Word of the day


Lowbella small bell (as for the neck of a sheep or cow); a bell used with a sudden casting of light to frighten, stupefy, and capture birds; to frighten, scare or bewilder.

Saturday’s smiles


* Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway…

* Life is sexually transmitted – and it’s always fatal.

* Health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die…

* Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach a person to use the Internet and they won’t bother you for weeks…

* Some people are like Slinkies . . . not really good for anything, but you still can’t help but smile when you see one tumble down the stairs…

* Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.

* Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again…

* All of us could learn from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism…

*Why does a slight tax increase cost you two hundred dollars and a substantial tax cut saves you thirty cents?

* In the 60’s people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal…

* Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first…

* You read about all these Terrorists that came here legally, but they hung around on these expired visas, some for as long as 10-15 years.

Now, compare that to Blockbuster; you are two days late with a video and those people are all over you. I think we should put Blockbuster in charge of immigration and security…

The blue-green challenge


When National was at its nadir in 2002, Act to its right and United Future and New Zealand First on its left flank got their best results.

With Labour at such a low this year, the Green Party would have been expecting to pick up some of its support.

But while some New Zealand First and the Conservative Party picked up support on Labour’s right flank, the Green Party on its left didn’t do nearly as well as expected.

This suggests that the Green vote has reached its peak. However, there are still plenty of green votes looking for a home.

These are people who care and are concerned about environmental matters but are looking for a more moderate vehicle than the Green Party, especially on economic and social issues.

This provides an opportunity for National to convince them that the blue-green approach is working for New Zealand economically, environmentally and socially.

While the party, and government, are generally recognised for sound economic policies, many environmental initiatives aren’t recognised, or celebrate.

Among these are five conservation achievements:

This week is conservation week and a chance to reflect on the progress National has made for conservation since 2008. While Labour and the Greens fail to offer credible plans to grow our economy and protect our environment, National is pulling up our sleeves and getting on with the job. Here are National’s top five conservation achievements.

1. Ten new marine reserves in the last year

National have created a record number and area of new marine reserves this year, with five on the West Coast, three in the Sub Antarctic Islands, one at Akaroa and one at Kaikōura. New Zealand now has 44 marine reserves, bringing the total area of no-take areas of protection 9.5 per cent of our total territorial sea.

We’ve doubled the area of set net protection for Maui’s dolphin, introduced a ban on shark finning, introduced compulsory seismic survey regulations for protecting marine mammals, and created new whale and seal sanctuaries at Kaikōura.

National’s recreational fishing parks policy will also protect two of our largest coastal fishing areas from commercial fishing, helping marine life populations to grow and ensuring future generations can continue to enjoy our marine environment.

2. Developing the national cycleway network

Over 2500 kilometres of national cycleway network has now been completed under the National cycleway programme to grow tourism and make our natural environment more accessible, and four more cycle trails will be finished by the end of December 2014.

National has committed an additional $100 million in new funding to accelerate cycleways in urban centres.

3. Expanding pest control for over one million hectares of conservation land

National has initiated New Zealand’s largest-ever species protection programme, ‘Battle for our Birds’, to control rats, stoats and possums on over one million hectares of conservation land.

We’ve also committed over $30 million to containing and controlling kauri dieback, have tightened laws and toughened penalties for wildlife, conservation and biosecurity offending, and passed new freedom camping laws to prevent New Zealand’s outdoors being abused..

4. Establishing the Community Conservation Partnership to support community-led conservation

Thousands of New Zealanders contribute to conservation by building tracks, controlling pests, planting trees, and restoring native wildlife. To support this vital work, National established the Community Conservation Partnership Fund of $26 million over the next four years to support the voluntary work of community organisations.

5. Cleaning up our fresh water

In Government, National has proudly championed action on cleaning up our fresh water.

National has spent $101 million on water clean-up in our first four years of government compared to $17 million in Labour’s last four years – a five-fold increase – as well as committing over $350 million to clean-up historical contamination of our iconic waterways.

National will also spend $100 million over 10 years to buy and retire selected areas of farmland next to important waterways. Already, dairy farmers have done a fantastic job in voluntarily addressing some of the key issues. They have fenced over 23,000 kilometres of waterways – over 90 per cent of all dairy farm waterways. Our approach is about working collaboratively with farmers, water users and communities because you don’t get positive outcomes for the environment by penalising and taxing key industries.

Saturday soapbox


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, but not to abuse.

One Planet, One Place's photo.

