Political story of the day

16/06/2014

A round-up of political stories while Politics Daily is taking a break seemed  like a good idea but it is taking too much time.

Instead, I’ll feature a political story of the day and welcome you to add others.

My pick for today is  Donghua Liu’s donation to Labour.

Party secretary Tim Barnett has responded with this media release:

In response to media reports, Party staff have looked through the 2007 records today, and found no record of donations in the name of Donghua Liu.

That raises several questions:

Was there any record of a $15,000 donation under any other name, including anonymous?

If so was it declared?

If there is no record why would a party source say there had been a donation?

Has anyone asked Liu if he paid and if he did how much and how – cash, cheque, internet banking . . . ?


Word of the day

16/06/2014

Rupestral – composed of or inscribed on rock; of vegetation that grows on rocks or cliffs; living among or occupying rocks or cliffs.


Rural round-up

16/06/2014

Grassland dairying in Colombia – Keith Woodford:

This week I am writing from Bogota in Colombia, where I am leading a team of five Kiwis on an MFAT-funded dairy design project.  This is part of New Zealand’s ‘Agricultural Diplomacy’ program, which fits within New Zealand’s broader official development program.  It is also linked to developing links between New Zealand and Colombia, and the proposed development of a free trade agreement. New Zealand already sells electric fencing, seeds and other farm inputs here in Colombia. The project we are designing will run for an initial four to five years. . .

 NZ’s farming paradise disappoints import – Tony Benny:

When arable farmer Bill Davey moved to New Zealand from England 13 years ago he was told “the world’s your oyster, you can have what you want here”, but so much has changed in the intervening years that he’s now reliant on the dairy industry and is even considering milking cows himself.

“It’s turned out that we have been channelled into doing something that we’re not really comfortable with,” Davey says.

Disillusioned with subsidised farming in the United Kingdom, Davey, with wife Lynda and son Nick, arrived in Mid-Canterbury in 2001. . .

Big NZ farmer may milk sheep – Pam Graham:

Heads are turning at the prospect of one of New Zealand’s largest farmers milking sheep.

Landcorp chief executive Steven Carden chucked the idea in a speech in Hamilton on Thursday when the huge annual Fieldays agricultural show was being held down the road at Mystery Creek.

“Farming new products such as sheep milk are also being explored,” he said.

The idea is not new but it is being picked up by a very large farmer.

Landcorp is a state-owned enterprise which owns or leases 137 farms.

“We are one of New Zealand’s largest farming organisations,” Landcorp says.

Rick Powdrell, Federated Farmers’ meat and fibre vice-chairman thinks it could be a bold new chapter for New Zealand’s most numerous farmed animal. . .

How “big data” could shape farming  – James McShane:

THE Rabobank Global Young Farmers Master Class has been a phenomenal experience and that certainly came to a head yesterday when we ventured onto the hallowed ground of the Rabobank head office in Utrecht, Holland.

The glass tower extends 26 floors above city with modern curves giving the appearance of binoculars from the sky.

Yesterday we ventured into the conference centre to hear guest speakers talk to us about the future technologies in farming and life in general. . .

Foresters to Meet up in the Hawkes Bay:

Forestry professionals are gathering in ‘sunny Hawkes Bay’ early July to attend the NZ Institute of Forestry’s annual conference. “Tackling Challenges and Delivering Value”.

The conference focuses on a number of Hawkes Bay’s challenges says Committee Chair, Bob Pocknall however it will have a national perspective and examine ways to deliver value despite changing times. . . .

And thanks to West Coast AgFest  and their Facebook page:

Under 3 weeks till AgFest… Remember to wear your gumboots on Saturday July 5th and help smash the AgFest 2012 record!!!

Under 3 weeks till AgFest...  Remember to wear your gumboots on Saturday July 5th and help smash the AgFest 2012 record!!!


Fieldays good and bad

16/06/2014

The National Agricultural Fieldays have come along way from its start in 1969 with a budget of $10,500 and 15,000 people attending.

Fieldays, billed as the largest agricultural event in the Southern Hemisphere, has concluded after 900 exhibitors showed their wares to 120,000 visitors over four days. . .

The weather on Wednesday and Thrusday might have put some visitors off going but reports say sales were good and the economic impact spreads much wider than the site.

Accommodation in and around Hamilton was booked out months in advance.

We only made the decision to go last Tuesday and ended up staying in Auckland.

We can’t have been the only ones. When we returned the rental car with an apology for the dirt, the man receiving it laughed and said it was just one of many that showed signs of a visit to the Fieldays.

