Petering out

May 25, 2014

Winston Peters has had more political lives than a cat, but Tracey Watkins thinks he, and the NZ First party which is nothing without him, are petering out:

Anyone who kids themselves that there is life after Winston Peters for NZ First only had to watch the party floundering in the absence of its leader this week.

Frantically trying to head off an attack by their former colleague, expunged NZ Firster Brendan Horan, Peters’ front bench achieved the seemingly impossible feat of making Horan look good by comparison.

They were clueless in the face of Horan’s determination to extract utu from his former party by tabling documents he claimed showed improper use of the taxpayer funded leader’s fund. . .

Not only that, they voted against Labour’s vote of no confidence and had to belatedly ask for their no votes to be counted with the ayes.

Regardless of the ins and outs of Horan’s allegations, however, one thing seems clear: Horan is hellbent on using his last remaining months in Parliament to try to take Peters and the rest of NZ First down with him.

Even if he succeeds he will only be hastening by a few years what increasingly seems inevitable.

With its leader knocking 70, NZ First is a clock that has been slowly winding down since the 1996 election delivered Peters the balance of power. . .

Since the party’s return in 2011, Parliament has been collectively holding its breath waiting for the current team to implode given some of the more eccentric selections – like former North Shore mayor Andrew Williams, notorious for urinating in a public place.

The implosion hasn’t happened yet but there have been plenty of flaky moments. Richard Prosser launched a diatribe against Muslims that prompted hundreds of complaints to the NZ First board. The party’s Pasifika MP, Asenati Lole-Taylor, famously asked questions of the police minister in Parliament about blow jobs and has carved out a cult following on Twitter for her bizarre outbursts. Her most recent was to accuse a press gallery journalist of cyber bullying after he referred to her “shooting the messenger”. Lole-Taylor thought he was alleging she had shot an actual parliamentary messenger. . . 

It’s not quite so funny when you remember we’re paying her salary.

NZ First has never been more than Peters and whichever bunch of sycophants come in on his coat tails.

When he goes the party will go with him.

Whether it’s with a bang at the coming election or a whimper as it peters out over at least one more term is up to voters.

And those who think it could be this election should read Karl du Fresne on Peters in person at a public meeting.

He needs only sway 5% of voters and there could well be enough of the deluded and disenchanted to give him at least one more chance.


Sunday soapbox

May 25, 2014

Sunday’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, amuse, bemuse or simply muse.
Good old fashioned common sense. Tag a friend you think would appreciate this.


May 25 in history

May 25, 2014

567 BC – Servius Tullius, king of Rome, celebrated a triumph for his victory over the Etruscans.

240 BC – First recorded perihelion passage of Halley’s Comet.

1085 Alfonso VI of Castile took Toledo, Spain back from the Moors.

1420  Henry the Navigator was appointed governor of the Order of Christ.

1521  The Diet of Worms ended when Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, issues the Edict of Worms, declaring Martin Luther an outlaw.

1659  Richard Cromwell resigned as Lord Protector of England following the restoration of the Long Parliament, beginning a second brief period of the republican government called the Commonwealth of England.

1738  A treaty between Pennsylvania and Maryland ended the Conojocular War with settlement of a boundary dispute and exchange of prisoners.

1787 In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, delegates convened a Constitutional Convention to write a new Constitution for the United States. George Washington presided.

1803 Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist and philosopher, was born (d. 1882).

1809 Chuquisaca Revolution: a group of patriots in Chuquisaca (modern day Sucre) revolted against the Spanish Empire, starting the South American Wars of Independence.

1810 May Revolution: citizens of Buenos Aires expelled Viceroy Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros during the May week, starting the Argentine War of Independence.

1837  The Patriots of Lower Canada (Quebec) rebelled against the British.

1861 – The first edition of The Press went to press.

1865  In Mobile, Alabama, 300 were killed when an ordnance depot exploded.

1878 Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, American entertainer, was born (d. 1949).

1878  Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore opened at the Opera Comique in London.

1892 Josip Broz Tito, Yugoslav resistance leader and later president, was born (d. 1980).

1895  Playwright, poet, and novelist Oscar Wilde was convicted of “committing acts of gross indecency with other male persons” and sentenced to serve two years in prison.

