Word of the day

April 17, 2014

 Barathrum – a bottomless pit;  hell; an abyss; an insatiable person.


Electorate boundaries finalised

April 17, 2014

Electorate boundaries have been finalised with changes to 46 seats.

The Electoral Act 1993 imposes strict electoral population limits binding on the Commission.  These provide an overall constraint to ensure that there are approximately equal numbers of people in each electorate so that they have equality of representation in Parliament.  All electorates must contain electoral populations varying not more than ±5% from the following quotas which are calculated in accordance with the Act:

  Quota ±5% Allowance
North Island General Electorates 59,731 ±2,986
South Island General Electorates 59,679 ±2,983
Māori Electorates  60,141 ±3,007

There’s an interactive map of old and new boundaries here.

Jadis, guest blogging at Kiwiblog has winners and losers:

Winners:

, Auckland Central – Having won and held Auckland Central by less than a thousand votes in 08 and 11 Nikki will be overjoyed to see ALL of Grey Lynn move into Mount Albert. . . .

, Christchurch Central – I am really pleased for Nicky as she was gutted when the provisional boundaries came out as they made it a strong red seat. . .

, Hamilton West – Hamilton is unique as it is the only urban centre held by the Nats .  Similar boundaries to the provisionals means that by crossing the river MacIndoe has gained some strong blue areas in a high growth zone.  . .

, Waimakariri – While there are no changes since the provisional Waimakariri is well and truly one of the most marginal seats in the country. . .

Losers:

Ruth Dyson, Port Hills – Dyson is the biggest loser in this boundary review.  Her majority has been reversed with the Nats stronghold of Halswell moving into the seat, and Anderton’s old stomping ground of Sydenham moving into Christchurch Central. . .

, Hutt South – This is the surprise of the final boundaries.  Mallard has gained all of the  Western Hills (good Nat territory) and lost super red areas of Naenae and Rimutaka. Labour should have been able to stop this occurring but appear to have put up no fight.  Mallard should be furious with his party for failing to keep Hutt South a real red seat. . . .

, Maungakiekie – Labour were grumpy in 2008 when Sam took one of ‘their’ red seats in Maungakiekie, so they will no doubt be pleased that the blue booths have almost all been taken out of Maungakiekie.  Beaumont would be silly to think her win is a foregone conclusion as Sam will throw everything into his beloved electorate and is able to cross party divides for electorate support.  This seat is too close to call.  Another true marginal.

It looks like National has gained more and lost less than Labour which could well end up with fewer electorates than it has now.

Does this mean Labour, having failed to get its dead wood to go voluntarily is prepared to lose seats in the hope of renewal in three year’s time?

Or is it just another sign the party can’t get its act together?

 


Rural round-up

April 17, 2014

IPCC Mitigation Report redefines agriculture as ‘green tech’:

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Mitigation Report places New Zealand in a very good position so long as the policy nexus supports the carbon efficient production of food.

“The IPCC’s Mitigation Report projects that emissions from Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use could, by 2050, be half of what they were in 2010,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Vice-President.

“In the IPCC’s Mitigation Report summary for policymakers, agriculture is seen as being positive because it “plays a central role for food security and sustainable development”.

“We think the IPCC has come a very long way from 2007. There is an increasing alignment between climate change and food insecurity, arguably, the two biggest challenges our species will face this century. . .

Tukituki decision a win for water quality and farming:

The draft decision by the Board of Inquiry (BOI) on the Tukituki Catchment proposal represents a significant win for freshwater management and the urgency of a transition to environmentally sustainable agriculture in New Zealand, says Fish & Game NZ.

Fish & Game lead the evidence presented against the most contentious issue in front of the BOI which was Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s proposed “single nutrient management” approach – this focussed only on the management of phosphorous and set instream nitrogen limits at toxic levels. . .

Kiwi on the farm:

The sight of kiwi scratching the grass on Richard Gardner’s farm near Kaipara is now a common sight, thanks to his family’s dedication to a restoration project in the area.

Richard Gardner says they’ve been controlling pests in a fenced-off area of bush on his land and last year decided to introduce kiwi back into the area for the first time in 50 years.

He says his sister, Gill Adshead, and her husband, Kevin, were initially behind the restoration of 400 hectares of native bush, which is now home to kiwi. . .

Barns could give us the best of both worlds – James Houghton:

In a recent column by Sir David Skegg, he says we need to stop pretending that we can have our cake and eat it too. Whilst right now that may not be the case it is definitely a possibility.

Right now we are working to get the balance right between the environment and economy. Yes there is intensification and with that comes responsibility. Farmers are upgrading their infrastructure to keep within the acceptable limits, which involves nutrient budgets, cattle housing, new technology, and overseer programs. Overall New Zealand dairy farmers are investing a conservative $3 billion into improving their environmental impact, which is nothing to snort at. For each individual dairy farmer that equates to about a $250,000 investment, you can say we are taking every practical step to improve our environment.

It is all well and good to say we need a balance between meeting the Government’s target of doubling our exports by 2025 and maintaining and improving our water quality – everyone will agree with you here, but who sets that balance? It comes down to where your priorities lie, and everyone’s priorities are different. . .

Whitebait partners look for solutions:

Waikato-Tainui, local marae, councils and agencies are working together to better manage whitebait fisheries at Port Waikato following the compilation of a new report.

The report is the result of an initial scoping project to better understand the complex and inter-related resource management issues around whitebaiting in the lower Waikato River. The area has traditionally been a plentiful source of whitebait but over the years more and more people are seeking to gather the delicacy there.

With more people comes increased pressures for space to build stands, an increase in the number and size of baches and associated pressures such as sewage management, and a growing amount of whitebait being taken.  . .

Alps trail activity booms – Rebecca Fox:

In its first ”official” season, activity on the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail is much higher than the forecast.

Tourism Waitaki general manager Jason Gaskill said monthly trail counter readings from September 2013 to February this year show 3604 cyclists used the Lake Ohau Lodge section of the trail, 4815 cycled the Lake Pukaki section and 3646 passed the Ohau Weir section.

”The numbers are fantastic … they are higher than what was forecast,” Mr Gaskill said.

”In a lot of ways, it’d be hard to imagine how things could have gone a lot better [this season].” . . .

Feed statistics reflect the growth of New Zealand dairy production:

Annual Feed Production Statistics compiled by the New Zealand Feed Manufacturers Association (NZFMA) for the year 2013 reflect the changing face of feed production. Based on figures supplied by NZFMA member companies nationwide, the NZFMA annual statistics report the total tonnages of manufactured animal feed and the tonnages of raw materials used in the production of compound feed in New Zealand. (Compound feed is heat-treated feed produced in a feed mill in pellet or mashed form.)

In 2013, compound feed production increased by 2.8% to 991,027 tonnes and raw material usage rose by 4.1% to 983,440 tonnes. The four main grains used were wheat (58.8%), barley (17.4%), sorghum (12.2%) and maize (10.3%). The majority of compound feed was produced in the North Island (65.3%). 86% of compound feed is currently produced in bulk form and 14% is bagged. . .


Thursday’s questions

April 17, 2014

1. From which poem by which poet do these words come:

 . . . All changed, changed utterly:   
A terrible beauty is born.?

2. Who composed St Matthew’s Passion?

3. From which work by which composer does the  Hallelujah Chorus come?

4. By what name is Rapa Nui or Isla de Pascua more commonly known?

5. Hot Cross buns on Good Friday and Easter eggs on Sunday – or any time you want them?


69 facts about NZ

April 17, 2014

Buzzfeed looks at New Zealand and finds 69 facts some of which are:

1. The kea, a bird native to NZ, is known for pulling windscreen wipers off cars and eating the strips of rubber from windows.
2. The longest place name in the world is Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu, a hill in Hawkes Bay.
3. No part of the country is more than 128km (79 miles) from the sea.
4. In the scene of Star Trek: First Contact, where we see Earth from space, Australia and Papua New Guinea are clearly visible but New Zealand is missing.
5. Wellington is the southernmost capital city in the world.
6. Only 5% of NZ’s population is human- the rest are animals.
7. NZ is the least corrupt nation in the world (tied with Denmark), according to the Corruptions Perception Index.
8. New Zealand has more Scottish pipe bands per capita than any other country in the world.
9. Blue Lake, in Nelson Lakes National Park, has the clearest water in the world.
10. New Zealand is home to the world’s smallest dolphin species.
11. There are no land snakes, native or introduced, in NZ.
12. New Zealand has three official languages: English, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language.
13. In 2008, TripAdvisor named Milford Sound (pictured below) the world’s top travel destination, based on an international survey. . . .

17. More people die in New Zealand each year playing lawn bowls than scuba diving.
18. NZ is home to more species of penguins than any other country.
19. In 1893, New Zealand became the first country to give women the right to vote.
20. Auckland is one of the most affordable cities in the world to live in.
21. One in three Auckland households own a boat. . . .

32. There are only two countries in the world where drug companies are permitted to advertise to the public: New Zealand and USA.
33. Kiwi Nancy Wake was the Gestapo’s most wanted person during World War II. She once killed a SS sentry with her bare hands.
34. More people live in Auckland than in the whole of the South Island.
35. The logo for the Royal New Zealand Air Force is a kiwi– a flightless bird.
36. In the Lord of the Rings films, the beer drunk on camera was a custom NZ brew called ‘Sobering Thought’.
37. The filming of these movies pumped around $200 million into the country’s economy. The New Zealand government even created a Minister for Lord of the Rings, to ensure the most money could be made from the films.
38. In 1996, a man broke into a radio station in Wanganui and took the manager hostage, demanding that they play the Muppet song “Rainbow Connection”.
39. Two NZ rescue dogs were taught to drive a car around a track, in order to prove the intelligence of shelter animals. . . .

43. NZ high schools and universities are permitted to keep a pound of uranium or thorium for educational purposes. However, there is a $1 million fine if it explodes.
44. There is a giant carnivorous snail living in the South Island.
45. From 1867 to 1927, the government planed ahead for shipwrecks by building supply-filled huts on remote islands.
46. There is a clock in Dunedin which has been running since 1864, despite never having been wound since it was made.
47. Gisborne airport has train tracks running across the middle of the runway. Quite often, trains and planes have to stop until one moves out of the way.
48. NZ had a 58% casualty rate in World War I. . .

58. In 2008, Henry the tuatara became a father for the first time at the age of 111. (A tuatara is a reptile native to New Zealand.)
59. New Zealand is the only country with the right to put Hobbit-related images on its currency. . . .

60. New Zealand was the last habitable land mass to be populated.
61. Three quarters of New Zealanders living overseas are in Australia.  . . .

65. New Zealand produces 100 kg of butter and 65 kg of cheese each year per person. . .

67. NZ has banned all television advertising on Good Friday, Easter Sunday, ANZAC Day, and Christmas Day. . .

69. There are more vending machines in Japan than there are people in New Zealand.


Homeopathy Awareness Week

April 17, 2014

It’s World Homeopathy Awareness Week.

Apropos of this Siouxsie Wiles writes:

In case you need reminding what homeopathy is, it is based on Hahnemann’s bizarre doctrine that substances which cause disease symptoms in healthy people will cure similar symptoms in sick people, but only if they have been diluted to such a degree that there is unlikely to be a single molecule of the substance left in the preparation. . . .

There’s a video there if you want a giggle.

Also at Sciblogs, Grant Jacobs asks: how do you approve a course for something known not to work?

So let’s reflect on homeopathy’s contribution to public health:

 

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Development welcomed and not

April 17, 2014

In Dunedin: Hotel project terminated.

Plans for a $100 million waterfront hotel in Dunedin have been scrapped and the developers’ partnership with the Dunedin City Council has descended into acrimony.

Hotel developer Jing Song yesterday confirmed she had torn up a memorandum of understanding with the council, signed just last month, which had aimed to find ways to progress the project. . . .

In Auckland: New luxury hotel to boost Auckland economy:

A new five-star hotel development on Auckland’s waterfront will strengthen the region’s visitor economy says Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED).

Waterfront Auckland and Beijing based developer Fu Wah International Group have formed a partnership to build a 200 room hotel on the western edge of the Viaduct Harbour by 2017.

ATEED Chief Executive Brett O’Riley says the new hotel will be excellent for Auckland and help contribute to growing the visitor economy, in line with the targets in the Auckland Visitor Plan.
“The hotel – in its amazing location on the water’s edge in the heart of Auckland’s innovation precinct – will enhance our premium accommodation offering. As part of our strategy to attract more high-net wealth individuals to holiday and do business here, we’ve been working with the Fu Wah Group to help them identify the advantages of doing business in Auckland,” he says.
“We are focussed on positioning Auckland as a premium destination and having a globally recognised luxury hotel will add to the tourism offering.” . . .

