Word of the day

30/11/2011

Braw – grand, super; fine or fine looking; dressed in a splendid manner or gaudy fashion.


Many measures of diversity

30/11/2011

Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty is unhappy about the first decline in the number of women MPs since MMP was introduced and is blaming National.

National having only three female MPs in the top 20 shows a lack of commitment to gender representation.

“No country or Parliament is better off if women are blocked from political leadership,” Ms Delahunty said.

No-one’s blocking anyone and it’s got nothing to do with National’s commitment to gender representation.

National has a lot of electorate MPs which reduces the number of places available on the list, many are long serving, including those selected before MMP was introduced.

Among those with relatively new MPs are the three big central South Island electorates Waitaki, Rangitata and Selwyn, which might be regarded by some as conservative. All are represented by National women, – Jacqui Dean, Jo Goodhew and Amy Adams respectively. So is Waimakariri which Kate Wilkinson won on Saturday and Nicky Wagner is waiting for specials to see if she can take Christchurch Central which finished with a draw on election night.

There haven’t been many opportunities for new candidates in the last two elections but it is probable that a good number of the older MPs will retire this term or next which will provide openings for new entrants.

Anyone, man or woman, who wants to be a National MP should start working towards selection now if they haven’t already done so. That means taking an active role in the party and building up membership.

National is the only party which allows members to choose their candidate providing an electorate has sufficient members to do so.Candidates who’ve proven themselves as active members will have a better chance of winning selections.

Gaining selection with the support of members is far better than hoping you’ll get a winnable list place through tokenism.

Kiwiblog has a chart showing the demographics  of the new parliament, illustrating gender isn’t the only measure of diversity.

What he doesn’t show though is what the MPs did before entering parliament nor how many got a pay rise and how many took a cut.

That’s another measure of diversity in which I suspect National would do very well.


14/20

30/11/2011

14/20 in the ultimate Scottish quiz which earned me a: Not bad, you ken your stuff but if you give it one more try you may just come out as clan chief.

Had I got a couple more I’d have got a: Congratulations! You really are a chieftain o’ the quizzin’ race.

Can I have a bonus for understanding what ken meant and recognising the misquotation in chieftain o’ the quizzin’ race.)


iPredict predicts Nats to lose a seat

30/11/2011

iPredict was a reliable indicator of election results and its now predicting that National could lose an MP after special votes are counted.

That will make it a bit more difficult to pass legislation and increase the need for support from the Maori Party.

Other predictions are:

*     Labour favoured for 2014 election, with National’s party vote forecast to fall

*     Parker favoured for Labour Leader and new 2014 PM stocks launched

*     Act, Maori Party and  United Future leaders, and Bridges and Tremain, expected to be Ministers outside Cabinet

*     Adams, Foss and Guy expected to be promoted to Cabinet

*     English safe in Finance and Collins set to take Justice

*     Brownlee’s hold on Economic Development and Energy & Resources less certain

*     Tolley and Coleman to lose Education and Immigration

*     Commerce up for grabs

iPredict’s stocks on the new Cabinet suggest that a 20-member Cabinet would consist (in order of probability) of:

      1.    Gerry Brownlee (100%)

      2.    John Key (99%)

      3.    Bill English (99%)

      4.    Steven Joyce (98%)

      5.    Tony Ryall (98%)

      6.    Christopher Finlayson (98%)

      7.    Paula Bennett (98%)

      8.    Judith Collins(98%)

      9.    Hekia Parata (98%)

      10.   Anne Tolley (98%)

      11.   Murray McCully (96%)

      12.   Tim Groser (96%)

      13.   Jonathan Coleman (95%)

      14.   Nick Smith (95%)

      15.   Amy Adams (93%)

      16.   Craig Foss (93%)

      17.   Kate Wilkinson (93%)

      18.   Nathan Guy (89%)

      19.   Phil Heatley (89%)

      20.   David Carter (89%)

*     Ministers Outside Cabinet are expected to be (in order of probability):

      1.    Peter Dunne (92%)

      2.    Tariana Turia (91%)

      3.    Pita Sharples (90%)

      4.    John Banks (74%)

      5.    Simon Bridges (66%)

      6.    Chris Tremain (66%)

 Someone with a better grasp of predictions markets than me might be able to explain why the PM and deputy aren’t absolute certainties for staying in cabinet.

I have no inside knowledge on who might or might not stay as or become a minister but I’d put the chances of all those in iPredict’s 20 who were ministers in the 2008-11 government at or near 100% too.

