Word of the day


Inamorata– a woman with whom one is in love or has an intimate relationship; a woman who loves or is loved, female sweetheart.

Thursday’s quiz


1. Who said: All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt?

2. Love means never to say you’re sorry having to say you’re sorry was said in which book and film and who was the author?

3. It’s cadeau in French, regalo Italian and Spanish, and perehana in Maori what is it in English?

4. Dianthus is more commonly known as what?

5. Valentine’s Day – a romantic celebration, a bit of fun, just another exercise in commercialism or . . . ?

Not a manufacturing crisis


New Zealand manufacturing expanded at the fastest pace in eight months in January, but employment in the sector is shrinking.

The BNZ-Business New Zealand Performance of Manufacturing Index climbed 4.8 points to 55.2 last month, the highest since May last year and the highest for the month of January since 2007.

The survey showed the strongest sector within manufacturing was in non-metallic mineral products, which stood at 77.5 and probably reflected demand for concrete, especially for the Christchurch rebuild, said Bank of New Zealand economist Doug Steel.

“Over the coming years we anticipate the positive flow-on effects of a stronger construction sector, and not only in Canterbury, to broaden to other parts of the manufacturing sector,” Steel said.

Production was the strongest of the five seasonally adjusted diffusion indexes within the PMI, with a reading of 57.7 last month, the survey shows. On the PMI scale, a reading of 50 separates contraction from expansion.

Deliveries were at 57.6 and finished stocks on 56.1, the highest since October 2007. New orders rose to an eight-month high of 55.8.

By contrast employment slipped to 48.4, marking the eighth straight month of contraction.

Manufacturing is expanding but jobs in the sector are declining.

That shows that, contrary to claims by  Opposition parties which are wasting money on an inquiry into the manufacturing “crisis” that there is no crisis in manufacturing.

The problem is in employment.

If manufacturing is growing while jobs are declining it suggests growth in productivity which is good but it is often based on improved technology and more mechanisation.

The down-side of that is fewer people are required for the work.

The solution isn’t to subsidise manufacturing it’s to help train people for different jobs.

The rise in the New Zealand PMI contrasts with that in Australia, which sat at just 40.2 in January, for the widest gap between the two nations since the New Zealand index was started in 2002.

This might seem like good news for those focussed on Trans-Tasman rivalry.

But Australia is our biggest trading partner and any indication its economy is faltering is a concern for us.



NZ training for marathon


An illuminating exchange during Question Time yesterday:

David Bennett: Why is controlling Government expenditure an important part of the Budget?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: Because between 2000 and 2009 core Crown expenditure jumped from $35 billion to $64 billion, an increase of 84 percent. If we had stuck with that rate of spending, Treasury forecast that the Government would now be spending well over $80 billion per year. In fact, we are spending currently around $73 billion, and Government expenditure as a proportion of GDP is dropping from 35 percent of the economy to 31 percent over the next 3 or 4 years. At the same time as holding Government expenditure, we are improving public services and getting better results for the public.

The total expenditure is very high but the decline as a percentage of GDP is encouraging and must continue.

David Bennett: How will Government policies help increase job opportunities?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: Government policies are supporting businesses in times when it is difficult to create new jobs. Job growth occurs when employers, businesses, and the Government have sufficient resources to invest and the confidence to hire a new employee. It is a product of both foreign and domestic investment. We will focus on continuing, as we have done for the last 4 years, to create the best environment we can for businesses to make the decision to invest and employ.

The left thinks it’s the government’s job to create jobs. It’s not.

It’s the government’s job to create the environment which gives businesses the confidence to invest and grow.

David Bennett: What progress is the Government making in its economic plan?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: Despite the fact that conditions remain tough, we are continuing to make moderate progress. We would expect to see the economy grow at an average of around 2 percent in real terms. New Zealanders are saving more, exports are continuing to grow, interest rates are at a 50-year low, and real wages continue to grow. At the same time, we are getting on with the rebuilding of Christchurch. Compared with many other developed economies, New Zealand’s is doing pretty well.

