Word of the day

July 20, 2014

Poppysmic – the sound produced by smacking lips together.


Rural round-up

July 20, 2014

Back agriculture back our Roads:

Federated Farmers welcomes the Government’s announcement to increase investment in our deteriorating rural roads, but has concerns at whether it will be enough.

“A proposed increase of 4.3 percent per annum for local road improvements, and a 2.4 percent increase for local road maintenance, is long overdue but it remains to be seen whether it is enough.” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers Local Government Spokesperson.

“To date, the investment in our rural roads has not kept up with inflation and it is evident in each pot hole and/or goat track that farmers, families, school buses and contractors navigate everyday.

“We are pleased this is now being addressed but is it a sufficient recognition of the importance of roading to an economy reliant on primary production, and in turn it’s long rural roads? . . .

More places earmarked for rural medical students:

Health Minister Tony Ryall has today announced there will be an additional 34 medical places for students next year at our two medical schools, including more positions earmarked for rural students.

Mr Ryall made the announcement at Taumarunui Hospital, a busy rural health facility in the King Country with around 100 staff. 

“Research shows that students who grew up in rural areas, such as Taumarunui, are more likely to go back and work in those areas. These extra places will help encourage more doctors to work in our rural communities,” says Mr Ryall.

“Since 2009 this government has now funded 170 extra medical school places. . . .

New Zealand Seafood Industry Assures Australian Consumers that its Seafood is Sustainable:

The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) list of imported fish that it’s telling consumers to stay away from, sounds like an ‘underarm delivery’ to the New Zealand industry.

Seafood New Zealand’s Chairman George Clement says it seems that the AMCS is has just gone through a list of imported seafood to arbitrarily warn people against most of it.

“Species by species, as we go through them, we can see how misinformed the AMCS report is. They’ve provided no transparent criteria nor openness in their assessments. There’s no indication that they have actually challenged themselves to examine the facts when they’ve drawn up their list.” . . .

Seafood New Zealand welcomes community funding for seabird conservation work:

Seafood New Zealand today welcomed Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith’s announcement that the Government will provide $300,000 of funding to two community groups to support their work in protecting some of New Zealand’s special seabirds.

The seafood industry is one of the founding partners in the Southern Seabird Solutions Trust which has received $100,000 towards a seabird smart recreational fishing initiative that aims to reduce the number of birds accidentally caught by recreational fishers in the upper North Island. . . .

From the last will and testament of a farmer c1986 – Gravedodger:

To my Wife,  my bank overdraft. Maybe she has an explanation for it.

To my Banker, I bequeath my soul, he has the mortgage on it anyway.

To my nearest and dearest neighbor, my clown suit, he claims he is going to carry on farming.

To The Rural Bank, my grain silo and my Fertilizer Bin, he has them as chattel security anyway.

To the local scrap metal dealer, every item of crap machinery I have gone to extraordinary lengths to keep from his possession. . . .

Otago woman named NZ’s top young amenity horticulturist:

New Zealand’s top young amenity horticulturist has been found after an intense day of competition at the Young Amenity Horticulturist of the Year event in Hamilton yesterday.

The annual competition is run by the New Zealand Recreation Association (NZRA) and serves as the qualifier for the prestigious Horticulturist of the Year competition, which will be hosted in Auckland in November.

Otago woman Sarah Fenwick emerged as the judge’s choice after planning, planting and potting her way to victory. The 30-year-old former vet nurse narrowly beat second place getter Josh van der Hulst, from Kamo, to take out the prize. . . .

Tax officials to work with bloodstock breeding industry:

Racing Minister Nathan Guy and Revenue Minister Todd McClay have confirmed that Inland Revenue officials will work with the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association on a number of tax issues raised by the industry.

The issues cover questions the NZTBA has over the application of tax rules for the industry and are expected to be dealt with as part of the normal consultative process between the private sector and tax officials.

“We are confident that the majority of the issues can be worked through, providing a positive result and greater certainty for what is an important industry to New Zealand,” Mr McClay says. . . .

Entries open for New Zealand’s largest A&P Show:

Show organisers for the 2014 Canterbury A&P Show are calling upon showing enthusiasts from throughout New Zealand to send in their entries and compete in the country’s largest Agricultural and Pastoral Show. For over 150 years, The Show has been attracting and showcasing New Zealand’s best animals and talented competitors. In addition to showing success, exhibitors will be competing for over $100,000 in prize money.

