Word of the day

February 22, 2013

Rebuild – to build again after damage or destruction; make extensive structural repairs to; dismantle and reassemble with new parts or materials; remodel or make extensive changes; restore to a previous state.


Carter to contest Far North Mayoralty

February 22, 2013

Former Northland MP and serving High Commissioner to the Cook Island’s John Carter plans to contest the Far North Mayoralty.

. . . On the top of his list of concerns is disunity among local body leaders in Northland and what he sees as resultant lack of progress.

“I love the Far North, I am deeply aware of what a wonderful place it is and how many talented people live here, and I know it should be doing better.

“I also feel that my many years representing the area have given me the knowledge, skills and contacts to provide the unifying leadership needed to achieve that.” . . .

He was a very popular MP which will give him a head start in the contest for mayor.


Friday’s answers

February 22, 2013

Thursday’s questions were posed by Tiffany, Andrei and Alwyn.

You can collect an electronic bunch of gladioli each, when you leave the answers in the comments here, because you managed to stump us all.


Catching spongers

February 22, 2013

Associate Social Development Minister Chester Burrows has announced new measures to prevent, detect and catch welfare fraud.

“We know that the vast majority of beneficiaries are honest and do the right thing, but a small minority take advantage of the welfare system. Let’s be clear – welfare fraud is a crime, committed by criminals, for their own benefit at the taxpayer’s expense, and we treat it as such without excuse,” says Mr Borrows.

“National promised to clamp down on welfare fraud, and I’m pleased to deliver on that promise today.”

The first initiative is to amend the law to create a new offence targeting partners or spouses of beneficiaries who are convicted of fraud.

Relationship offending last year cost over $20 million and makes up one third of welfare fraud prosecutions. 

“Currently there are few options available to prosecute partners who know or benefit from such offending, leaving the entire debt with one partner,” says Mr Borrows.

“Prosecuting partners who profit from welfare fraud will ensure that both parties who profit from the crime are punished, and will help the taxpayer recover the lost money faster.”

The second key initiative is to introduce new ways of working with beneficiaries who have previously been dishonest with MSD.  These new measures include greater verification of information and less access to self-service transactions, and will cover around 1000 beneficiaries each year.

“This approach will give MSD a package of tools which can be tailored to target the way an individual has been dishonest before.  It is a sensible step to make sure that those who have ripped us off once cannot do it again,” says Mr Borrows.

The third new initiative is to formalise information sharing links between ACC, Inland Revenue, Housing New Zealand Corporation, New Zealand Police, and the Ministry of Social Development (MSD).

“Sharing information between Government agencies will allow us to detect or catch welfare fraud sooner.  Bringing these key agencies together will also help catch high value fraudsters whose deception extends across multiple agencies.

“It’s vitally important that the public has every confidence in the welfare system and these measures, alongside a range of smaller initiatives included in the package, will give MSD the tools it needs to achieve this.”

The left is spinning this a beneficiary bashing.

It’s not. It’s ensuring public money is used for the right purposes and Lindsay Mitchell points out it could also protect vulnerable women from spongers.

The culprits might be relatively small in number but the more than $20 million that is lost to this fraud is not an insignificant sum.

There are many more pressing needs for it.


Milk DCD free

February 22, 2013

Ministry of Primary Industries tests have confirmed no traces of DCD in milk since November.

“MPI and the New Zealand dairy industry have conducted voluntary testing of New Zealand dairy products to build a comprehensive picture of the presence of DCD in New Zealand’s milk supply,” MPI Director General Wayne McNee said.

The tests have found no traces of DCD in milk collected from New Zealand farms after mid November 2012.

“We are releasing the core findings of the testing today to be as open as we can be with our markets and customers, despite the fact that the quantities of DCD found in our dairy products creates absolutely no food safety risk whatsoever,” Mr McNee said.

With the co-operation of the dairy industry, nearly 2000 samples of dairy products have been tested from all the major dairy companies.

Testing has specifically targeted dairy products using milk collected during the New Zealand spring last year from the less than five percent of dairy farmers who used DCD on pastures. Results have been coming in as recently as last week.

As expected, minute traces of DCD have been found in various dairy products already in the supply chain from a variety of companies. However, there remains no food safety risk – all traces have been significantly below the European Commission’s daily intake level for DCD.

“Importantly, tests on products made from milk collected from farms after mid-November show no traces of DCD at all,” Mr McNee said.

“These findings confirm our expectations. We have informed markets of them.”

There never was a food safety issue.

The problem was there was no international standard for DCD but the tiny traces found in some milk products late last year were well below the EU standard.