Dr Russel Norman: Given his statement at the select committee this morning that the New Zealand economy is “training for a triathlon”, is the triathlon that New Zealanders are taking part in under his Government that, firstly, they are working long hours for low pay; secondly, they are losing their jobs due to the high Kiwi dollar; and then, thirdly, they are making the trans-Tasman dash?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: The member may recall the context for that remark was his proposition that we should get printing money to fix all our problems. I explained to him that the economies where they are doing that are like a patient on a table in the emergency room where they are trying to decide what kind of respirator to give them. Compared with that, New Zealand is like the person outside training for a triathlon—that is, we are in much better shape than economies like those of the UK and Europe. That is why we are not adopting the member’s silly policies.

Dr Russel Norman: Is the Minister confident that his neo-liberal policy agenda is very successful, in light of the fact that New Zealand is now approaching a 6.5 percent current account deficit under Treasury’s own estimates, when he promised that he would rebalance the economy, and we currently have record high unemployment—unemployment that has not been this high since his party was last in Government?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: The member points to a number of real challenges for the economy. New Zealand has a 30-year history of current account deficits. We believe we are making some progress, but it will take time to make that progress. But there is no problem that he has come up with that will be fixed by cranking up the Greens’ photocopier and printing money.

Thanks to the hard decisions taken during the mid and late 80s and early 90s and the good work the National-led government has done since 2008, New Zealand is in a much better position than many other countries.

We aren’t out of the woods yet but the mess was years in the making and the cleaning up will take time.

It’s a marathon and New Zealand is fit for it.

Loving wage campaign


A Loving Wage campaign has been launched by the Council of Trite Unions.

“The idea is to ensure everyone gets a wage they love, that’s high enough to buy the things they love,” CTU spokesperson Fairly Dreamy said.

“We’ve chosen Valentine’s Day for the launch because that’s they day people are encouraged to spend lots on the people they love and we want to ensure our people have lots to spend.”

Ms Dreamy said they weren’t concerned about what people did with their money.

“That’s their business. Our concern is that they have enough to spend on whatever they love, we just want them to be happy.”

The CTU hadn’t worked out the likely cost of Loving Wages.

“But the cost isn’t really an issue. When the Green Party is part of government they’re going to print money. If they’re already printing millions, what will a few more matter?”Ms Dreamy said.



“What did you get for Valentine’s Day?” she asked.

“The usual. He said he loves me just like every day,” she said.

“But nothing special for today?” she asked.

“Every day love is special” she replied.

February 14 in history


270 St. Valentine was killed.

1349 Approximately 2,000 Jews were burned to death by mobs or forcibly removed from the city of Strasbourg.

1483 Babur, Moghul emperor of India, was born d. 1530).

1556 Thomas Cranmer was declared a heretic.

1743  Henry Pelham became British Prime Minister.

1778 The United States Flag was formally recognised by a foreign naval vessel for the first time, when French Admiral Toussaint-Guillaume Picquet de la Motte rendered a nine gun salute to USS Ranger, commanded by John Paul Jones.

1779 James Cook was killed by Hawaiians near Kealakekua on the Island of Hawaii.

1797 Battle of Cape St. Vincent – John Jervis, 1st Earl of St Vincent and Horatio Nelson (later 1st Viscount Nelson) led the British Royal Navy to victory over a Spanish fleet in action near Gibraltar.

1803 Chief Justice John Marshall declared that any act of U.S. Congress that conflicts with the Constitution was void.

1804 Karadjordje led the First Serbian Uprising against the Ottoman Empire.

1819 Christopher Sholes, American inventor, was born (d. 1890).

1831 Ras Marye of Yejju marched into Tigray and defeated and killed Dejazmach Sabagadis in the Battle of Debre Abbay.

1835 The original Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, iws formed in Kirtland, Ohio.

1838  Margaret E. Knight, American inventor, was born  (d. 1914).

1847 Anna Howard Shaw, American suffragette, was born  (d. 1919).

1849 James Knox Polk became the first serving President of the United States to have his photograph taken.

1859 George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr., American engineer and inventor (Ferris Wheel) , was born (d. 1896).

