Word of the day


Canossa – a place or occasion of submission, humiliation, or penance ; a village of north-central Italy in the Apennines where the Holy Roman emperor Henry IV did penance.

Cardless not cashless


Once upon a time, a few decades ago the only way to get money from a bank was to go in to a branch when it was open.

In those days that was from 10am to 3pm, Monday to Friday.

If you needed money at any other time you had to find someone willing to accept a cheque or wait until the banks opened again.

It’s about 30 years since we’ve had hole-in-the-wall money machines which make it easy to get cash almost anywhere at any time – providing you have enough in your account and remember your pin number.

There might be a good time to forget your pin number, but it’s not at 5pm on the Thursday before Easter.

I was on my way to the Farmers Market when I stopped to get some extra money, entered my pin, decided I’d got it wrong, cancelled the transaction, retrieved my card, put it back in and entered another pin.

The machine told me I’d got the pin wrong. I tried again and got the same message. I retrieved the card, started walking back to my car, realised I’d been using the credit card pin on a cash card, stopped at another cash machine, entered the correct pin and got a message saying the bank was keeping the card for security reasons.


I had enough cash in my wallet for the raspberries and strawberries I wanted from the Farmers Market so carried on to it. As I got out of the car one of our staff hailed me. I told her I was cardless and she immediately offered to lend me some cash.

I thanked her, said I had enough for what I needed to buy, walked 10 steps and ran into someone else I knew. I didn’t tell him the bank had swallowed my card but if I had I’m sure he’d have offered me some money.

I walked another 10 steps, ran into a third friend, told my cardless story and got another offer of a loan, reminding me yet again of the joys of small town life.

My next stop after the Farmers market was the supermarket where I paid by credit card, somewhat nervously until I saw the machine had accepted my pin. I went home from there and my farmer gave me some cash to tide me over the weekend.

I managed to get through the weekend without needing it and rang the bank frist thing on Monday to find out how to retrieve my card.

In the old days I’d have been able to phone the branch. These days there’s just an 0800 number and the bloke who answered told me the bank would have destroyed the old card I’d have to get a new one.

Being cardless and potentially  cashless for a weekend  hadn’t been as bad as I’d feared but having to wait several more days for a replacement would be more trying.

Given it was only 1 minute past 9 on the first business day after the card was taken, I was hopeful there would be way to retrieve the old card and asked to speak to someone in the branch.

After one of those awful pauses in which music you’d never voluntarily listen to was piped down the phone, someone from the branch came on the line, told me the bank still had the card and if I came in with ID they’d give it back to me.

I did that, got the card and tried it in the cash machine outside.

The pin worked, the machine gave me back my card and the cash I’d requested.

It felt to good to be with card and with cash again – and I think I’ve got the number memorised properly now.

What have they learned?


The world’s still in a very uncertain financial state and New Zealand is still too deeply in debt.

So what have the politicians learned?

Labour MPs are already planning to spend money we haven’t yet got which shows they’ve learned nothing.

Bill English showed on Q&A yesterday that National has learned the importance of decreasing debt and carefully directing spending where it will do most good:

Look, we have to be determined.  We are one of the most indebted countries in the world.  If you want the future of this nation subject to Labour and the Greens trying to buy votes with lolly scrambles, then we will get in a lot of trouble.  So we’re using the veto so we’re clear—  . . .

. . .   We’ve looked at the most vulnerable mothers and babies in New Zealand, and that is the young mothers under the age of 18.  There’s 2600 of them, and at the moment, they up until recently, they’re just left to sink or swim.  Children having children with no— not necessarily any support.  Some have it; most don’t.  Subject to all sorts of pressures, creating all sorts of intergenerational problems.  Now, the Prime Minister announced in August last year and then we put in the detail this year a package of measures to help those mothers and babies because we believe they’re the most vulnerable members of our society.  If we’re going to crack the cycles of dependency, that’s where we need to crack it.  . .

. . .We haven’t sent the wrong signal.  What we’re demonstrating is that we’re balancing the determination to get New Zealand out of its significant debt problem, because if we don’t do that, everyone’s entitlements are at risk.  Look around the world, seeing what’s happened to the entitlements of those countries where they don’t have their debt under control, they’re all being cut. . .

. . .We’re spending considerable money on it, but every time we make those decisions, we have to find the money somewhere else, and that’s the weakness in the Labour bill.  They want to be able to spend the money, but they don’t want to take responsibility for where the money comes from.  . . .

. . . Well, if the economy picks up and we get back to surplus sooner, then of course there’s room for discussion about all those things that people want us to have more of, but fundamentally we need a growing economy with less debt.  We’re achieving those things at the same time as supporting our families by increasing their Working for Families payments, increasing their early-childhood education and maintaining the paid parental leave.  I think we’ve got the balance about right. . .

. . . But I think the point here, Paul, is the government finances will get in a mess if we allow Parliament to go around spending up large with no responsibility for how to manage where the money comes from— . . .

Spending too much contributed to the debt we’ve got.

National understands that and is doing its best to get public spending under control and direct spending from the unproductive sector to the productive one, without scaring the horses too much.

Labour is still showing it’s the party that is still putting more thought into spending money than working out where it will come from.

Who needs help more?


Phil O’Reilly got to the nub of the Paid Parental Leave debate on Q&A yesterday:

The debate that we need to have is about should we, for example, subsidise wealthy mums or should we give that to very poor mums looking after kids at risk?

Those criticising Bill English for saying National will veto the private members’ Bill seeking an extension to PPL would have us believe that all mothers are being forced back to work too soon after having a child because they can’t afford to stay at home.

