Word of the day


Budget – an estimate of expected income and expenditure for a set period of time; a plan of operations based on such an estimate; an estimate of costs, revenues, and resources over a specified period, reflecting a reading of future financial conditions and goals; an itemized allotment of funds, time, etc., for a given period; the total sum of money set aside or needed for a purpose; a limited stock or supply of something.

Thursday’s quiz


You’ve been doing so well with asking the questions, I’m leaving it up to you again.

An electronic batch of baking will go to any or all who stump us.

Land and Water Forum report has wide support


The Land and Water Forum’s latest report calls for national bottom lines to be set for the state of the country’s waterways.

. . .  the LWF, a group representing iwi and key freshwater stakeholders, said iwi and urban and rural communities should then collaborate to develop specific water quality objectives for each catchment and identify local solutions to achieve them. . . 

. . .  The Forum’s second major report provides a national framework within which Regional Councils will work with their communities and iwi to set freshwater objectives and develop limits for its use.

It provides a consistent and transparent process for setting objectives and limits, and one that will lead to effective and enduring outcomes, including greater certainty for investment and development.

“The way in which water issues have traditionally been decided has ultimately benefited no one,” said Mr Bisley. “We all agree we need to do better for the sake of both the economy and the environment.”

What is remarkable about the report is the degree of consensus achieved on it and Colin James gives the credit for that to the process:

. . . the forum’s report is important in substance. It is also important as process. Federated Farmers and Forest and Bird at the far ends of the spectrum of interest groups have publicly backed it, along with many others. So, too, have Government ministers, Labour, the Greens and the Maori party.  The word is that similar consensus and party backing is close on the allocation report.   

In short, on a matter of vital importance to economic and social life there is a real prospect of settled policy that can transcend changes of government.

This is no small achievement and if memory serves me correctly former Environment Minister Nick Smith and Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean had a lot to do with setting up the forum and ensuring it ran well.

The process has worked well for water, is it too much to hope a similar process could work as well for other important matters?

A link to the report is here.

Those weren’t the good old days


Those of us old enough to remember Budgets long past will recall the great secrecy surrounding them and the attempts to second guess tax increases by stocking up on fuel, alcohol and cigarettes before prices went up.

Budgets nowadays are no less important but hold few surprises.

Finance Minister Bill English had given plenty of warning this will be a “zero” budget.

Major announcements on health, education, prisoner rehabilitation and welfare have already been made.

Any increases in spending will come not from “new” money but “old” money saved or reprioritised.

It might not be as exciting as it used to be, but at least in respect of Budgets, those weren’t the good old days and the modern no-surprises way is better.



Labour in headlines for all wrong reasons


In Budget week when eyes and ears tend to be on the government, Labour is in the headlines but for all the wrong reasons.

Shane Jones has been referred to the Auditor General over his decision to grant Chinese immigrant Bill Liu citizenship, at last.

He’s also been stood down from his portfolios – for the second time. As Lady Bracknell may be regarded as a misfortune, twice looks like carelessness.

David Shearer said:

“Based on my discussions with Shane Jones, I believe that he followed a proper process. But given the differing statements made in and outside of court and the questions that have been raised publicly, I believe that an independent agency should review the case.

“I’ve asked for the Auditor-General to look into all the departmental as well as ministerial processes involved in this case.

But the problem is about much more than the process. It is possible to make a mistake with the process and arrive and the right decision and to follow the correct process and still reach the wrong decision.

Keeping Stock has a round-up of news stories giving some background.

Kiwiblog asks several valid questions which need to be answered not least of which are the links between Jones’ decision and Liu’s donations to the labour Party.

All of that points to a lot more than a problem with the process.

It also points to Labour’s ongoing challenge to look like a government in waiting. Unless and until it sorts itself out, it will struggle to convince enough voters to give it the support it needs to lead a stable coalition.

If it can’t manage itself, it can’t be trusted to manage a multi-headed coalition.

UPDATE: Keeping Stock has spotted an immigration case where Jones disregarded submissions on humanitarian grounds on the advice of officials. That contrasts with the Liu case where he ignored official advice.

May 24 in history


15 BC  Julius Caesar Germanicus, Roman commander, was born (d. 19).

1218 The Fifth Crusade left Acre for Egypt.

1276  Magnus Ladulås was crowned King of Sweden in Uppsala Cathedral.

1487  Lambert Simnel was crowned as “King Edward VI” at Dublin.

1595  Nomenclator of Leiden University Library appeared, the first printed catalog of an institutional library.

1621  The Protestant Union was formally dissolved.

1626  Peter Minuit bought Manhattan.

1689  The English Parliament passes the Act of Toleration protecting Protestants.

1738  John Wesley was converted, essentially launching the Methodist movement; the day is celebrated annually by Methodists as Aldersgate Day.

