Word of the day

September 5, 2012

Scofflaw –  a person who flouts the law, especially by failing to comply with one that is difficult to enforce effectively; one who habitually  violates the law or fails to answer court summonses or pay fines; a person who flouts rules, conventions, or accepted practices.


Two good moves from government

September 5, 2012

Two good moves from government today:

First Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has announced that people with outstanding arrest warrants will no longer receive a benefit while evading Police.

“Of the approximately 15,000 people with a current arrest warrant, around 8,200 are on benefits,” says Mrs Bennett.

“If someone has an unresolved arrest warrant we will stop their benefit until they do the right thing and come forward to the authorities.”

“In exceptional circumstances where someone poses a danger to the public, their benefit can be stopped immediately at the request of the Police Commissioner,” says Mrs Bennett.

Around 58 per cent of people clear their arrest warrants within 28 days. Those who don’t will be given 10 days to clear or challenge the warrant before their benefit is stopped, or reduced by fifty per cent if they have dependent children.

People will still be able to apply for hardship assistance for themselves and their children.

“Most people clear their warrants within a month, so 38 days is a reasonable amount of time to step forward and straighten things out,” says Mrs Bennett.

“Once someone has come forward their benefit can be reinstated but there will be clear consequences for people who continually refuse to acknowledge or resolve arrest warrants.”

The only question about this is:why it has taken so long to do the sensible thing?

the welfare system wasn’t designed to support people who are evading Police.

The second good news is that the government is considering reducing fees for passport applications.

Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain says lower passport fees are being considered as the Government moves to enable online passport applications.

“Online applications have been trialled successfully and will be available to the public by the end of the year. This will streamline the process of applying for a passport and reduce costs, providing the opportunity to look at the level of fees,” says Mr Tremain.

“Passport fees are set at cost recovery level, currently $153.30 for a standard adult passport. Revenue from passports is only spent on passports. The change to a five-year passport has increased the volume of renewals, and a growing surplus has built up in the account, meaning that there is scope to reduce fees.

“Changing passport fees would require a change to regulations. I have asked officials to report back to me on different options for fee reductions, including a lower fee for online applications to incentivise applicants to move online.

“This will contribute significantly to the Government’s Better Public Services Result 10: That New Zealanders can complete their transactions easily with government in a digital environment. This aims to have 70% uptake of digital and online services for key transactions by 2017, including passport applications.

“Passports consistently rate among the very top public services in the Kiwis Count figures produced by the State Services Commission. This is an opportunity to return some savings to passport holders and provide even better public services at a lower cost.”

It’s only under consideration at the moment but such a move would be very welcome.

Applications should be charged on a cost-recovery basis and if the department is recovering more than it costs a reduction in charges is the logical action.

Five years come around very quickly and many people have to renew their passport some time before the old one expires.

Several countries require visitors to have a passport valid for up to six months before they are granted entry. That means you’re paying for a five-year passport which might be able to be used for only four and half years which makes it even more expensive.


Lost in transcription

September 5, 2012

United States transcribers nearly caused an international incident when they mis-heard Prime Minsiter John Key.

During his meeting with Secretary of State Hilary Clinton,  Mr Key spoke of co-operation with America.

“We welcome the opportunities to cooperate further, in that  context,” he said.

But the US State Department heard something quite different,  because it says it was windy.

This is its version: “We welcome the opportunity to cooperate with the US  in the next conflicts.” . . .

. . . One linguist says Mr Key’s broad New Zealand accent could confound Americans.

“If you’re used to it, it’s not a problem. If you’ve never heard it before, then  it can be a problem,” says Victoria University linguist Bernadette Vine.

We’re used to hearing lots of different accents on television and in films, people from the United States get a lot more of their own accents and far less of those from other countries.

When we were in Argentina we were grateful for the assistance of  our host’s son-in-law from Maine who spoke good Spanish and could translate for us.

However, every now and then he struggled to understand us and our Argentinean family who’d all been to New Zealand had to translate Kiwi English into US English for him.

P.S.

Philip Lyth has an interesting story on how the Key transcription gaffe got fixed by State.


Tobacco paying people to collect petition signautres

September 5, 2012

On Sunday I blogged that the Green Party was advertising on TradeMe for people to collect signatures for the petition against the partial sale of a few state owned assets.

I was wrong and I unreservedly apologise for maligning the party in that way.