This looks like two cities with two difference approaches to development.

One welcomes it the other does not.

Whether or not that is fair, is moot, but that’s the perception and anyone contemplating investment will be aware of it.


Interesting or important

April 17, 2014

Don Brash posts on Facebook:

What intrigues me about media reaction to the book so far is that almost all of it has focused on either (a) my personal life (which occupies a very small part of the book) or (b) my relationship with John Key, and what he and I may or may not have agreed in a motel room in Blenheim late in 2004. Oh yes, and Kim Hill spent quite a bit of time in her interview with me talking about the Exclusive Brethren.

I have seen no comment at all on my views on drug policy; or the importance of treating all New Zealanders as equal before the law; or the importance that we should attach to all immigrants signing up to key aspects of the New Zealand way of life (equality of men and women, access for girls to education, freedom to worship God or not to worship God, etc.); or my worries about religious fundamentalism; or my views on our relationship with China; or my concern that a very high rate of immigration in recent decades may be contributing to both our slow rate of growth in per capita income and our over-valued real exchange rate; or my overall assessment of the Key Government; or indeed my concern for the future of democracy.

It’s a slightly depressing reflection on what the media think interests the general public.

Only slightly depressing?

We do get some good analysis in the media but too often, as Brash observes, what might be considered of interest gets attention and what’s really important is ignored.

Andrei left this comment yesterday:

Good Lord – this is inane.

We are on the brink of the Third World War, perhaps the only hope of staving it off is a conference in Geneva due to take place
tomorrow and as we speak any hope of that conference taking place is being sabotaged by evil men

This is Holy Week and very unholy it is, blood is being spilled to advance the cause of darkness and chaos.

Apologies for the threadjack.

If you pray, pray for peace.

How many of us know what he’s talking about?

How many of us understand the issues?

How much coverage and analysis are we getting on them?

 


A stupid, stupid man

April 17, 2014

Think about Labour policy announcements this year and what comes to mind?

Debacles.

Wrong figures, wrong impressions, wrong strategy.

The latest is what has been dubbed a clustertruck – the proposal to restrict trucks to the slow lanes of three and four-lane highways.

Truck drivers said preventing them from using the outside lane on three- and four-lane highways would be unworkable and unlikely to reduce congestion.

The Automobile Association (AA) also questioned the policy, saying its members had never cited trucks as a cause of congestion. . .

Then there’s another problem with the transport policy:

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee says Labour leader David Cunliffe has got himself in the most astonishing predicament on TV3’s Firstline this morning, by claiming the National Land Transport Fund is “going to be in surplus very soon,” so it’s time to give some of it back to taxpayers.

“We know Mr Cunliffe is under significant pressure from his own caucus, having announced policy on the hoof yesterday without telling the team back at Labour’s war room,” Mr Brownlee says.

“Now, when asked by the media this morning to explain where the forgone revenue from this policy would come from, Mr Cunliffe has resorted to making things up, presumably thinking no one would call him on it.

“The fact of the matter is the National Land Transport Fund is by its very nature incapable of achieving a surplus, or a deficit – it is what it is.

“This is an ongoing fund which is used to fund the National Land Transport Programme, which for the years 2012-2015 will see $12.3 billion invested in road building, road maintenance, public transport, and which includes $300 million a year for targeted on-road Police enforcement.

“The fund might be above or below forecast at any point in time due to factors like the performance of the domestic economy, or fuel prices, but this is a dedicated fund, with all its money coming from Road User Charges and Fuel Excise Duty on an annual basis.

“All of that money is spent on New Zealand’s roads and public transport through the National Land Transport Programme; the question of surplus or deficit simply never arises.

“What’s more, thanks to changes in driver behaviour – in particular more efficient use of vehicles by large transport fleets using GPS technology – and increasingly fuel efficient vehicles, there has been greater financial pressure on the National Land Transport Fund in recent years, not less.

“Despite that, over the past six years this government has invested more in our land transport system, following a sustained period of under investment, and that’s just starting to pay off for all New Zealanders.

“We know this is increasingly difficult territory for Labour.  They don’t want to talk about building roads because they don’t want to offend their Green coalition partners.

