Mr Singer


He’s officially addressed as Mr Speaker but after leading the National Anthem at the National Party conference perhaps Lockwood Smith should be Mr Singer:

Word of the day


Rodomontade – pretentious, bragging; boastful or inflated talk or behavior; bluster.

All one when it suits


While browsing in the excellent Mary Ryan’s bookshop in Noosa last week I was amused to see three books by Lloyd Jones on the shelves devoted to Australian fiction.

When I mentioned this to the man serving me he said they didn’t have a section for New Zealand books and he thought Lloyd Jones was better with the Australian authors than in general fiction.

A conversation on the merits of our tendency to borrow the best from each other followed and how we were all one when it suits. We concluded that being close enough for some blurring of national boundaries was usually a good thing.

Often it is New Zealand which seeks to bask in Australia’s glory, but this week Australia is finding itself wanting to share some of ours.

This photo, borrowed from Facebook (thanks Andy) has Aus Zealand in ninth place in the medal tally in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph.

On the official medal table, we’re 14th and Australia is 24th.

However, when it comes to medals per capita, Stats NZ has us at number two for gold medals per 1,000,000 people, with Jamaica in first place; and second in total medals per 1,000,000 people.

However, Medals per Capita puts us at only 12th  for GDP per medal and 13th for golds per capita.

TV# has the story behind this website set up by  New Zealander Craig Nevill-Manning, who is an engineering director for Google  in New York.

Court via Skype


Courts Minister Chester Borrows has announced Oamaru will be the first place in New Zealand to trail Skype in Family Court hearings.

Oamaru has been without a permanent courthouse since November when the building was deemed an earthquake risk, and Mr  Borrows said while temporary alternative locations were being  sought, audio visual technology would be trialled with a sitting Family Court judge on August 14.   

Existing audio visual platforms, such as Skype, were reliable and efficient enough for use in court, he said, adding that the idea also had backing from legal professionals in the town.   

 Following the trial run, a larger six-month trial, which would take place in Family Court proceedings from Oamaru south, would occur in September, Mr Borrows said.

This will save time and money for lawyers and their clients.

Skype works well for interviews and meetings, there’s no reason it shouldn’t work as well for court.

Higher company taxes hit wages


The left generally favours higher taxes and some of the left also show an anti-business streak.

That combination can lead to policies which tax businesses more.

But Tim Worstall asks who pays for that:

 The only three groups possible are the shareholders of that company, the customers of it or the workers. At  which point we have an interesting new paper on what that incidence is in the European example:

A stylised model is provided to show how the direct effect of corporate income tax on wages can be identified in a bargaining framework using cross-company variation in tax liabilities, conditional on value added per employee. Using data on 55,082 companies located in nine European countries over the period 1996–2003, we estimate the long run elasticity of the wage bill with respect to taxation to be −0.093. Evaluated at the mean, this implies that an exogenous rise of $1 in tax would reduce the wage bill by 49 cents.

As we can see, the workers are paying 50% of that corporation tax bill. Meaning that anyone (and everyone) shouting that companies must pay more in taxes is in fact saying that they want to reduce the wages of the workers.

The law of unintended consequences at work again – higher company taxes hit wages.

End of an era for EDPPP


The retirement of Professor John Morris, the inaugural director of Rabobanks’ Executive Development Programme for Primary Producers, marks the end of an ispirational era.

The EDPPP programme started in 1999. The 15th class graduated on Thursday evening and the celebration dinner was also an opportunity to pay tribute to John.

He grew up in Canterbury and graduated from Lincoln  with a B Ag Sci. He then gained an MBA in marketing and finance from Cranfield School of Management and a PhD in food marketing from Cornell University. His business and academic career has included extensive international experience in retailing and food marketing and professorships of food marketing at leading universities.

He always retained a love of farming and rapport with farmers. Add to this a quick wit, an enviable ability to remember names and to make everyone he talked to feel valued and it would be difficult to find anyone better to start and develop the EDPPP.

Counting graduates isn’t hard – there’s been 450 of them – quantifying the positive difference the course has made on their lives and businesses would be much more difficult but there is no doubt it is significant.

Those 449 Australian and New Zealand, and one Dutch, graduates would be the first to say they and their businesses would not be where they are today without what they learned during the programme and that John played a very important role in it.

He will be missed but he won’t be forgotten. On Thursday Neil Dobbin, Group Executive Country Banking for Rabobank Australia and New Zealand announced that the award for the best project which participants complete between the programme’s two modules will now be known as the Dr John Morris prize.

You can read more about the EDPPP here. The programme will continue with Angus Taylor as director.

No shame in silver – Shearer


Labour leader David Shearer says there’s no shame in silver.

“The Australians appear to be struggling with their bridesmaid status in so many Olympic events but there is no shame in silver,” he said.

“If you’ve trained and prepared, got your policy straight (or not if we’re talking about marriage), delivered your lines without hesitation and given your all, you’ve done your best and can do nothing about being beaten by someone who does it better.”

He was commenting on the results of the TV3 and TV1 poll vaults in which he and his party came a distant second to the National team led by  long-time rival John Key.

Shearer showed no disappointment in managing  only 8.9 percent, 2.3 percent down on his previous outing in the TV3 individual event, the Preferred Prime Minister race and dropping 1% to 13 in the equivalent TVNZ competition.

He brushed off questions over individual members of the team which reached only  30.8% in the TV3 cross-country  falling 2.3 percent short of the score it achieved last month and gaining only 32% percent, slightly less than it managed in the TV1 team pursuit.

However,  Shearer admitted it didn’t help that some members of the team were running their individual races, others scored own goals and at times the team appeared to lose its way completely.

“But we can be pleased with what we’ve done in spite of that,” he said.

“Silver is still a precious metal, it’s nice and shiny and a medal is a medal. It means we’re better than all the rest except National and being better than everyone except the best is  still an achievement of which we can be proud.

“Besides, you have to keep in mind these are only trials. We’ve still got more than two years until the main event and I’m confident that our training programme will ensure we’re fit and reaching peak performance when it really matters. Some of our team are tiring and it’s likely we’ll have some fresh blood coming on as impact players before we head to the final straight.

“It’s no secret that we’ve some work to do on team cohesion, rowing in unison, heading in the same direction and taking the public with us. But these aren’t insurmountable hurdles, we might not be winning the sprint but we’ve still got a chance in the marathon.”

August 6 in history


1284 Pisa was defeated in Battle of Meloria by Genoa, ruining its naval power.

1538  Bogotá, was founded by Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada.

1661 The Treaty of The Hague was signed by Portugal and the Dutch Republic.

1787 Sixty proof sheets of the Constitution of the United States were delivered to the Constitutional Convention.

1806 Francis II, the last Holy Roman Emperor, abdicated ending the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation.

1809 Alfred Lord Tennyson, English poet, was born (d. 1892).

1819  Norwich University was founded in Vermont as the first private military school in the United States.

1825  Bolivia gained independence from Spain.

1845 The Russian Geographical Society was founded in Saint Petersburg.

1861 Edith Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States, was born (d. 1948).

1861 The United Kingdom annexed  Lagos, Nigeria.

1862  American Civil War: the Confederate ironclad CSS Arkansas was scuttled on the Mississippi River after suffering damage in a battle with USS Essex.

1870  Franco-Prussian War: Battle of Wörth is fought, resulting in a decisive Prussian victory.

1881 Alexander Fleming, Scottish scientist, Nobel laureate, was born  (d. 1955).

1890 At Auburn Prison in New York murderer William Kemmler became the first person to be executed by electric chair.

1901  Kiowa land in Oklahoma was opened for white settlement, effectively dissolving the contiguous reservation.

1909  Alice Ramsey and three friends became the first women to complete a transcontinental auto trip.

1911 Lucille Ball, American actress, was born (d. 1989).

1912  The Bull Moose Party met at the Chicago Coliseum.

1914 First Battle of the Atlantic – ten German  U-boats left their base in Helgoland to attack Royal Navy warships in the North Sea.

1914 – World War I: Serbia declared war on Germany; Austria declared war on Russia.

1915  Battle of Sari Bair – the Allies mounted a diversionary attack timed to coincide with a major Allied landing of reinforcements at Suvla Bay.

1917  Battle of Mărăşeşti between the Romanian and German armies began.

1917 Robert Mitchum, American actor, was born  (d. 1997).

1922 Sir Freddie Laker, English entrepreneur, was born  (d. 2006).

1926  Gertrude Ederle became first woman to swim across the English Channel.

1926  Warner Brothers’ Vitaphone system premiered with the movie Don Juan starring John Barrymore.

1926   Harry Houdini performed his greatest feat, spending 91 minutes underwater in a sealed tank before escaping.

1928 Robert Mitchum, American artist, was born  (d. 1987).

1934 Chris Bonington, British mountaineer, was born.

1936 Jack Lovelock won New Zealand’s first Olympic athletics gold medal when he ran the 1500-metres in a world record time of the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

Lovelock wins 1500-m gold at Berlin

1937 Barbara Windsor, English actress, was born.

1942 Queen Wilhelmina became the first reigning queen to address a joint session of the United States Congress.

1945 The atomic bomb “Little Boy” was dropped on Hiroshima by the United States B-29 Enola Gay. Around 70,000 people were killed instantly, and tens of thousands died in subsequent years from burns and radiation poisoning.

1952 Vinnie Vincent, American musician (Kiss), was born.

1960  Cuban Revolution: in response to a United States embargo, Cuba nationalised American and foreign-owned property in the nation.

1962 Jamaica beaome independent.

1964 Prometheus, a bristlecone pine and the world’s oldest tree, was cut down.

1965 US President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law.

1966 Braniff Airlines Flight 250 crashed in Falls City, NE killing all 42 on board.

1969 Simon Doull, New Zealand cricketer, was born.

1972 Geri Halliwell, British singer (Spice Girls), was born.

1976 Zulfikar Ali Bhutto laid the foundation stone of Port Qasim, Karachi.

1986  A low-pressure system that redeveloped off the New South Wales coast dumped a record 328 millimeters (13 inches) of rain in a day on Sydney.

1990  The United Nations Security Council ordered a global trade embargo against Iraq in response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.

1991  Tim Berners-Lee released files describing his idea for the World Wide Web. WWW debuted  as a publicly available service on the Internet.

1991  Doi Takako, chair of the Social Democratic Party became Japan’s first female speaker of the House of Representatives.

1993 Heavy rains and debris killed  72 in the Kagoshima and Aira areas, of Kyūshū, Japan.

1996  NASA announced that the ALH 84001 meteorite, thought to originate from Mars, contained evidence of primitive life-forms.

1997 Korean Air Flight 801, a Boeing 747-300, crashed into the jungle on Guam on approach to airport, killing 228.

2008 A military junta led by Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz staged a coup d’état in Mauritania, overthrowing president Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi.

2011 – A helicopter containing members of Navy SEAL 6 was shot down in Afghanistan killing 38.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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