That was a very good game of rugby.

I’m delighted the All Blacks won and that Los Pumas played well.

Muchas gracias, Argentina, jugué muy bien. (Thank you Argentina, you played very well).

Next year’s Four Nations tournament could be very exciting.

Matilda will waltz again


I’m pleased for Robbie Deans that Australia managed to beat the Springboks – albeit just and against the run of play.

Matilda will waltz again in next week’s semi final.

Word of the day


Adumbrate – to give a sketchy outline, prefigure indistinctly; foreshadow; to disclose partially or guardedly;  overshadow, shadow or obscure.

Vamos Argentina pero . . .


If Argentina was playing any other team than the All Blacks I’d be backing Los Pumas.

Since they are playing New Zealand I’m saying vamos Argentina pero no demasiado bien  – play well Argentina, but not too well.

I’m conflicted with the other quarter-final game.

I want the winner to be whichever team the All Blacks are most likely to defeat should we get through to the next round and I’d like that to be Australia. But my farmer who knows far more about rugby than I do and who was in Brisbane to for the last Tri-Nations game when the Wallabies beat the All Blacks, reckons South Africa might be an easier semi-final opponent.

We were at a 21st birthday party last night but what from what I saw of the two games,  Wales deserved its 22-10 victory over Ireland and the French earned their semi-fianl spot by beating England 19 -12.


My windscreen story is bigger than yours


A Facebook post about running over a duck and her ducklings led to several comments including one about a hawk which went through a  windscreen.

I can trump that.

My farmer and a friend were coming home from Southland late one night. As they drove up the Kilmog hill north of Evensdale a stag leapt off a bank, landed on the car bonnet and came through the windscreen, antlers first.

Neither of the men was badly injured but the stag died and the car was written off.

Another friend had a horse land on his bonnet while he (the friend not the horse) was driving over the Desert Road and a neighbour had a bull land on his bonnet when he (the neighbour not the bull) was driving on State Highway 1.

When you drive on country roads you get used to hitting wildlife and it’s dangerous to try to avoid smaller creatures like rabbits, possums, birds and lambs.

Whether you try to avoid bigger animals such as sheep is a matter of judgement. It is usually better to try to give way to horses and cattle if you have the time and space to do so safely.



Why do I bother – 3/10 in the Herald’s entertainment quiz, two of which were lucky guesses.

Dutch tightening cannabis laws


Holland is often quoted as a model for liberalising cannabis laws and it is a mistaken belief that the drug isn’t restricted there.

It is and those restrictions are about to be tightened:

The Dutch government is reclassifying high-strength cannabis to put it in the same category as hard drugs.

It says the amount of the main active chemical in the drug, THC, has gone up, making it far more potent than a generation ago.

It means the infamous coffee shops of Amsterdam and other cities will be forced to take the popular, high-strength varieties off their shelves, the BBC reports.

Dutch politicians say high-strength cannabis, known as “skunk”, is more dangerous than it was before.

In the future, anything containing more than 15% THC will be treated the same way as hard drugs, such as cocaine and ecstasy.

The move is a big blow to the coffee shops – and means they will have to replace about 80% of their stock with weaker varieties.

Proponents of liberalising cannabis laws here portray it as harmless, or at least relatively so, but as the Dutch have discovered it is much stronger than it used to be and therefore more dangerous.

Thank goodness polls don’t always translate to election results


In a farewell interview on The Nation this morning, Jim Anderton said at one time the Alliance party was the most popular in New Zealand and he was leading the polls as most preferred candidate for Prime Minister.

Imagine the mess the country would be in had those polls translated into election results.

Thank goodness they don’t always.

Voting for MMP won’t guarantee change


When the referendum on our electoral system was being discussed earlier this year,  it was suggested that MMP would be reviewed regardless of the outcome.

If the majority of voters opted to keep MMP there would be a review. If they didn’t there would still be a review. Any changes to MMP confirmed as a result of that would be incorporated in the model which would then be put up against whichever of the alternatives gained most votes in the first referendum.

As I discovered last Monday that didn’t make it into legislation.

