Word of the day


Taradiddle – a small lie, fabrication, fib; pretentious nonsense.

Backing winner to lose later


The Silver Ferns beat England 53-32 in Invercargill last night.

The Black Sticks beat the Kookaburras 3-0 in Hobart.

Here’s hoping the All Blacks give us a third international win tomorrow (difficult as I find it to say that when they’ll be playing Argentina).

Tonight Ireland meets Wales in Wellington and England meets France in Auckland in the first two quarter final rugby World Cup games.

The winner of these matches play each other in next week’s semi-final and the winner of that will meet the strongest Southern Hemisphere team in the final.

I don’t have an emotional attachment to any of the four remaining Northern Hemisphere teams.

I’ll be backing a winner to lose when it gets to the final where all fingers and toes crossed they will . . .  no I can’t bring myself to write it in case it doesn’t happen.



I could claim an improvement after the dismal showing in this morning’s quiz but most of the correct answers in my 6/10 in the Herald’s Rugby World Cup quiz were guesses.

Speakers office running on less than 50% of previous term’s cost


The final speech by speaker Lockwood Smith looking back on the 49th parliament, is worth listening to.

It includes some statistics, the most impressive of which came during his tribute to his staff.  Dr Smith gave credit to his senior private secretary who managed to run the Speaker’s office on less than 50% of the cost of the previous term.

Other stats:

  • The house sat for 1650 hours, 150 more than the previous parliament.
  • A quarter of those were in urgency and Dr Smith said he hopes proposals for changes to Standing Orders adopted by the House will facilitate less reliance on urgency in future.
  • Only two Members Bills received royal assent. That was only one fewer than in the 48th parliament and he hopes that proposed changes will enable more of those Bills to be considered next term.
  • The Finance and expenditure select committee was the busiest, in terms of reports presented to the House, the Commerce select Committee was a close second.
  • There was a 40% increase in the number of written questions asked of Ministers.
  • In spite of 17 fewer sitting days more oral questions were asked and Dr Smith put that down to Question Time continuing even when the House was in urgency.

Dr Smith turned from statistics to reflections on some of the memorable moments of the term.

Among these was a speech by Tau Henare who interjected with a mention of Linda Lovelace about which Dr Smith said: “you my colleagues seemed to understand what that meant, I had no idea what he was . . . on about.”

He finished by wishing his colleagues well, thanked them for treating him with courtesy and concluded with “Go the mighty All Blacks.”

Dr Smith has gained respect from across the House and outside it for the  improved behaviour in the House and his even-handed treatment of MPs. This was not always appreciated by Ministers who are held to a higher standard than those in previous administrations.

Friday’s answers


Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who is Australia’s deputy Prime Minister?

2. Who said: “All our discontents about what we want appeared to spring from
the want of thankfulness for what we have.”?

3. It’s printemps in French; primavera   in Italian and Spanish and piringa in Maori, what is it in English?

4. Name the Greek goddess of love and beauty and god of music, healing, plague, prophecies, poetry, and archery

5. Where are the Barents and Arabian Seas?

Points for answers:

Andrei got three.

James got four; Cadwallader got four and a grin for #2; Gravedodger got four with a bonus for extra information; each therefore get an electronic bunch of bluebells.

Adam got three and a bonus for reasoning for #2.

Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »



Oh dear – only 3/12 in Stuff’s RWC semi-finalist quiz on South Africa.

Genius does not follow politicians’ prescriptions


Quote of the week from Sir Paul Callaghan:

Sir Paul cites 20 top technology companies, not one of which is remotely a Clean Tech company, except in as much as they are all environmentally benign. “That latter, in my view, is all that matters, that and being the best in the world at what they do and hence viable and profitable. The evidence suggests what we are actually good at is not at all what the Green Party would like us to be good at. What we are good at is a result of brilliant entrepreneurship and business expertise. Such genius does not follow politicians’ prescriptions.”

Politicians should be reducing the burden of government both in cost and regulatory terms.

They should be ensuring the policy framework is conducive to doing business with necessary environmental and social safeguards.

They should then leave decisions on what business to do to the people doing it.

Blame it on the bank


Rabobank opened its new and larger office in Oamaru yesterday.

It’s the only major bank with a dedicated rural team in North Otago and the need for more office space reflects the growth in its business in the area.

The opening was fun and morphed into dinner which turned into a late night which is why I’m not going to write the usual sort of early morning post.