That doesn’t leave much room for promotions but stability was one of the words used often in campaigning so I’m not expecting much change.

One commentator (sorry, can’t find the link) wrote of the possibility of three whips and some under-secretaries which would be one way to promote more MPs without making cabinet bigger.


Free to vote – or not

30/11/2011

The low turn out for the election has prompted inevitable calls to make voting compulsory.

That would be an expensive waste of time and energy that would be better spent elsewhere.

I can think of a great deal many other useful ways to spend public money than on detecting and prosecuting people who don’t think or care enough to participate in the political process in this small but important way.

The apathy and ignorance here contrasts starkly to the lengths people go to in order to vote in other countries.

Early on Monday, queues formed outside polling stations in Cairo before the official opening time of 08:00 (06:00 GMT).

A high turnout was reported in many areas, and in places queues were said to have stretched up to 3km (two miles).

It is disturbing that people on the other side of the world are so keen to vote when many here simply couldn’t be bothered.

But that is no argument for compulsion. If we’re really free to vote we must also be free to not.


Scotland The Brave

30/11/2011

It’s St Andrew’s Day.

Probably best known as the patron saint of Scotland, his patronage also covers of Ukraine, Russia, Sicily, Greece, Romania, Diocese of Parañaque, Philippines, Amalfi, Luqa (Malta) and Prussia; Diocese of Victoria, fishermen, fishmongers, rope-makers, golfers and performers.

You can find 10 more facts about him here

In recognition of my tartan genes and in memory of my father who would have been 99 a couple of weeks ago, here’s Scotland the Brave:

P.S. While searching YouTube for a clip to post I came across this one of the Black Watch march past in Dundee, which was Dad’s home town, and on another clip this comment:

There’s an old scottish saying…

We’ll play the bagpipes until the english love ’em!

P.P.S. It’s also Andrei’s name day.


24/25

30/11/2011

Definitely a political tragic – 24/25 in the NZ Herald’s how many new MPs can you name quiz.


Dalziel not ruling out mayoralty bid

30/11/2011

Quelle surprise – Labour MP Lianne Dalziel isn’t ruling out moving from central government to local government.

Dalziel said yesterday there were no guarantees the seat would remain within its current boundaries, or even exist, after the March 2013 census.

“I will stay full term but I’m not going to rule out going for the mayoralty because I don’t know what’s going to happen to the boundaries,” she said.

“I’m committed to serving my electorate for the next three years.

“I’m not going to retire from politics early and I will announce if I’m going to stand at the following election when we have the details of the new boundaries. That won’t be until the census has been taken.”

This is not unexpected, there’s been speculation that she would swap a seat in parliament for the Christchurch mayor’s chair for some time.

But what if the boundaries don’t change in the next three years?

The census was supposed to have taken place this year which would have left plenty of time for boundary changes to be worked out before the 2014 election.

But the postponement to 2013 would put pressure on the boundary setting process and even more on parties which wouldn’t be able to begin selecting candidates until the new boundaries were settled.

Parties usually start preparing for candidate selection early in the year before the election which is the year of the next census.

It would be at least the end of that year before boundary changes were confirmed, less than 12 months before the next election.

That doesn’t give parties much time to set up electorate structures, hold the special general meetings needed to form new electorates then select candidates.

The census was postponed because of the earthquake, it might be better to postpone the boundary changes too so they don’t take effect until the 2017 election.


And then there were five

30/11/2011

When Helen Clark resigned the leadership of the Labour Party on election night three years ago, there was no competition for her job.

Phil Goff was handed the worst job at the wrong time.

Leading a party thrown out of office after nine years in government in opposition to a new government and very popular Prime Minister is a thankless task. It was made worse by the ill-discipline and disloyalty of caucus.

In spite of dissatisfaction with him and his leadership, none of his colleagues had the courage to challenge him, preferring him to take the fall for the inevitable election loss.

Now that’s over and Goff has resigned, there are at least five lining up to replace him.

Among those to put up their hands for the leadership or deputy role were David Parker, David Cunliffe, David Shearer,  Grant Robertson, and Nanaia Mahuta, although Mr Goff said he could not rule out other candidates. 

With that many contenders it is possible the new leader won’t be the most popular, but the least unpopular.

 


November 30 in history

30/11/2011

1554 Philip Sidney, English courtier, soldier, and writer, was born (d. 1586).

1667 Jonathan Swift, Irish writer and satirist, was born (d. 1745).

1700 – Battle of Narva — A Swedish army of 8,500 men under Charles XII defeated a much larger Russian army at Narva.