If a majority vote for MMP next month there will be a review of it. If the majority vote for change there won’t be a review and we’ll get a second referendum in which to choose between the system as we know it and the most popular alternative from the first referendum.

Campaign for MMP is correct that only a vote for MMP will lock in a review but that doesn’t guarantee any change.

Getting consensus on changes will be a very difficult task.

One of the aspects many people dislike about MMP is the way it allows an MP who is rejected by an electorate to enter, or return to, parliament on a party list.

The easiest solution to that is to allow candidates to stand on the list or for a seat but not both.

That’s not something National and Labour, the two parties most affected by this, are likely to support. It would lead to difficulties getting candidates to stand in marginal electorates or seats they’d never win. Wee parties which stand candidates in unwinnable seats to fly the party flag might also be reluctant to adpot this measure.

If the change was to apply to a candidate who held a seat then lost it rather than those who tried to win it and didn’t, it might get wider support. However, a candidate at risk of losing a seat could, with her/his party’s co-operation, get round that clause by standing on the list and not in an electorate.

Getting consensus on other suggested improvements will be just as difficult and the one change I regard as important – smaller electorates – won’t come about under MMP without a considerable increase in the number of MPs. I doubt any party would suggest something likely to be so very unpopular with voters as that.

The Campaign for MMP is right that a vote for MMP will lock in a review but it won’t guarantee popular change or indeed any change at all.

You can never go back


Last Saturday during a conversation with a former MP the topic of a return to parliament came up.

He said, “You can never go back, even if you try it’s never to the same place.”

Sir Roger Douglas’s valedictory speech in which he spoke of his achievements in the 1980s when he was Finance Minister in a Labour government and said nothing of the last three years as an Act MP, is proof of that.

The former MP added, “John Banks will discover that too.”

But if current polling of the Epsom electorate is a true indication of what will happen on election day, it is possible that he won’t get a chance.

The poll shows National candidate Paul Goldsmith is well ahead of Banks, even though he’s campaigning for the party vote not both.

That might change in the next few weeks but it is possible that Banks won’t win the electorate and with the loss of that seat Act’s hopes of staying in parliament will almost certainly go too.

Epsom voters, like those in Ohariu, have voted  tactically in the last few elections, giving the wee party candidate their electorate vote and their party votes to National.

Even though it’s the party vote that counts and they have a National list MP, it isn’t something party members enjoy.

The poll suggests that other voters in Epsom are getting sick of it too and will have to be given some very good reasons to continue splitting their votes.

Should the election defy the poll prediction and send not just Banks but Act party leader Don Brash back to parliament, Dr Brash will also find that he can’t go back.

Being leader of a wee party on the way down is very different from leading a major party ont he way up.

October 9 in history


768  Carloman I and Charlemagne were crowned Kings of The Franks.

1201 Robert de Sorbon, French theologian and founder of the Sorbonne, was born (d. 1274).

1238  James I of Aragon conquered Valencia and founded the Kingdom of Valencia.

1264   The Kingdom of Castile conquered the city of Jerez that was under Muslim occupation since 711.

1446  The hangul alphabet was published in Korea.

1514  Marriage of Louis XII of France and Mary Tudor.

1604  Supernova 1604, the most recent supernova to be observed in the Milky Way.

1635  Founder of Rhode Island Roger Williams was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony as a religious dissident after he speaks out against punishments for religious offenses and giving away Native American land.

1701  The Collegiate School of Connecticut (later renamed Yale University) was chartered in Old Saybrook.

1771  The Dutch merchant ship Vrouw Maria sank near the coast of Finland.

1776  Father Francisco Palou founded Mission San Francisco de Asis in what is now San Francisco, California.

1799  Sinking of HMS Lutine, with the loss of 240 men and a cargo worth £1,200,000.

1804  Hobart, capital of Tasmania, was founded.

1812  War of 1812: In a naval engagement on Lake Erie, American forces captured two British ships: HMS Detroit and HMS Caledonia.

