What do we think of our leader?


National’s deputy leader and Finance Minister  introduced Prime Minister John Key at this afternoon’s official campaign launch.

After extolling John’s many accomplishments, Bill said:”We are so proud of him, we’ve put him on our hoardings.”

NZer to chair WTO ag negotiations


New Zealand WTO ambassador John Adank is expected to be appointed as the new chiar of the Doha Round agricultural negotiations, Trade Minister Tim Groser says.

“The Doha negotiations are facing grave challenges. Ten years of effort have not been able to bridge differences. At a Ministerial Conference in Geneva in mid-December the membership will have to determine the best way forward”, Mr Groser said. “But there have been very important gains, especially in agriculture, and it is essential that these are protected as we move ahead.”

Mr Adank will be the fourth successive New Zealander to chair the agriculture negotiations, succeeding Dr David Walker who returned to New Zealand earlier in the year to take up the role of Deputy Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

This is good news, I doubt if there would be any strong advocate for the benefits of free trade for agriculture than a New Zealander.

Central Christchurch reopens for business


Prime Minister John Key reopened Project Restart in Cashel Mall yesterday.

“A total of 27 businesses have opened today, including the flagship Ballantynes department store, which is great news for Cantabrians and for retailers who are determined to get their businesses up and running,” says Mr Key.

“This is an important step in re-opening the CBD red zone to residents and retailers alike, and gives more certainty to people as they look to the future of this great city.”

Restart is an initiative to give temporary container accommodation to displaced businesses.

“The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) has done a fantastic job getting Cashel Mall ready in time for the start of New Zealand Cup and Show week,” says Mr Key.

There is still a long way to go in the rebuild.

But this is wonderful both practically and symbolically. It shows the heart of the city, the bit that’s in the red zone, is open for business again.

This isn’t what we want to catch up with


The protracted dispute between Qantas and unions which has led to the grounding of the company’s entire fleet is an example of something we don’t want to catch up with.

No-one wins from action like this.

Travellers are inconvenienced, freight is held up, staff  lose pay and the company loses money and customers.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say something like this couldn’t happen here, but it is less likely to.

Some on the left are under the mistaken impression that stronger unions are one of the reasons that Australia’s economy does better than ours.

On the contrary, it would do even better if they had more flexible employment laws like we do.

Turia not committing to full term


Maori Party c0-leaders Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples are numbers seven and eight  on their party’s list.

That is a deliberate move in preparation for their retirements.

Number one is Waihoroi Shortland who is standing in Te Tai Tokerau and his place indicates that he is the likely successor to the co-leaders.

Giving an indication of future plans is sensible. Sharples says he will stay on until the 2014 election but Turia has indicated she probably won’t complete the term:

Tariana Turia says she will step down sometime during the next term of government, while Pita Sharples says he will see out the term but will not stand in 2014.

She was going to stand down before this term and given her age and family commitments that would have been understandable.

She is clear this will be her last election and she might be meaning to retire close enough to the next election to not trigger a by-election.

If however, she intends to retire earlier she will be putting the taxpayers to the unnecessary expense of a by-election.

Retiring early because of something unforeseen is understandable. Standing when you don’t intend to complete the term is not so much of a problem with a list MP because the next person on the list succeeds them without having to go back to voters.

But standing in a seat when you have no intention of completing the three year commitment you ought to be giving voters is a mistake, and given the cost of a by-election, an expensive one.

Party President Pem Bird’s announcement of the list is here.

We shouldn’t have to pay for these


If I wasn’t a political tragic I probably wouldn’t have watched Friday’s party political broadcast; had I started I wouldn’t have sat through them all.

Last night I was in the car when the wee party broadcasts started. Andrew Geddis managed to sit through the politics on the radio without pictures on Friday, I listened to a few minutes of Act’s last night and gave up.

Others might have a higher tolerance for such things but if the viewer numbers for Friday’s is  any indication it’s unlikely that is was very many.

So why carry on with them when there are so many more effective, and less expensive, ways of communicating with voters?

I second Whaleoil who says:

This is a complete waste of taxpayers money. These ads are all funded and paid for out of the parliamentary services rort that rewards incumbency. Effectively it is a state funded subsidy to media channels in election year to the tune of millions.

The videos are available on youTube for those who want to watch them and if parties want to broadcast on television let them pay for it with their own money.

Apropos of the youTube clips, National’s and the Green Party’s allow people to rate them. Labour’s  does not.

That reminds me of the child who’s too scared to look under the bed in case there’s a monster there.

October 30 in history


1137  Battle of Rignano between Ranulf of Apulia and Roger II of Sicily.

1226  Tran Thu Do, head of the Tran clan of Vietnam, forced Ly Hue Tong, the last emperor of the Ly dynasty, to commit suicide.

1270  The Eighth Crusade and siege of Tunis ended by an agreement between Charles I of Sicily and the sultan of Tunis.

1340  Battle of Rio Salado.

1470  Henry VI returned to the English throne after Earl of Warwick defeated the Yorkists in battle.

1485  King Henry VII was crowned.

1501  Ballet of Chestnuts – a banquet held by Cesare Borgia in the Papal Palace with fifty prostitutes or courtesans in attendance for the entertainment of the guests.

1735 John Adams, second President of the United States, was born (d. 1826).

1751  Richard Sheridan, Irish playwright, was born(d. 1816).

1831 Escaped slave Nat Turner was captured and arrested for leading the bloodiest slave rebellion in United States history.

1863  Danish Prince Wilhelm arrived in Athens to assume his throne as George I, King of the Hellenes.

1864 Second war of Schleswig ended. Denmark renounced all claim to Schleswig, Holstein and Lauenburg, which come under Prussian and Austrian administration.

1865 The Native Land Court was created.

Native Land Court created
1885 Ezra Pound, American poet, was born (d. 1972).

1894  Domenico Melegatti obtained a patent for a procedure to be applied in producing pandoro industrially.

1896 Kostas Karyotakis, Greek poet, was born (d. 1928).

1905  Czar Nicholas II of Russia granted Russia’s first constitution, creating a legislative assembly.

1918  A petition with more than 240,000 signatures was presented to Parliament, demanding an end to the manufacture and sale of alcohol in New Zealand.

Massive prohibition petition presented to Parliament

1918  The Ottoman Empire signed an armistice with the Allies, ending the First World War in the Middle East.

1920  The Communist Party of Australia was founded in Sydney.

1922 Benito Mussolini was made Prime Minister of Italy.

1925   John Logie Baird created Britain’s first television transmitter.

1929 The Stuttgart Cable Car was constructed.

1938  Orson Welles broadcast his radio play of H. G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds, causing anxiety in some of the audience.

1941  World War II: Franklin Delano Roosevelt approved U.S. $1 billion in Lend-Lease aid to the Allied nations.

1941  Otis Williams, American singer, was born.

1941 – 1,500 Jews from Pidhaytsi (in western Ukraine) were sent by Nazis to Belzec extermination camp.

1944  Anne Frank and her sister Margot were deported from Auschwitz to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

1945  Jackie Robinson of the Kansas City Monarchs signed a contract for the Brooklyn Dodgers to break the baseball colour barrier.

1945  Henry Winkler, American actor, was born.

1947 Timothy B. Schmit, American musician (Eagles), was born.

1947  The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which was the foundation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), is founded.

1950  Pope Pius XII witnessed “The Miracle of the Sun” while at the Vatican.

1953  Cold War: U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower formally approved the top secret document National Security Council Paper No. 162/2, which stated that the United States’ arsenal of nuclear weapons must be maintained and expanded to counter the communist threat.

1960 Diego Maradona, Argentine footballer, was born.

1960  Michael Woodruff performed the first successful kidney transplant in the United Kingdom at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

1961   The Soviet Union detonated the hydrogen bomb Tsar Bomba over Novaya Zemlya; at 58 megatons of yield, it is still the largest explosive device ever detonated, nuclear or otherwise.

1961 – Because of “violations of Lenin’s precepts”, it was decreed that Joseph Stalin‘s body be removed from its place of honour inside Lenin’s tomb and buried near the Kremlin wall with a plain granite marker instead.

1970  In Vietnam, the worst monsoon to hit the area in six years causes large flooded, kills 293, leaves 200,000 homeless and virtually halts the Vietnam War.

1972   A collision between two commuter trains in Chicago, Illinois killed 45 and injured 332.

1973   The Bosporus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey was completed, connecting the continents of Europe and Asia over the Bosporus for the first time.

1974  The Rumble in the Jungle boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman took place in Kinshasa, Zaire.

1975  Prince Juan Carlos became Spain’s acting head of state, taking over for the country’s ailing dictator, Gen. Francisco Franco.

1980  El Salvador and Honduras signed a peace treaty to put the border dispute fought over in 1969′s Football War before the International Court of Justice.

1983  The first democratic elections in Argentina after seven years of military rule.

1985  Space Shuttle Challenger lifted off for mission STS-61-A, its final successful mission.

1987   In Japan, NEC released the first 16-bit home entertainment system, the TurboGrafx-16, known as PC Engine.

1991   The Madrid Conference for Middle East peace talks opened.

1993  Greysteel massacre: The Ulster Freedom Fighters, a loyalist terrorist group, open fire on a crowded bar in Greysteel. Eight civilians were killed and thirteen wounded.

1995  Quebec sovereignists narrowly lost a referendum for a mandate to negotiate independence from Canada (vote is 50.6% to 49.4%).

2000   The last Multics machine was shut down.

2002  British Digital terrestrial television (DTT) Service Freeview begins transmitting in parts of the United Kingdom.

2005  The rebuilt Dresden Frauenkirche (destroyed in the firebombing of Dresden during World War II) was reconsecrated after a thirteen-year rebuilding project.

Sourced from NZ History Online & WIkipedia

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