When A City Falls


Those of us haven’t lived through the Canterbury earthquakes can’t fully understand what it’s like, but this film, When A CIty Falls, will help.

Hat tip: Raymond Huber

Word of the day


Barbigerous – bearded, hairy.

Goff & King stepping down


Phil Goff has announced he will step down from Labour’s leadership on December 13th and deputy Annette King will also resign.

There’s no right time to do this.

A delay would only prolong speculation and constant media attention on will-he-won’t-he and he’s  giving his successor a couple of week’s grace more than his predecessor gave him.

However, doing it this quickly doesn’t leave the party time for the rigorous review which ought to follow its election defeat.


Sarcasm, good work environment, parenting


Discussion with Jim Mora on Critical Mass today began with the science of sarcasm (hat tip: Whaleoil).

Then we moved on to 11 rules for building a good work environment from Dave Packard.

Labour’s problems


The worst election result in decades proved what most people already know – Labour has a lot of problems.

Chris Trotter identifies problems outside the party  including challenges from younger, more vibrant organisations and the absence of strong ideological themes.

Patrick Gower sees problems within:

The caucus are too focussed on the egos and the power brokers and the factions  and the personal history to see through the mist.

Both are right but none of these problems will be solved easily and it will take a lot more than a change of leader to do so.

Standby fares nationwide from Air NZ


Air New Zealand is to introduce off-peak standby fares nationwide after trialling it in Dunedin and Christchurch.


It must be better for the airline to have someone in a seat than no-one and if you don’t have to get to your destination by a specific time it’s a very good way to travel cheaply.

When I was a student I travelled all over New Zealand on student standby fares.

Help the Farming Show team with Movember


Like Cactus Kate I’m not keen on moustaches but I am a sucker for a good cause and couldn’t resist the plea from Jamie Mackay.

He and the blokes at Farming Show HQ in Dunedin have got behind Movember and are soliciting donations:

Near and Dear Friend and/or Acquaintance/Colleague

It’s Movember and time to focus on men’s health. To show my commitment, I’m donating my face to the cause by growing a moustache for the entire month of November, and we desperately need your support. I have been told I look like a “rat staring out a drainpipe” but I’m prepared to sacrifice personal vanity and pride because it’s all in the name of raising vital awareness and funds for prostate cancer and male depression.

To aid my fundraising I have enlisted the services of a wonderful philanthropist, Sir Eion Edgar, who has very generously agreed to match my personal fundraising on a 1:1 basis up to $4000.  So for every dollar you donate as from today, Movember will benefit by $2.  I have put my money where my (upper) mouth is by donating $1000 from my charitable speaking fund.

Now I’m asking you to do likewise and support my Movember campaign (even if it’s only $10 or $20) by making a donation by either:
*Donating online at: http://www.movember.com/m/1653474 and clicking on the “Donate To Me” tile.
*Writing a cheque payable to ‘Movember Donation Fund,’ referencing my Registration ID: 1653474 and mailing it to: Movember, PO Box 12 708, Wellington 6144

Thank you in advance for supporting my efforts to change the face of men’s health. All donations are tax deductible.

The Farming Show team is currently the lying third in the country for fundraising.  With your help, and that of Sir Eion Edgar, we can lead the country in the fight for men’s health.

Cheers.  Your generosity is much appreciated. 

On the Farming Show yesterday Jamie said the team is now in first place.

You’ve got a little more than a day to give a donation that will help them stay there and regardless of where the team comes, you’ll be helping a very good cause.

Acting conservative


When John Banks was promoted as the answer for Act, I wondered what the question had been.

Act is supposed to be liberal, economically and socially. John Banks is conservative and now it looks like he might want to be Conservative too.


ACT’s lone MP John Banks says he is in favour of talks with Conservative Party leader Colin Craig – as speculation mounts behind the scenes about a merger . . .

I don’t think he will get much enthusiasm for that idea from Act.

Craig isn’t enthusiastic either.


“I think the issue here is the ACT party are slightly schizophrenic at the moment. You’ve got John Banks who is at heart a conservative, then you’ve got a party who is at heart libertarian.” . . . 

But he was more optimistic about a relationship with Mr Banks. “I acknowledge Banks as a conservative. I wouldn’t rule out a cup of tea with John Banks … [but] I can’t see us in a merger with ACT – I just think there would be too diametrically opposed issues.”

Maybe Banks is the answer not for Act but for the Conservative.

The voters who backed Banks probably knew what they were getting. But those who voted Act in the belief in what it stood for would be less than impressed to find that its lone MP is already talking of merger with a party whose principles are very different from theirs.




Craig said before the election the Conservative Party could go with National or Labour. Whether Labour or its allies, in particular the Green Party, would want to go with it is a moot point but there is no way Act would go left.

However, if Banks jumped waka it would leave Act free to get back to its liberal roots, although it would be doing so without a presence in parliament, even though the party was the vehicle that got its lone MP there.

Ask not what politics can do for you


A million people who could have voted didn’t.

Turnout dropped by just over 90,000, from 79.5 per cent of those on the rolls in 2008 to 73.8 per cent.

Except for an anomaly in 1978 when the rolls were inflated by outdated and duplicate entries, this was the lowest percentage turnout since 1887, when 67.1 per cent of those on the rolls voted. That was before women won the right to vote in 1893.

