Word of the day


Banterous – a person or situation steeped in good-natured and usually witty and animated joking.

Expensive political stunt


The organisers of a petition to force a referendum on the partial sale of a few state assets say they have more than the 310,000 signatures required.

The signatures will have to be checked but with around 340,000 there will probably still be enough to force the referendum when invalid ones are removed.

It is nothing but a very expensive political stunt which, regardless of the result,  the government will ignore as it has a right to do.

National campaigned on the mixed ownership model and won.

Opposition parties, Labour in particular, campaigned against the issue and lost.

That doesn’t mean everyone who voted for National supports the partial sales policy nor that everyone who voted for other parties opposes it.

But voters aren’t voting for or against individual policies they’re voting for or against a package.

Enough people voted for National to enable it to lead a government and whether that was because of or in spite of the partial sales policy is irrelevant.

National won and the policy is a fundamental part of its economic programme.

The referendum will merely provide very costly publicity for the parties promoting it at our expense.

Friday’s answers


Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said,  “A resolution to avoid an evil is seldom framed till the evil is so far advanced as to make avoidance impossible.“?

2. Who died while in command of HMS Resolution?

3. It’s résoudre in French, risolvere in Italian, resolver in Spanish and pūtohe in Maori, what is it in English.

4. New Year resolutions – do you  make them, keep them, break them?

5. If you could make a New Year’s resolution for someone else, what would it be for whom?

Points for answers:

There were no incorrect answers to #4 & 5.

Andrei got 4.

Alwyn wins an electronic batch of New Year shortbread with 5 right.

Grant got 4.

Richard got 4, too – and yes I know there were other Resolutions but am reasonably sure only Cook died in command of one.

PDM got 3.

Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

Free to not vote


The declining number of people who bother to exercise their right to vote has led to discussion on whether or not voting should be compulsory.

However, over the Tasman, Queensland is asking if compulsory voting should be scrapped for state elections.

The freedom to vote is one of the basic rights in a democracy.

I believe that if you’re free to vote you should also be free to not vote.


Higher savings, more jobs, higher wages


A bigger savings pool would lead to more jobs and higher wages, a report by Infometrics, commissioned by the Financial Services Council (FSC) says.

• If KiwiSaver can achieve closer to universal coverage, say 80 percent of the workforce and contributions move up to 10 percent, (5 percent from employees and matched 5 percent by employers) the KiwiSaver fund would grow from its current level of $13 billion today to $731 billion by 2066.

• The impacts on the economy for New Zealand would be substantial and include investment in new jobs, an improvement in worker productivity and wage rates, slightly lower interest rates and a more resilient economy during recessions.

• Those starting work today would also get twice the pensions they would be entitled to currently from just NZ Super when they finish their working careers. They would look forward to a comfortable lifestyle, compared to those retiring today.

• To reach the $731 billion goal new KiwiSaver enrolees would need to increase their contributions by 1 percent a year to reach a total of 10 percent. This is an extra half percent a year each from themselves and their employer, over 10 years from 2015 to 2024.

• Existing KiwiSaver members whose contributions currently average 5 percent of income rising to a minimum of 6 percent this year, would only need to increase contributions by 1 percent a year for four years to achieve a 10 percent contribution rate for the rest of their working years and reach the $731 billion goal.

• The average KiwiSaver contribution at 5 percent is well below other countries and way short of what is needed to provide people starting work today with a comfortable retirement income for their expected longer retirement.

• Australian employers, who currently pay 9 percent, will move up to 12 percent over the balance of this decade.

• Two million New Zealanders and some 50 percent of the workforce are currently signed up to KiwiSaver.

• Existing KiwiSaver funds are already creating a significant boost for younger New Zealanders purchasing their first home. In 2012 KiwiSaver funded deposits on 10,000 first homes, worthy around $3 billion.

• Money is being invested into fast-growing New Zealand businesses and helping those businesses maintain a New Zealand base and ownership.

