Nigel Davenport 23.5. 28 – 25.10.13

30/10/2013

British actor Nigel Davenport has died:

Nigel Davenport, the actor, who has died aged 85, will be best remembered for playing dark, strong, rakish toffs, aggressive heroes, scowling villains – and for what he himself called his “dodgy” eyes.

Whether in films, plays or on television, Davenport’s power largely derived, some thought, from his expressive gaze. It could be even more striking in close-up. Amiable or disturbing, it caused tough guys to wilt and pretty girls to sigh. . .

He appeared in more than 40 feature films, ranging from a detective in Peeping Tom, via a tough guy among conscripts in The Virgin Soldiers, to a resourceful psychopath who (in Play Dirty) wipes out a whole army encampment on the grounds that “I didn’t like the tea”. He was also the game warden in Living Free who resigns in order to capture lion cubs and transport them to a distant game reserve, and Lord Birkenhead in Chariots of Fire. . . .


Voice of an angel

30/10/2013

The list of talents I don’t have is long.

At the top of it, and the one I’d choose were I given the opportunity to pick just one, is the ability to sing in tune.

I love music, I enjoy singing but alas neither passion nor enthusiasm are enough to help me make a joyful noise.

We can’t all and some of us don’t sing tunefully, but some can and do – like the nine year old Dutch girl, Amira Willighagen who has been blessed with the voice of an angel.

The Huffington Post explains:

When 9-year-old Amira Willighagen from Nijmegen stepped onto the “Holland’s Got Talent” stage, no one was expecting such a big voice to come out of such a very little girl.

Her incredible rendition of Gianni Schicchi’s “O Mio Babbino Caro” earned her a Golden Ticket from the judges that would take her straight to the live show.

It’s hard to believe how young Amira is, but even more surprising to learn that she is completely self-taught, and used only YouTube tutorials to learn how to sing. . .

A longer video, with an introductory interview with Amira (in Dutch) is here.


#gigatownoam still in the lead for #gigatown

30/10/2013

Oamaru’s campaign to be the country’s first #gigatown is continuing to go well.

#gigatownoamaru is in the lead:gigatownYou can help by putting  #gigatownoamaru or #gigatownoam in the comments; registering your Facebook page and/or Twitter account and blog at #gigatown  then writing posts with the hastags  #gigatownoamaru or #gigatownoam – whether or not the hashtags are relevant to the posts!


Word of the day

30/10/2013

Tax – a compulsory contribution to state revenue, levied by the government on workers’ income and business profits, or added to the cost of some goods, services, and transactions; an involuntary fee levied on corporations or individuals that is enforced by a level of government in order to finance government activities; fee charged (levied) by a government on a product, income, or activity; a burdensome charge, obligation, duty or demand; a strain or heavy demand; to impose a tax, lay a burden or make heavy demand on someone or something; to demand a tax in consideration of the possession or occurrence of (income, goods, sales, etc.), usually in proportion to the value of money involved; to take to task; censure; reprove; accuse.


Rural round-up

30/10/2013

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Puts Case to Washington:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and representatives from other Five Nations Beef Alliance partners have called on Washington’s Capitol Hill to promote a unified view of how trade in agricultural products – and especially beef – should be treated under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

The TPP, which is currently being negotiated and of which New Zealand is a participant, aims to open up trade in goods and services. Progress towards an outcome was most recently reviewed in Bali, where Prime Minister John Key chaired the meeting of the 12 TPP negotiating countries.

The Five Nations Beef Alliance is made up of the national organisations that represent beef cattle producers in Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and the United States. Collectively, the five countries account for one third of global beef production and approximately half of global beef exports. . .

New Zealand food and beverage producers need to be bulletproof:

New Zealand food and beverage producers need to ensure their operations are “bulletproof” if they want to compete in an increasingly aggressive global marketplace, an industry expert says.

Grant Thornton New Zealand Partner and National Leader, Food and Beverage, Simon Hunter, is describing the firm’s latest International Food and Beverage sector report, ‘Hunger for growth: Food and Beverage looks to the future’, as a wake-up call for the local industry.

The report, based on interviews with 248 senior executives in seven countries (including New Zealand), says 90% expect revenues to increase in the next 12 months but only half expect to employ more people. . .

Gigatown competition will change the future for one town:

Federated Farmers is excited by Chorus’s year-long competition to bring the fastest broadband speed to one New Zealand town.

