An accident?


Quote of the day:

Anyone gullible enough to swallow the story the taping of the Key-Banks tea party last week was inadvertent, as the Herald on Sunday claimed? The reality is Sunday tabloids don’t cover events other media attend during the week, unless they can get an exclusive. And the only way to get an exclusive of the tea party was by way of subterfuge. But you have to admire the HoS brazen effrontery in claiming it had acted ethically. And how about those politicians who in one breath said it would be illegal to tape a private conversation, and, in the next, said John Key was panicking in filing a complaint with the police? Trans Tasman

Whether or not people are swallowing the story, the latest One News Colmar Brunton poll shows the issue hasn’t done much damage to National  and has done nothing to help Labour.

It also shows that the vandalism of National’s signs by a now-former member of the Green Party hasn’t cost it any support.

The poll had National dropping a point to 53%, Labour down to a 10-year low of 26%, the Green Party up to 13% and, thankfully, New Zealand First on only 2.2%.

Word of the day


Mendacious – given to or characterised by deception or falsehood or divergence from absolute truth; telling lies, especially habitually; dishonest; lying; untruthful.

Policy matters


Fonterra chair stepping down


Fonterra chair Sir Henry van der Heyden has announced he will step down as chair at the company’s AGM next year.

The board has also appointed a new director, Sir Ralph Norris, who is retiring as chief executive of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

Thursday’s quiz


1. Who said: “The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.”?

2. Who was the Greek god of liars and thieves?

3. It’s  mentire in Italian, mentir in French and Spanish and kōrero parau in Maori, what is it in English?

4. How much does New Zealand First still owe us?

5.  Can you name any other NZ First candidates apart from its leader?

Rutherford Medal’s first woman winner


University of Otago researcher,Professor Christine Winterbourn, has won New Zealand’s science and technology gold medal, the Rutherford medal, the first woman to do so.

Prof Winterbourn, a world authority on free radicals (highly reactive atoms and molecules which attack the body and contribute to diseases such as cancer, strokes, heart disease and arthritis) was one of the first scientists to demonstrate people’s bodies produce free radicals as part of their normal function. She has published more than 260 scientific papers, mostly in international journals.

It was an “overwhelming experience and a real honour” to receive the medal, she said.

It was also an honour to be the first woman recipient.

“When I started my scientific career, women scientists were very much in the minority. There have, of course, been huge changes since then, and with many women scientists in the community I know I will be the first of many.”

The award is made by the Royal Society, a list of previous winners is here.


False complaint backfires


What is believed to have been a politically motivated complaint against the National Party’s human hoardings team backfired when it resulted in a story and photo in the ODT.

A complaint to Dunedin police yesterday morning about the potential hazard posed to drivers from these National Party hoarding carriers appeared to be politically motivated, Senior Sergeant Mel Aitken said.

The complainant had been on foot, not driving, she said . . . 

Dunedin North National candidate Michael Woodhouse also suspected the complaint was politically motivated, as the supporters had carried out the promotion responsibly.

He believed Dunedin Labour was concerned by the “visibility” and energy of National’s Dunedin election campaign.

Dunedin is supposed to be a red city.

A dedicated group of National Party members, supporting Michael and Dunedin South candidate Joanne Hayes, are doing their best to turn it blue as this photo of the “Hayes stack” shows:

The human hoardings are part of the strategy and thanks to the false complaint they’ve been seen not just by passers-by but everyone who reads the ODT.

Making and manipulating


In the latter stages of the 2005 election campaign two stories broke.

One was the pledge card and the Labour party’s illegal spending of public funds on its campaign.

The other was brochures published by the Exclusive Brethren criticising the Green Party.

The brochures, which were published legally,  got all the attention and almost certainly influenced the outcome of the election.

The pledge card rort got almost none at the time.

In the latter stages of this election campaign two issues have broken.

One is the vandalism of National’s hoardings by a now former member of the Green Party.

The other is the contents of a conversation which was illegally recorded.

Which is getting almost all the attention?

It’s not the vandalism which was not just a random act by a few. It was well organised, well funded action by many.

The recording might or might not have been made accidently. It was no accident it was passed to the Herald on Sunday and TV3 and it was no accident that at least some of what was recorded was passed on to a would-be MP who’s getting the attention he craves on the back of it.

If people want to know what was said in the conversation it’s only because there’s been such a fuss made of it. Had the media accepted it was illegally recorded and that it would be breaking the law to publish it without permission the story would have died days ago.

Meanwhile, why are they not asking every Green MP and office holder what they knew about the vandalism of National’s hoardings? Why aren’t they searching for other people who were behind it the way they sought, and found, the people behind the anti-Green brochures? Have they thought to ask Jolyon White about the ethics of using his role in the church to pose as a neutral MC for candidates’ meetings?

Why aren’t they concentrating on matters of real importance – the international economy and the impact that will ahve on us or progress made towards free trade this week, for instance?

In 2005 the media at best made an error of judgement in choosing to pursue one story and virtually ignore another and they are doing that again now.

The media are supposed to report the news not make it and they are certainly not supposed to manipulate it.

By choosing to focus on the conversation and giving very little attention to the vandalism they are both making news and manipulating it.

November 17 in history


284 – Diocletian was proclaimed emperor by his soldiers.

1183 – The Battle of Mizushima.

