365 days of gratitude


My first car didn’t have a radio.

That was long before the advent of phones that can hold your favourite music or podcasts so long journeys passed in solitary silence.

Modern vehicles come equipped with radios able to receive a multitude of stations and when reception gives out there are DVDs or a library of listening on my phone.

Today I’m grateful for music on the move.

Nicola Willis’s maiden speech


Naitonal’s newest MP, Nicola Willis delivered her maiden speech tonight:

E nga mana, e nga reo, e nga rangatira, tena koutou, tena koutou, kua huihui kia ora koutou, katoa.

Mr Speaker, I acknowledge your mana.  I do so with trepidation, recalling the many Official Information Act requests I wrote to you in your former role as Minister of Education.  I intend to be less of a nuisance to you as a Member of this House.

I’m late to the 52nd Parliament.    I had a brief induction seven months ago and now I’m back.  The privilege of being here is immense and I will make the most of every day.

I am grateful to the National Party who chose to rank me well on our list, to Party President Peter Goodfellow, our office holders and all those who support National and the values we represent.

My special thanks go to the members of Wellington Central who selected me as their candidate and backed me to the hilt. 

The Wellington Central campaign trail was an education. Candidate debates with rooms full to bursting, challenging policy questions and door-knocking routes fit for mountain goats.  I was supported by an energetic and resilient team enlivened by our incredible Young Nats. I thank you all.

I acknowledge my companions on that campaign trail and now colleagues in this House, the Honourable Grant Robertson and Honourable James Shaw.  I learnt a lot from each of them.  I suspect they were unwilling teachers, but I thank them anyway.

Grant, I hope we can sometimes work together to make good things happen for Wellington. 

James, I will keep persuading you of the merits of a teal-deal. 

Wellingtonians should know that while I do not currently represent an electorate here, I will always work hard on their behalf.   Wellington is my home and I want it to succeed. 

Mr Speaker.

Growing up in New Zealand has given me great opportunities.  I come to Parliament to ensure more New Zealanders can have the choices and experiences I’ve had.  This should be a country of aspiration where every child can pursue big dreams. 

I am a relentless optimist.   New Zealand has enormous potential and I am determined we realise it. 

Our forebears came here seeking security and prosperity. 

My Great Great Grandfather Archibald Willis was one of them.  Orphaned at 15, Archie left England, arriving here in 1854.  Gold-digger, journalist, and printer, Archie met his wife Mary in Wellington and raised a large family in Wanganui.  There he befriended John Ballance who became Premier of New Zealand.  Ballance died in office, but first endorsed Archie for his seat.

Archie was elected MP for Wanganui in 1893.  On the 6th of September that year the question of women’s suffrage came before this House:  my Great Great Grandfather voted yes. 

Today I follow in his feminist footsteps.

Archie was a member of the Liberal Party whose union with the Reform Party created our modern National Party.  That meeting of city and country, taking the best of liberal and conservative philosophy, rejecting the binaries of ideology in favour of problem-solving pragmatism, is a tradition I am proud to represent.

My personal values come from Mum and Dad.

My mother Shona was a journalist, at one time serving in the great Parliamentary Press Gallery.  She sacrificed paid work and the status it brings to raise me and my siblings.  Thank you Mum. 

My Dad, once a Stop and Go man for the Ministry of Works, and always a surfer, is a lawyer who lives life to the max. 

Journalist, lawyer, both unpopular professions, but neither as unloved as politician.

Mum, Dad you get what you deserve.

My parents taught me we should always work hard and do our best.  We should treat others as we wish to be treated.  Actions have consequences, and we must own our mistakes.

Fairness, that Kiwi sense of doing what’s right, is an ideal not just to aspire to but to fight for.  We do not make our own candle burn brighter by blowing out another.   And when much is given, much can be expected in return.

I was raised to value education.  I had many great and inspiring school teachers and I am humbled to have my former headmistress Jenny Button here today. Ad Summa!

At university I studied English Literature.  I will always be a proponent of the arts and the role artists play in reflecting the beauty and complexities of our lives and society.

My unofficial second-major was my membership of the Victoria University Debating Society where I honed my debating skills, made great friends and met my husband.

Having worked jobs selling clothes, shoes and bagels, I was incredibly fortunate to land a role as a researcher, working with then Opposition Education Spokesman Bill English.  Bill taught me that politics is not about personal ambition, it’s about making a difference for people.  I look up to Bill not only as a political mentor, but as proof that juggling multiple children is compatible with a successful life in Parliament.

I went on to work for Sir John Key whose infectious enthusiasm, respect for all and sheer intelligence had a profoundly positive impact on our country. Thank you Sir John for your support, your belief in me and your constant ribbing.

My time with Bill and Sir John was the best political apprenticeship I could have hoped for.

It was inspiring to watch them lead New Zealand from a dark hour of financial crisis and natural disaster to a time of prosperity and choices.  To see the exodus of New Zealanders leaving for Australia each year reversed as jobs and incomes flourished here at home.  That transformation cemented my view that a strong economy is the foundation on which equality of opportunity is built.

Economic growth ensures New Zealanders can have better jobs, better incomes and aspiration for our children’s futures. 

It doesn’t just happen. 

We must back our risk-takers, innovators, and entrepreneurs who put their capital and livelihoods on the line to produce a product, idea or new way of doing things.

We must back the hard-workers, those who go the extra mile, who toil day in day out to make progress for themselves and their families.

The dairy-owner who works twelve hours a day, six days a week, with one week off at Christmas.  The student who holds down two part-time jobs, the cleaners working night shift and the social entrepreneurs applying the disciplines of business to improve our world. The single Mum, who starts an online business, picking up her laptop the minute her daughter is asleep, sacrificing rest for the chance of a better future.

These people are the best of us.  It is their efforts that will ensure New Zealand gets better and better.

Government can too easily take their discretionary effort for granted or worse invoke the politics of envy against them. 

My desire to better understand business led me to work for our largest co-operative.

I wanted to experience the reality of managing a bottom line.  Of selling New Zealand’s products to the world and striving to maximise their value. 

Fonterra opened my eyes.  I saw our country from new perspectives, from high-rises in Shanghai, trade offices in Jakarta, and a factory-floor in Colombo.


I saw that New Zealand has so much more to gain from embracing trade than we do from fearing it.  We must remain open to the world, its markets and its people.

Best of all, I got to walk in gumboots alongside Kiwi farmers, who know that nobody owes them a living, who go out rain or shine, high milk-price or low, to earn their way in the world.

These men and women share my view that New Zealand’s land and water are taonga for which we are stewards.

Farmers should be respected as partners in the vital environmental work New Zealand has before it:  to combat climate change, to clean our rivers, and to protect our biodiversity. 

Mr Speaker, I am hugely fortunate to have married Duncan.  He understands that caregiving is a responsibility and a privilege to be divided according to circumstance, not gender, and has again and again made sacrifices to further my dreams.

We are parents to four beautiful children aged eight, six, five and two.  James, Harriet, Reuben, and Gloria.  That’s you darlings.

I remember our excitement and confidence when I first became pregnant.  We read all the books, drafted sleep-schedules, and planned an infancy of structured excellence.

And then our son arrived.  He seemed determined not to adhere to our plans in any way at all.

Each of our children have confounded us like this, at different stages and in different ways.

The imperfection of raising children has been a gift to me.  It has taught me that much is beyond our individual control, that plans only take you so far, and that the messy bits in life can be a source of joy. Parenting has deepened my well of empathy, strengthened my patience, and helped me understand that sometimes sugary treats, takeaways, cartoons, and disposable nappies are the keys to sanity. I will not be a Government-knows-best politician because I know just how imperfect family life is. 

I’ve had the fortune of parenting with the support of a village: open-minded employers, engaged grandparents, loving caregivers and teachers, and the means to fill our supermarket trolley, heat our bedrooms, and buy ever-bigger shoes. 

Even with all that support parenting is sometimes a tough gig. 

There’s no getting away from the broken sleep, the tantrums, the hospital visits, the worry and the heartache. 

I respect the many Kiwis who day in day out do the hard-work of parenting well, without fanfair and often in difficult circumstances. 

It’s time we did more as MPs to acknowledge, honour and support the work of Kiwi parents.  They are the heroes of New Zealand’s homes.

Too often our public institutions and services ignore the realities and demands of modern family life. 

Why is it that in a world of working parents we have 12 weeks of school holidays which leave many families stressed and scrambling for childcare?

Why is it we can’t access our children’s medical and education records online?

