Word of the day


Execrate – to detest utterly, abhor, loathe; abominate; to declare to be detestable, evil, hateful or abhorrent; to to speak abusively or contemptuously of, curse, denounce, imprecate evil upon; damn.

Go Scotland


Tonight’s big Rugby World Cup match is the battle of the Brits – Scotland vs England.

With tartan genes I’d be supporting the Scots anyway but  there’s the added incentive in this final pool game that England losing might make it easier for Argentina in the quarter finals.

Scotland needs a win and a bonus point which is a big ask, but one player, Euan Murray who sat out last week’s match against Argentina because his faith wouldn’t allow him to play on Sunday, might be inspired by Eric Liddell. He was the Scottish athlete who gave up the opportunity to run in a heat on Sunday but went on to win an Olympic mdeal. 

Australia are playing Russia as I type and interest will be more on how both teams play rather than which one wins.

This evening there’s another northern vs southern hemisphere match and I’ll be backing Tonga against France.

Golden Oldies an opportunity grasped


When planning began for the  Rugby World Cup some people outside the centres which would host games knew there would be other opportunities for them.

One of these was Colin Jackson, CEO of the North Otago Rugby Union who organised the Waitaki Golden Oldies Rugby Festival which has brought 700 layers plus supporters from several different countries to Oamaru.

Among them is 87 year old Arthur Pacey.

To get locals into the mood, a heritage rugby game – played with rules, replica posts and field dimensions from the 1930s – took place last Friday.

The festival itself yesterday with the Bog Rocks Music Fest.

It’s continuing today with matches which will follow the Golden Oldies rules, including the one about the shorts:

    • All players must strictly observe the restrictions on the tackling of players wearing coloured shorts.
    • The wearing of coloured shorts does not give a player the right to tackle other players wearing shorts of the same colour.
    • A player wearing red shorts may attempt to tackle players wearing club shorts if they feel confident and comfortable about doing so.
    • Players wearing gold, purple or special coloured shorts may run with the ball for a total distance of 15 metres in any direction. Irrespective of the path taken, if that player is not in a position to score a try after carrying the ball a total distance of 15 metres, the ball must then be passed to a team mate wearing club shorts or red shorts only.
    • Club Shorts: The normal “take to ground” tackle law applies.
    • Red Shorts: Player may be “claimed and held” but not tackled. A player in red shorts who has been “claimed and held” is considered to have been tackled. That being so, this player must then immediately exercise one of the options required of any tackled player and either pass or release the ball. The opponent holding him must not prevent him from doing so.
    • Gold Shorts: Player must not be touched or tackled nor must he tackle or attempt to tackle others.
    • Purple Shorts: Player must not be touched or tackled nor must he tackle or attempt to tackle others.
    • Special Committee Shorts: Player must not be touched or tackled nor must he tackle or attempt to tackle others.

And there’s a gala dinner tonight with former All Blacks including Sir Colin Meads, Ian Kirkpatrick and Grant Batty.

The RWC games are necessarily in bigger centres which can cope with the numbers they attract.

But the organisers of this festival have taken the RWC organisers’ exhortation to spin it wide and have run with it so smaller centres can share the fun.



I wouldn’t go so far as the Herald which said my result was fabulous, but I’m satisfied with 9/10 in Question Time.

Take away the spades


I have never voted Labour and pigs will be flying in a frozen hell before I ever contemplate doing so.

But I have friends and family who do and our political views are merely differences of opinion that never intrude on our relationships.

For their sakes I’m reminding the Labour Party that when you’re in a hole you should stop digging.

Darien Fenton’s attack on Sir Peter Leitch was vindictive and stupid. Louisa Wall’s attempt to explain makes matters worse.

Someone who cares about Labour should take away all the spades before the hole gets any deeper.



5/10 in the Herald’s travel quiz – world cup minnows’ edition.

World Cup runneth over but not for everyone


The increase in tourists who have come to New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup is providing a welcome boost for the economy.  Trans Tasman reports:

Both the sporting and economic benefits from the Rugby World Cup are exceeding expectations, and there is now clear optimism the company set up to run the tournament will meet or even top its budget . . .

The injection of cash from visitors particularly in provincial centres is providing a welcome stimulus. It appears the contingents of supporters for some teams is larger than expected. The Pumas for example have about 10,000 of their countrymen on hand. Indications now are overseas visitors will spend between $800m and $1bn here over the period of the tournament.

Traffic is likely to lift as the tournament approaches the business end, and there is little doubt the hospitality trade has had a strong boost at a time of the year which would otherwise be relatively quiet.

I’ve been in Dunedin several times in the last three weeks and the city has been buzzing. Visitors have spread out into the hinterland providing a welcome boost to the provinces too.

However, the RWC  boost hasn’t been felt everywhere.

Four different Wellington taxi drivers I spoke to on Wednesday and Thursday told me that business has been quieter than usual.

They all said that they thought that meetings which might ordinarily have been held in the capital had been rescheduled for different times or places to avoid RWC crowds.

However, while the city was busy with domestic and overseas visitors when games were on, they thought tourists explored further afield between matches leaving the capital unusually quiet.

Downgrade won’t help opposition


Downgrades of New Zealand’s credit ratings by Fitch and Standards and Poors are disappointing but Finance Minister Bill English said they reflect global issues:

The agencies acknowledge that the Government has made progress in getting its own deficits and debt under control, despite the global financial crisis and substantial extra cost of the Canterbury earthquakes, Mr English says.

“Since we were elected nearly three years ago, this Government has focused on managing New Zealand through the Global Financial Crisis and starting to reduce our single biggest economic vulnerability – namely, our longstanding reliance on foreign debt.

“Having inherited forecasts of permanent deficits and debt spiralling out of control, we’ve set a path back to surplus when most countries will still be in deficit and borrowing.

That is in spite of an unprecedented series of financial problems and natural disasters outside the government’s control.

“New Zealand’s private savings have started to increase and as a result we have started to reduce our total external debt. But it still remains high.

“Figures out yesterday show New Zealand’s net international liabilities were 70% of GDP in the year to June – down from a peak of almost 86% two years ago and Budget 2009 forecasts of more than 100%.

“Compared to other countries, New Zealand has come through the recession reasonably well. We’re one of only 19 countries still rated AAA by Moody’s and we’re now the only highly-rated country with a two notch gap between our ratings with Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s.

“This reflects our unusual position of having relatively low public debt, but large private sector external debt, built up over several decades.”

New Zealand and New Zealanders were heavily indebted long before National took power and it would have taken more than three years to turn that round without a world recession, finance company failures and earthquakes.

The opposition has already seized on the downgrade to criticise National’s financial management but it won’t help them.

But a good part of the debt is due to Labour’s policies of welfare for people in greed rather than need and their failure to get sustainable growth when they had record surpluses.

They wasted the good times and will have a very difficult time convincing anyone we’d be in a better position if they were in power during bad times.

Rather than showing up National’s policies it reinforces the need to continue cutting government spending and getting the policy framework right to encourage savings and investment and facilitate export led growth.

October 1 in history


331 BC Alexander the Great defeated Darius III of Persia in the Battle of Gaugamela.

959  Edgar the Peaceable became king of all England.

1189  Gerard de Ridefort, grandmaster of the Knights Templar since 1184, was killed in the Siege of Acre.

1787  Russians under Alexander Suvorov defeated the Turks at the Battle of Kinburn.

1791  First session of the French Legislative Assembly.

1795  Belgium was conquered by France.

1800  Spain ceded Louisiana to France via the Treaty of San Ildefonso.

1811 The first steamboat to sail the Mississippi River arrived in New Orléans, Louisiana.

1814   Opening of the Congress of Vienna, intended to redraw the Europe’s political map after the defeat of Napoléon the previous spring.

1827  The Russian army under Ivan Paskevich stormed Yerevan, ending a millennium of Muslim domination in Armenia.

1843  The News of the World tabloid began publication in London.

1847  German inventor and industrialist Werner von Siemens founded Siemens AG & Halske.

1854   The watch company founded in 1850 in Roxbury by Aaron Lufkin Dennison relocated to Waltham, Massachusetts, to become the Waltham Watch Company, a pioneer in the American System of Watch Manufacturing.

1869   Austria issued the world’s first postcards.

1880  John Philip Sousa became leader of the United States Marine Band.

1880  First electric lamp factory opened by Thomas Edison.

1887  Balochistan conquered by the British Empire.

1890  The Yosemite National Park and the Yellowstone National Park were established by the U.S. Congress.

1891  Stanford University opened.

1898  Czar Nikolay II expelled Jews from major Russian cities.

1898  The Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration was founded under the name k.u.k. Exportakademie.

1903  Baseball: The Boston Americans played the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first game of the modern World Series.

1905  František Pavlík was killed in a demonstration in Prague, inspiring Leoš Janáček to the piano composition 1. X. 1905.

1908  Ford put the Model T car on the market at a price of US$825.

1910  Los Angeles Times bombing: A large bomb destroyed the Los Angeles Times building in downtown Los Angeles, California, killing 21.

1918  World War I: Arab forces under T. E. Lawrence (a/k/a “Lawrence of Arabia”) captured Damascus.

1920 Sir Percy Cox landed in Basra to assume his responsibilities as high commissioner in Iraq.

1920 US actor Walter Matthau was born.

1924 US President Jimmy Carter was born.

1926  An oil field accident cost aviator Wiley Post his left eye – he used the settlement money to buy his first aircraft.

1928 The Soviet Union introduced its First Five-Year Plan.

1931  The George Washington Bridge linking New Jersey and New York opened.

1935 actress Julie Andrews was born.

1936  Francisco Franco was named head of the Nationalist government of Spain.

1938  Germany annexed the Sudetenland.

1939  After a one-month Siege of Warsaw, hostile forces entered the city.

1940  The Pennsylvania Turnpike, often considered the first superhighway in the United States, opened to traffic.

1942 USS Grouper torpedoed Lisbon Maru not knowing she was carrying British PoWs from Hong Kong.

1942  First flight of the Bell XP-59 “Aircomet”.

1945 US musician Donny Hathaway was born.

1946  Nazi leaders sentenced at Nuremberg Trials.

1946  Mensa International was founded in the United Kingdom.

1947  The F-86 Sabre flew for the first time.

1949  The People’s Republic of China was declared by Mao Zedong.

1958  NASA created to replace NACA.

1960  Nigeria gained independence from the United Kingdom.

1961  East and West Cameroon merged as Federal Republic of Cameroon.

1962  First broadcast of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.

1964 The Free Speech Movement was launched on the campus of University of California, Berkeley.

1964  Japanese Shinkansen (“bullet trains”) began high-speed rail service from Tokyo to Osaka.

1965 Apostasia of 1965, a political move in Greece designed to overthrow the Prime Minister, George Papandreou.

1965 – General Suharto crushed an attempted coup in Indonesia.

1966 West Coast Airlines Flight 956 crashed with 18 fatal injuries and no survivors 5.5 miles south of Wemme, Oregon.

1969  The Concorde supersonic transport plane broke the sound barrier for the first time.

1971  Walt Disney World opened near Orlando, Florida.

1975  The Seychelles gained internal self-government.

1975  The Ellice Islands split from Gilbert Islands and took the name Tuvalu.

1975  Thrilla in Manila: Muhammad Ali defeated Joe Frazier in a boxing match in Manila.

1978  Tuvalu gained independence from the United Kingdom.

1978  The Voltaic Revolutionary Communist Party was founded.

1979 The United States returned sovereignty of the Panama canal to Panama.

1982  Helmut Kohl replaced Helmut Schmidt as Chancellor of Germany through a Constructive Vote of No Confidence.

1982  EPCOT Centre opened at Walt Disney World.

1982  Sony launched the first consumer compact disc player (model CDP-101).

1985  The Israeli air force bombs PLO Headquarters in Tunis.

1986 Goods & Services Tax (GST) was introduced in New Zealand.

Goods and Service Tax Act comes into force

1987  The Whittier Narrows earthquake shook the San Gabriel Valley, registering as a magnitude 5.9.

1989  Denmark: World’s first legal modern same-sex civil union called “registered partnership”

1991  New Zealand’s Resource Management Act 1991 started.

1992  Turkish destroyer TCG Muavenet (DM-357) crippled causing 27 deaths and injuries, by missiles negligently launched by U.S. aircraft carrier USS Saratoga.

1994  Palau gained independence from the United Nations (trusteeship administered by the United States of America).

1998  Vladimir Putin became a permanent member of the Security Council of the Russian Federation.

2009  The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, which acquired the judicial functions of the House of Lords, began work.

Sourced from NZ History & Wikipedia

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