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

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