Why when some parents choose to work an extra shift or take a promotion do they end up financially penalised by the blow-back of childcare costs, tax hikes and loss of tax credits?

Why do we so seldom acknowledge those who forgo paid employment to care for their children and contribute to their community? 

Why don’t we better target investment at those crucial first 1000 days in a child’s life? 

Mr Speaker, we should put whanau and family at the heart of policy. 

Let me be clear.  Families come in all shapes and sizes:  one parent, two parents, four; grandparents as caregivers; blended, gay, married, not married, adopted, whangai.  I’m not concerned by the form a family takes but by the function it performs. 

What matters is the strength of the bonds, the shared values, the getting up at 2am to change the nappy or give the feed, cheering on at assembly and from the sidelines, asking the questions when progress stalls at school and providing the comforting words when worries loom at night. Support. Belonging.  Unconditional love.  No Government intervention can replace it.

I endorse the work of successive Governments to eliminate the material deprivation in which too many families raise their children.   This work must continue.

But we are kidding ourselves if we think lifting family incomes is all that is required to strengthen Kiwi families. 

We cannot ignore the cycles of dependence, dysfunction and criminality that exist in our country. 

A smarter social investment approach is needed to break those cycles.

Our efforts should be joined up across Departments, Votes, Government and non-Government organisations.   Bureaucratic silos must be dismantled. Data and evidence must be leveraged.  Results for children and their families should be our focus, not the dollars spent. 

We live in an age of technological disruption, information networks and personalised services.  Government must harness those forces for the good of all our people.

Mr Speaker, politics is not just about the what, it is about the how. 

We do our best as leaders when we listen well.  When we treat each other with civility.  When we bring people together, not when we drive them apart. 

Duncan and I have taught our kids that my political opponents are good people.  They share a motivation to make this country better but have different ideas about how to achieve it. 

I think the members opposite me have good hearts, their ideas are occasionally a bit mad or naïve, but I want the chance to talk them round from time to time.  So I intend to get to know you.

I see politics as a team sport.   I am a small part of a great Party, with a long and proud history, a talented caucus and a mighty membership.

While I’d rather National was leading the Government I’m excited to play my part in reshaping us for the new challenges our country and world face.  I have great confidence in the Honourable Simon Bridges and Honourable Paula Bennett and I am honoured to have theirs.  I‘ll always be thankful to National’s class of ’17 for adopting me as their own.

And now, it’s time to get on with it.  To walk the walk.  To do the mahi.  To serve. 

Mr Speaker, let me finally say to my family, most especially my parents James and Shona, my sister Amanda and brother Jono, my husband Duncan and our wonderful children James, Harriet, Reuben and Gloria.  I love you and I hope to make you proud.

Word of the day


Miscible – forming a homogeneous mixture when added together; capable of mixing in any ratio without separation; relating to two or more substances that can be mixed together or can dissolve into one another in any proportion without separating.

Rural round-up


Rural-urban divide proves to be real – Neal Wallace:

The concept of an urban-rural divide can no longer be dismissed as a conspiracy theory given the deluge of Government decisions that negatively affect the rural sector.

The list is diverse: The end of Government money for irrigation schemes, fuel tax changes that suck money out of the regions for Auckland public transport, the end to offshore drilling for oil and gas which will affect Taranaki, the loss of air ambulance services in Taupo, Rotorua and Te Anau and the refusal to fund $600,000 for the Rural Health Alliance.

Sitting in the wings are promises of tougher regulations on water quality and taxing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. . . 

No rest for farm manager as industry awards beckon – Sally Rae:

Standing in the middle of a paddock fixing a water leak, Jaime McCrostie acknowledges there is still a farm to run ahead of the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards next month.

Miss McCrostie (32) will head to Invercargill for the awards function on May 12, having previously won the 2018 Southland-Otago Dairy Manager of the Year competition.

It will be on her home turf, as she is farm manager for her employer Steve Smith and farm owner AB Lime on a 370ha, 930-cow farm in Winton.

Also representing the region will be Simon and Hilary Vallely, who won the Share Farmer of the Year, and Dairy Trainee of the Year Simone Smail. . .

Fed Farmers tenure drawing to close – Sally Rae:

Phill Hunt is looking forward to spending the next 12 months on the farm “and getting the gates swinging the way they used to”.

