Word of the day

September 23, 2014

Obnoxity –  an obnoxious, objectionable, or offensive person or thing; an object of aversion.


Chocolate chips and eggcorns

September 23, 2014

Discussion on Critical Mass with Simon Mercep today was sparked by:

* The science of the best chocolate chip biscuits (they called them cookies, but I prefer biscuits).

And

* Busted with an eggcorn. – malapropisms that ape the sound of a word.


Class of 2014

September 23, 2014

Prime Minister-elect John Key, his deputy Bill English and the new national MPs:

Bill English and I were proud to welcome National’s 15 new MPs to Parliament this morning.

 


Rural round-up

September 23, 2014

Comparing apples with oranges using new Sustainable Farming Fund tool:

Māori agribusiness will benefit from a new tool that can be used to compare the potential benefits of different land uses from an economic and social perspective.

The Social Return on Investment evaluation tool was developed as part of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI’s) Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) Maori Agribusiness round held in 2012. It was co-developed by Aohanga Incorporation and AgResearch and aimed to produce a method to compare various development options for Māori Trusts and Incorporations with multiple shareholders.

“With multiple shareholders, it can be difficult to achieve consensus on the best options for Māori owned land,” says MPI’s Deputy Director General Ben Dalton. . .

Potential bio-control agents settling into containment:

Scientists at Landcare Research are investigating two small European insects as potential bio-control agents against the pest plant Tutsan (Hypericum androsaemum).

Tutsan is a significant pest in parts of the Central North Island because it forms extensive patches that take over agricultural, production and conservation land. Unpalatable to stock, hard to kill, and shade tolerant, Tutsan is particularly prevalent in areas where the land has been disturbed by the likes of forestry – much like gorse and broom does. . . 

Five things you didn’t know about growing up in a farm family – Corn Corps:

Ahhh, fall is finally in the air! It’s the perfect time to grab the family and find a nice pumpkin farm or somewhere to pick some apples. Don’t forget the pumpkin spice lattes and a nice warm sweater. Forget about harvest you can finish that field tomorrow! – Said no farm family EVER!

For those of you who grew up on a farm you will know exactly what I am talking about. Growing up in a farm family, like anything else, has its pros and cons but it definitely a unique experience to say the least! Hopefully this will give the “non-farmers” a little bit of insight to what it is really like.

“Sure, we can go…. As long as it rains”

Farm kids know this one all too well. Planning family activities, attendance at Saturday tournaments, or RSVPing to a wedding invitation is next to impossible during planting and harvest seasons. . .

PERRIAM, a new lifestyle fashion brand, poised for launch:

Well-known Central Otago fashion designer Christina Perriam will unveil PERRIAM, her new luxury lifestyle fashion brand, in Tarras next month.

PERRIAM produces New Zealand-made merino clothing that embodies the comforting luxury inherent in the spirit of the high country. The heart of PERRIAM is Christina’s family and their farm, Bendigo Station in Central Otago – a place of rich history, pioneering spirit and enduring natural beauty.

Bendigo, also the home of the famous merino wether, the late Shrek the Sheep, will host an exclusive catwalk show for the launch of the first PERRIAM Woman Summer 2015 Collection, on October 18, 2014.

The Merino Shop in Tarras Village – home to Christina’s original labels ‘Christina Perriam’ and ‘Suprino Bambino’ – will undergo renovations to coincide with the launch and the go-live date of the new PERRIAM online shop, perriam.co.nz. . .

Hill Laboratories appoints new Food and Bioanalytical client services manager:

New Zealand’s leading analytical testing laboratory, Hill Laboratories, has appointed Lorrae Taylor as client services manager for the organisation’s Food and Bioanalytical division.

Lorrae Taylor has nearly four decades of nationwide experience working in laboratories, or with laboratories to provide proficiency services testing.

Lorrae Taylor said Hill Laboratories’ client services teams, which are effective in all three of the company’s divisions, are what sets the organisation apart from most other analytical testing laboratories. . . .