They don’t tell us that PPL isn’t means tested and that at least some of those who get it from the taxpayer would have got it from their employers nor that some employers pay employees to enable them to take more leave.

The left would have us believe it’s every woman’s right to have PPL, paid for from borrowing, whether or not she needs it.

What is right about giving money to people who don’t need it when there are so many other areas where it is absolutely necessary?

What is more important for individual parents and children and society: PPL for all who qualify regardless of their means or more targeted assistance to the poor who are in real need?

That question doesn’t apply just to PPL, of course.

It is an indictment on how far to the left we have moved as a society that there are a whole lot of other benefits which are regarded as ‘entitlements’ regardless of how much the recipients need them, or whether they need them at all.

Once they’ve been given it is very difficult to take them away. But we could at least make a stand to ensure that any assistance in future is based on need not want.

April 16 in history


1178 BC; The calculated date of the Greek king Odysseus‘s return home from the Trojan War.

73 Masada, a Jewish fortress, fell to the Romans after several months of siege, ending the Jewish Revolt.

1346 The Serbian Empire was proclaimed in Skopje by Dusan Silni, occupying much of the Balkans.

1521 Martin Luther‘s first appearance before the Diet of Worms to be examined by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and the other estates of the empire.

1582 Spanish conquistador Hernando de Lerma founded the settlement of Salta, Argentina.

1682 John Hadley, British inventor, was born (d. 1744).

1728 Joseph Black, Scottish chemist, was born (d. 1799).

1746 The Battle of Culloden was fought between the French-supported Jacobites and the Hanoverian British Government.

1780 The University of Münster was founded.

1799 Napoleonic Wars: The Battle of Mount Tabor – Napoleon drove Ottoman Turks across the River Jordan near Acre.

1853 The first passenger rail opened in India, from Bori Bunder, Bombay to Thane.

1862 American Civil War: The Battle at Lee’s Mills in Virginia.

1862 American Civil War: A bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia became law.

1863 American Civil War: The Siege of Vicksburg – ships led by Union Admiral David Dixon Porter moved through heavy Confederate artillery fire on approach to Vicksburg, Mississippi.

1865 Henry George Chauvel, Australian general, was born  (d. 1945).

1867 Wilbur Wright, American aviation pioneer, was born (d. 1912).

1889 Charlie Chaplin, English actor, writer, songwriter, composer, and film producer, was born (d. 1977).

1892 The New Zealand Rugby Football Union was founded.

Rugby Union founded

1910 The University of Queensland was founded, with the names of the members of the first Senate published in the Queensland Government Gazette.

1912  Harriet Quimby became the first woman to fly an aeroplane across the English Channel.

1917 Lenin returnedto Petrograd from exile in Switzerland.

1918 Spike Milligan, Irish comedian, was born (d. 2002).

1919 – Gandhi organised a day of “prayer and fasting” in response to the killing of Indian protesters in the Amritsar Massacre by the British.

1921 Peter Ustinov, English actor, was born (d. 2004).

1922  Kingsley Amis, English author, was born (d. 1995).

1922 The Treaty of Rapallo, pursuant to which Germany and the Soviet Union re-established diplomatic relations, was signed.

1924 Henry Mancini, American composer, was born  (d. 1994).

1925 The St Nedelya Church assault in Sofia – 150 people were killed and 500 were wounded.

1924 Rudy Pompilli, American musician (Bill Haley & His Comets), was born (d. 1976).

1927 Pope Benedict XVI, born Joseph Alois Ratzinger, was born.

1939 Dusty Springfield, English singer, was born.

1941 World War II: The Italian convoy Duisburg, was attacked and destroyed by British ships.

1941 – Bob Feller of the Cleveland Indians threw the only Opening Day no-hitter in the history of Major League Baseball, beating the Chicago White Sox 1-0.

1943 Ruth Madoc, British actress, was born.

1943  Dr. Albert Hofmann discovered the psychedelic effects of LSD.

1945 The Red Army began the final assault on German forces around Berlin.

1945 The United States Army liberated Nazi Sonderlager (high security) Prisoner of War camp Oflag IV-C (better known as Colditz).

1945 – More than 7,000 died when the German refugee ship Goya was sunk by a Soviet submarine torpedo.

1946 Syria gained independence.

1947  Texas City Disaster: An explosion on board a freighter in port caused the city of Texas City to catch fire, killing almost 600.

1947 Bernard Baruch coined the term “Cold War” to describe the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union.

1953 Queen Elizabeth II launched the Royal Yacht HMY Britannia.

1963 – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. penned his Letter from Birmingham Jail while incarcerated in Birmingham, Alabama for protesting against segregation.

1963 Jimmy Osmond, American pop singer (The Osmonds), was born.

1972 Apollo programme: The launch of Apollo 16 from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

1987 British Conservative MP Harvey Proctor appeared at Bow Street Magistrates’ Court charged with gross indecency.

1990 The “Doctor of Death”, Jack Kevorkian, went through with his first assisted suicide.

1992 The Katina P. ran aground off Maputo, Mozambique. 60,000 tons of crude oil spilt into the ocean.

2003 The Treaty of Accession was signed in Athens admitting 10 new member states to the European Union.

2004 – The super liner Queen Mary 2 embarks on her first trans-Atlantic crossing, linking the golden age of ocean travel to the modern age of ocean travel.

2007 Virginia Tech massacreSeung-Hui Cho, killed 32 and injured 23 before committing suicide.

2007 – President of Côte d’Ivoire Laurent Gbagbo declared the First Ivorian Civil War to be over.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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