Going without alcohol

June 22, 2014

Tonight’s Sunday feature Mrs D is Going Without was a powerful and moving story.

Lotta Dann told how alcohol came to dominate her life and how she gave it up.

One of the things which helped her was her blog – Mrs D Is Going Without .

There will be very few people who don’t have someone with alcohol problems in their circle of family and friends.

Not all those with problems will be alcoholics.

Many who are will be high functioning and manage to go about normal life in spite of their addiction.

Going public as Lotta did tonight took a lot of courage, I know of one family who has already found it has provided help.

 

 

 


Political story of the day

June 22, 2014

A new candidate needs to get noticed but the run-of-the-mill campaign launch isn’t going to do it.

National’s Clutha Southland candidate Todd Barclay chose a novel way to launch his campaign and was rewarded with nation-wide TV coverage:

. . . Queenstown Bay was also the site of an unlikely campaign launch for Clutha-Southland National candidate Todd Barclay.

“People take politics quite seriously and so do I, but I still want to demonstrate that I can get out there and have a bit of fun as well,” says Mr Barclay.

Almost derailed before his team left the jetty, Mr Barclay was the last to leave his sinking ship.

“My relative youth some people see as an issue, but I think that’s a strength. We want to put a play on that goes to show that age is no barrier. We are getting involved and having a bit of fun.”

And while his predecessor admired the novel campaign launch, he didn’t seem too bothered he wasn’t invited to participate.

“I wasn’t even asked or even tempted,” says Deputy Prime Minister Bill English. “I wasn’t even invited. I just stick to meetings in town halls.”

But he did have plenty of advice for his young replacement.

“He needs to work pretty hard to earn the right to represent people here because it’s been a National seat. They actually expect the National Party candidate to work harder than anyone else and that’s what he’s doing.”

There’s little doubt Mr English will be a tough act to follow, but it seems Mr Barclay isn’t too bad at keeping his head above water. . .

Having fun is important, especially when you’re working with volunteers as Todd is.

He made a splash with his campaign launch and he’s working very hard to meet people throughout the 38,247 square kilometres of the electorate he’s seeking to represent.

He knows he has to earn the right to be the MP and he’s taking nothing for granted.


Labour delays list annoucnement

June 22, 2014

Labour was to have announced it party list for the 2014 election today.

The announcement has now been delayed until tomorrow:

How could there be anything else but difficulties with a female quota and polls suggesting at best only one or two sitting MPs will make it back in on the list?


Word of the day

June 22, 2014

Frenemy –  a person or group that is friendly toward another because the relationship brings benefits, despite a fundamental dislike and feelings of resentment or rivalry; a person who is ostensibly friendly or collegial with someone but who is actually antagonistic or competitive; an enemy disguised as a friend.


101 ways for councils to cut rates

June 22, 2014

The Taxpayers’ Union has published a new report by Jono Brown that suggest ways local councils can save money and reduce the rates burden on New Zealanders.

Rate Saver Report: 101 Ways to Save Money in Local Government is a guide for local authorities on how they can cut waste, save money, reduce bureaucracy and ultimately lower rates. The report adopts many suggestions made by the country’s mayors, and is based on similar reports published in the United Kingdom. . . .

Too often we hear unimaginative councillors insisting that they have no choice but to increase the rates burden. Before they even consider increasing rates they should consider all of the suggestions in this report.  In future, any council claiming that raising rates is the only option had better be able to prove that they have implemented or at least considered implementing every single idea we are putting before them today. If not, they won’t be able to look their residents in the eye and insist that they have exhausted the possibilities for saving money.

Ray Wallace, Mayor of Lower Hutt, says in a foreword to the report:

“I urge local government people to take these suggestions as a challenge. If you do not like them, come up with some better ones.”

Tim Shadbolt, Mayor of Invercargill City, says in a foreword to the report:

“Having been a mayor for 28 years and finally achieving a rate increase of less than 1%, I’ve learnt to face many challenges and this publication is certainly challenging. Some of the ideas are obviously worthy of discussion and others are clearly designed to provoke discussion.”

Highlights of how councils can save money:

  • Pay back council debt (#1)
  • Incentivise innovation (#2)
  • Stop providing free lunch and booze for councillors (#3)
  • Don’t fund or join chambers of commerce (#4)
  • Publish all accounts payable transactions (#5)

Other notable suggestions include:

  • Scrap political advisors (#10)
  • Get rid of professional sports subsidies disguised as ‘economic development’ (#17)
  • Cancel annual subscription to Local Government New Zealand (#24)
  • Stop producing glossy brochures (#33)
  • Lease art the council can’t sell (#99)

Rates are a large part of the tax burden which add unnecessary expense for ratepayers and hold New Zealand back.

Some costs are the result of imposition by central government, but some are a result of insufficient attention to efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Not all of the suggestions will work for all councils, but this report is a very good place for those wanting to rescue their costs and give ratepayers better value is a very good place to start.

The full report is here.

 


Rural round-up

June 22, 2014

In the rush to all things digital, are we missing a biological trick? – sticK:

New Zealand is missing a trick when it comes to the startup weekend, incubator, accelerator programme ecosystem that’s got lots of attention lately.

And sure, I can appreciate how the digital side of things is extremely quick at developing and validating a business through processes such as Lightning Lab.

Where I wonder if we’re underplaying to one of our strengths, is in the biology/technology economy (the analogue economy perhaps?).

What would be the new research and commercialisation projects if we had fired up scientists, engineers, manufacturers,  hands-on finance and distribution people, digital experts and some other odd and even people hothoused in a similar way to the incubator models? . . .

Cracking sheep source code vindicates grower support:

AgResearch’s internationally led mapping of the sheep genome is not just an unprecedented opportunity for New Zealand, but vindicates growers backing the creation of Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics.

“With the loss of lowland pasture Federated Farmers is keen to see sheep bred with traits to thrive in hill and high country farms. Mapping the sheep genome is a crucial breakthrough,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairperson.

“We back the sheep industry to grow and genetic mapping will be of immense benefit to wool should farmers approve a proposed levy vote later in the year.

“We think it was said best at the KPMG Agribusiness Leader’s Breakfast at Fieldays, one megatrend could be beef, lamb and wool as high value luxury consumer goods. . . .

Electric farm bike under development:

Developers of an electric farm bike are hoping to put their idea into production over the next year.

Anthony Clyde and Darryl Neal’s Ranger-two wheel drive Lightweight Electric Farm Bike won two innovation awards at the Agricultural Fieldays.

Darryl Neal said the bike had been on the drawing board for about three years, but it was a rush to get a prototype built to display at the fieldays.

He said the concept grew from people who wanted to use bicycles on farms. . .

Prices and Sales Volume Lifting in Strong May Market:

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 52 more farm sales (+10.2%) for the three months ended May 2014 than for the three months ended May 2013. Overall, there were 564 farm sales in the three months to end of May 2014, compared to 498 farm sales for the three months ended April 2014 (+13.3%). 1,881 farms were sold in the year to May 2014, 26.2% more than were sold in the year to May 2013.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to May 2014 was $25,018 compared to $20,499 recorded for three months ended May 2013 (+22.0%). The median price per hectare rose 1.8% compared to April. . . .

Dead heat for farmers and dentists on ‘most trusted professions’ list:

Farmers are tied with dentists as New Zealand’s fourteenth most trusted profession in Readers Digest New Zealand’s Most Trusted Professions 2014.

“It is gratifying to see farmers held in such respect by this Reader’s Digest survey,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President and 2014 Landcorp Agricultural Communicator of the Year.

“It is telling the company you keep. Being well within the top 20 means farmers are there with the professions that defend you and your animals, the people who feed you, the people who educate and the people who literally move you.

“Like any profession we have our share of ratbags but this survey demonstrates that most New Zealanders know farmers are hard working decent folk who genuinely try our hardest. . . .

Australia still owns the farm

DESPITE an increase in farmland owned by businesses with some level of foreign investment, Australia’s farms and farm businesses remain largely Australian-owned.

Figures released yesterday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in its 2013 Agricultural Land and Water Ownership survey (ALWOS) show just under 99 per cent of Australian farm businesses are fully Australian-owned and just under 90pc of farmland is fully Australian owned.

Bruce Hockman from the ABS said the survey also confirmed that large businesses continue to account for the majority of foreign owned farmland, with less than 50 businesses accounting for 95pc of the total area of foreign owned farmland in Australia. . . .


