Word of the day


Nugatory–  of little or no value or importance, trifling; useless, futile; having no force, ineffective.

Bettors still backing blue


iPredict’s weekly update shows the grounding of the Rena has led to a weakening of support for National with increased support for Labour and the Green Party.

The Rena grounding has hurt National and helped Labour and the Greens, iPredict’s first weekly snapshot since the disaster suggests. According to the online predictions market with its 5000 registered traders, National’s forecast party vote has plunged from 50% last week to just 46% this week, potentially costing it five MPs compared with last week, while its Bay of Plenty MP, Tony Ryall, is now expected to suffer a reduced majority. Labour is up from 28.5% to 31.0%, which would give them 39 MPs, while the Greens are also big winners from the disaster, increasing their forecast party vote for the fifth week in a row to 11.1% which would deliver them 14 MPs.

The decline in support for potential coalition partners – Act, United Future and the Maori party, makes it likely National would have to do better than it did in 2008 to retain power. However iPredict is still forecasting the party would be able to govern with just one coalition partner.

Forecast party vote shares are now: National 46.0% (down from 50.0% last week) Labour 31.0% (up from 28.5% last week), the Greens 11.1% (up from 10.7% last week), New Zealand First 4.7% (up from 3.6% last week), Act 3.1% (down from 3.2% last week), UnitedFuture 1.6% (up from 1.1% last week), the Maori Party 1.2% (down from 1.4% last week), the Mana Party 1.1% (up from 1.0% last week), the Conservative Party 1.0% (up from 0.9% last week), and the New Citizen Party 0.5% (steady).

Based on this data, and the electorate results above, Parliament would be as follows: National 58 MPs, Labour 39 MPs, the Greens 14 MPs, Act 4 MPs, the Maori Party 3 MPs, UnitedFuture 2 MPs, and the Mana party just 1 MP. There would be 121 MPs, requiring a government to have the support of 61 MPs on confidence and supply. John Key’s National Party would be able to govern with any one of the Greens, Act or Maori Party.

Given New Zealand First’s proximity to MMP’s 5% threshold, iPredict has also analysed what might happen should New Zealand First win 5.0% of the vote. Under this scenario, Parliament would be as follows: National 56 MPs, Labour 37 MPs, the Greens 13 MPs, New Zealand First 6 MPs, Act 4 MPs, the Maori Party 3 MPs, UnitedFuture 2 MPs, and the Mana Party just 1 MP. There would be 122 MPs, requiring a government to have the support of 62 MPs on confidence and supply meaning John Key’s National Party would require the support of the Greens, or Act and one of the Maori or UnitedFuture parties.

Punters betting through Centrebet are still putting their money on a National win.

Money is continuing to come in hard for the National Party government to win the November 26 NZ election, bets in the last few hours include $10,000.00 and $3,000.00 at $1.11!

“It’s seemingly all one-way traffic now, with National into a hot $1.09 favourite, and embattled Labour out to $7.00,” Neil Evans said.

“This is obviously the biggest the Opposition has been since the head-to-head betting market was launched at the start of the year!”

Both Australian and NZ-based punters are taking the short odds on National, which now holds 92% of the stakes!

But there is still a month and a half until the election and as David Farrar pointed out in his Herald column events can undermine support for even a very popular government.



13/15 in Stuff’s kids’ quiz.

Centrewood Spring Fete


Last year’s inaugural Centrewood Spring Fete lived up to its promise of quality stalls, delicious food and fine wine.

This year’s, which is being held tomorrow, should be at least as good:

There will be plenty of entertainment for the children with Punch and  Judy performed by natural magic. The Nor’Wester Morris  Dancers will dance round the Maypole in the gardens.

For the adults, there will be a fashion show by  Smith & Boston of Christchurch and superb local vocalist Vanessa  Kelly will entertain the crowds with Jazz and Blues on the  lawn.

Foodies will have plenty to get their teeth into with seasonal  products from the Food Hall – including a food  demonstration by Alison Lambert of  Dunedin.

Within the established gardens of this first class venue, shoppers  will be presented with superior, quality products from a selected group of fabulous stallholders.

Centrewood Estate, an historic house set in beautiful established gardens, is a short distance from Waimate in South Canterbury.




8/10 in NZ History Online’s quiz.

Friday’s answers


Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said: “Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life has not. In some schools they have abolished failing grades; they’ll give you as many chances as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING.”

2. Who has just resigned as coach of the Silver Ferns, who has replaced her?

3. What is Spinacia oleracea more commonly known as and who ate it for strength?

4. It’s espoir in French; speranza in Italian, esperanza in Spanish and awhero, wawata or manawa ora  in Maori, what is it in English?

