Word of the day

June 26, 2012

Esthesia/Aesthesia – capacity for sensation; sensibility; sensitivity, feeling.


Spot the link

June 26, 2012

Key admits public ignorance of sales plan  and Low turnout for asset ‘auction’ protest.

The left has done its best to whip up opposition to the partial sale of a few state assets.

But most people don’t understand what it’s about and few of those who do and don’t like the idea care enough to do anything about it.


Wheeler new Reserve Bank governor

June 26, 2012

Finance Minister Bill English has announced he intends to appoint Graeme Wheeler as successor to Allan Bollard as governor of the Reserve Bank:

Mr Wheeler will be governor-designate until a new policy targets agreement is finalised in the next few months. This is  required before a new governor is appointed.

“Mr Wheeler’s  extensive experience makes him a highly respected figure in world  financial markets and within New Zealand,” Mr English says. “We were  fortunate to have someone of his calibre available for this important  role.”

From 1997 to 2010, Mr Wheeler was employed by the World  Bank. His most recent roles there included managing director operations  (2006-2010), and vice-president and treasurer (2001-2006). Previously,  he was at the New Zealand Treasury as deputy secretary and treasurer of  the Debt Management Office.

Mr Wheeler, a New Zealander, currently lives in the United States and runs his own advisory business.

As required under the Reserve Bank Act 1989, the Reserve Bank board of  directors recommended Mr Wheeler’s appointment to Mr English, after an  extensive recruitment process domestically and internationally.

“Given his experience and standing, combined with his technical and leadership qualities, the board considered that he has all the qualities required  to become governor and chief executive of the Reserve Bank,” Mr English  says.

He does not envisage any major changes to the policy targets agreement.

“I consider that the current PTA has served New Zealand well and there are benefits in maintaining consistency in the PTA.

“However, the global financial crisis has focused some attention on monetary  policy frameworks, and I want to ensure that the PTA continues to  reflect best international practice.”

Mr English also paid tribute to Dr Bollard for his leadership at the Reserve Bank over the past 10 years.

“He helped steer the New Zealand financial system through the biggest  global crisis in several generations. At the same time, he ensured that  this country continued to enjoy one of the most stable inflation  environments in the world.”

People with short memories might not understand how damaging high inflation is.

Those of  us who struggled to keep our businesses afloat in the face of soaring inflation and interest rates in the 1980s appreciate the determination of successive Reserve Bank governors and governments to ensure that doesn’t happen again.

 


Stole Me

June 26, 2012

A website to help people recover lost or stolen property has been launched in New Zealand.

Stole Me is a national register of stolen property and pets.

It provides a notice board for people whose whose property has been lost or stolen and also enables would-be buyers of second-hand goods to check if they’ve been listed as stolen.

An email alerting me to this website explains:

This initiative is the result of the personal experience of the couple, who were the victims of crime themselves. When their boat was stolen they were unable to find any way to inform the public and wider community of the theft. But they believed they would have a better chance of recovering their boat if it was spotted by a member of the public who could then alert them or the police. They also considered that the establishment of a service such as Stole Me would significantly reduce the ability to trade in stolen goods.

It’s a simple but effective way to help with the recovery of lost or stolen property and to make it more difficult for thieves to trade what they’ve stolen.


TAF still leaves control with farmers

June 26, 2012

The Green Party shows it doesn’t understand business, again,  in its reaction to yesterday’s vote by Fonterra shareholders to approve Trading Among Farmers.

Today’s vote by Fonterra members to accept the proposed Trading Amongst Farmers scheme puts family farmers at risk, the Green Party said today.

“It’s not trading amongst farmers but trading against farmers,” said Green Party agriculture spokesperson Steffan Browning.

“Allowing non-farmer investment does not fit with the co-operative model; it will put the pressure on to increase the return to investors at the cost of good quality farming.

“TAF will create a trade-off between having a higher share price and farmers getting a lower price for their milk.

“Farmers have different interests to outside shareholders. Those farmers working to produce high quality products and improve their impacts on the environment could lose control of their own co-operative.

Goodness me, this must be the first time anyone from the Greens has acknowledged that farmers work hard to produce high quality products and improve their impacts on the environment.

But the second half of that sentence is rubbish.

TAF was designed to ensure farmers retained control of the company so that there would not be pressure to increase dividends and/or share price by reducing the price of milk.

