Word of the day

March 21, 2012

Quiescent – at rest; still; inactive; in repose; tranquilly at rest; causing no trouble or symptoms.


Nick Smith’s resignation

March 21, 2012

Nick Smith has resigned as a Minister:

Prime Minister John Key said today he had accepted with sadness the resignation of Dr Nick Smith from his Ministerial portfolios.

The resignation follows questions about Dr Smith’s judgement in supporting an ACC claimant while he was Minister during the previous term.

“It is important that Ministers are seen to actively manage both real and perceived conflicts of interest in the exercise of their duties,” says Mr Key.

“I have always expected high standards from my Ministers – and I will continue to do so.

“Dr Smith has been a hard-working and diligent Minister, but perceptions do matter and he knows he has let himself down.

“I am very disappointed to have lost such a capable Minister. Dr Smith has made a huge contribution to the National Party and to this Government.

“Dr Smith did excellent work in the climate change, local government and environment portfolios. His obvious expertise in these, and other, complex areas will continue to be valued by our Caucus.”

The following Ministers will act in portfolios previously held by Dr Smith: Gerry Brownlee in Local Government, Craig Foss in Climate Change Issues and Chris Finlayson in Environment.

This is the correct step to take after making such an error of judgement but I am very sorry that it has happened.
It is particularly sad that the resignation has come just as he announced plans for much needed reforms in local government.

Milk auction price down again

March 21, 2012

The trade weighted price of milk dropped 4.5% in this morning’s GlobalDairyTrade auction.

Anhydrous milk fat dropped 9.5%; cheddar was down 11.3%; milk protein concentrate dropped 15%;rennet casein fell 12.9%; skim milk powder was down 2%; and whole milk powder was down 2.6%.


Welcome changes for local government

March 21, 2012

Local government Minister Nick Smith’s has announced an eight point reform programme for local authorities:

  1. Refocus the purpose of local government – to change from the ‘social, economic,environmental and cultural well-being of communities’ to ‘providing good quality local infrastructure, public services and regulatory functions at the least possible cost to households and business.’
  2. Introduce fiscal responsibility requirements – will allow Government to set fiscal limits for Councils such as debt, income and expenditure levels. Flexibility in case of disasters though.
  3. Strengthen council governance provisions – will allow Councils to set a cap on staff numbers and set a remuneration policy. Also salaries to be disclosed in bands like for central Govt.
    Also powers of Auckland Mayor to be extended to all Mayors – to appoint Deputy Mayor, Committee Chairs and propose the budget.
  4. Streamline council reorganisation procedures
  5. Establish a local government efficiency taskforce
  6. Develop a framework for central/local government regulatory roles
  7. Investigate the efficiency of local government infrastructure provision
  8. Review the use of development contributions.

The first point by itself will mean better focus for councils, less work for staff and councillor’s and lower costs for ratepayers.

The power of general competence was a mistake which took council’s focus from core business an added significant costs to ratepayers.

Hat tip Kiwiblog.

 


March 21 in history

March 21, 2012

717 Battle of Vincy between Charles Martel and Ragenfrid.

1188  Accession to the throne of Japan by Emperor Antoku.

1413 Henry V became King of England.

1556 Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer was burned at the stake.

1788 A fire in New Orleans left most of the town in ruins.

1800  Pius VII was crowned Pope in Venice with a temporary papal tiara made of papier-mâché.

1801 The Battle of Alexandria was fought between British and French forces near the ruins of Nicopolis in Egypt.

1804 Code Napoléon was adopted as French civil law.

1811 Nathaniel Woodard, English educationalist, was born  (d. 1891).

1821 First revolutionary act in Monastery of Agia Lavra, Kalavryta, Greek War of Independence.

1844 The Bahá’í calendar began.

1844 – The original date predicted by William Miller for the return of Christ.

1857  An earthquake in Tokyo  killed more than 100,000.

1863 George Owen Squier, American inventor and Major General in U.S. Signal Corp, was born (d. 1934).

1871 Otto von Bismarck was appointed Chancellor of the German Empire.

1871 – Journalist Henry Morton Stanley began his trek to find the missionary and explorer David Livingstone.

1904 Forrest Mars Sr., American candymaker, was born  (d. 1999).

1905 Albert Einstein published his theory on special relativity.

1913 Over 360 were killed and 20,000 homes destroyed in the Great Dayton Flood in Ohio.

1918 The first phase of the German Spring Offensive, Operation Michael, began.

1919 The Hungarian Soviet Republic was established becoming the first Communist government to be formed in Europe after the October Revolution in Russia.

1928 Charles Lindbergh was presented the Medal of Honor for his first trans-Atlantic flight.

1933 Construction of Dachau, the first Nazi Germany concentration camp, was completed.

1935 Shah Reza Pahlavi formally asked the international community to call Persia by its native name, Iran, which means ‘Land of the Aryans’.

1936 – Margaret Mahy, New Zealand author, was born (d 2012).

1937 18 people in Ponce, Puerto Rico were gunned down by a police squad acting under orders of US-appointed PR Governor, Blanton C. Winship.

1943 Vivian Stanshall, English musician, artist, actor, writer, Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, was born.

1945  British troops liberated Mandalay, Burma.

1945 Operation Carthage – British planes bombed Gestapo headquarters in Copenhagen but also hit a school; 125 civilians were killed.

1945 Rose Stone, American musician (Sly & the Family Stone), was born.

1946  Ray Dorset, English Musician (Mungo Jerry)

1946 Timothy Dalton, British actor, was born.

1950 Roger Hodgson, English musician, former member of Supertramp, was born.

1951 Russell Thompkins Jr, American singer (The Stylistics), was born.

1952  Alan Freed presented the Moondog Coronation Ball, the first rock and roll concert, in Cleveland, Ohio.

1960 Massacre in Sharpeville: Police opened fire on a group of unarmed black South African demonstrators, killing 69 and wounding 180.

1963 Alcatraz closed.

1964 Gigliola Cinquetti won the ninth Eurovision Song Contest for Italy singing “Non ho l’età” (“I’m not old enough”).

1965 NASA launched Ranger 9, the last in a series of unmanned lunar space probes.

1965 – Martin Luther King Jr led 3,200 people on the start of the third and finally successful civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

1968 Battle of Karameh in Jordan between Israeli Defense Forces and Fatah.

1970 The first Earth Day proclamation was issued by San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto.

1974  Rhys Darby, New Zealand Comedian, was born.

1980  US President Jimmy Carter announced a United States boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow to protest the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan.

1980 – On the season finale of the soap opera Dallas, the infamous character J.R. Ewing was shot by an unseen assailant, leading to the catchphrase “Who Shot JR?”

1985 – Canadian paraplegic athlete and humanitarian Rick Hansen began his circumnavigation of the globe in a wheelchair in the name of spinal cord injury medical research.

1990 – Namibia regained its independence after 75 years of South African rule.

1999 Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones became the first to circumnavigate the Earth in a hot air balloon.

2003 Race Relations Day was celebrated in New Zealand for the first time.

Race Relations Day celebrated for first time

2006  Immigrant workers constructing the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, The United Arab Emirates and a new terminal of Dubai International Airport joined together and riot, causing $1M in damage.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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