Word of the day


Nuppence – no charge or cost; to be paid nothing,



5/10 in Stuff’s Biz Quiz

Change of heart?


A communication glitch before last year’s National Party Mainland conference led to the media being excluded from most of proceedings.

There is a place for in-house sessions when members get to hear and say things which might not be aired in a public forum. But conferences are also a vehicle to showcase people and policy.

We did much better this year, and Dene Mackenzie, the ODT’s political editor, noticed.

What a difference a year makes for the National Party – a change for the better as far as involving its members and  being decidedly more open than for many years. . .

He gives me credit which I appreciate, but it should go to  many people including other office holders, the board, staff and MPs  who are committed to on-going improvement.

. . . National had been in danger of losing the support of a wide cross-section of loyal supporters who had become tired of being talked at rather than talked to.   

Feedback on Saturday was positive, but there is still a way  to go.   

 This year, break-out groups got a chance to spend time discussing the speeches of the first three speakers with the speakers, before reporting back to the wider conference.   

Interestingly, every MP, whether they were list or  electorate, paid sincere tribute to the hard work of the volunteers who helped get them elected .  . .

That was noticed and appreciated. There were many factors which led to National’s electoral success last year, one of the important ones was the number of volunteers who support the party and the efforts they go to for it.

. . . Showing members there is a chance to make a difference to the way the party operates will attract and keep activists, not      all of whom want to become MPs but do want to be involved in  the political process.   

The weekend was a first step in the party organisation  regaining the trust and support of the people who fund it.

Dene says the party has had a change of heart. It’s not so much that as a greater commitment to giving value to members.

Conferences aren’t the only place for them to have their say. Branch and electorate meetings and policy advisory groups give plenty of opportunity for contributions. The Southern region held a policy day with MPs last year and will have at least one this year.

But conferences get the most attendees and attention and it is important that members have plenty of opportunity to contribute.

National has the largest membership base of any party in New Zealand and it’s growing.

Ensuring members are valued and get value from their membership is essential if that is to continue.

Young Nats important part of brighter future


Sitting at the top table at a conference gives you a good view of participants and one thing which stood out at this weekend’s National Party Mainland conference was the number of young people.

Young Nationals made up about 15% of delegates and it’s not just a matter of quantity but quality too. Their intelligent and articulate contributions to discussions were appreciated and their enthusiasm and energy contagious.

Bucking the trend of most parties, National’s membership has increased over the past few years and Young Nats are making a significant contribution to that increase.

The party campaigned on, and the government is committed to, building a brighter future for New Zealand, Young Nats are helping to build a brighter future for the party.


Declaration of bias – Southern young Nats have made me an honorary member, which I regard as an honour.

Sneaky Green but no red


As Hamilton West MP Tim Macindoe approached the Forsyth Barr stadium where he was addressing the National Party Mainland conference yesterday he noticed a bloke get off a bike with a Green poster.

The same bloke walked into the stadium behind Tim who suggested to the security man that he probably wasn’t supposed to be there. The security man said he’d already worked that out and invited the bloke to leave, which he did.

Apparently there was a small protest outside, waiting for Prime Minister John Key but they were at one end of the stadium and the driver took the PM out the other.

I don’t know who they were or what their gripe was but was told there was nothing identifying any as Labour Party people.

Conference goers in the past when National was in government were regularly harangued by scores of Labour protesters. That none was visible this time could mean they’ve realised the futility of such actions.

It might also be another sign of the party’s ailing state and that it doesn’t have enough activists willing to get out and wave their flags any more.



April 30 in history


313  Roman emperor Licinius unified the entire Eastern Roman Empire under his rule.

1006  Supernova SN 1006, the brightest supernova in recorded history, appeared in the constellation Lupus.

1315 Enguerrand de Marigny was hanged on the public gallows at Montfaucon.

1492 Spain gave Christopher Columbus his commission of exploration.

1513 Edmund de la Pole, Yorkist pretender to the English throne, was executed on the orders of Henry VIII.

1651 Jean-Baptiste de la Salle, French educational reformer, Catholic saint, was born (d. 1719).

1662 Queen Mary II of England was born (d. 1694).

1671  Petar Zrinski, the Croatian Ban from the Zrinski family, was executed.

1789  George Washington took the oath of office to become the first elected President of the United States.

1794  The Battle of Boulou was fought, in which French forces defeated the Spanish under General Union.

1803  Louisiana Purchase: The United States purchased the Louisiana Territory from France for $15 million, more than doubling the size of the young nation.