Whaleoil has been doing the research I ought to have done before writing and has found a tobacco company is behind the advertisements:

 The campaign is being run by Imperial Tobacco and assisted by Philip Morris.

The happy little workers on the generous package and bonus scheme have been hired to go around the country getting people to sign a petition against plain packaging.

It isn’t that sneaky though as the postcards they hand out are branded as British Imperial Tobacco. So if you’re standing outside a pub having a fag expect some starving student petitioner to come up and ask you for a signature.

 You’d have to be desperate or very hard-skinned to accept a job like this.

Whatever the legal arguments are about a company’s branding, the public health campaign against smoking has been won.

The anti-smoking sentiment, antipathy to tobacco companies and apathy about the issue will be far stronger than any arguments the poor people offering the petition will be able to muster.


Air NZ, Fonterra NZ’s most reputable organisations

September 5, 2012

Air New Zealand and Fonterra are the country’s top two Most reputable Organisations in the Hay Group/NZ Management magazine survey.

These and third placed Becca have been in the top three rankings for the last three years.

Companies were judged on corporate social responsibility, financial performance, implementation of strategic objectives, innovation, operational model, organisational structure, quality of product or service, senior leadership, stakeholder relationships and vision for the future.

Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings said the company’s good name must be worn into the very fabric of the organisation.

The value of the supplier owned co-operative model is evident in his message to staff and stakeholders:

. . . Fonterra must be a star performer in the world with a very strong connect to its grass roots.

He is also mindful that the reputations of  Fonterra and New Zealand are inextricably linked, Fonterra carries with it the stamp, or brand, of New Zealand he says “and we have to protect that country brand off-shore”. . .

Fonterra is an example of the prophet not appreciated in its own country. Its reputation overseas is far higher than the public perception of it here.

That it has been recognised as one of the country’s most reputable organisations for three years in a row shows that the less than enthusiastic domestic view of Fonterra isn’t well-founded.

But the company has work to do to ensure that the negative perception here catches up with the positive reality at home and abroad.

The story is accessible by subscription only. You can subscribe here.


Milk price up 6% in GDT auction

September 5, 2012

The trade weighted index had a welcome 6% increase at the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction.

It might be too early to call it a trend but it is the third successive rise in the TWI.

The TWI is now back over the 10 year average.

The price of anhydrous milk fat increased by 11.8%; butter milk fat climbed 15.8%; cheddar was up 5.3%; lactose increased 5.2%; milk protein concentrate was up 15.5%; rennet casein rose 10.1%; skim milk powder was up 7.5% and whole milk powder increased by 4.3%.


Political activism isn’t charity

September 5, 2012

Greenpeace is in the Court of Appeal trying to overturn a ruling that it doesn’t qualify for charitable status:

Greenpeace of New Zealand, the environmental lobby group, is too big to miss out on charitable status just because the actions of a few members may be deemed illegal, the Court of Appeal heard today.

Counsel for the non-profit organisation , Davey Salmon, told Justices Rhys Harrison, Lynton Stevens and Douglas White, there was no evidence Greenpeace was engaged in illegal activities that would block it from registering as a charity. Even if some members were found to have trespassed in their non-violent action in support of Greenpeace’s goals, it was a side-issue to the organisation’s primary goals. . .

They’re arguing it’s only a few members whose actions are illegal. But look at the organisation’s core values:

. . . We take non-violent direct action to raise the level and quality of public debate and end environmental problems. Whether it’s a sit-in in front of a local government, or the scaling of an oil rig – peaceful direct action is our way to get us all talking and demonstrate solutions. . .

Scaling an oil rig isn’t very different from a sit-in on an oil drilling ship for which Greenpeace activists were charged and pleaded guilty earlier this year.

Both  look a lot more like political activism than charitable service.


September 5 in history

September 5, 2012

1661  Fall of Nicolas Fouquet:  Louis XIV’s Superintendent of Finances was arrested in Nantes by D’Artagnan, captain of the king’s musketeers.

1666  Great Fire of London ended: 10,000 buildings including St. Paul’s Cathedral were destroyed, but only 16 people were known to have died.

1698  In an effort to Westernize his nobility, Tsar Peter I of Russia imposed a tax on beards for all men except the clergy and peasantry.

1725 Wedding of Louis XV and Maria Leszczyńska.

1774  First Continental Congress assembled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1781  Battle of the Chesapeake.