“This competition is a great opportunity for rural towns,” says Conor English, Federated Farmers Chief Executive.

“If a rural town wins it will become the first town in the southern hemisphere to receive one-gigabit per second broadband speeds – up to 100 times faster than most cities around the globe.

“New Zealand’s farmers are desperate for new ways to get onto the internet and this competition has the potential, for one fortunate town, to spark innovation and mobilise and transform their local economy and society. . . .

(This is why we’re supporting #gigatownoam and the #gigatown campaign).

Fonterra board to set up separate risk committee after food scare review – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – The board of Fonterra Cooperative Group will establish a separate committee to oversee risks facing the dairy group in the wake of the false alarm food scare that prompted a precautionary recall in August.

The company’s board will carve out the risk elements from its audit, finance and risk committee into its own separate committee, which chairman John Wilson said will cover “food safety, food quality and other risks Fonterra in today’s environment faces.”

The measure was one of a raft of recommendations from the board-ordered inquiry, led by Jack Hodder QC, after recall of three batches of whey protein concentrate, which were thought to have been contaminated.

Fonterra’s handling of the fall-out was “inadequate” for the kind and size of the crisis and the company’s lack of responsiveness to external stakeholders was seen as a “fortress” mentality, the report said. . . .

Shareholders’ Council welcomes report, inquiry recommendations:

The Fonterra Shareholders’ Council, which safeguards the interests of the dairy Co-operative’s 10,500 Shareholders, said it welcomed the completion of the Fonterra Board commissioned independent report of the WPC80 issue.

Council Chairman, Ian Brown: “The Council has received the report and we commend the Oversight Committee and the Independent Inquiry Team on the comprehensive nature of the report.

“We also commend the Board on their openness and support their decision to make the report public. . .

New health & safety regulations will increase potential penalties for employers:

The potential for higher penalties for non-compliance as a result of upcoming changes to Health and Safety regulations means employers in the high-risk agricultural sector need to be more aware than ever of their obligations, says Melissa Vining, AGRI Consultant for human resources specialists Progressive Consulting – the HR division of Crowe Horwath.

The government will establish new Crown Agent WorkSafe New Zealand by December 2013, when it also plans to introduce to parliament a new Health and Safety at Work Act, which is expected to come into force by December 2014. . . .

Xero releases farming blueprint:

Xero has released its Farming Integration Guide, a blueprint that helps rural solution providers connect to Xero and deliver integrated farm management and accounting solutions. 

Xero CEO Rod Drury says this is a great example of technology bringing an industry together. “This guide is the key step towards full integration between farmers, rural accountants, rural suppliers, banks and software providers. The innovation we’re experiencing in the tech sector is being applied directly now to the rural economy, the backbone of the NZ economy.” . . .


Same for all beats all for all

30/10/2013

Labour has changed the messenger and hardened its message.

That’s helped shore up its core support but the polls indicate it hasn’t done much to change the total vote for the left.

There are two reasons for this – the message and the messenger.

The hard left message resonates with the left but it repels those in the centre who have to be won over to gain enough votes to govern.

Then there’s the messenger.

National’s leader John Key is consistent, he doesn’t change his message to suit what he thinks will appeal to his audience.

He talks about what he believes in and what a government led by him will do.

He is the same man for all people.

What you see and hear is what you get and you know what he stands for.

Labour’s new leader David Cunliffe has already got a reputation for trying to be all things for all people, changing his message to suit the audience.

It isn’t working and it won’t because all it does is send mixed messages and raises big questions about what he really believes in and what he really stands for.

Most voters aren’t stupid.

They want sincerity, honesty and consistency.

They get that from John Key, they’re not getting it from David Cunliffe.


Better roads, better business

30/10/2013

I’d left plenty of time for a trip to Dunedin on Monday in case the road was busy.

I needn’t have worried.

Traffic heading north was only intermittent and I drove more than 40 kilometres before I needed to pass another car travelling south.

There were more vehicles as I got closer to Dunedin but not enough to cause problems.

Reports from further north told a very different story, including an 8km queue of traffic near Otaki.

