Quote of the day

July 26, 2019

Truth is absolute, truth is supreme, truth is never disposable in national political life.John Howard who celebrates his 80th birthday today.


July 26 in history

July 26, 2019

657  Battle of Siffin.

811  Battle of Pliska; Byzantine emperor Nicephorus I was slain, his heir Stauracius was seriously wounded.

920 Rout of an alliance of Christian troops from Navarre and Léon against the Muslims at Pamplona.

1309  Henry VII was recognized King of the Romans by Pope Clement V.

1469  Wars of the Roses: Battle of Edgecote Moor – Pitting the forces of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick against those of King Edward IV.

1581 Plakkaat van Verlatinghe (Act of Abjuration). The declaration of independence of the northern Low Countries from the Spanish king, Philip II.

1745  The first recorded women’s cricket match took place near Guildford,.

1758  French and Indian War: Siege of Louisbourg ended with British forces defeating the French and taking control of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

1803 The Surrey Iron Railway, arguably the world’s first public railway, opened in south London.

1822  José de San Martín arrived in Guayaquil, Ecuador, to meet Simón Bolívar.

1847 Liberia declared independence.

1856 George Bernard Shaw, Irish writer, Nobel Laureate, was born (d. 1950).

1861 American Civil War: George B. McClellan assumed command of theArmy of the Potomac following a disastrous Union defeat at the First Battle of Bull Run.

1863 – Approximately 25 gold miners died on the Arrow diggings, north-east of Queenstown, as a result of flash floods.

Floods kill 25 miners in Central Otago

1863 American Civil War: Morgan’s Raid ended –  Confederate cavalry leader John Hunt Morgan and 360 of his volunteers were captured by Union forces.

1865 New Zealand’s parliament moved from Auckland to Wellington.

Parliament moves to Wellington

1875  Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist, was born  (d. 1961).

1878 Poet and American West outlaw calling himself “Black Bart” made his last clean getaway when he stole a safe box from a Wells Fargo stagecoach. The empty box was found later with a taunting poem inside.

1882 Premiere of Richard Wagner‘s Parsifal at Bayreuth.

1882 The Republic of Stellaland was founded in Southern Africa.

1887 Publication of the Unua Libro, founding the Esperanto movement.

1890 In Buenos Aires, the Revolución del Parque forced President Juárez Celman’s resignation.

1891  France annexed Tahiti.

1894 Aldous Huxley, English-born author, was born (d. 1963).

1895 Jane Bunford, Britain’s tallest-ever person, was born (d. 1922).

1897  Paul Gallico, American author, was born  (d. 1976).

1908  United States Attorney General Charles Joseph Bonaparte issued an order to immediately staff the Office of the Chief Examiner (later renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation).

1909 – Vivian Vance, American actress, was born (d. 1979).

1919 – James Lovelock, English biologist and chemist, was born.

1922 Blake Edwards, American film director, was born.

1925 – Ana María Matute, Spanish author and academic, was born (d. 2014).

1928  Gisborne-born Tom Heeney took on Gene Tunney for the world heavyweight title in front of 46,000 spectators at Yankee Stadium, New York. Although he was defeated, his title bid aroused tremendous interest in both New Zealand and the US.

Kiwi boxer fights for world heavyweight title

1928 Stanley Kubrick, American film director, was born (d. 1999).

1928 – Sally Oppenheim-Barnes, Baroness Oppenheim-Barnes, English politician, was born.

1928  – Bernice Rubens, Welsh author, was born (d. 2004).

1936 Mary Millar, English actress, was born(d. 1998).

1936  The Axis Powers decided to intervene in the Spanish Civil War.

1936  King Edward VIII, in one of his few official duties before he abdicated the throne, officially unveiled the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.

1937  End of the Battle of Brunete in the Spanish Civil War.

1939 John Howard, 25th Prime Minister of Australia, was born.

1941 In response to the Japanese occupation of French Indo-China, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the seizure of all Japanese assets in the United States.

1942  – Vladimír Mečiar, Slovak politician, 1st Prime Minister of Slovakia, was born.

1943 Mick Jagger, English singer (The Rolling Stones), was born.

1944  World War II: Soviet army entered Lviv,  liberating it from the Nazis. Only 300 Jewish survivors left, out of 160,000 prior to Nazi occupation.

1944 – The first German V-2 rocket hit Great Britain.

1945 Dame Helen Mirren, English actress, was born.

1945  The Labour Party won the United Kingdom general election of July 5by a landslide, removing Winston Churchill from power.

1945  The Potsdam Declaration was signed.

1945 The US Navy cruiser Indianapolis arrived at Tinian with the warhead for the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

1946 Aloha Airlines began service from Honolulu International Airport.

1947  Cold War: U.S. President Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act into law creating the Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the National Security Council.

1948  U.S. President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981 desegregating the military of the United States.

1949 Roger Taylor, English musician (Queen), was born.

1950 Susan George, English actress, was born.

1952 King Farouk of Egypt abdicated in favor of his son Fuad.

1953 Fidel Castro led an unsuccessful attack on the Moncada Barracks beginning the Cuban Revolution.

1953  Arizona Governor John Howard Pyle ordered an anti-polygamy law enforcement crackdown on residents of Short Creek – the Short Creek Raid.

1956  Following the World Bank’s refusal to fund building the Aswan High Dam, Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalised the Suez Canal sparking international condemnation.

1957  Carlos Castillo Armas, dictator of Guatemala, was assassinated.

1958 Explorer 4 was launched.

1959 Kevin Spacey, American actor, was born.

1963  Syncom 2, the world’s first geosynchronous satellite, was launched from Cape Canaveral on a Delta B booster.

1963 – Earthquake in Skopje, Macedonia left 1100 dead

1964 Sandra Bullock, American actress, was born.

1965  Full independence was granted to the Maldives.

1966  Lord Gardiner issued the Practice Statement in the House of Lords stating that the House was not bound to follow its own previous precedent.

1968 Vietnam War: South Vietnamese opposition leader Truong Dinh Dzu was sentenced to five years hard labour for advocating the formation of a coalition government as a way to move toward an end to the war.

1971   Apollo 15 launched.

1973 Kate Beckinsale, British actress, was born.

1974  Greek Prime Minister Konstantinos Karamanlis formed the country’s first civil government after seven years of military rule.

1975 Formation of a military triumvirate in Portugal.

1977 The National Assembly of  Quebec imposed the use of French as the official language of the provincial government.

1984 – Ann Hercus became New Zealand’s first Minister for Women’s Affairs.

Ann Hercus becomes first Minister of Women's Affairs

1989 A federal grand jury indicted Cornell University student Robert T. Morris, Jr. for releasing the Morris worm, the first person to be prosecuted under the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

1994 Russian President Boris Yeltsin ordered the removal of Russian troops from Estonia.

1999 Cessation of combat activities after the Kargil War; celebrated as Kargil Vijay Diwas in India.

2005   STS-114 Mission – Launch of Discovery, NASA’s first scheduled flight mission after the Columbia Disaster in 2003.

2005  Mumbai received 99.5cm of rain (39.17 inches) within 24 hours, bringing the city to a halt for over 2 days.

2005  Samir Geagea, the Lebanese Forces (LF) leader, was released after spending 11 years in a solitary confinement.

2007 – Shambo, a black cow in Wales that had been adopted by the local Hindu community, was slaughtered due to a bovine tuberculosis infection, causing widespread controversy.

2008 – 56 people were killed and over 200 people were injured in 21 bomb blasts in Ahmedabad bombing in India.

2009 – The militant Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram attacked a police station in Bauchi, leading to reprisals by the Nigeria Police Force and four days of violence across multiple cities.

2013 – A gunman, Pedro Alberto Vargas, killed six people in Hialeah, Florida, and was fatally shot by police.

2016 – Sagamihara stabbings  in Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan in which 19 people were killed.

2016 – Hillary Clinton became the first female nominee for President of the United States by a major political party at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

2016 – Solar Impulse 2 became the first solar-powered aircraft to circumnavigate the earth.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


July 26 in history

July 26, 2018

657  Battle of Siffin.

811  Battle of Pliska; Byzantine emperor Nicephorus I was slain, his heir Stauracius was seriously wounded.

920 Rout of an alliance of Christian troops from Navarre and Léon against the Muslims at Pamplona.

1309  Henry VII was recognized King of the Romans by Pope Clement V.

1469  Wars of the Roses: Battle of Edgecote Moor – Pitting the forces of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick against those of King Edward IV.

1581 Plakkaat van Verlatinghe (Act of Abjuration). The declaration of independence of the northern Low Countries from the Spanish king, Philip II.

1745  The first recorded women’s cricket match took place near Guildford,.

1758  French and Indian War: Siege of Louisbourg ended with British forces defeating the French and taking control of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

1803 The Surrey Iron Railway, arguably the world’s first public railway, opened in south London.

1822  José de San Martín arrived in Guayaquil, Ecuador, to meet Simón Bolívar.

1847 Liberia declared independence.

1856 George Bernard Shaw, Irish writer, Nobel Laureate, was born (d. 1950).

1861 American Civil War: George B. McClellan assumed command of theArmy of the Potomac following a disastrous Union defeat at the First Battle of Bull Run.

1863 – Approximately 25 gold miners died on the Arrow diggings, north-east of Queenstown, as a result of flash floods.

Floods kill 25 miners in Central Otago

1863 American Civil War: Morgan’s Raid ended –  Confederate cavalry leader John Hunt Morgan and 360 of his volunteers were captured by Union forces.

1865 New Zealand’s parliament moved from Auckland to Wellington.

Parliament moves to Wellington

1875  Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist, was born  (d. 1961).

1878 Poet and American West outlaw calling himself “Black Bart” made his last clean getaway when he stole a safe box from a Wells Fargo stagecoach. The empty box was found later with a taunting poem inside.

1882 Premiere of Richard Wagner‘s Parsifal at Bayreuth.

1882 The Republic of Stellaland was founded in Southern Africa.

1887 Publication of the Unua Libro, founding the Esperanto movement.

1890 In Buenos Aires, the Revolución del Parque forced President Juárez Celman’s resignation.

1891  France annexed Tahiti.

1894 Aldous Huxley, English-born author, was born (d. 1963).

1895 Jane Bunford, Britain’s tallest-ever person, was born (d. 1922).

1897  Paul Gallico, American author, was born  (d. 1976).

1908  United States Attorney General Charles Joseph Bonaparte issued an order to immediately staff the Office of the Chief Examiner (later renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation).

1909 – Vivian Vance, American actress, was born (d. 1979).

1919 – James Lovelock, English biologist and chemist, was born.

1922 Blake Edwards, American film director, was born.

1925 – Ana María Matute, Spanish author and academic, was born (d. 2014).

1928  Gisborne-born Tom Heeney took on Gene Tunney for the world heavyweight title in front of 46,000 spectators at Yankee Stadium, New York. Although he was defeated, his title bid aroused tremendous interest in both New Zealand and the US.

Kiwi boxer fights for world heavyweight title

1928 Stanley Kubrick, American film director, was born (d. 1999).

1928 – Sally Oppenheim-Barnes, Baroness Oppenheim-Barnes, English politician, was born.

1928  – Bernice Rubens, Welsh author, was born (d. 2004).

1936 Mary Millar, English actress, was born(d. 1998).

1936  The Axis Powers decided to intervene in the Spanish Civil War.

1936  King Edward VIII, in one of his few official duties before he abdicated the throne, officially unveiled the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.

1937  End of the Battle of Brunete in the Spanish Civil War.

1939 John Howard, 25th Prime Minister of Australia, was born.

1941 In response to the Japanese occupation of French Indo-China, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the seizure of all Japanese assets in the United States.

1942  – Vladimír Mečiar, Slovak politician, 1st Prime Minister of Slovakia, was born.

1943 Mick Jagger, English singer (The Rolling Stones), was born.

1944  World War II: Soviet army entered Lviv,  liberating it from the Nazis. Only 300 Jewish survivors left, out of 160,000 prior to Nazi occupation.

1944 – The first German V-2 rocket hit Great Britain.

1945 Dame Helen Mirren, English actress, was born.

1945  The Labour Party won the United Kingdom general election of July 5by a landslide, removing Winston Churchill from power.

1945  The Potsdam Declaration was signed.

1945 The US Navy cruiser Indianapolis arrived at Tinian with the warhead for the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

1946 Aloha Airlines began service from Honolulu International Airport.

1947  Cold War: U.S. President Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act into law creating the Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the National Security Council.

1948  U.S. President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981desegregating the military of the United States.

1949 Roger Taylor, English musician (Queen), was born.

1950 Susan George, English actress, was born.

1952 King Farouk of Egypt abdicated in favor of his son Fuad.

1953 Fidel Castro led an unsuccessful attack on the Moncada Barracks beginning the Cuban Revolution.

1953  Arizona Governor John Howard Pyle ordered an anti-polygamy law enforcement crackdown on residents of Short Creek – the Short Creek Raid.

1956  Following the World Bank’s refusal to fund building the Aswan High Dam, Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalised the Suez Canal sparking international condemnation.

1957  Carlos Castillo Armas, dictator of Guatemala, was assassinated.

1958 Explorer 4 was launched.

1959 Kevin Spacey, American actor, was born.

1963  Syncom 2, the world’s first geosynchronous satellite, was launched from Cape Canaveral on a Delta B booster.

1963 – Earthquake in Skopje, Macedonia left 1100 dead

1964 Sandra Bullock, American actress, was born.

1965  Full independence was granted to the Maldives.

1966  Lord Gardiner issued the Practice Statement in the House of Lords stating that the House was not bound to follow its own previous precedent.

1968 Vietnam War: South Vietnamese opposition leader Truong Dinh Dzuwas sentenced to five years hard labour for advocating the formation of a coalition government as a way to move toward an end to the war.

