May 13 in history

May 13, 2017

1373  Julian of Norwich had visions which were later transcribed in her Revelations.

1497 Pope Alexander VI excommunicated Girolamo Savonarola.

1515 Mary Tudor, Queen of France and Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk were officially married at Greenwich.

1568 Battle of Langside: the forces of Mary, Queen of Scots, were defeated by a confederacy of Scottish Protestants under James Stewart, Earl of Moray, her half-brother.

1619 Dutch statesman Johan van Oldenbarnevelt was executed in The Hague after being convicted of treason.

1648  Construction of the Red Fort at Delhi was completed.

1730  Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born (d. 1782).

1779 War of Bavarian Succession: Russian and French mediators at theCongress of Teschen negotiated an end to the war.

1780  Cumberland Compact signed by leaders of the settlers in early Tennessee.

1787 Captain Arthur Phillip left Portsmouth with eleven ships full of convicts (First Fleet) to establish a penal colony in Australia.

1804 Forces sent by Yusuf Karamanli of Tripoli to retake Derne from the Americans attacked the city.

1830 Ecuador gained its independence from Gran Colombia.

1842 Arthur Sullivan, English composer, was born(d. 1900).

1846 – Mexican-American War: The United States declared war on Mexico.

1848  First performance of Finland’s national anthem.

1861 –  American Civil War: Queen Victoria issued a “proclamation of neutrality” which recognised the breakaway states as having belligerent rights.

1861 – The Great Comet of 1861 was discovered by John Tebbutt of Windsor, New South Wales.

1864 – American Civil War: Battle of Resaca began with Union General Sherman fighting toward Atlanta, Georgia.

1865 American Civil War: Battle of Palmito Ranch – in far south Texas, more than a month after Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s surrender, the last land battle of the Civil War ended with a Confederate victory.

1880 Thomas Edison performed the first test of his electric railway.

1883 Georgios Papanikolaou, Greek doctor, inventor of the Pap smear, was born (d. 1962).

1888 With the passage of the Lei Áurea (“Golden Law”), Brazil abolished slavery.

1907  Dame Daphne du Maurier, English author, was born (d. 1989).

1909 The first Giro d’Italia took place in Milan. Italian cyclist Luigi Gannawas the winner.

1912 The Royal Flying Corps (now the Royal Air Force) was established in the United Kingdom.

1913 Igor Sikorsky became the first man to pilot a four-engine aircraft.

1917 Three children reported the first apparition of the Virgin Mary in Fátima, Portugal.

1922 Beatrice Arthur, American actress, was born (d. 2009).

1936 NZ National Party was formed.

New Zealand National Party logo.svg

1937 Trevor Baylis, English inventor (wind up radio) was born.

1939 The first commercial FM radio station in the United States was launched in Bloomfield, Connecticut – it later became WDRC-FM.

1940 Bruce Chatwin, British writer, was born (d. 1989).

1940 World War II: Germany’s conquest of France started as the German army crossed the Meuse River. Winston Churchill made his “blood, toil, tears, and sweat” speech to the House of Commons.

1940  Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands fled the Nazi invasion in the Netherlands to Great Britain. Princess Juliana took her children to Canada.

1941 World War II: Yugoslav royal colonel Dragoljub Mihailović started fighting with German occupation troops, beginning the Serbian resistance.

1943 World War II: German Afrika Korps and Italian troops in North Africa surrendered to Allied forces.

1947 Francis Hodgkins, the first New Zealand artist to exhibit at the Royal Academy of Arts, died.

Death of Frances Hodgkins

1947 – Mabel Howard became New Zealand’s, and the Commonwealth’s,  first female Cabinet Minister.

1948 Arab-Israeli War: the Kfar Etzion massacre was committed by Arab irregulars.

1950 Danny Kirwan, British musician (Fleetwood Mac), was born.

1950 Stevie Wonder, American singer and musician, was born.

1950 The first round of the Formula One World Championship was held atSilverstone.

1952 The Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament of India, held its first sitting.

1954 Johnny Logan, Irish singer and songwriter, was born.

1954 Anti-National Service Riots, by Chinese Middle School students in Singapore.

1958  During a visit to Caracas, Vice President Richard Nixon‘s car was attacked by anti-American demonstrators.

1958 The trade mark Velcro was registered.

1958 – May 1958 crisis: a group of French military officers lead a coup in Algiers, demanding that a government of national unity be formed with Charles de Gaulle at its head in order to defend French control of Algeria.

