Thursday’s quiz

12/04/2012

1. What was the name of the 1980s TV series about the public service called?

2. Who wrote the play and TV series?

3.  What was the name of the main female character?

4. Were those the good old days?

5.  It’s rire in French, risata in Italian, risa in Spanish and katakata  in Maori, what is it in English?


Why do wealthy need benefits?

12/04/2012

It’s not difficult to justify welfare for people in need.

But what is the rationale behind welfare for people who already have more than enough?

There might be a case for Paid Parental Leave for people on very low incomes. But what is the justification for giving it to high income earners?

If people on well above average incomes can’t arrange their own finances without the need of top-ups from the taxpayers it ought to be their problem not ours.

If the state wasn’t paying them it’s probable their employers would to ensure valued workers returned to their jobs. Many already do supplement and extend PPL for that reason.

That raises several questions: Is PPL a benefit for parents or a subsidy for employers?

Does it help people have children, or help them fund more expensive choices about how they live?

What would happen if it wasn’t there at all?

Would employers give it? Would prospective parents budget for an income drop before the birth? Would they buy less expensive houses and pay less for what they put in them, the cars they drive and other discretionary spending?

Would it make a difference to when they had children or whether they had children at all?


Certainty and predictability needed

12/04/2012

Sir Graeme Harrison, chair of the  NZ International Business Forum, wants the Cabinet ministers considering the Crafar farm sale to Shanghai Pengxin to give a clear signal foreign investment is welcome here:

NZIBF chairman Sir Graeme Harrison makes the point that foreign investors are prepared to respect the rules but they need predictability and certainty that when conditions are complied with the investment will be able to proceed.

“That is why the current uncertain situation with regard to the Crafar Farms is so negative for New Zealand’s interests. It risks detracting from New Zealand’s attractiveness as an investment destination at a time when there is strong competition for foreign investment from other countries.”

Sir Graeme’s determined push follows a strong statement by Auckland Regional Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett who railed against the way the Shanghai Pengxin bid had been demonised by late-comer bidders in an appearance on Q&A at the weekend.

Fran O’Sullivan has added Sir Graeme to her unofficial roll-call of business people who are finally stepping up and saying this country needs to protect its reputation as a fair regime for foreign investors.

But the big question is why is that only Sir Graeme, Barnett, BusinessNZ’s Phil O’Reilly and George Gould have been prepared to openly speak up for what matters in this area. The paucity of open debate on the pros of foreign investment is astounding and business does need to step up here.

One of the glaring omissions from the list is anyone from Fonterra.

I can’t understand why the company which sells most of its produce overseas and which itself owns farms in other countries, is opposed to foreign ownership here.

As Sir Graeme says, we need foreign investment to make up for our own lack of savings:

“Foreign investment is what plugs the gap in our low domestic savings rates. Without it, ratings agencies could react by increasing New Zealand’s (already high) credit risk rating and interest rates will rise.”

Would the people so strongly opposed to foreign investment be quite so sure of their stand if their mortgages increased without it?


Location, location location

12/04/2012

It’s better to buy the worst house in the best street than the best house in the worst street.

That’s the real estate rule summed up as location, location, location and it’s one reason that the affordability of housing depends not just on the house but where it is.

The  Productivity Commission’s report on housing affordability found that land prices had increased faster than house prices over the last 20 years. That suggests a shortage of land where people want to live.

One solution to that is to free up more land for residential development.

The Greens are opposed to this because it means generally means people have to travel further. I think it’s a pity that productive land is taken over for housing.

There is another solution  and that’s for people to live where land is cheaper.

Sections in smaller towns is usually much cheaper than it is in bigger cities.

A few years ago the Waitaki District Council decided to use that to entice people from Auckland to move to Oamaru. Some did and found they could buy a much better house than the one they ‘d sold with a good deal of money left over.

Life in a small town doesn’t suit everyone but people prepared to be flexible about location will find housing is more affordable than those who want to live in the best streets.

