Quote of the day

July 29, 2019

New Zealand is the most beautiful country in the world, as is clearly stated in the UN Charter. (I think it’s in Article 17). The land is nourished by warm sunshine each morning and receives the benediction of good rainfall around lunchtime. It is an egalitarian nation made up of well over four million rugged individualists and naturally gifted sportspeople and is run on alternate days by the government and whoever bought the national infrastructure. John Clarke who was born on this day in 1948.


July 29 in history

July 29, 2019

1014  Byzantine-Bulgarian Wars: Battle of Kleidion: Byzantine emperor Basil II inflicted a decisive defeat on the Bulgarian army.

1030  Ladejarl-Fairhair succession wars: Battle of Stiklestad – King Olaf II fought and died trying to regain his Norwegian throne from the Danes.

1565 The widowed Mary, Queen of Scots, married Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, Duke of Albany at Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh.

1567  James VI was crowned King of Scotland at Stirling.

1588 Anglo-Spanish War: Battle of Gravelines – English naval forces under command of Lord Charles Howard and Sir Francis Drake defeated theSpanish Armada off the coast of Gravelines, France.

1693 War of the Grand Alliance: Battle of Landen – France won a Pyrrhic victory over Allied forces in the Netherlands.

1793  John Graves Simcoe decided to build a fort and settlement at Toronto.

1830  Abdication of Charles X of France.

1836  Inauguration of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

1847 Cumberland School of Law was founded in Lebanon, Tennessee.

1848 Irish Potato Famine: Tipperary Revolt – an unsuccessful nationalist revolt against British rule was put down by police.

1851  Annibale de Gasparis discovered asteroid 15 Eunomia.

1858 United States and Japan signed the Harris Treaty.

1883 Benito Mussolini, Italian dictator, was born (d. 1945).

1891 Bernhard Zondek German-born Israeli gynecologist, developer of first reliable pregnancy test, was born (d. 1966).

1897 – The Huddart-Parker steamer Tasmania, sank off  Māhia Peninsula.

<em>Tasmania</em> sinks off Māhia with suitcase of jewels

1899  The First Hague Convention was signed.

1900 King Umberto I of Italy was assassinated by Italian-born anarchist Gaetano Bresci.

1901  The Socialist Party of America founded.

1905 Stanley Kunitz, American poet, was born (d. 2006).

1907 Sir Robert Baden Powell set up the Brownsea Island Scout camp in Poole Harbour. The camp ran from August 1-9, 1907, and is regarded as the foundation of the Scouting movement.

1920 Construction of the Link River Dam began as part of the Klamath Reclamation Project.

1921  Adolf Hitler became leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party.

1925 Mikis Theodorakis, Greek composer, was born.

1926 – Robert Kilpatrick, Baron Kilpatrick of Kincraig, Scottish physician, academic, and politician, was born (d. 2015).

1936 – Elizabeth Dole, American lawyer and politician, 20th United States Secretary of Labor, was born.

1937  Tongzhou Incident – assault on Japanese troops and civilians by Japanese-trained East Hopei Army in Tōngzhōu, China.

1945  The BBC Light Programme radio station was launched.

1948  – John Clarke, New Zealand-Australian comedian, actor, producer, and screenwriter, was born (d. 2017).

1948 The Games of the XIV Olympiad – after a hiatus of 12 years caused by World War II, the first Summer Olympics to be held opened in London.

1957  The International Atomic Energy Agency was established.

1958  U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law the National Aeronautics and Space Act, which created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

1959  John Sykes, British guitarist (Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake, Tygers of Pan Tang), was born.

1965  The first 4,000 101st Airborne Division paratroopers arrived in Vietnam.

1967 USS Forrestal caught on fire  killing 134.

1967  During the fourth day of celebrating its 400th anniversary, the city of Caracas, Venezuela was shaken by an earthquake, leaving approximately 500 dead.

1981 Up to 2000 anti-Springbok tour protestors were confronted by police who used batons to stop them marching up Molesworth Street to the home of South Africa’s Consul to New Zealand.

Police baton anti-tour protesters near Parliament

1981 – Kiri Te Kanawa sang at the wedding of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer at St Paul’s Cathedral, London.
Kiri Te Kanawa sings at Royal Wedding

1981 Marriage of Charles, Prince of Wales to Lady Diana Spencer.

1987  British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President of France François Mitterrand signed the agreement to build a tunnel under the English Channel (Eurotunnel).

1988 The film Cry Freedom was seized by South African authorities.

1987  Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi and President of Sri Lanka J. R. Jayawardene signed the Indo-Lankan Pact on ethnic issues.

1993  The Israeli Supreme Court acquitted alleged Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk of all charges.

2003 –  Moana Mackey entered the House of Representatives as a Labour Party list MP, joining  her mother, Janet Mackey, who had been a Labour MP since 1993. They became the first mother and daughter to serve together in New Zealand’s parliament.

Moana Mackey joins mother Janet in Parliament

2005  Astronomers announced their discovery of Eris.

2010 – An overloaded passenger ferry capsized on the Kasai River in Bandundu Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo, resulting in at least 80 deaths.

2013 – Two passenger trains collided in the Swiss municipality of Granges-près-Marnand near Lausanne injuring 25 people.

2015 – Microsoft released Windows 10.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Gliding On to knighthood

June 3, 2019

Decades of successful playwriting have been recognised with a knighthood for Roger Hall:

He has delivered dozens of hit plays and just received a knighthood, but Sir Roger Hall says there’s no secret formula but “putting your bum on the chair in the morning and working hard”.  . .

He paid tribute to his wife’s support throughout his career for theatre and television, especially before he made his name with sold out public service satire Glide Time in 1976.

“She’s been a very loyal supporter for all those years when I was struggling to be a writer and make myself known. When I was teaching, I came home one day, and she was sitting at home with a baby in her arms and I said, ‘I’m sorry, I want to give up teaching and go writing full-time.’ And she said, ‘Well, that’s what you better do,’ which was a brave decision.”

He followed up his debut play with a string of other hits featuring middle-class “everyman” New Zealanders, including Middle-Age Spread, which played in London’s West End for 15 months. It was also made into a film, with American magazine Variety describing the star, Grant Tilly, as an “Antipodean Woody Allen”.

Several of his works were successfully adapted for the small screen (Gliding On, Neighbourhood Watch, Conjugal Rites, Market Forces) and he won a script-writing award for his work on Spin Doctors.

He organised the first New Zealand Writers’ Week and successfully campaigned for the introduction of New Zealand Theatre Month, which was held for the first time in September 2018.

All this from a man who sailed from England to New Zealand at 19.

“I owe everything to New Zealand, really. It gave me a good university education and it got me away from the class system and it gave me a feeling I could do anything here if I wanted it.”

The late great comedian John Clarke once described Sir Roger’s work as “identifying faults and follies which highlight small monsters in ordinary people, and sometimes excite our sympathy as much as our laughter”.

“John is a very shrewd observer and I was very flattered to get that comment. That sort of comedy has always appealed to me, the mixture of funny and sad.” . .

I saw Glide Time at Dunedin’s Fortune Theatre and have been to almost every other play Hall has written since.

In each of them I remember thinking I’ve heard conversations like that, and then thinking I’ve had conversations like that.

This is one of the secrets of his success – an extraordinary ability to write about ordinary people in a relatable and entertaining way.

The full Honours List is here.


July 29 in history

July 29, 2018

1014  Byzantine-Bulgarian Wars: Battle of Kleidion: Byzantine emperor Basil II inflicted a decisive defeat on the Bulgarian army.

