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.



April 27 in history


1124 David I became King of Scots.

1296 – Battle of Dunbar: The Scots were defeated by Edward I of England.

1495 Suleiman the Magnificent, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire was born (d. 1566).

1509 Pope Julius II placed the Italian state of Venice under interdict.

1521 Battle of Mactan: Explorer Ferdinand Magellan was killed in the Philippines by people led by chief Lapu-Lapu.

1539  Re-founding of the city of Bogotá, New Granada (now Colombia), by Nikolaus Federmann and Sebastián de Belalcázar.

1565  Cebu was established as the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines.

1578  Duel of the Mignons claimed the lives of two favourites of Henry III of France and two favorites of Henry I, Duke of Guise.

1650 The Battle of Carbisdale: A Royalist army invaded mainland Scotland from Orkney Island but was defeated by a Covenanter army.

1667 The blind and impoverished John Milton sold the copyright of Paradise Lost for £10.

1749 First performance of Handel’s Fireworks Music in Green Park, London.

1759  Mary Wollstonecraft, English philosopher and early feminist, author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, was born (d. 1797).

1773 The British parliament the Tea Act, designed to save the British East India Company by granting it a monopoly on the North American tea trade.

1777 American Revolutionary War: The Battle of Ridgefield: A British invasion force engaged and defeated Continental Army regulars and militia irregulars.

1791 Samuel F. B. Morse, American inventor, was born (d. 1872).

1805 First Barbary War: United States Marines and Berbers attacked the Tripolitan city of Derna (The “shores of Tripoli” part of the Marines’ hymn).

1810 Beethoven composed his famous piano piece, Für Elise.

1813  War of 1812: United States troops captured the capital of Upper Canada, York (present day Toronto).

1822 Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War general and 18th President of the United States, was born. (d. 1885).

1840 Foundation stone for new Palace of Westminster was laid by Lady Sarah Barry,  wife of architect Sir Charles Barry.

1861 President of the United States Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus.

1865 The New York State Senate created Cornell University as the state’s land grant institution.

1865 – The steamboat Sultana, carrying 2,400 passengers, exploded and sank in the Mississippi River, killing 1,700, most of whom were Union survivors of the Andersonville and Cahaba Prisons.

1893 New Zealand’s Premier John Ballance died.

Death of Premier John Ballance

1904 The Australian Labor Party beccame the first such party to gain national government, under Chris Watson.

1904 Cecil Day-Lewis, Irish poet and writer, was born (d. 1972).

1909 Sultan of Ottoman Empire Abdul Hamid II was overthrown, and succeeded by his brother, Mehmed V.

1911 Following the resignation and death of William P. Frye, a compromise was reached to rotate the office of President pro tempore of the United States Senate.

1927  Carabineros de Chile (Chilean national police force and gendarmery) was created.

1927 Coretta Scott King, American civil rights activist and wife of Martin Luther King, Jr, was born (d. 2006).

1927 Sheila Scott, English aviatrix, was born (d. 1988).

1932 Pik Botha, South African politician, was born.

1941 – World War II: The Communist Party of Slovenia, the Slovene Christian Socialists, the left-wing Slovene Sokols (also known as “National Democrats”) and a group of progressive intellectuals established the Liberation Front of the Slovenian People.

1945 World War II: German troops were finally expelled from Finnish Lapland.

1945 World War II: The Völkischer Beobachter, the newspaper of the Nazi Party, ceased publication.

1945 World War II: Benito Mussolini was arrested by Italian partisans in Dongo, while attempting escape disguised as a German soldier.

1947 Peter Ham, Welsh singer and songwriter (Badfinger) was born  (d. 1975),.

1948  Kate Pierson, American singer (The B-52′s), was born.

1950  Apartheid: In South Africa, the Group Areas Act was passed formally segregating races.

1951 – Ace Frehley, American musician (Kiss), was born.

1959  The last Canadian missionary left China.

1959 Sheena Easton, Scottish singer, was born.

1960  Togo gained independence from French-administered UN trusteeship.

1961 Sierra Leone was granted its independence from the United Kingdom, with Milton Margai as the first Prime Minister.

1967 Expo 67 officially opened in Montreal with a large opening ceremony broadcast around the world.

1967 Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange, Dutch heir apparent, was born.

1967 Erik Thomson, Australian actor, was born.

1972  Constructive Vote of No Confidence against German Chancellor Willy Brandt failed under obscure circumstances.

1974 10,000 march in Washington, D.C. calling for the impeachment of US President Richard Nixon.

1977 28 people were killed in the Guatemala City air disaster.

1981 Xerox PARC introduced the computer mouse.

1987 The U.S. Department of Justice barred the Austrian President Kurt Waldheim from entering the United States, saying he had aided in the deportation and execution of thousands of Jews and others as a German Army officer during World War II.

1992 The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, comprising Serbia and Montenegro, was proclaimed.

1992 Betty Boothroyd becamethe first woman to be elected Speaker of the British House of Commons in its 700-year history.

1992 Russia and 12 other former Soviet republics became members of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

1993 All members of the Zambia national football team lost their lives in a plane crash off Libreville, Gabon in route to Dakar to play a 1994 FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Senegal.

1994  South African general election, 1994: The first democratic general election in South Africa, in which black citizens could vote.

1996 The 1996 Lebanon war ended.

2002 The last successful telemetry from the NASA space probe Pioneer 10.

2005 The superjumbo jet aircraft Airbus A380 made its first flight from Toulouse.

2006 Construction began on the Freedom Tower for the new World Trade Centre.

2007 Estonian authorities removed the Bronze Soldier, a Soviet Red Army war memorial in Tallinn, amid political controversy with Russia.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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