Word of the day


 Taradiddle – a petty lie; a fib; pretentious nonsense.

Charlotte Dawson 8.4.66 – 22.2.14


Has depression claimed another victim?

Media personality Charlotte Dawson has been found dead in her Sydney home.

Police have confirmed a woman’s body was found at the address in Woolloomooloo and there were no suspicious circumstances.

The New Zealand-born Dawson, 47, had a history with depression.

The former model was hospitalised last year after being bombarded with vicious Twitter messages.

She was a vocal anti-bullying campaigner and had been campaigning for cancer resources. . .

Her death will be referred to a corner but no suspicious circumstances  is usually police-speak for suicide.

Depression is a serious and often misunderstood illness.

Depression.org has an 0800 number to call and advice for anyone needing help for themselves or someone else.

Rural round-up


Chinese checkers – Hugh Stringleman:

New Zealand’s infant formula exporters and dairy processors are braced for a Chinese shakedown of brands, premises and regulatory compliance that could lead to severe restrictions on trade.

Teams of auditors from China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) and the Certification and Accreditation Administration of China (CNCA) are due in early March.MPI,

They will choose where they go from more than 350 potential company sites and descend on premises with little warning, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has advised.

Smaller, independent infant formula exporters also fear new Chinese regulations addressing the proliferation of NZ brands are imminent. . .

Seals can pass TB to beef cattle:

A new scientific paper has documented cases of fur seals passing a strain of bovine tuberculosis to New Zealand beef cattle.

Over the last 20 years there have been seven documented cases of cattle catching a strain of Tb after coming into contact with the fur seals, three on beaches in the North and South Islands and four in the Chatham Islands.

TBfree New Zealand national disease manager Kevin Crews says the purpose of the paper was to document the cases, which are believed to be the only ones recorded in the world. . .

Pressurised irrigation water to the farm gate with Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme:

Irrigation water available to farmers using the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme will be delivered to their farm gates ‘under pressure’; potentially saving each operator significant costs in on-farm infrastructure and energy costs.

The news comes as negotiations continue to move forward with joint venture OHL-Hawkins, the RWSS preferred consortia.European Contractor, Obrascon Huarte Lain (OHL) and Hawkins Infrastructure, New Zealand’s largest privately-owned construction company have joined forces for the project.

RWSS Project Manager Graeme Hansen says being able to deliver the water closer to the farm gate than initially planned and providing it ‘under pressure’ is great news for farmers and part of the ongoing ‘optimisation’ of the scheme that has continued through the design phase negotiations. . .

Farm Jam is back for 2014  – Justene Taua :

The awesome event is back next year for another round of BMX, FMX and fun   SAVE THE DATE! NZ Farm Jam organisers have announced 1 March 2014 as the date for next year’s instalment of the epic two-wheeled action-sports event.   Fresh off a highly successful 2013, organisers Dan and Brett Frew have already put the wheels in motion to ensure their unique Jam contest continues to evolve as one of the world’s premier multi-discipline events. . . .

Deane’s bed of roses – Alison Francis:

UNFORTUNATELY for Cabarlah farmer Byron Deane, a bunch of roses just doesn’t cut the mustard come Valentine’s Day.

Working alongside his wife, Amanda, on their rose farm since 2002, Byron says by the time the clippers go down and the final bow is tied, a well-earned rest is in order for his Valentine’s Day.

“Because we work together on the farm, along with mum and dad, I don’t think a bunch of roses is really what she wants to see at the end of the day,” he jokes.

“We always have a bunch of roses at home on the kitchen table, but for Valentine’s Day it is usually chocolates, movies and dinner a couple of days after for us.”    . . .

GrainCorp’s $70m diversification move  – Andrew Marshall:

HOT on the heels of its move to upgrade oilseed processing facilities in Victoria, GrainCorp has confirmed it is spending a further $70 million building and expanding its bulk oil, fuel and chemical storage business.

Work has just started on foundations for a new bulk liquid facility to service the chemical industry next to GrainCorp’s Port Kembla grain export terminal on the NSW South Coast.

Construction is due finish by the end of the year.

In Brisbane GrainCorp’s big liquid terminals’ site at Pinkenba will add additional storage to be available from 2015. . .

Forestry Investment Attracts Top People:

FIEA’s upcoming conference on forest investment is drawing delegates from top management positions in both New Zealand and Australia as the opportunity for early-bird registration offers closes at the end of this week.

One of the reasons for the popularity of the Forest Investment and Market Outlook conference running in April in Melbourne and Auckland is the international keynote speakers. One of the keynote speakers at FIMO 2014 Gary Myers, managing partner at TimberLink LLC from Georgia, USA. With a good international speaker line-up in place, many TIMOs are registering delegates to attend the April conference – the third in this biennial series . . .

No more nesting


Nesting comments – allowing someone to respond to an earlier comment immediately below it –  isn’t working well now some threads get so many comments.

Earlier comments are okay but later ones are difficult to read.

I’ve changed the settings so comment-nesting won’t happen.

If you’re responding to a comment, you’ll have to use the name and time to make that clear.


Saturday’s smiles


A farmer went out to his field one morning  to find all of his cows frozen solid.

As far as the eye could see are cows, motionless like statues. It had been a bitterly cold night, but he’d never thought anything like this would happen.

The implication of the situation then dawned on him. With his entire livestock gone, how would he make ends meet? How would he feed his wife and kids? How would he pay the mortgage? He sat with his head in his hands, trying to come to terms with his impending poverty.

Just then, an elderly woman walked by, “What’s the matter?” asked the old lady.

The farmer gestured toward the frozen cows and explained his predicament to the woman.

Without hesitation the old woman smiled and began to rub one of the cows noses. After a few seconds the cow began to twitch and was soon back to normal and chewing the cud.

One by one, the old woman defrosted the cows until the whole field was full of healthy animals.

The farmer was delighted and asked the woman what she wanted as a repayment for her deed.

She declined his offer and walked off across the field.

A passer-by who had witnessed the whole thing approached the farmer.

“You know who that was don’t you?” asked the passer-by.

“No” said the farmer “who?”

“That was Thora Hird.”

Time’s running out


Bill English was on fire on Wednesday, pointing out the different Davids, David Cunliffe presents to different audiences:

Hon BILL ENGLISH (Deputy Prime Minister): Well, 12 months on and some things have not changed about the Labour Party. I think I have said this before. The leader is still called David. Most of his caucus still do not support him.

Tim Macindoe: Probably more.

Hon BILL ENGLISH: Probably more, actually. Grant Robertson is still going around the country undermining a leader called David. But one thing has not changed: this David is a tricky David. With the other one you at least kind of knew what he was. And at least he knew what he was. But, of course, David Cunliffe is not quite so sure. This is a man who is a unionist with the unions, a Māori with the Māori, and a farmer with the farmers. But one thing that he tried not to be was a leafy suburb guy in the leafy suburbs. But what happened? He got caught standing in front of a yacht—a picture he could not get them to delete in Taranaki, unlike the other ones. It turns out that for all of his references to large homes in leafy suburbs, he has one. And, of course, being the working-class hero with the working class does not quite fit with being the leafy suburbs guy in the leafy suburbs. So what I thought I would do is have just a quick look at the latest update on his CV, because, as we know, that is a dynamic document to say the least. Bits appear on it and then disappear. He is the founder of Fonterra—actually, he is not; he is something else now. I came across this thing called DavidCunliffe.com—a digital identity. He is a digital guy when he is with the digital natives. This is a DavidCunliffe.com website, and I thought maybe I had found him. It says: “David has guided and supported individuals with matters of the soul for decades,”.

I thought maybe he is a monk with the monks. But then it goes on to say he has “become a respected figure …”—well, that does not sound quite like the person we are after. It says he is “often described as a … insightful individual,”—and he is, in his CV, described that way often. But the next one killed it: “refreshingly humble”. That was when we knew this was not the real David Cunliffe, because although he may be refreshing, it is not with humility. That is absolutely sure. Then I knew for sure when it said: “Surprisingly, his spiritual path has remained … refreshingly unboastful.” This is a party that cannot boast about its leader, that is for sure, and does not want to.

That was the funny part, but the next bit was more serious:

But usually in the Opposition when the leader is having a bad patch like he is, the front bench does the work. It actually took Shane Jones to show everybody just how weak and lazy the Labour front and middle benches are, because when they should be carrying their leader—because he is going to need a lot of that—by running issues that put pressure on the Government and attract the public’s attention, they are not doing any of that. They are not focused on anything that matters. In fact, it is infecting David Cunliffe. On my little phone I got a tweet from David Cunliffe that was about a big issue of the day. It said something like “I am very sorry to see the end of @massivemagNZ.” What the hell is that? It is the big issue for not just the Leader of the Opposition, because he also says to refer to Grant Robertson.