Holiday traffic exacerbates traffic problems but better roads aren’t just required to help people get in and out of cities  more easily at long weekends.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce points out, they’re better for business:

. . . we have a lousy transport link between Wellington and the Horowhenua. You open that up, just like we’re doing with the Waikato Expressway south of Auckland, and suddenly businesses can develop along that highway in those towns leading to the capital city. The National Party’s very focused on that. We have actually got a number of projects underway – the Kapiti Expressway, Transmission Gully – but there’s a whole lot of people on the left who have got their heads in the sand about this, and I think it’s actually very sad, because they’re focussing on the area closer to Wellington, but I want to focus on those regions in Horowhenua and the Manawatu who would have great economic benefits out of that one piece of infrastructure. . .

The Opposition criticise money spent improving the road north of Auckland  and labelled it the holiday highway.

It does provide access to and from some of the country’s most beautiful beaches. But it’s also the arterial route between Northland businesses and markets in the city, further south and, via the port, further afield.

If we want the country moving forward, literally and economically, we need better roads.


Dunne’s bottom lines

30/10/2013

Untied Future leader Peter Dunne spent three terms supporting Labour, is in his second term supporting National and is showing he could go left or right after next year’s election.

However, he’s got some bottom lines:

. . .  Mr Dunne said he would need Labour to abandon its plans for a capital gains tax, higher taxes for higher income earners, abolition of the Families Commission and opposition to the establishment of the Game Animal Council.

I wouldn’t give him much chance with the first two conditions.

Both Labour and the Green party want more taxes and higher taxes, even though those they’re promoting will do more harm than good.

The Families Commission has yet to justify its existence and the money it costs but it’s not particularly significant in the grand scheme of things. Nor is the Game Animal Council.

Dunne might get the two little things he wants but he would be much safer sticking with National which would give him the bigger ones – no capital gains tax and no envy taxes for higher earners.


Your Money Your Voice

30/10/2013

Your money, your voice, championing value for every tax dollar.

That’s the vision of the newly launched NZ Taxpayers’ Union and it’s difficult to argue with.

Although it has been started by people on the political right, its work will benefit everyone.

Less government waste will leave more money for essentials and lower the tax burden.

National has been focussed on getting better value for tax dollars and encouraging the public service to take a much more Presbyterian approach to its spending.

The NZTU will encourage more of that and highlight areas for further improvement.

The Union is modelled on the UK’s Taxpayers’ Alliance which is an independent grassroots campaign for lower taxes.

The NZTU stands for value for money for government spending:

We want our politicians spending money as if they’d worked as hard as us for it and believe that new taxes should only be introduced when there are equal decreases in other taxes.  We believe in a fair and efficient tax system.  We are not a political party, or aligned to any.

We promote sensible restraint of government expenditure by:

  • Scrutinising government spending;
  • Publicising government waste;
  • Arguing for an end to corporate and union welfare; and
  • Promoting an efficient tax system.

We are independent and incorporated under the Incorporated Societies Act 1908 to pursue the following objectives:

  • To give taxpayers a voice in the corridors of power;
  • To educate New Zealanders against excessive and wasteful government spending;
  • To scrutinise government spending;
  • To publicise government waste;
  • To promote an efficient tax system;
  • To promote discussion on the balance of activities best undertaken by the private sector and the public sector;
  • To promote public policies to advance New Zealanders’ prosperity;
  • To identify, research and monitor issues affecting these objects;
  • To co-operate or join with other associations or bodies having similar objects; and
  • Generally to do all such things as would help to attain or further the Taxpayers’ Union’s objects.

The aims of the Taxpayers’ Union are:

  • To reduce wasteful spending by central and local government;
  • To increase transparency and accountability of government spending;
  • To increase institutional checks on government spending;
  • To enable New Zealanders to easily scrutinise government spending;
  • To lower the tax burden on New Zealanders; and
  • To promote evidence based public policy.

Whose behind it?

We are New Zealanders who have formed a union to stand up for hardworking New Zealand taxpayers.  We represent the common interests of all taxpayers.  We want to become New Zealand’s largest union.

We are not a political party, and we don’t represent big business or special interests. Most of our income comes from small donations. Joining the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union only takes a few minutes and costs $5. Membership entitles you to attend our annual conference, AGM and other events, and to get regular communications from the Taxpayers’ Union.

Its governed by  a board chaired by John Bhshop.

Other members are executive director and co-founder Jordan Williams, co-founder David Farrar and Gabrielle O’Brien.

The media release says:

A group of New Zealanders has established the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union to give Kiwi taxpayers a stronger voice in the corridors of power.

The Taxpayers’ Union begins operations today. The Taxpayers’ Union is a politically independent grassroots campaign to lower the tax burden on New Zealanders and reduce wasteful government spending.

