Word of the day

September 26, 2012

Laager– A camp, especially one protected by a circle of wagons or armored vehicles; a mobile or temporary fortification made of wagons; an entrenched policy or viewpoint; to enclose in a defensive encirclement.


Fee internet basic human right?

September 26, 2012

Should free internet access in public libraries be a basic human right?

Heather Lamond, president of the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA), thinks so:

“With so much of our government information and access to services only available online, how is everybody going to have access to all the information they need to be an active participating citizen in our democracy?” she said.

Anyone without the internet is at a disadvantage in many ways.

But some people manage quite happily without it and I wouldn’t go so far as to say free access to it is a basic human right.


Are we there yet?

September 26, 2012

A car trip thought from GraphJam:

funny graphs - But I Have to Go to the Bathroom!


NZ can learn from Japan and Switzerland

September 26, 2012

Finance Minister Bill English gives more reasons why meddling with the exchange rate isn’t a good idea:

A Reserve Bank paper published earlier this year looks at interventions by the Bank of Japan and the Swiss National Bank and their relevance to New Zealand. It notes that economic conditions are quite different in New Zealand from Japan and Switzerland. Both of them have experienced deflation recently, partly due to their strong currency appreciation. New Zealand has not. New Zealand has in fact experienced an increase in its terms of trade, contributing to upwards pressure on the exchange rate. Switzerland and Japan have been forced to attempt to lower their currencies in order to ease monetary conditions. In New Zealand we could just lower interest rates if we want to ease monetary conditions.

John Hayes: What specific lessons can New Zealand draw from the results of currency market interventions by Switzerland and Japan?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: The Reserve Bank paper confirms that the currency market interventions are expensive and they do not have a lasting impact. They note that currency interventions since 2008 have largely resulted in financial losses for the Swiss National Bank and the Bank of Japan, and they have been ineffective in lowering their currencies. Since the beginning of 2008, despite the efforts of the Swiss bank to keep their currency down, it has actually appreciated 27 percent against the euro and 15 percent against the US dollar. In Japan the yen has appreciated 29 percent against the US dollar and 37 percent against the euro.

New Zealand’s economy is much smaller than Japan’s and Switzerland’s.

They might be able to afford the losses which came from meddling but we can’t and if it didn’t work for them it certainly won’t work for us.


West Coast needs jobs

September 26, 2012

Miners from the West Coast and Huntly are protesting at parliament about job losses while Bathurst is battling its way through the consent process with a project which would provide jobs.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce is right when he calls on environmentalists who are fighting consents to think about the economic opportunities.

“The Escarpment Mine is an open cast mining project that is ready to go and would provide 225 jobs and incomes for workers and their families on the West Coast straight away,” Mr Joyce says.

“The developer is being held up from opening the Escarpment Mine by on-going litigation that has gone through the Environment Court, the High Court and the Court of Appeal.

“These on-going objections are to resource consents which were granted more than a year ago. The whole consenting process for this development has now taken a staggering seven years.

“I call on those objectors to the mine to reconsider their appeals and consider the economic future of the West Coast and its people.

Environmentalists won the battle against sustainable logging on the Coast at the cost of many jobs – and pest control – and now they’re also wanting to stop mining even though the region desperately needs the jobs.

Few if any would call an open cast mine attractive but it will cover a relatively small area and the company can be required to leave the area in at least as good a state as it was before it started the project.

“I also call on the EPMU, Labour and the Greens to join my call and back the West Coast community by supporting the immediate development of the Escarpment Mine.

“The political opposition can’t have it both ways. They can’t on one hand moan about job losses and then on the other not support initiatives that would create the sort of jobs that they’re asking for.

“If we are serious about jobs and providing incomes on the West Coast then objectors should stop getting in the way of this immediate opportunity to create those jobs.”

There are more votes from the urban greens than West Coast reds so don’t hold your breath waiting for Labour to support the Minister’s call.

However, it purports to be the workers’ party and it’s MPs won’t be averse to photo opportunities with the protesters.

As for the EPMU, will it have the intestinal fortitude to show it really is representing workers and back the job creation or will politics come before people for it too?