1030  Ladejarl-Fairhair succession wars: Battle of Stiklestad – King Olaf II fought and died trying to regain his Norwegian throne from the Danes.

1565 The widowed Mary, Queen of Scots, married Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, Duke of Albany at Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh.

1567  James VI was crowned King of Scotland at Stirling.

1588 Anglo-Spanish War: Battle of Gravelines – English naval forces under command of Lord Charles Howard and Sir Francis Drake defeated theSpanish Armada off the coast of Gravelines, France.

1693 War of the Grand Alliance: Battle of Landen – France won a Pyrrhic victory over Allied forces in the Netherlands.

1793  John Graves Simcoe decided to build a fort and settlement at Toronto.

1830  Abdication of Charles X of France.

1836  Inauguration of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

1847 Cumberland School of Law was founded in Lebanon, Tennessee.

1848 Irish Potato Famine: Tipperary Revolt – an unsuccessful nationalist revolt against British rule was put down by police.

1851  Annibale de Gasparis discovered asteroid 15 Eunomia.

1858 United States and Japan signed the Harris Treaty.

1883 Benito Mussolini, Italian dictator, was born (d. 1945).

1891 Bernhard Zondek German-born Israeli gynecologist, developer of first reliable pregnancy test, was born (d. 1966).

1897 – The Huddart-Parker steamer Tasmania, sank off  Māhia Peninsula.

<em>Tasmania</em> sinks off Māhia with suitcase of jewels

1899  The First Hague Convention was signed.

1900 King Umberto I of Italy was assassinated by Italian-born anarchistGaetano Bresci.

1901  The Socialist Party of America founded.

1905 Stanley Kunitz, American poet, was born (d. 2006).

1907 Sir Robert Baden Powell set up the Brownsea Island Scout camp in Poole Harbour. The camp ran from August 1-9, 1907, and is regarded as the foundation of the Scouting movement.

1920 Construction of the Link River Dam began as part of the Klamath Reclamation Project.

1921  Adolf Hitler became leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party.

1925 Mikis Theodorakis, Greek composer, was born.

1926 – Robert Kilpatrick, Baron Kilpatrick of Kincraig, Scottish physician, academic, and politician, was born (d. 2015).

1936 – Elizabeth Dole, American lawyer and politician, 20th United States Secretary of Labor, was born.

1937  Tongzhou Incident – assault on Japanese troops and civilians by Japanese-trained East Hopei Army in Tōngzhōu, China.

1945  The BBC Light Programme radio station was launched.

1948  – John Clarke, New Zealand-Australian comedian, actor, producer, and screenwriter, was born (d. 2017).

1948 The Games of the XIV Olympiad – after a hiatus of 12 years caused by World War II, the first Summer Olympics to be held opened in London.

1957  The International Atomic Energy Agency was established.

1958  U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law the National Aeronautics and Space Act, which created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

1959  John Sykes, British guitarist (Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake, Tygers of Pan Tang), was born.

1965  Tfirst 4,000 101st Airborne Division paratroopers arrived in Vietnam.

1967 USS Forrestal caught on fire  killing 134.

1967  During the fourth day of celebrating its 400th anniversary, the city of Caracas, Venezuela was shaken by an earthquake, leaving approximately 500 dead.

1981 Up to 2000 anti-Springbok tour protestors were confronted by policewho used batons to stop them marching up Molesworth Street to the home of South Africa’s Consul to New Zealand.

Police baton anti-tour protesters near Parliament

1981 Marriage of Charles, Prince of Wales to Lady Diana Spencer.

1987  British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President of France François Mitterrand signed the agreement to build a tunnel under theEnglish Channel (Eurotunnel).

1988 The film Cry Freedom was seized by South African authorities.

1987  Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi and President of Sri Lanka J. R. Jayawardene signed the Indo-Lankan Pact on ethnic issues.

1993  The Israeli Supreme Court acquitted alleged Nazi death camp guardJohn Demjanjuk of all charges.

2003 –  Moana Mackey entered the House of Representatives as a Labour Party list MP, joining  her mother, Janet Mackey, who had been a Labour MP since 1993. They became the first mother and daughter to serve together in New Zealand’s parliament.

Moana Mackey joins mother Janet in Parliament

2005  Astronomers announced their discovery of Eris.

2010 – An overloaded passenger ferry capsized on the Kasai River in Bandundu Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo, resulting in at least 80 deaths.

2013 – Two passenger trains collided in the Swiss municipality of Granges-près-Marnand near Lausanne injuring 25 people.

2015 – Microsoft released Windows 10.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Drawn Out

June 4, 2018

Funny People don’t always have funny lives.

Tom Scott’s life has had lots of unfunny times but in his autobiography Drawn Out his stilettos sharp observations and dry wit make for very funny reading.

Although he writes of his gauge being on full self-pity later, there is no trace of that with the light and witty touch he applies to his impoverished childhood with his angry, alcoholic father.

In his book he recounts stories of people and events which changed New Zealand and the world as well as touching on his own deprived childhood, and his student days, career and family life.

As a political columnist and cartoonist he mixed with politicians, media and other people, including Sir Edmund Hillary and John Clarke, who made, or covered, the news from New Zealand and around the world.

He also claims the line New Zealanders going to Australia raise the IQ on both sides of the Tasman as his own and says it was taken by Rob Muldoon.

The front cover describes it as a seriously funny memoir. It is and I recommend it as a must-read for anyone interested in politics, history or life.

Drawn Out published by Allen & Unwin.


Quotes of the year

January 3, 2018

. . . And there it was, the secret of all overseas-born grandparents the world over who give up everything, their own brothers and sisters back home, their independence, their everything to look after grandchildren.

They do it so their sons and daughters can work or study full time (and keep the economy running) and avoid insanely expensive childcare options.

They do it because they love their grandchildren so much they are willing to live in a country where they can’t understand a lot of what is being said or written around them, but march on nonetheless.

And, in the case of Nai Nai, they do it knowing that even if they can’t teach their grandchild English they will do whatever they can to make sure someone else can. . . Angela Cuming

Cooking means you use better food and you have far more control over what you eat. It also brings a lot of the things to the table – manners, eye contact, social skills, the art of conversation and confidence. . . Ray McVinnie

. . .Yes, according to the science, dairying is a major factor in a decline in water quality. The science also shows this is the result of 150 years of farming, albeit escalated in the past 20 years.

Dairy farmers are doing everything asked of them to reduce the loss of nutrients from their farms. They have bridged stream crossings, fenced waterways, planted riparian strips and built highly technical effluent treatment systems. They want clean streams as much as any other New Zealanders.

But those with their own axe to grind don’t want to know this. And the ignorant follow along.

The opinion writers and the commenters seem to think that clean streams and lakes can be accomplished immediately, that 150 years of pollution can be erased overnight.

It can’t be – even if all farming was banned and the land converted to trees and bush, the leaching would go on. . . Jon Morgan

The brutal truth is that while the Treaty’s influence has grown to the point where it is now cemented into New Zealand’s unwritten constitution, Waitangi Day is sinking under the weight of its conflicting roles.

It doubles as a mechanism for acknowledging legitimate Maori grievances past and present while also serving as the country’s national day and which is about projecting an image of unity and happy families.

Divisiveness and inclusiveness are oil and water. They don’t mix.

The tiresome antics regularly on display at Waitangi have undermined the power and symbolism of the occasion.

The wider New Zealand public which should be happily embracing the proceedings instead feels alienated by them. – John Armstrong

I can perfectly describe why we’re dying on the roads.

It’s you.

It’s not the lack of cops, or lack of passing lanes, or sub standard roads. It’s you. It’s the 40% in 2016 who died or caused death on the roads due to drugs and alcohol. The 24% who died due to speeding and dangerous driving. And the majority of the remaining deaths caused by those who were so clever they didn’t need a seatbelt. Why the hell wouldn’t you put on a seatbelt when you get in a car? – Bernadine Oliver-Kerby

If you become what you are fighting you have lost. You must fight freedom’s cause in freedom’s way. Helen Dale

Trump is never more certain than when he is completely clueless. The truth is that protection against foreign trade leads away from prosperity and strength. A country that deprives itself of foreign goods is doing to itself what an enemy might try to do in wartime—cut it off from outside commerce. It is volunteering to impoverish itself. – Steve Chapman

Protectionism amounts to the claim that everyone benefits when choices go down and prices go up. The only reason more Americans don’t dismiss that claim as self-evident crackpottery is because it comes cloaked in the language of nationalistic resentment.  – Jeff Jacoby

Honesty is to be preferred. However, there is a genuine gulf between the burdens of opposition and leadership. Opposition is fun, and largely without responsibility.  Leadership only sounds fun, and carries abounding burdens, among them the inchoate demands of “American leadership” and the rather specific requirements of interagency coordination. –  Danielle Pletka

 Greater understanding, insight, knowledge – even wisdom – are  gifts we acquire if we’re lucky, as we grow older, yet it’s when we’re young that we have to step up, and so often blunder blindly into the unknown, sometimes realising fearfully that we don’t know, or often, thinking we know better. – Valerie Davies

It was not so long ago that I was a young boy, crying in my room, wishing that I had real legs.  In an attempt to lift my spirits, my dad said one day someone will build you legs that will allow you to run faster than your friends. – Liam Malone

If only I had known that broadening a church required merely climbing up the steeple to set the clock back 20 years, I could have saved a lot of ink and cognitive energy.  Apparently, all New Zealand voters have been waiting for is for Labour to finally reinvent itself as The Alliance Historical Re-enactment Society.  Is there anything Labour’s deviously brilliant internal polling can’t teach us? – Phil Quin

Agriculture is being attacked by misinformation. Agriculture is being attacked by ignorance. Agriculture is being attacked by science illiteracy. Agriculture is being attacked by deceitful marketing. And those things do not discriminate based on party lines. – Kate Lambert

Mr Average migrant is healthier with less character problems than the average New Zealander because they had to go through all of those hoops before they got permission to stay in our country.David Cooper

My challenge to employers is to hire people based on merit, to give women as many opportunities as men and to pay women what they are worth.

It’s 2017. It’s not about what you can get away with. It’s not about what she is willing to accept.

It’s about what she is worth.-  Paula Bennett

If borrowing to put money into the Super Fund is such a perfect ”free money” scenario, why stop at $13.5 billion? Surely we should borrow a couple of trillion. Nobody will notice – it’s all still on the books somewhere. Then we could make mega trillions, pay all our super costs, and never work again. – Steven Joyce

Not that it matters. None of it matters. Who came from where & what happened there. Because lets admit it, New Zealand is a tiny remote island at the ass-crack of the world…WE ALL CAME ON A BLOODY BOAT SOMETIME OR ANOTHER! – Deanna Yang

By nature, I am a pragmatist, not an ideologue. That is because, in my experience, most people just want results that work. Some people have said that my pragmatism indicates a lack of a clear set of principles. I do not think that is true. It is just that my principles derive mostly from the values and ethics instilled in me by my upbringing, rather than by the “Politics 101” textbook.  . .

Mum taught me the things that allowed me to succeed and which I think are echoed by so many Kiwi parents—that you get out of life what you put in to it, that hard work can create opportunities. And that you really can change your own life, not by wishing it was different but by working to make it different

I have brought to politics an unshakeable belief that, regardless of our circumstances, most of us share the same aspirations: we want our children to be fulfilled and we want them to do better than we have. To most of us, what matters more than anything else are the health, welfare, and happiness of those people about whom we care most. In the end, Mum did not leave me any money, our holidays were always pretty basic, and the house we lived in for a long time was owned by the State Advances Corporation. But, truthfully, she left me the most important gift of all: the determination to succeed and the work ethic to make it happen. . .  – John Key

God, I wish I ran a small country. – David Cameron

The only vision really worth having for any government in a democratic society is enabling individual citizens the maximum amount of freedom to pursue their own visions.

All the rest is just politicians indulging in their personal narcissism.Rob Hosking

But in these troubled times of shifting societal landscapes, the simple joy of a cheese roll is a throwback to when times were perhaps less complicated.

That such a simple dish has survived mostly unchanged and is still revered, is a sign that – at the bottom of the country at least – we still enjoy the simple things in life. – Oscar Kightley

He was another example of that unique Aussie — a New Zealander. We claim him with pride, along with Russell Crowe and Ernest Rutherford.  – Robyn Williams on John Clarke.

If humour is common sense dancing, John Clarke was Nureyev. He proved that you can laugh at this strange part of the world, and still keep your mind and heart fully engaged. – Don McGlashan on John Clarke.

 I think I thought he might have been immortal. The Great God Dead-Pan. – Kim Hill on John Clarke

I always said as long as my mind, my body and my heart were in it, then I could do this for as long as I like. My mind’s been pretty good, my body’s been pretty good, but it was my heart that was on the fence. So, it’s time to go.”  – Eric Murray

We prefer to be in a situation where we have a positive relationship with Australia and Kiwis get a good deal in Australia – that’s better than mutual ‘armed war’ to see who can treat each other’s citizens worse. – Bill English

Keep that moment. You get to hold the baby and the mother is there and it’s an experience you can’t prepare for. There’s going to be so many times when this looks hard and it is, so keep that moment. – Bill English’s advice to new fathers.

Beware of the guy with the soft hands – go with the guy with the calluses on his hands. – Neil Smith

Spend two minutes of the hour being negative, but you have to spend the other 58 being positive.Neil Smith

I’m the person who got us into this mess, and I’m the one who will get us out of it. – Theresa May

Civilisation is built on cultural appropriation.

Every society absorbs influences from other cultures, often cherry-picking the best of what’s on offer. This process cuts both ways, because disadvantaged societies learn from more advanced ones. It’s not all about exploitation.

Those who seek to outlaw what they arbitrarily define as cultural appropriation would condemn us to a monochromatic, one-dimensional world beset by sheer boredom – and one in which New Zealanders would be reduced to eating tinned spaghetti on toast, since it’s one of the very few dishes we can call our own.

On second thoughts, scratch that. Spaghetti’s Italian. – Karl du Fresne

Beaver’s far and beyond what I am – he’s a top man. There’s no movie here. I’m just a little white fella that’s chipping away in Dunedin. – Marty Banks

“Yeah, well just the same way you prepare every day,” Peter Burling in response to a reporter’s question:  “You know, looking back to 13, going, okay, you guys were on match point a lot in 13, how do you prepare for tomorrow?”

The biggest software company in the world just got beaten by little old New Zealand software.” – Grant Dalton.