The sheep and beef farmer from Maungawera, near Wanaka, is standing down as president of Federated Farmers Otago at the annual meeting on May 15, after a three-year tenure.

It had been an enjoyable and interesting role, which he estimated was probably the equivalent of a two-day-a-week job, he said. . .

Class of 1980 reflects on work life 38 years after graduating from vet school – Joyce Wyllie:

In November 1980, 55 new graduates walked away from Massey vet school and into the big wide world.

It made no headline news, but for each of those fresh recipients of a hard earned veterinary science degree it was a mighty big step. Some began jobs in clinics the next week, others had a break before employment and a few headed overseas. After years of study we all left student life, joined the workforce and began contributing to the communities we had chosen to become part of.

A vet qualification leads to many job opportunities. The long list in the careers advice info covers work in clinics with large and small animals, drug companies, government departments, universities, and wildlife centres. There are opportunities in scientific research, animal welfare, areas of policies and regulations, and specialising in disciplines like surgery, eyes or medicine. Graduates from our class have filled nearly all those roles at some stage in their work-life. . .

Alliance makes loyalty payments :

Alliance shareholders will get a share of $5.9 million in loyalty payments.

The quarterly payments have been made to the co-operative’s Platinum and Gold shareholders who supply 100% of their stock to the company.

The payments cover January to March and bring the total distributed to shareholders for the season to date to $9.8m, an increase of 4.7% compared to the same period of the 2016-17 season. . .

In fire-scorched Oklahoma, help comes one bale at a time – Mitch Smith:

The hay began arriving before the fires were out. It came stacked on pickup trucks and strapped onto semis. From a few counties away. From halfway across the country.

For ranchers whose grazing land was destroyed by wildfires that tore across western Oklahoma this month, the cylindrical bales were an economic lifeline, a way to feed cattle marooned on grassless patches of charred red soil. The hay was also free, provided not by lawmakers in Washington or Oklahoma City, but mostly by strangers in other corners of rural America.

“If we waited on the government, we wouldn’t have it,” said Leo Hale, a local business owner who volunteered for 12-hour shifts distributing hay at the Vici rodeo grounds. Vici, population 700, was hit hard in the fires that scorched nearly 350,000 acres across the region, left two people dead, and blackened mile after mile of pasture. Donated bales of hay arrived from Kansas, Texas, Michigan and other parts of Oklahoma. . .


Simple taxes better


Federated Farmers is urging the Tax Working Group to keep taxes simple:

New Zealand enjoys a relatively neutral, non-distortionary tax system, with low compliance costs by international standards. Any changes should retain these hallmarks, Federated Farmers says.

I’ve said it many times but it needs to be repeated: simple taxes are better taxes.

Making it relatively easy to comply reduces the burden on both the Inland Revenue Department and taxpayers.

Simple taxes also reduce loop holes.

The Federation’s submission to the Tax Working Group, which was guided by 1,400 responses to a survey of its members, also argues money raised by any new taxes should be offset by reductions in other taxes.

Survey respondents strongly rejected some of the tax options that have been mooted: 81% opposed a capital gains tax (CGT) excluding the family home; 91% rejected a land tax and 82% opposed any form of environmental taxation.

Feds Economics and Commerce spokesperson Andrew Hoggard says it seems many proponents of a CGT hope it will crack down on property speculators.

A CGT hasn’t stopped runaway property price inflation in other countries.

“But that could be substantially achieved by an extension of the ‘bright-line test’ on sales to five years, making the need for a CGT largely redundant.

“The Federation didn’t oppose the two-year ‘bright-line’ when it was introduced, and our tax survey last month showed 47% supported this measure, with five years the most favoured period,” Andrew says.

A CGT would also have complications in terms of portfolio investment (PIE) rules, Livestock Herd Scheme gains and losses, farmhouse use changes and indexing the asset cost base so the inflation component is not taxed.

“There’s a lot to be said for the KISS (keep it simple…) principle and a CGT tramples all over that.”

A land tax would be “punitive and inequitable” on farmers, given the size of their properties. If it was introduced, highly geared enterprises could become equity negative, with potential flow-on effects to banks and financiers, Andrew says.

“What’s more developing businesses, or those with fluctuations in income typical of many farms, may not have sufficient cash flow in any one year to pay a land tax. Gross revenue can vary hugely for farmers due to the vagaries of international markets, exchange and interest rates, and the weather.”