Patsy Byrne 13.7.33 – 17.6.14

June 22, 2014

British actress Patsy Byrne who played Nursie in Blackadder has died.


Hard to impress

June 22, 2014

Open large picture

Hard to Impress ©2014 Brian Andreas – Published with permission.
The lovely folk at Story People will email a daily dose of whimsy like this to you if you sign up at the link above.

List problems will add to Labour’s woes

June 22, 2014

Ranking its candidates on the party list would be difficult enough for Labour if it was polling strongly, as it is several MPs will be very worried about whether or not they will retain their seats.

That concern will be even greater for men because the party changed the rules to require at least 45% of MPs to be women.

Matthew Hooton writes of Labour’s looming list crisis:

. . .  nearly two-thirds of Labour’s electorate MPs are likely to be men and just 36% women.

To compensate for this Y chromosome surplus – and that the highest ranked list-only member must be deputy leader David Parker, a male, at least the next six spots must go to women . these are the only list places Labour can realistically expect to win . . .

Claire Trevett also writes on the problem the party faces with its list:

The party’s low polling makes the news worse for male candidates relying on the list. It is expecting to win at least 28 electorates, 5 more than at present. That will give it two more female electorate MPs than present – Carmel Sepuloni and Jenny Salesa are in safe seats.

However, if Labour gets 30 per cent at the election that leaves only 8 places for List MPs – and 6 of those would have to go to women if it is to meet the 45 per cent.

That would not be enough to get all of the current List MPs back. It could put the likes of Clayton Cosgrove, Andrew Little and Kelvin Davis at risk of missing out if more women are ranked above them to ensure the 45 per cent target was safely passed. . . .

It’s the party vote that counts but those who think they have a better chance in an electorate than on the list might put their personal ambition to stay, or get in, to parliament ahead of their loyalty to the party.

That will only add to Labour’s woes.

It would be in a difficult position with its list-ranking anyway. Its determination to have a female quota has added to its troubles.


Show us the money

June 22, 2014

Last week wasn’t one of Labour’s finest and it would be hard to get a worse start to this week than the news that Donghua Liu spent more than $150,000 on the previous Labour government, including $100,000 on a bottle of wine signed by former prime minister Helen Clark at a party fundraiser.

The embarrassing revelations are contained in a signed statement from Liu, which the Herald on Sunday has obtained.

They come at the end of a horror week for Labour, already under pressure after the New Zealand Herald revealed that Liu paid $15,000 for a book at the same fundraiser in 2007. Labour has said it had no record of any donations from Liu. And leader David Cunliffe had to fight to keep his job after revelations he wrote a letter for Liu’s residency, despite previous denials. . .

he latest developments have sparked calls for a police inquiry.

“This is scandalous from the public’s perspective. There has to be some sort of official investigation, whether it’s a police one or a parliamentary one,” said political commentator Bryce Edwards. “There must be some sort of official investigation, whether it’s a police or parliamentary.”

Asked about a potential investigation under electoral finance laws, Liu’s lawyer Todd Simmonds indicated that Liu was comfortable with his financial support and would cooperate with any inquiry.

Cunliffe last night dodged questions, saying it was a “matter for Labour Party’s head office”. Labour Party general secretary Tim Barnett said the party had no record of the donation.

Liu’s signed statement was dated May 3, two days after Williamson’s resignation. It said:

• Liu paid “close to $100,000” for wine at a 2007 Labour Party fundraiser;

• That he spent $50-60,000 hosting then-labour minister Rick Barker on a cruise on the Yangtze River in China in 2007; and

• That Liu visited Barker in Hawke’s Bay in 2006, having dinner with him at an exclusive lodge and then meeting for breakfast the next morning. Liu said he made a donation to Hawke’s Bay Rowing, which Barker was associated with.

Barker previously told the Herald that he could barely remember having dinner.

Last night Barker, now a regional councillor, said the revelations came “as a surprise and a complete reversal” of Liu’s previous comments.

Edwards said while it was not clear if Labour had broken any laws, public confidence in the party had been dented. . .

Edwards added that although the blame did not lie with Cunliffe personally, he had to deal with egg on his face. “It does create a charge of hypocrisy because he’s campaigned strongly against the Government relationship with Donghua Liu and it appears Labour’s relationship is just as deep.”