5. Where was Richie McCaw born and where was his childhood home?

Points for answers:

Andrei got three, a general okay though not sepcific for #5, and a bonus for good memory.

James got three and a half.

David got three and a bonus for added information.

PDM got two witha  obnus for could-have-been for #1 and fair comment for #5

GD got 4 with a near-enough by giving more than required to get a point for #5 plus a bonus for extra information which wins this week’s electronic bag of black jelly beans.

Paul got three and a near enough for #5 with a bonus for trying with #1.


Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

Stomach knotted, brow knitted


Is a knotted stomach an inner luck-bringing contortion in the nature of the outer display of digit crossing?

If so, we should be right because the nation’s stomachs are knotted and brows knitted too as an extra precaution.

That doesn’t mean we can relax though, because any unknotting of stomachs, unknitting of brows and uncrossing of digits could be tempting fate and fate has a way of acting capriciously enough without any encouragement from us.

If none of this makes sense – pop over to read Jim Hopkins’ diary of a column and see if that helps.



Poll suport falls on PM’s confession


Political polls have registered a considerable fall in support for the National Party after Prime Minister John Key admitted he couldn’t walk on water.

The admission was forced from the PM after sustained questioning from journalists, arm chair critics and opposition MPs who had worked together to formulate a plan to refloat the container ship Rena.

“The beauty of our plan was in its simplicity and it caught him out” Opposition leader Phil Goff, said.

“We just wanted him to do something, that’s not too much to ask. If I can put my best suit and shiny shoes at risk by picking up a shovel for a photo opportunity, then the least he can do is something.”

Mr Goff wouldn’t be drawn on what the “something” should be.

“That’s not up to me. I’m not the Prime Minister, though I’d like to be and after this I might well be. It’s not my job to come up with solutions, it’s my job to criticise the government for not coming up with solutions and that’s what I did.

“I put that to him. I told him that he must do something and that’s when he confessed . He said he can’t walk on water and we all heard him say it.”

Mr Goff said Labour Party research unit and several journalists were combing through Hansard to find examples when Mr Key had claimed he could walk on water.

“He’s admitted he can’t, now we just have to find proof that he said he could and we’ll have him.”

Mr Goff said they were also looking for suggestions the PM might have made over his ability to leap tall buildings at a single bound.

Mr Key wasn’t available for comment but a Beehive insider said he had been spotted heading for parliament’s swimming pool.

Dairying helps increase female participation in ag


It’s International Rural Women’s Day on which we learn:

. . . more than a third of the female workforce is engaged in agriculture, while in regions like Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, more than 60 per cent of all female employment is in this sector.1 To afford food and other basic expenses, men and women in rural areas often diversify their income by combining multiple forms of employment. Women generally work as subsistence farmers, small-scale entrepreneurs, unpaid workers on family farms or casual wage labourers – but they may take on all or a number of these activities at different times.

In general countries with more women in the rural workforce tend to be poorer.

In wealthier countries men are more likely to work in agriculture and rural support and servicing industries.

However, the number of women in what were once jobs regarded as mainly male preserves is increasing.

More women are actively involved in farming, and are increasingly likely to be found at work in the paddock and in governance and other supporting roles.

One reason for that is the increase of dairying. Two of our three sharemilkers are women and four of the six staff they employ are too.

October 14 in history


1066  Norman Conquest: Battle of Hastings – the forces of William the Conqueror defeated the English army and kill King Harold II of England.

1322  Robert the Bruce of Scotland defeated King Edward II of England at Byland, forcing Edward to accept Scotland’s independence.

1644 William Penn, English founder of Pennsylvania, was born (d. 1718).

1656  Massachusetts enacts the first punitive legislation against the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

1758  Seven Years’ War: Austria defeated Prussia at the Battle of Hochkirk.

1773  The first recorded Ministryof Education, the Komisja Edukacji Narodowej was formed in Poland.

1805 Battle of Elchingen, France defeated Austria.

1806 Battle of Jena-Auerstädt France defeated Prussia.

1840  The Maronite leader Bashir II surrendered to the British Army and then is sent into exile on the islands of Malta.

1843  The British arrested the Irish nationalist Daniel O’Connell for conspiracy to commit crimes.

1863  American Civil War: Battle of Bristoe Station – Confederate troops under the command of General Robert E. Lee failed to drive the American Union Army completely out of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

1867  The 15th and the last military Shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate resigned in Japan, returning his power to the Emperor of Japan and thence to the re-established civil government of Japan.