1838  Nicaragua declared independence from the Central American Federation.

1864  Pai Marire warriors were defeated at Sentry Hill.

Pai Marire defeated at Sentry Hill Taranaki

1865 ex-Governor Robert Fitzroy committed suicide.

Ex-Governor FitzRoy commits suicide

1871 The Camp Grant Massacre took place in Arizona Territory.

1894 Coxey’s Army reached Washington, D.C. to protest the unemployment caused by the Panic of 1893.

1900 Hawaii became a territory of the United States, with Sanford B. Dole as governor.

1900  Casey Jones died in a train wreck in Vaughn, Mississippi, while trying to make up time on the Cannonball Express.

1904 The Louisiana Purchase Exposition World’s Fair opened in St. Louis, Missouri.

1907  Honolulu, Hawaii became an independent city.

1909  Queen Juliana of the Netherlands,  was born (d. 2004).

1925 Dodge Brothers, Inc was sold to Dillon, Read & Company for $146 million plus $50 million for charity.

1927  The Federal Industrial Institute for Women, opened in Alderson, West Virginia, as the first women’s federal prison in the United States.

1927 – Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford became the first celebrities to leave their footprints in concrete at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood.

1933 Willie Nelson, American musician, was born.

1937  The Philippines held a plebiscite for Filipino women on whether they should be extended the right to suffrage; more than 90% voted in the affirmative.

1938  The animated cartoon short Porky’s Hare Hunt debuted in movie theatres, introducing Happy Rabbit.

1938 The first televised FA Cup Final took place between Huddersfield Town and Preston North End.

1939  The 1939-40 New York World’s Fair opened

1939  NBC inaugurated its regularly scheduled television service in New York City, broadcasting President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s World’s Fair opening day ceremonial address.

1943  World War II: Operation Mincemeat: The submarine HMS Seraph surfaced in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Spain to deposit a dead man planted with false invasion plans and dressed as a British military intelligence officer.

1945 World War II: Fuehrerbunker: Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun committed suicide after being married for one day. Soviet soldiers raised the Victory Banner over the Reichstag building.

1946 King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, was born.

1947 The Boulder Dam was renamed Hoover Dam a second time.

1948 The Organization of American States was established.

1949 António Guterres, former Prime Minister of Portugal, was born.

1953  In Warner Robins, Georgia, an F4 tornado killed 18 people.

1953 Merrill Osmond, American musician (The Osmonds), was born.

1954 Jane Campion, New Zealand film director, was born.

1956 Former Vice President and Senator Alben Barkley died during a speech in Virginia. He collapsed after proclaiming “I would rather be a servant in the house of the lord than sit in the seats of the mighty.”

1959 Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, was born.

1973  Watergate Scandal: U.S. President Richard Nixon announced that top White House aids H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman and others had resigned.

1975 Fall of Saigon: Communist forces gained control of Saigon. The Vietnam War formally ended with the unconditional surrender of South Vietnamese president Duong Van Minh.

1980 Accession of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

1988 Queen Elizabeth II officially opened World Expo ’88 in Brisbane, Australia.

1993  CERN announced World Wide Web protocols would be free.

1993 Virgin Radio broadcast for the first time in the United Kingdom.

1995 U.S. President Bill Clinton became the first President to visit Northern Ireland.

1999 Cambodia joined the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bringing the number of members to 10.

2004 U.S. media release graphic photos of American soldiers abusing and sexually humiliating Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison.

2008  Two skeletal remains found near Ekaterinburg, Russia were confirmed by Russian scientists to be the remains of Alexei Nikolaevich, Tsarevich of Russia and one of his sisters Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna.

2009 Chrysler  filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

2010 – Hailed as the largest World’s Fair in history, Expo 2010 opened in Shangai.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

Word of the day


Wabbit (Scottish) – tired, exhausted; slightly unwell.

It’s about trust


Quotes of the day from Prime Minsiter John Key’s speech to the National Party’s Mainland conference:

On election day last year over a million New Zealanders voted for our clear plan to build a brighter future.

Kiwis said yes to more jobs and less debt.

They said yes to reforming welfare and raising achievement in schools.

They said yes to our tough stance on crime.

And they said yes to our comprehensive plan to build a more competitive economy.


It is a tremendous privilege for us to have won the trust and goodwill of New Zealanders for a second term in government.

I don’t take that for granted and I never will.

