Silver Ferns 50 – Diamonds 49

September 20, 2012

The Silver Ferns 50 – 49 win over the Australian Diamonds, earned them the Constellation Cup and their first series win in eight years.


Word of the day

September 20, 2012

Perihelion – the point nearest the sun in the orbit of a planet, or other celestial body.


Growing, growing . . .

September 20, 2012

It couldn’t be called a boom but annual growth of 2.6%, the highest since 2007, is encouraging.

Finance Minister Bill English says:

“New Zealand’s economy continues to perform better than those of most other developed countries, despite uncertainties in Europe, the United States and suggestions that growth in China may come off its recent highs,” Mr English says.

“From the Government’s perspective, we cannot influence these external events, which are having an impact on New Zealand.

“In the current environment, it’s important that we continue with our wide-ranging economic programme to increase New Zealand’s long-term competitiveness and give our businesses the best chance of succeeding.

“We are focused on growth that is sustainable and built on higher savings and earnings, rather than consumption and debt. Households and businesses are recognising this need for change and are changing their behaviour.” . . .

“We are making good progress and the outlook is for further moderate growth over the next three or four years,” Mr English says.

GDP growth for the June quarter was .6%.

The main contributors to the increase in economic growth this quarter were, by industry:

  • agriculture (up 4.7 percent), with continued good growing conditions resulting in increased milk production
  • construction (up 3.3 percent), due to increases in heavy and civil (infrastructure) and residential building construction
  • transport, postal, and warehousing (up 2.7 percent), as air transport bounced back from disruptions due to the Chilean volcanic ash cloud in the same quarter last year
  • manufacturing (up 0.8 percent), due mainly to an increase in transport equipment manufacturing.

“The good pasture conditions in the first half of the year continued to contribute to economic growth this quarter,” national accounts manager Rachael Milicich said.

“We are also now seeing evidence of a rebuild in Canterbury following the earthquakes.”

Given how small our economy is and how dependent we are on the rest of the world, so much of which is struggling financially, a 2.6% growth in GDP is an achievement.

The government has been quite clear its aim is sustainable growth based on savings and earnings rather than debt.

Households and businesses have got that message. Opposition parties’ behaviour – fighting against spending cuts and calling for the government to spend here and subsidise there – show they haven’t.


Thursday’s quiz

September 20, 2012

1. Who said: “ The news is being flashed far and wide, and before our earth has revolved on her axis every civilized community within the reach of the electric wires will have received the tidings that civic freedom has been granted to the women of New Zealand. … It does not seem a great thing to be thankful for, that the gentlemen who confirm the laws which render women liable to taxation and penal servitude have declared us to be “persons”… We are glad and proud to think that even in so conservative a body as the Legislative Council there is a majority of men who are guided by the principles of reason and justice, who desire to see their womenkind treated as reasonable beings, and who have triumphed over prejudice, narrow-mindedness and selfishness.“?

2. Which flower is the symbol of women’s suffrage?

3. In which year did women in New Zealand gain the right to vote?

4. Who was Premier when women got the right to vote?

5. In which year was the first election in which New Zealand women were able to vote?


Parker and Peters singing same silly song

September 20, 2012

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters used Question Time yesterday to take patsy questions about his Reserve Bank Amendment Bill from one of his MPs.

He then filibustered to keep the Bill alive.

He’s singing the same silly song as Labour’s David Parker who also thinks the Reserve Bank has failed.

. . . The RBNZ had failed to stop the credit boom of the mid-2000s, despite raising benchmark interest rates to a high point of 8.25 percent before the global financial crisis in 2008. . . .

Is this the same David Parker who was not only an MP but a Minister in the government in the mid-2000s?

That’s the government which contributed to high interest rates with high public spending and policies which fostered debt-fuelled consumption.

Both Peters and Parker want a lower exchange rate.

Both are wrong in thinking mucking about with the bank’s role in targeting inflation will achieve that without creating a whole lot of other problems.