1971   Apollo 15 launched.

1973 Kate Beckinsale, British actress, was born.

1974  Greek Prime Minister Konstantinos Karamanlis formed the country’s first civil government after seven years of military rule.

1975 Formation of a military triumvirate in Portugal.

1977 The National Assembly of  Quebec imposed the use of French as the official language of the provincial government.

1989 A federal grand jury indicted Cornell University student Robert T. Morris, Jr. for releasing the Morris worm, the first person to be prosecuted under the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

1994 Russian President Boris Yeltsin ordered the removal of Russian troops from Estonia.

1999 Cessation of combat activities after the Kargil War; celebrated asKargil Vijay Diwas in India.

2005   STS-114 Mission – Launch of Discovery, NASA’s first scheduled flight mission after the Columbia Disaster in 2003.

2005  Mumbai received 99.5cm of rain (39.17 inches) within 24 hours, bringing the city to a halt for over 2 days.

2005  Samir Geagea, the Lebanese Forces (LF) leader, was released after spending 11 years in a solitary confinement.

2007 – Shambo, a black cow in Wales that had been adopted by the local Hindu community, was slaughtered due to a bovine tuberculosis infection, causing widespread controversy.

2008 – 56 people were killed and over 200 people were injured in 21 bomb blasts in Ahmedabad bombing in India.

2009 – The militant Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram attacked a police station in Bauchi, leading to reprisals by the Nigeria Police Force and four days of violence across multiple cities.

2013 – A gunman, Pedro Alberto Vargas, killed six people in Hialeah, Florida, and was fatally shot by police.

2016 – Sagamihara stabbings  in Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan in which 19 people were killed.

2016 – Hillary Clinton became the first female nominee for President of the United States by a major political party at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

2016 – Solar Impulse 2 became the first solar-powered aircraft to circumnavigate the earth.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


July 26 in history

July 26, 2017

657  Battle of Siffin.

811  Battle of Pliska; Byzantine emperor Nicephorus I was slain, his heir Stauracius was seriously wounded.

920 Rout of an alliance of Christian troops from Navarre and Léon against the Muslims at Pamplona.

1309  Henry VII was recognized King of the Romans by Pope Clement V.

1469  Wars of the Roses: Battle of Edgecote Moor – Pitting the forces of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick against those of King Edward IV.

1581 Plakkaat van Verlatinghe (Act of Abjuration). The declaration of independence of the northern Low Countries from the Spanish king, Philip II.

1745  The first recorded women’s cricket match took place near Guildford,.

1758  French and Indian War: Siege of Louisbourg ended with British forces defeating the French and taking control of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

1803 The Surrey Iron Railway, arguably the world’s first public railway, opened in south London.

1822  José de San Martín arrived in Guayaquil, Ecuador, to meet Simón Bolívar.

1847 Liberia declared independence.

1856 George Bernard Shaw, Irish writer, Nobel Laureate, was born (d. 1950).

1861 American Civil War: George B. McClellan assumed command of theArmy of the Potomac following a disastrous Union defeat at the First Battle of Bull Run.

1863 – Approximately 25 gold miners died on the Arrow diggings, north-east of Queenstown, as a result of flash floods.

Floods kill 25 miners in Central Otago

1863 American Civil War: Morgan’s Raid ended –  Confederate cavalry leader John Hunt Morgan and 360 of his volunteers were captured by Union forces.

1865 New Zealand’s parliament moved from Auckland to Wellington.

Parliament moves to Wellington

1875  Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist, was born  (d. 1961).

1878 Poet and American West outlaw calling himself “Black Bart” made his last clean getaway when he stole a safe box from a Wells Fargo stagecoach. The empty box was found later with a taunting poem inside.

1882 Premiere of Richard Wagner‘s Parsifal at Bayreuth.

1882 The Republic of Stellaland was founded in Southern Africa.

1887 Publication of the Unua Libro, founding the Esperanto movement.

1890 In Buenos Aires, the Revolución del Parque forced President Juárez Celman’s resignation.

1891  France annexed Tahiti.

1894 Aldous Huxley, English-born author, was born (d. 1963).

1895 Jane Bunford, Britain’s tallest-ever person, was born (d. 1922).

1897  Paul Gallico, American author, was born  (d. 1976).

1908  United States Attorney General Charles Joseph Bonaparte issued an order to immediately staff the Office of the Chief Examiner (later renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation).

1909 – Vivian Vance, American actress, was born (d. 1979).

1919 – James Lovelock, English biologist and chemist, was born.

1922 Blake Edwards, American film director, was born.

1925 – Ana María Matute, Spanish author and academic, was born (d. 2014).

1928  Gisborne-born Tom Heeney took on Gene Tunney for the world heavyweight title in front of 46,000 spectators at Yankee Stadium, New York. Although he was defeated, his title bid aroused tremendous interest in both New Zealand and the US.

Kiwi boxer fights for world heavyweight title

1928 Stanley Kubrick, American film director, was born (d. 1999).

1928 – Sally Oppenheim-Barnes, Baroness Oppenheim-Barnes, English politician, was born.

1928  – Bernice Rubens, Welsh author, was born (d. 2004).

1936 Mary Millar, English actress, was born(d. 1998).

1936  The Axis Powers decided to intervene in the Spanish Civil War.

1936  King Edward VIII, in one of his few official duties before he abdicated the throne, officially unveiled the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.

1937  End of the Battle of Brunete in the Spanish Civil War.

1939 John Howard, 25th Prime Minister of Australia, was born.

1941 In response to the Japanese occupation of French Indo-China, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the seizure of all Japanese assets in the United States.

1942  – Vladimír Mečiar, Slovak politician, 1st Prime Minister of Slovakia, was born.

1943 Mick Jagger, English singer (The Rolling Stones), was born.

1944  World War II: Soviet army entered Lviv,  liberating it from the Nazis. Only 300 Jewish survivors left, out of 160,000 prior to Nazi occupation.

1944 – The first German V-2 rocket hit Great Britain.

1945 Dame Helen Mirren, English actress, was born.

1945  The Labour Party won the United Kingdom general election of July 5by a landslide, removing Winston Churchill from power.

1945  The Potsdam Declaration was signed.

1945 The US Navy cruiser Indianapolis arrived at Tinian with the warhead for the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

1946 Aloha Airlines began service from Honolulu International Airport.

1947  Cold War: U.S. President Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act into law creating the Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the National Security Council.

1948  U.S. President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981desegregating the military of the United States.

1949 Roger Taylor, English musician (Queen), was born.

1950 Susan George, English actress, was born.

1952 King Farouk of Egypt abdicated in favor of his son Fuad.

1953 Fidel Castro led an unsuccessful attack on the Moncada Barracks beginning the Cuban Revolution.

1953  Arizona Governor John Howard Pyle ordered an anti-polygamy law enforcement crackdown on residents of Short Creek – the Short Creek Raid.

1956  Following the World Bank’s refusal to fund building the Aswan High Dam, Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalised the Suez Canal sparking international condemnation.

1957  Carlos Castillo Armas, dictator of Guatemala, was assassinated.

1958 Explorer 4 was launched.

1959 Kevin Spacey, American actor, was born.

1963  Syncom 2, the world’s first geosynchronous satellite, was launched from Cape Canaveral on a Delta B booster.

1963 – Earthquake in Skopje, Macedonia left 1100 dead

1964 Sandra Bullock, American actress, was born.

1965  Full independence was granted to the Maldives.

1966  Lord Gardiner issued the Practice Statement in the House of Lords stating that the House was not bound to follow its own previous precedent.

1968 Vietnam War: South Vietnamese opposition leader Truong Dinh Dzuwas sentenced to five years hard labour for advocating the formation of a coalition government as a way to move toward an end to the war.

1971   Apollo 15 launched.

1973 Kate Beckinsale, British actress, was born.

1974  Greek Prime Minister Konstantinos Karamanlis formed the country’s first civil government after seven years of military rule.

1975 Formation of a military triumvirate in Portugal.

1977 The National Assembly of Quebec imposed the use of French as the official language of the provincial government.

1989 A federal grand jury indicted Cornell University student Robert T. Morris, Jr. for releasing the Morris worm, the first person to be prosecuted under the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

1994 Russian President Boris Yeltsin ordered the removal of Russian troops from Estonia.

1999 Cessation of combat activities after the Kargil War; celebrated asKargil Vijay Diwas in India.

2005   STS-114 Mission – Launch of Discovery, NASA’s first scheduled flight mission after the Columbia Disaster in 2003.

2005  Mumbai received 99.5cm of rain (39.17 inches) within 24 hours, bringing the city to a halt for over 2 days.

2005  Samir Geagea, the Lebanese Forces (LF) leader, was released after spending 11 years in a solitary confinement.

2007 – Shambo, a black cow in Wales that had been adopted by the local Hindu community, was slaughtered due to a bovine tuberculosis infection, causing widespread controversy.

2008 – 56 people were killed and over 200 people were injured in 21 bomb blasts in Ahmedabad bombing in India.

2009 – The militant Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram attacked a police station in Bauchi, leading to reprisals by the Nigeria Police Force and four days of violence across multiple cities.

2013 – A gunman, Pedro Alberto Vargas, killed six people in Hialeah, Florida, and was fatally shot by police.

2016 – Sagamihara stabbings  in Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan in which 19 people were killed.

2016 – Hillary Clinton became the first female nominee for President of the United States by a major political party at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


July 26 in history

July 26, 2016

657  Battle of Siffin.

811  Battle of Pliska; Byzantine emperor Nicephorus I was slain, his heir Stauracius was seriously wounded.

920 Rout of an alliance of Christian troops from Navarre and Léon against the Muslims at Pamplona.

1309  Henry VII was recognized King of the Romans by Pope Clement V.

1469  Wars of the Roses: Battle of Edgecote Moor – Pitting the forces of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick against those of King Edward IV.

1581 Plakkaat van Verlatinghe (Act of Abjuration). The declaration of independence of the northern Low Countries from the Spanish king, Philip II.

1745  The first recorded women’s cricket match took place near Guildford,.

1758  French and Indian War: Siege of Louisbourg ended with British forces defeating the French and taking control of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

1803 The Surrey Iron Railway, arguably the world’s first public railway, opened in south London.

1822  José de San Martín arrived in Guayaquil, Ecuador, to meet Simón Bolívar.

1847 Liberia declared independence.

1856 George Bernard Shaw, Irish writer, Nobel Laureate, was born (d. 1950).

1861 American Civil War: George B. McClellan assumed command of theArmy of the Potomac following a disastrous Union defeat at the First Battle of Bull Run.

1863 – Approximately 25 gold miners died on the Arrow diggings, north-east of Queenstown, as a result of flash floods.

Floods kill 25 miners in Central Otago

1863 American Civil War: Morgan’s Raid ended –  Confederate cavalry leader John Hunt Morgan and 360 of his volunteers were captured by Union forces.

1865 New Zealand’s parliament moved from Auckland to Wellington.

Parliament moves to Wellington

1875  Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist, was born  (d. 1961).

1878 Poet and American West outlaw calling himself “Black Bart” made his last clean getaway when he stole a safe box from a Wells Fargo stagecoach. The empty box was found later with a taunting poem inside.

1882 Premiere of Richard Wagner‘s Parsifal at Bayreuth.

1882 The Republic of Stellaland was founded in Southern Africa.

1887 Publication of the Unua Libro, founding the Esperanto movement.

1890 In Buenos Aires, the Revolución del Parque forced President Juárez Celman’s resignation.

1891  France annexed Tahiti.

1894 Aldous Huxley, English-born author, was born (d. 1963).

1895 Jane Bunford, Britain’s tallest-ever person, was born (d. 1922).

1897  Paul Gallico, American author, was born  (d. 1976).

1908  United States Attorney General Charles Joseph Bonaparte issued an order to immediately staff the Office of the Chief Examiner (later renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation).

1909 – Vivian Vance, American actress, was born (d. 1979).

1919 – James Lovelock, English biologist and chemist, was born.

1922 Blake Edwards, American film director, was born.

1925 – Ana María Matute, Spanish author and academic, was born (d. 2014).

1928  Gisborne-born Tom Heeney took on Gene Tunney for the world heavyweight title in front of 46,000 spectators at Yankee Stadium, New York. Although he was defeated, his title bid aroused tremendous interest in both New Zealand and the US.

Kiwi boxer fights for world heavyweight title

1928 Stanley Kubrick, American film director, was born (d. 1999).

1928 – Sally Oppenheim-Barnes, Baroness Oppenheim-Barnes, English politician, was born.

1928  – Bernice Rubens, Welsh author, was born (d. 2004).

1936 Mary Millar, English actress, was born(d. 1998).

1936  The Axis Powers decided to intervene in the Spanish Civil War.

1936  King Edward VIII, in one of his few official duties before he abdicated the throne, officially unveiled the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.

1937  End of the Battle of Brunete in the Spanish Civil War.

1939 John Howard, 25th Prime Minister of Australia, was born.

1941 In response to the Japanese occupation of French Indo-China, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the seizure of all Japanese assets in the United States.

1942  – Vladimír Mečiar, Slovak politician, 1st Prime Minister of Slovakia, was born.

1943 Mick Jagger, English singer (The Rolling Stones), was born.

1944  World War II: Soviet army entered Lviv,  liberating it from the Nazis. Only 300 Jewish survivors left, out of 160,000 prior to Nazi occupation.

1944 – The first German V-2 rocket hit Great Britain.

1945 Dame Helen Mirren, English actress, was born.

1945  The Labour Party won the United Kingdom general election of July 5by a landslide, removing Winston Churchill from power.