1793 French Revolution the French National Convention initiated the Reign of Terror.

1798  Conscription was made mandatory in France by the Jourdan law.

1800 Napoleon surrendered Malta to Great Britain.

1812 War of 1812:  The Siege of Fort Wayne began when Chief Winamac’s forces attacked two soldiers returning from the fort’s outhouses.

1816  Louis XVIII had to dissolve the Chambre introuvable (“Unobtainable Chamber”).

1836 Sam Houston was elected as the first president of the Republic of Texas.

1839  The First Opium War began in China.

1840  Premiere of Giuseppe Verdi’s Un giorno di regno at La Scala, Milan.

1847  Jesse James, American outlaw, was born (d. 1882).

1850 Jack Daniel, Creator of Jack Daniel’s, was born (d. 1911).

1862  James Glaisher, pioneering meteorologist and Henry Tracey Coxwell broke world record for altitude whilst collecting data in their balloon.

1877  Indian Wars: Oglala Sioux chief Crazy Horse was bayoneted by a United States soldier after resisting confinement in a guardhouse.

1882  The first United States Labor Day parade was held in New York City.

1887  Fire at Theatre Royal in Exeter killed 186

1905  The Treaty of Portsmouth, mediated by US President Theodore Roosevelt, ended the Russo-Japanese war.

1914 World War I: First Battle of the Marne begins. Northeast of Paris, the French attack and defeat German forces who are advancing on the capital.

1915 The pacifist Zimmerwald Conference began.

1918 Decree “On Red Terror” was published in Russia.

1927  The first Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoon, Trolley Troubles, produced by Walt Disney, was released by Universal Pictures.

1929 Bob Newhart, American actor and comedian, was born.

1932  The French Upper Volta was broken apart between Ivory Coast, French Sudan, and Niger.

1938  A group of youths affiliated with the fascist National Socialist Movement of Chile were assassinated in the Seguro Obrero massacre.

1939 Prime Minister, Michael Joseph Savage, declared New Zealand’s support for Britain and attacked Nazism.

PM declares NZ's support for Britain

1939 John Stewart, American musician (The Kingston Trio), was born (d. 2008).

1939 George Lazenby, Australian actor, was born.

1940 Raquel Welch, American actress, was born.

1942  World War II: Japanese high command ordered withdrawal at Milne Bay, first Japanese defeat in the Pacific War.

1944 Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg constituted Benelux.

1945 Al Stewart, Scottish singer and songwriter, was born.

1945  Cold War: Igor Gouzenko, a Soviet Union embassy clerk, defected to Canada, exposing Soviet espionage in North America, signalling the beginning of the Cold War.

1945 – Iva Toguri D’Aquino, a Japanese-American suspected of being wartime radio propagandist Tokyo Rose, was arrested in Yokohama.

1946  Freddie Mercury, Zanzibar-born English singer and songwriter (Queen), was born (d. 1991).

1951 Michael Keaton, American actor, was born.

1960 Poet Léopold Sédar Senghor was elected as the first President of Senegal.

1969  My Lai Massacre: U.S. Army Lt. William Calley was charged with six specifications of premeditated murder for the death of 109 Vietnamese civilians.

1972 Munich Massacre: “Black September” attacked and took hostage 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympic Games. 2 died in the attack and 9 die the following day.

1977  Voyager 1 was launched.

1978 Chris Jack, New Zealand All Black, was born.

1978 Camp David Accords: Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat began peace process at Camp David, Maryland.

1980 The St. Gotthard Tunnel opened in Switzerland as the world’s longest highway tunnel at 10.14 miles (16.224 km) stretching from Goschenen to Airolo.

1984  The Space Shuttle Discovery landed after its maiden voyage.

1984  Western Australia became the last Australian state to abolish capital punishment.

1986  Pan Am Flight 73 with 358 people on board was hijacked at Karachi International Airport.

1990 Eastern University massacre, massacre of 158 Tamil civilians by Sri Lankan army.

1991 The  Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989, came into force.

2000 The Haverstraw–Ossining Ferry made its maiden voyage.

2005 Mandala Airlines Flight 091 crashed into a heavily-populated residential of Sumatra, killing 104 people on board and at least 39 on the ground.

2007 – Three terrorists suspected to be a part of Al-Qaeda were arrested in Germany after allegedly planning attacks on both the Frankfurt International airport and US military installations.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


%d bloggers like this: