With friends like this . . .


Young Nats have officially endorsed David Cunliffe for the Labour leadership.

“David Cunliffe is a member of the Young Nats, and we’re endorsing him to be the next Labour leader” says Northern Young Nationals Chairman, Sean Topham.

“Cunliffe signed up at the University of Auckland O’Week stall in March and put his name in the draw to win a BBQ”

“Cunliffe’s candidacy is bloody exciting! He’s a whole package of disloyalty, dishonesty and extravagance – he absolutely embodies Labour values. Shearer may be spiking the guns in caucus, but Cunliffe’s epic support of Phil throughout the campaign just shows how effective he would be at uniting the freshly decimated Labour caucus.”

Young Nats Vice President, Zach Castles also added “The sheer charm and personality that David will bring to a factional Labour caucus would be really inspiring.” . . .

Goodness only knows what’s motivated this support but I suspect Cunliffe will be thinking that with friends like this he doesn’t need any enemies.


Word of the day


Paludal – of or relating to a swamp or marsh.

NZ still least corrupt


New Zealand has again topped Transparency International’s Corruptions Perception Index as the country perceived to have the least corrupt public service in the world.

New Zealand scored 9.5 out of 10 in the index:

The index scores 183 countries and territories from 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (very clean) based on perceived levels of public sector corruption. It uses data from 17 surveys that look at factors such as enforcement of anti-corruption laws, access to information and conflicts of interest.

Two thirds of ranked countries score less than 5.

New Zealand ranks first, followed by Finland and Denmark. Somalia and North Korea (included in the index for the first time), are last.

“2011 saw the movement for greater transparency take on irresistible momentum, as citizens around the world demand accountability from their governments. High-scoring countries show that over time efforts to improve transparency can, if sustained, be successful and benefit their people,” said Transparency International Managing Director, Cobus de Swardt.

Most Arab Spring countries rank in the lower half of the index, scoring below 4. Before the Arab Spring, a Transparency International report on the region warned that nepotism, bribery and patronage were so deeply engrained in daily life that even existing anti-corruption laws had little impact.

Eurozone countries suffering debt crises, partly because of public authorities’ failure to tackle the bribery and tax evasion that are key drivers of debt crisis, are among the lowest-scoring EU countries.

Corruption costs and hurts individuals, economies and societies.

We can, as Tony Ryall says, be proud of the ranking and the people who earned it, but we can’t be complacent.

Friday’s answers


Thursday’s questions were:

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?

Points for answers:

Andrei wins an electronic box of Rare Earth Jersey bennies with five right and a bonus for the ballet quote.

Adam got four with a half for the poultry.

David gets two with a  half for the chook and a hope-you’re-right about summer’s arrival.

Mort gets a box of Jersey bennies for five right too.

Grant gets four with a bonus for anecdotes.

GD also gets the spuds for five right with a bonus for commentary.

PDM gets a half for the chook and a bonus  for lateral thinking with the Mafia link.


Answers follow the break.

Read the rest of this entry »

New driver wanted


Cartoon of the year from New Zealand’s best cartoonist, Garrick Tremain:

Phil Goff was blamed for most of Labour’s problems but he was handicapped from the start by the legacy of the Clark years and her resignation on election night.

Goff delayed the announcement of his resignation by days and it won’t take effect for a couple of weeks but his successor will be in just as difficult a position as he was.

It will take a lot more than a new leader to get the party going anywhere and a lot more to get it going somewhere that members and voters want to go.

P.S.  Tremain isn’t part of the VRWC.

Those of us fortunate enough to see his regular contributions in the ODT know he casts his pen and his wit across the political spectrum.

You’ll find his cartoons, paintings and books on his website.



9/10 in the NZ Herald’s quiz on electoral systems.

Fonterra takes sharper focus on water quality


Fonterra will require all suppliers to fence all waterways on their farms which are covered by the Clean Streams Accord.

Fonterra’s General Manager Milk Supply Steve Murphy says since signing the Clean Streams Accord eight years ago, the co-operative has made measurable progress on protecting New Zealand’s waterways.

“In addition, our Every Farm Every Year programme introduced last year has achieved improvements in effluent compliance.  We are heading in the right direction and are now taking the next step by introducing a clause that will mean the Co-operative’s 10,500 suppliers will be required to fence all Accord waterways on their farms.

“Fonterra is committed to doing its bit to look after our environment.  Ensuring stock stay out of lakes, rivers and streams is fundamental to maintaining water quality and this clause sets a clear Fonterra standard for all of our farmers.”

Many farmers have already done this but some are lagging behind and Fonterra’s contractual requirement will ensure they comply with the standard expected on all farms.

Oh, and what consitutes a waterway?

Accord waterways are defined in the Dairying and Clean Streams Accord as deeper than a red-band gumboot, wider than stride (one metre) and permanently flowing.

Would anyone else in the world have a gumboot measurement? And are all red-bands the same height?

What does this say about Labour?


Now that David Parker has pulled out of the contest for the Labour leadership, David Shearer is regarded as the favaourite.