You can consider it an opportunity for general debate if you wish.

Normal blogging will resume later.

October 7 in history


On October 7:

3761 BC – The epoch of the modern Hebrew calendar (Proleptic Julian calendar).

336  Pope Mark died, leaving the papacy vacant.

1513  Battle of La Motta: Spanish troops under Ramón de Cardona defeated the Venetians.

1542  Explorer Cabrillo discovered Santa Catalina Island off the California coast.

1571  The Battle of Lepanto – the Holy League (Spain and Italy) destroyed the Turkish fleet.

1763 George III  issued British Royal Proclamation of 1763, closing aboriginal lands in North America north and west of Alleghenies to white settlements.

1776 Crown Prince Paul of Russia married Sophie Marie Dorothea of Württemberg.

1777 American Revolutionary War: The Americans defeated the British in the Second Battle of Saratoga, also known as the Battle of Bemis Heights.

1780  American Revolutionary War: Battle of Kings Mountain American Patriot militia defeat Loyalist irregulars led by British colonel Patrick Ferguson in South Carolina.

1800  French corsair Robert Surcouf, commander of the 18-gun ship La Confiance, captured the British 38-gun Kent inspiring the traditional French song Le Trente-et-un du mois d’août.

1826  The Granite Railway began operations as the first chartered railway in the U.S.

1828  The city of Patras, Greece, was liberated by the French expeditionary force in Peloponnese under General Maison.

1840  Willem II became King of the Netherlands.

1864  American Civil War: Battle of Darbytown Road: the Confederate forces’ attempt to regain ground that had been lost around Richmond is thwarted.

1864 American Civil War: U.S.S. Wachusett captured the CSS Florida Confederate raider ship while in port in Bahia, Brazil.

1868  Cornell University held opening day ceremonies; initial student enrollment was 412, the highest at any American university to that date.

1870  Franco-Prussian War – Siege of Paris: Leon Gambetta fled Paris in a balloon.

1879  Germany and Austria-Hungary signed the “Twofold Covenant” and created the Dual Alliance.

1900 Heinrich Himmler, German Nazi official, was born (d. 1945).

1912  The Helsinki Stock Exchange‘s first transaction.

1914 Sarah Churchill, British actress, was born (d. 1982).

1916 Georgia Tech defeated Cumberland University 222-0 in the most lopsided college football game in American history.

1917 Count Felix Graf von Luckner, the German “Sea-Devil” was imprisoned in New Zealand.

German 'Sea Devil' imprisoned in NZ

1919  KLM, the flag carrier of the Netherlands, was founded. It is the oldest airline still operating under its original name.

1920  The Suwalki Agreement between Poland and Lithuania was signed.

1931  Desmond Tutu, South African archbishop and Nobel Laureate, was born.

1933  Air France was inaugurated, after being formed from a merger of 5 French airlines.

1934  Aeromexico was inaugareted 75 years after it becomes the # 1 airline in Mexico.

1939 – John Hopcroft, American computer scientist was born.

1940  World War II: the McCollum memo proposed bringing the United States into the war in Europe by provoking the Japanese to attack the United States.

1942  World War II: The October Matanikau action on Guadalcanal began as United States Marine Corps forces attacked Japanese Army units along the Matanikau River.

1944 World War II: Uprising at Birkenau concentration camp, Jews burned down the crematoria.

1949  German Democratic Republic (East Germany) formed.

1952 Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister and former President of the Russian Federation, was born.

1955  Beat poet Allen Ginsberg read his poem “Howl” for the first time at a poetry reading in San Francisco.

1958  President of Pakistan Iskander Mirza, with the support of General Ayub Khan and the army, suspended the 1956 constitution, imposed martial law, and cancelled the elections scheduled for January 1959.

1959 U.S.S.R. probe Luna 3 transmitted its first ever photographs of the far side of the moon.

1962  U.S.S.R. performed nuclear test at Novaya Zemlya.

1963  John F. Kennedy signed ratification for Partial Test Ban Treaty.

1977  The adoption of the Fourth Soviet Constitution.

1982  Cats opened on Broadway.

1985  The Achille Lauro was hijacked by Palestine Liberation Organization.

1993  The Great Flood of 1993 ended at St. Louis, Missouri, 103 days after it began.

2001  The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan started with an air assault and covert operations on the ground.

2004 King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia abdicated.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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