1945  The Potsdam Declaration was signed.

1945 The US Navy cruiser Indianapolis arrived at Tinian with the warhead for the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

1946 Aloha Airlines began service from Honolulu International Airport.

1947  Cold War: U.S. President Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act into law creating the Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the National Security Council.

1948  U.S. President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981desegregating the military of the United States.

1949 Roger Taylor, English musician (Queen), was born.

1950 Susan George, English actress, was born.

1952 King Farouk of Egypt abdicated in favor of his son Fuad.

1953 Fidel Castro led an unsuccessful attack on the Moncada Barracks beginning the Cuban Revolution.

1953  Arizona Governor John Howard Pyle ordered an anti-polygamy law enforcement crackdown on residents of Short Creek – the Short Creek Raid.

1956  Following the World Bank’s refusal to fund building the Aswan High Dam, Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalised the Suez Canal sparking international condemnation.

1957  Carlos Castillo Armas, dictator of Guatemala, was assassinated.

1958 Explorer 4 was launched.

1959 Kevin Spacey, American actor, was born.

1963  Syncom 2, the world’s first geosynchronous satellite, was launched from Cape Canaveral on a Delta B booster.

1963 – Earthquake in Skopje, Macedonia left 1100 dead

1964 Sandra Bullock, American actress, was born.

1965  Full independence was granted to the Maldives.

1966  Lord Gardiner issued the Practice Statement in the House of Lords stating that the House was not bound to follow its own previous precedent.

1968 Vietnam War: South Vietnamese opposition leader Truong Dinh Dzuwas sentenced to five years hard labour for advocating the formation of a coalition government as a way to move toward an end to the war.

1971   Apollo 15 launched.

1973 Kate Beckinsale, British actress, was born.

1974  Greek Prime Minister Konstantinos Karamanlis formed the country’s first civil government after seven years of military rule.

1975 Formation of a military triumvirate in Portugal.

1977 The National Assembly of Quebec imposed the use of French as the official language of the provincial government.

1989 A federal grand jury indicted Cornell University student Robert T. Morris, Jr. for releasing the Morris worm, the first person to be prosecuted under the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

1994 Russian President Boris Yeltsin ordered the removal of Russian troops from Estonia.

1999 Cessation of combat activities after the Kargil War; celebrated asKargil Vijay Diwas in India.

2005   STS-114 Mission – Launch of Discovery, NASA’s first scheduled flight mission after the Columbia Disaster in 2003.

2005  Mumbai received 99.5cm of rain (39.17 inches) within 24 hours, bringing the city to a halt for over 2 days.

2005  Samir Geagea, the Lebanese Forces (LF) leader, was released after spending 11 years in a solitary confinement.

2007 – Shambo, a black cow in Wales that had been adopted by the local Hindu community, was slaughtered due to a bovine tuberculosis infection, causing widespread controversy.

2008 – 56 people were killed and over 200 people were injured in 21 bomb blasts in Ahmedabad bombing in India.

2009 – The militant Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram attacked a police station in Bauchi, leading to reprisals by the Nigeria Police Force and four days of violence across multiple cities.

2013 – A gunman, Pedro Alberto Vargas, killed six people in Hialeah, Florida, and was fatally shot by police.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


July 26 in history

July 26, 2015

657  Battle of Siffin.

811  Battle of Pliska; Byzantine emperor Nicephorus I was slain, his heir Stauracius was seriously wounded.

920 Rout of an alliance of Christian troops from Navarre and Léon against the Muslims at Pamplona.

1309  Henry VII was recognized King of the Romans by Pope Clement V.

1469  Wars of the Roses: Battle of Edgecote Moor – Pitting the forces of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick against those of King Edward IV.

1581 Plakkaat van Verlatinghe (Act of Abjuration). The declaration of independence of the northern Low Countries from the Spanish king, Philip II.

1745  The first recorded women’s cricket match took place near Guildford,.

1758  French and Indian War: Siege of Louisbourg ended with British forces defeating the French and taking control of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

1803 The Surrey Iron Railway, arguably the world’s first public railway, opened in south London.

1822  José de San Martín arrived in Guayaquil, Ecuador, to meet Simón Bolívar.

1847 Liberia declared independence.

1856 George Bernard Shaw, Irish writer, Nobel Laureate, was born (d. 1950).

1861 American Civil War: George B. McClellan assumed command of the Army of the Potomac following a disastrous Union defeat at the First Battle of Bull Run.

1863 American Civil War: Morgan’s Raid ended –  Confederate cavalry leader John Hunt Morgan and 360 of his volunteers were captured by Union forces.

1865 New Zealand’s parliament moved from Auckland to Wellington.

Parliament moves to Wellington

1875  Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist, was born  (d. 1961).

1878 Poet and American West outlaw calling himself “Black Bart” made his last clean getaway when he stole a safe box from a Wells Fargo stagecoach. The empty box was found later with a taunting poem inside.

1882 Premiere of Richard Wagner‘s Parsifal at Bayreuth.

1882 The Republic of Stellaland was founded in Southern Africa.

1887 Publication of the Unua Libro, founding the Esperanto movement.

1890 In Buenos Aires, the Revolución del Parque forced President Juárez Celman’s resignation.

1891  France annexed Tahiti.

1894 Aldous Huxley, English-born author, was born (d. 1963).

1895 Jane Bunford, Britain’s tallest-ever person, was born (d. 1922).

1897  Paul Gallico, American author, was born  (d. 1976).

1908  United States Attorney General Charles Joseph Bonaparte issued an order to immediately staff the Office of the Chief Examiner (later renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation).

1909 – Vivian Vance, American actress, was born (d. 1979).

1922 Blake Edwards, American film director, was born.

1928  Gisborne-born Tom Heeney took on Gene Tunney for the world heavyweight title in front of 46,000 spectators at Yankee Stadium, New York. Although he was defeated, his title bid aroused tremendous interest in both New Zealand and the US.

Kiwi boxer fights for world heavyweight title

1928 Stanley Kubrick, American film director, was born (d. 1999).

1936 Mary Millar, English actress, was born(d. 1998).

1936  The Axis Powers decided to intervene in the Spanish Civil War.

1936  King Edward VIII, in one of his few official duties before he abdicated the throne, officially unveiled the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.

1937  End of the Battle of Brunete in the Spanish Civil War.

1939 John Howard, 25th Prime Minister of Australia, was born.

1941 In response to the Japanese occupation of French Indo-China, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the seizure of all Japanese assets in the United States.

1943 Mick Jagger, English singer (The Rolling Stones), was born.

1944  World War II: Soviet army entered Lviv,  liberating it from the Nazis. Only 300 Jewish survivors left, out of 160,000 prior to Nazi occupation.

1944 – The first German V-2 rocket hit Great Britain.

1945 Dame Helen Mirren, English actress, was born.

1945  The Labour Party won the United Kingdom general election of July 5 by a landslide, removing Winston Churchill from power.

1945  The Potsdam Declaration was signed.

1945 The US Navy cruiser Indianapolis arrived at Tinian with the warhead for the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

1946 Aloha Airlines began service from Honolulu International Airport.

1947  Cold War: U.S. President Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act into law creating the Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the National Security Council.

1948  U.S. President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981 desegregating the military of the United States.

1949 Roger Taylor, English musician (Queen), was born.

1950 Susan George, English actress, was born.

1952 King Farouk of Egypt abdicated in favor of his son Fuad.

1953 Fidel Castro led an unsuccessful attack on the Moncada Barracks beginning the Cuban Revolution.

1953  Arizona Governor John Howard Pyle ordered an anti-polygamy law enforcement crackdown on residents of Short Creek – the Short Creek Raid.

1956  Following the World Bank’s refusal to fund building the Aswan High Dam, Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalised the Suez Canal sparking international condemnation.

1957  Carlos Castillo Armas, dictator of Guatemala, was assassinated.

1958 Explorer 4 was launched.

1959 Kevin Spacey, American actor, was born.

1963  Syncom 2, the world’s first geosynchronous satellite, was launched from Cape Canaveral on a Delta B booster.

1963 – Earthquake in Skopje, Macedonia left 1100 dead

1964 Sandra Bullock, American actress, was born.

1965  Full independence was granted to the Maldives.

1966  Lord Gardiner issued the Practice Statement in the House of Lords stating that the House was not bound to follow its own previous precedent.

1968 Vietnam War: South Vietnamese opposition leader Truong Dinh Dzu was sentenced to five years hard labour for advocating the formation of a coalition government as a way to move toward an end to the war.

1971   Apollo 15 launched.

1973 Kate Beckinsale, British actress, was born.

1974  Greek Prime Minister Konstantinos Karamanlis formed the country’s first civil government after seven years of military rule.

1975 Formation of a military triumvirate in Portugal.

1977 The National Assembly of Quebec imposed the use of French as the official language of the provincial government.

1989 A federal grand jury indicted Cornell University student Robert T. Morris, Jr. for releasing the Morris worm, the first person to be prosecuted under the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

1994 Russian President Boris Yeltsin ordered the removal of Russian troops from Estonia.

1999 Cessation of combat activities after the Kargil War; celebrated as Kargil Vijay Diwas in India.

2005   STS-114 Mission – Launch of Discovery, NASA’s first scheduled flight mission after the Columbia Disaster in 2003.

2005  Mumbai received 99.5cm of rain (39.17 inches) within 24 hours, bringing the city to a halt for over 2 days.

2005  Samir Geagea, the Lebanese Forces (LF) leader, was released after spending 11 years in a solitary confinement.

2007 – Shambo, a black cow in Wales that had been adopted by the local Hindu community, was slaughtered due to a bovine tuberculosis infection, causing widespread controversy.

2008 – 56 people were killed and over 200 people were injured in 21 bomb blasts in Ahmedabad bombing in India.

2009 – The militant Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram attacked a police station in Bauchi, leading to reprisals by the Nigeria Police Force and four days of violence across multiple cities.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


John Howard Lecture to Menzies Research Centre – Bill English

June 28, 2015

Our deputy PM and Finance Minister, Bill English delivered the John Howard Lecture to Menzies Research Centre last week:

Thank you for inviting me tonight.

It’s a pleasure to be here in Australia.

What happens over here, and what people are thinking, affects New Zealand profoundly.

That’s why I try to visit here regularly and talk to as many people as I can.

I want to acknowledge the warm relationship shared between our respective Governments – and the constructive engagements we have with Prime Minister Abbott and Joe Hockey in particular.

Australia has enjoyed 25 years of solid economic growth. Following the end of the mining boom, I believe you are well placed to make the necessary adjustments and continue that run of solid growth.

Australia is New Zealand’s most important trading partner and biggest source of overseas investment.

It’s also where many New Zealanders have come to live.

That is, until the last couple of months when – for the first time since 1991 – there was a net migration flow from Australia to New Zealand.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, a net 130 people moved from Australia to New Zealand last month, and I’d like to welcome each and every one of them to our country.

It’s also a pleasure to be following in the footsteps of Prime Minister John Key, who gave this lecture in 2012.

He is the outstanding New Zealand political leader of recent decades.

He brings to bear a remarkable combination of analytical and political skills with the confidence and aspiration New Zealand has needed in tough times.

I know John Key has a huge amount of respect for John Howard.

So do I.

I followed his career for many years through the pages of The Bulletin, which I read in my farming home in the far south of New Zealand.

My first substantial conversation with John Howard was in extraordinary circumstances.

I came over to Australia to meet him in May 2003, as the leader of the opposition National Party.

Unfortunately my visit coincided perfectly with the resignation of the Governor-General.

John Howard obviously had a great deal on his hands dealing with this critical constitutional issue.

However, after watching the Prime Minister answer questions in a very sombre Parliament, I was summoned to his office, greeted warmly and treated to a 45-minute, relaxed, wide-ranging discussion on politics.

That afternoon, I could not have been less relevant to his considerations. But I could not have been treated more warmly and respectfully.

It was a real boost for a young, struggling opposition leader, and I have always remembered his generosity.

Unfortunately, his wisdom and guidance was not sufficient to prevent me from losing my job a few months later.

But John Howard’s example showed me that in politics, persistence is rewarded.

Here I am part of a successful government, now into its third term and hopefully with more to come.

I want to offer some thoughts tonight about the business of government, from a centre-right perspective.

Others can determine whether those thoughts are applicable elsewhere. Each country has its own set of circumstances and its own unique challenges to deal with.

A guiding principle of the John Key-led government has been to take the public along with us as we make changes, explain the reasons for them well in advance, lay out the logic, adjust expectations and implement those changes competently.

Over time, that builds up a popular support for our changes so they will stick.

This approach was developed partly from the experiences of the 1990-1999 National government.

The early 1990s were a time of extensive and sometimes unexpected changes in New Zealand. We implemented sound policies, but we failed to build broader constituencies for those changes.

As a result we lost support, the electoral system was changed to MMP, and many of our policies were undone by the subsequent Labour government.

Since our election in 2008, we have taken a different approach.

Over the past six-and-a-half years the National-led government has been able to implement sound centre-right policy which is now sufficiently embedded with public support that I am confident it will remain in place.

Our approach has been dubbed ‘incremental radicalism’. This differentiates it from another approach to centre-right reform which I call ‘crash or crash through’.

The elements of the ‘crash or crash through’ method include creating a burning platform, initiating rapid change, and spending large amounts of political capital which you hope you will recoup when the expected benefits flow through sufficiently strongly for the government to be re-elected.

In some circumstances this has worked. In the 1980s it was probably necessary.

We didn’t have that choice this time around – nor did we want it.

Our MMP system ensures that electoral success always comes down to a few seats in Parliament.

In last year’s election we beat our main opponents by 47 per cent to 25 per cent of the vote, but our four-party coalition has only a slim majority in the House.

This means we have had to build and maintain continuous public support for our policies.

We have kept a tight rein on new spending – including delivering two budgets in a row with no net new discretionary spending – but it hasn’t felt to people like fiscal austerity.

