20 – 15, phew!

June 7, 2014

All Blacks 20 – England 15 is far too close for comfort when it’s supposedly a second-string English team.


Politics Daily

June 7, 2014

John Key in the Pacific

Claire Trevett @ NZ Herald – Key’s Pacific visit an election entrée

John Banks

Brook Sabin – PM to consider refusing Banks’ vote

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – Don Brash on John Banks

Liz Banas @ RadioNZ – Power Play

Fran O’Sullivan @ NZ Herald – Act needs to move on and Banks needs to do the decent thing

Tracy Watkins @ Stuff – Farcical options for Banks

Scott Yorke @ Imperator Fish – Move along please, sir.

IMP

Matthew Beveridge – The Internet Party candidates on Twitter

Internet Party – Internet Party candidate shortlist

Ian Apperley – Mana and Internet Party unholy alliance is an insult to all NZ ICT workers

Election

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – Labour candidate seeking a poor person

Taxpayers’ Union – Election funding for satire no joke

Abbie Napier @ The Press – Electoral commission grant to ‘fun’ political party criticised

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – Broadcasting allocations

John Armstrong @ NZ Herald – Right-left jockeying real news of the week

Verity Johnson @ NZ Herald – Make politics sexy

Other

Pattrick Smellie @ NBR – TPP to live on in other acronyms even if it fails: Groser

Inventory 2 @ Keeping Stock – Sledge of the day 7 June 2014

Dominion Post – Today in politics: Saturday, June 7

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – Can you name the politician?

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – A bit of a history lesson

Matthew Beveridge – Twitter Stats : 6 June


Word of the day

June 7, 2014

Philosophaster –  a pretender or dabbler in philosophy; one who engages in shallow or pretentious philosophising; a pseudo-philosopher.


Electoral law reform needed

June 7, 2014

Don Brash on Facebook:

So the court has found John Banks guilty. Three observations. First, I have known John Banks for 30 years and have not found him to be anything other than an honest man. Second, it is a huge tragedy for a man who has overcome great personal difficulties; served with distinction as a Member of Parliament, as a Minister, and as the mayor of Auckland; and helped to raise three Russian orphans.

But third, when I contrast what John Banks was found by the court to have done with what Helen Clark’s Labour Party did in 2005 – without the slightest attempt by the Police to call her to account – the offence of which he has been found guilty is utterly trivial.

In 2005, the Labour Party spent Parliamentary funding to the extent of more than three-quarters of a million dollars on explicit electioneering, despite having been warned against doing so by both the Auditor General and the Chief Electoral Officer just weeks before the election. Yes, they eventually repaid that money, but only under strong protest. And of course by that the time the election was won.

And what they could not undo, and were never held to account for, was grossly overspending the legal limit on spending in that election. The Police, in a disgracefully biased decision, decided not to prosecute, despite the Labour Party’s own auditors finding that the Party had unambiguously breached the legal spending limit if spending on their infamous “pledge card” was election spending. And did anybody who saw that “pledge card” think it was NOT part of Labour’s election campaign?

Whatever John Banks did in trying to raise money to finance his mayoral campaign in 2010 did not affect the outcome of that election. By contrast, Labour’s illegal behaviour almost certainly did affect the result of the 2005 election.

This doesn’t excuse Banks.

It shows electoral law either isn’t up to scratch or it isn’t working.

It takes an inordinately long time for the Electoral Commission to refer anything to the police and the only time I can recall that they’ve gone onto lay a charge recently was Labour candidate Daljit Singh.

It took a private prosecution to get this case to court.

If we had the electoral law we need and it worked well, that wouldn’t have been needed.

 


Rural round-up

June 7, 2014

Use of blunt force on calves banned:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has confirmed the use of blunt force to euthanise calves will now be ruled out, except in unforeseen emergency cases.

“In February this year I asked the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) for advice on euthanising calves on farms by manual blunt force,” says Mr Guy.