1960  Hundreds of UC Berkeley students congregated for the first day of protest against a visit by the House Un-American Activities Committee. Thirty-one students were arrested, and the Free Speech Movement was born.

1967 Dr. Zakir Hussain became the third President of India – the first Muslim President of Indian Union.

1969  Race riots in Kuala Lumpur.

1972  Faulty electrical wiring ignited a fire underneath the Playtown Cabaret in Osaka, Japan. Blocked exits and non-functional elevators cause 118 fatalities, with many victims leaping to their deaths.

1972 – The Troubles: a car bombing outside a crowded pub in Belfast sparked a two-day gun battle involving the Provisional IRA, Ulster Volunteer Force and British Army. Seven people were killed and over 66 injured.

1980  An F3 tornado hit Kalamazoo County, Michigan.

1981  Mehmet Ali Ağca attempted to assassinate Pope John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square in Rome.

1985 Police stormed MOVE headquarters in Philadelphia to end a stand-off, killing 11 MOVE members and destroying the homes of 250 city residents.

1986 Alexander Rybak, Norwegian Eurovision Song Contest winner, was born.

1989 Large groups of students occupied Tiananmen Square and begin a hunger strike.

1992 Li Hongzhi gave the first public lecture on Falun Gong in Changchun, China.

1994 Johnny Carson made his last television appearance on Late Show with David Letterman.

1995 – New Zealand won the Americas Cup for the first time.
NZ wins the America's Cup for the first time

1996 Severe thunderstorms and a tornado in Bangladesh killed 600 people.

1998  Race riots break out in Jakarta,  shops owned by Indonesians of Chinese descent were looted and women raped.

1998 – India carried out two nuclear tests at Pokhran.

2000 In Enschede, the Netherlands, a fireworks factory exploded, killing 22 people, wounding 950, and resulting in approximately €450 million in damage.

2005 The Andijan Massacre in Uzbekistan.

2006 A major rebellion occurs in several prisons in Brazil.

2007 – Construction of the Calafat-Vidin Bridge between Romania and Bulgaria started.

2011 –  2011 Charsadda bombing: in the Charsadda District of Pakistan, two bombs exploded, resulting in 98 deaths 140 wounded.

2014 – An explosion at an underground coal mine in south-western Turkey killed 301 miners.

2014 – Major floods in Southeast Europe killed at least 47 people.

2015 – An industrial fire in Valenzuela, Philippines killed 72 people.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Election Sept 23

February 1, 2017

Prime Minister Bill English has announced that the general election will be held on September 23rd.

He’s following the example of his predecessor John Key who announced the date early.

This gives certainty for everyone about when the regulated period before election day starts, makes it easier for the people who administer the process and takes the politics out of setting the date.

September 23rd is the first day of school holidays but with the freedom for anyone to vote early that shouldn’t be a problem.

Image may contain: 1 person, suit and text

He also spoke of which parties National could work with in the next term should it be in a position to lead a fourth government:

“Under MMP elections are always close so we will be taking nothing for granted as we campaign for the right to lead New Zealand for another term,” says Mr English.

“We will be fighting hard to win every party vote to ensure we are in the best possible position to form a strong and stable Government that continues to deliver for all New Zealanders.

“However, MMP means we will almost certainly have to work with other parties.  This will likely be in the form of confidence and supply agreements, which have worked well for us in the last three terms.”

Mr English said his preference is to continue working with current partners –  ACT, United Future and the Māori Party.

“Together our parties have provided a stable and successful government at a time of great uncertainty in many parts of the world,” says Mr English.

Mr English ruled out working with the Labour-Greens grouping. 

“They are an increasingly far left, inward looking grouping, with no new ideas who don’t back New Zealanders to succeed.

“New Zealand First is an unlikely partner, however I am prepared to have discussions with them post-election depending on the makeup of Parliament,” says Mr English. 

 


Opposition hasn’t changed

December 6, 2016

The left is excited over Prime Minister John Key’s decision to step-down.

They see an opportunity because the popular man leading the popular government won’t be in the limelight anymore.

But nothing has changed in the Opposition.