More than 3000 animals and close to 1000 competitors are expected to compete in 1700 classes including sections for horse and pony, beef and dairy cattle, sheep, alpaca, llama, wool, goat, dog trials, poultry, shearing and woolhandling, woodchopping and vintage machinery. Entries are also open for two of the feature competitions of The Show – the Mint Lamb Competition where New Zealand’s top lambs are put to a taste test, and the Young Auctioneers Competition where up-and-coming stock agents get to show off their skills. . . .


Heaven II

July 20, 2014

Open large picture

She said you know what heaven is like? & I said I wasn’t sure & she laughed & said grown-ups didn’t know much at all about important stuff & I said I had to agree with her even though I was one of them myself.

©2014 Brian Andreas – Published with permission.

If you’;d like a daily dose of whimsy like this by email you’ll find a place to sign-up at the link above.


Content, stable and successful . . .

July 20, 2014

While support for parties gets the most attention in polls, another important indicator is whether or not people think the country is heading in the right direction.

The trend for that is positive.

Nearly two-thirds of Kiwis think we’re heading in the right direction. #Working4NZ #TeamKey http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/5684-roy-morgan-new-zealand-voting-intention-july-16-2014-201407160655
This doesn’t mean there’s no more to be done, but it does indicate that more people believe we’re getting there.
One of the reasons for this level of approval is the leadership of Prime Minister John Key.

From the last page. #3moreyears

Leading by example is the best form of leadership and the PM does that.

He had a good role model in his mother and has succeeded as a result of his own efforts, showing by his example that we can succeed too.

That success isn’t just material either, he provides a very good example of personal integrity, public service and concern for others.


7/10

July 20, 2014

7/10 in the Herald’s politics quiz.


It’s still the trend that matters

July 20, 2014

Labour has lost four points in the latest Herald DigiPoll, slumping to 26.5%,  its worst level of support in 15 years.

 . . . On this poll of decided voters National would be able to govern alone comfortably and gain another 10 MPs.

National has jumped 4.5 points to 54.9 per cent. A Stuff/Ipsos poll earlier this week also put support for National at 54.8 per cent.

Prime Minister John Key is more popular than he has ever been, scoring preferred prime minister on 73.3 per cent, compared with Cunliffe on 10.5 per cent and New Zealand First’s Winston Peters on 5.5 per cent.

The second-most-preferred PM out of Labour MPs is David Shearer, with 2.2 per cent, followed by Jacinda Ardern on 1.4 per cent. . .

Labour’s total support is down from 30.5 per cent in June, but it is disproportionately down among male voters, with only 23.9 per cent of men backing Labour, compared with 29.1 per cent of women.

Political commentator Chris Trotter said the poll indicated Labour was “more or less bereft of hope”.

“Labour is in an extremely parlous position, and the situation is deteriorating.” 

And the news gets worse for the left:

Contrary to other polls, the DigiPoll had the Green Party losing popularity, which was also bad news for Labour and the left’s prospects. . .

A single poll could be a rogue one but a trend has to be taken more seriously and the left will even though this support reflects the views of those who have decided:

. . . Undecided voters were 11.5 per cent. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 per cent. . . .

It’s still the trend that counts and the trend is very good for National but it’s still a couple of months to the election and the result of that, trend not withstanding, is still not certain.

The left might be panicking but there is absolutely no room for complacency on the centre-right.

However, there is


Corruption-free status should be celebrated

July 20, 2014

New Zealanders should celebrate having the world’s least-corrupt public sector as keenly as they celebrate the success of the All Blacks, says the chair of Transparency International New Zealand, Suzanne Snively.

She was speaking at a national symposium on new approaches to governance, held at Massey University’s Albany campus recently.

Snively says a colour-coded world map illustrating New Zealand’s place on the spectrum of corruption rankings should be as prized as a poster of the All Blacks.

“We need to share this map on staff rooms and living rooms around the country,” she told the gathering of governance experts from public, private and not-for-profit organisations.

New Zealand scored first-equal with Denmark with 91 out of 100 points on the Transparency International survey on perceptions of public sector corruption in 177 countries and territories around the world.

She says while many people are under the impression New Zealand has high levels of corruption due to media coverage of high level cases, those cases were few and far between in global terms.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t treat all corruption seriously but it is important to keep it in perspective.

It is also important that we don’t rest on our laurels. Low corruption unfortunately isn’t no corruption.

However this relatively virtuous status has not been achieved deliberately, and she urged public, private and non-governmental sector organisations to be more proactive about preventing corruption.

Recommendations for this in Transparency International New Zealand’s recently published report include improving transparency and accountability systems.

