Word of the day

December 1, 2011

Nosism –  the editorial or royal we; the use of we when referring to oneself.


Parker pulls out of leadership race

December 1, 2011

David Parker has pulled out of the race for the Labour Party leadership and is backing David Shearer.

New Zealand has yet to have a list MP lead the country. There is no reason why one couldn’t but losing three electorate races in a row doesn’t say much for Parker’s popularity.

He is making no further statement but could well be hoping to be deputy or finance spokesman if Shearer is successful.


Who killed Rico

December 1, 2011

The appeal of Air New Zealand’s furry mascot Rico escaped me so I won’t be joining those who mourn his demise.

However, it appears foul-play was involved in his death while hosting a housewarming party in Los Angeles and Air New Zealand wants to find out who did it.

There are several suspects and Air NZ has teamed up with the makers of Cluedo to give fans the chance find out which of the suspects is the guilty party.

Air New Zealand is offering the winner return airfares for two to Los Angeles , five nights accommodation at a four star hotel and passes to Universal Studios and Disneyland . If the winner comes from Los Angeles , they’ll win a similar trip but to New Zealand including accommodation and tours.

You can find out more at byebyerico.


7/10

December 1, 2011

7/10 in NZ History Online’s quiz.


You show me yours . . .

December 1, 2011

Keeping Stock has shown us his stats for a record month and Lindsay Mitchell also recorded an increase in visitors.

There’s no doubt the election was good for readership.

I can’t compete with the popularity of  Kiwiblog and Whaleoil whose stats here and here show almost as many readers a week as I got in the month. But the number of visitors to this blog in November was the highest yet:

This Year's Visits and Page Views by Month

UPDATE: Open Parachute has the sitemeter blog rankings here.


New leader for how long?

December 1, 2011

As the three Davids and assorted hangers-on strive to lead the Labour Party, iPredict suggests the winner might not get the ultimate prize:

After last night’s TVNZ debate, David Cunliffe is now favoured to be the next leader of the Labour Party, with 42% probability, followed by David Shearer and David Parker who are both on 31% probability. 

But, while iPredict also gives Labour a slightly better chance of winning the next election (53% probability), Cunliffe isn’t the favourite to be Prime Minister:

David Shearer has a 23% probability of being Prime Minister by 1 January 2015, compared with Bill English (14%), David Cunliffe (13%) and David Parker  (7%).

Labour’s leadership is only one of its problems.

Changing leaders won’t by itself solve the rest. It’s possible whoever wins this leadership battle could be a casualty of the inevitable fallout from the hard decisions that need to be taken and won’t be leader long enough to become Prime Minister.


Thursday’s quiz

December 1, 2011

1. Who said, “Those who try to lead the people can only do so by following the mob

2. What was the name of the ship which took Scott on his last, and fatal, expedition to the South Pole?

3. It’s été in French, estate in Italian, verano in Spanish and raumati in Maori, what is it in English?

4. In which of the arts would you find the terms  cambré, entrechat, jeté and plié?

5. What is a capon?


Next election already too close

December 1, 2011

The exact make-up of the new government has yet to be confirmed but the next election already seems too close.

The Herald opines that it’s time to consider a four-year term and I agree.

It takes months for a new government and its ministers to get up to speed which leaves a little more than a year for progress before everything slows down in election year and finally stops altogether during the campaign.

The uncertainty isn’t good for business:

Massey’s senior finance lecturer Dr Alexander Molchanov was part of a team that studied stock market volatility across 50 countries in the six-month lead up to an election and in the year after.

They found countries that hold national elections have more volatile economies than autocracies because investors and businesses are put off by the risks associated with political uncertainty.

The study also revealed that markets do not always settle down the year after an election.

“Export-oriented industries in particular, such as we have in New Zealand, show higher volatility when political risks are high,” says Dr Molchanov.

 That shouldn’t be construed as an argument for no elections but it’s not only business which would benefit from a longer cycle.