 


April 12 in history

12/04/2012

467  Anthemius was elevated to Emperor of the Western Roman Empire.

1204 Constantinople fell to the Crusaders of the Fourth Crusade, temporarily ending the Byzantine Empire.

1557 Cuenca was founded in Ecuador.

1606  The Union Flag was adopted as the flag of Great Britain.

1633 The formal inquest of Galileo Galilei by the Inquisition began.

1776 American Revolution: With the Halifax Resolves, the North Carolina Provincial Congress authorised its Congressional delegation to vote for independence from Britain.

1820 Alexander Ypsilantis was declared leader of Filiki Eteria, a secret organization to overthrow Ottoman rule over Greece.

1861 American Civil War The war began with Confederate forces firing on Fort Sumter, in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina.

1864  American Civil War: The Fort Pillow massacre: Confederate forces killed most African American soldiers who surrendered at Fort Pillow, Tennessee.

1877  The United Kingdom annexed the Transvaal.

1913 HMS New Zealand began a tour of New Zealand.

HMS New Zealand begins tour of NZ

1917 World War I: Canadian forces successfully complete the taking of Vimy Ridge from the Germans.

1919 Billy Vaughn, American musician and bandleader, was born  (d. 1991).

1927 April 12 Incident: Chiang Kai-shek ordered the CPC members executed in Shanghai, ending the First United Front.

1932  Tiny Tim, American musician, was born (d. 1996).

1934 The strongest surface wind gust in the world at 231 mph, was measured on the summit of Mount Washington, USA.

1934 The US Auto-Lite Strike began, culminating in a five-day melee between Ohio National Guard troops and 6,000 strikers and picketers.

1935  First flight of the Bristol Blenheim.

1937 Sir Frank Whittle ground-tested the first jet engine designed to power an aircraft at Rugby, England.

1939 Alan Ayckbourn, English writer, was born.

1942 Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa, was born.

1945 US President Franklin D. Roosevelt died while in office; vice-president Harry Truman was sworn in as the 33rd President.

1947 Tom Clancy, American author, was born.

1947 David Letterman, American talk show host, was born.

1949 Scott Turow, American writer, was born.

1950 David Cassidy, American singer and actor, was born.

1955 The polio vaccine, developed by Dr Jonas Salk, was declared safe and effective.

1961 Yuri Gagarin became the first human to travel into outer space in Vostok 3KA-2 (Vostok 1).

1963 The Soviet nuclear powered submarine K-33 collided with the Finnish merchant vessel M/S Finnclipper in the Danish straits.

1968 Nerve gas accident at Skull Valley, Utah.

1978 Guy Berryman, British musician (Coldplay), was born.

1980 Brian McFadden, Irish Singer (Westlife) was born.

1980  Samuel Doe took control of Liberia in a coup d’état, ending over 130 years of national democratic presidential succession.

1980 – Terry Fox began his “Marathon of Hope” at St. John’s, Newfoundland.

1981 The first launch of a Space Shuttle: Columbia launched on the STS-1 mission.

1990 Jim Gary’s Twentieth Century Dinosaurs exhibition opened at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

1992 The Euro Disney Resort officially opened with its theme park Euro Disneyland.

1994 Canter & Siegel posted the first commercial mass Usenet spam.

1998 An earthquake in Slovenia, measuring 5.6 on the Richter scale occured near the town of Bovec.

1999 US President Bill Clinton was cited for contempt of court for giving “intentionally false statements” in a sexual harassment civil lawsuit.

2002 Pedro Carmona became interim President of Venezuela during the military coup against Hugo Chávez.

2002 – A female suicide bomber detonated at the entrance to Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda open-air market, killing 7 and wounding 104.

2007 A suicide bomber penetrated the Green Zone and detonated in a cafeteria within a parliament building, killing Iraqi MP Mohammed Awad and wounding more than twenty other people.

2010 – A train derailed near Merano, Italy, after running into a landslide, causing nine deaths and injuring 28 people.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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