Parliament showing respect – UPDATED


I have just started listening to the debate on the marriage equality Bill.

It is good to find that MPs are listening respectfully – as they should –  to speakers who have a range of views on the issue.

You can listen here.

UPDATE: The Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill has passed its first reading 78 – 40. UPDATE: 80 – 40.

I was impressed by the reason and sincerity of speeches on both sides of the debate.

Update: Kiwiblog has who voted how.

Dr Paul Hutchison’s speech:

Best job ad ever?


Jamie Mackay asks: is the best job ad ever?

. . . you will need to be very fit . . . be a non smoker . . .  be able to wash, use deodorant, and keep your personal hygiene to an acceptable level. This may mean washing/showering in cold water . . .

Click on the link above to hear the rest which I suspect goes close to the line which employers aren’t permitted to cross in describing the employee they’re seeking.

Who am I?


It’s a big question – who am I?

National MP Alfred Ngaro gives a very moving answer to it at the Fathers’ Breakfast.

Balance sheets for dummies


Clayton Cosgrove reckons Mighty River Power’s annual result as evidence the state owned company was in no fit state for sale.

But Dene Mackenzie in the ODT (not online) points out Cosgrove’s made a major error:

The inability of Labour SOE spokesman Clayton Cosgrove to read a balance sheet is a breathtakingly sad indictment of the arguments surrounding whether or not the Government should partly sell down its electricity companies.

Mr Cosgrove, who in a previous life worked for a Perth-based mining company, issued a statement yesterday saying Mighty River Power’s $60 million profits plunge was yet another reason for the Government to stop its uneconomic asset sales programme.

“Mighty River profits have almost halved. That will have a real impact on their share price if the Government rushes ahead with the sale. Listing a struggling company in a market like this is economics for dummies,” the MP said. . .

However he wasn’t reading the announcement properly.

. . . In fact, Might river Power’s operating earnings – what it makes before any interest payments, tax, depreciation, amortisation financial adjustments (the true reflection of a company’s profitability)  – came in at $461.5 million, up 4% on the previous corresponding year.

The company had fair value adjustments of $92.8 million which did take the reported profit down to $68 million, mainly reflecting a significant fall in interest rates in the first half of the financial year.

That resulted in the recognition of an adverse change in the non-cash fair value of financial instruments . .

The company paid  a $120 million dividend  and Cosgrove is correct that the Government would get a lower dividend if it partially floats the company.

He described raising the dividend while profits, in his view fell, as a cynical move to make the company more appealing. Mr Cosgrove warned investors would see through the move.

But investors who stump up with the money to pay down some of New Zealand’s debt and help invest in the future education, health and welfare needs of the nation deserve a return. That is how a capital market works. . .

Cosgrove thinks he’s found economics for dummies but in fact he’s shown he’s in need of a course in balance sheets for dummies.

Marriage will survive


Marriage is described as an honourable estate in the traditional church service.

One of its aims was to protect women and children.

It’s a noble goal but the laws governing marriage began in the days when women had few rights and were regarded as little more than the property of their fathers, husbands or other male relatives.

Sometimes the protection marriage was supposed to afford became a prison, depriving women of autonomy and/or trapping them in abusive relationships. It even allowed men to rape their wives until relatively recently.

Marriage survived in spite of that.

It has survived changes in society and the law which recognise women as people in their own rights, able to operate their own bank accounts, work outside the home, own property and say no to their husbands.

It has survived changing moral standards which include the normalising of living together and having children without formalisation by the state or blessing of the church.

It has survived no-fault divorce and everything that leads to it including, but not limited to abuse, boredom, incompatibility, infidelity, lack of commitment, problems with money or sex people who, in spite of their vows enter it lightly and selfishly and some who, at least in hindsight, should never have married in the first place.

The Bill seeking marriage equality is likely to pass its first reading today. That is only the first hurdle but opponents are describing it as an assault on the institution.

That is very much a matter of opinion but even if it is, marriage will survive.

It has survived all sorts of exterior assaults and changes because while marriage is an institution, it is also a contract between two people.

It is the heartfelt and mutual commitment to each other and their relationship that really matters.

As long as that endures marriage will too.

Fonterra’s forecast cut not unexpected


The grapevine had been warning that Fonterra’s forecast payout might be cut so yesterday’s announcement from the company wasn’t unexpected.

Fonterra has announced a revised payout forecast range for the 2012/13 season of $5.65 – $5.75 before retentions for a fully shared up farmer, 30 cents down on the previous forecast range.

The revised forecast comprises a lower Fonterra Farmgate Milk Price of $5.25 per kilogram of milksolids, down from $5.50 and a lower forecast net profit after tax range of 40-50 cents, down from 45-55 cents per share.

Fonterra is required to consider its Farmgate Milk Price every quarter as a condition of the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act (DIRA).

Fonterra Chairman Sir Henry van der Heyden said most of the downward pressure on the Farmgate Milk Price forecast was due to the continuing strength of the New Zealand dollar.

“We’ve actually seen improving prices in recent GlobalDairyTrade (GDT) trading events, but the strength of the Kiwi dollar is eroding any gains,” said Sir Henry.

Overall, the GDT trade weighted index was up 4.1% over the past four events, underpinned by a 7.8% rise on August 15.  However, prices are low compared to a year ago and the New Zealand dollar remains strong against the US dollar. . .

The high dollar does erode returns for exporters but that’s not an excuse to tinker with the exchange rate as the Opposition would like to.

Lower export prices usually affect the currency and the dollar edged down yesterday.

While the short term outlook isn’t buoyant the drought in the USA is already having an impact on milk supply. Once farmers start culling, as they already are there, it  takes two or three season to rebuild herds so the next couple of seasons could bring better prices for farmers here.

August 29 in history


708 Copper coins were minted in Japan for the first time.

1350  Battle of Winchelsea (or Les Espagnols sur Mer): The English naval fleet under King Edward III defeated a Castilian fleet of 40 ships.

1475  The Treaty of Picquigny ended a brief war between France and England.

1526  Battle of Mohács: The Ottoman Turks led by Suleiman the Magnificent defeated and kill the last Jagiellonian king of Hungary and Bohemia.

1632 John Locke, English philosopher, was born (d. 1704).

1655 Warsaw fell without resistance to a small force under the command of Charles X Gustav of Sweden during The Deluge.

1758  The first American Indian Reservation was established, at Indian Mills, New Jersey.

1786  Shays’ Rebellion, an armed uprising of Massachusetts farmers, began in response to high debt and tax burdens.

1809 Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., American physician and writer, was born (d. 1894).

1831  Michael Faraday discovered electromagnetic induction.

1833 The United Kingdom legislated the abolition of slavery in its empire.

1842 Treaty of Nanking signing ended the First Opium War.

1862 Andrew Fisher, 5th Prime Minister of Australia, was born (d. 1928).

1869  The Mount Washington Cog Railway opened, making it the world’s first rack railway.

1871  Emperor Meiji ordered the Abolition of the han system and the establishment of prefectures as local centers of administration.

1876 Charles F. Kettering, American inventor, was born (d. 1958).

1885  Gottlieb Daimler patented the world’s first motorcycle.

1898 The Goodyear tyre company was founded.

1903 The Russian battleship Slava, the last of the five Borodino-class battleships, was launched.

1907 The Quebec Bridge collapsed during construction, killing 75 workers.

1910  Japan changed Korea‘s name to Chōsen and appoints a governor-general to rule its new colony.

1911  Ishi, considered the last Native American to make contact with European Americans, emerged from the wilderness of northeastern California.

1914 New Zealand forces captured German Samoa.

NZ force captures German Samoa

1915 US Navy salvage divers raised F-4, the first U.S. submarine sunk by accident.

1915 Ingrid Bergman, Swedish actress, was born (d. 1982).

1915 Nathan Pritikin, American nutritionist, was born (d. 1985).

1918  Bapaume was taken by New Zealand forces in the Hundred Days Offensive.

1923 Richard Attenborough, English film director, was born.

1924 Dinah Washington, American singer, was born (d. 1963).

1929 Thom Gunn, British poet, was born (d. 2004).

1930  The last 36 remaining inhabitants of St Kilda were voluntarily evacuated to other parts of Scotland.

1943  German-occupied Denmark scuttled most of its navy;Germany dissolved the Danish government.

1944  Slovak National Uprising – 60,000 Slovak troops turned against the Nazis.

1949  Soviet atomic bomb project: The Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb, known as First Lightning or Joe 1, at Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan.

1958 Lenny Henry, British writer, comedian and actor, was born.

1958 Michael Jackson, American pop singer, was born (d. 2009).

1958  United States Air Force Academy opened in Colorado Springs.

1966  The Beatles performed their last concert before paying fans at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.

1970  Chicano Moratorium against the Vietnam War. Police riot killed three people, including journalist Ruben Salazar.

1982  The synthetic chemical element Meitnerium, atomic number 109, was first synthesized at the Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt, Germany.

1991 Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union suspended all activities of the Soviet Communist Party.

1991  Libero Grassi, an Italian businessman from Palermo was killed by the Mafia after taking a solitary stand against their extortion demands.

1996  Vnukovo Airlines Flight 2801, a  Tupolev Tu-154, crashed into a mountain on the Arctic island of Spitsbergen, killing all 141 aboard.

1997  At least 98 villagers were killed by the Armed Islamic Group of Algeria GIA in the Rais massacre, Algeria.

2003 Ayatollah Sayed Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, the Shia Muslim leader in Iraq, and nearly 100 worshippers were assassinated in a terrorist bombing, as they left a mosque in Najaf.

2005  Hurricane Katrina devastated much of the U.S. Gulf Coast from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle, killing more than 1,836 and causing over $80 billion in damage.

2007 – 2007 United States Air Force nuclear weapons incident: six US cruise missiles armed with nuclear warheads were flown without proper authorization from Minot Air Force Base to Barksdale Air Force Bae.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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