Drop, Cover, Hold

September 26, 2012

At 9:26 this morning more than a million people will participate in the earthquake drill ShakeOut.

This will be the first nationwide earthquake drill ever held in any country.

Until a couple of years ago we might have thought it was academic.

But the Canterbury quakes changed that.

These are the shaky isles and we should all know how to drop, cover and hold.


September 26 in history

September 26, 2012

46 BC  Julius Caesar dedicated a temple to his mythical ancestor Venus Genetrix in accordance with a vow he made at the battle of Pharsalus.

715  Ragenfrid defeated Theudoald at the Battle of Compiègne.

1212  Golden Bull of Sicily was certified as an hereditary royal title in Bohemia for the Přemyslid dynasty.

1580  Sir Francis Drake completed his circumnavigation of the world.

1687  The Parthenon in Athens was partially destroyed by an explosion caused by the bombing from Venetian forces led by Morosini.

168  7 The city council of Amsterdam voted to support William of Orange‘s invasion of England.

1783  The first battle of Shays’ Rebellion began.

1810  A new Act of Succession was adopted by the Riksdag of the Estates and Jean Baptiste Bernadotte becomes heir to the Swedish throne.

1820  Colonel Robert Gibbon Johnson proved tomatoes weren’t poisonous by eating several on the steps of the courthouse in Salem, New Jersey.

1865 The Natives Rights Act declared Maori British citizens.

Native Rights Act declares Maori British subjects

1872  The first Shriners Temple (called Mecca) was established in New York City.

1888  US poet & playwright T.S. (Thomas Stearns) Eliot was born (d. 1965).

1898 Composer George Gershwin was born (d. 1937).

1907 Prime Minister Sir Joseph Ward proclaimed New Zealand a dominion. Parliament Bildings were lit up in celebration.

Joseph Ward proclaims dominion status

1907  Newfoundland  became a dominion within the British Empire.

1907 English art historian & Soviet spy Anthony Blunt was born (d. 1983).

1918  World War I: The Meuse-Argonne Offensive, the bloodiest single battle in American history, began.

1932 Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was born.

1934  Steamship RMS Queen Mary was launched.

1936 South African activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was born.

1943 – Ian Chappell, Australian cricketer and broadcaster, was born.

1945 English singer Bryan Ferry was born.

1947 US country singer Lynn Anderson was born.

1948 English-born Australian singer Olivia Newton John was born.

1949 US novelist Jane Smiley was born.

1949 English crime writer Minette Walters was born.

1950  United Nations troops recaptured Seoul from the North Koreans.

1954  Japanese rail ferry Toya Maru sank during a typhoon in the Tsugaru Strait, killing 1,172.

1960 The first televised debate took place between presidential candidates Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy.

1962  The Yemen Arab Republic was proclaimed.

1964 English singer Nicki French was born.

1970  The Laguna Fire started in San Diego County, burning 175,425 acres (710 km²).

1973  Concorde made its first non-stop crossing of the Atlantic in record-breaking time.

1981 US tennis player Serena Williams was born.

1983  Soviet military officer Stanislav Petrov averted a likely worldwide nuclear war by correctly identifying a report of an incoming nuclear missile as a computer error and not an American first strike.

1997  A Garuda Indonesia Airbus A-300 crashed near Medan, Indonesia, airport, killing 234.

1997  An earthquake struck  Umbria and the Marche, causing part of the Basilica of St. Francis at Assisi to collapse.

2000  Anti-globalization protests in Prague (some 20,000 protesters) turned violent during the IMF and World Bank summits.

2000  The MS Express Samina sank off Paros in the Agean sea killing 80 passengers.

2002  The overcrowded Senegalese ferry MV Joola capsised off the coast of Gambia killing more than 1,000.

2008  Swiss pilot and inventor Yves Rossy became the  first person to fly a jet engine-powered wing across the English Channel.

2009 Typhoon Ketsana (2009) hit the Philippines, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand, causing 700 fatalities.

Sourced from NZ History Online and Wikipedia


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