There was a perception problem but the prices have continued to increase in Fonterra’s GlobalDairyTrade auctions since the announcement traces of DCD were found.

This shows that markets weren’t concerned, in spite of some opposition politicians attempts to manufacture a scandal.

It’s also a vote of confidence in New Zealand’s very high food safety standards and a reminder of why maintaining them is so important.


Two years on

February 22, 2013

At 12:51pm two years ago a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck Christchurch.

On this second anniversary we remember the 185 people who died and the many others who were seriously injured.

We think of people whose homes and businesses were badly damaged, some irreparably.

We think of people still living in limbo, waiting for decisions, waiting for repairs, waiting to move on.

But two years on as the rebuild gains momentum we can also appreciate the work that has been done, the opportunities grasped and look ahead to better times for Christchurch and Canterbury.

 

 


Healing

February 22, 2013

“Does it get better?” he asked.

“Oh yes,” she said. “In time it will.”

“It’s like a tree with a branch cut off.  The scar will always be there but it heals over, other branches grow, new leaves come and it blossoms again.”


February 22 in history

February 22, 2013

1495 King Charles VIII of France entered Naples to claim the city’s throne.

1632 Galileo‘s Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems was published.

1732 George Washington, First President of the United States, was born  (d. 1799).

1744 War of the Austrian Succession: The Battle of Toulon started.

1797 The Last Invasion of Britain started near Fishguard, Wales.

1819 James Russell Lowell, American poet and essayist, was born  (d. 1891).

1819 By the Adams-Onís Treaty, Spain sold Florida to the United States for $US5m.

1847 Mexican-American War: The Battle of Buena Vista – 5,000 American troops drove off 15,000 Mexicans.

1855 Pennsylvania State University was founded as the Farmers’ High School of Pennsylvania.

1856 The Republican Party opened its first national meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

1857 Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell, English founder of the Scout movement, was born (d. 1941).

1862 Jefferson Davis was officially inaugurated for a six-year term as the President of the Confederate States of America in Richmond, Virginia.

1879 Frank Woolworth opened the first of many of 5 and 10-cent Woolworth stores.

1882 The Serbian kingdom was refounded.

1889 Olave Baden-Powell, English founder of the Girl Guides, was born  (d. 1977).

1902 The Kelburn cable car opened.

Kelburn cable car opens

1904 The United Kingdom sold  a meteorological station on the South Orkney Islands to Argentina.

1908  Sir John Mills, English actor, was born (d. 2005).

1915 Germany instituted unrestricted submarine warfare.

1918 Robert Wadlow, American tallest ever-human, was born  (d. 1940).

1922 Britain unilaterally declared the independence of Egypt.

1924 U.S. President Calvin Coolidge was the first President to deliver a radio broadcast from the White House.

1926 Kenneth Williams, English actor, was born  (d. 1988).

1943  Members of White Rose were executed in Nazi Germany.

1928 Bruce Forsyth, British entertainer, was born.

1944 American aircraft bombard the Dutch towns of Nijmegen, Arnhem, Enschede and Deventer by mistake, resulting in 800 dead in Nijmegen alone.

1948 Communist coup in Czechoslovakia.

1950  Julie Walters, English actress, was born.

1958 Egypt and Syria joined to form the United Arab Republic.

1959 Lee Petty won the first Daytona 500.

1962  Steve Irwin, Australian herpetologist, was born (d. 2006).

197 An Irish Republican Army car bomb was detonated at Aldershot barracks, killing seven and injuring nineteen others.

1974 Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) summit conference started in Lahore.

1979 Independence of Saint Lucia from the United Kingdom.

1980 Miracle on Ice: the United States hockey team defeated the Soviet Union hockey team 4-3, in one of the greatest upsets in sports history.

1983 The Broadway flop Moose Murders opened and closed on the same night at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre.

1986 Start of the People Power Revolution in the Philippines.

1994 Aldrich Ames and his wife Maria del Rosario Casas Dupuy, were charged by the United States Department of Justice with spying for the Soviet Union.

1995 The Corona reconnaissance satellite program, was declassified.

1997 Scottish scientists announced that an adult sheep named Dolly had been successfully cloned.

2002 Angolan political and rebel leader Jonas Savimbi was killed in a military ambush.

2006 At least six men staged Britain’s biggest robbery ever, stealing £53m (about $92.5 million or 78€ million) from a Securitas depot in Tonbridge, Kent.

2011 -  Christchurch was badly damaged by a magnitude 6.3 earthquake at 12:51 pm, which killed 185 people and injured several thousand.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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