I believe that a government has to earn the trust and goodwill of voters again and again, every day – and that’s what we’ll be doing.


I’ve said before that the next three years are about rebuilding and strengthening our country. We need an economy where businesses have the confidence to invest, grow and create new jobs.

Our four key priorities for this term all aim to achieve that.

Our first priority is to responsibly manage the Government’s finances.

In a world as it is today, the state of the country’s finances is all-important.

You’ve all seen the volatility of world markets and the uncertainty that still pervades through Europe.

The lesson from what is happening in those countries is that we have to live within our means and we have to earn our way in the world.

That means prioritising what little money we do have to get the best results for every dollar. You’ll see us do that in Budget 2012 just three weeks from now.


We have an extensive work programme to rebuild and strengthen the economy, and to deliver better public services within tight fiscal constraints.

We are focused on building a more competitive economy so that New Zealanders can have the jobs, higher incomes and opportunities they want here at home.

Over a million Kiwis voted for us to implement our plan to secure a brighter future. They chose aspiration over envy.

They chose careful fiscal management over reckless spending.

And they chose strong and stable government over an unwieldy rabble of competing parties.

National Party members, we have been given the mandate by New Zealanders to go ahead and secure a brighter future for this country.

The full speech is here.


Conference takes priority


Co-chairing the National Party’s Mainland conference is taking priority over blogging this weekend.

We’re in Dunedin and in recognition of the importance of education in the city that was the theme yesterday morning.

Former speaker and Clutha MP Sir Robin Gray opened proceedings with his usual warmth, wit and wisdom.

Ministers Hekia Parata and Steven Joyce and director of CORE Education, Derek Wenmouth spoke.

After report back from break-out groups nine members had two minutes to pitch a policy.

It’s a really good way to allow members to contribute and it can lead to action. In 2008 the policy I pitched  (on funding maternity service to enable mothers to stay in maternity centres until breast feeding was established) became party policy and was funded in the first Budget after National became government.

Finance Minister and deputy PM Bill English opened the afternoon then took part in the Mainland Minister’s forum with Kate Wilkinson, Jo Goodhew, Amy Adams and honorary Mainlander for the day, Hekia Parata. (And yes the gender imbalance was noted and approved!).

Christchurch Central MP Nicky Wagner spoke on winning the unwinnable before Canterbury/Westland and Southern split for our regional AGMs.

Last night Prime Minister John Key and party president Peter Goodfellow joined us for cocktails at Dunedin City Hotel and dinner at Etrusco.

One striking feature of this conference is the number of Young Nats – the best muster for many years and a very good sign of the party’s strength.

April 29th in history


711  Islamic conquest of Hispania: Moorish troops led by Tariq ibn-Ziyad landed at Gibraltar to begin their invasion of the Iberian Peninsula (Al-Andalus).

1429 Joan of Arc arrived to relieve the Siege of Orleans.

1483 Gran Canaria, the main of the Canary Islands was conquered by the Kingdom of Castile, an important step in the expansion of Spain.

1624 Cardinal Richelieu became Prime Minister of Louis XIII.

1672 Franco-Dutch War: Louis XIV of France invaded the Netherlands.

1707  Scotland and England unified in United Kingdom of Great Britain.

1770 James Cook arrived at and named Botany Bay, Australia.

1832 Évariste Galois released from prison.

1861 American Civil War: Maryland’s House of Delegates voted not to secede from the Union.

1863 William Randolph Hearst, American publisher, was born (d. 1951).

1864 The Theta Xi fraternity was founded at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.

1882  The “Elektromote” – forerunner of the trolleybus – was tested by Ernst Werner von Siemens in Berlin.

1899 Duke Ellington, American jazz pianist and bandleader, was born (d. 1974).

1901 Hirohito, Emperor of Japan, was born (d. 1989).

1903 A 30 million cubic-metre landslide killed 70 in Frank, Alberta.

1915 Donald Mills, American singer (Mills Brothers), was born (d. 1999).

1916 World War I: The British 6th Indian Division surrendered to Ottoman Forces at Kt in one of the largest surrenders of British forces up to that point.

1916 Easter Rebellion: Martial law in Ireland was lifted and the rebellion was officially over with the surrender of Irish nationalists to British authorities in Dublin.

1933 Rod McKuen, American poet and composer, was born.

1934 Otis Rush, American musician, was born.

1938 Bernard Madoff, American convict, who was a financier and Chairman of the NASDAQ stock exchange., was born.

1945 World War II: The German Army in Italy unconditionally surrendered to the Allies.

1945 World War II: Start of Operation Manna.

1945 World War II – Fuehrerbunker: Adolf Hitler married his long-time partner Eva Braun in a Berlin bunker and designated Admiral Karl Dönitz as his successor.