For instance we increased welfare benefit rates for families with children in our most recent budget – the first time this has happened in more than 40 years. But it was within an overall spending increase that was very slim by historical standards.

In 2010, we implemented a revenue-neutral tax switch which cut all income tax rates and the company rate, funded by an increase in GST and property taxes.

We spent a long time working publicly through the issues so the changes were largely uncontroversial by the time we finalised them, and people could see that the package of measures was balanced and fair.

We also sold 49 per cent of three government-owned electricity companies.

We laid that plan out to the public at the beginning of election year 2011 and campaigned on it, because the legacy of previous asset sales in New Zealand is one of distrust when the public feels assets are sold without a mandate.

While opinion polls showed people didn’t like the policy, there was no evidence of a backlash against us in the 2011 election, and no question that we had a mandate.

In the right circumstances, I believe people can grasp long-term policy trade-offs, so we’ve tried very hard to be predictable, consistent and upfront with voters.

Our fiscal policies and microeconomic reforms are familiar centre-right approaches adapted to New Zealand’s particular circumstances.

But it’s the third part of our policy programme I really want to talk about tonight, and that’s our public sector reforms.

Excluding transfers, government makes up around a quarter of all economic activity in New Zealand.

Government is a huge, diversified business and we can make a big contribution to the country’s prosperity by running that business more effectively.

Centre-right parties tend to want to limit the role of government, which they believe holds back growth in the economy and undermines individual and community liberties.

I share that view – the more so the longer I am in politics.

However because of their scepticism about government, centre-right parties can underestimate their ability to improve the economy by understanding and improving government.

I believe in smaller government.

I also believe the best way to achieve smaller government is to deliver better government.

The centre-right toolkit has traditionally focused on reducing levels of spending, rather than addressing the long-term drivers of that spending.

But too often, spending cuts are only temporary, as they are reversed in the face of public opinion or reinstated by an incoming government.

What is less intuitive for a centre-right party is to better understand the lives and needs of the government’s regular, long-term and most expensive customers.

When government does its job well and intervenes effectively it enables vulnerable people to increase their resilience and social mobility, and it helps them make positive changes to their lives.

It also reduces demand for public services over the medium to long term, and therefore saves taxpayers money.

What works for the community works for the government’s books.

If you compare it to the private sector, a business needs to understand its customers because they drive its revenue. We need to understand our customers because they drive our costs.

It makes sense to get to know our most expensive customers.

Their lives are complex and often challenging. Their interactions with government agencies can be chaotic and crisis-driven.

The result is a loss of human potential and long-term harm to families and communities. And there are big costs for taxpayers.

We are starting to dig into those costs, and the information is proving to be a powerful driver for institutional and policy change.

We can now pretty accurately know the likely life path of different groups of children. For example, there is a relatively small set of children with multiple problems for whom we can expect that:

  • three quarters will not get a high-school qualification,
  • four in ten will have been on a benefit for more than 2 years before they are 21, and
  • a quarter will have been in prison by the time they are 35.

Each of these children will cost taxpayers an average of $320,000 by the time they are 35, and some will cost more than a million dollars.

Front line workers in the community will know most of their names. We can deal with them one by one.

The ideal outcome for us is fewer customers, not more. Fewer dysfunctional families. Fewer parents who spend decades on welfare. Fewer people who commit crimes.

Part of our response is to recognise that people can do more for themselves, and often want to.

We expect more from people, because ultimately they are responsible for their own lives and responsible for their own families.

We expect parents to actively support their children at school. We expect prisoners to get off drugs and gain work skills. And we expect young sole parents who are on benefits to get qualifications.

We’ll help them do that.

We don’t believe that people whose lives are difficult are automatically helpless and will stay that way forever.

But reducing misery, rather than servicing it, requires us to organise responses around these individuals, with them at the centre of public spending.

Inconvenient as it might seem, people don’t live in government departments, they live in families and communities.

Last year we got officials from the health, education, welfare and justice sectors to bring along a summary of analysis about at-risk children and youth.

What we saw were four well-crafted ways of analysing exactly the same people. But they were all quite different because of each agency’s own institutional and professional history and culture.

One agency, for example, used a deprivation index that goes from 1 to 10, while another used one that goes from 10 to 1. Same kids.

That sort of issue is at the easier end of the scale to fix, or at least it should be.

It’s more difficult to set up structures that recognise people’s problems are connected.

Take the case of five-year-olds in state care.

In New Zealand, there are 1,500 of them each year and by the time they are 35 they will incur prison and welfare costs totalling $550 million.

Traditionally we’ve looked after those kids on a shoestring budget, through the valiant efforts of foster parents and front line social workers.

The question is, what can we do differently now, and spend up front, to save those children from such a life and save a good portion of those $550 million in future costs?

When we ask that question, departments usually don’t know the answer because they haven’t tried to solve that problem.

Instead, governments have simply serviced the system for caring for children, and serviced the prison system, and treated those as two separate issues. They are not.

We are starting to link these issues of foster care, education, welfare dependency, youth justice and prison sentences through analysis that shows the costs and potential for more effective intervention at multiple points in a child’s path to adulthood.

We are prepared to spend money now to secure better long-term results for the most vulnerable New Zealanders, and lower costs to the government in the future.

We call this social investment.

It challenges a lot of the structures that have been set up to manage government spending on an annual basis.

If there’s enough good-quality data, the investment approach can look out 20 or 30 years and model the costs of dysfunction, and the benefits of intervention, for particular communities and populations.

That’s how we are now approaching the welfare system.

We previously had a cash-driven, point-in-time view of the welfare system. This led to a focus on short-term results, like bringing down the number of people on the unemployment benefit.

A couple of years ago we commissioned Australian actuaries Taylor Fry to calculate the lifetime welfare costs of people on benefits.

That liability turned out to be $78 billion – or just under 40 per cent of annual GDP.

And we discovered that those on the unemployment benefit made up only 4 per cent of the future liability.

Groups you never thought of made up a bigger percentage. Like those we call ‘recent exits’ – people who have recently returned to work after being on a benefit.

It turns out that many come back on welfare, and their long-term cost was higher in total than the people currently on an unemployment benefit.

Sole parents had an even larger lifetime liability. So did a large group of people with psychiatric and psychological conditions.

You can drill down further into this information.

Among sole parents, for example, you can then ask “Who is going to cost us the most money?” and it turns out it’s the ones who go onto a sole parent benefit before they turn 20.

A teen sole parent on a benefit in New Zealand is on a benefit for around 20 years, on average, with a net present cost of $213,000 per person. So that helps us know where to focus our efforts.

The next obvious question is “what can we do about it?”

With that group of teen sole parents, for example, we no longer just give them a fortnightly benefit and wish them good luck.

They are now enrolled in a scheme that, among other things, ensures they are in school or training, gives them each a supervising adult, and manages their money for them. That programme is showing promising results.

We are also much more focused on getting sole parents of all ages off a benefit and into work, through extra support and greater work obligations.

The latest welfare valuation, which is updated every six months, shows the future liability of beneficiaries has reduced by $7.5 billion in the last year, with $2.2 billion of this due to steps we have taken as a government.

There are now 43,000 fewer children living in a benefit dependent household than there were three years ago, and the number of sole parents on a benefit is the lowest since 1988.

In other areas too, there is a role for better data, and better use of data.

We need to manage privacy and other issues very carefully, but data gives us an opportunity to drive a programme of work firmly focused on getting better results.

That focus is a challenge to public accounting.

The traditional public finance structure is designed to track where every dollar goes, but was never designed to find out whether it made any difference.

Making a difference is the whole point though.

Too often, success has been defined simply in terms of spending money on something. Politicians say “look, we spent more” as though that on its own is what matters.

Public services, which are full of good and capable people, still spend a lot of time not sure of the effects of what they’re doing.

The public think we know, or at least they think we’ve got good intentions.

Borrowing and committing billions of dollars on good intentions has been the post-war model.

Where possible we want to start purchasing results.

We want to buy reductions in recidivism, for example, more educational achievement, and lower welfare dependence.

We also want to broaden the range of organisations and providers we buy these results from.

The more people who worry about New Zealand’s longstanding social challenges, and work on innovative approaches, the better.

The Government doesn’t have a monopoly on good ideas, resources and expertise.

So I expect more involvement from not-for-profit and private sector providers alongside government agencies.

We are aiming to make data more open, so people and organisations outside the usual public policy process can analyse it to develop new ways of reducing dysfunction in vulnerable groups.

Individuals will also benefit from more information about what works, because it supports the ability for them to make choices.

Why shouldn’t someone with a disability, for example, have access to comparisons of different employment support services?

Technology is allowing us to develop new tools to take these sorts of ideas and make them a reality.

Our social investment approach is based on common sense, not a profound new theory.

People have talked about having a results focus for years, and taking a cost-benefit approach to social spending is probably taught in all good public policy courses.

But the difficult part is being able to put these ideas into practice in the real, messy and contentious world of government.

The social investment approach won’t be suitable for all public spending, or even a majority of it, but we’re rolling it out as far as we can.

That’s the opportunity for the centre-right.

Parties to the left of us appear to have given up on innovation in public services. Certainly that is the case in New Zealand, where the Labour Party consistently argues for the status quo.

Centre-right governments have the opportunity to achieve smaller government by delivering better government.

Public services should make a genuine difference to those people in our communities who live with the least resources, and the least hope.

In fact, they should make enough of a difference to reduce the number of people who suffer these disadvantages.

If we focus on making that difference, the centre-right can change government for the better.

More importantly, we can build on the resilience and aspiration of those who are excluded from the economy and community by a passive, unaccountable welfare state.

Thank you.


July 26 in history

July 26, 2014

657  Battle of Siffin.

811  Battle of Pliska; Byzantine emperor Nicephorus I was slain, his heir Stauracius was seriously wounded.

920 Rout of an alliance of Christian troops from Navarre and Léon against the Muslims at Pamplona.

1309  Henry VII was recognized King of the Romans by Pope Clement V.

1469  Wars of the Roses: Battle of Edgecote Moor – Pitting the forces of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick against those of King Edward IV.

1581 Plakkaat van Verlatinghe (Act of Abjuration). The declaration of independence of the northern Low Countries from the Spanish king, Philip II.

1745  The first recorded women’s cricket match took place near Guildford,.

1758  French and Indian War: Siege of Louisbourg ened with British forces defeating the French and taking control of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

1803 The Surrey Iron Railway, arguably the world’s first public railway, opened in south London.

1822  José de San Martín arrived in Guayaquil, Ecuador, to meet Simón Bolívar.

1847 Liberia declared independence.

1856 George Bernard Shaw, Irish writer, Nobel Laureate, was born (d. 1950).

1861 American Civil War: George B. McClellan assumed command of the Army of the Potomac following a disastrous Union defeat at the First Battle of Bull Run.

1863 American Civil War: Morgan’s Raid ended –  Confederate cavalry leader John Hunt Morgan and 360 of his volunteers were captured by Union forces.

1865 New Zealand’s parliament moved from Auckland to Wellington.

Parliament moves to Wellington

1875  Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist, was born  (d. 1961).

1878 Poet and American West outlaw calling himself “Black Bart” made his last clean getaway when he stole a safe box from a Wells Fargo stagecoach. The empty box was found later with a taunting poem inside.

1882 Premiere of Richard Wagner‘s Parsifal at Bayreuth.

1882 The Republic of Stellaland was founded in Southern Africa.

1887 Publication of the Unua Libro, founding the Esperanto movement.

1890 In Buenos Aires, the Revolución del Parque forced President Juárez Celman’s resignation.

1891  France annexed Tahiti.

1894 Aldous Huxley, English-born author, was born (d. 1963).

1895 Jane Bunford, Britain’s tallest-ever person, was born (d. 1922).

1897  Paul Gallico, American author, was born  (d. 1976).

1908  United States Attorney General Charles Joseph Bonaparte issued an order to immediately staff the Office of the Chief Examiner (later renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation).

1909 – Vivian Vance, American actress, was born (d. 1979).

1922 Blake Edwards, American film director, was born.

1928  Gisborne-born Tom Heeney took on Gene Tunney for the world heavyweight title in front of 46,000 spectators at Yankee Stadium, New York. Although he was defeated, his title bid aroused tremendous interest in both New Zealand and the US.

Kiwi boxer fights for world heavyweight title

1928 Stanley Kubrick, American film director, was born (d. 1999).

1936 Mary Millar, English actress, was born(d. 1998).

1936  The Axis Powers decided to intervene in the Spanish Civil War.

1936  King Edward VIII, in one of his few official duties before he abdicated the throne, officially unveiled the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.

1937  End of the Battle of Brunete in the Spanish Civil War.

1939 John Howard, 25th Prime Minister of Australia, was born.

1941 In response to the Japanese occupation of French Indo-China, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the seizure of all Japanese assets in the United States.

1943 Mick Jagger, English singer (The Rolling Stones), was born.

1944  World War II: Soviet army entered Lviv,  liberating it from the Nazis. Only 300 Jewish survivors left, out of 160,000 prior to Nazi occupation.

1944 – The first German V-2 rocket hit Great Britain.

1945 Dame Helen Mirren, English actress, was born.

1945  The Labour Party won the United Kingdom general election of July 5 by a landslide, removing Winston Churchill from power.

1945  The Potsdam Declaration was signed.

1945 The US Navy cruiser Indianapolis arrived at Tinian with the warhead for the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

1946 Aloha Airlines began service from Honolulu International Airport.

1947  Cold War: U.S. President Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act into law creating the Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the National Security Council.

1948  U.S. President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981 desegregating the military of the United States.

