receive but not send as deadline approaches.

If it wasn’t for the influence of my mother I’d be saying some very bad words right now.

Thursday’s quiz


1. Who said: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do that by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”?

2. Who is the author who wrote Cut and Run and Slaughter Falls under the pseudonym Alix Bosco?

3. It’s miel in French and Spanish, miele in Italian and honi or miere in Maori, what is it in English?

4. Who was Piglet’s grandfather?

5. Which teams met for the Bronze final in the 2007 Rugby World Cup?

The essence of being a New Zealander


The more I travel or meet visitors from overseas here the more I realise there are usually more things which unite people from different countries than divide us.

That said, there are characteristics which make each nationality distinctive.

Some are physical, and I don’t just mean obvious genetic factors like skin colour.

The people we saw on the streets of Singapore during a stop-over looked very different from the mainly European, African, Middle Eastern and British people we’d been with for three and a half months in Spain. Among them I saw a couple walking towards us and long before I heard them speak I said to my farmer, “I bet they’re Kiwis.”

There was something about the way they walked and the way they were dressed which was familiar. Their accents, overheard as they passed us, proved me right, my ears confirming something my eyes had already recognised.

If there are physical characteristics, there is also a national character. Lt Gen Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae summed up ours in the speech at his swearing in as Governor General yesterday:

What I identify as the essence of being a New Zealander was put neatly by Sir Edmund Hillary when he said that “In some ways I believe I epitomise the average New Zealander: I have modest abilities, I combine these with a good deal of determination, and I rather like to succeed.” As a people, New Zealanders are in equal measures informal, strong-willed, competitive and yet also modest about all we have achieved. We have a strong sense of community, where public-spiritedness is appreciated and valued. We are inclined to be considerate and prepared to lend a helping hand to those in need. Yet we also like to get on and do stuff – we admire individual ingenuity and those who have a sense of adventure.

 We might not all be as good as this, but it is something towards which we can aspire.

On-line calculator unbundles milk price


The price of milk and Fonterra’s role in setting it is the subject of on-going debate and will now be investigated by a Select Committee.

The ValueAdd Company has done a lot of the work for them and has beaten them to the unbundling.

They’ve used the information they’ve found to provide  an on-line calculator which shows the cost components of milk production.

The calculations, which are based on some guesstimates, show the retail price includes mark-ups of 12% by Fonterra, 15% by wholesalers and 30% by retailers.

In a media release the company explains its calculations and concludes:

We built up other information from the referenced sources and our calculations came to the somewhat surprising conclusion that for the year ended 30 June 2011, a forecast payment to suppliers for milk of $8.00 per kg of milk solids (not yet finalised) would be $2.73 or 51.7% greater than the figure required to produce a break-even net margin on exported commodity products.

I am not sure why that is surprising.

It has been a particularly good year for commodity prices and the payout to farmers will reflect that and help make up for a couple of seasons ago when most dairy farms posted losses.

Dividends to NZers better than interest to foreigners


Quote of the week from  Finance Minister Bill English:

“We would rather pay dividends to New Zealanders than interest on rising debt to foreigners.”

The government need to invest more in schools, hospitals, roads  and other infrastructure.

It could pay for that by an  increase our already heavy borrowing from overseas or it could sell minority interests in a few of the many companies it owns.

Increasing borrowing will put pressure on interest rates and make the country more vulnerable to rough global waters.

Selling minority shares in four energy companies and Air New Zealand will provide investment opportunities for individuals, Iwi and institutions like ACC, community trusts and superannuation funds.

Some shares could also be bought by foreigners and there are benefits in that, but New Zealanders will still have a majority shareholding:

Overseas investors will play a role in helping to get a good price for taxpayers. They will also help deliver a robust and liquid market for New Zealanders.

But it’s important to remember that these companies will remain firmly – and overwhelmingly – in New Zealand control.

In total, we expect that across the programme New Zealanders will own at least 85 to 90 per cent of these companies – including the Government’s cornerstone shareholding.

There are solid reasons for expecting such strong domestic support for these shares. For example:

  • New Zealand retail investors currently have $105 billion sitting on the sidelines in term deposits, $108 billion in financial assets and between $100 billion and $150 billion of investment property. This adds up to total investments of over $300 billion, excluding their own homes.
  • The 34 registered KiwiSaver providers have about $9 billion invested and will double in size over the next four years.
  • New Zealand institutions (excluding KiwiSaver funds) have $59 billion under management.
  • Government CFIs (including the NZ Super Fund, ACC and GSF) have almost $40 billion under management.
  • Iwi are estimated to have over $10 billion of assets.

So the mixed ownership programme is small compared with the size of the local capital pool.

New Zealanders are also telling us they are hungry for other investment options, particularly with the shine having come off the investment property and finance company sectors.

This has been apparent in the strong domestic demand for corporate bonds. More than $11 billion of non-government debt has been issued over the past two years alone. Many INFINZ members will have participated.

What’s more, lower wholesale interest rates and a reduced demand for highly-geared property reinforce this appetite.

The government will free up $5 to $7 billion – about 3 per cent of its current assets – to invest in other infrastructure without having to borrow more and there are other benefits:

The mixed ownership model will improve the balance sheets of both taxpayers and investors, bring better commercial discipline to the companies concerned, and provide them with easier access to capital to grow.

It will also enable some of our bigger institutions to invest more in New Zealand and give individuals far safer places to invest money than dodgy finance companies.