“But if Mr Cunliffe believes there is a surplus to be had in the National Land Transport Fund, he needs to explain what bits of the fund’s programme he is going to cut.

“If there’s some mystical way of creating a surplus inside the National Land Transport Fund without cancelling planned investment, David Cunliffe needs to tell us.

“I’d love to know what document he has seen that suggests this fund has, or will soon have, more money than it needs.”

Paul Henry says it all:


April 17 in history

April 17, 2014

1397  Geoffrey Chaucer told the Canterbury Tales for the first time at the court of Richard II.

1492 Spain and Christopher Columbus signed the Capitulations of Santa Fe for his voyage to Asia to acquire spices.

1521 Martin Luther spoke to the assembly at the Diet of Worms, refusing to recant his teachings.

1524 Giovanni da Verrazzano reached New York harbour.

1555 After 18 months of siege, Siena surrendered to the Florentine-Imperial army. The Republic of Siena was incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.

1620 Marguerite Bourgeoys, founder of the Congregation of Notre Dame, was born (d. 1700) .

1797  Sir Ralph Abercromby attacked San Juan, Puerto Rico in what became one of the largest invasions of the Spanish territories in America.

1820 Alexander Joy Cartwright, Inventor of the Modern Game of Baseball, was born (d. 1892).

1837  J. P. Morgan, American financier, was born  (d. 1913) .

1861 American Civil War: Virginia seceded from the United States.

1864 American Civil War: The Battle of Plymouth began.

1865 Mary Surratt was arrested as a conspirator in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

1880 New Zealand’s first inter-city brass band contest was held.

First inter-city brass band contest

1885 Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen), Danish author, was born (d. 1962) .

1895 The Treaty of Shimonoseki between China and Japan was signed. This marked the end of the First Sino-Japanese War, the defeated Qing Empire was forced to renounce its claims on Korea and to concede the southern portion of the Fengtien province, Taiwan and the Pescadores Islands to Japan.

1905 The Supreme Court of the United States decided Lochner v. New York which held that the “right to free contract” was implicit in the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

1907 The Ellis Island immigration centre processed 11,747 people, more than on any other day.

1918 William Holden, American actor, was born  (d. 1981).

1924 – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios was formed by the merger of Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures, and the Louis B. Mayer Company.

1929 James Last, German band leader, was born.

1941 World War II: The Kingdom of Yugoslavia surrendered to Germany.

1942 French prisoner of war General Henri Giraud escaped from his castle prison in Festung Königstein.

1945 Brazilian forces liberated the town of Montese, Italy, from German forces.

1949 At midnight 26 Irish counties officially left the British Commonwealth. A 21-gun salute on O’Connell Bridge, Dublin, ushered in the Republic of Ireland.

1957  Nick Hornby, English author, was born.

1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion: A group of CIA financed and trained Cuban refugees landed at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba with the aim of ousting Fidel Castro.

1964 The Ford Motor Company unveiled the Ford Mustang at the New York World’s Fair.

1964  Jerrie Mock became the first woman to circumnavigate the world by air.

1969 Sirhan Sirhan was convicted of assassinating Robert F. Kennedy.

1969 Czechoslovakian Communist Party chairman Alexander Dubček was deposed.

1970 Apollo 13 returned to Earth safely.

1971 The People’s Republic of Bangladesh formed, under Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

1971  Sierra Leone became a republic.

1973 German counter-terrorist unit GSG 9 founded.

1974 Victoria Beckham, English singer (Spice Girls), was born.

1975  The Cambodian Civil War ended. The Khmer Rouge captureed the capital Phnom Penh and Cambodian government forces surrendered.

1982 Patriation of the Canadian constitution in Ottawa.

1984  Police Constable Yvonne Fletcher was killed by gunfire from the Libyan People’s Bureau in London during a small demonstration outside the embassy. Ten others were wounded.

1986 The Three Hundred and Thirty Five Years’ War between the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly ended.

2006 – Sami Hammad, a Palestinian suicide bomber, detonated an explosive device in Tel Aviv, killing 11 people and injuring 70.

2012 – Ilias Ali, organizing secretary of Bangladesh Nationalist Party and a former MP, disappeared from Dhaka with his chauffeur, allegedly abducted by government forces.

2013 – An explosion at a fertilizer plant in the city of West, Texas, kills 15 people and injures 160 others.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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