1872 Government forces led by Captain Preece tackled Te Kooti for the last time along the Mangaone stream, near Lake Waikaremoana.

Te Kooti's last clash with government forces

1876 Alexander Graham Bell applied for a patent for the telephone, as did Elisha Gray.

1879 The War of the Pacific broke out when Chilean armed forces occupied the Bolivian port city of Antofagasta.

1899 Voting machines were approved by the U.S. Congress for use in federal elections.

1900 Second Boer War: 20,000 British troops invaded the Orange Free State.

1912 – The first diesel-powered submarine was commissioned.

1915 Maori soldiers set sail for World War I.

Maori soldiers sail to war

1919 The Polish-Soviet War began.

1920 The League of Women Voters was founded in Chicago.

1924 The International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) was founded.

1929  St. Valentine’s Day Massacre: Seven people, six of them gangster rivals of Al Capone‘s gang, are murdered in Chicago.

1942 Battle of Pasir Panjang contributed to the fall of Singapore.

1942 – Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City, was born.

1943  Tunisia Campaign – General Hans-Jurgen von Arnim’s Fifth Panzer Army launches a concerted attack against Allied positions in Tunisia.

1944 – Carl Bernstein, American journalist, was born.

1944 Anti-Japanese revolt on Java.

1945  Prague was bombed probably due to a mistake in the orientation of the pilots bombing Dresden.

1945 President Franklin D. Roosevelt met with King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia aboard the USS Quincy, officially starting the U.S.-Saudi diplomatic relationship.

1945  Mostar was liberated by Yugoslav partisans.

1946 The Bank of England was nationalised.

1946  ENIAC, the first general-purpose electronic computer, was unveiled.

1949 The Knesset (Israeli parliament) convened for the first time.

1949 – The Asbestos Strike began in Canada, marking the beginning of the Quiet Revolution in Quebec.

1961 Discovery of the chemical elements: Element 103, Lawrencium, was first synthesized at the University of California.

1962 USA First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy took television viewers on a tour of the White House.

1966 Australian currency was decimalised.

1979 Muslims kidnapped the American ambassador to Afghanistan, Adolph Dubs.

1981 Stardust Disaster: A fire in a Dublin nightclub killed 48 people

1983  United American Bank of Knoxville, Tennessee collapsed.

1989  Union Carbide agreed to pay $470 million to the Indian government for damages it caused in the 1984 Bhopal Disaster.

1989 Iranian leader Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa encouraging Muslims to kill the author of The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie.

1989 – The first of 24 satellites of the Global Positioning System were placed into orbit.

1990 92 people were killed aboard Indian Airlines Flight 605 at Bangalore.

1996 China launched a Long March 3 rocket, carrying the Intelsat 708 satellite which flew off course 3 seconds after liftoff and crashed into a rural village.

2000 The spacecraft NEAR Shoemaker entered orbit around asteroid 433 Eros, the first spacecraft to orbit an asteroid.

2002 – Tullaghmurray Lass sank off the coast of Kilkeel, County Down killing three members of the same family on board.

2004 – In a suburb of Moscow, Russia, the roof of the Transvaal water park collapses, killing more than 25 people, and wounding more than 100 others.

2005 – Seven people were killed and 151 wounded in a series of bombings by suspected Al-Qaeda-linked militants that hit the Philippines’ Makati financial district in Metro Manila, Davao City, and General Santos City.

2008 – Northern Illinois University shooting: a gunman opened fire in a lecture hall of the DeKalb County, Illinois university resulting in 6 fatalities (including gunman) and 18 injuries.

2011 – As a part of Arab Spring, the Bahraini uprising, a series of demonstrations, amounting to a sustained campaign of civil resistance, began with a ‘Day of Rage’.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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