Chairman John Bishop says, “We’ve come together to promote sensible fiscal management, to expose government waste and to promote policies to make public spending work better. Government, politicians and taxpayer funded groups are on notice that we are looking to expose waste or rorts.”

“We’re asking New Zealanders to join us and report government waste via a ‘tip line’ on our website.”

Executive Director Jordan Williams notes that thousands of organisations and special interest groups lobby for more tax and spend. The Taxpayers’ Union will ensure that at least one group is looking after hard working Kiwis whose taxes pay for politicians’ promises.”

David Farrar, a member of the Union Board says, “The concern for our members is that vast amounts of public money is being spent by government on our behalf and we don’t get enough value for that money. Our aims aren’t just to slow the growth of government spending, but to make public spending work better.

David explains more and gives the background at Kiwiblog.

You can help them on the tip line here, support them here and donate here.

You can like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.


NZ 1st in OECD, 3rd in world for business ease

30/10/2013

The World Bank’s Doing Business report ranks New Zealand third, and it is the highest-ranked OECD economy .

The annual report measures government regulations and their effect on business across 189 countries.

A media release says:

A new World Bank Group report finds that high-income economies in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) continue to lead the world in providing business-friendly environments for local entrepreneurs.

Doing Business 2014: Understanding Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises ranks 189 economies on the ease of doing business. Six of the top 10 are OECD economies: New Zealand, the United States, Denmark, the Republic of Korea, Norway, and the United Kingdom. OECD economies also continue to take steps to improve business regulations, with more than half implementing at least one regulatory reform in the past year.

New Zealand, the highest-ranked OECD economy, has made sustained efforts to improve its business climate. The report finds that in the past year New Zealand made it easier to enforce contracts by implementing an electronic case management system—improving the recording of court cases, lowering costs, and shortening resolution times.

“OECD economies on average have managed to create a regulatory system that facilitates interactions in the marketplace and protects important public interests without unnecessarily hindering the development of the private sector,” said Augusto Lopez-Claros, Director, Global Indicators and Analysis, World Bank Group. “Their stronger institutions and lower transactions costs provide an appropriate point of reference for other economies. In fact, we see countries increasingly seeking to narrow the gap with OECD practices, notably in Europe and Central Asia.”

The breakdown on New Zealand is here.

Economic Development and Small Business Minister Steven Joyce today welcomed the report:

“This is excellent news. Only Singapore and Hong Kong are higher than us overall and we still rank first in the world for starting a business and investor protection,” Mr Joyce says.

“This World Bank report is highly regarded and is used by businesses internationally when they consider setting up operations. The fact that New Zealand continues to rank so high sends a clear message that we are an ideal country for business investment.”

While New Zealand is in third place for the second year running, improvements to the business regulations were evident in a number of areas.

The cost to a business of construction permits and getting an electricity supply, as a percentage of income per capita, have dropped every year since 2010. Improvements to New Zealand’s court system were also cited by the World Bank as making contract enforcement speedier and less costly to business.    

The World Bank’s Doing Business report provides objective measures of the time, cost and number of procedures involved in all major aspects of running a business. . .

Ease of doing business is important.

Less time and money wasted on difficulties in doing business leaves more to spend in and on the business.

There is no room for complacency, though. We’re good and with the right policies we can be better.


October 30 in history

30/10/2013

1137  Battle of Rignano between Ranulf of Apulia and Roger II of Sicily.

1226  Tran Thu Do, head of the Tran clan of Vietnam, forced Ly Hue Tong, the last emperor of the Ly dynasty, to commit suicide.

1270  The Eighth Crusade and siege of Tunis ended by an agreement between Charles I of Sicily and the sultan of Tunis.

1340  Battle of Rio Salado.

1470  Henry VI returned to the English throne after Earl of Warwick defeated the Yorkists in battle.

1485  King Henry VII was crowned.

1501  Ballet of Chestnuts – a banquet held by Cesare Borgia in the Papal Palace with fifty prostitutes or courtesans in attendance for the entertainment of the guests.

1735 John Adams, second President of the United States, was born (d. 1826).

1751  Richard Sheridan, Irish playwright, was born(d. 1816).

1831 Escaped slave Nat Turner was captured and arrested for leading the bloodiest slave rebellion in United States history.

