Word of the day


Redundant – no longer needed or useful; superfluous; able to be omitted without loss of meaning or function; characterized by verbosity or unnecessary repetition in expressing ideas; being in excess; exceeding what is usual or natural; having some unusual or extra part or feature; characterized by superabundance or superfluity.

In engineering:  a structural member not necessary for resisting statically determined stresses; a structure with members designed to resist other than statically determined stresses; hyperstatic; noting a complete truss having additional members for resisting eccentric loads; a device, circuit, computer system, etc with excess or duplicate parts that can continue to perform in the event of malfunction of some of the parts.



Hmm – brain’s still in holiday mode, only 5/10 in the Herald’s changing world quiz.

Supply and demand stronger influence on price than GST


The main contributer to the .3% fall in the Consumer Price Index in the December quarter was vegetables.

Statistics NZ prices manager Chris Pike said:

Vegetable prices fell 25 percent in the December 2011 quarter, causing a 2.2 percent fall in overall food prices. 

“The larger-than-usual fall for vegetables reflects a supply shortage in the three months to September,” Mr Pike said. “Basically, vegetable prices were higher than normal last winter, then fell to normal levels towards the end of the year. If vegetable prices had remained constant in the December 2011 quarter, the CPI would have risen 0.1 percent.”

Labour’s election pledge to take GST off fresh fruit and vegetables was never based on reason and these figures show supply and demand have a far bigger impact on price than tax.

Friday’s answers


1. Who said: “We sometimes think that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.”?

2. Who wrote Poor Man’s Orange, The Harp in the South, A fence Around the Cuckoo and Fishing in the Styx?

3. It’s pauvre in French,  povero  in Italian,  pobre in Spanish and

4. Which marine reserve lies about 20 kilometres off the Tutukaka Coast?

5. Who heads the ministerial committee on poverty?

Points for answers:

Andrei wins an electronic bag of peaches for four right with a bonus for additonal commentary.

Gravedodger got three and a bonus for being the only one to get Ruth Park and commentary.

Grant got three with a bonus for extra information (which doesn’t mean I agree with the pretentious git bit).

PDM got two and a nearly for #5

Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

What’s up at Environment Southland?


A fixed term contract is just that and employers have the option of renewing it or not.

But why has Environment Southland not taken the option of extending the term of its CEO Ciaran Keogh for another two years when it appears there were no problems with his performance?

At least one councillor appears less than supportive of the move.

Recruitment is not an inexpensive business and seeking a new CEO wouldn’t normally be done without very good reason when the option of extending his term was available.

Plug pulled on Project Hayes


After six years of environmental hearings, Meridian Energy has pulled the plug on its Project Hayes wind farm on the Lammermoor Range.

Project Hayes was by far the country’s largest wind farm project when it was first announced, and envisaged a 633.3 Megawatt station with 176 turbines stretching across a plain that is both barren and ecologically important. 

Lovers of the sparsely populated area’s vast landscapes, including former All Black Anton Oliver and painter Grahame Sidney, were among chief opponents of the project, and were the reason the Environment Court turned down Meridian’s application in 2006.

The resource consents granted in 2007 were challenged in the Environment Court, which cancelled them, leading Meridian to appeal the cancellation in a process that had been ongoing until today.  . .

It appears Binns viewed Project Hayes as an expensive legacy issue, which was potentially unwinnable, and he said the economics of the project had become less attractive.

“Our portfolio has developed considerably and our review showed us that other projects now are a higher commercial priority than Project Hayes,” said Binns in a statement.

“Meridian now has a number of potential development options that would be progressed ahead of Project Hayes. Withdrawing the consent applications is not only the most prudent commercial decision for Meridian, but also avoids prolonging uncertainty about this project for the community and the project’s supporters.”

Total costs over the nearly six years the issue has been live amounted to $8.8 million, of which $7.2 million would be written off in the forthcoming annual accounts.

It was a very controversial project which attracted strong opposition but it also had strong support from some locals.

It has cost the company a lot of money and it was also expensive for those opposing it.

The project was started by then- CEO Keith Turner who was also behind Project Aqua, Meridian’s attempt at hydro development on the Lower Waitaki River. Investigations for that were estiamted to have cost the comapny about $95 million before it was canned, although that included purchases of land which were subsequently sold at a profit.

One of the arguments for partial privatisation is that it will impose more rigor on companies which are now 100% owned by the state.

I wonder if the company would have attempted to do this development had a minority shareholding been in private hands and whether that would make a difference in future?

Quote of the day


. . . “We mustn’t judge” has become the national mantra.

We actually feel righteous about giving up on any belief in right and wrong, so we can simply feel indulgent about a public slow death from addiction and malnutrition, just as we draw back complacently from condemning a vile crime.

We are, quite simply, morally lazy. It’s too much effort to set our minds to the task of upholding what’s good, and condemning what’s not; we’ve fallen into the trap of believing that an explanation for abhorrent acts is in itself an absolution. . . Rosemary Mcleod

January 20 in history


Emperor Decius began a widespread persecution of Christians in Rome. Pope Fabian was martyred.

1265 In Westminster, the first English parliament conducted its first meeting held by Simon de Montfort in the Palace of Westminster.

1356 Edward Balliol abdicated as King of Scotland.

1523 Christian II was forced to abdicate as King of Denmark and Norway.

1649 Charles I of England went on trial for treason and other “high crimes”.

1788 The third and main part of First Fleet arrived at Botany Bay. Arthur Phillip decided that Botany Bay was unsuitable for location of a penal colony, and decided to move to Port Jackson.

1840 Dumont D’Urville discovered Adélie Land, Antarctica.

1840 – Willem II became King of the Netherlands.

1841  Hong Kong Island was occupied by the British.

1885 L.A. Thompson patented the roller coaster.

1887  The United States Senate allowed the Navy to lease Pearl Harbor as a naval base.

1892  At the YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts, the first official basketball game was played.

1896  George Burns, American actor, comedian, was born (d. 1996).

1899  Clarice Cliff, English ceramic, was born (d. 1972).

1910 Joy Adamson, Austrian naturalist and writer, was born (d. 1980).

1921 The first Constitution of Turkey was adopted, making fundamental changes in the source and exercise of sovereignty by consecrating the principle of national sovereignty.

1926 Patricia Neal, American actress, was born (d. 2010).

1929  In Old Arizona, the first full-length talking motion picture filmed outdoors, was released.

1930  Buzz Aldrin, American astronaut, was born.

1934  Tom Baker, British actor, was born.

1936  Edward VIII became King of the United Kingdom.

1937 Franklin Roosevelt was inaugurated for a second term as President of the United States. This was the first inauguration scheduled on January 20, following adoption of the 20th Amendment. Previous inaugurations were scheduled on March 4.

1950  Liza Goddard, British actress, was born.

1952 Paul Stanley, American musician (Kiss), was born.

1957 Scott Base opened in Antarctica.

Scott Base opened in Antarctica

1959 The first flight of the Vickers Vanguard.

1960 Hendrik Verwoerd announced a plebiscite on whether South Africa should become a Republic.

1961  John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as the youngest man, and first-ever Roman Catholic, to become elected President of the United States.

1965   Sophie, The Countess of Wessex, was born.

1981 Irann released 52 American hostages twenty minutes after Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as U.S. President, the oldest man to be inaugurated at 69.

1987  Church of England envoy Terry Waite was kidnapped in Lebanon.

1990  Black January – crackdown of Azerbaijani pro-independence demonstrations by Soviet army in Baku.

Soviet tanks in Baku during Black January.

1991 Sudan‘s government imposed Islamic law nationwide, worsening the civil war between the country’s Muslim north and Christian south.

2001  Philippine president Joseph Estrada was ousted in a nonviolent 4-day revolution, and was succeeded by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

2009 Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States of America – the United States’ first African-American president.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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