Liu yesterday told the Herald that his donations had been in good faith without any expectation. “It is over to the politicians to make any appropriate declarations. . .

MPs  don’t always, perhaps even usually, know the details of who gives how much money to their parties.

That is to separate them from any accusations of money for favours.

But if the NZ Herald could get a photo of Liu’s wife accepting a bottle of wine from an MP, surely someone in the party could have too before they started slinging mud at National?

Surely someone who was there could remember the event and if not the exact sum, that it was a biggie?

Surely someone in Labour – whether currently involved or not –  who had the party’s interests at heart would have remembered someone paying close to $100,000 for a bottle of wine at a fund-raiser and reminded Cunliffe of that before he led the charge and devoted weeks trying to dirty National instead of concentrating on what really matters.

In his last few interviews he’s finally got his lines straight on that – the sideshows he’s tried to orchestrate to dirty national aren’t what matters but his problem is hypocrisy and poor political management do concern voters and he and his party are continuing to show both.

Before this latest revelation, Duncan Garner called Labour under David Cunliffe a train wreck.

. . . When Cunliffe utters a word or two these days the collective intake of breath among his MPs is simply frightening.

He’s had a host of gaffes this year – and the best he’s looked was when he shut up and stood in the background while his wife, Karen Price, talked about the birds (chickens) and the bees in an interview at their home.

Cunliffe was parachuted into the job of leader, not because his MPs really wanted him – most dislike him – but because Labour Party members and union affiliates were desperate for someone to articulate their values.

To say he’s been a disappointment is an understatement. After this week’s horrors he looks unelectable as the next prime minister. He’s genuinely gone from bad to worse. . .

John Armstrong said Cunliffe has steered Labour on to the rocks:

When it comes to casting aspersions, few insults are as venomous, vicious or more driven by utter contempt than accusing someone of being a “scab”.

That is particularly the case on the left of the political spectrum where the battles of old between capital and labour provided the source of the term to describe those who broke rank from the union and who were then ostracised forever.

A workforce which is now largely non-unionised has made such name-calling far more infrequent, and at times sound rather dated.

But there was nothing quaint about the leader of the Labour Party this week insinuating colleagues who did not give him their full support were scabs.

It was astonishing. It implied treachery in the extreme. What the outburst really revealed was someone looking for scapegoats for his own self-inflicted woes. . .

It wasn’t the letter written 11 years ago and forgotten about that did the damage.

It was that he’s fronted months of attacks on National for links to donors without the political nous to ensure that he and his party were squeaky clean first.

Where the leader’s chief of staff and supposed political strategist Matt McCarten was in this mess is not obvious. But whether or not he was let down by others,  Cunliffe led the attack without having first secured his own position.

Mud clings to the hand that throws it and this week Cunliffe managed to splatter himself, and his party with it.

But having steered the ship on to the rocks, he’s not about to hand over the captaincy, and it’s doubtful anyone could be found willing to accept responsibility for the leaky boat.

Today’s revelations have endangered the boat even more.

Liu said he donated a large sum of money to Labour. The party says it has no record of it.

That’s a very big breach of electoral law and raises a very big question – if the party has no record of the donation where did it go?

And to add to accusations against the party which tries to show itself as welcoming of diversity, let’s not forget the Labour used someone who was granted residency by a Labour Immigration minister to score political points and there’s a nasty undertone, deliberate or not of xenophobia in their attacks:

“However, because I’ve built relationships with politicians, made donations, because it’s election year and, dare I say, because I’m Chinese, I suppose I’ve been an easy target for some to gain some political mileage and score some points.”

In the last election campaign, Phil Goff was let down by his then finance spokesman, Cunliffe, when he was asked to show us the money for his policies.

Less than three months from the next election, the party is going to have to show us the missing money or confirm that a party which can’t account for money it’s been given for its own use can’t be trusted to handle money it takes from taxpayers for public use.

 


Sunday soapbox

June 22, 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.

"It's not what happens to you that matters. It's how you respond to what happens to you that makes a difference."- Zig Ziglar more at Tom Ziglar


June 22 in history

June 22, 2014

217 BC  Battle of Raphia: Ptolemy IV of Egypt defeated Antiochus III the Great of the Seleucid kingdom.

168 BC  Battle of Pydna: Romans under Lucius Aemilius Paullus defeated and captured Macedonian King Perseus, ending the Third Macedonian War.