I think it must be a student magazine. That is the big issue of the day. I know that Grant Robertson never really left student politics, so the end of @massivemagNZ from Massey’s campus probably is the biggest single issue that has preoccupied him all week. But he should be doing more than that to carry his leader who needs guidance, who needs to be carried, who needs a team around him to feed him issues instead of him making them up as he goes.

John Armstrong points out that the Minister knows only too well what happens when a caucus isn’t behind its leader:

Although English’s voice was its usual mixture of dry humour and sarcasm, it had the occasional tinge of sympathy as the Minister of Finance spoke in Parliament on Wednesday afternoon, doing what he loves doing – dissecting the Labour Party, diagnosing its various ailments and predicting it will fail to overcome them before voters roll up to the polling booths.

English blamed “lazy and weak” Labour MPs for failing to take the pressure off their leader. He said Shane Jones gaining headlines with regard to his allegations against Countdown had only served to show up the poor performances of his colleagues.

It is something English understands full well. It was from the same uncomfortable but potentially rewarding position that Cunliffe now occupies – Leader of the Opposition – that English led National in 2002 to its worst defeat in the party’s history.

The 2011 election was bad for Labour, but it wasn’t as bad as 2002 was for National.

However, that defeat weeded out a lot of the dead wood and after the election Bill and then-president Judy Kirk led a significant and much-needed reorganisation of the party. That laid the foundation which helped the party nearly win the following election.

Labour changed its rules after the last election but that’s saddled it with a leader without majority support in caucus. It kept most of its dead wood and there’s no sign of the significant pruning which is required.

The party has had two new leaders since the last election but it hasn’t made the other changes which would help make it look like a government in waiting.

Rather, day by day it’s looking more and more like its en route to an even worse result than it got three years ago.

Political fortunes can change very quickly and there’s no certainty about the election result, but Labour is fast running out of time to show it’s capable of running itself let alone running the country.

Lies, damn lies and Winston


Winston Peters delivered his state of the nation speech yesterday.

It was full of the usual dog whistles against immigrants and Asians in particular.

One of the claims he made was that Huka Lodge had been sold to Chinese investors.

This has been denied by the lodge and Minister for Land Information Maurice Williams.

. . . “The Overseas Investment Office has spoken to Huka Lodge director and shareholder David McGregor, and he has confirmed no sale has been made or is being considered.

Huka Lodge was last sold in 2003, following Overseas Investment Commission approval, when a Labour Government was in power.

Peters has back-tracked ever so slightly:

Later, Peters modified his claim to say the lodge was for sale.

But only very slightly:

But Peters was unrepentant last night, accusing the OIO of having become a “political pawn”.

Such was the paperwork involved, the OIO may not know the status of the sale, Peters said.

“It’s for sale.”

This is in spite of Huka Lodge director and shareholder David McGregor confirming no sale has been made or is being considered.

But Peters has never let the facts get in the way of his stories in his quest for votes.

It’s just another case of lies, damn lies and Winston.

Three years on


Those of us who weren’t in Christchurch at 12:51pm on February 22nd, 2011 will probably always recall where we were and what we were doing when we heard the news of the earthquake.

Those who were in the city or close to it will never forget.

This post is to remember the ones who died and were injured;  the ones who lost family and friends, homes and work places;  those who lives were literally and figuratively turned upside down and those who are still dealing with the physical, financial and emotional problems caused by the quake and its aftermath.

It is to acknowledge those who helped during the crisis and those who are dealing with ordinary life in extraordinary circumstances.

It is also to celebrate the people who are working so hard, under still trying conditions, to rebuild the city.

The Press lists commemorative events.


What’s WhatsApp?


Jan Koum has gone from surviving on food stamps to earning a fortune in 21 years.

He co-founded WhatsApp  in 2009 and this week signed a $19 billion deal with Facebook.

His is an inspirational story but it leaves me with a questions – what is WhatsApp?

Saturday soapbox


Saturday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation. You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, to muse, amuse or bemuse.

Wise quote from today's daily inspiration email. Plus check out a new charity giving back to the community you can easily support. Check it out here:http://www.ohbaby.co.nz/admin/newsletter/v.aspx?n=1088

February 22 in history


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.

2011 – Bahraini uprising: Tens of thousands of people marched in protest against the deaths of seven victims killed by police and army forces during previous protests.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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