 . . . it’s a privilege to hold the America’s Cup – it’s not a right. And was embodied in the way Team New Zealand was under Sir Peter Blake. If you’re good enough to take it from us then you will and we’ll try very hard to be good enough to keep it. We won’t turn it so to make sure you can’t.Grant Dalton

More so than any other industry, agriculture is a relationship industry. We work with, and spend money with, people we like. People we trust. People we often times consider part of our family. Sometimes those people work for “Big Ag”. Sometimes they don’t. But farmers don’t do business with corporations or small companies. Farmers do business with people.  – Kate Lambert

You only get 40 attempts at farming. From your 20’s to your 60’s, you get 40 seasons,” says Duncan Logan, the founder and CEO of RocketSpace, a tech accelerator company. “In tech, you get 40 attempts in a week. – Duncan Logan

My philosophy is that people who are born with a healthy body and a healthy mind can look after themselves, but people that are unfortunate [enough] not to have that blessing, I’m prepared to help. – Mark Dunajtschik

I am repeating the warning that free money to able-bodied humans anywhere can do just the opposite of what it intends: take away the will to work, the guts to struggle, the spirit to pick yourself up by the bootstraps. . . – Alan Duff

I got up again. – Bill English

Just because males talk loudly doesn’t mean they have anything to say. – Deborah Coddington

Those who work to change public perception in spite of the evidence use a number of tactics – they cherry pick data, they drive fear, they over simplify, they take data out of context, they deliberately confuse correlation with causation and they undermine trust. –  William Rolleston

Innovation in agriculture is where the future health and wealth of New Zealand lies. As a country we need to invest in how we can support this innovation and practice change. Taxation as an answer to agricultural challenges demonstrates a lack of imagination. – Anna Campbell

. . . once a society makes it permissible to suppress views that some people don’t like, the genie is out of the bottle and the power to silence unfashionable opinions can be turned against anyone, depending on whichever ideology happens to be prevalent at the time. . . . What we are witnessing, I believe is the gradual squeezing out of conservative voices as that monoculture steadily extends its reach.- Karl du Fresne

I learned from the film that if we want to have enough food to feed the 30 billion people soon to inhabit the planet and we only grow organically, we’ll have to chop down the rainforest and make it farmland. But if we grow GMO crops that need less space and less water, the rainforest is safe. – Lenore Skenazy

Personality doesn’t feed your children or keep the rivers clean, personality doesn’t make the country safe, it requires sound leadership strong intellect and the right policies. – Jim Bolger

I got up againBill English

The only thing that could bring English down is Winston Peters choosing to go with Labour and the Greens. – Patrick Gower

There are good and bad people in all parties. Sometimes, people with whom you agree will do something dumb. Sometimes, they will conduct themselves in a manner of which you do not approve.

If your chief criteria for judging propriety and competence boils down to partisan affiliation and advantage, then you really are contributing to a problem that is going to drain all the goodwill out of this country’s politics. – Liam Hehir

This is the only assurance to an irreversible path to national freedom, happiness and economic prosperity.
To our neighbours, you now all know the simple choice you face; either support our rights or our refugees. – Morgan Tsvangirai

Loss comes in all forms, not just death, but loss of careers, loss of confidence, loss of relationships and marriage, my own succumbing to the high percentage of those that end upon the death of a child.

With all our collective legislative wisdom, there shouldn’t also have to be loss of faith in a system supposedly designed to protect those that need it at precisely the time when they most need it. . . .

Politics really did become personal for me then. A flick of the pen, wording of an amendment, an exchange in the debating chamber – parliament’s processes affect everyday lives.- Denise Lee

We are not a nation of holier-than-thou busybodies. We are friendly, moral realists who face facts and credit others with doing the best they can when they are in circumstances we are fortunate not to share. That is how we should be represented to the world. – John Roughan

. . . Abundance is no long-term solution. We can’t have as much as we want, for as long as we want. That’s not how life works, it’s not up to us to decide when the fun ends.

We ought to make the most of moments, of the people, of the laughs, because we are numbered. They are numbered. As you wind through them, one day there will be a final click.

We all know this deep down, but we gloss over it day to day. Either because more pressing issues take centre stage, or because pondering mortality of loved ones and ourselves isn’t that enjoyable.

Yes, looking back on captured moments after they’re developed is great. But being present in these moments is key to truly appreciating the finite things in life. –  Jake Bailey

Telling the truth is colour blind. – Duncan Garner

. .  .New Zealand’s GST is uniquely, and admirably, clean. It applies broadly. Every producer has an incentive to report honestly because they also report the GST they paid to their suppliers on every item when claiming GST on their inputs.

Were New Zealand to exempt healthy foods from GST, we would well be on the slippery slope. It is one of those things that sounds really easy, but would be an utter disaster in practice. . . Eric Crampton

I must say, it has been a bit rich sitting here listening to the moral awesomeness and self-congratulation of the Labour Government over the family incomes package when they opposed every single measure that it took to generate the surpluses that they are handing out. That is why they won’t get the credit they expect from the New Zealand public, because the New Zealand public know it’s a bunch of people who found the lolly bag and ran the lolly scramble without having any idea where it came from.  – Bill English

Everybody wants to do the right thing; they just want to know what the expectations are, how long they have got, what it’s going to cost, where the tools are, and they will get up and they will get on with it.  – Barbara Kuriger

. . . the United Nations has just declared access to the internet a basic human right. It’s no more that than ownership of a Rolls Royce.

One can laugh at this stuff but for humanity to make progress it’s actually damaging, leading as it does to false expectations. Far better if the UN was to talk sense and describe it as an aspiration achievable through effort rather than by right. – Sir Bob Jones

The number of children the Labour-led government will lift out of poverty next year is 12,000. That’s over and above the 49,000 the previous government’s 2017 Budget was already lifting out. That”s right 80% of the new government’s achievement was already in train.

The new caring and sharing government’s achievement is much more modest when compared with the previous heartless government’s achievement. But that’s the power of the headline.   – Rodney Hide

Essentially, progressives tend to make up their minds about things according to a grievance hierarchy, which goes something like this: Worries about Palestine trump concerns about gay rights. And concerns about gay rights trump women’s rights which, despite the big and necessary push against harassment and abuse over the past several months, tend to wind up as the last unionised, fair-pay electric cab off the left’s organised and properly supervised rank.

Or to put it another way, being anti-Western means never having to say you’re sorry, but being female doesn’t mean that the left will let you get away with having your own opinion. – James Morrow

One of the wonderful things about living the years that I have, is that Time has taught me so much about myself. In doing so, Time and opportunity have set me free to be the essence of who I really am, rather than the person who has been beset by the grief of bereavement, abandonment, divorce, poverty, pain and rejection. The insights that Time has allowed me to gather, have set me free from those profound and painful experiences to be joyful, happy, fearless, and, – I hope -loving… – Valerie Davies


Quote of the Year?

December 8, 2017

Voting has opened for Massey University’s Quote of the Year.

The finalists are:

“It’s deeply disappointing, but it’s not gay.”– Actor Jatinder Singh after Nigel calls a dropped pie “gay” in Rainbow Youth’s advertisement. 

“Excuse me for laughing, but it’s been a long time since I’ve been ravaged by a toothless sheep.”– Winston Peters on Gareth Morgan. 

“This is my generation’s nuclear free moment.”– Jacinda Ardern on climate change. 

“I’m embracing my new feather duster status.”– Paula Bennett, ending her tenure as Deputy Prime Minister. 

“First ladyman? Who knows? …Aiming for Michelle Obama, probably gonna be a little bit closer to Prince Philip.”– Clarke Gayford. 

