Thank goodness the ABs won the cup


It’s only 10 degrees and trying to rain.

It doesn’t bear thinking how much worse the weather would have been had the All Blacks not won the Rugby World Cup!

PREFU will show choice is clear


If you’ve been on the Herald or Stuff websites you might have noticed National’s ads showing the choice is clear.

On the left is a bloke in a red hat with a stop sign, on the right is a bloke in a blue hat with a go sign.

Arrows point left to stop and right to go forward.

The clarity of the choice will be confirmed when Finance Minister Bill English delivers the PREFU – Pre-election fiscal update – this afternoon.

When Labour Finance Minister Michael Cullen delivered the 2008 PREFU it forecast 10 years of deficits. Under their stewardship, New Zealand was already in recession and Labour didn’t have a workable plan to change that.

In spite of the financial and natural disasters which have beset us since then, National is forecasting a return to surplus earlier than that with policies which rebalance the economy away from  taxing and spending towards savings, investment and export-led growth.

That is a significant achievement and a reminder that the choice is clear – going backwards under Labour or forwards with National.


We have Ruth Richardson to thank for the opening of the books. Until National, at her urging, changed the law which requires governments to open  the books before the election, opposition parties had no idea about the state of the national accounts until after the election.


Old enough to marry too young to vote


Sue Bradford is shocked that 25% of people aged 18 to 24  haven’t yet enrolled to vote.

Her answer? Reduce the voting age.

I’m not sure of the logic in this. Without addressing why young people aren’t enrolling, won’t reducing the age just increase the number of young people who don’t enrol?

Regardless of that, there is no compelling reason to reduce the voting age.

One argument for doing so is that people can marry at 16. Those who use that, forget to add that this is only permissble with parental consent.

Besides, marriage is personal. A marriage that goes wrong will have a direct impact only on the couple involved and any children they might have.

That’s sad but the damage is relatively limited, the consequences of bad government impact on us all. There are more than enough older people who are sufficiently ill-informed to impose bad governments on us without adding young people to the enfranchised.

The policies Bradford and her party, Mana, advocate might appeal to young people:

Lowering the voting age to 16 and including civics education in the school curriculum from primary school onwards.   
*Ending youth unemployment by focused Government support for  job    creation, alongside  free access to quality training and education,    including trade training programmes for young Maori (and others).    
* Abolishing discrimination in the benefit system which sees    young people 18 -24 granted less to live on than those aged 25 and over,    despite living costs being identical.   
* Working towards ensuring  that in future graduating students    enter the workforce free of the burden of student debt.      

But while young people might get temporary benefit, they, and the rest of us, would have to pay the long term cost.

Singing from the same song sheet


When you’re the Prime Minister you attend a whole lot of events and do things which get you publicity.

That’s part of the job and it’s about the position.

It’s also about the person – one PM would be more likely to be invited to the opera, another would be more likely to be invited to car races.

It might sometimes be about the party. A Labour PM might be more likely to get an invitation to some events and a National one to others.

But most invitations are to the Prime Minister as Prime Minister, regardless of who it is and which party s/he leads.

Major events like the Rugby World Cup generate a lot of publicity and the Prime Minister gets some of it by virtue of being there.

It’s not much fun watching it when you’re in opposition. Yesterday Labour bloggers got upset about it and Labour MP Stuart Nash tweeted:

People will get their fill of politicians over the next 5 weeks. Make today ‘politics free’ and a celebration of rugby.

Fair enough you might say until you look at Keeping Stock’s photo . It shows Phil Goff in non-political black but the women he’s with are wearing Labour party t-shirts.

It’s another, albeit very minor, reminder that Labour has difficulty singing from the same song sheet.




Greens straying towards state control of media


They just can’t help themselves can they?

Just as the Green Party was trying to prove it isn’t like a watermelon with a green shell hiding the red inside, it comes out with a media policy that includes state regulation .

The Green Party wants to make independent media watchdog the Press Council answerable to the Government.

The idea, outlined in the party’s broadcasting policy, involves creating a “Broadcasting Commission” that would set, monitor and enforce rules such as minimum local content quotas.

Will that be on all channels and stations or just the publicly owned ones? Will they decree when this local content is broadcast and make us listen to and watch it too? Who is going to pay for it, and how?

Did they watch the excellent series of New Zealand films on Sunday Theatre a few weeks ago? They were funded by the Platinum Fund through New Zealand On Air which got the money National redirected when it canned the charter.

There is an argument about whether there should be publicly funded broadcasting at all. But if we’re going to have it, it’s much better to fund quality programmes people watch instead of imposing arbitrary quotas and funding programmes that would have been produced anyway or others that few want to watch.

The policy document also suggests the Greens would want the commission to have ultimate authority over the Press Council. . .