Among the experiences he thinks will help him in the job is this:

My life has been spent around the world, looking down the barrels of guns of Somali warlords trying to stop an aid ship coming into a port.

If that’s the sort of experience which will be helpful in the position he aspires to, what does it say about the party?


December 2 in history


1409 – The University of Leipzig opened.

1755 – The second Eddystone Lighthouse was destroyed by fire.

1763 – Dedication of the Touro Synagogue, in Newport, Rhode Island, the first synagogue in the United States.

1775 – The USS Alfred became the first vessel to fly the Grand Union Flag (the precursor to the Stars and Stripes); the flag is hoisted by John Paul Jones.

1804 – At Notre Dame Cathedral Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himself Emperor of the French, the first French Emperor in a thousand years.

1805 – Napoleonic Wars: Battle of Austerlitz – French troops under Napoleon Bonaparte defeated a joint Russo-Austrian force.

1823 – Monroe Doctrine: US President James Monroe delivered a speech establishing American neutrality in future European conflicts.

1845 – Manifest Destiny: US President James K. Polk announced to Congress that the United States should aggressively expand into the West.

1848 – Franz Josef I became Emperor of Austria.

1851 – French President Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte overthrew the Second Republic.

1852 – Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte became Emperor of the French (Napoleon III).

1859 – Georges Seurat, French painter was born (d. 1891).

1859 – Militant abolitionist leader John Brown was hanged for his October 16th raid on Harper’s Ferry.

1867 – At Tremont Temple in Boston, British author Charles Dickens gave his first public reading in the United States.

1884 – Sir Erima Harvey Northcroft, New Zealand lawyer and judge, was born (d. 1953).

1899 – Philippine-American War: The Battle of Tirad Pass, termed “The Filipino Thermopylae”, was fought.

1908 – Child Emperor Pu Yi ascended the Chinese throne at the age of two.

1917 – Six p.m. closing of pubs was introduced in New Zealand as a ‘temporary’ wartime measure. It ushered in what became know as the ‘six o’clock swill’, as patrons aimed to get their fill before closing time.

'Six o'clock swill' begins

1917 – An armistice was signed between Russia and the Central Powers at Brest-Litovsk and peace talks leading to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk began.

1920 – Following more than a month of Turkish-Armenian War, the Turkish dictated Treaty of Alexandropol is concluded.

1924 – Alexander Haig, American soldier and politician, was born (d. 2010).

1927 – Following 19 years of Ford Model T production, the Ford Motor Company unveiled the Ford Model A .

1930 – Great Depression: US President Herbert Hoover went before the United States Congress and asked for a US$150 million public works programme to help generate jobs and stimulate the economy.

1939 – New York City’s La Guardia Airport opened.

1942 – Manhattan Project: A team led by Enrico Fermi initiated the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction.

1943 – A Luftwaffe bombing raid on the harbour of Bari, Italy, sinks numerous cargo and transport ships, including an American Liberty ship, the John Harvey, with a stockpile of World War I-era mustard gas.

1946 – The British Government invited four Indian leaders, Nehru, Baldev Singh, Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan to obtain the participation of all parties in the Constituent Assembly.

1947 – Jerusalem Riots of 1947: Riots broke out in Jerusalem in response to the approval of the 1947 UN Partition Plan.

1954 – Red Scare: The United States Senate voted 65 to 22 to condemn Joseph McCarthy for “conduct that tends to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute”.

1954 – The Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty, between the United States and China, was signed in Washington, D.C..

1956 – The Granma yacht reached the shores of Cuba’s Oriente province and Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and 80 other members of the 26th of July Movement disembark to initiate the Cuban Revolution.

1961 – In a nationally broadcast speech, Cuban leader Fidel Castro declared that he was a Marxist-Leninist and that Cuba was going to adopt Communism.

1970 – The United States Environmental Protection Agency began operations.

1971 – Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Fujairah, Sharjah, Dubai, and Umm Al Quwain formed the United Arab Emirates.

1972 – Gough Whitlam became the first Labor Prime Minister of Australia for 23 years.

1975 – Pathet Lao seized power in Laos, and establishes the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

1976 – Fidel Castro became President of Cuba replacing Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado.

1977 – The first World Series Cricket “supertest” match played between Australia and West Indies.

1980 – Four U.S. nuns and churchwomen, Ita Ford, Maura Clarke, Jean Donovan, and Dorothy Kazel, were murdered by a death squad in El Salvador.

1988 – Benazir Bhutto was sworn in as Prime Minister of Pakistan, becoming the first woman to head the government of an Islam-dominated state.

1990 – A coalition led by Chancellor Helmut Kohl won the first free all-German elections since 1932.

1993 – Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar was shot and killed in Medellín.

1993 – STS-61 – NASA launched the Space Shuttle Endeavour on a mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.

1999 – Glenbrook rail accident near Sydney.

1999 – The United Kingdom devolved political power in Northern Ireland to the Northern Ireland Executive.

2001 – Enron filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

2008 – Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat resigned after the 2008 Thailand political crisis.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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