1949 Roger Taylor, English musician (Queen), was born.

1950 Susan George, English actress, was born.

1952 King Farouk of Egypt abdicated in favor of his son Fuad.

1953 Fidel Castro led an unsuccessful attack on the Moncada Barracks beginning the Cuban Revolution.

1953  Arizona Governor John Howard Pyle ordered an anti-polygamy law enforcement crackdown on residents of Short Creek – the Short Creek Raid.

1956  Following the World Bank’s refusal to fund building the Aswan High Dam, Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalised the Suez Canal sparking international condemnation.

1957  Carlos Castillo Armas, dictator of Guatemala, was assassinated.

1958 Explorer 4 was launched.

1959 Kevin Spacey, American actor, was born.

1963  Syncom 2, the world’s first geosynchronous satellite, was launched from Cape Canaveral on a Delta B booster.

1963 – Earthquake in Skopje, Macedonia left 1100 dead

1964 Sandra Bullock, American actress, was born.

1965  Full independence was granted to the Maldives.

1966  Lord Gardiner issued the Practice Statement in the House of Lords stating that the House was not bound to follow its own previous precedent.

1968 Vietnam War: South Vietnamese opposition leader Truong Dinh Dzu was sentenced to five years hard labour for advocating the formation of a coalition government as a way to move toward an end to the war.

1971   Apollo 15 launched.

1973 Kate Beckinsale, British actress, was born.

1974  Greek Prime Minister Konstantinos Karamanlis formed the country’s first civil government after seven years of military rule.

1975 Formation of a military triumvirate in Portugal.

1977 The National Assembly of Quebec imposed the use of French as the official language of the provincial government.

1989 A federal grand jury indicted Cornell University student Robert T. Morris, Jr. for releasing the Morris worm, the first person to be prosecuted under the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

1994 Russian President Boris Yeltsin ordered the removal of Russian troops from Estonia.

1999 Cessation of combat activities after the Kargil War; celebrated as Kargil Vijay Diwas in India.

2005   STS-114 Mission – Launch of Discovery, NASA’s first scheduled flight mission after the Columbia Disaster in 2003.

2005  Mumbai received 99.5cm of rain (39.17 inches) within 24 hours, bringing the city to a halt for over 2 days.

2005  Samir Geagea, the Lebanese Forces (LF) leader, was released after spending 11 years in a solitary confinement.

2007 – Shambo, a black cow in Wales that had been adopted by the local Hindu community, was slaughtered due to a bovine tuberculosis infection, causing widespread controversy.

2008 – 56 people were killed and over 200 people were injured in 21 bomb blasts in Ahmedabad bombing in India.

2009 – The militant Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram attacked a police station in Bauchi, leading to reprisals by the Nigeria Police Force and four days of violence across multiple cities.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Caption contest

September 8, 2013

An electronic bunch of daffodils is waiting for the one who provides the best caption to this photo.

Entries should be witty and should not be personal.

 A great result across the ditch last night with Tony Abbott's Liberal party sweeping to a comprehensive victory over Kevin Rudd's Labor party. Congrats to our friends the Young Liberals on an absolute brilliant campaign effort!

July 26 in history

July 26, 2013

657  Battle of Siffin.

811  Battle of Pliska; Byzantine emperor Nicephorus I was slain, his heir Stauracius was seriously wounded.

920 Rout of an alliance of Christian troops from Navarre and Léon against the Muslims at Pamplona.

1309  Henry VII was recognized King of the Romans by Pope Clement V.

1469  Wars of the Roses: Battle of Edgecote Moor – Pitting the forces of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick against those of King Edward IV.

1581 Plakkaat van Verlatinghe (Act of Abjuration). The declaration of independence of the northern Low Countries from the Spanish king, Philip II.

1745  The first recorded women’s cricket match took place near Guildford,.

1758  French and Indian War: Siege of Louisbourg ened with British forces defeating the French and taking control of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

1803 The Surrey Iron Railway, arguably the world’s first public railway, opened in south London.

1822  José de San Martín arrived in Guayaquil, Ecuador, to meet Simón Bolívar.

1847 Liberia declared independence.

1856 George Bernard Shaw, Irish writer, Nobel Laureate, was born (d. 1950).

1861 American Civil War: George B. McClellan assumed command of the Army of the Potomac following a disastrous Union defeat at the First Battle of Bull Run.

1863 American Civil War: Morgan’s Raid ended –  Confederate cavalry leader John Hunt Morgan and 360 of his volunteers were captured by Union forces.

1865 New Zealand’s parliament moved from Auckland to Wellington.

Parliament moves to Wellington

1875  Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist, was born  (d. 1961).

1878 Poet and American West outlaw calling himself “Black Bart” made his last clean getaway when he stole a safe box from a Wells Fargo stagecoach. The empty box was found later with a taunting poem inside.

1882 Premiere of Richard Wagner‘s Parsifal at Bayreuth.

1882 The Republic of Stellaland was founded in Southern Africa.

1887 Publication of the Unua Libro, founding the Esperanto movement.

1890 In Buenos Aires, the Revolución del Parque forced President Juárez Celman’s resignation.

1891  France annexed Tahiti.

1894 Aldous Huxley, English-born author, was born (d. 1963).

1895 Jane Bunford, Britain’s tallest-ever person, was born (d. 1922).

1897  Paul Gallico, American author, was born  (d. 1976).

1908  United States Attorney General Charles Joseph Bonaparte issued an order to immediately staff the Office of the Chief Examiner (later renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation).

1909 – Vivian Vance, American actress, was born (d. 1979).

1922 Blake Edwards, American film director, was born.

1928  Gisborne-born Tom Heeney took on Gene Tunney for the world heavyweight title in front of 46,000 spectators at Yankee Stadium, New York. Although he was defeated, his title bid aroused tremendous interest in both New Zealand and the US.

Kiwi boxer fights for world heavyweight title

1928 Stanley Kubrick, American film director, was born (d. 1999).

1936 Mary Millar, English actress, was born(d. 1998).

1936  The Axis Powers decided to intervene in the Spanish Civil War.

1936  King Edward VIII, in one of his few official duties before he abdicated the throne, officially unveiled the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.

1937  End of the Battle of Brunete in the Spanish Civil War.

1939 John Howard, 25th Prime Minister of Australia, was born.

1941 In response to the Japanese occupation of French Indo-China, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the seizure of all Japanese assets in the United States.

1943 Mick Jagger, English singer (The Rolling Stones), was born.

1944  World War II: Soviet army entered Lviv,  liberating it from the Nazis. Only 300 Jewish survivors left, out of 160,000 prior to Nazi occupation.

1944 – The first German V-2 rocket hit Great Britain.

1945 Helen Mirren, English actress, was born.

1945  The Labour Party won the United Kingdom general election of July 5 by a landslide, removing Winston Churchill from power.

1945  The Potsdam Declaration was signed.

1945 The US Navy cruiser Indianapolis arrived at Tinian with the warhead for the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

1946 Aloha Airlines began service from Honolulu International Airport.

1947  Cold War: U.S. President Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act into law creating the Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the National Security Council.

1948  U.S. President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981 desegregating the military of the United States.

1949 Roger Taylor, English musician (Queen), was born.

1950 Susan George, English actress, was born.

1952 King Farouk of Egypt abdicated in favor of his son Fuad.

1953 Fidel Castro led an unsuccessful attack on the Moncada Barracks beginning the Cuban Revolution.

1953  Arizona Governor John Howard Pyle ordered an anti-polygamy law enforcement crackdown on residents of Short Creek – the Short Creek Raid.

1956  Following the World Bank’s refusal to fund building the Aswan High Dam, Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalised the Suez Canal sparking international condemnation.

1957  Carlos Castillo Armas, dictator of Guatemala, was assassinated.

1958 Explorer 4 was launched.

1959 Kevin Spacey, American actor, was born.

1963  Syncom 2, the world’s first geosynchronous satellite, was launched from Cape Canaveral on a Delta B booster.

1963 – Earthquake in Skopje, Macedonia left 1100 dead

1964 Sandra Bullock, American actress, was born.

1965  Full independence was granted to the Maldives.

1966  Lord Gardiner issued the Practice Statement in the House of Lords stating that the House was not bound to follow its own previous precedent.

1968 Vietnam War: South Vietnamese opposition leader Truong Dinh Dzu was sentenced to five years hard labour for advocating the formation of a coalition government as a way to move toward an end to the war.

1971   Apollo 15 launched.

1973 Kate Beckinsale, British actress, was born.

1974  Greek Prime Minister Konstantinos Karamanlis formed the country’s first civil government after seven years of military rule.

1975 Formation of a military triumvirate in Portugal.

1977 The National Assembly of Quebec imposed the use of French as the official language of the provincial government.

1989 A federal grand jury indicted Cornell University student Robert T. Morris, Jr. for releasing the Morris worm, the first person to be prosecuted under the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

1994 Russian President Boris Yeltsin ordered the removal of Russian troops from Estonia.

1999 Cessation of combat activities after the Kargil War; celebrated as Kargil Vijay Diwas in India.

2005   STS-114 Mission – Launch of Discovery, NASA’s first scheduled flight mission after the Columbia Disaster in 2003.

2005  Mumbai received 99.5cm of rain (39.17 inches) within 24 hours, bringing the city to a halt for over 2 days.

2005  Samir Geagea, the Lebanese Forces (LF) leader, was released after spending 11 years in a solitary confinement.

2007 – Shambo, a black cow in Wales that had been adopted by the local Hindu community, was slaughtered due to a bovine tuberculosis infection, causing widespread controversy.

2008 – 56 people were killed and over 200 people were injured in 21 bomb blasts in Ahmedabad bombing in India.

2009 – The militant Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram attacked a police station in Bauchi, leading to reprisals by the Nigeria Police Force and four days of violence across multiple cities.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Shouldn’t be shy

September 10, 2012

Former Australian Prime Minsiter John Howard was one the speakers at the Property Councils of New Zealand’s annual conference in Queenstown.

One of his messages to delegates was:

On natural resources, Mr Howard said he had a “fairly simple view”.   

      “If you were blessed … with large resources, you shouldn’t be shy about exporting them and you shouldn’t be shy about  finding customers.”

It’s a pity that too many people who are happy to take all the benefits of living in a first world economy don’t understand this and are proposing policies which would take us back to a second or even third world economy.

We need to buy goods and services from other countries and the only sustainable way to pay for them is by earning money from selling our goods and services to other countries.

This is no time to be shy about sharing our wares with the world.


July 26 in history

July 26, 2012

657  Battle of Siffin.

811  Battle of Pliska; Byzantine emperor Nicephorus I was slain, his heir Stauracius was seriously wounded.

920 Rout of an alliance of Christian troops from Navarre and Léon against the Muslims at Pamplona.

1309  Henry VII was recognized King of the Romans by Pope Clement V.

1469  Wars of the Roses: Battle of Edgecote Moor – Pitting the forces of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick against those of King Edward IV.

1581 Plakkaat van Verlatinghe (Act of Abjuration). The declaration of independence of the northern Low Countries from the Spanish king, Philip II.

1745  The first recorded women’s cricket match took place near Guildford,.

1758  French and Indian War: Siege of Louisbourg ened with British forces defeating the French and taking control of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

1803 The Surrey Iron Railway, arguably the world’s first public railway, opened in south London.

1822  José de San Martín arrived in Guayaquil, Ecuador, to meet Simón Bolívar.

1847 Liberia declared independence.

1856 George Bernard Shaw, Irish writer, Nobel Laureate, was born (d. 1950).

1861 American Civil War: George B. McClellan assumed command of the Army of the Potomac following a disastrous Union defeat at the First Battle of Bull Run.

1863 American Civil War: Morgan’s Raid ended –  Confederate cavalry leader John Hunt Morgan and 360 of his volunteers were captured by Union forces.

1865 New Zealand’s parliament moved from Auckland to Wellington.

Parliament moves to Wellington

1875  Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist, was born  (d. 1961).

1878 Poet and American West outlaw calling himself “Black Bart” made his last clean getaway when he stole a safe box from a Wells Fargo stagecoach. The empty box was found later with a taunting poem inside.

1882 Premiere of Richard Wagner‘s Parsifal at Bayreuth.

1882 The Republic of Stellaland was founded in Southern Africa.

1887 Publication of the Unua Libro, founding the Esperanto movement.

1890 In Buenos Aires, the Revolución del Parque forced President Juárez Celman’s resignation.

1891  France annexed Tahiti.

1894 Aldous Huxley, English-born author, was born (d. 1963).

1895 Jane Bunford, Britain’s tallest-ever person, was born (d. 1922).

1897  Paul Gallico, American author, was born  (d. 1976).

1908  United States Attorney General Charles Joseph Bonaparte issued an order to immediately staff the Office of the Chief Examiner (later renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation).

1909 – Vivian Vance, American actress, was born (d. 1979).

1922 Blake Edwards, American film director, was born.

1928  Gisborne-born Tom Heeney took on Gene Tunney for the world heavyweight title in front of 46,000 spectators at Yankee Stadium, New York. Although he was defeated, his title bid aroused tremendous interest in both New Zealand and the US.

Kiwi boxer fights for world heavyweight title

1928 Stanley Kubrick, American film director, was born (d. 1999).

1936 Mary Millar, English actress, was born(d. 1998).

1936  The Axis Powers decided to intervene in the Spanish Civil War.

1936  King Edward VIII, in one of his few official duties before he abdicated the throne, officially unveiled the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.

1937  End of the Battle of Brunete in the Spanish Civil War.

1939 John Howard, 25th Prime Minister of Australia, was born.

1941 In response to the Japanese occupation of French Indo-China, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the seizure of all Japanese assets in the United States.

1943 Mick Jagger, English singer (The Rolling Stones), was born.

1944  World War II: Soviet army entered Lviv,  liberating it from the Nazis. Only 300 Jewish survivors left, out of 160,000 prior to Nazi occupation.

1944 – The first German V-2 rocket hit Great Britain.

1945 Helen Mirren, English actress, was born.

1945  The Labour Party won the United Kingdom general election of July 5 by a landslide, removing Winston Churchill from power.

1945  The Potsdam Declaration was signed.

1945 The US Navy cruiser Indianapolis arrived at Tinian with the warhead for the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

1946 Aloha Airlines began service from Honolulu International Airport.

1947  Cold War: U.S. President Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act into law creating the Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the National Security Council.

1948  U.S. President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981 desegregating the military of the United States.

1949 Roger Taylor, English musician (Queen), was born.

1950 Susan George, English actress, was born.

1952 King Farouk of Egypt abdicated in favor of his son Fuad.

1953 Fidel Castro led an unsuccessful attack on the Moncada Barracks beginning the Cuban Revolution.

1953  Arizona Governor John Howard Pyle ordered an anti-polygamy law enforcement crackdown on residents of Short Creek – the Short Creek Raid.

1956  Following the World Bank’s refusal to fund building the Aswan High Dam, Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalised the Suez Canal sparking international condemnation.

1957  Carlos Castillo Armas, dictator of Guatemala, was assassinated.

1958 Explorer 4 was launched.

1959 Kevin Spacey, American actor, was born.

1963  Syncom 2, the world’s first geosynchronous satellite, was launched from Cape Canaveral on a Delta B booster.

1963 – Earthquake in Skopje, Macedonia left 1100 dead

1964 Sandra Bullock, American actress, was born.

1965  Full independence was granted to the Maldives.

1966  Lord Gardiner issued the Practice Statement in the House of Lords stating that the House was not bound to follow its own previous precedent.

1968 Vietnam War: South Vietnamese opposition leader Truong Dinh Dzu was sentenced to five years hard labour for advocating the formation of a coalition government as a way to move toward an end to the war.

1971   Apollo 15 launched.

1973 Kate Beckinsale, British actress, was born.

1974  Greek Prime Minister Konstantinos Karamanlis formed the country’s first civil government after seven years of military rule.

1975 Formation of a military triumvirate in Portugal.

1977 The National Assembly of Quebec imposed the use of French as the official language of the provincial government.

1989 A federal grand jury indicted Cornell University student Robert T. Morris, Jr. for releasing the Morris worm, the first person to be prosecuted under the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

1994 Russian President Boris Yeltsin ordered the removal of Russian troops from Estonia.

1999 Cessation of combat activities after the Kargil War; celebrated as Kargil Vijay Diwas in India.

2005   STS-114 Mission – Launch of Discovery, NASA’s first scheduled flight mission after the Columbia Disaster in 2003.

2005  Mumbai received 99.5cm of rain (39.17 inches) within 24 hours, bringing the city to a halt for over 2 days.

2005  Samir Geagea, the Lebanese Forces (LF) leader, was released after spending 11 years in a solitary confinement.

2007 – Shambo, a black cow in Wales that had been adopted by the local Hindu community, was slaughtered due to a bovine tuberculosis infection, causing widespread controversy.

2008 – 56 people were killed and over 200 people were injured in 21 bomb blasts in Ahmedabad bombing in India.

2009 – The militant Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram attacked a police station in Bauchi, leading to reprisals by the Nigeria Police Force and four days of violence across multiple cities.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Reflections from NZ

July 6, 2012
Prime Minister John Key gave the John Howard address to the Menzies Research Centre last night.
I was going to post some highlights but decided it was better to copy the whole speech and mark the highlights in bold. That would ahve left more in bold than not so I’ve left it as it was:
Thank you for your welcome.

Can I start by acknowledging some  of the special guests tonight – former Prime Minister John Howard,  Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott and members of his Parliamentary  team.

And I’d like to thank the Menzies Research Centre for inviting me to give this lecture.

The Menzies Research Centre has made an important contribution to public  policy thinking in Australia over many years. It is an impressive  institution.

I was delighted to accept its invitation, because I have a great deal of respect and admiration for John Howard.

I always remember the week I became Leader of the National Party, towards the end of 2006.

I was scheduled to fly to Canberra in my previous capacity as Finance  Spokesperson, but instead made the trip as the new Party Leader.

At short notice, Prime Minister Howard made time in his extremely busy  schedule to see me and to dispense his best wishes, along with some good centre-right advice.

Aside from the personal encouragement he  gave me, it was a very public signal that helped me, as a new Leader,  settle into my role.

Over the following years we developed a close relationship.

John was a great Prime Minister of Australia.

And he was a great friend of New Zealand, working hard to strengthen the relationship between our two countries.

In doing so, he worked closely with my predecessor Helen Clark, despite their domestic political differences.

Following that example, I, too, have enjoyed a good, constructive relationship with Kevin Rudd and with Julia Gillard.

I learned a lot from John Howard, both from my discussions with him, and through watching him as Prime Minister.

I admired the economic programme he oversaw in Australia, his steady leadership through difficult times, and his tenacity.

By the time you’ve been Prime Minister for 11 years, let alone twice been  Leader of the Opposition, you’ve fought a lot of battles and faced a lot of challenges.

It reminds me of a story about the Civil War General Ulysses S Grant.

After a day in which his forces took a real beating, his second-in-command  General Sherman found him sitting under a tree chewing a cigar.

“Well,” said Sherman, “we’ve had the devil’s own day, haven’t we?”

“Yes,” said Grant. “Lick ’em tomorrow, though.”

That’s what being a Prime Minister is often like.

Can I also say that it’s a great pleasure to be here in Australia.

Australians and New Zealanders – all 27 million of us – share a very special corner of the globe.

Geography, our shared colonial history, and our cooperation in peace and in war, have made our two countries very close.

Our soldiers have served together in many distant parts of the world, and  continue to do so today in Afghanistan. These deployments are not  without risk, and I want to acknowledge the SAS soldier who lost his  life in Uruzgan just three days ago.

For a long time our two countries were isolated from the rest of the world.

We had little to do with the Asian countries to the north and west of us,  and England was anywhere up to six months’ hazardous sailing away.

Nowadays the world is a much smaller and far more interconnected place.

Yet our countries remain as close as ever.

We have a comprehensive trade and economic agreement without the drawbacks of a common currency.

Australia is New Zealand’s most important trading partner and our most important source of foreign investment.

And at a practical level we are always there for each other.

That was reinforced for New Zealanders in the aftermath of the Canterbury earthquakes and the Pike River mine disaster.

When 300 Australian Police arrived at Christchurch airport they were met by a spontaneous standing ovation. It was a moving and visual demonstration  that we weren’t on our own. You had our back.

In return, New  Zealand has always been there to help Australia, most recently after the Victorian bushfires and the Queensland floods.

In your time of need we also gave you one of our best rugby coaches – Robbie Deans.

I hope that makes you more competitive, because from the time I became  Prime Minister in late 2008, the head-to-head record between our  national rugby teams reads All Blacks 9 – Wallabies 2.

I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions about that.

Tonight I want to talk about my approach to politics, what drives me, and what  the Government I lead in New Zealand has been doing.

I want to  make it clear that I am not here to suggest any particular policies or  approaches for Australia. That is for Australian politicians and  Australian voters to decide.

But I can give you a sense of where I come from and how the National-led Government has been dealing with  some the challenges facing New Zealand.

And there certainly have been challenges.

One has been to begin the long process of rebalancing the economy.

The New Zealand economy lost competitiveness in the 2000s because growth  was built on all the wrong things – debt, consumption and a 50 per cent  increase in government spending in just five years.

Those factors  acted together to suffocate the tradables sector in New Zealand, which  was effectively in recession from 2004 onwards.

So we have been  doing a lot of work to change some of the key settings in the economy,  help keep the pressure off interest rates and the exchange rate, and  ensure the public sector isn’t diverting too many resources away from  the tradables sector.

Another test for the country has been the  fiscal challenge posed by the combination of a domestic recession, the  impact of the Global Financial Crisis, and the cost of the Canterbury  earthquakes.

From the beginning of the recession, in early 2008,  the New Zealand economy shrank 3.3 per cent in 18 months, and tax  revenue fell 10 per cent.

And while most of the damage from the  earthquakes is covered by insurance, the Government is still expecting  to face a final bill of around $13 billion, or around six-and-a-half per cent of GDP.

As a Government, we absorbed much of the cost of the recession and the earthquakes on our balance sheet, thereby cushioning  New Zealanders from the worst impacts.

But that money has to be  paid back, so we have put a huge amount of effort into making savings  and, in particular, into changing some of the long-term term drivers of  government spending, so we can get back to surplus over the next few  years and start getting our debt down again.

The challenges we’ve faced haven’t just been economic, of course.

We have also been dealing with long-standing social problems that have defied easy solutions.

The 2000s in New Zealand were characterised by the idea that big increases  in government spending, dispensed across a whole range of areas and in a relatively untargeted way, could transform society.

However, that particular experiment ran out of money in 2008 with little genuinely  transformational to show for it, and the problems still remain.

As Prime Minister, I am responsible for leading the Government’s responses to these and other challenges.

As John F. Kennedy once said, we in government are not permitted the luxury of irresolution.

Everyone else can debate issues forever but, in the end, the government has to  cut through all that and make a decision, which will invariably please  some and disappoint others.

In making those decisions, my Government is very pragmatic.

We are guided by the enduring values and principles of the National Party, but we are also focused on what is sensible and what is possible.

Partly, that is the nature of the political system in New Zealand. It is  sometimes said that politics is about convincing 50 per cent of the  population plus one, and that has never been truer than under the MMP  system we have in New Zealand.

But, in any event, I think government is a practical business.

You don’t start with a blank sheet of paper; you start with the country as it is.

And by making a series of sensible decisions, which build on each other and which are signalled well in advance, and by taking most people with you as you go, you can effect real and durable change, which won’t simply  be reversed by the next lot who come into government.

Over time, a series of moderate changes can add up to a considerable programme.

That has been our experience in New Zealand.

In terms of the fiscal outlook, we have effected a significant turnaround.

The advice we had from the Treasury when we first came into office was that if we continued with the settings we inherited, net government debt was likely to reach 60 per cent of GDP by 2026.

Now, after all the  changes we have made, net debt is projected to be zero in 2026, despite  the Government also picking up much of the cost of the earthquakes.

We have also implemented the biggest changes to the tax system in a  generation, to increase the incentives to work hard, save and invest,  and decrease the incentives to consume.

That has included  increasing GST, bringing down personal tax rates across the board, and  dropping the company tax rate to 28 per cent.

We have reformed our planning laws and labour laws, and we are investing heavily in New  Zealand’s infrastructure, including state highways, ultra-fast broadband and the national electricity grid.

We have embarked on a process of selling minority stakes in four state-owned energy companies.

We are making significant changes to the welfare system, including work  obligations for sole parents when their youngest child turns five.

And we are undertaking a long-term programme of public sector reform. This  includes a real focus on results – getting traction on difficult issues  like reducing crime and long-term welfare dependency.

Throughout this time we have been consistent and up-front with New Zealanders about what we are doing and why.

And we have retained pretty broad support across New Zealand.

I want to stress, however, that while I think government is about  practical, considered decision-making, it is not a technocracy.

In the end, the biggest, most fundamental decisions governments are called on to make are not reducible to calculation in a spreadsheet.

Those decisions rely on the judgements of politicians around concepts like  fairness, opportunity, and the balance between individual and social  responsibility.

As a politician, my own gut-level judgements have been hugely influenced by my upbringing and my life experiences.

I was a kid who benefited from both the welfare state and a mother who pushed us to improve ourselves through hard work.

My father died when I was young. We had no other family in New Zealand and we had very little money. My mother was on a Widows Benefit for a time, before she started working as a cleaner.

The State provided us with somewhere to live, and ensured my mother had food to put on the table when we most needed it.

The State also gave me the opportunity to have a good education at the local high school and at university.

My mother made sure I seized that opportunity with both hands.

She was a very strong character, and had escaped persecution in Austria  before the Second World War. What she gave to my sisters and me was far  more valuable than money. Her constant refrain was that, “you get out of life what you put into it”.

My early life was therefore a mix of  strong influences: a close family; an emphasis on individual  responsibility and hard work; first-hand experience of the welfare  system; and a realisation of the opportunities that education offers to  kids from even the humblest of homes.

Those influences have undoubtedly shaped my views on the appropriate role of government.

I believe in a government that looks after its citizens and provides them with opportunities to flourish, but recognises that people are  responsible for their own lives and the well-being of their families.  The way to a better future is ultimately in your own hands.

I  believe in a government that gives people security in times of  misfortune and hardship but doesn’t trap them in a life of limited  income and limited choices. I’ve often said that you can measure a  society by how it looks after its most vulnerable. Yet you can also  measure a society by how many vulnerable people it creates – people who  are able to work, yet end up depending for long periods on the State.

I believe in a government that supports people’s hard work and enterprise, and encourages them to set high aspirations.

I have had a successful career in international finance.

But I have learned that the most valuable assets in life are those closest  to home. As a husband, and as a father of two wonderful children, I can  say that families are in my view the most important institution in our  society.

So I believe in a government that supports families.

At some point, years ago, I found that my own personal beliefs and drivers were a natural fit with the principles of the National Party.

Those principles won’t be a great surprise to you because the origins of the  New Zealand National Party are broadly similar to those of the  Australian Liberal Party.

The National Party was formed in 1936  from the merger of existing liberal and conservative parties. It was  formed to consolidate opposition to the Labour Party, which had won its  first general election the previous year.

The name “National” was  chosen in part because the new party sought to represent the whole  country, without favouring any one class, region, gender, race or  religion.

The name “National” also emphasised that the Party’s principles and policies were rooted strongly in New Zealand.