She spoke of the need to reinforce factors that sustain our integrity as a “high trust” society. Among weaknesses identified by her organisation are a lack of transparency in political party financing and donations to individual politicians.

Snively, previously a partner in Public Sector Advisory at Pricewaterhouse Coopers’ Wellington office, and a regular analyst and commentator on New Zealand’s comparative economic position for over 25 years, says a “lack of focus” on good governance could lead to “economic crimes”.

As organisations increasingly operate globally, they encounter different cultural values and practices – such as ‘facilitation payments’ – that constitute normal business methods in some countries but are considered corrupt by New Zealand standards, she says. . . 

We must guard against lowering our standards to what might be considered normal elsewhere.

There are moral and financial reasons for ensuring we reduce corruption further.

It isn’t coincidence that countries with less corruption are wealthier and those where corruption is rife are poorer and with a far greater gap between rich and poor.

 

 


Craig rules Conservatives out of govt

July 20, 2014

Conservative leader Colin Craig is planning to contest the East Coast Bays seat.

He hasn’t made a formal approach but he’s keen for sitting MP Murray McCully to stand aside in the hope that people who voted for the National MP would back Craig instead.

There are several flaws with this, not least being there is absolutely no guarantee the people of East Coast Bays would vote for him in sufficient numbers.

The outcome is even less certain now that New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is talking about throwing his hat in that ring too.

Craig’s case hasn’t been helped by his party’s chief executive Christine Rankin saying the Conservatives could go right or left and work with National or Labour in government.

Voting for Craig would be difficult enough for National supporters in East Coast Bays if his party was committed to supporting a National government,. Few, if any, would countenance it if they thought there was any chance they’d be helping Labour cobble together a coalition.

The Conservative’s case for an electoral accommodation is even weaker now that Craig has said binding referenda would be a bottom line in coalition negotiations.

At the Conservative Party conference today, leader Colin Craig had a clear message to Prime Minister John Key.

He won’t do any type of deal with National unless it agrees to binding referenda. . .

There is absolutely no way a major party would agree to that policy and even if they did, Andrew Geddis points out that a cconstitutional  change of such magnitude should not be passed by a bare majority.

It’s constitutionally improper to even suggest that this happen – it would be like the Maori Party saying that their price for supporting a Government would be for that Government to legislate via a bare parliamentary majority to make the Treaty of Waitangi a “higher law” constitutional document that could be used to strike down other laws. I don’t care whether you think that would be a good outcome; it would be a bad way to bring it about. . .

But even if it did it wouldn’t work under our system which gives parliament sovereignty:

. . . How in a system of parliamentary sovereignty can Parliament (in the shape of a National/Conservative majority) pass a law that says that the general public is able to, by referendum, bind future Parliaments in their lawmaking decisions?

Even if a National/Conservative Government were to use their majority in Parliament to pass a referendum law that says that if the public vote in the future for or against some measure Parliament “must” follow that vote, exactly how would this law be “binding”? If a future Parliament were to just ignore the result of such a referendum – as is the case with current Citizens’ Initiated Referendums, for which no apparent political price gets paid – then what could be done about it? How, given our system of parliamentary sovereignty, could a court order today’s Parliament to do what a past Parliament said it must do? And what could a court even order in such a circumstance? What odds a judge saying to Parliament “because an Act was passed a few years ago saying that you had to make a law if the public voted for it, you now have to draft, debate and enact this particular Bill on this particular issue.”? . . .

Craig is demonstrating his ignorance of constitutional niceties and his own political naivety by making binding referenda it a bottom line and in doing so has ruled his party out of government.

It’s the sort of policy which might gain votes from the disgruntled.

But the party is a long way from the 5% support needed to get into parliament without the safety net of an electorate seat. Thankfully the chances of him being gifted one were already low and this bottom line will ought to have killed the idea completely.


Sunday soapbox

July 20, 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.

Matthew Perry's photo.

July 20 in history

July 20, 2014

356BC Alexander the Great, Macedonean king and conqueror of Persia, was born (d. 323 BC).

70 Siege of Jerusalem: Titus, son of emperor Vespasian, stormed the Fortress of Antonia. The Roman army was drawn into street fights with the Zealots.

911 Rollo laid siege to Chartres.

1304 Wars of Scottish Independence: Fall of Stirling Castle – King Edward I  took the stronghold using the War Wolf.

1402  Ottoman-Timurid Wars: Battle of Ankara – Timur, ruler of Timurid Empire, defeated forces of the Ottoman Empire sultan Bayezid I.

1656  Swedish forces under the command of King Charles X Gustav defeated the forces of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth at the Battle of Warsaw.