It’s not just farmers who would be adversely affected by a land tax. It would add to costs for every business.

That includes service providers like doctors and other health professionals.

At least some of the extra cost would be passed on to consumers, fueling inflation and making life even more difficult for the poor.

As for environmental taxes, Federated Farmers believes there are more appropriate levers, such as regulation and industry-led initiatives, to spur gains.

“Those other levers are more efficient and more easily targeted.

“Taxpayers might decide it is cheaper to simply pay a new tax, particularly if they have limited ability to change/respond, and thus you don’t get the environmental gains we’re all looking for,” Andrew says.

Adding a tax would take away money that could be used for environmental improvements and wouldn’t discriminate between those whose environmental footprint is small and those whose isn’t.

The Federation’s survey showed 66% of farmers believed the current company tax rate of 28% is ‘about right’. There was limited appetite for a 26% rate for small to medium enterprise (SMEs) companies because savings would be relatively insignificant, because not all SMEs are companies, because it would significantly complicate the imputation regime and widening the gap between an SME company tax and the top marginal individual’s tax rate would likely cause even more inappropriate tax planning and avoidance.

Any reduction in tax rate should apply to all businesses.

How would you define a SME – by the number of employees, by income, by profit?

Discriminating by size would complicate the tax system and give some companies an advantage not available to their competitors.

It could also provide a perverse incentive for a business to stay small.

Any tax which incentivises businesses  to spend more time on working out how to organise themselves to minimise the tax they pay than on running their businesses  is a bad tax.

While on the topic of discrimination, I support the Taxpayers’ Union which is advocating for treating Maori Authorities and charitable companies the same as other businesses:

Keeping tax simple should be a major priority for the TWG.

It should aim to make any changes revenue neutral so that any increases in one area are offset by decreases in another too.

It should also take the opportunity to end fiscal drag, or bracket creep, which offsets gains from pay rises by subjecting them to a higher tax rate, by indexing tax threshold adjustments to inflation.

The government has restricted what the TWG can do by telling it what it can’t do.

But it still has the opportunity to make the tax system better by ensuring it’s simple.

Quote of the day


 I  would say that the surest measure of a man’s or a woman’s maturity is the harmony, style, joy, and dignity he creates in his marriage, and the pleasure and inspiration he provides for his spouse.  – Benjamin Spock who was born on this day in 1903.

May 2 in history


1194 – King Richard I gave Portsmouth its first Royal Charter.

1230 William de Braose, 10th Baron Abergavenny was hanged by PrinceLlywelyn the Great.

1335 Otto the Merry, Duke of Austria, became Duke of Carinthia.

1536 Anne Boleyn was arrested and imprisoned on charges of adultery, incest, treason and witchcraft.

1559 John Knox returned from exile to Scotland to become the leader of the beginning Scottish Reformation.

1568 Mary, Queen of Scots, escaped from Loch Leven Castle.

1670 King Charles II granted a permanent charter to the Hudson’s Bay Company to open up the fur trade in North America.

1729 Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia, was born (d. 1796).

1737  William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom was born (d. 1805).

1806  Catherine Labouré, French visionary and saint was born (d. 1876).

1808  Outbreak of the Peninsular War: The people of Madrid rose up in rebellion against French occupation. Francisco de Goya later memorializes this event in his painting The Second of May 1808.

1808 Emma Wedgwood, English naturalist, wife of Charles Darwin, was born (d. 1896).

1816 Marriage of Léopold of Saxe-Coburg and Charlotte Augusta.

1829  Captain Charles Fremantle of the HMS Challenger, declared theSwan River Colony in Australia.

1863 American Civil War: Stonewall Jackson was wounded by friendly fire while returning to camp after reconnoitering during the Battle of Chancellorsville.

1866  Peruvian defenders fought off Spanish fleet at the Battle of Callao.

1868 – The clipper Celestial Queen arrived at Port Chalmers carrying the first shipment of live salmon and trout ova from England.

First shipment of salmon and trout ova arrives

1879  The Spanish Socialist Worker’s Party was founded in Casa Labra Pub (city of Madrid) by the Spanish workers’ leader Pablo Iglesias.

1885 Good Housekeeping magazine went on sale for the first time.

1885  Cree and Assiniboine warriors won the Battle of Cut Knife, their largest victory over Canadian forces during the North-West Rebellion.