1895  The Republic of Formosa was formed, with Tang Ching-sung as the president.

1913  Richard Dimbleby, British journalist and broadcaster, was born (d. 1965).

1914  The United Kingdom’s House of Commons passed the Home Rule Act for devolution in Ireland.

1921 Hal David, American lyricist and songwriter, was born (d. 2012).

1925  John T. Scopes was indicted for teaching Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

1926 Sholom Schwartzbard assassinated  Symon Petliura, the head of the Paris-based government-in-exile of Ukrainian People’s Republic.

1927 Robert Ludlum, American writer was born (d. 2001).

1933 Basdeo Panday, 5th Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago, was born.

1935  Jesse Owens broke five world records and ties a sixth at the Big Ten Conference Track and Field Championships in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

1936 Tom T. Hall, American singer and songwriter, was born.

1936  The Remington Rand strike, led by the American Federation of Labor, began.

1938 Raymond Carver, American writer, was born  (d. 1988).

1938 Spanish Civil War: The bombing of Alicante caused 313 deaths.

1939 Ian McKellen, English actor, was born.

1940  World War II: The Battle of Dunkirk began.

1946  The parliament of Transjordan made Abdullah I of Jordan their king.

1953  At the Nevada Test Site, the United States conducted its first and only nuclear artillery test.

1953 The first public television station in the United States officially began broadcasting as KUHT from the campus of the University of Houston.

1955 A night time F5 tornado struck f Udall, Kansas, killing 80 and injuring 273.

1955  First ascent of Kangchenjunga (8,586 m.), the third highest mountain in the world, by a British expedition.

1959 Julian Clary, British television personality, was born.

1961 Apollo program: John F. Kennedy announced before a special joint session of Congress his goal to initiate a project to put a “man on the moon” before the end of the decade.

1962  The Old Bay Line, the last overnight steamboat service in the United States, went out of business.

1963 In Addis Ababa, the Organisation of African Unity was established.

1966  Explorer 32 launched.

1966 The first prominent DaZiBao during the Cultural Revolution in China was posted at Peking University.

1967  Celtic Football Club became the first Scottish, British and northern European team to win the European Cup, beating Inter 2–1 in the Estádio Nacional, in Lisbon.

1968 – Three people died in the Inangahua earthquake.

1978 Bastion Point protestors were evicted.

Bastion Point protestors evicted

1979  American Airlines Flight 191: A McDonnell Douglas DC-10 crashed during takeoff at O’Hare International Airport killing 271 on board and two people on the ground.

1979  Six-year-old Etan Patz disappeared from the street just two blocks away from his New York home, prompting an International search for the child, and causing President Ronald Reagan to designate May 25th as National Missing Children’s Day (in 1983).

1981  In Riyadh, the Gulf Cooperation Council was created between Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

1982  HMS Coventry  was sunk during the Falklands War.

1985 Bangladesh was hit by a tropical cyclone and storm surge, which killed approximately 10,000 people.

1997  A military coup in Sierra Leone replaced President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah with Major Johnny Paul Koromah.

1999 The United States House of Representatives released the Cox Report which detailed China‘s nuclear espionage against the U.S. over the prior two decades.

2000  Liberation Day of Lebanon. Israel withdrew its army from most of the Lebanese territory after 22 years of its first invasion in 1978.

2001  Erik Weihenmayer  became the first blind person to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

2002  China Airlines Flight 611: A Boeing 747-200 broke apart in mid-air and plunged into the Taiwan Strait killing 225 people.

2002  A train crash in Tenga, Mozambique killed 197 people.

2009  North Korea allegedly tested its second nuclear device.

2011 – Oprah Winfrey  ended her twenty five year run of The Oprah Winfrey Show.

2012 – The Dragon spacecraft became the first commercial spacecraft to successfully rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS).

2013 – Suspected Maoist rebels killed at least 28 people and injured 32 others in an attack on a convoy of Indian National Congress politicians in Chhattisgarh, India.

2013 – A gas cylinder exploded on a school bus in the Pakistani city of Gujrat, killing at least 17 children and injuring 7 others.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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