1712 Riot Act took effect in Great Britain.

1738  French explorer Pierre Gaultier de Varennes et de la Vérendrye reached the western shore of Lake Michigan.

1810 Citizens of Bogotá, New Granada declared independence from Spain.

1822 Gregor Mendel, German scientist, father of modern genetics, was born (d. 1884).

1864 American Civil War: Battle of Peachtree Creek – Confederate forces led by General John Bell Hood unsuccessfully attacked Union troops under General William T. Sherman.

1866 Austro-Prussian War: Battle of Lissa – The Austrian Navy , led by Admiral Wilhelm von Tegetthoff, defeated the Italian Navy.

1881 Indian Wars:Sioux Chief Sitting Bull led the last of his fugitive people in surrender to United States troops at Fort Buford, North Dakota.

1885  The Football Association legalised professionalism in football under pressure from the British Football Association.

1892 – The Wellington and Manawatu Railway (WMR) Company’s locomotive No. 10 established a world speed record for the narrow 3 foot 6 inch (1067 mm) gauge, averaging 68 km per hour on a two-hour run and hitting a peak speed of 103 kph.

1893 George Llewelyn-Davies, English Peter Pan character model, was born (d. 1915).

1898  Spanish-American War: A boiler exploded on the USS Iowa off the coast of Santiago de Cuba.

1902 Jimmy Kennedy, Irish composer, was born (d. 1984).

1903 Ford Motor Company shipped its first car.

1907 A train wreck on the Pere Marquette Railroad near Salem, Michigan killed thirty and injured seventy.

1917  World War I: The Corfu Declaration, which led to the creation of the post-war Kingdom of Yugoslavia, was signed by the Yugoslav Committee and Kingdom of Serbia.

1918  Cindy Walker, American singer, was born (d. 2006).

1919  Sir Edmund Hillary, New Zealand mountaineer and explorer, was born (d. 2008).

1921 Air mail service began between New York City and San Francisco.

1921 – Congresswoman Alice Mary Robertson became the first woman to preside over the US House of Representatives.

1922 The League of Nations awarded mandates of Togoland to France and Tanganyika to the United Kingdom.

1924  Teheran, Persia came under martial law after the American vice-consul, Robert Imbrie, was killed by a religious mob enraged by rumors he had poisoned a fountain and killed several people.

1925  Jacques Delors, French President of the European Commission, was born.

1926 A convention of the Southern Methodist Church voted to allow women to become priests.

1928 The government of Hungary issued a decree ordering Gypsies to end their nomadic ways, settle permanently in one place, and subject themselves to the same laws and taxes as other Hungarians.

1930 Sally Ann Howes, English-born singer and actress, was born.

1932  In Washington, D.C., police fired tear gas on World War I veterans part of the Bonus Expeditionary Force who attempted to march to the White House.

1932  Crowds in the capitals of Bolivia and Paraguay demanded their governments declare war on the other after fighting on their border.

1933 Buddy Knox, American singer and songwriter, was born (d. 1999).

1933  Vice-Chancellor of Germany Franz von Papen and Vatican Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli sign a concordat on behalf of their respective nations.

1933  In London, 500,000 marched against anti-Semitism.

1933  Two-hundred Jewish merchants were arrested in Nuremberg and paraded through the streets.

1934  Police in Minneapolis fired upon striking truck drivers, during the Minneapolis Teamsters Strike of 1934, killing two and wounding sixty-seven; Seattle police fired tear gas on and club 2,000 striking longshoremen, and the governor of Oregon called out the National Guard to break a strike on the Portland docks.

1935  A Royal Dutch Airlines plane en route from Milan to Frankfurt crashed into a Swiss mountain, killing 13.

1936 The Montreux Convention was signed in Switzerland, authorising Turkey to fortify the Dardanelles and Bosphorus but guaranteeing free passage to ships of all nations in peacetime.

1938 –  Dame Diana Rigg, English actress, was born.

1938 Natalie Wood, American actress, was born (d. 1981).

1940 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Hatch Act of 1939, limiting political activity by Federal government employees.

1941 Soviet leader Joseph Stalin consolidated the Commissariats of Home Affairs and National Security to form the NKVD and named Lavrenti Beria its chief.

1942  World War II: The first unit of the Women’s Army Corps began training in Des Moines, Iowa.

1943  Chris Amon, New Zealand racing driver

AmonChris19730706.jpg

1943  Wendy Richard, English actress (d.2009).

1944   World War II: Adolf Hitler survived an assassination attempt (known as the July 20 plot) led by German Army Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg.