1798 Irish Rebellion of 1798 led by the United Irishmen against British rule began.

1819 Queen Victoria was born (d. 1901).

1822  Battle of Pichincha: Antonio José de Sucre secured the independence of the Presidency of Quito.

1830  ”Mary Had a Little Lamb” by Sarah Josepha Hale was published.

1830  The first revenue trains in the United States began service on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad between Baltimore, Maryland and Ellicott’s Mills, Maryland.

1832  The First Kingdom of Greece was declared in the London Conference.

1844  Samuel F. B. Morse sent the message “What hath God wrought” (a Bible quotation, Numbers 23:23) from the Old Supreme Court Chamber in the United States Capitol to his assistant, Alfred Vail, in Baltimore, Maryland.

1846 Mexican-American War: General Zachary Taylor captured Monterrey.

1854 New Zealand’s parliament sat for the first time in Auckland, with 37 MPs.

Parliament's first sitting in Auckland

1856  John Brown and his men murdered five slavery supporters at Pottawatomie Creek, Kansas.

1861 American Civil War: Union troop occupied Alexandria, Virginia.

1870 Jan Christiaan Smuts, Prime Minister of South Africa, was born (d. 1950).

1883 The Brooklyn Bridge  was opened to traffic after 14 years of construction.

1887 Edward “Mick” Mannock, Irish WWI flying ace was born (d. 1918).

1895  Henry Irving became the first person from the theatre to be knighted.

1900 Second Boer War: The United Kingdom annexed the Orange Free State.

1901  Seventy-eight miners died in the Caerphilly pit disaster in South Wales.

1915  World War I: Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary.

1921  The trial of Sacco and Vanzetti opened.

1930  Amy Johnson landed in Darwin, Northern Territory, becoming the first woman to fly from England to Australia.

1935  The first night game in Major League Baseball history was played in Cincinnati, Ohio, with the Cincinnati Reds beating the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 at Crosley Field.

1940  Igor Sikorsky performed the first successful single-rotor helicopter flight.

1941 Bob Dylan, American singer and songwriter, was born.

1941  World War II: In the Battle of the Atlantic, the German Battleship Bismarck sank the then pride of the Royal Navy, HMS Hood, killing all but three crewmen.

1943  Josef Mengele became chief medical officer of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

1945 Priscilla Presley, American actress, was born.

1956 Conclusion of the Sixth Buddhist Council on Vesak Day, marking the 2,500 year anniversary after the Lord Buddha’s Parinibbāna.

1956 The first Eurovision Song Contest was held in Lugano, Switzerland.

1958 United Press International was formed through a merger of the United Press and the International News Service.

1960 Kristin Scott Thomas, English actress, was born.

1960 Guy Fletcher, British keyboardist (Dire Straits), was born.

1960  Cordón Caulle began to erupt.

1961  American civil rights movement: Freedom Riders were arrested in Jackson, Mississippi for “disturbing the peace” after disembarking from their bus.

1961  Cyprus entered the Council of Europe.

1962 Project Mercury: American astronaut Scott Carpenter orbited earth three times in the Aurora 7 space capsule.

1967  Egypt imposed a blockade and siege of the Red Sea coast of Israel.

1968 FLQ separatists bombed the U.S. consulate in Quebec City.

1970  The drilling of the Kola Superdeep Borehole began in the Soviet Union.

1973  Earl Jellicoe resigned as Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the Lords.

1976  The London to Washington, D.C. Concorde service began.

1980  The International Court of Justice called for the release of United States embassy hostagesin Tehran.

1982  Liberation of Khorramshahr, Iranians recapture of the port city of Khorramshahr from the Iraqis during the Iran–Iraq War.

1988  Section 28 of the United Kingdom’s Local Government Act of 1988, a controversial amendment stating that a local authority cannot intentionally promote homosexuality, was enacted.

1989 Sonia Sutcliffe, wife of the Yorkshire Ripper, was awarded  £600,000 in damages (later reduced to £60,000 on appeal) after winning a libel action against Private Eye.

1990  A car carrying American Earth First! activists Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney exploded in Oakland, California, critically injuring both.

1991  Eritrea gained its independence from Ethiopia.

1991  Israel conducted Operation Solomon, evacuating Ethiopian Jews to Israel.

1992 The last Thai dictator,  General Suchinda Kraprayoon, resigned following pro-democracy protests.

1994  Four men convicted of bombing the World Trade Center in New York in 1993 were each sentenced to 240 years in prison.

2000  Israeli troops withdrew from southern Lebanon after 22 years of occupation.

2001 Fifteen-year-old Sherpa Temba Tsheri became  the youngest person to climb to the top of Mount Everest.

2001  The Versailles wedding hall disaster in Jerusalem, killed 23 and injured over 200 in Israel’s worst-ever civil disaster.

2002  Russia and the United States signed the Moscow Treaty.

2004  North Korea banned mobile phones.

Sourced from NZ History Online and Wikipedia.

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