The dog ate his homework too


If explaining is losing then Trevor Mallard has well and truly lost the debate over his scalping tickets to a music festival.

Mr Mallard says he did not buy the tickets for the purpose of making a profit and saw nothing wrong with selling them when he discovered he could not use them.

He also says the anti-scalping law applies only to large international events like the Rugby World Cup, not music festivals like Homegrown.

I didn’t mean to, it just happened and this is different are up – or more accurately down – there with it’s not my fault, someone else made me do it and the dog ate my homework when it comes to attempts to excuse or justify misbehaviour.

It certainly looks like hypocrisy when, as a Minister, he sponsored legislation outlawing scalping.

It’s yet another SMOG (social media own goal)  and also looks like stupidity when a man who wants to help run the country can’t operate a TradeMe account.

It’s yet another opportunity for the government to have fun at his expense:

Someone who cares about the Labour Party should quietly disconnect his computer.

Word of the day


Insuperable –  incapable of being negotiated, overcome, passed over, or solved; insurmountable.

And Act’s new leader is . . .


. . .  absolutely no surprise:

John Banks has been confirmed as ACT’s new leader.

As the party’s sole MP, he is already parliamentary leader.

A caucus of one was hardly going to vote for anyone else and it would have been yet another dagger in the party’s heart had the board given the role to anyone else.

Thursday’s quiz


1. Who said: “Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. ”

2. It’s contester in French, contestare in Italian, desafiar in Spanish and whakatara in Maori, what is it in English?

3. What is a capybara, (also known as a carpincho)?

4. In which ocean is Madagascar?

5. What do the British and Argentineans respectively call the South Atlantic Islands whose ownership they dispute?

Rates can’t keeping rising so steeply


Central government is focussed on cutting costs and reducing its burden on taxpayers.

The need to reduce the burden on ratepayers is at least as necessary but how many are really trying?

The Waitaki District Council’s proposed 7.41% rate rise for 2012/13 is a case in point.

That is well above the rate of inflation, as rates  rises throughout the country have been for far too long.

Rates can’t keep rising so steeply and some of the changes required to ensure they don’t might require changes in what central government requires from councils and allows them to do.

One seat rule ripe for change


The one-seat rule is one of the matters up for consideration in the review of MMP and it is ripe for change.

Under current rules, a party that wins a seat is able to get extra seats in parliament regardless of how many part votes it wins.

This gives a lot of power to voters in a single electorate which is one of the criticisms levelled at First Past the Post.

There might be a case for allowing extra MPs if the party reaches a lower threshold than the 5% required by those which win no seats, but I would like a higher threshold than a single seat by itself.

If there is no change to the requirement for parties to have more than 500 members the need for winning more than just one electorate seat will be even greater.

The day or holiday?


If Christmas and Boxing Day or January 1st or 2nd fall on a weekend the following Monday (and Tuesday it both holidays are at the weekend) becomes the holiday.

This doesn’t happen with Anzac and Waitangi Days which are observed on the appropriate date regardless of which day it is. Once every few years when they February 6 and April 25 fall on Saturday or Sunday people lose out on a shorter week.

That is why there is a move to Mondayise these days.

I am not too bothered about Waitangi Day. It will impose an extra cost on employers who would have to pay staff time and a half and a day off in lieu, but no more than when the day falls on week days as it does more often than not.

But Anzac day is different. Its express purpose is to honour the people who served our country in wars and especially those who died or were wounded in doing so.

It’s not just a holiday like Queens Birthday or Labour Day and should not be treated as such.


February 16 in history


1032 Emperor Yingzong of China, was born  (d. 1067).

1646  Battle of Great Torrington, Devon – the last major battle of the first English Civil War.

1770 Captain James Cook sighted what he called Banks Island but later discovered was a peninsula.

James Cook sights Banks 'Island'

1804  First Barbary War: Stephen Decatur led a raid to burn the pirate-held frigate USS Philadelphia (1799).

1838 Weenen Massacre: Hundreds of Voortrekkers along the Blaukraans River, Natal were killed by Zulus.

1852 Studebaker Brothers wagon company, precursor of the automobile manufacturer, is established.

1859 The French Government passed a law to set the A-note above middle C to a frequency of 435 Hz, in an attempt to standardize the pitch.

1899 President Félix Faure of France died in office.

1899 – Knattspyrnufélag Reykjavíkur Iceland‘s first football club was founded.

1918 The Council of Lithuania unanimously adopted the Act of Independence, declaring Lithuania an independent state.

1923 – Howard Carter unsealed the burial chamber of Pharoh Tutankhamun.

1926 Margot Frank, German-born Dutch Jewish holocaust victim, was born (d. 1945).

1934 – Austrian Civil War ended with the defeat of the Social Democrats and the Republican Schutzbund.

1934 – Commission of Government was sworn in as form of direct rule for the Dominion of Newfoundland.

1936 – Elections brought the Popular Front to power in Spain.

1937Wallace H. Carothers received a patent for nylon.

1940 Altmark Incident: The German tanker Altmark was boarded by sailors from the British destroyer HMS Cossack. 299 British prisoners were freed.

1941  –Kim Jong-il, North Korean leader, was born.

1947 – Canadians were granted Canadian citizenship after 80 years of being British subjects. Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King became the first Canadian citizen.

1954 – Iain Banks, Scottish author, was born.

1956 Vincent Ward, New Zealand director and screenwriter, was born.

1957 The “Toddlers’ Truce“, a controversial television close down between 6.00pm and 7.00pm was abolished in the United Kingdom.

1959 John McEnroe, American tennis player, was born.

1959 Fidel Castro becomes Premier of Cuba after dictator Fulgencio Batista was overthrown on January 1.

1960 Pete Willis, English guitarist (Def Leppard), was born.

1961 Andy Taylor, English musician (Duran Duran, The Power Station), was born.

1961 – Explorer program: Explorer 9 (S-56a) was launched.

1968 – In Haleyville, Alabama, the first 9-1-1 emergency telephone system went into service.

1973  Cathy Freeman, Australian athlete, was born.

1978 – The first computer bulletin board system was created (CBBS in Chicago, Illinois).

1983 – The Ash Wednesday bushfires in Victoria and South Australia claimed the lives of 75 people.

1985 – The founding of Hezbollah.

1986 – The Soviet liner Mikhail Lermontov ran aground in the Marlborough Sounds.

1987 – The trial of John Demjanjuk, accused of being a Nazi guard dubbed “Ivan the Terrible” in Treblinka extermination camp, started in Jerusalem.

1991 – Nicaraguan Contras leader Enrique Bermúdez was assassinated in Managua.

1999 – Across Europe Kurdish rebels took over embassies and hold hostages after Turkey arrested one of their rebel leaders, Abdullah Öcalan.

2005 – The Kyoto Protocol came into force, following its ratification by Russia.

2005 – The National Hockey League cancelled the entire 2004-2005 regular season and playoffs, becoming the first major sports league in North America to do so over a labour dispute.

2006 – The last Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) was decommissioned by the United States Army.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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