Word of the day

May 19, 2015

Sabretache – a flat satchel on long straps worn by some cavalry and horse artillery officers from the left of the waist-belt; a leather case suspended from a cavalryman’s saddle.


Banks acquitted

May 19, 2015

The case against former Auckland mayor and Act leader John Banks has been thrown out:

The Crown misled the Court of Appeal by failing to disclose a document to John Banks ahead of an appeal hearing, according to a new judgment.

But the three senior judges this was an “error of judgment rather than misconduct”.

The case against Mr Banks has been thrown out and he will not face a second trial for allegedly filing a false electoral return.

The Court of Appeal has sensationally reversed its previous decision to order a retrial following the late disclosure of a document, which Mr Banks’ lawyer David Jones QC said “contradicts all evidence given at trial” by the Dotcom witnesses and made the prosecution “untenable”.

In a judgment just released by the Court of Appeal, Justices Ellen France, Forrest Miller and John Wild ruled that Mr Banks should not stand trial again and he was acquitted.

The senior judges disagreed with the Crown’s argument that the ‘Butler memorandum’ did not need to be disclosed.

“We hold rather that the Crown could not both withhold the memorandum and resist the appeal in the manner that it did. The effect was to mislead the Court.

“We are satisfied that there has been a serious error of process. It is, we accept, attributable to an error of judgment rather than misconduct.” . .

 That error of judgement does not reflect well on the court.

The trial largely hinged on the credibility of who was right about a contentious lunch at the Dotcom mansion. Banks was convicted but his wife Amanda later unearthed new witnesses who corroborated their version of events, so the Court of Appeal quashed the conviction and ordered a retrial. . . .

Mrs Banks, understandably, did not take kindly to the judge in the earlier case accepting Kim Dot Com’s word rather than hers:

 . . The Court of Appeal’s decision notes Mrs Banks “was stung by the Judge’s opinion of her reliability”.

“She became quite obsessed as she puts it, with identifying the two Americans. . .

That obsession led to the evidence which secured her husband’s acquittal.

 


Rural round-up

May 19, 2015

Spare a thought –  Gravedodger:

While Greater Wellington is being rinsed a pocket of Eastern North Canterbury remains in the grip of a crippling drought. Now accepting I have railed against over egging a summer dry as drought and asked for such adverse weather events to be viewed against much more serious world events, what is happening in an area centred on Cheviot is now very serious.

The affected area is quite local from around  the Waipara river to the Conway and extending from the coast variably extending inland approximately 50 kms this land has been able to miss out on autumn rains. A friend who visited Cheviot to play golf from a more favoured area of the region was gobsmacked a week ago. Any land not subject to irrigation is a depressing grey colour with nothing growing even weeds are in trouble. . .

Farmers despondent in Canterbury drought – Jemma Brackebush:

A stock transporter in north Canterbury says he has trucked nearly 20,000 sheep out of the area to date because of the drought, and claims he has never seen anything like it before.

North Canterbury, particularly Cheviot, is suffering from an ongoing drought, and farmers are having to choose between culling capital stock or sending them to graze in other regions, at quite an expense.

Cheviot Transport owner Barry Hanna, who has been driving trucks for 45 years, said he had not seen a drought as bad as this in a long time. . . .

Keep kids off quad bikes experts urge:

A new study into quad bike use among children has added weight to calls for a law change.

The review, published in the New Zealand Medical Journal today, shows over a seven-year period nearly 30 youngsters were taken to Starship Hospital with injuries from bikes. Two of them died.

Dr Rebecca Pearce, who co-authored the study, wants under-16s banned from using them.

“A lot of children’s groups are advocating against children riding quad bikes, but there’s actually no legislation,” she told RadioLIVE. . .

Some relief for pressured Otago farmers –  Jemma Brackebush:

Farmers in north Otago are welcoming the rain that is slowly bringing life to grass and winter feed crops, though they say there is a way to go before they are out of a green drought.

Parts of Otago are recovering from the effects of the drought that also gripped the Canterbury and Marlborough regions earlier this year.

Farmers in north Canterbury, particularly Cheviot, are still without relief, however, resulting in tens of thousands of sheep and cattle being culled or sent to other regions because of the extremely dry conditions. . .

Opportunities for farmers in lower livestock values:

The release of the National Average Market Values (NAMV) for livestock this week presents an opportunity for dairy farmers to reassess the valuation method they are using for their livestock.

This according to Crowe Horwath’s Tony Marshall who says the valuation highlights the relative strengths and weaknesses of the different industry sectors.

“The release of the 2015 values has seen a substantial fall in the market value of dairy cattle, a slight dip in the value of sheep and a significant increase in the value of beef cattle. These changes mirror closely the changes in the associated commodity prices,” Marshall says. . .