September 1 in history


1355  Tvrtko I wrote in castro nostro Vizoka vocatum from old town Visoki.


1644  Battle of Tippermuir: Montrose defeated Elcho’s Covenanters, reviving the Royalist cause.

1653 Johann Pachelbel, German composer, was born (d. 1706). 

1715 King Louis XIV of France died after a reign of 72 years—the longest of any major European monarch. 

1772 Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa founded in San Luis Obispo, California.


1804 Juno, one of the largest main belt asteroids, was discovered by German astronomer Karl Ludwig Harding

1818 José María Castro Madriz, first President of Costa Rica and founder of the republic, was born (d. 1892). 

1836  Narcissa Whitman, one of the first English-speaking white women to settle west of the Rocky Mountains, arrives at Walla Walla, Washington.

1854 Engelbert Humperdinck, German composer, was born (d. 1921).

1862  American Civil War: Battle of Chantilly – Confederate forces attacked retreating Union troops.


1870  Franco-Prussian War: Battle of Sedan resulted in a decisive Prussian victory.

1873  Cetshwayo ascended to the throne as king of the Zulu nation following the death of his father Mpande. 

1875 A murder conviction effectively forced the violent Irish anti-owner coal miners, the “Molly Maguires“, to disband.

1876 Taranaki farmer Harry Atkinson became New Zealand’s Premier, succeeding Sir Julius Vogel.


1878 Emma Nutt became the world’s first female telephone operator when she was recruited by Alexander Graham Bell to the Boston Telephone Dispatch Company. 

1894 More than 400 people died in the Great Hinckley Fire, a forest fire in Hinckley, Minnesota.


1896 A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acarya of ISKCON, the Hare Krishna Movement, was born (d. 1977).


1897  The Boston subway opened, becoming the first underground rapid transit system in North America.

1902  A Trip to the Moon, considered one of the first science fiction films, was released in France.


1906 Eleanor Burford Hibertt (Jean Plaidy, Victoria Holt, Philippa Carr…), English writer, was born (d. 1993).

1906 The International Federation of Intellectual Property Attorneys was established.

1911 The armored cruiser Georgios Averof was commissioned into the Greek Navy.


1914 St. Petersburg, Russia, changed its name to Petrograd.

1914  The last passenger pigeon, a female named Martha, died in captivity in the Cincinnati Zoo. 

1920  The Fountain of Time opened as a tribute to the 100 years of peace between the United States and Great Britain following the Treaty of Ghent.

1923  The Great Kantō earthquake devastated Tokyo and Yokohama, killing about 105,000 people. 

1928 Ahmet Zogu declared Albania to be a monarchy and proclaimed himself king.

1933 Conway Twitty, American singer, was born (d. 1993).


1934  SMJK Sam Tet was founded by Father Fourgs from the St. Michael Church, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.


1939 World War II: Nazi Germany invaded Poland, beginning the war in Europe

1939 Lily Tomlin, American actress and comedian, was born.


1939 The Wound Badge for Wehrmacht, SS, Kriegsmarine, and Luftwaffe soldiers; and the final version of the Iron Cross were instituted. 

1939 Switzerland mobilised its forces and the Swiss Parliament elected Henri Guisan to head the Swiss Army (an event that can happen only during war or mobilisation). 

1946 Barry Gibb, English singer (Bee Gees), was born.

1951 The United States, Australia and New Zealand signed a mutual defense pact –  the ANZUS Treaty.


1961 The Eritrean War of Independence officially began with the shooting of the Ethiopian police by Hamid Idris Awate.


1962  Channel Television reached 54,000 households in the Channel Islands.

1964  The Indian Oil Corporation formed after the merger of the Indian Oil Refineries and the Indian Oil Company.


1969  A revolution in Libya brought Muammar al-Gaddafi to power.

1969 – Tran Thien Khiem became Prime Minister of South Vietnam under President Nguyen Van Thieu.

1970  Attempted assassination of King Hussein of Jordan by Palestinian guerrillas, who attacked his motorcade.

1972  American Bobby Fischer beat Russian Boris Spassky and became the world chess champion.

1973  J. D. Fortune, Canadian singer (INXS), was born.


1974 The SR-71 Blackbird set (and holds) the record for flying from New York to London in the time of 1 hour, 54 minutes and 56.4 seconds.


1979  The American space probe Pioneer 11 became the first spacecraft to visit Saturn when it passed the planet at a distance of 21,000 km.


1980  Terry Fox‘s Marathon of Hope ended in Thunder Bay, Ontario. 

1980  Major General Chun Doo-hwan became president of South Korea, following the resignation of Choi Kyu-hah.

1981  A coup d’état in the Central African Republic overthrew President David Dacko.

1982  Canada adopted the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as part of its Constitution. 

1982  The United States Air Force Space Command was founded.


1987 Dann Hume, New Zealand musician (Evermore), was born.


1983 Cold War: Korean Air Flight 007 was shot down by a Soviet Union jet fighter when the commercial aircraft enters Soviet airspace. All 269 on board died, including Congressman Lawrence McDonald.


1985  A joint American–French expedition located the wreckage of the RMS Titanic.

1987 Lorraine Cohen was sentenced to death by a Malaysian judge for heroin trafficking.

New Zealander sentenced to death in Malaysia

1991  Uzbekistan declared its  independence from the Soviet Union.

2004  Beslan school hostage crisis started when armed terrorists took children and adults hostage.


Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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