Its first leaders were men born and brought up in New Zealand – Hamilton,  Holland, Holyoake and Marshall – who thought of themselves first as New  Zealanders, not Irish, Scots, or English.

Keith Holyoake, for  example, was a fourth generation New Zealander, all eight of his  great-grandparents having arrived in New Zealand around the 1840s. While he maintained New Zealand’s traditional links, he also told Britain  quite bluntly that he saw New Zealand as a totally independent nation.

The Party’s founders were not people who saw the world in terms of a  fundamental class conflict, where people’s destinies were largely  foretold. In fact the Party was set up to oppose that view.

On the contrary, the early leaders of the Party had a belief in the  capabilities, and also the responsibilities, of individuals and their  families.

People had choices and could make better lives for  themselves. The government could help them by enabling better choices,  but couldn’t and shouldn’t tell them what to do.

Neither should  the government get in the way of people exercising those choices.  Holyoake, for example, said that while he believed in everybody having  the opportunity for success, he did not believe that, “success in one  individual should be thwarted by efforts to prevent the failure of  another”.

Many in the new Party were practical farmers and businesspeople who wanted common sense solutions to New Zealand’s problems.

As I said, they didn’t see New Zealand as a battleground where a conflict between workers and capitalists was playing out.

Nor were they interested in many of the things British conservatives and liberals exercised themselves about.

It seems to me they were a fairly straightforward and pragmatic bunch of  people who wanted to continue building what was still a relatively young country.

They didn’t believe in uniformity – they thought that  was a socialist idea as well. Rather, they thought that the individual  freedom promoted by National involved many diverse groups with  conflicting interests. Tolerance was the key to working through those  conflicts – giving everyone a say, but ensuring the Party ultimately  focused on the good of the country as a whole.

The National Party has also always understood that businesses large and small create jobs and prosperity.

It is extraordinary how many people, including a lot of Opposition MPs in  New Zealand, think the economy is something separate from the normal  life of the country – something that will just keep chugging along while Parliament worries about supposedly unrelated social issues, like  employment.

In fact – as I am at pains to point out most days in  Parliament – jobs are only created when business owners have the  confidence to invest their own money to expand what they are doing or to start something new.

Giving businesses that confidence is the  most important thing the Government can do to ensure people have jobs,  and that those jobs are sustainable and well-paid.

So those are  the general principles the National Party has been promoting for the  past 76 years: individual responsibility; equality of opportunity;  competitive enterprise; tolerance and respect for all New Zealanders;  and an essential pragmatism – a belief in the practical and the  possible.

Policies change over time, of course, as knowledge develops, attitudes change, and new challenges arise.

But principles and values are an intergenerational guide that ensures the  essence of the Party remains the same, even though individual policy  prescriptions may differ.

And they are an important guide for the future.

When they elect a government, voters accept that that government will have  to make decisions on issues yet to reveal themselves, and react to  situations no-one could have predicted.

It is important that voters have some idea of the considerations that will inform those future decisions.

Sometimes voters have been thoroughly surprised by the government they elected.

Those governments have never worked out very well.

So one of the things my Government has tried very hard to do over the past three-and-a-half years is to be predictable, consistent and upfront  with voters.

John Howard made the same point about the Liberal Party in his lecture to this Centre in 2009.

“Love us or loathe us,” he said, “and there were plenty of both, the  Australian people knew what we believed in and what we wished to achieve for their country.”

That is the approach we have been taking as well.

In particular, we have sought a mandate at each election to implement  certain policies, we have made assurances about others, and we have  stuck closely to our word.

Looking forward, the biggest challenge  to New Zealand is the on-going debt crisis in Europe and the prospect of subdued world growth, or even recession.

New Zealand makes up  less than a quarter of one per cent of the global economy so we can’t  help but be affected by events in the rest of the world.

But I remain optimistic about New Zealand’s prospects.

We have sound economic and financial institutions.

We are producing the sorts of products, and providing the sorts of services, that will be in demand over coming decades.

Sixty per cent of our exports now go to Australia, East Asia or Southeast  Asia. A strong Australia is critical for New Zealand. And Asia is the  most vibrant and growing region in the world.

In addition, the rebuilding of Christchurch is effectively a massive stimulus programme.

Compared to many other developed countries, New Zealand faces a relatively  favourable set of circumstances and opportunities. From what I can see,  looking across the Tasman, so does Australia.

Our corner of the  world, with its 27 million inhabitants, is in a good space. It’s now a  matter of making the most of the opportunities that are out there for  us.

Can I conclude by again thanking the Menzies Research Centre for inviting me to give this John Howard lecture.

A combination of Menzies and Howard represents an imposing total of 30 years of Prime Ministership.

The test of a Prime Minister is whether you left the country in better shape than when you inherited it.

If I can do as good a job as John Howard in that regard, I’ll be more than pleased.

Thank you.


Australian honour for Roger Kerr

August 2, 2011

Sir Roger Kerr, executive director of the Business Roundtable has received an Alan McGregor Fellowship from Michael Darling, chair of the Centre for Independent Studies:

Business Roundtable chairman Roger Partridge said the awards are given to honour individuals who have made a significant contribution to the advancement of the principles of free markets, a liberal society, and personal responsibility.

“This is a great honour for Roger Kerr and the Business Roundtable and it’s great to see the work he and the organisation have done over the years recognised in this way. . .

Mr Darling noted in his citation that Roger Kerr “has personally commissioned, overseen and made extensive editorial contributions to all of the work produced by the Business Roundtable, totalling more than 200 books and reports and well over a thousand articles, op-eds, submissions, media releases, speeches and policy backgrounders.”

Mr Darling also quoted New Zealand Institute of Economic Research chairman Michael Walls who, in awarding Mr Kerr the 2001 NZEIR Qantas Economics Award, said: “No single individual has done more over the past 15 years to persuade important parts of the business sector to support economic policies which, though often contrary to the interests of individual firms, were in the interest of the country as a whole.”

That last sentence bears repeating: “No single individual has done more over the past 15 years to persuade important parts of the business sector to support economic policies which, though often contrary to the interests of individual firms, were in the interest of the country as a whole.”

People who promote economic liberalisation and personal responsibility are often criticised for being selfish. But it’s protection which helps individual businesses at the expense of other businesses, consuemrs and the country.

 Former Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, was the only other award recipient.


July 26 in history

July 26, 2011

657  Battle of Siffin.

811  Battle of Pliska; Byzantine emperor Nicephorus I was slain, his heir Stauracius was seriously wounded.

Solidus-Nicephorus I and Staraucius-sb1604.jpg

920 Rout of an alliance of Christian troops from Navarre and Léon against the Muslims at Pamplona.

1309  Henry VII was recognized King of the Romans by Pope Clement V.

1469  Wars of the Roses: Battle of Edgecote Moor – Pitting the forces of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick against those of King Edward IV.

Roses-Lancaster victory.svg

1581 Plakkaat van Verlatinghe (Act of Abjuration). The declaration of independence of the northern Low Countries from the Spanish king, Philip II.

1745  The first recorded women’s cricket match took place near Guildford,.

1758  French and Indian War: Siege of Louisbourg ened with British forces defeating the French and taking control of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Map of Louisbourg 1758.png

1803 The Surrey Iron Railway, arguably the world’s first public railway, opened in south London.

Iron railway plaque.jpg

1822  José de San Martín arrived in Guayaquil, Ecuador, to meet Simón Bolívar.

1847 Liberia declared independence.

1856 George Bernard Shaw, Irish writer, Nobel Laureate, was born (d. 1950).

1861 American Civil War: George B. McClellan assumed command of the Army of the Potomac following a disastrous Union defeat at the First Battle of Bull Run.

1863 American Civil War: Morgan’s Raid ended –  Confederate cavalry leader John Hunt Morgan and 360 of his volunteers were captured by Union forces.

Morganmap.jpg

1865 New Zealand’s parliament moved from Auckland to Wellington.

Parliament moves to Wellington

1875  Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist, was born  (d. 1961).

1878 Poet and American West outlaw calling himself “Black Bart” made his last clean getaway when he stole a safe box from a Wells Fargo stagecoach. The empty box was found later with a taunting poem inside.

1882 Premiere of Richard Wagner‘s Parsifal at Bayreuth.

1882 The Republic of Stellaland was founded in Southern Africa.

1887 Publication of the Unua Libro, founding the Esperanto movement.

1890 In Buenos Aires, the Revolución del Parque forced President Juárez Celman’s resignation.

1891  France annexed Tahiti.

1894 Aldous Huxley, English-born author, was born (d. 1963).

Blurry monochrome head-and-shoulders portrait of Aldous Huxley, facing viewer's right, chin a couple of inches above hand

1895 Jane Bunford, Britain’s tallest-ever person, was born (d. 1922).

1897  Paul Gallico, American author, was born  (d. 1976).

1908  United States Attorney General Charles Joseph Bonaparte issued an order to immediately staff the Office of the Chief Examiner (later renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation).

1909 – Vivian Vance, American actress, was born (d. 1979).

1922 Blake Edwards, American film director, was born.

1928  Gisborne-born Tom Heeney took on Gene Tunney for the world heavyweight title in front of 46,000 spectators at Yankee Stadium, New York. Although he was defeated, his title bid aroused tremendous interest in both New Zealand and the US.

Kiwi boxer fights for world heavyweight title

1928 Stanley Kubrick, American film director, was born (d. 1999).

1936 Mary Millar, English actress, was born(d. 1998).


.

1936  The Axis Powers decided to intervene in the Spanish Civil War.

1936  King Edward VIII, in one of his few official duties before he abdicated the throne, officially unveiled the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.

A memorial ceremony. Thousands of people are surround the monument on all sides. A crowd of people are also standing on the main platform of the memorial.

1937  End of the Battle of Brunete in the Spanish Civil War.

Battle of Brunete.png

1939 John Howard, 25th Prime Minister of Australia, was born.

1941 In response to the Japanese occupation of French Indo-China, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the seizure of all Japanese assets in the United States.

1943 Mick Jagger, English singer (The Rolling Stones), was born.

1944  World War II: Soviet army entered Lviv,  liberating it from the Nazis. Only 300 Jewish survivors left, out of 160,000 prior to Nazi occupation.

1944 – The first German V-2 rocket hit Great Britain.

1945 Helen Mirren, English actress, was born.

1945  The Labour Party won the United Kingdom general election of July 5 by a landslide, removing Winston Churchill from power.

Attlee BW cropped.jpg Churchill portrait NYP 45063.jpg Archibaldsinclair.jpg
Clement Attlee Winston Churchill Archibald Sinclair

1945  The Potsdam Declaration was signed.

1945 The US Navy cruiser Indianapolis arrived at Tinian with the warhead for the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

1946 Aloha Airlines began service from Honolulu International Airport.

1947  Cold War: U.S. President Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act into law creating the Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the National Security Council.

1948  U.S. President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981 desegregating the military of the United States.

1949 Roger Taylor, English musician (Queen), was born.

1950 Susan George, English actress, was born.

1952 King Farouk of Egypt abdicated in favor of his son Fuad.

Profile portrait of a young man facing left. He is wearing a tarboosh over his head and is dressed in military uniform. He is holding a sword and gloves in his left hand.

1953 Fidel Castro led an unsuccessful attack on the Moncada Barracks beginning the Cuban Revolution.

1953  Arizona Governor John Howard Pyle ordered an anti-polygamy law enforcement crackdown on residents of Short Creek – the Short Creek Raid.

1956  Following the World Bank’s refusal to fund building the Aswan High Dam, Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalised the Suez Canal sparking international condemnation.

1957  Carlos Castillo Armas, dictator of Guatemala, was assassinated.

1958 Explorer 4 was launched.

 
Explorer4 instruments.png

1959 Kevin Spacey, American actor, was born.

1963  Syncom 2, the world’s first geosynchronous satellite, was launched from Cape Canaveral on a Delta B booster.

1963 – Earthquake in Skopje, Macedonia left 1100 dead

1964 Sandra Bullock, American actress, was born.

1965  Full independence was granted to the Maldives.

1966  Lord Gardiner issued the Practice Statement in the House of Lords stating that the House was not bound to follow its own previous precedent.

1968 Vietnam War: South Vietnamese opposition leader Truong Dinh Dzu was sentenced to five years hard labour for advocating the formation of a coalition government as a way to move toward an end to the war.

1971   Apollo 15 launched.

Apollo 15-insignia.png

1973 Kate Beckinsale, British actress, was born.

1974  Greek Prime Minister Konstantinos Karamanlis formed the country’s first civil government after seven years of military rule.

1975 Formation of a military triumvirate in Portugal.

1977 The National Assembly of Quebec imposed the use of French as the official language of the provincial government.

1989 A federal grand jury indicted Cornell University student Robert T. Morris, Jr. for releasing the Morris worm, the first person to be prosecuted under the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

1994 Russian President Boris Yeltsin ordered the removal of Russian troops from Estonia.

1999 Cessation of combat activities after the Kargil War; celebrated as Kargil Vijay Diwas in India.

2005   STS-114 Mission – Launch of Discovery, NASA’s first scheduled flight mission after the Columbia Disaster in 2003.

2005  Mumbai received 99.5cm of rain (39.17 inches) within 24 hours, bringing the city to a halt for over 2 days.

2005  Samir Geagea, the Lebanese Forces (LF) leader, was released after spending 11 years in a solitary confinement.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


July 26 in history

July 26, 2010

On July 26:

657  Battle of Siffin.

811  Battle of Pliska; Byzantine emperor Nicephorus I was slain, his heir Stauracius was seriously wounded.

 
Solidus-Nicephorus I and Staraucius-sb1604.jpg

920 Rout of an alliance of Christian troops from Navarre and Léon against the Muslims at Pamplona.

1309  Henry VII was recognized King of the Romans by Pope Clement V.

1469  Wars of the Roses: Battle of Edgecote Moor – Pitting the forces of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick against those of King Edward IV.