1944  Franklin D. Roosevelt won the Democratic Party nomination for the fourth and final time at the 1944 Democratic National Convention.

1944   Fifty are hurt in rioting in front of the presidential palace in Mexico City.

1944 Attempt to assasinate Adolf Hitler at his Rastenberg headquarters as part of Operation Valkyrie.

1945 John Lodge, English musician (The Moody Blues), was born.

1945 The US Congress approved the Bretton Woods Agreement.

1946 World War II: The US Congress’s Pearl Harbor Committee said Franklin D. Roosevelt was completely blameless for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and called for a unified command structure in the armed forces.

1947  Police in Burma arrested former Prime Minister U Saw and 19 others on charges of assassinating Prime Minister U Aung San and seven members of his cabinet.

1947 – The Viceroy of India said the people of the North-West Frontier Province overwhelmingly voted the previous day to join Pakistan rather than India.

1948  U.S. President Harry S. Truman issued a peacetime military draft amid increasing tensions with the Soviet Union.

1948 Twelve leaders of the Communist Party USA were indicted under the Smith Act including William Z. Foster and Gus Hall.

1949 Israel and Syria signed a truce to end their nineteen-month war.

1950 Cold War: In Philadelphia, Harry Gold pleaded guilty to spying for the Soviet Union by passing secrets from atomic scientist Klaus Fuchs.

1951  King Abdullah I of Jordan was assassinated.

1953 Dave Evans, Australian singer (AC/DC), was born.

1953 Marcia Hines, American-born Australian singer, was born.

1954  Otto John, head of West Germany’s secret service, defected to East Germany.

1954 – An armistice was signed that ended fighting in Vietnam and divided the country along the 17th parallel.

1955 Jem Finer, English musician and composer (The Pogues), was born.

1958 Mick MacNeil, Scottish musician (Simple Minds), was born.

1959  The Organization for European Economic Cooperation admitted Spain.

1960 Ceylon elected Sirimavo Bandaranaike Prime Minister, the world’s first elected female head of government.

1960 – The Polaris missile was successfully launched from a submarine, the USS George Washington, for the first time.

1960  The head of the Physics Department at the Israel Institute of Technology, Kurt Sitte, was arrested for espionage.

1961  French military forces broke the Tunisian siege of Bizerte.

1964 Vietnam War: Viet Cong forces attacked the capital of Dinh Tuong Province, Cai Be, killing 11 South Vietnamese military personnel and 40 civilians (30 of whom were children).

1964 – The National Movement of the Revolution was instituted as the sole legal political party in the Republic of Congo.

1965 – Riots at Mt Eden prison followed a botched escape attempt and lasted into the next day.

1968  Special Olympics founded.

1969 Apollo Program: Apollo 11 successfully landed on the Moon.

1969 – A cease fire was announced between Honduras and El Salvador, 6 days after the beginning of the “Football War

1974 Turkish occupation of Cyprus: Forces from Turkey invaded Cyprus after a “coup d’ etat”, organised by the dictator of Greece, against president Makarios.

1976  The Viking 1 lander successfully landed on Mars.

1977 Johnstown was hit by a flash flood that killed80n people and caused $350 million in damage.

1982   The Provisional IRA detonated two bombs in Hyde Park and Regents Park killing eight soldiers, wounding forty-seven people, and leading to the deaths of seven horses.

1984 Officials of the Miss America pageant asked Vanessa Lynn Williams to quit after Penthouse published nude photos of her.

1985  The government of Aruba passed legislation to secede from the Netherlands Antilles.

1989 – Burma’s ruling junta put opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest.

1992 Václav Havel resigned as president of Czechoslovakia.

1996  In Spain, an ETA bomb at an airport killed 35

1999 Falun Gong is banned in China, and a large scale crackdown of the practice is launched.

2000 – In Zimbabwe, Parliament opened its new session and seats opposition members for the first time in a decade.

2000  Carlos the Jackal sued France in the European Court of Human Rights for allegedly torturing him.

2001  The London Stock Exchange Group plc  went public.

2001  The 27th Annual G8 summit opened in Genoa and Carlo Giuliani, was shot by police.

2002  A fire in a discotheque in Lima, Peru killed more than 25 people.

2003  Sixteen people were injured after two bombs exploded outside a tax office in Nice.

2006 Ethiopian invasion of Somalia – Ethiopian troops entered Somalian territory.

2012 – During a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises, a gunman opened fire at a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 people and injuring 58.

2013 – 17 government soldiers were killed in an attack by FARC revolutionaries in the Colombian department of Arauca.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


%d bloggers like this: