Word of the day


Recondite – difficult to understand; not known by most people; abstruse.

Someday Somebody


Quote of the day:      

Northland College principal John Tapene has offered the following words from a judge who regularly deals with youth:

“Always we hear the cry from teenagers, “what can we do, where can we go?” . . .  My answer is, “Go home, mow the lawn, wash the windows, learn to cook, build a raft, get a job, visit the sick, study your lessons, and after you’ve finished, read a book.

“Your town does not owe you recreational facilities and your parents do not owe you fun. The world does not owe you a living you owe the world something. You owe it your time, energy and talent so that no-one will be at war, in poverty or sick and lonely again.”

In other words, grow up, stop being a cry baby, get out of your dream world and develop a backbone, not a wishbone. Start behaving like a responsible person. You are important and you are needed. It’s too late to sit around and wait for somebody to do something, someday. Someday is now and that somebody is you.

 I came across this on Facebook and haven’t tried to find out if this really was the principal quoting a judge, but regardless of who said it, I like the message that someday is now and that somebody is you.




Bank requiring better savings before lending


ANZ has announced it’s all but stopping funding mortgages of 95% of a property’s value.

ANZ New Zealand chief executive, David Hisco, says households are wanting to put their money in the bank rather than taking on new debt, a trend that’s grown since the global financial crisis.

But customers wanting to borrow, may have to save more.

Mr Hisco says the bank is not sure that it’s the right thing to do to lend to customers who have only a 5% deposit and stopped doing so in all but special circumstances.

“We tend to think that probably in the current environment people should try and save a little bit more, maybe save 10% as a minimum.”

Even 10% is far lower than prudent banks used to require from would-be property owners.

In those days it was much harder to get loans and banks required you to show a savings record to convince them you’d be able to service and repay a mortgage.

In recent years it’s been easier to borrow more but that comes with higher risk for the lender and the borrower.

If you’ve only managed to save 5% of the property’s value and borrow the rest you could easily lose the tiny equity you have if values fall.

A lot of people got into trouble because of that, ending up owing more than their property was worth.

Public money funds trade union campaigns


Could this happen here:

It’s the end of another week in Westminster when the issue of taxpayer-funded trade union activity has been on the agenda. Wednesday morning saw MPs debating the issue and now new evidence appears which suggests that the problem has reached a whole new level, with taxpayer-subsidised trade union branches openly campaigning against government policy in the very departments in which their members are supposed to be working.  . .

The quote comes from the Taxpayers’ Alliance which has a paper on union funding.

  • Trade unions received £85.8 million from public sector organisations in 2009-10.
  • That is made up of £18.3 million in direct payments from public sector organisations and an estimated £67.5 million in paid staff time.
  • The total is up 14 per cent from 2008-09, when trade unions received £76.1 million from public sector organisations.
  •  Direct payments include a total of £13.0 million in 2008-09 and £14.9 million in 2009-10 paid by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills through the Union Learning Fund and the Union Modernisation Fund.
  • 2,493 full time equivalent public sector employees worked for trade unions at the taxpayers’ expense in 2009-10.
  • Total public funding for the trade unions in 2009-10 was 20 percent more than the combined political contributions to the Labour Party and the Conservative Party in 2008-09.1

Does anything similar happen here?

Bluegreen future


National’s Bluegreen Future,an environment policy paper reporting on the progress of the National-led Government over the past three years and setting out the next steps to be taken in this term was launched at the party’s Bluegreen’s Forum at the weekend.

The Bluegreen approach is based on five principles:

Resource use must be based on sustainability.

Economic growth and improving the environment can and must go hand in hand.

Good science is essential to quality environmental decision making.

People respond best to change when engaged and given incentives.

New Zealanders have a unique birthright to access and enjoy our special places.

In launching the report, Environment Minister Nick Smith said:

“This plan is about bringing together policies that support a strong growing economy with sound stewardship of our natural environment. It has been put together by National’s 18-strong Bluegreens Caucus and covers our work on climate change, energy, transport, biosecurity, freshwater, biodiversity, oceans, recycling, contaminated sites, air quality, and outdoor recreation,” . . .

”We are proud of our record in Government. New Zealand is planting more trees, building more renewable power stations, insulating more houses, cleaning up more lakes and rivers, converting more homes to clean heating and recycling more waste.”

“We have an ambitious legislative plan for improving the environment: We will pass by 1 July 2012 new laws to protect New Zealand’s huge ocean area known as the Exclusive Economic Zone. We will be making improvements to the Emissions Trading Scheme by 1 January 2013 to ensure New Zealand continues to do its fair share on the global problem of climate change. We will also pass new laws on environmental reporting and marine reserves.”

“We also have an exciting programme of initiatives to advance this term covering the clean-up and better management of lakes and rivers, electrification of rail, extending incentives for electric cars, improving biosecurity and biodiversity, recycling TVs as part of the digital switchover, managing contaminated sites, and implementing tighter rules to improve air quality.” . . .

“These practical environment policies are right for the times. New Zealanders want balanced policies that will create jobs and improve living standards while ensuring we protect our clean green brand and great Kiwi lifestyle,” says Dr Smith.

The Green Growth Advisory Group also released its report at the weekend.

It says:

New Zealand needs a whole-economy approach to greener growth. The best outcomes for our economy and environment will come from many and various shifts within and between sectors towards greener products, services, technologies, practices and markets.

 Innovation involving knowledge and technology is critical to greening the growth of every sector, and this will often occur through the raising of productivity in current economic activities.

 Improved environmental performance and net gains in biodiversity protection are integral to New Zealand’s green growth.