1820  Guayaquil declared independence from Spain.

1824  Slavery was abolished in Costa Rica.

1831  Capo d’Istria was assassinated.

1835  The Royal College, Colombo in Sri Lanka was established with the name Hillstreet Academy.

1837  A meeting at the U.S. Naval Academy established the U.S. Naval Institute.

1845  The eminent and controversial Anglican, John Henry Newman, was received into the Roman Catholic Church.

1854  Crimean War: The siege of Sebastopol began.

1861  American Civil War: Battle of Santa Rosa Island – Union troops repelled a Confederate attempt to capture Fort Pickens.

1864  American Civil War: Battle of Tom’s Brook – Union cavalrymen in the Shenandoah Valley defeated Confederate forces.

1888  The Washington Monument officially opened to the general public.

1900 Alastair Sim, Scottish actor, was born (d. 1976).

1911  An accidental bomb explosion in Hankou, Wuhan, China les to the ultimate fall of the Qing Empire

1913  Steamship SS Volturno caught fire in the mid-Atlantic.

1914  World War I: Siege of Antwerp – Antwerp fell to German troops.

1931 Tony Booth, British actor and father of Cherie Blair, was born.

1934  The assassination of King Alexander I of Yugoslavia and Louis Barthou, Foreign Minister of France.

1936   Generators at Boulder Dam (later renamed to Hoover Dam) began to generate electricity from the Colorado River and transmit it 266 miles to Los Angeles, California.

1937 Brian Blessed, English actor, was born.

1940 John Lennon, British musician and songwriter (The Beatles), was born (d. 1980).

1940   Battle of Britain – During a night-time air raid by the German Luftwaffe, St. Paul’s Cathedral was hit by a bomb.

1941  A coup in Panama declared Ricardo Adolfo de la Guardia Arango the new president.

1942   Statute of Westminster 1931 formalised Australian autonomy.

1942 The last day of the October Matanikau action on Guadalcanal as United States Marine Corps forces withdrew back across the Matanikau River after destroying most of the Japanese Army’s 4th Infantry Regiment.

1944 John Entwistle, British musician (The Who), was born (d. 2002).

1945   Parade in NYC for Fleet Admiral Nimitz and 13 USN/USMC Medal of Honor recipients.

1950 Jody Williams, American teacher and aid worker, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, was born.

1952 Sharon Osbourne, English music manager and wife of Ozzy Osbourne, was born.

1954 James Fearnley, English musician (The Pogues), was born.

1962  Uganda becomes an independent Commonwealth realm.

1963  In northeast Italy, over 2,000 people were killed when a large landslide behind the Vajont Dam caused a giant wave of water to overflow it.

1966  David Cameron, British politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born.

1967 The six-o’clock swill ended.

The end of the 'six o'clock swill'

1967  A day after being captured, Marxist revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara was executed for attempting to incite a revolution in Bolivia.

1970   The Khmer Republic was proclaimed in Cambodia.

1978 Nicky Byrne, Irish musician (Westlife), was born.

1981  Abolition of capital punishment in France.

1983  Rangoon bombing: attempted assassination of South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan during an official visit to Rangoon, Burma. Chun survived but the blast killed 17 of his entourage, including four cabinet ministers, and injured 17 others. Four Burmese officials also died in the blast.

1986  The musical The Phantom of the Opera had its first performance at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London.

1989  An official news agency in the Soviet Union reported the landing of a UFO in Voronezh.

1989  In Leipzig, East Germany, 70,000 protesters demanded the legalisation of opposition groups and democratic reforms.

1992  A 13 kilogramme (est.) fragment of the Peekskill meteorite landed in the driveway of the Knapp residence in Peekskill, New York, destroying the family’s 1980 Chevrolet Malibu.

1999 The last flight of the SR-71.

2001  Second mailing of anthrax letters from Trenton, New Jersey in the 2001 anthrax attack.

2006  North Korea allegedly tested its first nuclear device.

2009  First lunar impact of the Centaur and LCROSS spacecrafts as part of NASA’s Lunar Precursor Robotic Programme.

Sourced from NZ Hisory Online & Wikipedia

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