November 8 in history


519 – Hernán Cortés entered Tenochtitlán and Aztec ruler Moctezumawelcomed him with a great celebration

1520 – Stockholm Bloodbath began A successful invasion of Sweden by Danish forces resulted in the execution of around 100 peopl

1576 – Eighty Years’ War: Pacification of Ghent – The States-General of the Netherlands met and united to oppose Spanish occupation

1602 The Bodleian Library at Oxford University opened to the public.

1620 The Battle of White Mountain ended in a decisive Catholic victory in only two hours.

1656 Edmond Halley, British astronomer and mathematician, was born (d. 1742).

1745 Charles Edward Stuart invaded England with an army of ~5000.

1793 – The French Revolutionary government opened the Louvre to the public as a museum.

1836 Milton Bradley, American game manufacturer, was born  (d. 1911).

1837 Mary Lyon founded Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, which later became Mount Holyoke College.

1847 Bram Stoker, Irish novelist, was born  (d. 1912).

1861 – American Civil War: The “Trent Affair” – The USS San Jacinto stopped the United Kingdom mail ship Trent and arrested two Confederate envoys, sparking a diplomatic crisis between the UK and US.

1892 The New Orleans general strike began, uniting black and white trade unionists in a successful four-day general strike action for the first time.

1895 – While experimenting with electricity, Wilhelm Röntgen discovered the X-ray.

1900 Margaret Mitchell, American author, was born  (d. 1949).

1901 Bloody clashes in Athens following the translation of the Gospels into demotic Greek.

1917 The People’s Commissars gave authority to Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, and Joseph Stalin.

1923 Beer Hall Putsch: Adolf Hitler led the Nazis in an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the German government.

1932 – Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected the 32d President of the United States defeating Herbert Hoover.

1933 – Great Depression: New Deal – US President Franklin D. Roosevelt unveiled the Civil Works Administration, an organisation designed to create jobs for more than 4 million of the unemployed.

1935 – A dozen labour leaders came together to announce the creation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO).

1936 – New Zealanders Griff Maclaurin and Steve Yates were part of the International Column of anti-fascist volunteers who marched into Madrid, bolstering the city’s defences against the assault of General Franco’s rebel armies.

NZers march into a besieged Madrid

1937 – The Nazi exhibition Der ewige Jude (“The Eternal Jew”) opened in Munich.

1939 The Centennial exhibition opened in Wellington.

 NZ Centennial Exhibition opens

1939 – Venlo Incident: Two British SIS agents were captured by the Germans.

1939 – Adolf Hitler narrowly escaped the assassination attempt of Georg Elser while celebrating the 16th anniversary of the Beer Hall Putsch.

1941 – The Albanian Communist Party was founded.

1942 – Operation Torch – United States and United Kingdom forces landed in French North Africa. French resistance coup in Algiers, in which 400 civilian French patriots neutralised Vichyist XIXth Army Corps after 15 hours of fighting, and arrested several Vichyst generals.

1950 Korean War: United States Air Force Lt. Russell J. Brown shot down two North Korean MiG-15s in the first jet aircraft-to-jet aircraft dogfight in history.

1957 – Operation Grapple X, Round C1: Britain conducted its first successful hydrogen bomb test over Kiritimati in the Pacific.

1965 – The British Indian Ocean Territory was created, consisting of Chagos Archipelago, Aldabra, Farquhar and Des Roches islands.

1965 – The Murder (Abolition of the Death Penalty) Act 1965 was given Royal Assent, formally abolishing the death penalty in the United Kingdom.

1965 – The 173rd Airborne was ambushed by over 1,200 Viet Cong in Operation Hump while the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment fought one of the first set-piece engagements of the war between Australian forces and the Vietcong at the Battle of Gang Toi.

1966 Former Massachusetts Attorney General Edward Brooke became the first African American elected to the United States Senate.

1973 The right ear of John Paul Getty III was delivered to a newspaper with a ransom note, convincing his father to pay $US 2.9 million.

1977 Manolis Andronikos, discovered the tomb of Philip II of Macedon at Vergina

1978 A 6.1 magnitude earthquake in Thessaloniki killed 40 people.

1987 Remembrance Day Bombing: A Provisional IRA bomb explode in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland during a Remembrance Day – killing 12 and wounding 63.

2002 Iraq disarmament crisis: UN Security Council Resolution 1441 – The United Nations Security Council unanimously approved a resolution on Iraq, forcing Saddam Hussein to disarm or face “serious consequences”.

2003 The Harris Theatere opened commencing a renaissance in the Chicago performing arts community.

2011 – The potentially hazardous asteroid 2005 YU55 passed 0.85 lunar distances from Earth (about 324,600 kilometres or 201,700 miles), the closest known approach by an asteroid of its brightness since 2010 XC15 in 1976.

2013 – Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms in history hit the Visayas region in the Philippines. The typhoon killed 6,201 people as of 29 January 2014 and was considered the deadliest typhoon to hit the country. It caused around $1 billion in damages unofficially.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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