“I am a different shade of brown.”– Student Jai Selkirk of the Dilworth School team winning “Word – The Front Line Poetry Slam” competition. 

“Please tell me that’s not your penis.”– Shortland Street’s Dr Chris Warner (actor Michael Galvin) confronting his son about a photo. 

“If humour is common sense dancing, John Clarke was Nureyev.”– Don McGlashan on the death of John Clarke. 

“…in NZ elections, we all vote then take the ballots—chuck them out—and ask a man called Winston Peters who won.”– Ali Ikram. 

“I’ve not seen the data about the risk factor of death by falling fatty; I’d imagine it’s similar to the risk factor of death by Sharknado.”

– Fat activist and scholar Dr Cat Pause, when asked if fat people are a hazard because they could fall on you.

I’m not sure what the criteria was but for brevity, conviction and passion I would have added Bill English’s line from an eleciton debate – I got up again.

 


July 29 in history

July 29, 2017

1014  Byzantine-Bulgarian Wars: Battle of Kleidion: Byzantine emperor Basil II inflicted a decisive defeat on the Bulgarian army.

1030  Ladejarl-Fairhair succession wars: Battle of Stiklestad – King Olaf II fought and died trying to regain his Norwegian throne from the Danes.

1565 The widowed Mary, Queen of Scots, married Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, Duke of Albany at Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh.

1567  James VI was crowned King of Scotland at Stirling.

1588 Anglo-Spanish War: Battle of Gravelines – English naval forces under command of Lord Charles Howard and Sir Francis Drake defeated theSpanish Armada off the coast of Gravelines, France.

1693 War of the Grand Alliance: Battle of Landen – France won a Pyrrhic victory over Allied forces in the Netherlands.

1793  John Graves Simcoe decided to build a fort and settlement at Toronto.

1830  Abdication of Charles X of France.

1836  Inauguration of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

1847 Cumberland School of Law was founded in Lebanon, Tennessee.

1848 Irish Potato Famine: Tipperary Revolt – an unsuccessful nationalist revolt against British rule was put down by police.

1851  Annibale de Gasparis discovered asteroid 15 Eunomia.

1858 United States and Japan signed the Harris Treaty.

1883 Benito Mussolini, Italian dictator, was born (d. 1945).

1891 Bernhard Zondek German-born Israeli gynecologist, developer of first reliable pregnancy test, was born (d. 1966).

1897 – The Huddart-Parker steamer Tasmania, sank off  Māhia Peninsula.

<em>Tasmania</em> sinks off Māhia with suitcase of jewels

1899  The First Hague Convention was signed.

1900 King Umberto I of Italy was assassinated by Italian-born anarchistGaetano Bresci.

1901  The Socialist Party of America founded.

1905 Stanley Kunitz, American poet, was born (d. 2006).

1907 Sir Robert Baden Powell set up the Brownsea Island Scout camp in Poole Harbour. The camp ran from August 1-9, 1907, and is regarded as the foundation of the Scouting movement.

1920 Construction of the Link River Dam began as part of the Klamath Reclamation Project.

1921  Adolf Hitler became leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party.

1925 Mikis Theodorakis, Greek composer, was born.

1926 – Robert Kilpatrick, Baron Kilpatrick of Kincraig, Scottish physician, academic, and politician, was born (d. 2015).

1936 – Elizabeth Dole, American lawyer and politician, 20th United States Secretary of Labor, was born.

1937  Tongzhou Incident – assault on Japanese troops and civilians by Japanese-trained East Hopei Army in Tōngzhōu, China.

1945  The BBC Light Programme radio station was launched.

1948  – John Clarke, New Zealand-Australian comedian, actor, producer, and screenwriter, was born (d. 2017).

1948 The Games of the XIV Olympiad – after a hiatus of 12 years caused by World War II, the first Summer Olympics to be held opened in London.

1957  The International Atomic Energy Agency was established.

1958  U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law the National Aeronautics and Space Act, which created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

1959  John Sykes, British guitarist (Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake, Tygers of Pan Tang), was born.

1965  Tfirst 4,000 101st Airborne Division paratroopers arrived in Vietnam.

1967 USS Forrestal caught on fire  killing 134.

1967  During the fourth day of celebrating its 400th anniversary, the city of Caracas, Venezuela was shaken by an earthquake, leaving approximately 500 dead.

1981 Up to 2000 anti-Springbok tour protestors were confronted by policewho used batons to stop them marching up Molesworth Street to the home of South Africa’s Consul to New Zealand.

Police baton anti-tour protesters near Parliament

1981 Marriage of Charles, Prince of Wales to Lady Diana Spencer.

1987  British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President of France François Mitterrand signed the agreement to build a tunnel under theEnglish Channel (Eurotunnel).

1988 The film Cry Freedom was seized by South African authorities.

1987  Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi and President of Sri Lanka J. R. Jayawardene signed the Indo-Lankan Pact on ethnic issues.

1993  The Israeli Supreme Court acquitted alleged Nazi death camp guardJohn Demjanjuk of all charges.

2003 –  Moana Mackey entered the House of Representatives as a Labour Party list MP, joining  her mother, Janet Mackey, who had been a Labour MP since 1993. They became the first mother and daughter to serve together in New Zealand’s parliament.

Moana Mackey joins mother Janet in Parliament

2005  Astronomers announced their discovery of Eris.

2010 – An overloaded passenger ferry capsized on the Kasai River in Bandundu Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo, resulting in at least 80 deaths.

2013 – Two passenger trains collided in the Swiss municipality of Granges-près-Marnand near Lausanne injuring 25 people.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


John Clarke 29.7.48 – 9.4.17

April 10, 2017

John Clarke, satirist and comedian extraordinaire has died.

Born in Palmerston North, he studied at Victoria University before heading to London, where he gained a break through with a part in the 1972 Barry Humphries comedy The Adventures of Barry McKenzie.

Clarke came home a year later, and was in the cast of New Zealand’s first sitcom, the student-flat comedy Buck House.

By then, Clarke had already pioneered his iconic character Fred Dagg in short TV sketches and a Country Calendar ‘spoof’ edition. . .

Clarke moved to Australia where he continued to delight audiences as a writer and satirist.

For 25 years he and Brian Bryan Dawe poked the borax at politicians in Clarke and Dawe.

You can see some of his work at Mr John Clarke, read his bio at NZ on Screen and listen to an interview with Jesse Mulligan at RNZ.


News for feeling not thinking

September 2, 2016

John Clarke at the ABC on modern media:

. . . JOHN CLARKE: Well we need to change our business, Bryan, we need to provide our readers with a different kind of experience.

BRYAN DAWE: And how you gonna do that?

JOHN CLARKE: Well instead of analysing the news, Bryan, and encouraging people to think very deeply about what’s going on in their world, we are gonna try and put people in touch more with the way they feel about what might perhaps be happening in the world.

BRYAN DAWE: You’re gonna create feelings within the community?

JOHN CLARKE: We’re gonna put people in touch with their feelings in a way that helps create a community.

BRYAN DAWE: So you’re gonna frighten people?

JOHN CLARKE: No, we’re not gonna frighten people. Bryan. It could be a very warm feeling. Could be a Royal wedding, for example – lovely, lovely warm, warm feeling. A kid could get a cat out of a tree.

BRYAN DAWE: And you’d report that?

JOHN CLARKE: We would report that.

BRYAN DAWE: How do you do that?

JOHN CLARKE: In a way, Bryan, that puts people in touch with the way they feel.

BRYAN DAWE: With their responses?