The mood among farmers and exhibitors was buoyant – and the response at this stand was very positive:

fieldays14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These four MPs, Scott Simpson, Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, Louise Upston and Todd McLay, and volunteers were very busy.

Labour has given up on farming, and as a consequence of that, the provinces. Farmers, the people who work for, service and supply them are seriously worried about the negative impacts a change of government will bring.

Organising an event as big as the Fieldays is a a major undertaking.

From the efficiency and friendliness of the ticket sellers at the entrance, the layout, range of exhibitors, quality and variety of food for sale, to the cleanliness of the loos – which is no small task with all those exhibitors and visitors – I have nothing but praise.

But I do have a major complaint about the traffic management.

We left Auckland at 6:30 on Friday morning. We got to a queue of vehicles 9 kilometres from the site at 8:30 and finally got to the car park at 11:40.

A couple of hours into the stop-start crawl I began to worry that I’d need a loo before we got there.

Eventually I started walking and came across a police officer at a round-about. He directed me to Regal Haulage a few hundred metres up the road where the receptionist greeted my plea for help with a smile and took me to their loo.

She turned down my offer to pay but I left a note anyway, telling her to shout herself a treat or give it to charity – it was worth every cent.

Our previous visit to the Fieldays was six years ago. We’d hit a long queue to the entrance on the Friday then too but put that down to leaving Auckland too late which is why we left so early.

But the problem wasn’t timing it was traffic management which requires a serious re-think.

If it’s not practical to close the road past the site to traffic going in the opposite direction they need to use cones to make two lanes going there in the morning and away in the afternoon and they need more entrances.

An alternative or addition to that would be to create parks some distance from the site and provide buses from there.

We’ll go back to the Fieldays in a few years but unless we can be sure of better traffic management we’re very unlikely to go back on a Friday.


Let’s look at all public land

16/06/2014

Federated Mountain Clubs (FMC) have launched a campaign to get better protection for  conservation stewardship lands. 

” . . . They are our Forgotten Lands and make up most of the land managed by DOC outside of our national parks and reserves. They include magnificent mountains, forests and coastal areas that we should expect to be safe, such as The Remarkables near Queenstown and the Coromandel Peninsula forests”, said FMC President, Robin McNeill.

Stewardship lands make up 30% of all the land managed by DOC and they have been overlooked by politicians since DOC was formed in 1987.

“In the last few years, Meridian Energy came close to drowning the Mokihinui Valley;Bob Robertson wanted to bulldoze his way through the Snowdon Forest for a monorail and Solid Energy started to mine the Denniston Plateau”, said Mr McNeill. “Because they are not in national parks or reserves, businesses wrongly think they aren’t valuable. Some of these lands should be in national parks”. . .

He could be right, it’s possible some of that land should be in National Parks.

But it’s also possible some land in National Parks shouldn’t be and that some land under DOC management shouldn’t be in public ownership.

It would be good to have a comprehensive look at all publicly owned land and determine whether it has conservation or other values which justify continued public ownership or whether it could be sold.

The money gained from the sale could be put to better use such as taking better care of land which ought to remain publicly owned.


Stones from glass house

16/06/2014

The Labour Party has been caught throwing stones from a glass house – again:

A wealthy Auckland businessman, whose links to the National Party led to a minister’s resignation, also made a secret $15,000 donation to the Labour Party – and hosted a Cabinet minister at a lavish dinner in China.

The Labour Party has previously accused the Government of “cash for access” deals with Donghua Liu, who received citizenship after lobbying from National minister Maurice Williamson and whose hotel was later opened by Prime Minister John Key.

But the Herald can reveal Liu, 53, also paid $15,000 at a Labour Party auction in 2007 for a book signed by Helen Clark, the Prime Minister at the time, according to a party source.

The source said Liu also hosted Rick Barker, the then Internal Affairs Minister, at a dinner in his hometown of Chongqing.

Mr Barker, who is now a regional councillor in Hawkes Bay, confirmed he was a guest at the dinner and also visited Liu’s cement company while on holiday in China

But he said he was not aware Liu was a Labour donor and he was not in China on official business as a minister. . .

Political donations made at fundraising auctions or dinners are not recorded individually, but the total amount raised is declared. . . .

Kiwiblog corrects that last statement:

. . . If a donation at an auction or dinner is larger than the disclosure threshold it must be declared with the identity of the individual who made it.

The disclosure limit in 2007 was $10,000. Liu donated $15,000 to Labour. The party should have declared him as a donor. . .

This is yet another Labour failure to abide by the disclosure rules.