 

Esk Valley Hawkes Bay Pinot Gris Leads the Way:

Amongst some of the best Pinot Gris in the country, Hawkes Bay’s Esk Valley Pinot Gris 2014 has been awarded the number one spot in Dish Magazine, with the tasting panel led by Dish Drinks Editor Yvonne Lorkin.

“We have been producing Pinot Gris since 2001 the best of which to date is the 2014,” Gordon Russell, Winemaker at Esk Valley said, “This is our unique take on a Pinot Gris from a great Hawkes Bay harvest.”

Esk Valley has a reputation throughout the world for producing exceptional premium wines. Russell who’s been at the helm for over twenty years as winemaker for Esk Valley has an emphasis on hand crafting his boutique wines using traditional methods and local knowledge. He refers to himself as, “I’m just the conductor, with the music already written in the vineyard.” . . .

Akarua Vintage Brut 2010:

Raise your glass and join us in a toast as we celebrate Central Otago winery Akarua winning a prestigious international trophy for its sparkling wine Akarua Vintage Brut 2010 – awarded the World Champion New Zealand Sparkling Wine Trophy at The Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships (CSWWC), announced on the 4th September 2014.

Having launched their sparkling wine range in early 2012, Akarua is gaining a solid reputation for its quality and style. . .

 


Too soon, too dark, too cold

September 23, 2014

Just five days until the clocks go forward but it’s still winter.

Fresh snow fell on the Kakanui Range on Sunday night and yesterday temperatures barely got to double figures.

It’s warm in North Otago today but that is not likely to last.

Further north it’s worse:

Daylight saving works in the middle of summer but the end of September is too soon to start when it’s too dark in the mornings and too cold to enjoy longer evenings.

Delaying the start by two or three weeks until the sun is closer to the south would give more daylight at both ends of the day and allow temperatures to get a little more spring-like, if not yet summery.


Free to vote, free to not

September 23, 2014

The angst over low voter turnout has resulted in the inevitable suggestion of compulsion:

A political scientist says compulsory voting would be the easiest way to lift declining number of people voting.

About a million people did not vote in Saturday’s election.

The Electoral Commission estimates voter turnout was 77 percent of those enrolled, which is up from 74 percent in 2011. . .

Julian Lee counters that by explaining why he doesn’t vote:

Until today I’ve always tried to keep my filthy non-voting habits to myself. . .

You could enter a polling booth on election day stark drunk, barely able to stand, unable to think or concentrate, mindlessly tick the ballot paper and you would earn more respect from the voting public than if you had soberly and sincerely made the conscious decision not to vote.

I have given this decision hours and hours of thought. I’ve read all the parties’ policies. I have weighed and speculated and considered every possible option.

And my conclusion? I choose not to participate in the game.

But I’ve finally decided to publicly own up because I think it is bizarre I should feel ashamed of a political opinion in what most people would consider a free and tolerant society. . .

He goes on to discuss his reasons which includes thinking it won’t make a difference because bureaucrats rather than politicians control everything.

I disagree with his reason but agree with his conclusion:

. . .  And surely, every else taken into consideration, I have the right to choose not to choose?

If we are free to vote we should also be free to not vote.

Better a lower number of people voting freely for whatever reason motivates them than a larger number voting because they are compelled to.

 


Labour’s leadership woes will linger

September 23, 2014

David Cunliffe has just finished a media conference in which he announced a full leadership vote before Christmas:

The party suffered its worst election result in 92 years at the weekend, obtaining just 24 percent of the party vote.

“I, as leader, am responsible for that result,” Mr Cunliffe said this morning. “Voters are always right. We are not yet seen as a credible alternative.”

Mr Cunliffe says he has thrown his “hat in the ring” for the top job.

“[But], if the leader isn’t me, I will get behind the new one.” . . .

There are already six contenders to replace him.

The party needs to do a full post-mortem and the leadership is part of that.

But this announcement will mean the party’s leadership woes will linger until the vote and delay any action on any other changes.

Labour needs to change a lot more than its leader and unless the members and unions back someone the caucus also backs a new leader could make matters worse.