JOHN CLARKE: Yes.

BRYAN DAWE: And how do you know what their responses are?

JOHN CLARKE: Well we tell them what their responses are, Bryan.

BRYAN DAWE: So you frighten people about stuff?

JOHN CLARKE: No, we’re not always frightening them. But, look, I mean, we could get a famous TV chef to go out and cook in a refuge for the homeless. It could be – it’s not frightening, people, Bryan. It could be a warm feeling. . . .

BRYAN DAWE: So why are these things happening?

JOHN CLARKE: Well why do you think they’re happening?

BRYAN DAWE: Me?

JOHN CLARKE: Yeah. Call now, Bryan. Have your say. We wanna hear from you.

BRYAN DAWE: Well I don’t know why they’re happening.

JOHN CLARKE: You don’t know why they’re happening. They’re angry.

BRYAN DAWE: I’m confused.

JOHN CLARKE: You’re confused. Well how confused are you? A little bit, very or don’t get me started? I mean, ring now, Bryan. Vote. Call us.

BRYAN DAWE: I don’t wanna vote about my confusion. I want some information.

JOHN CLARKE: We’ll give you information. We’ve got plenty of information.

BRYAN DAWE: Oh, come on, your newspapers don’t offer information.

JOHN CLARKE: If you go to the bottom of our page, Bryan, and put your email address in, we’ll send you some information.

BRYAN DAWE: They’re advertisements.

JOHN CLARKE: It’s not advertisements, Bryan, it’s top-quality information. . . .

Modern news is not always, but too often, aimed at eliciting an emotional response rather than provoking thought or even just informing.

The media is a business and that’s what pays the bills.


Quote of the day

July 29, 2016

They helped to invent their version of Fred Dagg and that’s a great kindness by an audience. If you’re in people’s memories, that’s a very precious place to be. John Clarke who celebrates his 68th birthday today.

 


July 29 in history

July 29, 2016

1014  Byzantine-Bulgarian Wars: Battle of Kleidion: Byzantine emperor Basil II inflicted a decisive defeat on the Bulgarian army.

1030  Ladejarl-Fairhair succession wars: Battle of Stiklestad – King Olaf II fought and died trying to regain his Norwegian throne from the Danes.

1565 The widowed Mary, Queen of Scots, married Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, Duke of Albany at Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh.

1567  James VI was crowned King of Scotland at Stirling.

1588 Anglo-Spanish War: Battle of Gravelines – English naval forces under command of Lord Charles Howard and Sir Francis Drake defeated theSpanish Armada off the coast of Gravelines, France.

1693 War of the Grand Alliance: Battle of Landen – France won a Pyrrhic victory over Allied forces in the Netherlands.

1793  John Graves Simcoe decided to build a fort and settlement at Toronto.

1830  Abdication of Charles X of France.

1836  Inauguration of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

1847 Cumberland School of Law was founded in Lebanon, Tennessee.

1848 Irish Potato Famine: Tipperary Revolt – an unsuccessful nationalist revolt against British rule was put down by police.

1851  Annibale de Gasparis discovered asteroid 15 Eunomia.

1858 United States and Japan signed the Harris Treaty.

1883 Benito Mussolini, Italian dictator, was born (d. 1945).

1891 Bernhard Zondek German-born Israeli gynecologist, developer of first reliable pregnancy test, was born (d. 1966).

1899  The First Hague Convention was signed.

1900 King Umberto I of Italy was assassinated by Italian-born anarchistGaetano Bresci.

1901  The Socialist Party of America founded.

1905 Stanley Kunitz, American poet, was born (d. 2006).

1907 Sir Robert Baden Powell set up the Brownsea Island Scout camp in Poole Harbour. The camp ran from August 1-9, 1907, and is regarded as the foundation of the Scouting movement.

1920 Construction of the Link River Dam began as part of the Klamath Reclamation Project.

1921  Adolf Hitler became leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party.

1925 Mikis Theodorakis, Greek composer, was born.

1926 – Robert Kilpatrick, Baron Kilpatrick of Kincraig, Scottish physician, academic, and politician, was born (d. 2015).

1936 – Elizabeth Dole, American lawyer and politician, 20th United States Secretary of Labor, was born.

1937  Tongzhou Incident – assault on Japanese troops and civilians by Japanese-trained East Hopei Army in Tōngzhōu, China.

1945  The BBC Light Programme radio station was launched.

1948  – John Clarke, New Zealand-Australian comedian, actor, producer, and screenwriter, was born.

1948 The Games of the XIV Olympiad – after a hiatus of 12 years caused by World War II, the first Summer Olympics to be held opened in London.

1957  The International Atomic Energy Agency was established.

1958  U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law the National Aeronautics and Space Act, which created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

1959  John Sykes, British guitarist (Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake, Tygers of Pan Tang), was born.

1965  Tfirst 4,000 101st Airborne Division paratroopers arrived in Vietnam.

1967 USS Forrestal caught on fire  killing 134.

1967  During the fourth day of celebrating its 400th anniversary, the city of Caracas, Venezuela was shaken by an earthquake, leaving approximately 500 dead.

1981 Up to 2000 anti-Springbok tour protestors were confronted by policewho used batons to stop them marching up Molesworth Street to the home of South Africa’s Consul to New Zealand.

Police baton anti-tour protestors near Parliament

1981 Marriage of Charles, Prince of Wales to Lady Diana Spencer.

1987  British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President of France François Mitterrand signed the agreement to build a tunnel under theEnglish Channel (Eurotunnel).

1988 The film Cry Freedom was seized by South African authorities.

1987  Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi and President of Sri Lanka J. R. Jayawardene signed the Indo-Lankan Pact on ethnic issues.

1993  The Israeli Supreme Court acquitted alleged Nazi death camp guardJohn Demjanjuk of all charges.

2005  Astronomers announced their discovery of Eris.

2010 – An overloaded passenger ferry capsized on the Kasai River in Bandundu Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo, resulting in at least 80 deaths.

2013 – Two passenger trains collided in the Swiss municipality of Granges-près-Marnand near Lausanne injuring 25 people.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


366 days of gratitude

July 17, 2016

Simon Morris chatted to John Clarke on Standing Room Only today.

He’s got a gift for understatement and dry wit, which I first came across when he was being Fred Dagg and enjoy each week in Clarke and Dawe.

He’s been in Australia for a long time, but we still call him one of us and today I’m grateful for his talent, his humour and the way he uses both to make us laugh and think.

 

 

 


Rural round-up

November 13, 2013

New Zealand’s Primary sector must not tolerate its weakest links

•        Industry must be prepared to remove those not prepared to meet baseline standards
•        Regulation needs to be balanced to avoid overburdening a strategic sector of the New Zealand economy

The global reputation of New Zealand’s primary sector lives or dies on every participant in the industry doing the right thing each and every day.  In a connected world it only takes one person to fail in fulfilling their duty to the environment, their animals or the community for significant pressure to come to bear on the whole sector’s license to operate.

The message that the industry can no longer tolerate weak links is a central theme in the latest volume of the KPMG Agribusiness Agenda 2013 which is released today. The fourth volume of the Agenda, titled “Balancing the needs of the environment, communities and businesses” discusses the issues associated with building a world class, sustainable primary sector in New Zealand. . .

Rollover protection on quads a lifesaver – researcher:

Associate Professor Charley Lamb, of Lincoln University’s Telford Division, has backed Whangarei coroner Brandt Shortland’s recommendation for more research to be done in New Zealand into the protection devices.

