Word of the day


Misology – hatred of  argument, enlightenment, logic or reason.

Spam attack


Spammers have been increasing their comments on this blog, it’s got to the stage I don’t check the spam file anymore, just delete the contents.

If you leave a comment and it’s not published imemdiately it might be in moderation if it contains more than one link. Otherwise it might go straight to spam and be lost.

Politics of hate


In a perfect world politics would concentrate  more on philosophy and policy and less on personality.

In this imperfect world there is a lot more emphasis on the personal than is ideal or even useful.

The left regards John Key as National’s biggest asset and therefore their biggest threat so have been aiming their barbs at him. But there are lines of decency which reasonable people don’t cross.

Artist Sam Mahon has crossed that line with a painting of John Key as a corpse and his (Mahon’s) plan to make it part of an interactive game on his website.

Art can be upsetting and provocative and this is. It also personal in a particularly nasty way, an extreme example of the politics of both envy and hate.

Mahon is a self-confessed socialist but there is no suggestion he is acting for or on behalf of any party. If they have any sense they will be hoping that continues because sinking to this level of nastiness is likely to be a major turn-off for swinging voters.

Lack of effective centre problem for MMP


The left is upset that Act’s chances of returning to parliament have improved because they regard it as extreme.

That’s the problem with MMP in New Zealand, there isn’t an effective centre party to be a moderating force between National and Labour.

United is a one-man band, and one which recent polls show is in danger of losing his seat.

The Maori Party was regarded as the last cab off the rank by Labour. It has shown it can work with National and Labour would have no choice but to offer it something  should the left get enough votes to make a Labour-led government a possibility. But, while it could go right or left it’s not a centrist party, it’s conservative on social issues, left on economic ones and its prime focus is Maori.

NZ First, stands for whatever baubles its leaders can get.

The Green Party is trying to look more moderate but for every step they take to the centre they announce policy which drags them several steps back to the left.

The Conservative Party is starting to register in the polls but is very unlikely to get any seats in parliament and it is probably to the right of National anyway.

That leaves National on the centre right and Labour on the centre left. They are beholden by MMP to make accommodations with other parties to get a majority and those other parties are further to the right than National and further left than Labour.

MMP is supposed to allow people’s votes to result in representation in parliament by the party they tick. But in 2002 some National voters held their noses and ticked Labour to reduce the influence of the Greens. If it looks like National will win this time some Labour voters might hold their noses and tick National to reduce the influence of Act.

What the country needs


Quote of the day:

At times like these, the country needs a breadth of vision and a desire to contribute – not simply a promise to be a publicly funded detractor of everyone else. -NZ Herald editorial which spells out why Peters is past his use-by date.

Irrigating for good


The enthusiasm shown by Irrigation New Zealand and Federated Farmers for National’s proposal to establish a $400m Crown Water Investment Company is not shared by everyone.

The opposing view is well illustrated by this:

It’s been announced that 400 million dollars from the sale of state assets will be used for farm irrigation. What are the chances that farmers accessing this money will first have to demonstrate that farm run off doesn’t end up in the nearest rivers and waterways? That waterways are effectively protected by effluent tanks, tree planting to help sieve excess minerals, and so on …

The answer to that can be seen from every window in my house which looks out on green paddocks.

They are that colour now because of rain, but if it wasn’t for irrigation and the good it does in this drought-prone region we would have no certainty they would stay that colour over summer.

The introduction and expansion or irrigation have provided social and economic benefits accompanied by environmental protection and enhancement.

The fertile soils are no longer in danger of being blown away. Not only are waterways not being contaminated by run-off, the Waiareka Creek which was little more than a series of stagnant ponds most of the year is flowing cleanly.

We’re irrigating for good here because that was a requirement of the North Otago Irrigation Company’s resource consent. Every property taking water from the scheme has to have an environmental plan to ensure efficient use of water, fencing and planting alongside waterways and preventing run off. These plans are independently audited every year and if farmers don’t comply with them the company won’t supply water.

In yesterday’s ODT Sally Rae writes of how water has turned the valley into a power house, interviewing farmers and others involved in irrigation who show it is useful for a lot more than dairying.