 New Zealanders have a positive orientation towards green growth – confirmed in the Advisory Group’s engagement programme – but they need greater focus and more consistency of effort if they are to benefit more fully from the world’s shift in this direction.

 The report gave 26 recommendations for the government to consider.

“This is a useful report for bringing together policies that will help the Government build a more productive and competitive economy, while meeting environmental objectives,” Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says.

“We see real opportunities for New Zealand in industries covered in the report such as the food and beverage industry, tourism, high-value manufacturing and services, and the petroleum and minerals sector.”

“The Government agrees with the report’s conclusion that New Zealand needs a broad growth strategy where all sectors take into account their environmental performance rather than focusing on a few green industries.”

Dr Smith says: “There is significant national and international interest in how to achieve strong economic growth that delivers jobs with policies that improve the environment. This report reinforces the value of the achievements of our first term in areas like water, waste and climate change but also new ideas for us to consider in this term.”

“It will feed into New Zealand’s contributions to the OECD Environment Roundtable in March and the UN Rio +20 Conference, both of which are focused on green growth.”

Respect for the environment and the need to protect and enhance it across the political spectrum but there are differing opinions on how to do that.

Those of a dark green philosophy have an unbalanced approach which puts the environment ahead of social and economic considerations even though environmental protection and enhancement need economic growth.

The Bluegreen approach is better balanced, acknowledging the importance of both economic growth and environmental improvement.

March 5 in history


On March 5:

1046 Naser Khosrow began the seven-year Middle Eastern journey which he will later describe in his book Safarnama.

1133 – King Henry II of England, was born (d. 1189).

1324  King David II of Scotland, was born (d. 1371).

1326 Louis I of Hungary, was born (d. 1382).

1496 King Henry VI  issued letters patent to John Cabot and his sons, authorising them to explore unknown lands.

1766 Antonio de Ulloa, the first Spanish governor of Louisiana arrived in New Orleans.

1770 Boston Massacre: Five Americans, were killed by British troops.

1784 Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney was named President of the Board of Trade.

1824 First Burmese War: The British officially declare war on Burma.

1830 The outbreak of the Girls’ War  at Kororareka.

Outbreak of the Girl's War at Kororareka

1836 Samuel Colt made the first production-model revolver, the .34-caliber.

1850 The Britannia Bridge across the Menai Strait between the Isle of Anglesey and the mainland of Wales opened.

1860 Parma, Tuscany, Modena and Romagna voted in referenda to join the Kingdom of Sardinia.

1868  A court of impeachment was organized in the United States Senate to hear charges against President Andrew Johnson.

1868 – Mefistofele, an opera by Arrigo Boito receives its première performance at La Scala.

1872  George Westinghouse patented the air brake.

1904 Nikola Tesla, in Electrical World and Engineer, described the process of the ball lightning formation.

1908  Sir Rex Harrison, English actor, was born  (d. 1990).

1912 Italian forces were the first to use airships for military purposes, using them for reconnaissance behind Turkish lines.

1933 President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared a “bank holiday”, closing all U.S. banks and freezing all financial transactions.

1936 Canaan Banana, first President of Zimbabwe, was born (d. 2003).

1937 Olusẹgun Ọbasanjọ, President of Nigeria, was born.

1940 Members of Soviet politburo signed an order for the execution of 25,700 Polish intelligentsia, including 14,700 Polish POWs, known also as the Katyn massacre.

1942  United States Navy Seabees established.

1942 Felipe González, Prime Minister of Spain, was born.

1943 First flight of Gloster Meteor jet aircraft in the United Kingdom.

1946 Winston Churchill used the phrase “Iron Curtain” in his speech at Westminster College, Missouri.

1946 Hungarian Communists and Social Democrats co-founded the Left Bloc.

1948 Elaine Paige, English singer and actress, was born.

1949 The Jharkhand Party was founded in India.

1952  – Alan Clark, English keyboardist (Dire Straits), was born.

1958 The Explorer 2 spacecraft launched and failed to reach Earth orbit.

1960 The Aquatic Ape Hypothesis originated when Alister Hardy publicly announced his idea that ape-human divergence may have been due to a coastal phase.

1962 Charlie and Craig Reid, Scottish musicians (The Proclaimers), were born.

1965 March Intifada: A Leftist uprising erupts in Bahrain against British colonial presence.

1966 BOAC Flight 911 crashed on Mount Fuji  killing 124.

1970 John Frusciante, American musician (Red Hot Chili Peppers), was born.

1970 The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty went into effect after ratification by 43 nations.

1973 Donald DeFreeze, the future Symbionese Liberation Army leader, escaped from Vacaville Prison.

1974 Yom Kippur War: Israeli forces withdrew from the west bank of the Suez Canal.

1975 First meeting of the Homebrew Computer Club

1978 The Landsat 3 was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

1979 Soviet probes Venera 11, Venera 12 and the American solar satellite Helios 2 were hit by “off the scale” gamma rays leading to the discovery of soft gamma repeaters.

1979 – Voyager 1‘s closest approach to Jupiter, 172,000 miles.

1982 Daniel Carter, New Zealand rugby player, was born.

1982 Venera 14, a Soviet satellite, arrived at Venus.

1984 6,000 Miners in the United Kingdom began their historic strike at Cortonwood Colliery.

1999 Paul Okalik was elected first Premier of Nunavut.

2001 In Mecca, 35 Muslim pilgrims were crushed to death during the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

2003 17 Israeli civilians were killed by a Hamas suicide bomb in the Haifa bus 37 massacre.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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