1885 – The Congo Free State was established by King Léopold II of Belgium.

1889 Menelik II, Emperor of Ethiopia, signs a treaty of amity with Italy, which gave Italy control over Eritrea.

1892 Manfred von Richthofen, German World War I pilot – the Red Baron – was born (d. 1918).

1895 Lorenz Hart, American lyricist was born (d. 1943).

1903 Benjamin Spock, American pediatrician and author was born (d. 1998).

1918 General Motors acquired the Chevrolet Motor Company of Delaware.

1932 Comedian Jack Benny‘s radio show aired for the first time.

1933 – Gleichschaltung: Adolf Hitler banned trade unions.

1935 King Faisal II of Iraq was born (d. 1958).

1936 Engelbert Humperdinck, Indian-born singer, was born.

1941 – Following the coup d’état against Iraq Crown Prince ‘Abd al-Ilah earlier that year, the United Kingdom launched the Anglo-Iraqi War to restore him to power.

1945 World War II: Fall of Berlin: The Soviet Union announced the capture of Berlin and Soviet soldiers hoisted their red flag over the Reichstagbuilding.

1945 World War II: Italian Campaign – General Heinrich von Vietinghoffsigned the official instrument of surrender of all Wehrmacht forces in Italy.

1945 World War II: The US 82nd Airborne Division liberated Wöbbelin concentration camp finding 1000 dead inmates, most starved to death.

1946  The “Battle of Alcatraz“ in which two guards and three inmates died.

1950 Bianca Jagger, Nicaraguan socialite, was born.

1952  The world’s first ever jet airliner, the De Havilland Comet made its maiden flight, from London to Johannesburg.

1955  Tennessee Williams won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

1963  Berthold Seliger launched a rocket with three stages and a maximum flight altitude of more than 100 kilometres near Cuxhaven.

1964  Vietnam War: An explosion sank the USS Card while docked at Saigon.

1964 Tram #252,  displaying the message ‘end of the line’ and with Mayor Frank Kitts in the driver’s seat, travelled from Thorndon to the Zoo in Newtown – the last electric tram journey in New Zealand.

NZ's last electric tram trip

1964 – First ascent of Shishapangma the fourteenth highest mountain in the world and the lowest of the Eight-thousanders.

1969   Queen Elizabeth 2 departed on her maiden voyage to New York City.

1969 Brian Lara, Trinidadian West Indies cricketer, was born.

1982 Falklands War: The British nuclear submarine HMS Conqueror sank the Argentine cruiser ARA General Belgrano.

1994– Bus disaster in Poland, 32 people died.

1995 During the Croatian War of Independence, Serb forces fired cluster bombs at Zagreb, killing 7 and wounding over 175 civilians.

1998  The European Central Bank was founded in Brussels in order to define and execute the European Union’s monetary policy.

1999  Panamanian election: Mireya Moscoso became the first woman to be elected President of Panama.

2000 President Bill Clinton announced that accurate GPS access would no longer be restricted to the United States military.

2000 Princess Margriet of the Netherlands unveiled the Man With Two Hatsmonument in Apeldoorn and the other in Ottawa on May 11, 2000, symbolically linking the Netherlands and Canada for their assistance throughout World War II.

2002 Marad massacre of eight Hindus near Palakkad in Kerala.

2004   Yelwa massacre of more than 630 nomad Muslims by Christians in Nigeria.

2008 Cyclone Nargis made landfall in Myanmar killing over 130,000 people and leaving millions of people homeless.

2008 – Chaitén Volcano began erupting in Chile, forcing the evacuation of more than 4,500 people.

2011 – Osama bin Laden, the suspected mastermind behind the September 11 attacks and the FBI’s most wanted man was killed by the United States special forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

2011 – An E. coli outbreak struck Europe, mostly in Germany, leaving more than 30 people dead and many others sick from the bacteria outbreak.

2011 The Conservative Party of Canada was elected with their first majority government.

2012 – A pastel version of The Scream, by Norwegian painter Edvard Munch, sold for $120 million in a New York City auction, setting a new world record for an auctioned work of art.

2014 – Odessa Clashes between supporters of a united Ukraine and supporters of Federalization resulted in 48 casualties.

2014 – Two mudslides in Badakhshan, Afghanistan, leave up to 2,500 people missing.

2015  – Princess Charlotte of Cambridge was born.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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