1593 Battle of Sisak: Allied Christian troops defeated the Turks.

1633  The Holy Office in Rome forced Galileo Galilei to recant his view that the Sun, not the Earth, is the center of the Universe.

1680 Ebenezer Erskine, Scottish religious dissenter, was born  (d. 1754).

1713 Lord John Philip Sackville, English MP and cricketer, was born  (d. 1765).

1757 George Vancouver, British explorer, was born  (d. 1798).

1783  A poisonous cloud from Laki volcanic eruption in Iceland reached Le Havre in France .

1825  The British Parliament abolished feudalism and the seigneurial system in British North America.

1844  North American fraternity Delta Kappa Epsilon was founded at Yale University.

1845 Tom Dula, American folk character (Tom Dooley) was born (d. 1868).

1848  Beginning of the June Days Uprising in Paris.

1856  H. Rider Haggard, English author, was born  (d. 1925).

1887 Julian Huxley, British biologist, was born (d. 1975).

1893  The Royal Navy battleship HMS Camperdown accidentally rammed the British Mediterranean Fleet flagship HMS Victoria which sank taking 358 crew with her, including the fleet’s commander, Vice-Admiral Sir George Tryon.

1897  British colonial officers Rand and Ayerst were assassinated in Pune, Maharashtra, India by the Chapekar brothers and Ranade. They are considered the first martyrs to the cause of India’s freedom from Britain.

1898  Spanish-American War: United States Marines landed in Cuba.

1906 Anne Morrow Lindbergh, American author and pilot, was born  (d. 2001).

1906  The Flag of Sweden was adopted.

1907  The London Underground’s Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway opened.

1910  John Hunt, Leader of the 1953 British Expedition to Mount Everest, was born (d. 1998).

1911  George V and Mary of Teck were crowned King and Queen.

1918  The Hammond circus train wreck killed 86 and injured 127 near Hammond, Indiana.

1919  The Flag of the Faroe Islands was raised for the first time.

1922 Bill Blass, American fashion designer, was born (d. 2002).

1922  Herrin massacre: 19 strikebreakers and 2 union miners were killed in Herrin, Illinois.

1932 Prunella Scales, English actress, was born.

1936 Kris Kristofferson, American singer/songwriter and actor, was born.

1940 France was forced to sign the Second Compiègne armistice with Germany.

1941  Germany invaded the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa. Russian The 22 June song is devoted to this day.

1941  The June Uprising in Lithuania began.

1941  Various Communist and Socialist French Resistance movements merged to one group.

1942  Erwin Rommel was promoted to Field Marshal after the capture of Tobruk.

1944 Peter Asher, British singer, guitarist and producer (Peter & Gordon), was born.

1944  Opening day of the Soviet Union’s Operation Bagration against Army Group Centre.

1949 Meryl Streep, American actress. was born.

1953 – Cyndi Lauper, American singer, was born.

1954  Pauline Parker, 16, and her best friend Juliet Hulme, 15,  killed Pauline’s mother, Honora, in Victoria Park, Christchurch.

Parker-Hulme murder in Christchurch

1957 Garry Gary Beers, Australian bassist from group INXS, was born.

1957  The Soviet Union launched an R-12 missile for the first time (in Kapustin Yar).

1962  An Air France Boeing 707 jet crashed in bad weather in Guadeloupe, West Indies killing 113.

1964 Dan Brown, American author, was born.

1969  The Cuyahoga River caught fire, which triggered a crack-down on pollution in the river.

1978 Charon, a satellite of the dwarf planet Pluto, was discovered.

1984 Virgin Atlantic Airways launched with its first flight from London Heathrow Airport.

2003  The largest hailstone ever recorded fell in Aurora, Nebraska

2009 June 22, 2009 Washington Metro train collision: Two Metro trains collided  in Washington, D.C., killing 9 and injuring over 80.

2009 – Eastman Kodak Company announced that it would discontinue sales of the Kodachrome Color Film, concluding its 74-year run as a photography icon.

2012 – Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo is removed from office by impeachment and succeeded by Federico Franco.

2012 – A Turkish Air Force McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II fighter plane was shot down by the Syrian Armed Forces, killing both of the plane’s pilots and worsening already-strained relations between Turkey and Syria.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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