1292 – (O.S.) John Balliol became King of Scotland.

1511 – Spain and England allied against France.

1558 – Elizabethan era began: Queen Mary I of England died and was succeeded by her half-sister Elizabeth I of England.

1603 – English explorer, writer and courtier Sir Walter Raleigh went on trial for treason.

1659 – The Peace of the Pyrenees is signed between France and Spain.

1777 – Articles of Confederation are submitted to the states for ratification.

1796 – Napoleonic Wars: Battle of Arcole – French forces defeated the Austrians in Italy.

1800 – The United States Congress held its first session in Washington, D.C.

1811 – José Miguel Carrera, Chilean founding father, was sworn in as President of the executive Junta of the government of Chile.

1812 – Napoleonic Wars: Battle of Krasnoi.

1820 – Captain Nathaniel Palmer became the first American to see Antarctica.

1831 – Ecuador and Venezuela were separated from Greater Colombia.

1855 – David Livingstone became the first European to see the Victoria Falls.

1858 – Modified Julian Day zero.

1863 – American Civil War: Siege of Knoxville began.

1869 – In Egypt, the Suez Canal, linking the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea, was inaugurated.

1871 – The National Rifle Association was granted a charter by the state of New York.

1876 – Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky‘s Slavonic March is given its première performance in Moscow.

1878 – First assassination attempt against Umberto I of Italy.

1903 – The Russian Social Democratic Labor Party split into two groups; the Bolsheviks (Russian for “majority”) and Mensheviks (Russian for “minority”).

1905 – The Eulsa Treaty was signed between Japan and Korea.

1919 – King George V proclaimed Armistice Day (later Remembrance Day).

1922 – Former Ottoman sultan Mehmed VI went into exile in Italy.

1925 Governor-General, Sir Charles Fergusson, opened the New Zealand and South Seas International Exhibition in Dunedin.

NZ and South Seas International Exhibition opens

1925 Rock Hudson, American actor, was born.

1937 Peter Cook, British comedian, was born.

1938 Gordon Lightfoot, Canadian singer, was born.

1939 – Nine Czech students were executed as a response to anti-Nazi demonstrations prompted by the death of Jan Opletal.All Czech universities were shut down and over 1200 Czech students sent to concentration camps.

1947 – The U.S. Screen Actors Guild implements an anti-Communist loyalty oath.

1947 – American scientists John Bardeen and Walter Brattain observed the basic principles of the transistor, a key element for the electronics revolution of the 20th Century.

1950 – Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, was enthroned as the leader of Tibet at the age of fifteen.

1953 – The remaining human inhabitants of the Blasket Islands, Kerry, Ireland were evacuated to the mainland.

1957 – G-AOHP of British European Airways crashed at Ballerup after the failure of three engines on approach to Copenhagen Airport after a malfunction of the anti-icing system on the aircraft.

1962 – President John F. Kennedy dedicated Dulles International Airport.

1967 – Vietnam War: Acting on optimistic reports that he had been given on November 13, US President Lyndon B. Johnson told the nation that, while much remained to be done, “We are inflicting greater losses than we’re taking…We are making progress.”

1968 – Alexandros Panagoulis was condemned to death for attempting to assassinate Greek dictator George Papadopoulos.

1968 – British European Airways introduced the BAC One-Eleven into commercial service.

1969 – Cold War: Negotiators from the Soviet Union and the United States met in Helsinki to begin SALT I negotiations aimed at limiting the number of strategic weapons on both sides.

1970 – Vietnam War: Lieutenant William Calley went on trial for the My Lai massacre.

1970 – The Soviet Union landed Lunokhod 1 on Mare Imbrium (Sea of Rains) on the Moon – the first roving remote-controlled robot to land on another world was released by the orbiting Luna 17 spacecraft.

1970 – Douglas Engelbart received the patent for the first computer mouse.

1973 – Watergate scandal: US President Richard Nixon told 400 Associated Press managing editors “I am not a crook”.

1973 – The Athens Polytechnic Uprising against the military regime ended in bloodshed.

1974 – The Aliança Operário-Camponesa (Worker-Peasant Alliance) was founded in Portugal, as a front of PCP(m-l).

1978 Zoë Bell, New Zealand actress-stuntwoman, was born.

1979 – Brisbane Suburban Railway Electrification. The first stage from Ferny Grove to Darra was commissioned.

1982 – Duk Koo Kim died unexpectedly from injuries sustained during a 14-round match against Ray Mancini prompting reforms in the sport of boxing.

1983 – The Zapatista Army of National Liberation was founded.

1989 – Cold War: Velvet Revolution began: a student demonstration in Prague was quelled by riot police. This sparked an uprising aimed at overthrowing the communist government.

1990 – Fugendake, part of the Mount Unzen volcanic complex erupted.

1997 – Luxor massacre: 62 people were killed by 6 Islamic militants outside the Temple of Hatshepsut.

2000 – A landslide in Log pod Mangartom, Slovenia, killed 7, and caused millions of SIT of damage.

2000 – Alberto Fujimori iwa removed from office as president of Peru.

2004 – Kmart Corp. announced that it was buying Sears, Roebuck and Co. for $11 billion USD and naming the newly merged company Sears Holdings Corporation.

2007 – Brian May of the rock band Queen was appointed Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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