1945 – The Dachau concentration camp was liberated by United States troops.

1945 – The Italian commune of Fornovo di Taro was liberated from German forces by Brazilian forces.

1946  Former Prime Minister of Japan Hideki Tojo and 28 former Japanese leaders were indicted for war crimes.

1952 Anzus came into force.

ANZUS comes into force

1953 The first U.S. experimental 3D-TV broadcast showed an episode of Space Patrol on Los Angeles ABC affiliate KECA-TV.

1954 Jerry Seinfeld, American comedian, was born.

1957 – Daniel Day-Lewis, British-Irish actor, was born.

1958 Michelle Pfeiffer, American actress, was born.

1958 Eve Plumb, American actress, was born.

1965 Pakistan’s Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) successfully launched its seventh rocket in its Rehber series.

1967 After refusing induction into the United States Army the day before (citing religious reasons), Muhammad Ali was stripped of his boxing title.

1968  The controversial musical Hair opened on Broadway.

1970 Andre Agassi, American tennis player, was born.

1970 Vietnam War: United States and South Vietnamese forces invaded Cambodia to hunt Viet Cong.

1974 President Richard Nixon announced the release of edited transcripts of White House tape recordings related to the Watergate  scandal.

1975 Vietnam War: Operation Frequent Wind: The U.S. began to evacuate U.S. citizens from Saigon prior to an expected North Vietnamese takeover. U.S. involvement in the war ended.

1979  Jo O’Meara, British singer (S Club), was born.

1980 Corazones Unidos Siempre Chi Upsilon Sigma National Latin Sorority Inc. was founded.

1980 Kian Egan, Irish singer (Westlife), was born.

1986 Roger Clemens then of the Boston Red Sox set a major league baseball record with 20 strikeouts in nine innings against the Seattle Mariners.

1986 A fire at the Central library of the City of Los Angeles Public Library damaged or destroyed 400,000 books and other items.

1991 A cyclone struck the Chittagong district of southeastern Bangladesh with winds of around 155 mph, killing at least 138,000 people and leaving as many as 10 million homeless.

1992  Riots in Los Angeles  following the acquittal of police officers charged with excessive force in the beating of Rodney King. Over the next three days 53 people were killed and hundreds of buildings were destroyed.

1997 The Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993 enters into force, outlawing the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons by its signatories.

1999 The Avala TV Tower near Belgrade was destroyed in the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.

2002 The United States was re-elected to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, one year after losing the seat that it had held for 50 years.

2004 Dick Cheney and George W. Bush testified before the 9/11 Commission in a closed, unrecorded hearing in the Oval Office.

2004  Oldsmobile built its final car ending 107 years of production.

2005 Syria completed withdrawal from Lebanon, ending 29 years of occupation.

2005 – New Zealand’s first civil union took place.

Sourced from NZ History Online and Wikipedia.

Word of the day


Mucronate- coming to or ending in a hard, sharp point;.

Saturday’s smiles


I was taking part in a debate last night.

The moot was that Dunedin South is turning blue.

The right side won.

One of the members on the other side was a blonde which provoked the inevitable:

How many blondes does it take to change a light bulb?

Two – one to hold the bulb, the other to spin the ladder round.

Did you hear about the blonde who studied for her blood test and still failed it?

Did you hear about the blonde who returned a scarf to the store because it was too tight?

Why can’t blondes make ice cubes?

They always forget the recipe.

She was driving through Central Otago and one day her foot just happened to press a little harder on the accelerator than it ought to have. As luck would have it a police car was parked on the side of the road ahead of her with a radar and as she approached it the lights started flashing.

She, pulled over and wound down her window as the police officer, a young blonde man approached.

He asked her for her licence. She dived into her handbag, pulled out her diary, cell phone, and other bits and pieces but couldn’t find her licence.

“I’m sorry, I must have left it at home,” she told the police officer.

“Well do you have any other id,” the officer asked?

She rooted round in her handbag again, found a compact, opened it, peered in the mirror, said, yes that’s me and handed it to the officer.

The officer looked at it, smiled and said, “Well if I’d known you were in the police too, I’d never have stopped you.”



5/10 in the Herald’s Changing World quiz.