Mistakes have been made in the past, but new irrigation schemes can learn from those and follow the example of the North Otago ones which have done so much good for the area and the wider economy without causing environmental harm.

November 13 in history


On November 13:

1002 – English king Æthelred II ordered the killing of all Danes in England, in the St. Brice’s Day massacre.


1160 – Louis VII of France married Adele of Champagne.


1642 – First English Civil War: Battle of Turnham Green – Royalist forces withdrew in the face of the Parliamentarian army and failed to take London

1715 Dorothea Erxleben, first German female medical doctor, was born (d. 1762).


1841 – James Braid first saw a demonstration of animal magnetism, which led to his study of the subject he eventually called hypnotism.


1850 Robert Louis Stevenson, Scottish writer, was born (d. 1894).


1851 – The Denny Party landed at Alki Point, the first settlers in what would become Seattle, Washington.

1864 – The new Constitution of Greece was adopted.

1887 – Bloody Sunday clashes in central London.


1901 – The 1901 Caister Lifeboat Disaster.


1906 Eva Zeisel, American industrial designer, was born.


1916 – Prime Minister of Australia Billy Hughes was expelled from the Labor Party over his support for conscription.


1927 – The Holland Tunnel opened to traffic as the first Hudson River vehicle tunnel linking New Jersey to New York City.

1934 – Peter Arnett, New Zealand-born American journalist, was born.


1941 – World War II: The aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal was torpedoed by U 81.


1942 – World War II: Naval Battle of Guadalcanal – U.S. and Japanese ships engaged in an intense, close-quarters surface naval engagement.


1947 – Russia completed development of the AK-47, one of the first proper assault rifles.

1950 – General Carlos Delgado Chalbaud, President of Venezuela, was assassinated.


1954 – Great Britain defeated France to capture the first ever Rugby League World Cup in Paris.


1955 Whoopi Goldberg, American actress, comedian, and singer, was born.


1956 – The United States Supreme Court declared Alabama and Montgomery, Alabama laws requiring segregated buses illegal, ending the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

1965 – The SS Yarmouth Castle burned and sanks60 miles off Nassau with the loss of 90 lives.


1969 – Vietnam War: Anti-war protesters in Washington, D.C. staged a symbolic March Against Death.

1970 – Bhola cyclone: A 150-mph tropical cyclone hit the Ganges Delta region of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), killing an estimated 500,000 people in one night. This is regarded as the 20th century’s worst natural disaster.


1971 – The American space probe, Mariner 9, became the first spacecraft to orbit another planet successfully, swinging into its planned trajectory around Mars.

1982 – The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C. after a march to its site by thousands of Vietnam War veterans.


1985 – The volcano Nevado del Ruiz erupted and melted a glacier, causing a lahar that buried Armero, Colombia, killing approximately 23,000 people.


1985 – Xavier Suarez was sworn in as Miami, Florida’s first Cuban-born mayor.

1988 – Mulugeta Seraw, an Ethiopian law student in Portland, Oregon was beaten to death by members of the Neo-Nazi group East Side White Pride.


1990 – David Gray shot dead 13 people, in the Aramoana Massacre.

David Gray kills 13 at Aramoana

1992 – The High Court of Australia ruled in Dietrich v The Queen that although there was no absolute right to have publicly funded counsel, in most circumstances a judge should grant any request for an adjournment or stay when an accused was unrepresented.

1994 – In a referendum voters in Sweden decided to join the European Union.

1995 – A truck-bomb exploded outside a US-operated Saudi Arabian National Guard training center in Riyadh, killing five Americans and two Indians.

2000 – Philippine House Speaker Manuel B. Villar, Jr. passed the articles of impeachment against Philippine President Joseph Estrada.


2001 – War on Terrorism: US President George W. Bush signs an executive order allowing military tribunals against foreigners suspected of connections to terrorist acts or planned acts on the United States.

2002 – The oil tanker Prestige sank off the Galician coast and causes a huge oil spill.


2005 – Andrew Stimpson, a 25-year old British man, was reported as the first person proven to have been “cured” of HIV.

2007 – An explosion hit the south wing of the House of Representatives of the Philippines killing four people, including Congressman Wahab Akbar, and wounding six.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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