Word of the day



Mediagenic –  tending to convey a favourable impression when portrayed by the media; attrractive and appealing to readers/listeners/veiwers of news media.

Tips on queues, attitude, turkeys


Topics discussed with Jim Mora on Critical Mass today were:

Finding the best checkout line.

Adjusting your attitude if you don’t.

Timing the turkey cooking. (Thanks to Richard who emailed me this link).


Fonterra forecast up


Fonterra has given us all an early Christmas present – a 20 cent increase in the forecast pay out.

That’s a welcome boost for farmers and the wider economy.

Compulsory read for political tragics


David Farrar has a 46 page compulsory read for political tragics.

It’s his analysis of the 2011 election results and includes:

  1. Overall results for NZ for each party and for each “bloc”.
  2. The change from 2008 to 2011 for each party and bloc.
  3. Results for each party and bloc by region and area.
  4. The change from 2008 to 2011 for each party and bloc by region and area.
  5. National’s Party Vote, Party Vote %, Electorate Vote, Electorate Vote %, Party Vote Change, Party Vote Relative Change, Electorate Vote Change, Electorate Vote Relative Change, and Electorate Vote compared to Party Vote – for each electorate from best to worst.
  6. Electorate Margins (from Nat point of view) and Electorate Majorities for all electorates.
  7. Labour’s Party Vote %, Electorate Vote %, Electorate Vote compared to Party Vote, Electorate Vote compared to Party Vote for Lab & Greens, Party Vote Change, Electorate Vote Change.
  8. Greens’ Party Vote % and Party Vote Change
  9. NZ First Party Vote % and Party Vote Change
  10. Conservative Party Vote %
  11. Maori Party Vote % and Party Vote Change
  12. Mana Party Vote %
  13. ACT Party Vote % and Party Vote Change
  14. United Party Vote % and Party Vote Change
  15. Right, Centre and Left Blocs Party Vote % and Party Vote Change
  16. Right vs Left Vote % and Party Vote Change
  17. Total Number of Voters per electorate
  18. Party Placings for Party and Electorate Vote

As National’s Southern regional chair I take pride, though not the credit, for the 3.8% increase in the party vote across the five southern electorates.

Canturbury Westland did even better with a 6% increase in the party vote. National gained the most in Christchurch, up 7.3% and Labour lost the most there – down 10.3%.

That is a vote of confidence in the government’s handling of the earthquakes and recovery, and in Gerry Brownlee who is the minister responsible for it.

Labour’s biggest decline was in the South Island – down 9.6% in Canterbury Westland and down 9.4% in Southern. The Green Party was the major beneficiary of that, going up 4.6% and 5.1% respectively.



Labour leader – for now


David SHearer is the new Labour leader, Grant Robertson is his deputy.

The first challenge will be to unify a disunified caucus and re-energise a tired and disheartened party.

Keith Ng at On Point explains the magnitude of that challenge:

That’s why this contest isn’t about him – it’s about the Labour caucus and the Labour Party, and whether it’ll ever be able to rid itself of the entrenched interests of patronage and machine politics . . .The system rewards self-promotion and factionalism (which is self-promotion + block voting). Those who gained their positions through that system then perpetuate it. And they have the same effect: The party and the caucus are stacked with time-servers and party hacks. .

Shearer is  the leader for now, but should he fail to lead the many changes the caucus and party need he won’t be leader for long.

MMP review process


The review on MMP by the Electoral Commission will be a two stage process.

The Commission will call for submissions in mid-February and hold public hearings in April and May. The Commission will then release a proposals paper in August for public comment before presenting its final report to the Minister of Justice in October.

The review will include:

• What thresholds parties should have to cross to qualify for an allocation of list seats in Parliament,

• Whether list MPs should be able to stand as candidates in a by-election,

• Whether a person should be able to stand as a candidate both for an electorate seat and on a party list,

• Whether voters or political parties should decide the order of candidates on a party list,

• What should happen when a party wins more electorate seats than it would be entitled to under its share of the party vote,

• The effects of population growth on the ratio of electorate seats to list seats, and

• Other matters referred to the Commission by the Minister of Justice, Parliament, or raised by members of the public.

Parliament has excluded Māori representation and the number of Members of Parliament from the review.

Events overtake prediction


One of the problems of a deadline several days in advance of publication and even longer before what’s written is read is that events can overtake predictions.

So it was with Jane Clifton’s post-election postmortem in the Listener in which she writes of Labour’s leadership contest:

As has been wittily remarked, it’s a case of too many Davids and not a single Goliath. Although it’s true the biblical David was the winner, as yet none of the three –  Parker, Cunliffe or Shearer – shows signs of having a magic slingshot. If, as appears most likely, David Parker gets the job . . .

Sometime between Clifton’s deadline and publication Parker announced he was pulling out of the race.

I must admit my political bias made me hope he’d become the leader.

There is nothing to stop a list MP becoming Prime Minister. But a man who lost a seat after one term, was rejected even more firmly in the next election then managed to gain only 3,751 votes out of the 36,929 cast in this one would have had to work very hard to broaden his appeal with the electorate.

Today we’ll find out which of the other Davids will get the job.

Given the difficulty the both appear to be having to convince both caucus and the wider party membership to reach consensus on which it should be and the challenges facing the party, the winner might find this was the contest to lose anyway.

December 13 in history


1294 – Saint Celestine V resigned the papacy after only five months; Celestine hoped to return to his previous life as an ascetic hermit.

1545 – Council of Trent began.

1577 Sir Francis Drake set out from Plymouth, on his round-the-world voyage.

1642  Towards noon the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman sighted ‘a large land, uplifted high’. This was the first recorded sighting of New Zealand by a European.

First recorded European sighting of NZ

1643 – English Civil War: The Battle of Alton.

1769 Dartmouth College was founded by the Rev. Eleazar Wheelock, with a Royal Charter from King George III.

1816 Ernst Werner von Siemens, German engineer, inventor, and industrialist, was born (d. 1892).

1903 Carlos Montoya, Spanish guitarist, was born (d. 1993).

1906 Sir Laurens van der Post, South African author, was born  (d. 1996).

1925 Dick Van Dyke, American actor and comedian was born.

1929 Christopher Plummer, Canadian actor, was born.

1936 Prince Karim Aga Khan (Aga Khan IV), Imam (leader) of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims, was born.

1939 Eric Flynn, British actor and singer, was born (d. 2002).

1939 Battle of the River Plate : At 6.21 a.m. on 13 December 1939, the cruiser HMS Achilles opened fire on the German ‘pocket battleship’ Admiral Graf Spee in the South Atlantic. It became the first New Zealand unit to strike a blow at the enemy in the Second World War.

Battle of the River Plate

1948 Jeff Baxter, American guitarist (Steely Dan, The Doobie Brothers) was born.

1949 Paula Wilcox, English actress, was born.

1954 Tamora Pierce, American author, was born.

1959 Archbishop Makarios became the first President of Cyprus.

1960 – While Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia visited Brazil, his Imperial Bodyguard seized the capital and proclaimed him deposed and his son, Crown Prince Asfa Wossen, Emperor.

1961 Irene Saez, Miss Universe 1981 and Venezuelan politician, was born.

1967 – Constantine II of Greece attempted an unsuccessful counter-coup against the Regime of the Colonels.

1974 Malta became a republic.

1979 – The Canadian Government of Prime Minister Joe Clark was defeated in the House of Commons, prompting the 1980 Canadian election.

1981 General Wojciech Jaruzelski declared martial law in Poland to prevent dismantling of the communist system by Solidarity.

1989 – Attack on Derryard checkpoint: The Provisional Irish Republican Army launched an attack on a British Army permanent vehicle checkpoint near Rosslea. Two British soldiers were killed and one badly wounded.

1996 Kofi Annan was elected as Secretary-General of the United Nations.

2002 –  The European Union announced that Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia would become members from May 1, 2004.

2003  Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was captured near his home town of Tikrit.

2004 Former Chilean dictator, General Augusto Pinochet was put under house arrest, after being sued under accusations over 9 kidnapping actions and manslaughter. The house arrest was lifted the same day on appeal.

2006 – The Baiji, or Chinese River Dolphin, was pronounced extinct.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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