. . . the Greens would bring the Advertising Standards Authority, Broadcasting Standards Authority and the Press Council into “a common framework based on the principle of responsible self-regulation”.

The Broadcasting Standards Authority is a statutory body funded by the Government but the Press Council and the Advertising Standards Authority are industry-funded independent bodies.

Are they going to give public money to these independent bodies, or will they expect industry-funded organisations to do their bidding?

Either way, the party is straying into the very dangerous territory of state control of the media.

Quote of the day


Today people feel good, but on November 26 people go in there and in the end they decide on whether you’re going to get the accounts in order and whether you’re going to lead the country in the right direction.” – John Key

The election campaign has been a bit of a phoney war so far.

The Rugby World Cup has taken a fair bit of media oxygen and a lot of people don’t know the election, and referendum on the electoral system, are only five and half weeks away.

In the next 32 days there will be campaign launches and policy announcements.

There will also almost certainly be some off-message moments which get headlines.

On November 26 those of us who choose to exercise our right to vote will do so for a variety of reasons.

Regardless of what they are, most of us will do so in the hope that the parties which form the next government are ones which will take us in the right direction.

I hope there are enough of us who understand we won’t go in the right direction by veering left.

October 25 in history


1147  The Portuguese, under Afonso I, and Crusaders from England and Flanders conquered Lisbon after a four-month siege.

1147  Seljuk Turks annihilated German crusaders under Conrad III at the Battle of Dorylaeum.

1415 The army of Henry V of England defeated the French at the Battle of Agincourt.

1616  Dutch sea-captain Dirk Hartog made second recorded landfall by a European on Australian soil, at Dirk Hartog Island off the Western Australian coast.

1747  British fleet under Admiral Sir Edward Hawke defeats the French at the second battle of Cape Finisterre.

1760 George III became King of Great Britain.

1813  War of 1812: Canadians and Mohawks defeated the Americans in the Battle of Chateauguay.

1825  Johann Strauss II, Austrian composer, was born (d. 1899).

1828 The St Katharine Docks opened in London.

1838 Georges Bizet, French composer, was born (d. 1875).

1854  The Battle of Balaklava during the Crimean War (Charge of the Light Brigade).

1861  The Toronto Stock Exchange was created.

1881 Pablo Picasso, Spanish painter and sculptor, was born (d. 1973).

1888 Richard E. Byrd, American explorer, was born (d. 1957).

1900  The United Kingdom annexed the Transvaal.

1917 Traditionally understood date of the October Revolution, involving the capture of the Winter Palace, Petrograd.

1920  After 74 days on Hunger Strike in Brixton Prison, England, the Sinn Féin Lord Mayor of Cork, Terence MacSwiney died.

1924  The forged Zinoviev Letter was published in the Daily Mail, wrecking the British Labour Party’s hopes of re-election.

1938 The Archbishop of Dubuque, Francis J. L. Beckman, denounced swing music as “a degenerated musical system… turned loose to gnaw away at the moral fibre of young people”, warning that it leads down a “primrose path to hell”.

1941 Helen Reddy, Australian singer was born.

1941 Anne Tyler, American novelist, was born.

1944 Heinrich Himmler ordered a crackdown on the Edelweiss Pirates, a loosely organized youth culture in Nazi Germany that had assisted army deserters and others to hide from the Third Reich.

1944  The USS Tang under Richard O’Kane was sunk by the ship’s own malfunctioning torpedo.

1944  Battle of Leyte Gulf, the largest naval battle in history,  between the Imperial Japanese Navy and the U.S. Third and U.S. Seventh Fleets.

1945 China took over administration of Taiwan following Japan’s surrender to the Allies.

1949 IHC was founded.

Foundation of IHC

1962  Cuban missile crisis: Adlai Stevenson showed photos at the UN proving Soviet missiles were installed in Cuba.

1962   Nelson Mandela  was sentenced to five years in prison.

1971  The Christchurch-Dunedin overnight express, headed by a JA-class locomotive, ran the last scheduled steam-hauled service on New Zealand Railways (NZR), bringing to an end 108 years of regular steam rail operations in this country.

End of the line for steam railways

1977  Digital Equipment Corporation released OpenVMS V1.0.

1980  Proceedings on the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction concluded.

1983  Operation Urgent Fury: The United States and its Caribbean allies invaded Grenada, six days after Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and several of his supporters were executed in a coup d’état.

1991 Three months after the end of the Ten-Day War, the last soldier of the Yugoslav People’s Army left the Republic of Slovenia.

1995 A commuter train slammed into a school bus in Fox River Grove, Illinois, killing seven students.

1997 Denis Sassou-Nguesso proclaimed himself the President of the Republic of the Congo.

2009 The 25 October 2009 Baghdad bombings killed 155 and wounded at least 721.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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