1882 Eamon de Valera, Irish politician and patriot, was born (d. 1975).

1882 University of the Punjab was founded in a part of India that later became West Pakistan.

1884  The American inventor, George Eastman, received a U.S. Government patent on his new paper-strip photographic film.

1888 Katherine Mansfield, New Zealand writer, was born (d. 1923).

1888  Louis Le Prince filmed first motion picture: Roundhay Garden Scene.

1890  Dwight D. Eisenhower, U.S. general and 34th President of the United States, was born (d. 1969).

1894  E. E. Cummings, American poet, was born (d. 1962).

1912 While campaigning in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the former President Theodore Roosevelt, was shot and mildly wounded by John Schrank.With the fresh wound in his chest, and the bullet still within it, Mr. Roosevelt still carried out his scheduled public speech.

1913  Senghenydd Colliery Disaster, the United Kingdom’s worst coal mining accident claimed the lives of 439 miners.

1926  The children’s book Winnie-the-Pooh, by A.A. Milne, was first published.

Pooh Shepard 1926.png

1927 Roger Moore, English actor, was born.

1938  The first flight of the Curtiss Aircraft Company’s P-40 Warhawk fighter plane.

1939 Ralph Lauren, American fashion designer, was born.

1939 The German Kriegsmarine submarine U-47 sank the British battleship HMS Royal Oak in the harbour at Scapa Flow.

1940 Cliff Richard, English singer, was born.

1940 Christopher Timothy, British actor, was born.

1940  Balham subway station disaster, in London during an air raid.

1943 Prisoners at the Sobibor extermination camp in Poland revolted against the Germans, killing eleven SS troops who were guards there, and wounding many more.

1943 – The American Eighth Air Force lost 60 B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombers in aerial combat during the second mass-daylight air raid on the Schweinfurt ball-bearing factories in western Nazi Germany.

1944 – Athens was liberated by British Army troops.

1946 Justin Hayward, English musician (Moody Blues), was born.

1947 Captain Chuck Yeager of the U.S. Air Force flew a Bell X-1 rocket-powered experimental aircraft, the Glamorous Glennis, faster than the speed of sound.

1949 – Chinese Civil War: Chinese Communist forces occupied the city of Guangzhou.

1952  Korean War: United Nations and South Korean forces launched Operation Showdown against Chinese strongholds at the Iron Triangle. The resulting Battle of Triangle Hill was the biggest and bloodiest battle of 1952.

1956  Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, the Indian Untouchable caste leader, converted to Buddhism along with 385,000 of his followers (see Neo-Buddhism).

1957  Queen Elizabeth II became the first Canadian Monarch to open up an annual session of the Canadian Parliament, presenting her Speech from the Throne in Ottawa, Canada.

1958 The American Atomic Energy Commission, with supporting military units, carried out an underground nuclear weapon test.

1962 – The Cuban Missile Crisis began: A U.S. Air Force U-2 reconnaissance plane and its pilot flew over  Cuba and took photographs of Soviet missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

1964 Leonid Brezhnev became the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

1967 Joan Baez was arrested concerning a physical blockade of the U.S. Army’s induction centre in Oakland, California.

1968 – An earthquake rated at 6.8 on the Richter Scale destroyed the Australian town of Meckering, Western Australia, and ruptured all nearby main highways and railroads.

1968  Jim Hines of the United States of America becomes the first man ever to break the so-called “ten-second barrier” in the 100-meter sprint in the Summer Olympic Gamesheld in Mexico City with a time of 9.95 seconds.

1969  The United Kingdom introduced fifty-pence coin, which replaced, over the following years, the British ten-shilling note, in anticipation of the decimalization of the British currency in 1971

1973  In the Thammasat student uprising over 100,000 people protested in Thailand against the Thanom military government; 77 were killed and 857 are injured by soldiers.

1979 The mutilated body of Marty Johnstone, leader of the Mr Asia drug syndicate, was found in Eccleston Delft, a flooded disused quarry in Lancashire.

'Mr Asia' murder victim found

1979  The National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, demanded “an end to all social, economic, judicial, and legal oppression of lesbian and gay people”, and draws 200,000 people.

1981  Amnesty International charged the U.S. Federal Government with holding Richard Marshall of the American Indian Movement as a political prisoner.

1981 – Vice President Hosni Mubarak was elected as the President of Egypt.

1982 U.S. President Ronald Reagan proclaimed a War on Drugs.

1994 Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, Prime Minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin, and Foreign Minister of Israel, Shimon Peres, received the Nobel Peace Prize for their role in the establishment of the Oslo Accords and the framing of the future Palestinian Self Governing.

2004 – A special nine-member council selects Norodom Sihamoni as the new King of Cambodia, replacing his father who abdicated a week earlier.

Sourced from NZ History Online & WIkipedia

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