1863  Danish Prince Wilhelm arrived in Athens to assume his throne as George I, King of the Hellenes.

1864 Second war of Schleswig ended. Denmark renounced all claim to Schleswig, Holstein and Lauenburg, which come under Prussian and Austrian administration.

1865 The Native Land Court was created.

Native Land Court created
1885 Ezra Pound, American poet, was born (d. 1972).

1894  Domenico Melegatti obtained a patent for a procedure to be applied in producing pandoro industrially.

1896 Kostas Karyotakis, Greek poet, was born (d. 1928).

1905  Czar Nicholas II of Russia granted Russia’s first constitution, creating a legislative assembly.

1918  A petition with more than 240,000 signatures was presented to Parliament, demanding an end to the manufacture and sale of alcohol in New Zealand.

Massive prohibition petition presented to Parliament

1918  The Ottoman Empire signed an armistice with the Allies, ending the First World War in the Middle East.

1920  The Communist Party of Australia was founded in Sydney.

1922 Benito Mussolini was made Prime Minister of Italy.

1925   John Logie Baird created Britain’s first television transmitter.

1929 The Stuttgart Cable Car was constructed.

1938  Orson Welles broadcast his radio play of H. G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds, causing anxiety in some of the audience.

1941  World War II: Franklin Delano Roosevelt approved U.S. $1 billion in Lend-Lease aid to the Allied nations.

1941  Otis Williams, American singer, was born.

1941 – 1,500 Jews from Pidhaytsi (in western Ukraine) were sent by Nazis to Belzec extermination camp.

1944  Anne Frank and her sister Margot were deported from Auschwitz to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

1945  Jackie Robinson of the Kansas City Monarchs signed a contract for the Brooklyn Dodgers to break the baseball colour barrier.

1945  Henry Winkler, American actor, was born.

1947 Timothy B. Schmit, American musician (Eagles), was born.

1947  The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which was the foundation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), is founded.

1950  Pope Pius XII witnessed “The Miracle of the Sun” while at the Vatican.

1953  Cold War: U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower formally approved the top secret document National Security Council Paper No. 162/2, which stated that the United States’ arsenal of nuclear weapons must be maintained and expanded to counter the communist threat.

1960 Diego Maradona, Argentine footballer, was born.

1960  Michael Woodruff performed the first successful kidney transplant in the United Kingdom at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

1961   The Soviet Union detonated the hydrogen bomb Tsar Bomba over Novaya Zemlya; at 58 megatons of yield, it is still the largest explosive device ever detonated, nuclear or otherwise.

1961 – Because of “violations of Lenin’s precepts”, it was decreed that Joseph Stalin‘s body be removed from its place of honour inside Lenin’s tomb and buried near the Kremlin wall with a plain granite marker instead.

1970  In Vietnam, the worst monsoon to hit the area in six years causes large flooded, kills 293, leaves 200,000 homeless and virtually halts the Vietnam War.

1972   A collision between two commuter trains in Chicago, Illinois killed 45 and injured 332.

1973   The Bosporus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey was completed, connecting the continents of Europe and Asia over the Bosporus for the first time.

1974  The Rumble in the Jungle boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman took place in Kinshasa, Zaire.

1975  Prince Juan Carlos became Spain’s acting head of state, taking over for the country’s ailing dictator, Gen. Francisco Franco.

1980  El Salvador and Honduras signed a peace treaty to put the border dispute fought over in 1969′s Football War before the International Court of Justice.

1983  The first democratic elections in Argentina after seven years of military rule.

1985  Space Shuttle Challenger lifted off for mission STS-61-A, its final successful mission.

1987   In Japan, NEC released the first 16-bit home entertainment system, the TurboGrafx-16, known as PC Engine.

1991   The Madrid Conference for Middle East peace talks opened.

1993  Greysteel massacre: The Ulster Freedom Fighters, a loyalist terrorist group, open fire on a crowded bar in Greysteel. Eight civilians were killed and thirteen wounded.

1995  Quebec sovereignists narrowly lost a referendum for a mandate to negotiate independence from Canada (vote is 50.6% to 49.4%).

2000   The last Multics machine was shut down.

2002  British Digital terrestrial television (DTT) Service Freeview begins transmitting in parts of the United Kingdom.

2005  The rebuilt Dresden Frauenkirche (destroyed in the firebombing of Dresden during World War II) was reconsecrated after a thirteen-year rebuilding project.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


%d bloggers like this: