World’s worst names

May 4, 2012

When Romeo asked, “what’s in a name?” he wasn’t thinking about the possibility for smut, but that’s the opportunity provided by many of the 22 worst names in the world as ranked by Jane Copland and other editors at Drivl.Com.

Topping the list was Whakapapa.

. . . At first glance, it’s more confusing than horrible. Here’s the secret to understanding why it got the top spot: In Maori, the native language of New Zealand, the “wh” sound is pronounced “f.” Say it aloud…and you’ll understand. . .

The other 21 were:

  1. Fucking, Austria
  2. Disappointment, Kentucky
  3. Shitterton, Dorset, England
  4. Horneytown, North Carolina
  5. Middelfart, Denmark
  6. Toad Suck, Arkansas
  7. Hell, Michigan
  8. Hookersville, West Virginia
  9. Whiskey Dick Mountain, Washington
  10. Cockup, Cumbria, England
  11. Bald Knob, Arkansas
  12. Spread Eagle, Wisconsin
  13. Wetwang, Yorkshire, England
  14. Gravesend, Kent, England
  15. Thong, Kent, England
  16. Titty Hill, Sussex, England
  17. Looneyville, Texas
  18. Muff, Ireland
  19. Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu, New Zealand
  20. Twatt, Orkney, Shetland Islands, Scotland
  21. Cockburn, Western Australia


Word of the day

May 4, 2012

Foudroyant – dazzling or stunning; having an awesome and overwhelming effect; occurring suddenly and severely (of disease).


May 4, 2012

7/10 in the Herald’s changing world quiz.

Friday’s answers

May 4, 2012

Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said: “Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.”?

2. What are the two main ingredients of a Bloody Mary?

3. It’s sang in French, sangue in Italian, sangre in Spanish and toto in Maori – what is it in English?

4. What is a phlebotomist?

5. What is hemophilia?

Points for answers:

Gravedodger got four with a bonus for extra information.

Andrei wins an electronic bunch of spinach (to replace the iron lost in giving blood) for a clean sweep. You’ve obviously got more tender skin or encountered rougher phlebotomists than I have, I’ve never had a problem.

Kate got 1 and a bonus for reading.

IH Stewart got two with bonuses for humour and extra information.

Keeping Stock also wins an electronic bunch of spinach with five right.

PDM got three.

Grant got four and a bonus for word play.

Adam got three.


Answer follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

Fairer pastoral lease rents

May 4, 2012

The passing of the Crown Pastoral Land (Rent for Pastoral Leases) Amendment Act establishes a fairer and simpler system for pastoral lease rents.

Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson said:

“This Act is a significant reform of the way rents are charged on pastoral leases in the South Island high country and will go a long way towards eliminating the years of tension that has existed between the Crown and lessees over rent issues.

“Under the Act, lessees of pastoral leases will be charged rents based on the earning capacity of the property.”

The new system, known as earning capacity rents, will be in place later this year.

“It’s a much simpler system to administer, is more transparent and provides a fairer rent,” Mr Williamson says.

“It will allow farmers to get on with the job of farming and helping to grow New Zealand’s economy.”

The old system was time consuming, expensive to administer and unfair. The new one will mean most if not all properties face higher rents but it is much fairer.

However, the anti-farmer Labour Party doesn’t think so:

A select few High Country farmers have been handed a sweetener from the Government in the form of cheap rents, says Raymond Huo, Labour’s spokesperson for Land Information.

“The passing of the Crown Pastoral Land (Rent for Pastoral Leases) Amendment Act, severely compromises the Crown’s right to negotiate fair rents for the high country land it owns. Instead it offers a select few farmers special privileges,” Raymond Huo said.

“The Act will allow Crown leases to be determined purely on the “stock carrying” capacity of the land, not the land value.

This shows how poorly he understands pastoral leases. Rents were based on LEI – land exclusive of improvements. That is the land in its natural state before it was settled which has a very low value. The stock carrying capacity will give a much higher value than that.

The new system will reduce administration costs, increase transparency and is fairer to both the crown and pastoral lessees.

Website explains MOM share offers

May 4, 2012

The government has launched a website which gives the facts on share offers under the Mixed Ownership Model for state assets.

State Owned Entreprises Minister Tony Ryall said:

“The website provides information about the share offer programme including what mixed ownership means, why the Government is undertaking the programme and how a public share offer works,” Mr Ryall says.

Mr Ryall says the website content reaffirms the Government’s core share offer commitments, including:

  • The Government will retain at least 51 per cent ownership of each company;
  • The Government expects 85-90 per cent New Zealand ownership. This means Kiwi investors will be at the front of the queue for shares; and
  • No investor will be able to own more than 10% of each company.

“With New Zealand’s debt going from $50 billion today to $72 billion in three years’ time, New Zealand needs to control debt.

“We expect to receive $5 billion to $7 billion in proceeds, which will help control debt and allow us to build new schools and hospitals.

“The programme will also reinvigorate the capital markets and bring stronger commercial disciplines to each of the mixed ownership model companies.”

The Government remains on track to proceed with the first share offer, for Mighty River Power, in the third quarter of 2012, market conditions permitting.

Under securities law, there are restrictions on what owners can say publicly about the business and their shares in advance of an offer. An exemption from some of these restrictions has been granted by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA). Such exemptions are quite common, such as the recent exemption for Fonterra, and past exemptions for the float of Contact Energy and at Auckland International Airport.

The website is here. It requires you to put the name of the nearest city to where you live and confirm you are a New Zealander before you get access.

For want of $200 billion

May 4, 2012

Green co-leader Russel Norman wanted to know why the government doesn’t intervene to bring down the value of the dollar.

Finance Minister Bill English told him:

The Government focuses on those things it can influence. To actually have a direct impact on the exchange rate you need to have a couple of hundred billion US dollars in the bank—and we do not; we actually owe hundreds of billions—and it helps if you are not a democracy. That is a feature of those countries that do directly manage their exchange rates, but that is not where we are.

For want of a couple of hundred billion and becasue we’re a democracy, we’re stuck with the market setting the value of our dollar rather than politicians.

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