Mr Shortland’s recommendation follows the release this week of his findings into five quad-bike related deaths in which he says the vehicles are a farmer’s best friend, and also their worst enemy.

His recommendations include the compulsory wearing of helmets, more research on roll-bars and more training for riders.

On average, five people each year are killed in quad-bike accidents on farms and a further 850 are injured. . . .

Shock tactics and scars suggested for quad bike safety ads – Abby Brown:

Tweeting farmers say there needs to be an educational advertising campaign that uses shock tactics and even scars to warn of the hazards of using alcohol or drugs before using a quad bike.

Some farmers also said there needs to be more research on roll-over protection, speed limits need to be considered and most supported the call for the use of helmets.

Colin Grainger-Allen (@NZcows) tweeted that authorities like ACC need to use shock tactics to run educational advertising campaigns about the hazards of using quad bikes after drinking or drug use like they do with the anti-drink driving campaign. . .

Van der Heyden shares ideas with MIE – Alan Williams:

Former Fonterra chairman Sir Henry van der Heyden is playing down his role with red-meat lobby group Meat Industry Excellence (MIE).

“I’m sharing my ideas and experience from what I’ve learned in my time in the dairy industry with a large number of farmers and MIE is part of that,” van der Heyden said.

“Over the past two or three years many folk in the red-meat sectors have contacted me.”

It is understood van der Heyden has spoken at “invitation-only” MIE meetings with farmers over the past few months, ahead of director elections at the two biggest meat industry co-operatives, Silver Fern Farms and Alliance Group, at their annual meetings in December. . .

Leadership Reaffirmed for Grape and Wine Industry

New Zealand Winegrowers, the national organisation for the country’s 1,500 grape growers and winemakers, has announced the re-election of Steve Green as Chair and John Clarke as Deputy Chair for a second year.

Mr Green is proprietor of Carrick, a boutique Central Otago winery; he has been involved in the Central Otago grape and wine industry since 1994, has previously served as Chair of Central Otago Winegrowers and has been on the New Zealand Winegrowers Board since 2005.

Mr Clarke is a Gisborne grapegrower with over 30 years’ experience in the grape and wine industry. Mr Clarke, who is a former Gisborne Mayor, has previously served for ten years as the Chair of Gisborne Winegrowers and joined the New Zealand Winegrowers Board in 2006. . .

Wine & Tourism – a Winning Combination:

 2013 is turning out to be an outstanding year for Hawke’s Bay winery Sileni Estates. Off the back of recent local and international award success for their wines, Sileni Estates have recently been awarded the coveted Hawke’s Bay Cellar Door of the Year at the Hawke’s Bay A&P Wine Awards.

Cellar Door of the Year recipients in 2010 and 2012, Sileni Estates are surprised and delighted to receive the award again in 2013. Owner and CEO Graeme Avery comments, “We are thrilled that the Sileni Cellar Store has been awarded Cellar Door of the Year in three of the past four years. It is a credit to our dedicated and hardworking Cellar Store Team – Anne Boustead, Emily Lay and Simone Hartley; and to Sileni’s long term commitment to promote Hawke’s Bay and its wines.” . . .

Quality of wine shines through at Air New Zealand Wine Awards:

New Zealand wineries have again impressed judges at this year’s Air New Zealand Wine Awards with wines of outstanding quality making up the 111 gold medal winners.

Pinot Noir was the strongest performer, winning 22 gold medals, while 20 gold medals were awarded for Sauvignon Blanc and 17 for Chardonnay.

The aromatics classes, consisting of Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Viognier and Albariño, also shone in this year’s competition, bagging a total of 25 gold medals. The judges were impressed by the sparkling class, which was awarded 19 medals, including six gold.

Chair of Judges, Michael Brajkovich MW, said New Zealand winemakers are producing world-class wines across an exciting and diverse range of varieties. . .


The answers

September 10, 2013

John Clarke’s blog has the answers to his Election Special Quiz.

  1. True. Australia is a democracy. Some conditions apply. Please note the position of the exit nearest your seat.
  2. False. The people cannot vote for the person they want as Prime Minister. They must vote for a candidate in their electorate. Party Leadership is a matter for the parties themselves. This is going well.
  3. True. The best way to ensure the defeat of the party you least prefer is to vote for the other one. This is called ‘choice’.
  4. False. Neither of the parties is led by the preferred prime minister. The preferred Prime Minister is Malcolm Turnbull. One of the reasons he is preferred is that he cannot become Prime Minister.
  5. False. You cannot vote for Tony Abbott’s daughters or for Therese Rein, Jessica Rudd, Antony Green, Dami Im or Cyril Rioli. They are not candidates.
  6. True. The first week of the campaign was between Kevin Bloke and Tony Knackers about who is fair dinkum. The second week was about the economy, which is run by Treasury. Since then it has been about remaining awake.

Clicking on the link above will take you to the other 14.

 


Rural round-up

March 12, 2013

2013 Glammies victor crowned:

Beating out over 180 entrants, Mangapoike Ltd, represented by Pat Sheriff from Gisborne, has been crowned the 2013 Glammies Grand Champion.

Their Composite lamb, processed at Silver Ferns Farm Takapau, took out the title at the final taste test, after being tasted next to 20 other finalists. 

The final was judged by Iron Maidens, Sarah Walker and Sophie Pascoe, food writer Lauraine Jacobs, Beef + Lamb ambassador chef Darren Wright and head judge and chef, Graham Hawkes. 

Hawkes noted the high level of quality this year, saying it was a step up from last year’s competition. . .

Drought conditions perfect for grape growers:

Grape growers say the hot, dry weather which is wreaking havoc for farmers could produce one of their highest quality yields in years.

Gisborne grower John Clarke who is also New Zealand Winegrowers deputy chair said Gisborne’s growers have been enjoying the highly favourable conditions.

Mr Clarke said the weather means there is no disease pressure and grapes which have been harvested in Gisborne in the last couple of weeks are displaying excellent flavours.

He said the weather conditions around the country have been favourable for wine and growers have their fingers crossed the vintage this year will be fantastic. . .

DOC, Green Taliban, everyone take note. Cows are good for the climate [must watch] – Whaleoil:

Antony Watts at Watts up with That? says

Imagine, shooting 40,000 elephants to prevent the land in Africa from going to desert because scientists thought the land couldn’t sustain them, only to find the effort was for naught and the idea as to why was totally wrong. That alone was a real eye opener. Every once in awhile, an idea comes along that makes you ask, “gee why hasn’t anybody seen this before?”. This one of those times. This video below is something I almost didn’t watch, because my concerns were triggered by a few key words in the beginning. … I want every one of you, no matter what side of the climate debate you live in, to watch this and experience that light bulb moment as I did. The key here is to understand that desertification is one of the real climate changes we are witnessing as opposed to some the predicted ones we often fight over.

I like to add my recommendation that this is a Must See video, no matter what you think about Climate Change currently. . .

Now that is interesting – Gravedodger:

Several blogs are embedding a video featuring a 23 min lecture part, of an hour full length effort on combating desertification by Allan Savory who in the early years of his study advocated culling elephant herds to combat desertification on the vulnerable fringes of the deserts of Africa.
He has now worked out what many graziers have known for years but has remained hidden due to an unpopular perception stance in great debates on denuding of soils contributing to degredation.

Most farmers I have encountered in over 60 years of life are basically environmentalists if only because they understand a poorly maintained machine will eventually fail often with devastating outcomes. Yes there are some tossers in farming, there is at least one in every bus. . .