Roses-Lancaster victory.svg

1581 Plakkaat van Verlatinghe (Act of Abjuration). The declaration of independence of the northern Low Countries from the Spanish king, Philip II.

 

1745  The first recorded women’s cricket match took place near Guildford,.

1758  French and Indian War: Siege of Louisbourg ened with British forces defeating the French and taking control of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Map of Louisbourg 1758.png

1803 The Surrey Iron Railway, arguably the world’s first public railway, opened in south London.

 
Iron railway plaque.jpg

1822  José de San Martín arrived in Guayaquil, Ecuador, to meet Simón Bolívar.

 
 

1847 Liberia declared independence.

1856 George Bernard Shaw, Irish writer, Nobel Laureate, was born (d. 1950).

1861 American Civil War: George B. McClellan assumed command of the Army of the Potomac following a disastrous Union defeat at the First Battle of Bull Run.

 

1863 American Civil War: Morgan’s Raid ended –  Confederate cavalry leader John Hunt Morgan and 360 of his volunteers were captured by Union forces.

Morganmap.jpg

1865 New Zealand’s parliament moved from Auckland to Wellington.

 Parliament moves to Wellington

1875  Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist, was born  (d. 1961).

 

1878 Poet and American West outlaw calling himself “Black Bart” made his last clean getaway when he stole a safe box from a Wells Fargo stagecoach. The empty box was found later with a taunting poem inside.

 

1882 Premiere of Richard Wagner‘s Parsifal at Bayreuth.

 

1882 The Republic of Stellaland was founded in Southern Africa.

1887 Publication of the Unua Libro, founding the Esperanto movement.

 

1890 In Buenos Aires, the Revolución del Parque forced President Juárez Celman’s resignation.

 

1891  France annexed Tahiti.

1894 Aldous Huxley, English-born author, was born (d. 1963).

Blurry monochrome head-and-shoulders portrait of Aldous Huxley, facing viewer's right, chin a couple of inches above hand

1895 Jane Bunford, Britain’s tallest-ever person, was born (d. 1922).

1897  Paul Gallico, American author, was born  (d. 1976).

 

1908  United States Attorney General Charles Joseph Bonaparte issued an order to immediately staff the Office of the Chief Examiner (later renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation).

 

1909 – Vivian Vance, American actress, was born (d. 1979).

 

1922 Blake Edwards, American film director, was born.

 

1928  Gisborne-born Tom Heeney took on Gene Tunney for the world heavyweight title in front of 46,000 spectators at Yankee Stadium, New York. Although he was defeated, his title bid aroused tremendous interest in both New Zealand and the US.

Kiwi boxer fights for world heavyweight title

1928 Stanley Kubrick, American film director, was born (d. 1999).

1936 Mary Millar, English actress, was born(d. 1998).

 

.

1936  The Axis Powers decided to intervene in the Spanish Civil War.

1936  King Edward VIII, in one of his few official duties before he abdicated the throne, officially unveiled the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.

A memorial ceremony. Thousands of people are surround the monument on all sides. A crowd of people are also standing on the main platform of the memorial. 

1937  End of the Battle of Brunete in the Spanish Civil War.

Battle of Brunete.png

1939 John Howard, 25th Prime Minister of Australia, was born.

 

1941 In response to the Japanese occupation of French Indo-China, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the seizure of all Japanese assets in the United States.

1943 Mick Jagger, English singer (The Rolling Stones), was born.

1944  World War II: Soviet army entered Lviv,  liberating it from the Nazis. Only 300 Jewish survivors left, out of 160,000 prior to Nazi occupation.

1944 – The first German V-2 rocket hit Great Britain.

 

1945 Helen Mirren, English actress, was born.

1945  The Labour Party won the United Kingdom general election of July 5 by a landslide, removing Winston Churchill from power.

     
  Attlee BW cropped.jpg Churchill portrait NYP 45063.jpg Archibaldsinclair.jpg
  Clement Attlee Winston Churchill Archibald Sinclair

1945  The Potsdam Declaration was signed.

1945 The US Navy cruiser Indianapolis arrived at Tinian with the warhead for the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

1946 Aloha Airlines began service from Honolulu International Airport.

 

1947  Cold War: U.S. President Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act into law creating the Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the National Security Council.

1948  U.S. President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981 desegregating the military of the United States.

 

1949 Roger Taylor, English musician (Queen), was born.

1950 Susan George, English actress, was born.

1952 King Farouk of Egypt abdicated in favor of his son Fuad.

Profile portrait of a young man facing left. He is wearing a tarboosh over his head and is dressed in military uniform. He is holding a sword and gloves in his left hand.

1953 Fidel Castro led an unsuccessful attack on the Moncada Barracks beginning the Cuban Revolution.

1953  Arizona Governor John Howard Pyle ordered an anti-polygamy law enforcement crackdown on residents of Short Creek – the Short Creek Raid.

1956  Following the World Bank’s refusal to fund building the Aswan High Dam, Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalised the Suez Canal sparking international condemnation.

1957  Carlos Castillo Armas, dictator of Guatemala, was assassinated.

1958 Explorer 4 was launched.

Explorer4 instruments.png

1959 Kevin Spacey, American actor, was born.

 

1963  Syncom 2, the world’s first geosynchronous satellite, was launched from Cape Canaveral on a Delta B booster.

 

1963 – Earthquake in Skopje, Macedonia left 1100 dead

1964 Sandra Bullock, American actress, was born.

1965  Full independence was granted to the Maldives.

   

1966  Lord Gardiner issued the Practice Statement in the House of Lords stating that the House was not bound to follow its own previous precedent.

1968 Vietnam War: South Vietnamese opposition leader Truong Dinh Dzu was sentenced to five years hard labour for advocating the formation of a coalition government as a way to move toward an end to the war.

1971   Apollo 15 launched.

 
Apollo 15-insignia.png

1973 Kate Beckinsale, British actress, was born.

1974  Greek Prime Minister Konstantinos Karamanlis formed the country’s first civil government after seven years of military rule.

 

1975 Formation of a military triumvirate in Portugal.

1977 The National Assembly of Quebec imposed the use of French as the official language of the provincial government.

1989 A federal grand jury indicted Cornell University student Robert T. Morris, Jr. for releasing the Morris worm, the first person to be prosecuted under the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

 

1994 Russian President Boris Yeltsin ordered the removal of Russian troops from Estonia.

1999 Cessation of combat activities after the Kargil War; celebrated as Kargil Vijay Diwas in India.
 

2005   STS-114 Mission – Launch of Discovery, NASA’s first scheduled flight mission after the Columbia Disaster in 2003.

 

2005  Mumbai received 99.5cm of rain (39.17 inches) within 24 hours, bringing the city to a halt for over 2 days.

 

2005  Samir Geagea, the Lebanese Forces (LF) leader, was released after spending 11 years in a solitary confinement.

 

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Is politics and parenting an impossible dream?

June 25, 2010

Australia’s new Prime Minister Julia Gillard said * she made a choice to go into politics rather than be a parent. 

She was once reported as saying a mother would never be Prime Minister but she says she was misquoted

“It is not what I said, not what I meant and not what I believe,” Gillard responds fervently, adding: “I look forward to a time when a mother is Prime Minister in this country.” 

For some time, when speaking publicly about the pressures in women’s lives, Gillard has rhetorically asked the question, “Could John Howard or Peter Costello have had quite the same careers if they were women?” The question is intended to be a humorous way of getting her audience thinking. 

The point she is making, she explains, is that it is easy for some men to look at women’s choices and offer a critical view without thinking for themselves what they would have done if faced with exactly the same choices. 

“I was trying to say we need to be talking about the pressures for women,” she continues. “Not just for politicians, but for women right across the nation who live the juggle of trying to put work and family together.” 

Gillard describes the stress she sees in the life of her friend Kirsten Livermore, the Federal Member for Capricornia. Livermore is the mother of two young children and her huge electorate is based in Rockhampton in North Queensland. She regularly brings her children to Canberra, but even with her husband’s support, Gillard says, “It’s unbelievably tough to work in a highly pressurised workplace and deal with family issues at the same time.” 

It appears to be even tougher for some people than others and more of those people happen to be women. 

Does that mean politics and parenting are mutually exclusive, or at least a lot harder  for women? 

Many men manage to combine the two roles but a lot fewer women do. 

That may be because fewer women who want to be mothers also want to enter politics; or that more women who enter politics don’t want to be mothers. 

But I suspect it is also because, in spite of the gains made in gender equality, women still find it harder than men to manage demanding careers and parenthood, and politics is a particularly demanding career. 

Jenny Shipley combined motherhood and politics, but her children were at secondary school by the time she reached cabinet and young adults when she was Prime Minister. 

Helen Clark chose not to have a family. 

Ruth Richardson had a young family but in her autobiography wrote of how difficult it was to juggle pregnancy, babies and politics. 

Katherine Rich often spoke of how family-unfriendly parliament and politics were and she decided to retire at the end of the last parliamentary term because she wanted to spend more time with her family

Lots of sitting MPs, here and in other countries, are parents; some of them are women. But fewer women than men reach the upper rungs of the political ladder. 

There will be lots of reasons for that, among which is that some – like some men –  may not have the desire or ability. 

But some don’t aim for the top because they put their families first, some do by choosing not to have children, few manage both parenting and the political heights. 

The Australian says Julia Gillard’s ascension fulfils feminist dream

But at least for now it appears that the feminist dream requires women to choose between politics and parenting and that  combining politics and parenting is still an impossible dream for most women. 

* Sky TV last night, not online.


July 26 in history

July 26, 2009

On July 26:

1856 George bernard Shaw was born.

 

1865 the New Zealand Parliament moved from Auckland to Wellington.

1939 former Australian Prime Minister John Howard was born.

 
John Howard

1965 The Maldives gained full independence.

 
Flag Coat of arms

 

Sourced from Wikipedia & NZ History online.


Style vs Substance

June 25, 2008

If it wasn’t for the gender of the Prime Minister  this could be about New Zealand:

To a visitor from outer space, it would be hard to distinguish the job description of prime minister today from that of a talk show or game show host. The PM is a regular fixture on radio and television, where no topic is too small for him to discuss. He offers cash prizes to listeners and he sweats on the weekly ratings.

Sounds very familiar.

The lines between celebrity and politics blurred some time ago. Our leaders are more needy because their handlers have convinced them that if they miss a single news bulletin the public will soon forget them. But voters can just as easily project wisdom on to politicians who are silent as those who blather sweet platitudes about Australian values and the noble struggle of the working family.

This too could be about politics on this side of the Tasman.

Although it is tempting to see Rudd as merely the sum of his past lives as a Queensland bureaucrat and diplomat to China, his approach to federal office is, in a way, no different from Howard’s.

“The moment you start campaigning for the next election is today,” Howard told his partyroom at the first meeting after the Coalition’s 2004 election win.  I’m a great believer in perpetual campaigning.”

And this explains one of the problems with the many unexplaiend consequences of the Electoral Finance Act: it’s impossible to separate the role of an MP from campaigning because under the Act’s very broad definition so much of what an MP does could also be deemed to be campaigning.

This happens to be a worldwide trend. Tony Blair noted last June, just after leaving office, that a large part of his time as a British prime minister was spent “coping with the media, its sheer scale, weight and constant hyperactivity”. Blair measured the compression of the news cycle by the number of topics he ran a day: “When I fought the 1997 election we took an issue a day. In 2005, we had to have one for the morning, another for the afternoon and by the evening that agenda had already moved on.”

Thankfully, the Australian market is still small enough to keep Rudd to three issues a week rather than three a day.

It was not always thus. Remember when sit-down press conferences took precedence over the door stop and parliament was the place to announce big policies? The last government to practise politics the old-fashioned way was the Hawke-Keating regime between 1983 and 1996. To be fair, Howard’s administration began as Paul Keating’s ended, with a sense that the public was intelligent enough to handle a detailed policy debate over months and years, not hours and days.

The GST was Australia’s last old-school reform. Howard needed four years, from 1997 to 2001, to discuss, draft, amend and bed down the new tax system.

When was the last time the electorate was treated intelligently with prolonged discussion, drafting, amending and bedding down of policy here?

Under Rudd, Labor operates on the delusion that the electorate can absorb two or three earth-shattering announcements a week. Darting from topic to topic, like a shock jock or newspaper columnist, is why Howard lost the plot in his final year in office.

Has Rudd forgotten Howard’s increasingly hysterical public conversation of 2007: the Murray-Darling takeover, tax cuts, the Northern Territory intervention, a federal rescue of one hospital in a marginal seat in Tasmania and more tax cuts?

What really binds Nelson and Rudd is their mistaken belief in the 24/7 media cycle as an end in itself. The reason Blair and Bill Clinton have such dismal legacies in the deeper ponds of British and US politics is that they wasted too much time thinking of the next line instead of honing policy.

This is not a curse of either the Left or the Right. US Republican President George W. Bush followed the Democrat Clinton by devoting more time to crafting the headline for invading Iraq – weapons of mass destruction – than worrying about securing the peace afterwards.

The media has reduced politicians into thinking by the minute.

Or is it that politicians only think by the minute and so that’s all that’s left to report?

Think about the issues on which Rudd hopes to build a new reform consensus, from climate change to the Federation to the tax, welfare and retirement incomes systems. Rudd can’t win any of these debates by press release alone. He has to patiently explain himself again and again, one big idea at a time.

Patiently, explaining one big idea at a time? Could any of our politicians try that here – and if they did, would we do them the courtesy of listening to them and really thinking about what they were saying? Because if didn’t we would indeed get the politicians we deserve.


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