There is another interesting aspect to this story – it comes from a party source.

That points to instability and unhappiness in the party’s ranks and raises some questions:

Who knew about the donation then who is in caucus now or still active in the party?

Why didn’t s/he/they warn the MPs attacking National over Liu that they were throwing stones from a glass house?

What has prompted the source of the story to talk now and what else does s/he know that the public ought to know too?


Voters led they weren’t led

16/06/2014

Discussions on whether National could or should come to an accommodation with the Conservative Party over an electorate seat have missed big differences between what its leader Colin Craig  wants and what’s happened with other parties and seats.

Existing accommodation were led by voters.

Peter Dunne already held his seat before it was suggested National voters would be better to give him their electorate votes.

Rodney Hide won his seat when then-Epsom MP Richard Worth was trying to hold it.

Both were already MPs.

That is very different from trying to lead people away from MPs like Maggie Barry, Murray McCully or Mark Mitchell who hold their seats with good majorities or Paula Bennett who is expected to win the new one she’s contesting and expect them to vote for a candidate who’s not an MP.

Voters leading as they did with Dunne and Hide, then Banks, is democracy in action. Voters had options and they chose to use them.

Trying to lead them as Craig hopes to do is something else and there’s a danger that attempting it could lose National more votes than the Conservatives gained.

The Conservatives have a constituency but it’s not a large one and just as the idea of a government with the Green, Internet and Mana parties put some voters off Labour, any whiff of an accommodation with the Conservatives could put people off National.


Casey Kasem – 27.4.32 – 15.6.14

16/06/2014

The man who counted down the American Top-40 for decades, Casey Kasem, has died.

Kasem was already a popular disc jockey in Los Angeles when he became the host of “American Top 40” in 1970. The syndicated show, which counted down the 40 most popular songs in the United States based on Billboard magazine’s Hot 100 music chart, began on just seven radio stations but quickly became a mainstay of thousands, all around the world.

“When we first went on the air, I thought we would be around for at least 20 years. I knew the formula worked. I knew people tuned in to find out what the No. 1 record was,” he told Variety in 1989.

Kasem’s first No. 1, concluding the “AT40” premiere show of July 4, 1970, was Three Dog Night’s “Mama Told Me (Not to Come).” His last on successor show “American Top 20,” almost exactly 39 years later, was “Second Chance” by Shinedown.

But the show wasn’t just about finding out who was No. 1.

Its features, included biographical details on performs, flashbacks, album cuts and Kasem’s “long-distance dedication” for listeners who wrote to dedicate songs to friends and loved ones far away.

Kasem, whose baritone was always friendly and upbeat, delivered these in his most sympathetic voice, warm enough to melt butter. “Dear Casey,” he began, and would read an emotional letter from a listener who wanted to connect with an old flame, express regret to a new love or send wishes to a far-flung family member.

The first one, for example, was from a male listener who wanted to dedicate Neil Diamond’s “Desiree” to a sweetheart named Desiree who was moving to Germany.

The show, originally three hours, expanded to four in the late ’70s. . .

My family,a nd those of many of my firends, didn’t have television in the early 70s.

We listened to the radio and Kasem’s show was one of those we listened to most weeks.

 


Why don’t they lead by example?

16/06/2014

The Internet Mana Party has launched a petition wanting to end the 5% threshold and get rid of the coat-tail prevision.

Internet Party leader Laila Harre is relying on Hone Harawira to win his northern Maori seat in order to get into Parliament as the alliance is only attracting 1.3% of the vote.

However, despite a plan to do it, Internet and Mana want the coat tailing provision gone.

“So what happens at the moment is a person can win an electorate seat with less than 7,000 votes but if you don’t have an electorate seat then you’ve got to get 100,000 (votes) just to get your member into parliament now that’s ridiculous, it’s unfair,” says Mana Party leader Hone Harawira.

Tonight the alliance is launching an online petition calling for the immediate scrapping of coat tailing and the lowering of the MMP’s 5% threshold. . . .

They will be pushing this petition at the same time they’re campaigning to be elected as the oddest-couple MMP has yet served up to voters.

Is there no end  their hypocrisy?

If they want the coat-tailing provision gone they should lead by example and decouple their two disparate parties.

 

 


June 16 in history

16/06/2014

1487  Battle of Stoke Field, the final engagement of the Wars of the Roses.

1586 Mary, Queen of Scots, recognised Philip II of Spain as her heir.

1738 –  Mary Katharine Goddard, American printer and publisher, was born (d. 1816).