BOP Dairy Awards Winners Progress:

Winning the 2013 Bay of Plenty Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year title has proved a natural progression for Russell and Nadine Meade.

The couple won the2010 Bay of Plenty Farm Manager of the Year title and set about developing innovative and flexible investment opportunities to achieve farm business ownership.

Now 50% sharemilking 220 cows for Barbara Sullivan at Whakatane, the couple took home cash and prizes in winning the top prize worth $16,600 at the awards dinner held at the Awakeri Events Centre last night. . .

Organic certifier points to producers and consumers for double digit growth:

The latest organic market report launched on Wednesday (6th March) at Parliament confirms double digit growth of organics in New Zealand over the past 3 years and comes as great news for organic certifier BioGro, its certified producers and consumers.

The organic sector has grown 25 per cent in the past three years – from $275 million in 2009 to $350 million in 2012. The export and domestic market for New Zealand organic products has grown on average 8 per cent a year at a time of global recession.

BioGro’s CEO Dr Michelle Glogau says the report, funded by the organic sector umbrella group Organics Aotearoa New Zealand (OANZ) is a really positive sign of the increased demand for organics amongst consumers. ‘It supports the trends we are seeing with dramatic growth in certified wine and extension into health & body care products’. . .


Rural round-up

October 30, 2012

Tasty lambs’ tails may soon be off the barbecue menu – Jon Morgan:

FIRST, there’s the acrid smell of burning wool, closely followed by a frenzied crackling as the lanolin sizzles. But then comes the mouth-watering aroma of roasting meat.

Barbecued lambs’ tails are a delicacy savoured by many farmers at this time of year as tailing, or docking, gets under way.

It’s a time of short-lived pain for the lambs but is necessary to prevent greater pain later. The long dangling tail can become encrusted with faeces and attract blowflies. Their maggots feed on the lamb’s flesh, causing great pain and distress.

There’s an art to docking.

Many farms have modern equipment that clamps the lamb and presents it breech-forward to the man or woman wielding a hot iron. With a swift flourish, the tail is severed and the lamb is set free to run bleating to its mother.

Rubber rings can also be used. They cut off the blood supply so the tail drops off in seven to 10 days.

Enough of the tail must be left to protect the genitals and so it can still wag. That’s not so farmers will know if it is happy or not, but so the lamb can spray its faeces away from its body. . .

Tails could prove winner – Terri Russell:

A Southland sheep farmer started docking his lambs this month as part of new research that looks at the effect of docking tails at different lengths.

The three-year docking trial is the first of its kind documented worldwide and was launched by Alliance Group last month when lamb tagging started.

Tail docking is common practice in New Zealand to try to reduce dag formation and the risk of fly strike.

Alliance Group livestock general manager Murray Behrent said the research would help shed light on claims that docking tails too short was an animal welfare issue, and that longer tails improved the growth rate of lambs. . .

Pressure on meat,wool farmers to improve outputs – Tim Cronshaw:

Farmers will put their energies into improving meat and wool production as markets meet a strong headwind from the debt crisis in Europe.

The European recession and unfavourable currency exchange rates would lead to weaker sale prices for lamb and wool in the 2012-13 season, said Beef + Lamb New Zealand economic service executive director Rob Davison.

The forecast for average lamb price at $94 was down on the likely $113 for the 2011-12 season just completed. . .

Dairy chairman urges more focus on image – Neil Ratley:

Southland dairy farmers were congratulated for a job well done but also asked to continue working to improve the industry’s public image at the DairyNZ annual general meeting in Wallacetown.

DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle said the dairy industry pumped millions of dollars into the regional economy.

“The average annual revenue from milk production is more than $1.2 million per farm,” he said. “At least half of that money is being spent on farm working expenses and circulating through the local economy.”

Dairy NZ chairman John Luxton said the New Zealand and Southland dairy industry had shown considerable growth and resilience to factors impacting other industries. . .

The way you’d farm if you farmed yourself – Pasture Harmonies:

Think for a moment that you’re a Western consumer contemplating buying some animal protein for dinner that night.

Faced with an array of red and white meat choices, you have a tiny thought in the back of your mind about how the animal that produced that steak or mince or breast grew up.

(Ignoring anthropomorphism) mostly, you’re going to be aware that its life was pretty confined and squashed, and bears very little resemblance to how it would’ve existed in a ‘natural’ world.

However, you’ve got to eat, and pretty much you have Hobson’s choice when it comes to the production source of the meat. . .

New Leadership for Grape and Wine Industry

New Zealand Winegrowers, the national organisation for the country’s 1,500 grape growers and winemakers, announced today the election of Steve Green as Chair and John Clarke as Deputy Chair.

Mr Green is proprietor of Carrick, a boutique Central Otago winery; he succeeds Stuart Smith of Marlborough who has stepped down after six years in the role. Mr Green has been involved in the Central Otago grape and wine industry since 1994. He has previously served as Chair of Central Otago Winegrowers and has been on the New Zealand Winegrowers Board since 2005, serving for the last three years as Deputy Chair.

Mr Clarke is a Gisborne grapegrower with over 30 years experience in the grape and wine industry. Mr Clarke, who is a former Gisborne Mayor, has previously served for ten years as the Chair of Gisborne Winegrowers and joined the New Zealand Winegrowers Board in 2006. . .

More calculators to make the most of nitrogen:

A broader range of online calculators developed to assist farmers to gauge the possible benefits of using urea treated with a urease inhibitor are now available

Summer is just around the corner which in New Zealand typically means drier weather conditions making it difficult to assess the best time to apply nitrogen fertiliser.

Urea treated with the urease inhibitor AGROTAIN® nitrogen stabiliser addresses ammonia volatilisation and offers farmers more flexibility to apply nitrogen when it’s needed most or when it suits them better even if the weather or soil conditions are not optimal. . .

World’s first compostable fruit label for Zespri Kiwifruit:

Zespri will introduce the world’s first and only fully compostable fruit labels on all Zespri® Organic Kiwifruit next season.

Zespri’s Global Marketing Manager – Organic, Glen Arrowsmith, explains this initiative is part of Zespri’s leadership role and ongoing commitment to improving the environmental credentials of its products.

“Our international customers – retailers, wholesalers, consumers, governments – are increasingly interested in the sustainability of products arriving in their markets and we’ve invested in research and development to continue to lead the market in this area.” . . .


Is it the title that doesn’t work?

August 10, 2012

Quote of the day:

 I’m a great admirer of escapist fiction, publicity handouts and celebrity drivel in a general sense but why call it The News. Perhaps it’s the title that doesn’t work. John Clarke.


When life imitates satire

November 18, 2011

Tweet of the day:

He could be right, the campaign is decending to a farcial level in which Fred Dagg would have revelled.

Hat tip: Election 2011 Live


Look what we lost

December 7, 2010

Looking at what we lost when John Clarke crossed the Tasman occupied Jim Mora and me on our chat about on-line matters on Critical Mass today.

Clarke and Brian Dawe have a satirical look at events in Australia each week, transcripts and videos of which are posted on the ABC’s website.  

Next stop on our journey through the internet was The Truth About Santa Claus at Stoatspring – a delightful recounting of a six-year-old’s learning experience.

Then, thanks to a tip from a listener/reader in response to last Tuesday’s reference to Simon Heffer’s style notes we moved on to Media Monkey at the Guardian  which showed that for want of an A a temper was lost. (If you’re offended by bad language you might be better not to go there).


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