Moreover, only an estimated 93.2 per cent of the 3,276,000 people who were eligible to vote were enrolled, so the 2,254,581 people who did cast their votes (including special votes) leaves just over 1 million who stayed at home.


23 voter turnout 2011 election campaign NZ Politics Daily - Bryce Edwards Otago University liberation blog - www.liberation.org.nz

Among the reasons given by those who didn’t vote were not knowing enough about what parties and candidates were offering and none of them offering what the non-voters wanted.

The best way to address both issues is to understand your own philosophy and principles, find the party which best matches them, get involved with it and take an active part in its policy development.

Those wanting to be engaged shouldn’t be asking what politics can do for them but what they can do for a politics.

November 29 in history


800 – Charlemagne arrived at Rome to investigate the alleged crimes of Pope Leo III.

939 – Edmund was crowned King of England as his half-brother Aethelstan died.

1394 – The Korean king Yi Song-gye, founder of the Joseon-Dynasty, moved the capital from Kaesŏng to Hanyang, today known as Seoul.

1777 – San Jose, California, was founded as el Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe.

1781 – The crew of the British slave ship Zong murdered 133 Africans by dumping them into the sea in order to claim insurance.

1807 – The Portuguese Royal Family left Lisbon to escape from Napoleonic troops.

1830 – November Uprising: An armed rebellion against Russia’s rule in Poland began.

1832  Louisa May Alcott, American novelist, was born (d. 1888).

1845 – The Sonderbund was defeated by the joint forces of other Swiss cantons under General Guillaume-Henri Dufour.

1847 – Whitman Massacre: Missionaries Dr. Marcus Whitman, his wife Narcissa, and 15 others were killed by Cayuse and Umatilla Indians, causing the Cayuse War.

1849  Sir John Ambrose Fleming, British physicist, was born (d. 1945).

1850 – The treaty, Punctation of Olmütz, signed in Olomouc meant diplomatic capitulation of Prussia to Austrian Empire, which took over the leadership of German Confederation.

1864 – Indian Wars: Sand Creek Massacre – Colorado volunteers led by Colonel John Chivington massacred at least 150 Cheyenne and Arapaho noncombatants.

1864 – American Civil War: Battle of Spring Hill – Confederate advance into Tennessee missed the opportunity to crush the Union army.

1872 – Indian Wars: The Modoc War began with the Battle of Lost River.

1877 – Thomas Edison demonstrated his phonograph for the first time.

1890 – The Meiji Constitution went into effect in Japan and the first Diet convened.

1893 Elizabeth Yates became the first woman in the British Empire to win a mayoral election when she became Mayor of Onehunga.

First woman mayor in British Empire elected

1893 – Ziqiang Institute, today known as Wuhan University, was founded by Zhang Zhidong.

1898  C. S. Lewis, Irish writer, was born(d. 1963).

1899 – Spanish football club FC Barcelona was founded by Joan Gamper.

1910 – The first US  patent for inventing the traffic lights system was issued to Ernest E. Sirrine.

1913 – Fédération Internationale d’Escrime, the international organizing body of competitive fencing was founded in Paris.

1915 – Fire destroyed most of the buildings on Santa Catalina Island, California.

1917  Merle Travis, American singer/guitarist, was born (d. 1983).

1922 – Howard Carter opened the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun to the public.

1929 – U.S. Admiral Richard Byrd becamed the first person to fly over the South Pole.

1932 Jacques Chirac, French President, was born.

1933 John Mayall, British blues musician, was born.

1943 – The second session of AVNOJ, the Anti-fascist council of national liberation of Yugoslavia, was held determining the post-war ordering of the country.

1944 – The first surgery (on a human) to correct blue baby syndrome was performed by Alfred Blalock and Vivien Thomas.

1944 – Albania was liberated by the Albanian partisans.

1945 – The Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia was declared.

1947 – The United Nations General Assembly voted to partition Palestine (The Partition Plan).

1950 – Korean War: North Korean and Chinese troops force United Nations forces to retreat from North Korea.

1952 – Korean War: U.S. President-elect Dwight D. Eisenhower fulfilled a campaign promise by traveling to Korea to find out what can be done to end the conflict.

1961 –  Mercury-Atlas 5 Mission – Enos, a chimpanzee, was launched into space.

1963 – U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson established the Warren Commission to investigate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

1963 – Trans-Canada Airlines Flight 831: A Douglas DC-8 carrying 118, crashed after taking-off.

1965 – Canadian Space Agency launched the satellite Alouette 2.

1972 – Nolan Bushnell (co-founder of Atari) released Pong (the first commercially successful video game) in Andy Capp’s Tavern in Sunnyvale, California.

1987 – Korean Air Flight 858 exploded over the Thai-Burmese border, killing 155.

1990 – The United Nations Security Council passed United Nations Security Council Resolution 678, authorizing “use all necessary means to uphold and implement” United Nations Security Council Resolution 660″ to restore international peace and security” if Iraq did not withdraw its forces from Kuwait and free all foreign hostages by January 15, 1991.

2007 – The Armed Forces of the Philippines laid siege to The Peninsula Manila after soldiers led by Senator Antonio Trillanes staged a mutiny.

2007 – A 7.4 magnitude earthquake off the northern coast of Martinique.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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