The Visible Hand in Economics explains a persistently high real exchange rate isn’t the fault of monetary policy and the RBNZ:

 A persistently high real exchange rate tells us something structural is going on in our economy – it could be a sign of a government sector that is “too large”, poor domestic competition, a excessively low savings rate relative to investment opportunities in a country, or some mix of similar issues.  As a result, this has to do with competition policy, tax policy, government transfers, and the allocation of government services – but nothing to do with the Reserve Bank keeping price growth at 2%pa.  Remember, it isn’t just an issue of too much credit being offered but too much being borrowed by people domestically who wish to investment and consume.

Remember the exchange rate is a price – it is a “signal” of real imbalances rather than the cause.  Remember, it hasn’t been the “consumption” of cars, TV’s, and baseballs that has been excessiveit has been our “investment” in housing stock prior to the crisis.  Remember that working for families was a large transfer to the middle classes – which helped to smooth income inequality, but also would have pushed up house prices and could have lifted the real exchange rate by increasing demand for non-tradables … in fact the more effective the programme has been, the larger this impact would have been.

The high $NZ – $US exchange rate does erode returns for exports but neither Peters nor Parker have the right prescription for helping that.


Economic freedom helps prosperity

September 20, 2012

The link between economic freedom and prosperity is shown on the Fraser Institute’s World Index of Economic Freedom.

Nations that are economically free out-perform non-free nations in indicators of well-being
• Nations in the top quartile of economic freedom had an average per-capita GDP of
$37,691 in 2010, compared to $5,188 for bottom quartile nations in 2010 current
international dollars (Exhibit 1.7).
• In the top quartile, the average income of the poorest 10% was $11,382, compared to $1,209 in the bottom in 2010 current international dollars (Exhibit 1.10).
Interestingly, the average income of the poorest 10% in the most economically free nations is more than twice the overall average income in the least free nations.
• Life expectancy is 79.5 years in the top quartile compared to 61.6 years in the
bottom quartile (Exhibit 1.11).
• Political and civil liberties are considerably higher in economically free nations than in unfree nations (Exhibit 1.12).

Calls for government regulation and protection are getting stronger but this shows that it’s more economic freedom not less that we need.

The index measures the degree to which the policies and institutions of countries are supportive of economic freedom.

It is based on the cornerstones of economic freedom:  personal choice, voluntary exchange, freedom to compete, and security of privately owned property.

Forty-two variables are used to construct a summary index and to measure the degree of economic freedom in five broad areas:
1 Size of Government;
2 Legal System and Property Rights;
3 Sound Money;
4 Freedom to Trade Internationally;
5 Regulation

The top 10 countries are:

In this year’s index, Hong Kong retains the highest rating for economic freedom,
8.90 out of 10. The other top 10 nations are: Singapore, 8.69; New Zealand, 8.36;
Switzerland, 8.24; Australia, 7.97; Canada, 7.97; Bahrain, 7.94; Mauritius, 7.90;
Finland, 7.88; and Chile, 7.84.

• The rankings (and scores) of other large economies in this year’s index are the United Kingdom, 12th (7.75); the United States, 18th (7.69); Japan, 20th (7.64); Germany, 31st (7.52); France, 47th (7.32); Italy, 83rd (6.77); Mexico, 91st, (6.66); Russia, 95th (6.56); Brazil, 105th (6.37); China, 107th (6.35); and India, 111th (6.26).

• The scores of the bottom ten nations in this year’s index are: Venezuela, 4.07;
Myanmar, 4.29; Zimbabwe, 4.35; Republic of the Congo, 4.86; Angola, 5.12;
Democratic Republic of the Congo, 5.18; Guinea-Bissau, 5.23; Algeria, 5.34; Chad, 5.41; and, tied for 10th worst, Mozambique and Burundi, 5.45.

 Not Pc notes:
. . . Curious to note that around half of the top ten places are those in which the British came, saw and then buggered off, leaving behind them rule of law and the British legal and common law system. Thank Galt for the Brits, eh. . . 