The vultures are gathering


The wilderness of opposition isn’t a good place to be at the best of times and these are far from the best of times for Labour.

The vultures are gathering, attracted by the growing stench of disarray, decay and disunity.

Phil Goff was handed a poisoned chalice by Helen Clark and he handed it on to David Shearer.

He doesn’t look comfortable with it, and who can blame him?

The wilderness of opposition isn’t a good place to be and it’s even worse when you know at least some of the vultures are supposed to be on your side.


April 28 in history


1192  Assassination of Conrad of Montferrat (Conrad I), King of Jerusalem, in Tyre, two days after his title to the throne was confirmed by election.

1253 Nichiren, a Japanese Buddhist monk, propounded Nam Myoho Renge Kyo for the very first time and declared it to be the essence of Buddhism, in effect founding Nichiren Buddhism.

1611 Establishment of the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas, The Catholic University of the Philippines, the largest Catholic university in the world.

1715 Franz Sparry, composer, was born (d. 1767).

1758 James Monroe, 5th President of the United States, was born. (d. 1831).

1789 Mutiny on the Bounty: Captain William Bligh and 18 sailors were set adrift; the rebel crew returned to Tahiti briefly and then set sail for Pitcairn Island.

1792  France invaded the Austrian Netherlands (present day Belgium), beginning the French Revolutionary War.

1796  The Armistice of Cherasco was signed by Napoleon Bonaparte and Vittorio Amedeo III, the King of Sardinia, expanding French territory along the Mediterranean coast.

1862 American Civil War: Admiral David Farragut captured New Orleans.

1864 The assault of Gate Pa began.

Assault of Gate Pa begins

1902  Using the ISO 8601 standard Year Zero definition for the Gregorian calendar preceded by the Julian calendar, the one billionth minute since the start of January 1, Year Zero occured at 10:40 AM on this date.

1912 Odette Sansom, French resistance worker, was born (d. 1995).

1916 Ferruccio Lamborghini, Italian automobile manufacturer, was born (d. 1993).

1920 Azerbaijan was added to the Soviet Union.

1922 Alistair MacLean, Scottish novelist, was born (d. 1987).

1926 Harper Lee, American author, was born.

1930 The first night game in organised baseball history took place in Independence, Kansas.

1932 A vaccine for yellow fever was announced for use on humans.

1937 – Saddam Hussein, President of Iraq, was born (d. 2006).

1941 Ann-Margret, Swedish-born actress, was born.

1945 Benito Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci were executed by a firing squad consisting of members of the Italian resistance movement.

1947 Thor Heyerdahl and five crew mates set out from Peru on the Kon-Tiki to prove that Peruvian natives could have settled Polynesia.

1948 Terry Pratchett, English author, was born.

1949  Former First Lady of the Philippines Aurora Quezon, 61, was assassinated while en route to dedicate a hospital in memory of her late husband; her daughter and 10 others are also killed.

1950 Jay Leno, American comedian and television host, was born.

1950  Bhumibol Adulyadej married Queen Sirikit.

1952 Dwight D. Eisenhower resigned as Supreme Commander of NATO.

1952 Occupied Japan: The United States occupation of Japan ended with the ratification of Treaty of San Francisco.

1952 The Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty (Treaty of Taipei) iwa signed in Taipei between Japan and the Republic of China to officially end the Second Sino-Japanese War.

1956 Jimmy Barnes, Scottish-born singer, was born.

1960  Ian Rankin, Scottish novelist, was born.

1965 United States troops landed in the Dominican Republic to “forestall establishment of a Communist dictatorship” and to evacuate U.S. Army troops.

1967  Expo 67 opened to the public in Montreal.

1969 Charles de Gaulle resigned as President of France.

1969 – Terence O’Neill announced his resignation as Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.

1970 Vietnam War: U.S. President Richard M. Nixon formally authorised American combat troops to fight communist sanctuaries in Cambodia.

1974 Penélope Cruz, Spanish actress, was born.

1977 The Red Army Faction trial ended with Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin and Jan-Carl Raspe found guilty of four counts of murder and more than 30 counts of attempted murder.

1977 The Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure was signed.

1978 President of Afghanistan, Mohammed Daoud Khan, was overthrown and assassinated in a coup led by pro-communist rebels.

1981  Jessica Alba, American actress, was born.

1986 The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise became the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to transit the Suez Canal, navigating from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea to relieve the USS Coral Sea.

1987 American engineer Ben Linder was killed in an ambush by U.S. funded Contras in northern Nicaragua.

1988  Near Maui, Hawaii, flight attendant Clarabelle “C.B.” Lansing was blown out of Aloha Flight 243, a Boeing 737 and fell to her death when part of the plane’s fuselage rips open in mid-flight.

1994  Former C.I.A. official Aldrich Ames pleaded guilty to giving U.S. secrets to the Soviet Union and later Russia.

1996 Whitewater controversy: Bill Clinton gave a 4½ hour videotaped testimony for the defense.

1996 – In Tasmania Martin Bryant went on a shooting spree, killing 35 people and seriously injuring 21 more.

1997 – The 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention goes into effect, with Russia, Iraq and North Korea among the nations that have not ratified the treaty.

2001 – Millionaire Dennis Tito became the world’s first space tourist.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

Word of the day


Edacious – devouring; voracious; consuming.

Friday’s answers


Thursday’s questions are here.

I’ll leave it up to those who asked them to provide the answers.

All who posed a question get an electronic batch of Anzac biscuits, Richard and Paul get a double batch for posing questions no-one was able to answer correctly.

Who’s paying for satisfaction?


Kiwibank has been named Major Bank of the Year in Roy Morgan’s annual Customer Satisfaction Awards.

That’s good for the customers but what state is the business in when it needs  hundreds of millions of dollars in capital?

Customer satisfaction is what all businesses should deliver, but who’s paying for it at Kiwibank – it’s customers or the taxpayers?

1080 killing pests, helping birds


Opponents to the use of 1080 to poison pests say it also kills to many native wildlife but a scientific study challenges that contention:

A 50-tonne drop of 1080, carried out by DOC over 25,000 hectares of the Waitutu Forest in southwest Fiordland in October 2010, drew criticism from anti-1080 activists despite what DOC claimed to be “exceptional” findings.

The DOC 1080 programme leader for the Waitutu drop, Colin Bishop, said it came as no surprise that the study was challenging claims about the negative impact on native wildlife.

“The results from the study certainly back up our findings as well as anecdotal evidence from recreational users to what has been happening in the Waitutu Forest since the 1080 drop,” he said.

“It will take a few breeding seasons before the scientific data is conclusive but hunters in particular have said bird life has been the best in a long time.”

Predator numbers, including possums, stoats and rats, have been drastically reduced and this has allowed native birds to respond, Mr Bishop said.

Breeding was less successful in an area where no 1080 was used and predator numbers were higher.

Shooting and trapping are preferable to poison where they can be used but there are vast areas of bush where 1080 is the only practical way to get rid of the predators which threaten native birds.

Opponents claim it takes too big a toll on the species it’s supposed to be protecting but this study indicates that 1080 gets the predators and saves the birds.

Putting a brake on SKIing


SKIing – spending the kids’ inheiretance might be acceptable for parents but it’s not for a government, and borrowing so that future generations are left with debt is even worse.

Changes to the Fiscal Responsibility Act announced by Finance Minister Bill English yesterday will make it harder for governments to do that:

“In times of surplus, governments come under pressure to increase spending, which can put extra pressure on the economy, leading to higher  inflation, higher interest rates and a higher exchange rate. This is bad for exports and jobs.

“The Government is proposing introducing  some additional principles into Part 2 of the Public Finance Act that  ministers would have to take into account when setting fiscal policy.

“The proposed changes are designed to ensure greater transparency around how government decisions affect the wider economy and future generations.”

The proposed changes would require governments to: • Consider the impact of their fiscal strategy on the broader economy, in particular interest rates and exchange rates. • Set out their priorities for revenue, spending and the balance sheet, rather than focus narrowly on debt as is currently the case. • Take into account the impact of fiscal policy decisions on future generations • Report on the successes and failures of past fiscal policy.

“We are also proposing to add a spending limit based on the rate of growth  in inflation and population as a new principle of responsible fiscal  management, as set out in the National-ACT Confidence and Supply  Agreement.”

It would exclude spending on natural disasters,  finance charges, the unemployment benefit and asset impairments, as they are either outside the Government’s control or they help stabilise the  economy in a downturn.

“Under the proposal, if a government  decided to temporarily exceed the limit they would need to clearly  explain the reasons and outline how they intended to ensure future  expenses remained within the limit.”

This won’t stop future governments spending more than they ought if they’re determined to be irresponsible. But it should put a brake on SKIing and enable the public to know how well, or badly, past fiscal policy went and not just what the government plans to do but the implications of it.



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