“NAWAC received 357 submissions during consultation and a large proportion supported the proposed changes to the code. . .

  Minister launches primary industries capability report:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy today launched The Future capability needs for the primary industries in New Zealand – a report that forecasts the future workforce needs of the primary sector.

“The report highlights that employment in the primary industries is expected to increase by 50,000 by 2025 to reach the Government’s goal of an export double. Over half of these workers will need a Tertiary or Level 4 Qualification,” says Mr Guy.

“New Zealand has a proud tradition in the primary industries – it’s an innovative sector that requires our best and brightest across a range of skills. As international markets become more sophisticated and competitive, it is crucial New Zealand’s primary industries keep pace. . .

  Sharemilkers and dairy farmers respond to vote call:

After being sent a rocket just over a week before DairyNZ’s 2014 levy referendum vote closed, sharemilkers and dairy farmers have responded with the strongest turnout since 2002.

“What an amazing turnaround from apathy to action,” says Neil Filer, Federated Farmers Sharemilkers section chairperson.

“From just over 20 percent sharemilker turnout with a week to go we’ve ended up with a shareholder turnout, 13 percent up on the 2008 result. . . .

US dairy takes aim at Fonterra:

A group of dairy companies in the United States has written to the country’s trade representatives urging them to tackle what it says is Fonterra’s unfair advantage during the Trans Pacific Partnership trade negotiations.

Companies aligned with the National Milk Producers Federation and the US Dairy Export Council wrote that the serious non-tariff policies of the New Zealand government have unfairly and uniquely given advantage to Fonterra.

They say these policies have allowed Fonterra to become the largest dairy exporting company in the world. . .

Warning about wild kiwifruit vines:

Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Kiwifruit Vine Health are urging kiwifruit orchardists and farmers to be careful about what they do with reject kiwifruit, as the picking season comes to a close.

They are also encouraging everyone to keep an eye out for wild kiwifruit vines and report sightings to the council.

The council said birds feed on kiwifruit that was left out on vines, in reject bins or dumped in paddocks for stock feed. Seeds dropped by the birds grow into wild kiwifruit vines in native bush and forestry blocks. . .

Why haven’t chickens died out yet?

A new UK government-funded project aims to unravel the history of bird domestication.

The ‘Chicken Coop’ experiment will examine human history from the perspective of our feathery friends.

It plans to find out everything from their dietary habits to why they haven’t been wiped out by disease caused by inbreeding. . . .


Banks considering options

June 7, 2014

A media release from Act leader Jamie Whyte:

 On Thursday, Judge Wylie found John Banks guilty of knowingly filing a false electoral return.

John will be sentenced on the 1st August, and has applied for a discharge without conviction.

Until then he is legally entitled to remain as a Member of Parliament but he could also choose to step down as an MP prior to sentencing.

John and I discussed this option earlier today and we have agreed that he will take the weekend to consider his alternatives.

Act campaign manager Richard Prebble says resigning before the verdict could damage the Act brand.

. . . Mr Prebble said the affair had “probably” had an effect on Act, but in a recent Roy Morgan poll taken while Mr Banks’ trial was proceeding, the party’s support rose while that for Labour and the Greens went down.

“If he was to quit as a member of Parliament when he hasn’t been convicted, that might damage Act’s brand.” . .

I think he’s wrong about that. Banks is the party’s past and it should be looking to the future.

 . . . When asked whether Mr Banks should resign, Dr Whyte yesterday told National Radio he wanted his sole MP “to follow due process”.

Dr Whyte said he hadn’t been in touch with Mr Banks since the verdict and “I’m not quite sure what his intentions are on this”.

He hadn’t spoken with Mr Banks because “these events don’t really concern the Act Party”.

“John isn’t involved in our campaign, he isn’t going to be an MP after the next election and this is as far as we’re concerned because this was to do with his mayoral campaign.

“This is not an Act Party issue,” Dr Whyte said.

It’s not an Act Party issue but it will be a distraction for the party, and for the government if Banks stays in parliament.

Even if he wants to appeal the decision or apply for a discharge without conviction, resigning would be the best thing to thing to do.


Saturday’s smiles

June 7, 2014

A Kiwi was hosting a friend who was following his rugby team.

They’d been indulging in more than a little nationalistic my-team-is-better-than-yours banter when they went into a bakery.

The baker was serving another customer. While her attention was elsewhere, the Englishman whisked three biscuits into his pocket and grinned at his mate.

“You see how clever I am? You’ll never beat that!”

His mate replied, “Watch this, a Kiwi is always cleverer than an Englishman.”

He said to the baker, “If you give me a biscuit, I can show you a magic trick!”

The baker gave him a biscuit which he promptly ate and said to the baker, “I need another biscuit for the magic trick.”

The baker was getting suspicious but she handed over a second biscuit. The bloke ate it too and said, “I need one more biscuit… ”

The baker was beginning to think she’d been conned, but handed over a third biscuit anyway and watched as the bloke ate it.

The baker kept watching as nothing happened then said, “You’ve had three biscuits, where’s the magic trick?”

The bloke grinned and said, “Look in the Englishman’s pocket!”


8/10

June 7, 2014

8/10 in the Herald’s politics quiz.

 


Labour prioritises luxury education

June 7, 2014

I used to teach Spanish night classes, with the very necessary help of a Uruguayan friend.

We had fun, so did the pupils but even the best learned little more than the absolute basics.

The classes ended when funding was cut and I couldn’t argue against that.

There might have been some social benefit to the ACE – Adult and Continuing Education – classes, but using scarce taxpayers’ dollars for what was a luxury wasn’t sensible.

Labour railed against the cuts and is now promising to reinstate funding.

There is a case for public funding of numeracy and literacy classes and ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages).

But reinstating funding for hobby classes is wasting money on luxury education – mostly for upper and middle income people – when it would be far better used for those requiring necessities.

The PWC study which Labour uses to justify this spending has been discredited.

And Matthew Beveridge spotted that  Labour also scored another SMOG (Social Media Own Goal) with its announcement:

. . . Now you will notice that the graphic claims that they will increase funding to community education  TO $13million. Now there are two issues with that claim. Firstly, the funding for ACE this year is already $71million. (ref page 173) . . .

So as you can see, non literacy and numeracy programs already get $22.89mil allocated for them in the coming financial year. So Labour’s graphic is claiming to increase ACE funding to a level that is around 45% lower than the current appropriation.

The bigger issue is that their graphic doesn’t agree with their policy documents. . .

So Labour are promising in their policy documents to restore the nominal value of funding, with no inflation adjustment. This is a HUGE difference from what their graphic says. Their graphic implies a total funding of $13million next year, but their policy documents indicate a funding of around $36million. That means the funding difference between “graphic policy” and actual policy is around $23million.

 

How did no one in the whole Labour leaders office pick up this issue? I am not sure what would be worse, over selling a policy, or underselling it. One makes you look like you lied, the other makes you look inept. Neither of which is going to help an opposition party win.

Once more, Labour shows it’s the one in need of education on how to develop policy and deliver its announcement without contradiction and confusion.

 


Natural resources at heart of regional economies

June 7, 2014

The importance of the natural resources sector to New Zealand’s regional economies is highlighted in the 2014 Regional Economic Activity Report, released by Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce.

The report, produced by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, brings together comprehensive economic data on New Zealand’s 16 regions in one place. It also identifies specific initiatives under way in each region through the Government’s Business Growth Agenda. It is the second report in an annual series.

“The 2014 Regional Economic Activity Report highlights the diversity of our regions, with each making a different contribution to the national economy,” Mr Joyce says. “It also shows examples of both larger urban centres and smaller rural economies that are doing well.

“The report shows that the natural resource industries are the foundation for economic activity in most of our regional economies. What is clear is that policymakers at all levels need to be careful about policy changes that would hurt these sectors and impact on jobs and growth in regional New Zealand.