UPDATE:

 


Members matter

September 23, 2014

The National Party has lots of strengths which contributed to its historic election-night victory.

One of those which provides a stark contrast with all the other parties is mass membership.

It can’t claim five-figure  six-figure membership as it did in the past, political parties like other voluntary organisations – sports clubs, service groups, churches . . .  – find it harder to get people to join.

But National still has 10s of thousands of members and that made a significant contribution to its election success.

Some do no more than pay a membership fee; some give their time and skills for specific projects; others become fully involved at the organisational level; a few become candidates and fewer still become MPs; all have the opportunity to be involved in policy development and candidate selection and all played a part in Saturday’s win.

It’s not just the number of members but their diversity too which makes National a party for all New Zealanders.

That was brought home to me at the campaign opening where around 2,500 people from babes in arms to the elderly, representing a wide variety of occupations, ethnicities and incomes, gathered to show their support.

No other party has this level of grass-roots support which is representative of the country.

That’s good for National but it’s not good for democracy.

Nor will it be good for New Zealand when, sooner or later, parties representing only a small number of people in a few select groups become the government.

 


How others see us

September 23, 2014

 


Slight right turn

September 23, 2014

When National had its worst election result in 2002 parties to its left and right benefitted.

Act, New Zealand First and United Future all made substantial gains.

On Saturday Labour bled support and the major beneficiaries were National and NZ First.

The Green Party, which would have hoped to gain from Labour’s loss, lost too.

The Dotcom effect – a repudiation of the rort the Internet Mana Party hoped to inflict on us played a part in that, but New Zealand didn’t just vote against that, it voted for something better.

New Zealand made a slight right turn.

Act didn’t do well but National has enough seats, on the provisional results, to govern alone.

It won’t.

Prime Minister-elect John Key has already begun negotiations with United Future, Act and the Maori Party to include them in government.

That will give us a stable, centre-right government.

If Labour and the Green Party learn from this they will accept that their far left, backward, high taxing, high spending, government-knows best policies aren’t what voters want nor what New Zealand needs.


Governing for all NZ

September 23, 2014

Prime Minister-elect John Key said in his victory speech he wants to govern for all New Zealand:

“I will lead a Government that will govern for all New Zealanders” was a quote from Mr Key’s acceptance speech that stood out for many.

“I wrote the speech that was delivered on Saturday night because I wanted them to be my words and it was how I felt,” says Mr Key.

That is what every government should do.

The criticism that National only cares about the wealthy is nothing more than left-wing rhetoric.

One of its strengths is economic management but that isn’t the end, it’s the means to affording the services and infrastructure which benefit all of us.

The people who are hurt the most by poor management and sluggish or negative growth are the most vulnerable.

“There will be some New Zealanders who say, ‘Well, he may have made a difference, but not positively to my life.”

To them Mr Key says “[We in National] have certainly tried our best to do that”.

But he knows he must now carve his legacy.

“Helen Clarke will be remembered for the Cullen Fund or the Working For Families,” he says. “If it all ends on Saturday night, I would like to be remembered for leadership around the Christchurch earthquakes and [getting through] the global financial crisis.”

Robert Muldoon’s ambition, “to leave the country in no worse shape than I found it”, Mr Key describes as having an incredibly low ambition.

“I want to leave the country in better shape than I found it,” he says. . .

We were already in recession and facing a decade of deficits when National won the 2008 election.

National has us back on track to surplus just six years later in spite of the GFC and the earthquakes.

These quotes were taken from an interview by John Campbell which you can watch at the link above.

It was a very good interview which allowed the PM to answer questions without interruptions and viewers to form their opinions on what was said.

Why on earth didn’t we have that sort of interview during the election campaign?

 

 


September 23 in history

September 23, 2014

480 BC  Euripides, Greek playwright, was born (d. 406 BC).

1122  Concordat of Worms.

1215 Kublai Khan of the Mongol Empire, was born (d. 1294).

1409  Battle of Kherlen, the second significant victory over Ming China by the Mongols since 1368.

1459 Battle of Blore Heath, the first major battle of the English Wars of the Roses.

1529  The Siege of Vienna began when Suleiman I attacked the city.

1641  The Merchant Royal, carrying a treasure worth over a billion USD, was lost at sea off Land’s End.

1779 American Revolution: a squadron commanded by John Paul Jones on board the USS Bonhomme Richard won the Battle of Flamborough Head, off the coast of England, against two British warships.

1803  Second Anglo-Maratha War: Battle of Assaye between the British East India Company and the Maratha Empire in India.

1821  Tripolitsa, Greece, fell and 30,000 Turks were massacred.

1846  Neptune was discovered by French astronomer Urbain Jean Joseph Le Verrier and British astronomer John Couch Adams;  then  verified by German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle.

1857 The Russian warship Lefort capsised and sank during a storm in the Gulf of Finland, killing all 826 aboard.

1868 Grito de Lares (“Lares Revolt”) in Puerto Rico against Spanish rule.

1869  Mary Mallon, also known as Typhoid Mary, first carrier of typhoid, was born (d. 1938).

1880 John Boyd Orr, Scottish physician, Nobel Laureate, was born (d. 1971).

1887 Ngati Tuwharetoa gifted the mountain tops of Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu to the Crown.

Tongariro mountains gifted to Crown

1889  Nintendo Koppai (Later Nintendo Company, Limited) was founded by Fusajiro Yamauchi to produce and market the playing card game Hanafuda.

1905  Norway and Sweden signed the “Karlstad treaty”, peacefully dissolving the Union between the two countries.

1908  University of Alberta was founded.

1909  The Phantom of the Opera (original title: Le Fantôme de l’Opéra), a novel by French writer Gaston Leroux, was first published as a serialization in Le Gaulois.

1920 Mickey Rooney, American actor, was born.

1922 In Washington D. C., Charles Evans Hughes signed the Hughes-Peynado agreement, that ended the occupation of Dominican Republic by the United States.

1930 Ray Charles, American musician, was born (d. 2004).

1932  The Kingdom of Hejaz and Nejd was renamed the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

1938 Mobilization of the Czechoslovak army in response to the Munich Crisis.

1939  Henry Blofeld, English cricket commentator, was born.

1941 World War II: The first gas chamber experiments were conducted at Auschwitz.

1942  World War II: First day of the September Matanikau action on Guadalcanal as United States Marine Corps forces attacked Imperial Japanese Army units along the Matanikau River.

1943 Julio Iglesias, Spanish singer, was born.

1943  World War II: The so-called Salò Republic, the Italian puppet state of Germany was born.

1944 Eric Bogle, British/Australian singer and songwriter, was born.

1949 Bruce Springsteen, American singer and songwriter, was born.

1952 Richard Nixon made his “Checkers speech“.

1954  Cherie Blair, lawyer and politician, wife of ex-British PM, was born.

1959   Iowa farmer Roswell Garst hosted Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev.

1959  The MS Princess of Tasmania, Australia’s first passenger roll-on/roll-off diesel ferry, made her maiden voyage across Bass Strait.

1962  The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City opened with the completion of the first building, the Philharmonic Hall (now Avery Fisher Hall) home of the New York Philharmonic.

1973  Juan Perón returned to power in Argentina.

1983  Gerrie Coetzee of South Africa became the first African boxing world heavyweight champion.

1983  Gulf Air Flight 771 was bombed, killing all 117 people on board.

1992 A large Provisional Irish Republican Army bomb destroyed the forensic laboratories in Belfast.

1999  NASA announced that it had lost contact with the Mars Climate Orbiter.

1999  Qantas Flight 1 overran the runway in Bangkok during a storm.

2002  The first public version of the web browser Mozilla Firefox (“Phoenix 0.1″) was released.

2004  Hurricane Jeanne: At least 1,070 in Haiti were reported killed by floods.

2008  Kauhajoki school shooting: Matti Saari killed 10 people before committing suicide.

Sourced from NZ History Online


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