Are we excited yet? #3


Rugby World Cup opening ceremony questions:

1. Wasn’t it spectacular? 

2. Did you enjoy the multi-cultural approach, including the pipe band towards the end?

3. Aren’t you pleased you’re not stuck on a train in Auckland?

4. Did you notice the National Anthem was easier to sing than some versions?

It was a special arrangement by University of Otago music lecturer and composer Dr Anthony Ritchie:

“It’s often put in A-flat major, or even higher keys. I’ve put mine [lower] in G major so that it’s more manageable for the average person at the game to sing along to.”

5. Are you excited yet?

Word of the day


Maffick – to rejoice with an extravagant and boisterous public celebration.

Turn silver into gold


Opponents of even the partial sale of a few state assets wail about selling the family silver but as Owen Glenn says:

If selling the “family silver” produces gold, and a continuing return on investment, then it makes sound economic sense.

Quite why Labour thinks borrowing from foreign banks is better than paying 49% of the dividends to shareholders, most of whom will be New Zealanders and all of whom will pay tax on their earnings, defies logic.

For a sobering look at what happens when you continue borrowing to live beyond your means, check out this video of the real national debt .

Friday’s answers


Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said: “The higher we soar, the smaller we appear to those who cannot fly.”?

2. Who is Fonterra’s CEO and what nationality is his successor?

3. Who founded WOW and where did it begin?.

4. What are the Argentinean, French and USA rugby teams called?

5. It’s viande in French, carne in Italian and Spanish and mīti in Maori, what is it in English?

Points for answers:

Andrei got three.

PDM got two and a grin for #1.

David got one.

Gravedodger wins an electronic bunch of fresias with four right (over looking the mince because it’s must meat for #5)  and a bonus for extra information on #2.


Answers follow the break.

Read the rest of this entry »

NZ wins World Cup


We’ve won!

Well not the World Cup but a World Cup – New Zealand has won the Parliamentary World Cup.

The New Zealand team made up of MPs, political advisers and guest players including an ex-All Black made a strong start and won “about 40-nil” in the final played in Auckland according to captain and National MP for Napier Chris Tremain.

They were playing Argentina and while I’m delighted New Zealand won that game, I’ll be backing the blue and white team in the first RWC game at Dunedin’s new stadium tomorrow. (But, shhh,  don’t tell my English sister-in-law).

¡Vamos Argentina!

Point was to make political point


If you’re arranging a debate for entertainment or intellectual exercise the moot is irrelevant.

If , like  Hampden Community Energy you’re arranging a debate to make a political point then you frame the moot to achieve that and confirm what you already believe.

The first debate the group organised was a couple of years ago.  I was asked, at the last minute, to take part to represent the National Party, arguing the affirmative on a topic to the effect that all economic growth was good.

I was already committed to something else on the date and explained that even if I hadn’t been, it was the role of MPs, not volunteers, to speak on policy.

My caller said he’d asked MPs, including the Prime Minister, but they weren’t available. I said given the short notice that wasn’t surprising. He said that the date was arranged to suit one of the other speakers, I said that MPs in general and the PM in particular were usually booked up weeks, sometimes months, in advance and if he’d really wanted them he’d have to be prepared to work round their diaries first.

He said  the debate was important and they’d cancel prior commitments to go to a funeral. I said, funerals were usually unforeseen and there was little room for negotiation on when they happened.

He repeated the debate was important and the PM and other MPs should cancel something else to attend it. I asked how he’d feel if they committed to his event then pulled out because they got a better offer?

He reiterated how important it was, I could see nothing I could say would help and ended the call.

The debate went ahead with a former Act MP, and another couple taking the affirmative.

HCE arranged another debate on the topic of the sustainability of growth 15 months later. The PM and other ministers declined invitations but Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean, Invercargill MP Eric Roy and Selwyn MP Amy Adams accepted.

The organiser wasn’t satisfied with that and complained in the media that the team would be comprised of  MPs not ministers. Jacqui, understandably decided she shouldn’t ask her colleagues to waste their time when they weren’t wanted and pulled the team. That debate went ahead too.

HCE planned a third debate, this time on the partial sale of state assets but when no National MPs were available the organisers cancelled it.

They shouldn’t be unhappy with that outcome though. The point of the debate was to make a political point and get publicity for their point of view and they have.

Sacred cow survey


The Main Report (which publishes Trans Tasman) is carrying out what it calls a sacred cow survey.

It gets that name because it asks for views on issues the two bigger parties are usually reluctant to go near, although this year Labour is promoting the first and National the second.

The questions it’s seeking views on are:

1. Do you support a Capital Gains Tax for New Zealand?

2. Do you support a policy of partial asset sales?

3. Do you support MMP?

4. Do you support raising the retirement age (by which I presume they’re asking about eligibility for superannuation)?

5. Do you support the premise New Zealand needs more immigrants.

6. Do you support retaining the Maori seats.

7. Do you support the claim parliament has too many seats.

8. Do you support New Zealand becoming a republic?

9. Do you support a more interventionist Government stance on the economy?

10. Do you support foreigners being able to buy New Zealand land and rural assets?

Each question had five options from not at all through somewhat, neutral/not bothered either way, and in favour to strongly support.

My answers, from memory were:

1. Somewhat – only if it was simple, comprehensive and part of a total package which reduced taxes overall.

2. Strongly.

3. No – seats are too big geographically and the system gives poorer representation for people and too much power for parties.

4. Somewhat – I’d support a gradual increase in the age of eligibility for superannuation and/or choice of receiving a lower amount at an earlier age or delaying retirement and getting a higher amount.

5. Strongly – our natural population growth is too low to be sustainable. We need immigrants to do work locals won’t and for skilled positions where we have shortages. They also add to cultural diversity.

6. No, they are an historical anachronism, no longer needed and give poorer representation for Maori.

7. Not bothered either way – we’d have about 104 seats now if we’d stuck with FPP.

8. Not bothered – am republican in my head and monarchist in my heart.

9. No – governments should get the policy framework right and leave the rest to us.

10. Yes – they can’t take it with them, they have to abide by the same  laws and regulations as we do and often pay more which benefits vendors who then have more to invest in other areas.

Panic could lead to leadership change


Trans Tasman opines:

Tactically, logically, and in every possible medium term political calculation, Labour leader Phil Goff should be safe until after the election. It makes no sense for anyone else to want to take over and lead the party into what is seen as an inevitable defeat. . . .

But  . . . we can’t rule out a sudden, panicky, caucus mudslide which sweeps Goff aside before the election campaign starts properly. If it were done around the time of the Rugby World Cup quarter or semi-finals, a lot of people might not even notice.

But if nobody is likely to notice why would they do it?

The more Labour’s polling stays in the mid-20s, the more likely enough Labour MPs, facing the prospect not only of another three years of opposition but of losing their seats, will panic.

Panic isn’t one of the better reasons for a leadership change.

But if the polls continue what appears to be an inexorable slide towards a worse result than 2008, panic could combine with self-interest and prompt at least one of the four would-be leaders to chance their hand.

The danger is that if one gives it a go at least one of the others will want to be in contention too. Instead of a quick, clean coup they’ll get a prolonged and messy contest which will provide yet another reason to panic.

September 9 in history


9 Arminius’ alliance of six Germanic tribes ambushed and annihilated three Roman legions of Publius Quinctilius Varus in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest.

1000 Battle of Svolder.

1379  Treaty of Neuberg, split Austrian Habsburg lands between the Habsburg Dukes Albert III and Leopold III.

1493 Battle of Krbava field, a decisive defeat of Croats in the fight against the invasion by the Ottoman Empire.

1513  James IV of Scotland was defeated and died in the Battle of Flodden Field, ending Scotland’s involvement in the War of the League of Cambrai.

1543 Mary Stuart, at nine months old, was crowned “Queen of Scots”.

1739 Stono Rebellion, the largest slave uprising in Britain’s mainland North American colonies prior to the American Revolution, started.

1754 William Bligh, British naval officer, was born (d. 1817).

1776 The Continental Congress officially named its new union of sovereign states the United States.

Congress voting independence.jpg

1791  Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States, was named after President George Washington.

1828 Leo Tolstoy, Russian novelist, was born (d. 1910). 

1839 John Herschel took the first glass plate photograph. 

1850 – The Compromise of 1850 stripped Texas of a third of its claimed territory in return for the U.S. federal government assuming $10 million of Texas’s pre-annexation debt. 

1886 The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works was finalised. 

1914  World War I: The creation of the Canadian Automobile Machine Gun Brigade, the first fully mechanized unit in the British Army.

1922 Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1922 ended with Turkish victory over the Greeks.

1922 Hoyt Curtin, American songwriter, was born (d. 2000).

1923  Mustafa Kemal Atatürk founded the Republican People’s Party.

1924 Hanapepe Massacre on Kauai, Hawaii.

1926 he U.S. National Broadcasting Company was formed.

1940 George Stibitz pioneered the first remote operation of a computer. 

1941 Otis Redding, American singer and songwriter, was born (d. 1967).

1942  World War II: A Japanese floatplane dropped an incendiary bomb on Oregon.

1944  World War II: The Fatherland Front tookpower in Bulgaria through a military coup in the capital and armed rebellion in the country estagblishing anew pro-Soviet government. 

1945  Second Sino-Japanese War: Japan formally surrendered to China. 

1945 First  case of a computer bug being found: a moth lodged in a relay of a Harvard Mark II computer at Harvard University.

1948 Republic Day of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

1951 Alexander Downer, Australian politician, was born.

1952 David A. Stewart, English musician (Eurythmics), was born.

1956 Elvis Presley appearedon The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time.

1960 Hugh Grant, English actor, was born.

1965 – Hurricane Betsy made its second landfall near New Orleans, Louisiana, leaving 76 dead and $1.42 billion ($10–12 billion in 2005 dollars) in damages. 

1966 Adam Sandler, American actor and comedian, was born.

1969  Rachel Hunter, New Zealand model and actress, was born.

1969  Allegheny Airlines Flight 853 DC-9 collided in flight with a Piper PA-28 and crashed near Fairland, Indiana.

1971  The four-day Attica Prison riot began.

1976 The Wanganui Computer Act established the New Zealand government’s first centralised electronic database.

Wanganui Computer legislation passed

1990  1990 Batticaloa massacre, massacre of 184 minority Tamil civilians by Sri Lankan Army.

1991 Tajikstan gains independence from the Soviet Union.

1993  The Palestine Liberation Organization officially recognised Israel as a legitimate state.

2000 Victoria Federica de Marichalar y de Borbón, granddaughter of king Juan Carlos I of Spain, was born.

2001 Ahmed Shah Massoud, leader of the Northern Alliance, was assassinated in Afghanistan.

2001 – Pärnu methanol tragedy  in Pärnu County,  Estonia.

2004  –  Australian embassy bombing in Jakarta killed 10 people.

 2009 – Vladikavkaz bombing:  a suicide car bomber detonated his explosives at the Central market in Vladikavkaz killing at least 17 and injuring more than 160.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipeida

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