A man employed in the social service sector who works with ministries and politicians told me he was frustrated by three yearly elections because just as everyone was getting up to speed the campaign and post-election changes interrupted them.

A slightly longer cycle would help the economy and save money.

It costs millions of dollars to run an election. Adding an extra year to the cycle would mean we’d have to pay for three elections in 12 years rather than four.

A slightly longer cycle would reduce the costs for and demands on volunteers too. Julie at the Hand Mirror gives an insiders’ view on what it’s like to have a candidate in the family and supporters also work very hard during a campaign.

One reason for a shorter term is the constraint it places on governments when we don’t have an upper house. But the election shows that with MMP it would be difficult, almost impossible, for a single party to gain an outright majority.

The consitutional review panel is considering the parliamentary term. The recommendations won’t be binding and if it went to a referendum the public’s disdain for politicians might well find the option of a four-year term would lose.

That would be a pity. Government would be more efficient and slightly less expensive with a four term year and the country would benefit from a slightly longer gap between the interruptions imposed on it by elections.


Turning blue – or at least purple

December 1, 2011

One of National’s active supporters in Dunedin reckons the city isn’t so much red as purple.

The cover of the give-away paper DScene and story on the election result – National winning the party vote in Dunedin South and nearly doing it in Dunedin North – backs her up:

One of the benefits of MMP has been the presence of a National MP in the city.

Former MP Katherine Rich helped raise the party’s profile and present its softer side. She was succeeded in Dunedin North by Michael Woodhouse who has made an impressive start to his parliamentary career and worked hard for the people of city.

Conway Powell started turning the tide towards National in Dunedin South in 2005, built on that in 2008 and this year’s candidate Joanne Hayes carried on to win the party vote.

Boundary changes which included more rural areas and lifestyle blocks in the electorate, and demographic changes have helped cement the base. But it takes dedicated candidates and supporters to build on that and turn it into more votes.

There were special circumstances this time. It wasn’t just the National vote which went up, the Green vote did too and Labour’s went down.

But the result is an encouraging indication that the city could be changing from red to purple, though not blue – yet.


A question of reputation

December 1, 2011

If you have done something which is serious enough to require name suppression so as not to damage your reputation, do you still deserve the reputation?

The law was changed this year to be explicit that being well-known was not by itself a good reason for name suppression but it doesn’t take effect until next March.

Meanwhile, it is difficult to understand why a former All Black gets his name suppressed, at least in the interim, to protect the victim, when a woman doesn’t although their appears to be a case for doing so to protect her daughter.


December 1 in history

December 1, 2011

800 – Charlemagne judged the accusations against Pope Leo III.

1420 – Henry V of England entered Paris.

1640 – End of the Iberian Union: Portugal acclaimed as King, João IV of Portugal, thus ending a 60 year period of personal union of the crowns of Portugal and Spain and the end of the rule of the House of Habsburg (also called the Philippine Dynasty).

1761 Marie Tussaud, French creator of wax sculptures (Madame Tussauds), was born (d. 1850).

1768 – The slave ship Fredensborg sank off Tromøy in Norway.

1821 – The first constitution of Costa Rica was issued.

1822 – Pedro I was crowned Emperor of Brazil.

1824 – U.S. presidential election, 1824: Since no candidate had received a majority of the total electoral college votes in the election, the United States House of Representatives was given the task of deciding the winner in accordance with the Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

1826 – French philhellene Charles Nicolas Fabvier forced his way through the Turkish cordon and ascended the Acropolis of Athens, which had been under siege.

1834 – Slavery was abolished in the Cape Colony in accordance with the Slavery Abolition Act 1833.

1864 – In his State of the Union Address President Abraham Lincoln reaffirmed the necessity of ending slavery as ordered ten weeks earlier in the Emancipation Proclamation.

1913 – The Buenos Aires Subway started operating, the first underground railway system in the southern hemisphere and in Latin America.

1913 – The Ford Motor Company introduced the first moving assembly line.

1913 – Crete, was annexed by Greece.