 


September 20 in history

September 20, 2012

451  The Battle of Chalons: Flavius Aetius‘s victory over Attila the Hun in a day of combat, is considered to be the largest battle in the ancient world.

524 Kan B’alam I, ruler of Maya state of Palenque, was born (d. 583).

1187  Saladin began the Siege of Jerusalem.

1378  Cardinal Robert of Geneva, known as the Butcher of Cesena, was elected as Avignon Pope Clement VII, beginning the Papal schism.

1519 Ferdinand Magellan set sail from Sanlúcar de Barrameda with about 270 men on his expedition to circumnavigate the globe.

1633  Galileo Galilei was tried before the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for teaching that the Earth orbits the Sun.

1697 The Treaty of Rijswijk was signed by France, England, Spain, the Holy Roman Empire and the Dutch Republic ending the Nine Years’ War (1688–97)

1737  The finish of the Walking Purchase which forced the cession of 1.2 million acres (4,860 km²) of Lenape-Delaware tribal land to the Pennsylvania Colony.

1835  Farroupilha’s Revolution began in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.

1842  James Dewar, Scottish chemist, was born (d. 1923).

1848  The American Association for the Advancement of Science was created.

1854 Battle of Alma: British and French troops defeated Russians in the Crimea.

1857 The Indian Rebellion of 1857 ended with the recapture of Delhi by troops loyal to the East India Company.

1860  The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) visited the United States.

1863  American Civil War: The Battle of Chickamauga ended.

1870  Bersaglieri corps entered Rome through the Porta Pia and completed the unification of Italy.

1871  Bishop John Coleridge Patteson, the first bishop of Melanesia, was martyred on the island of Nukapu.

1881  Chester A. Arthur was inaugurated as the 21st President of the United States following the assassination of James Garfield.

1891  The first gasoline-powered car debuted in Springfield, Massachusetts.

1906  Cunard Line’s RMS Mauretania was launched at the Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson shipyard in Newcastle upon Tyne.

1914 Kenneth More, English actor, was born (d. 1982).

1920  Foundation of the Spanish Legion.

1930 Syro-Malankara Catholic Church was formed by Archbishop Mar Ivanios.

1934 Sophia Loren, Italian actress, was born.

1942 Holocaust in Letychiv, Ukraine. In the course of two days German SS murdered at least 3,000 Jews.

1946  The first Cannes Film Festival was held.

1954  The Mazengarb inquiry into ‘juvenile delinquency’  was released. It blamed the perceived promiscuity of the nation’s youth on the absence from home of working mothers, the easy availability of contraceptives, and on young women who enticed men into having sex.

Mazengarb report released

1957   Alannah Currie, New Zealander musician (Thompson Twins), was born.

1957  Michael Hurst, New Zealand actor, was born.

1962 James Meredith, an African-American, was temporarily barred from entering the University of Mississippi.

1967  The RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 was launched at John Brown & Company, Clydebank, Scotland.

1970  Syrian tanks entered Jordan in response to continued fighting between Jordan and the fedayeen.

1971 – Todd Blackadder, New Zealand rugby player, was born.

1973  Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in The Battle of the Sexes tennis match at the Houston Astrodome.

1979  Lee Iacocca was elected president of the Chrysler Corporation.

1979  A coup d’état in the Central African Empire overthrew Emperor Bokasa I.

1984  A suicide bomber in a car attacked the U.S. embassy in Beirut killing 22 people.

1990 South Ossetia declared its independence from Georgia.

2000  The British MI6 Secret Intelligence Service building was attacked by a Russian-built Mark 22 anti-tank missile.

2001 In an address to a joint session of Congress and the American people, U.S. President George W. Bush declared a “war on terror”.

2002  The Kolka-Karmadon rock/ice slide started.

2003 Maldives civil unrest: the death of prisoner Hassan Evan Naseem sparked a day of rioting in Malé.

2011 – The United States ended its “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, allowing gay men and women to serve openly for the first time.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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