Commerce Commission to hold conference on wool scouring authorisation:

The Commission will hold a one day conference on Wednesday 10 June 2015 to discuss matters relating to Cavalier Wool Holding Limited’s application for authorisation to acquire New Zealand Wool Services International’s wool scouring business.

The conference will be held at The Majestic Centre, 100 Willis Street in Wellington.

The notification and agenda of the Conference as well as all other relevant information relating to the application for authorisation can be found on the Commission’s website at http://www.comcom.govt.nz/business-competition/mergers-and-acquisitions/authorisations/merger-authorisation-register/cavalier-and-new-zealand-wool/ . .

Cuts both ways – ASB lowers milk price forecast and predicts OCR to drop:

ASB cuts its 2015/16 milk price forecast
At the same time, ASB predicts OCR cuts later this year
NZ dollar predicted to hit US 67 cents by year-end
Dairy prices are low and likely to stay that way a while longer, according to the latest ASB Farmshed Economics Report.

“After a drought-driven false dawn earlier this year, prices are at their lowest in five years,” says ASB’s Rural Economist Nathan Penny. “This is driven by a potent mix of domestic production getting a second wind and demand remaining weak. However, we still expect production to slow down to the point where demand can catch up, just later than previously expected.”

“As a result, we have cut our forecast for the 2015/16 season to $5.70/kg as well as adopting Fonterra’s lowered 2014/15 milk price forecast of $4.50/kg.” . . .

Lewis Road Creamery supports new organic dairy co-operative:

Lewis Road Creamery is supporting a new initiative to grow the organic dairy sector in New Zealand and sure up organic milk supply for its growing customer base.

The popular dairy brand is a founding customer of the newly launched Organic Dairy Hub Co-operative of New Zealand. The Hub links organic dairy farms with dairy producers providing certainty of sale for farmers and certainty of supply for purchasers like Lewis Road Creamery.

Peter Cullinane, Lewis Road Creamery founder and one of two independent directors of the Organic Dairy Hub welcomes the initiative. . .


Flag of the day

May 19, 2015

The Flag Consideration Panel is inviting people to upload designs for a new flag.

There’s more than 1000 in the gallery already.

I plan to feature one most days.

Today’s is Te Waka by Trevor Andrews:

flag1

 

 

 

 

 

Apropos of the flag change process, Heather du Plessis-Allan writes:

. . . Google “Union Jack flags of the colonies”. You’ll find a picture of the Union Jack surrounded by, well, the flags of the colonies. They have one thing in common. Union Jacks blimmin’ everywhere.

India had a giant Jack, so it looked exactly like Britain’s flag except for the little sun right in the middle like a bullseye.

Canada had the red version of our flag except for a complicated shield where our Southern Cross is.

And, like the flag for South Africa and Tasmania and the early version of Malaysia, it had a little Union Jack in the right hand corner. Just like us.

Except, they don’t any more. They all changed their flags. And when you see all those old flags together, it feels like that little Union Jack in the right hand corner isn’t something special to us. It’s a stamp.

It means: these places belong to Britain. So, as for those of the other colonies, our flag will eventually change. If we don’t do it, maybe our grandkids will. . .


Dairies aren’t parents

May 19, 2015

The Auckland Regional Public Health Service wants to limit what dairies can sell to children and restrictions on how many dairies can be in one area.

It said dairies were helping to make the country fat, and Auckland’s neighbourhoods were saturated with cheap, energy-dense food.

Health service clinical director Julia Peters said that needed to change.

“You’ve only got to go into a dairy or a convenience store and you see what you are confronted with is sugar-sweetened fizzy beverages, chocolate bars, chippies, lollies et cetera.”

Dairies are full of energy dense food and it is usually difficult to find lower energy food in them.

But dairies don’t force people to buy what they stock, they don’t give children the money to buy it and they have no way of knowing if children who buy their fat and sugar rich wares do so as a very ocassional treat, whether they share them with others or eat them all themselves.

That isn’t the dairies’ role. That’s the role of the parents.

Obesity is a growing problem. More people are getting fatter.

The reason for that is simple in that it’s the result of eating more than the body needs. But dealing with the issue is complex.

Six out of seven dairies near Hamilton’s Rhode Street school agreed not to sell junk food to children in school uniform after the student council asked them not to.

The principal, Shane Ngatai, said the effect was visible in the sugar spot checks they do from time to time.

“When we did the first bag inspection, we found over $100 worth of sugar in two classes alone. Now we’re not finding any.”

Mr Ngatai is completely behind the idea to take the plan wider.

“I don’t want to become the food police and I don’t want to be labelled a nanny state,” he said.

“But we don’t sell tobacco to kids, we don’t sell alcohol. Why are we selling this drug, sugar?” . . .

This is working in that area but requesting dairies not to sell junk food to children in school uniform is different from regulating what they can sell and how many outlets there are and there is a difference between tobacco and sugar.

Any smoking is harmful, some sugar as part of a balanced diet is not.

The people who should be controlling what chidlren eat are their parents.

Food outlets can play a part but rather than starting with the nucelar approach, why doesn’t the health service do more to encourage dairies to stock healthier alternatives like rockit apples?


Quote of the day

May 19, 2015

Bring back national service,” he said. “I dread to think where I’d be without the army … And more importantly to me, what I’ve seen the army do to other young guys.” – Prince Harry


May 19 in history

May 19, 2015

1499  Catherine of Aragon, was married by proxy to Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales. Catherine was 13 and Arthur 12.

1535  Jacques Cartier set sail on his second voyage to North America with three ships, 110 men, and Chief Donnacona’s two sons (whom Cartier had kidnapped during his first voyage).

1536  Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII , was beheaded for adultery, treason, and incest.

1568  Queen Elizabeth I of England ordered the arrest of Mary, Queen of Scots.

1643 Thirty Years’ War : French forces under the duc d’Enghien decisively defeated Spanish forces at the Battle of Rocroi, marking the symbolic end of Spain as a dominant land power.

1649  An Act of Parliament declaring England a Commonwealth was passed by the Long Parliament.

1749 King George II granted the Ohio Company a charter of land around the forks of the Ohio River.

1780 New England’s Dark Day: A combination of thick smoke and heavy cloud cover caused complete darkness to fall on Eastern Canada and the New England area of the United States at 10:30 A.M.

1795 – Johns Hopkins, American philanthropist, was born  (d. 1873).

1802  Napoleon Bonaparte founded the Légion d’Honneur.

1828 President John Quincy Adams signsedthe Tariff of 1828 into law, protecting wool manufacturers in the United States.

1846 Thomas Brunner, Kehu, a Ngati Tumatakokiri Maori, and Charles Heaphy reached Mawhera Pa.

Brunner, Kehu and Heaphy reach Mawhera pa

1848 Mexican-American War: Mexico ratified the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo thus ending the war and ceding California, Nevada, Utah and parts of four other modern-day U.S. states to the United States for $15 million USD.

1861  Dame Nellie Melba, Australian opera singer, was born (d. 1931).

1864 American Civil War: the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House ended.

1879 Nancy Astor, Viscountess Astor, American-born politician, was born (d. 1964).

1881 Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, 1st President of Turkey, was born (d. 1938).

1890 Ho Chi Minh, Vietnamese leader, was born  (d. 1969).

1897  Oscar Wilde was released from Reading Gaol.

1919 Mustafa Kemal Atatürk landed at Samsun on the Anatolian Black Sea coast, initiating the Turkish War of Independence.  The anniversary of this eventis also regarded as a date of remembrance for Pontic Greeks on the Greek genocide.

1921  The U.S. Congress passed the Emergency Quota Act establishing national quotas on immigration.

1922 The Young Pioneer organization of the Soviet Union was established.

1925 Malcolm X, American civil rights activist, was born (d. 1965).

1925   Pol Pot, Cambodian dictator , was born (d. 1998).

1928 Colin Chapman, founder of Lotus Cars, was born (d. 1982).

1939 Nancy Kwan, Hong Kong actress, was born.

1941 Bobby Burgess, dancer, singer and original Mouseketeer, was born.

1943 World War II: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt set Monday, May 1, 1944 as the date for the cross-English Channel landing (D-Day). It was later be delayed over a month due to bad weather.

1945 Pete Townshend, English musician (The Who), was born.

1948 Grace Jones, Jamaican singer and actress, was born.

1951 Joey Ramone, American musician (The Ramones), was born  (d. 2001).

1953 Victoria Wood, English comedian and actress, was born.

1954 Phil Rudd, Australian drummer (AC/DC), was born.

1961  Venera program: Venera 1 becomes the first man-made object to fly-by another planet by passing Venus (the probe had lost contact with Earth a month earlier and did not send back any data).

1962 A birthday salute to U.S. President John F. Kennedy took place at Madison Square Garden. The highlight is Marilyn Monr0e’s rendition of Happy Birthday.

1966  Jodi Picoult, American writer, was born.

1971   Mars 2 was launched by the Soviet Union.

1983 Jessica Fox, English actress, was born.

1987 The attempted hijacking of an Air New Zealand Boeing 747 at Nadi airport was thwarted when a member of the cabin crew hit the hijacker over the head with a whisky bottle.

Attempted hijacking in Fiji foiled

1991 Croatians voted for independence at their independence referendum.

2009  Sri Lanka announced victory in its 27 year war against the terrorist organisation, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

2010 – The Royal Thai Armed Forces concluded its crackdown on protests by forcing the surrender of United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship leaders.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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