This is a very deliberate shot across the bows of opposition parties which are anti-farming, anti-resource extraction and anti-development.

“Over the last decade, agricultural regions have benefited from rising commodity prices for dairy products and, more recently, meat. However, signs of recovery from the Global Financial Crisis are obvious across the board, with employment numbers increasing in all regions over the last year.

“The report highlights the strengths and challenges each region faces and the opportunities they have to further contribute to New Zealand’s economic growth. It is a useful tool to support planning at all levels and I expect it to encourage public debate about how each region can be more successful.”

This year’s Regional Economic Activity Report includes for the first time the official measure of regional gross domestic product, more comprehensive figures on employment and incomes, and new sections on population and Māori economic development.

To complement the report, an interactive website has been developed that contains information on 66 sub-regional areas. This finer detail is available online or can be accessed on the go, through a download for tablets.

To further support economic growth, the Government is also working with local stakeholders on a series of more in-depth studies on the East Coast, Northland, Manawatu-Wanganui and Bay of Plenty regions. These will provide a more detailed assessment of the particular strengths and challenges that these regions face and how their economies can be developed.

“Nothing creates jobs and boosts incomes better than business growth and investment,” says Mr Joyce. “For New Zealand to build a more productive and competitive economy, we need all of our regions to achieve to their potential.

“Each region has advantages which it can build upon and diversify from. The problem is not a lack of opportunities – it’s how we continue to do better at creating wealth and jobs from the opportunities we have.”

You can access the full report here.

The housing crisis is one of the issues de jour although it isn’t a problem in most of the country.

Recognising the strengths of the regions and realising their potential would bring economic and social benefits for them and could take some of the pressure off housing demand and other population pressures in Auckland and Christchurch.


Member for Hypocrisy

June 7, 2014

Facebook post of the day:

I’m beginning to wonder if David Cunliffe is the Member for Hypocrisy.
Doesn’t like secret trusts – has one himself.
Doesn’t like donations from organisations that lobby for policy – takes tens of thousands from the unions
Doesn’t like the coat-tailing MMP rule – except if he benefits from it by working with Kim Dotcom to become PM.

It is possible Cunliffe would find more support from the Hypocrisy constituency than he has managed to get in polls seeking voters preferences for Prime Minister – not that that would be difficult given how low his support is there.


Saturday soapbox

June 7, 2014

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, amuse, bemuse or simply muse.

:) kindest, Boris


June 7 in history

June 7, 2014

1099 –  The First Crusade: The Siege of Jerusalem began.

1420 – Troops of the Republic of Venice captured Udine, ending the independence of the Patriarchate of Aquileia.

1494 –  Spain and Portugal signed the Treaty of Tordesillas which divided the New World between the two countries.

1628 – The Petition of Right, a major English constitutional document, became law when granted the Royal Assent by Charles I.

1654 –  Louis XIV was crowned King of France.

1692- Port Royal, Jamaica, was hit by a catastrophic earthquake; in just three minutes, 1,600 people were killed and 3,000 seriously injured.

1761 –  John Rennie, Scottish engineer, was born  (d. 1821).

1776 –  Richard Henry Lee presented the “Lee Resolution” to the Continental Congress; it was seconded by John Adams and led to the United States Declaration of Independence.

1778 –  Beau Brummell, English fashion leader, was born  (d. 1840).

1800  David Thompson reached the mouth of the Saskatchewan River in Manitoba.

1831 Amelia Edwards, English author and Egyptologist, was born  (d. 1892).

1832 Asian cholera reached Quebec brought by Irish immigrants, and killed about 6,000 people..

1862  The United States and Britain agreed to suppress the slave trade.

1863 During the French intervention in Mexico, Mexico City wais captured by French troops.

1866  1,800 Fenian raiders were repelled back to the United States after they looted and plundered around Saint-Armand and Frelighsburg, Quebec.