1718 – Swedish king Charles XII died during a siege of the fortress Fredriksten in Norway.

1782 – American Revolutionary War: Treaty of Paris — Representatives from the United States and Great Britain signed preliminary peace articles (later formalised as the 1783 Treaty of Paris).

1786 – Peter Leopold Joseph of Habsburg-Lorraine, Grand Duke of Tuscany, promulgated a penal reform making his country the first state to abolish the death penalty. Consequently, November 30 is commemorated by 300 cities around the world as Cities for Life Day.

1803 – In New Orleans, Louisiana, Spanish representatives officially transferred the Louisiana Territory to a French representative.

1804 – The Democratic-Republican-controlled United States Senate began an impeachment trial against Federalist-partisan Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase.

1810  Oliver Winchester, American gunsmith, was born (d. 1880).

1824 – First ground was broken at Allenburg for the building of the original Welland Canal.

1829 – First Welland Canal opened for a trial run.

1835 Mark Twain, American writer, was born  (d. 1910).

1853 – Crimean War: Battle of Sinop — The Imperial Russian Navy under Pavel Nakhimov destroyed the Ottoman fleet under Osman Pasha at Sinop, a sea port in northern Turkey.

1864 – American Civil War: Battle of Franklin — The Army of Tennessee led by General John Bell Hood mounted a dramatically unsuccessful frontal assault on Union positions commanded by John McAllister Schofield around Franklin, Tennessee, Hood lost six generals and almost a third of  his troops.

1868 – The inauguration of a statue of King Charles XII of Sweden.

1872 – The first-ever international football match took place at Hamilton Crescent, Glasgow, between Scotland and England.

1874 Sir Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Nobel laureate,was born (d. 1965).

1886 – The Folies Bergère staged its first revue.

1902 – American Old West: Second-in-command of Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch gang, Kid Curry Logan, was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment with hard labour.

1908 – A mine explosion in the mining town of Marianna, Pennsylvania killed 154.

1934 – The steam locomotive Flying Scotsman became the first to officially exceed 100mph.

1936 – The Crystal Palace was destroyed by fire.

1939 – Winter War: Soviet forces crossed the Finnish border in several places and bombed Helsinki and several other Finnish cities, starting the war.

1940 – Lucille Ball married Desi Arnaz in Greenwich, Connecticut.

1942 – Guadalcanal Campaign: Battle of Tassafaronga — A smaller squadron of Japanese destroyers led by Raizō Tanaka defeated a US cruiser force under Carleton H. Wright.

1949 the first National government was elected in New Zealand, led by Sidney Holland.

Election of first National government

1953 – Edward Mutesa II, the kabaka (king) of Buganda was deposed and exiled to London by Sir Andrew Cohen, Governor of Uganda.

1953 June Pointer, American singer (Pointer Sisters), was born (d. 2006).

1954 – In Sylacauga, the Hodges Meteorite crashed through a roof and hit a woman taking an afternoon nap in the only documented case of a human being hit by a rock from space.

1955  Billy Idol (born William Michael Albert Broad), British musician, was born.

1965 Ben Stiller, American actor, was born.

1966 – Barbados gained independence.

1967 – The People’s Republic of South Yemen gained independence.

1967 – The Pakistan Peoples Party was founded by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

1971 – Iran seized the Greater and Lesser Tunbs from the United Arab Emirates.

1981 – Cold War: Representatives from the United States and the Soviet Union began to negotiate intermediate-range nuclear weapon reductions in Europe.

1989 – Deutsche Bank board member Alfred Herrhausen was killed by a Red Army Faction terrorist bomb.

1993 – U.S. President Bill Clinton signed the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (the Brady Bill) into law.

1994 – MS Achille Lauro fire off Somalia coast.

1995 – Official end of Operation Desert Storm.

1998 – Exxon and Mobil signed a $73.7 billion agreement to merge, creating Exxon-Mobil, the world’s largest company.

1999 – In Seattle, protestests against the WTO meeting by anti-globalization protesters caught police unprepared and forced the cancellation of opening ceremonies.

1999 – British Aerospace and Marconi Electronic Systems merged to form BAE Systems, Europe’s largest defense contractor and the fourth largest aerospace firm in the world.

2004 – Longtime Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings of Salt Lake City, Utah finally lost, leaving him with US$2,520,700, television’s biggest game show winnings.

2004 – Lion Air Flight 538 crash landed in Surakarta, Central Java, killing 26.

2005 – John Sentamu became the first black archbishop in the Church of England with his enthronement as the 97th Archbishop of York.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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