• KiwiSaver is creating a cushion against future economic downturns by ensuring capital continues to flow into companies because the contributions don’t stop being invested in response to short-term events, such as a share market downturn.

The Financial Services Council (FSC) has funded the research to stimulate further discussion. It will test New Zealanders appetite for a universal KiwiSaver Plus savings scheme with market research.

New Zealanders’ poor savings record makes us dependent on overseas borrowing which in turn makes our economy more vulnerable.

This has been gradually changing over the past four years and we’re now saving more than we’re earning – just.

An increase in saving would be better for individuals and the economy but I’m wary of a move to compulsory saving.

Paying off a mortgage or investing in a business could well be a better financial option for some people than a compulsory savings scheme.

Foreigners sometimes better than local workers


Anyone with a dairy farm could write a book about staff – the good, the bad; the helpful, the hopeless; the workers and the shirkers.

Dairy farm work isn’t for everyone. It requires early starts and long days but it does pay well and, through the sharemilking system can lead to farm ownership.

The large numbers of conversions to dairying in the southern South Island has created a lot of new jobs and in spite of the number of unemployed people it’s not always easy to find people willing and able to do them.

The solution is often overseas workers.

People question why foreigners should get work ahead of New Zealanders.

The answer is, just as some Kiwis are preferred to locals when they’re overseas, some  foreign workers are better than the locals here.

January 4 in history


1490  Anna of Brittany announced that all those who allied with the king of France would be considered guilty of the crime of lese-majesty.

1493 Christopher Columbus left the New World, ending his first journey.

1642 King Charles I of England sent soldiers to arrest members of Parliament, commencing England’s slide into civil war.

1698  Most of the Palace of Whitehall, the main residence of the English monarchs, was destroyed by fire.

1785 Jacob Grimm, German philologist and folklorist (one of the Brothers Grim), was born (d. 1863).

1809 – Louis Braille, French teacher of the blind and inventor of braille, was born (d. 1852)

1813 Isaac Pitman, English inventor, was born (d. 1897).

1847 Samuel Colt sold his first revolver pistol to the United States government.

1854 The McDonald Islands were discovered by Captain William McDonald aboard the Samarang.

1865 The New York Stock Exchange opened its first permanent headquarters at 10-12 Broad near Wall Street in New York City.

1869 Te Kooti was defeated at Nga Tapa.

Te Kooti defeated at Nga Tapa

1878 Sofia was emancipated from Ottoman rule.

1878 Augustus John, Welsh painter, was born (d. 1961).

1884 The Fabian Society was founded in London.

1885  The first successful appendectomy was performed by William W. Grant on Mary Gartside.

1903 – Topsy, an elephant, was electrocuted by Thomas Edison during the War of Currents campaign.

1912 – The Scout Association was incorporated throughout the British Commonwealth by Royal Charter.

1947 – Rick Stein, English chef and television presenter, was born.

1948 – Burma regained its independence from the United Kingdom.

1958 Sir Edmund Hillary led a New Zealand party to the South Pole.

Hillary leads NZ party to Pole

1958  Sputnik 1 fell to Earth from its orbit.

1959  Luna 1 became the first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the Moon.

1962 New York City introduced a train that operated without a crew on-board.

1965 Cait O’Riordan, British musician (The Pogues), was born.

1972  Rose Heilbron became the first female judge to sit at the Old Bailey in London.

1975  Elizabeth Ann Seton became the first American-born saint.

1991  Olivia Tennet, New Zealand actress, was born.

2004 Spirit, a NASA Mars Rover, landed successfully on Mars.

2007 The 110th United States Congress elected Nancy Pelosi as the first female Speaker of the House in U.S. history.

2010 – The Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building was officially opened.

2010 – A ruling by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, removed a ban on people with HIV from entering the country.

Sourced from NZ History Online and Wikipedia.

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