1745  British troops took  Cape Breton Island,.

1745 – Sir William Pepperell captured the French Fortress Louisbourg,  during the War of the Austrian Succession.

1746  War of Austrian Succession: Austria and Sardinia defeated a Franco-Spanish army at the Battle of Piacenza.

1755  French and Indian War: the French surrendered Fort Beauséjour to the British, leading to the expulsion of the Acadians.

1779  Spain declared war on  Great Britain, and the siege of Gibraltar began.

1815  Battle of Ligny and Battle of Quatre Bras, two days before the Battle of Waterloo.

1821 Old Tom Morris, Scottish golfer, was born (d. 1908).

1829 Geronimo, Apache leader, was born  (d. 1909).

1836  The formation of the London Working Men’s Association gave rise to the Chartist Movement.

1846  The Papal conclave of 1846 concluded. Pius IX was elected pope, beginning the longest reign in the history of the papacy (not counting St. Peter).

1858  Abraham Lincoln delivered his House Divided speech in Springfield, Illinois.

1858  Battle of Morar during the Indian Mutiny.

1871  The University Tests Act allowed students to enter the Universities of Oxford,  Cambridge and Durham without religious tests, except for courses in theology.

1883  The Victoria Hall theatre panic in Sunderland killed 183 children.

1890 Stan Laurel, British actor and comedian, was born  (d. 1965).

1891 John Abbott became Canada’s third prime minister.

1897  A treaty annexing the Republic of Hawaii to the United States was signed.

1903  The Ford Motor Company was incorporated.

1903– Roald Amundsen commenced the first east-west navigation of the Northwest Passage.

1904  Eugen Schauman assassinated Nikolai Bobrikov, Governor-General of Finland.

1904 Irish author James Joyce began a relationship with Nora Barnacle, and subsequently used the date to set the actions for his novel Ulysses; traditionally “Bloomsday“.

1911  A 772 gram stony meteorite struck the earth near Kilbourn, Columbia County, Wisconsin damaging a barn.

1912 Enoch Powell, British politician, was born  (d. 1998).

1915  The foundation of the British Women’s Institute.

1922  General election in Irish Free State: large majority to pro-Treaty Sinn Féin.

1923 Baby farmer Daniel Cooper was hanged.

Baby-farmer Daniel Cooper hanged

1924  The Whampoa Military Academy was founded.

1925  The most famous Young Pioneer camp of the USSR, Artek, was established.

1929 Pauline Yates, English actress, was born.

1930 Sovnarkom established decree time in the USSR.

1934 Dame Eileen Atkins, English actress, was born.

1937 Erich Segal, American author, was born  (d. 2010).

1938  Joyce Carol Oates, American novelist, was born.

1940  World War II: Marshal Henri Philippe Pétain becomes Premier of Vichy France.

1939 Billy Crash Craddock, American country singer, was born.

1940 – A Communist government was installed in Lithuania.

1948 The storming of the cockpit of the Miss Macao passenger seaplane, operated by a subsidiary of the Cathay Pacific Airways, marked the first aircraft hijacking of a commercial plane.

1955 Pope Pius XII excommunicated Juan Perón.

1958  Imre Nagy, Pál Maléter and other leaders of the 1956 Hungarian Uprising were executed.

1961  Rudolf Nureyev defected at Le Bourget airport in Paris.

1963   Vostok 6 Mission – Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space.

1967  The three-day Monterey International Pop Music Festival began.

1972 Red Army Faction member Ulrike Meinhof was captured by police in Langenhagen.

1972  The largest single-site hydro-electric power project in Canada started at Churchill Falls, Labrador.

1976 Soweto uprising: a non-violent march by 15,000 students in Soweto turned into days of rioting when police open fire on the crowd and kill 566 children.

1977 Oracle Corporation was incorporated as Software Development Laboratories (SDL) by Larry Ellison, Bob Miner and Ed Oates.

1989  Imre Nagy, the former Hungarian Prime Minister, was reburied in Budapest.

1997 The Dairat Labguer massacre in Algeria; 50 people killed.

2000 Israel complied with UN Security Council Resolutiwen 425  and withdrew from all of Lebanon, except the disputed Sheba Farms.

2010 – Bhutan became the first country to institute a total ban on tobacco.

2012 – China successfully launched its Shenzhou 9 spacecraft, carrying three astronauts – including the first female Chinese astronaut, Liu Yang – to the Tiangong-1 orbital module.

2012 – The United States Air Force’s robotic Boeing X-37B spaceplane returned to Earth after a classified 469-day orbital mission.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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