Outside shareholders might have a voice but they won’t have a vote, control remains with farmers.

Fonterra is New Zealand’s biggest company. It is in the interests of suppliers and the country that it continues to grow and prosper.

TAF will enable it do this better without in any way threatening its co-operative structure or the power that lies with its supplying shareholders.


To do list not wish list

June 26, 2012

The government has set five-year targets for the public service which Prime Minister John Key says form a to-do list not a wish list:

“These targets are central to the Government’s plans to create a public service that is more innovative, enterprising, driven, and focused on results,” Mr Key says.

These measurable targets, which will be reported on regularly, sit underneath the 10 challenging results the Government announced in March for the public sector to achieve over the next five years.

“It’s about delivering what New Zealanders really want and expect from their public services. These targets are not a wish-list – they are a to-do list,” Mr Key says.

“We want to get further traction on difficult issues like reducing crime, reducing long-term welfare dependency and reducing educational underachievement.

“Some of these targets are very aspirational – in fact, some of them will be extremely difficult to achieve. But I make absolutely no apology for having high expectations and wanting New Zealanders to get the most out of their public services,” Mr Key says.

“We want targets that are going to stretch the ability of the public sector to deliver them, and will force change. This is not an exercise in ticking boxes.

“For example, we have set a target to reduce the number of people on a working-age benefit for more than 12 months by more than 20,000 or 30 per cent – from 78,000 to 55,000.”

Delivering better public services within tight financial constraints to New Zealanders is one of the Government’s key priorities for its second term. The targets announced today will help deliver that goal.

Mr English, who is leading the Better Public Services reforms with State Services Minister Jonathan Coleman, says this move is about making government agencies work more closely together to deliver the results that matter most to New Zealanders.

“We want to change the way the public sector works so it is more focused and organised around delivering results, rather than just outputs.

“We’re making public sector leaders accountable for achieving things that make a real difference to the lives of New Zealanders, not just managing a department or agency.

“We also want to make it simpler for New Zealanders to interact with government. Doing business with government, and getting information from government agencies, should be easy.

“This is a fundamental shift that requires different thinking. We are not a government that thinks spending more money on something is an end in itself. We are a government that thinks getting results is what’s really important.

“This is also about getting greater efficiency and value-for-money out of our public sector. That’s important because the public sector is about a quarter of the economy so it has a big influence on our overall economic performance.

“Progress towards these targets will be reported publicly so New Zealanders can judge for themselves how well we are doing,” Mr English says.

The targets are:

Reducing long-term welfare dependency

1. Reduce the number of people who have been on a working age benefit for more than 12 months
Read more about this result here.

Supporting vulnerable children

2. Increase participation in early childhood education.
3. Increase infant immunisation rates and reduce the incidence of rheumatic fever.
4. Reduce the number of assaults on children.
Read more about these results here

Boosting skills and employment

5. Increase the proportion of 18 year olds with NCEA level 2 or equivalent qualification.
6. Increase the proportion of 25-34 year olds with advanced trade qualifications, diplomas and degrees (at level 4 or above).
Read more about these results here

Reducing crime

7. Reduce the rates of total crime, violent crime and youth crime.
8. Reduce reoffending.
Read more about these results here

Improving interaction with government

9. New Zealand businesses have a one-stop online shop for all government advice and support they need to run and grow their business.
10. New Zealanders can complete their transactions with the Government easily in a digital environment.
Read more about these results here

 These are not easy targets but they are important ones if New Zealand is to be a healthier, better educated, more secure and wealthier country.

Setting the targets, announcing them and reporting on the results publicly is not without risk for the government.

But it is good to see it having the courage to set measurable goals for the public service which provide voters with something on which they can judge the government.


June 26 in history

June 26, 2012

363  Roman Emperor Julian was killed during the retreat from the Sassanid Empire. General Jovian was proclaimed Emperor by the troops on the battlefield.

1284  The legendary Pied Piper led 130 children out of Hamelin.

1409 Western Schism: the Roman Catholic church was led into a double schism as Petros Philargos was crowned Pope Alexander V after the Council of Pisa, joining Pope Gregory XII in Rome and Pope Benedict XII in Avignon.

1483  Richard III was crowned king of England.

1541  Francisco Pizarro was assassinated in Lima by the son of his former companion and later antagonist, Diego Almagro the younger.

1718  Tsarevich Alexei Petrovich of Russia, Peter the Great’s son, mysteriously died after being sentenced to death by his father for plotting against him.

1723  After a siege and bombardment by cannon, Baku surrendered to the Russians.

1817 Branwell Bronte, British painter and poet, was born (d. 1848).

1848 End of the June Days Uprising in Paris.

1857  The first investiture of the Victoria Cross in Hyde Park.

1866 George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon, English financier of Egyptian excavations, was born (d. 1923).

1870  Christmas was declared a federal holiday in the United States.

1892 Pearl S. Buck, American writer, Nobel laureate, was born (d. 1973).

1898 Willy Messerschmitt, German aircraft designer, was born (d. 1978).

1908 Salvador Allende, Former President of Chile (1970-1973), was born (d. 1973)

1909  Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley’s manager, was born (d. 1997)

1909  The Science Museum in London became an independent entity.

1913 Maurice Wilkes, British computer scientist, was born.

1914 Laurie Lee, British writer, was born (d. 1997).

1917  The first U.S. troops arrived in France to fight alongside the allies in World War I.

1918  The Australian steamer Wimmera was sunk by a mine laid the year before by the German raider Wolf north of Cape Maria van Diemen.

1918  World War I, Western Front: Battle for Belleau Wood – Allied Forces under John J. Pershing and James Harbord defeated Imperial German Forces under Wilhelm, German Crown Prince.

1921 Violette Szabo, French WWII secret agent, was born (d. 1945).

1924 American occupying forces left the Dominican Republic.

1927 – The Cyclone roller coaster opened on Coney Island.

1934  President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Federal Credit Union Act, which establishes credit unions.

1936  Initial flight of the Focke-Wulf Fw 61, the first practical helicopter.

1940 Billy Davis, Jr., American singer (The 5th Dimension), was born.

1940 World War II: under the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the Soviet Union presented an ultimatum to Romania requiring it to cede Bessarabia and the northern part of Bukovina.

1942  The first flight of the Grumman F6F Hellcat.

1943 Georgie Fame, British singer, was born.

1945  The United Nations Charter was signed in San Francisco.

1948 – William Shockley filed the original patent for the grown junction transistor, the first bipolar junction transistor.

1948 Shirley Jackson‘s short story The Lottery was published in The New Yorker magazine.

1952 The Pan-Malayan Labour Party was founded, as a union of statewise labour parties.

1959  The Saint Lawrence Seaway opened, opening North America’s Great Lakes to ocean-going ships.

1960 The former British Protectorate of British Somaliland gained its independence as Somaliland .

1960 – Madagascar gained its independence from France.

1963  John F. Kennedy spoke the famous words “Ich bin ein Berliner” on a visit to West Berlin.

1973  At Plesetsk Cosmodrome 9 people were killed in an explosion of a Cosmos 3-M rocket.

1974  The Universal Product Code was scanned for the first time to sell a package of Wrigley’s chewing gum at the Marsh Supermarket in Troy, Ohio.

1975  Indira Gandhi established emergency rule in India.

1975 – Two FBI agents and a member of the American Indian Movement were killed in a shootout on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

1976  The CN Tower, the world’s tallest free-standing structure on land, was opened to general public.

1977 The Yorkshire Ripper killed 16 year old shop assistant Jayne MacDonald in Leeds, changing public perception of the killer as she is the first victim who was not a prostitute.

1978Air Canada Flight 189 to Toronto overran the runway and crashed into the Etobicoke Creek ravine. Two of 107 passengers on board died.

1991  Ten-Day War: the Yugoslav people’s army began the Ten-Day War in Slovenia.

1993 The United States launched a missile attack targeting Baghdad intelligence headquarters in retaliation for a thwarted assassination attempt against former President George H.W. Bush in April in Kuwait.

1994  Microsoft no longer supported MS-DOS and the development of FreeDOS began.

1995  Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani deposed his father Khalifa bin Hamad al-Thani, as the Emir of Qatar, in a bloodless coup.

1996  Irish Journalist Veronica Guerin was shot in her car while in traffic in the outskirts of Dublin.

1997nThe U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Communications Decency Act violated the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

2003  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Lawrence v. Texas that gender-based sodomy laws were unconstitutional.

2008 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in District of Columbia v. Heller that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protected an individual right, and that the District of Columbia handgun ban was unconstitutional.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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