1868 Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Scottish architect, designer, and watercolourist, was born (d. 1928).

1880  War of the Pacific: The Battle of Arica, assault and capture of Morro de Arica (Arica Cape), that ended the Campaña del Desierto (Desert Campaign).

1893 Gandhi’s first act of civil disobedience.

1905  Norway’s parliament dissolved its union with Sweden.

1906  Cunard Line’s RMS Lusitania was launched at the John Brown Shipyard, Glasgow.

1909 Mary Pickford made her screen debut at the age of 16.

1917 Gwendolyn Brooks, American poet, was born (d. 2000).

1917 Dean Martin, American actor, was born (d. 1995).

1917  World War I: Battle of Messines –  the attack on Messines  began at 3.10 a.m. with the explosion of huge mines that had been placed under the German lines by tunnellers. Almost immediately, New Zealand troops of 2nd and 3rd (Rifle) brigades left their trenches and advanced towards the ridge in front of them, on which lay the ruins of Messines village. Australian and British troops on either side of them did the same.

The Battle of Messines

1919  Sette giugno: Riot in Malta, four people killed.

1921 Dorothy Ruth, American horse breeder; adopted daughter of Babe Ruth, was born (d. 1989).

1929 John Napier Turner, Canadian seventeenth Prime Minister of Canada, was born.

1931 Malcolm Morley, English painter, was born.

1936 The Steel Workers Organizing Committee, was founded in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Philip Murray was elected its first president.

1938 The Douglas DC-4E made its first test flight..

1940 – Fighter ace Edgar ‘Cobber’ Kain was killed.

1940 Tom Jones, Welsh singer, was born.

1940  King Haakon VII of Norway, Crown Prince Olav and the Norwegian government left Tromsø  and went into exile in London.

1942  World War II: The Battle of Midway ended.

1942 World War II: Japanese soldiers occupied the American islands of Attu and Kiska, in the Aleutian Islands off Alaska.

1944 World War II: The steamer Danae carrying 350 Cretan Jews and 250 Cretan partisans was sunk without survivors off the shore of Santorini.

1944  World War II: Battle of Normandy – At Abbey Ardennes members of the SS Division Hitlerjugend massacred 23 Canadian prisoners of war.

1945  King Haakon VII of Norway returned with his family to Oslo after five years in exile.

1948  Edvard Beneš resigned as President of Czechoslovakia rather than signing a Constitution making his nation a Communist state.

1952 Liam Neeson, Northern Irish actor, was born.

1955  Lux Radio Theater signed off the air permanently.

1958 Prince, American musician, was born.

1965  The Supreme Court of the United States decided on Griswold v. Connecticut, effectively legalizing the use of contraception by married couples.

1967  Israeli forces entered Jerusalem during the Six-Day War.

1971  The United States Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Paul Cohen for disturbing the peace, setting the precedent that vulgar writing is protected under the First Amendment.

1972 Karl Urban, New Zealand actor, was born.

1975  Sony introduced the Betamax videocassette recorder for sale to the public.

1976  MacDonalds opened for the first time in New Zealand at Cobham Court, Porirua.

McDonald's arrives in NZ

1977 – 500 million people watched on television as the high day of Jubilee got underway for Queen Elizabeth II.

1981 The Israeli Air Force destroyed Iraq’s Osiraq nuclear reactor during Operation Opera

1982 –  Priscilla Presley opened Graceland to the public

1989  A Surinam Airways DC-8 Super 62 crashed near Paramaribo Airport  Suriname  killing 168.

1991 Mount Pinatubo exploded generating an ash column 7 km (4.5 miles) high.

1993  The Holbeck Hall Hotel in Scarborough, UK, fell into the sea following a landslide.

1995  The long range Boeing 777 entered service with United Airlines.

1998  James Byrd, Jr. was dragged to death in a racially-motivated crime.

2000 – The United Nations defined the Blue Line as the border between Israel and Lebanon.

2006 – Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, was killed in an airstrike by the United States Air Force.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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