1918 – Transylvania united with Romania.

1918 – Iceland became a sovereign state, yet remained a part of the Danish kingdom.

1918 – The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later known as the Kingdom of Yugoslavia) was proclaimed.

1919 – Lady Astor became the first female Member of Parliament to take her seat in the House of Commons (she had been elected to that position on November 28).

1925 – World War I aftermath: The final Locarno Treaty was signed in London, establishing post-war territorial settlements.

1932  – Matt Monro, English singer, was born.

1933 – Pilot E.F. (‘Teddy’) Harvie and his passenger, Miss Trevor Hunter, set a record for the longest flight within New Zealand in a single day. They flew approximately 1880 km between North Cape and Invercargill in 16 hours 10 minutes.

First flight from North Cape to Bluff

1934 – Politburo member Sergei Kirov was shot dead by Leonid Nikolayev at the Communist Party headquarters in Leningrad.

1935 Woody Allen, American film director, actor, and comedian, was born.

1939 Lee Trevino, American golfer, was born.

1940  Richard Pryor, American actor, comedian, was born.

1941 – Fiorello La Guardia, Mayor of New York City and Director of the Office of Civilian Defense, signed Administrative Order 9, creating the Civil Air Patrol.

1945 Bette Midler, American actress and singer, was born.

1946  Gilbert O’Sullivan, Irish singer, was born.

1952 – The New York Daily News reported the news of Christine Jorgenson, the first notable case of sexual reassignment surgery.

1955 – American Civil Rights Movement: In Montgomery, Alabama, seamstress Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white man and is arrested for violating the city’s racial segregation laws.

1958 – The Central African Republic became independent from France.

1958 – The Our Lady of the Angels School Fire in Chicago killed 92 children and three nuns.

1959 – Cold War: Opening date for signature of the Antarctic Treaty, which set aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve and bans military activity on the continent.

1960 – Paul McCartney and Pete Best were arrested then deported from Hamburg, Germany, after accusations of attempted arson.

1961 – The independent Republic of West Papua was proclaimed in modern-day Western New Guinea.

1965 – The Border Security Force was formed in India as a special force to guard the borders.

1969 – Vietnam War: The first draft lottery in the United States was held since World War II.

1971 – Cambodian Civil War: Khmer Rouge rebels intensified assaults on Cambodian government positions, forcing their retreat from Kompong Thmar and nearby Ba Ray.

1971 – The Indian Army recaptured part of Kashmir occupied forcibly by Pakistan.

1973 – Papua New Guinea gained self government from Australia.

1974 – TWA Flight 514, a Boeing 727, crashed northwest of Dulles International Airport killing all 92 people on-board.

1974 – Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 6231, crashed northwest of John F. Kennedy International Airport.

1981 – A Yugoslavian Inex Adria Aviopromet DC-9 crashed in Corsica killing all 180 people on-board.

1981 – The AIDS virus was officially recognized.

1982 – At the University of Utah, Barney Clark became the first person to receive a permanent artificial heart.

1988 – Benazir Bhutto was appointed Prime Minister of Pakistan.

1989 – 1989 Philippine coup attempt: The right-wing military rebel Reform the Armed Forces Movement attempted to oust Philippine President Corazon Aquino in a failed bloody coup d’état.

1989 – Cold War: East Germany’s parliament abolished the constitutional provision granting the communist party the leading role in the state.

1990 – Channel Tunnel sections started from the United Kingdom and France meet 40 metres beneath the seabed.

1991 – Cold War: Ukrainian voters overwhelmingly approve a referendum for independence from the Soviet Union.

2001 – Captain Bill Compton brought Trans World Airlines Flight 220, an MD-83, into St. Louis International Airport bringing to an end 76 years of TWA operations following TWA’s purchase by American Airlines.

2001  Aiko, Princess Toshi of Japan, was born.

2009 – The Treaty of Lisbon, which amended the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community, which together comprise the constitutional basis of European Union, came into effect.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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