MMP drags governments to the centre and Labour has been dragged left by the Green Party, leaving those disaffected by that but not keen on National to go to New Zealand First.

Opposition parties might get a bit of a lift in polls while people wait to see what the new leader does but they haven’t given any but polls consistently show support changing within the left not growing by taking votes from the centre.

The opposition hasn’t been giving swinging voters anything to vote for and a change in National leadership won’t change that.

National has been cohesive and united under its current leader and the caucus knows that if it wants to win the next election it must maintain the same cohesion and loyalty under the new one.

A change in leadership will provide an opportunity for further refreshment in cabinet but it won’t bring a radical change in direction or change the focus on strong economic management which is needed to fund much-needed infrastructure and social policy that works.

 

 


John Key to resign as PM

December 5, 2016

John Key has announced he’s resigning as Prime Minister and National Party leader:

A special caucus meeting will be called on 12 December, when a new leader will be decided upon.

He said it had been a privilege to serve the people of Helensville, and he will stay in Parliament long enough to avoid a by-election.

Mr Key made the announcement at Parliament today.

He told his Cabinet and caucus colleagues this morning that he did not intend to stay on for a fourth term as leader, he said.

“To me, this feels like the right time to go.”

The timing would give caucus and the new leader time to settle in prior to next year’s general election, he said.

It was “the hardest decision I’ve ever made,” he said. . . 

My first reaction was disbelief then sadness.

John Key took on the party’s leadership as it was on the way up in popularity and built on that.

He led the party to three election victories and has been at the head of a government which has maintained unprecedented levels of popularity.

I first met him when I was National’s Otago Electorate chair and was very impressed with him.

What I saw then, the intelligence, approachability, and both interest in and concern for people,  have been signatures of his leadership of the party and the country.

When he became Prime Minister New Zealand was facing a decade of deficits. He and his team, not least of all his deputy and Finance Minister, Bill English, have turned that round and projections now show growing surpluses.

He has led a strong united caucus and party. The mutual respect between the parliamentary and voluntary wings and party staff is unquestioned. That won’ change under a new leader.

The commentariat and opposition will be delighted and think this will help change the government next year.

But the party’s strength and unity will continue under the new leader as will its compassionate conservatism and policies which work for all New Zealanders.

My initial reaction was sadness. I still feel that, but I am also optimistic about the party and the government, and the new leader, whichever of the several able candidates that will be.

Update:

The PM’s resignation speech:

Just a few days ago I marked the anniversary of my eighth year as Prime Minister and my tenth as leader of the National Party.

Such an occasion seems a fitting time to not only take stock of the past 10 years, but to look forward.

Being leader of both the party and the country has been an incredible experience.

Along with my Cabinet and caucus colleagues, we steered the country through the global financial crisis which was arguably the worst recession since the Great Depression.

We have stood with Christchurch in the wake of the earthquakes – the greatest natural disaster to hit our country since 1931, and we have mourned the victims of the Pike River Mine disaster; one of the saddest days our small nation has endured in recent times.

During my time as Prime Minister the Government has positioned New Zealand so that our economy could harness the opportunities offered by a burgeoning Asia and a more connected world.

Reforms have been far reaching, including substantial changes to our tax, welfare, planning and labour laws, not to mention the successful partial sell-down of state companies, the considerable overhaul of our Justice, Security and Corrections agencies and, of course, trade liberalisation.

Ten years since I first became leader of the National Party, I believe we can look back on advanced race relations and real momentum in the Treaty settlement programme.

We also have a more confident, outward-looking and multi-cultural New Zealand that competes and succeeds on the world stage.

Throughout these years I have given everything I could to this job that I cherish, and this country that I love. All of this has come at quite some sacrifice for the people who are dearest to me – my family.

For my wife Bronagh, there have been many nights and weekends spent alone, many occasions that were important to her that I simply could not attend.

My daughter Stephie and my son Max have transitioned from teenagers to young adults while coping with an extraordinary level of intrusion and pressure because of their father’s job.

I thank them for their tolerance. Bronagh and I are immensely proud of them.
My family has also had remarkable opportunities and experiences as we have met people and visited places from one end of our country to the other.

We have celebrated alongside fellow Kiwis in their happiest times, and wept with them in their saddest.

Simply put, it has, for me, been the most remarkable, satisfying and exciting time of my life.

But despite the amazing career I have had in politics, I have never seen myself as a career politician. I have certainly never wanted my success in politics to be measured by how long I spent in Parliament.

The National Party is in great shape. Bill English has told me that in all his years here, ours is the most cohesive Cabinet he has seen. And I personally am humbled and gratified that after eight years as Prime Minister, my personal support from the public remains high.

I absolutely believe we can win the next election.

But I do not believe that, if you asked me if I was committed to serving out a fourth term, that I could look the public in the eye and say yes.

And more than anything else in my time here, I have tried to be straight and true with New Zealanders.

I also believe that leadership change, for the right reasons and handled well, is good for a political party.

For all these reasons, I today told my Cabinet and caucus colleagues of my decision to step down as Leader of the National Party and as Prime Minister.

It is my expectation that on Monday 12 December National MPs will hold a special caucus meeting to select a new leader and later that day I will tender my resignation to the Governor-General.

This has been the hardest decision I have ever made and I do not know what I will do next.

But for me this feels the right time to go.

It gives the Cabinet and caucus plenty of time to settle in with a new leader before heading into the next election with a proud record of strong economic management, a commitment to the most vulnerable in our society and lots of ideas to keep lifting New Zealanders up in the world.

It would be easy to say I have made this decision solely to rediscover the personal and family life I once had, and that is a factor, but it is one among many.

Over the years I have observed many leaders who, in a similar position, fail to take this step.

I can understand why. It is a hard job to leave.

But, for me and the National Party, this is a good time to go. Party membership is high and the party is well-funded. The caucus is talented and eager to serve, and one of the achievements of which I am proud is having built with my colleagues a Cabinet team that is capable, committed and cohesive.

That is a great legacy for National’s next leader.

Just as I grasped the challenge of leadership so will a new leader.

Inevitably they will bring their own personality, emphasis and priorities to the role.

This is part of the process that allows a long-serving government to keep delivering.

For my part I am confident the caucus has a number of individuals who would make a fine future PM.

It is inevitable I will be asked who I will vote for at the caucus meeting on December 12.

Whoever the caucus elects will have my unwavering support, but if Bill English puts his name forward then I will vote for him.

For 10 years now Bill and I have worked as a team. I have witnessed first-hand his leadership style, his capacity for work, his grasp of the economy, his commitment to change and, most of all, his decency as a husband, as a father, as a friend, a colleague and as a politician.

Bill has, I believe, grown a great deal since he was last Party leader.
Fifteen years on he has more experience and the party and political cycles are quite different.

I believe that National, under Bill’s leadership, would win the election in 2017.
This is not the time to thank all of those who have made the past 10 years possible for me.

But nor can I stand here without acknowledging Bronagh, Stephie and Max who have sacrificed a lot for me to have been able to do what the job demands.

No person in this role can succeed without the support of an enormous number of talented and dedicated individuals.

I thank my deputy Bill English, the Cabinet and caucus for their loyalty and energy and, of course, my wonderful staff, so well led by Wayne Eagleson, who have done more than I ever could have hoped or expected.

I also wish to thank and acknowledge our support partners ACT, United Future and the Maori Party without whom the strong and stable Government we have delivered would not have been possible.

I have no doubt my successor will look to build upon these relationships.

Last but not least, I wish to put on record my everlasting gratitude to the people of Helensville for electing me, and to the New Zealand public for their support, faith and encouragement. It has been my privilege to serve you all.

I have always believed that the test of a good Prime Minister is that he or she leaves the country in better shape than they found it. Over time, others will judge whether I have done that.

All I can say is that I gave it everything I had.

I have left nothing in the tank.

Finally, while I intend to stay in Parliament long enough to avoid the cost and inconvenience a by-election would cause the good people of Helensville, I will at an appropriate time prior to the next election step down as an MP.

On that day, I shall walk from these buildings for the last time, a richer person for the experience and privilege of being here, and hoping and believing that New Zealand has been well served by the Government I led.

Thank you.

There’s a video of the speech on Facebook.

And his Deputy, Bill English’s response:

John Key’s intelligence, optimism and integrity as Leader of the National Party and Prime Minister of New Zealand means he will be judged by history as one of New Zealand’s greatest leaders, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English says.

“On behalf of the National Party, the Government and New Zealand I thank John for his years of dedicated and outstanding service to our country.

“Through good times and bad, his strong leadership has been steadfast and this is a more confident, successful and self-assured country because of his contribution. He has truly made a difference.

“I thank Bronagh, Stephie and Max for the sacrifice they’ve made to enable John to be an extremely successful and effective leader.  We are deeply appreciative.

“While the gap he leaves is huge we understand and respect his decision to step down from a job from which there is no respite.  We wish John and his family every success with their life out of the public eye.

“Under John Key’s leadership the Government has worked alongside New Zealanders to ensure our country is one of the most desirable places to live, work and raise a family in the world.”

The National Caucus will consider the implications of the Prime Minister’s decision and how to ensure New Zealand stays on course to continue building a strong economy, increasing opportunities for our families and businesses, rewarding enterprise and effort, while protecting the most vulnerable.

“It is a tribute to the Prime Minister’s outstanding leadership that he will leave behind a united team with plenty of talent to take New Zealand forward and build on his legacy,” Mr English says.


Following not making history

December 5, 2016

A strong candidate and well-ordered campaign weren’t enough to make history on Saturday.

A sitting government has never won a by-election in a seat held by the Opposition and Mt Roskill voters weren’t going to change that.

That National won the party vote in the general election two years ago was irrelevant. It’s a red seat and voting reflected that.

Labour’s Michael Wood, helped by the absence of Green and New Zealand First candidates, won the with 11,170 votes, well ahead of National’s Parmjeet Parmar who got 4,652. The counting of special votes isn’t going to make much difference.

The result brought a good end to a bad week for Labour with two polls giving them at best 28% support and at worst 23%.

But they shouldn’t get too excited.

Maurice McTigue won Timaru for National in the 1985 by-election but Labour increased its support in the 1987 election. More recently, the Labour candidate won Christchurch East in 2013 but National won the party vote in that seat a year later.

Roshan Nauhria, leader of the newly formed NZ People’s Party, got 709 votes on Saturday.

He too should learn from history which shows how difficult it is for a new party to win seats unless it has the advantage of a sitting MP who has changed allegiance.

 

 

 


Bribe-O-Meter relaunched

October 31, 2016

National has a lot to gain from winning the Mt Roskill by-election and Labour is already showing it knows it has a lot to lose:

The Mt Roskill by-election campaign has hardly started and Labour has already shown how desperately worried they are about losing it, National Party Campaign Chair Steven Joyce says. 

“Labour are hitting the panic button fairly early on,” Mr Joyce says. “Promising a $1.4 billion rail link between the electorate and the city looks very desperate.” 

“This is taking pork barrel politics to a whole new level. If this is the sticker price for a Labour party by-election campaign, all the other electorates across New Zealand will be asking for their $1.4 billion. To say nothing of every other electorate in Auckland looking for multi-billions in new railway lines.  And we’ve still got more than a month to go.”

Mr Joyce noted that the Labour party is promising Auckland ratepayers will pay for part of their by-election bribe. “I’m assuming the new Mayor of Auckland is okay with Andrew Little saying the city has got a lazy $700 million lying around at the same time Mr Goff is out there saying the Council is short of money.”

Mr Joyce says Labour would be better off promoting their candidate as a possible MP for Mt Roskill. “This is Mr Wood’s third attempt to become an MP. You think they would be putting in the effort making him look electable rather than highlighting how worried they are he’ll lose.

“The Mt Roskill by-election will be about who is the best person to represent the electorate in Parliament. 

“Parmjeet Parmar is already showing the people of Mt Roskill that she is a hardworking conscientious MP who will be a strong diligent voice for Mt Roskill in Wellington. All this announcement today underlines is that Labour are worried sick that the people of Mt Roskill will choose her over their candidate.”   

These comments show National has learned from mistakes made in the Northland by-election.

 

And it’s just as well because the Taxpayers’ Union is counting the cost of any promises made:

The Taxpayers’ Union is relaunching its election Bribe-O-Meter to keep track of politicians’ pork-barrel promises in the lead up to the Mt Roskill by-election. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:

“While the by-election is for a single Parliamentary seat, the cost of pork-barrel promises impact the pockets of all New Zealand taxpayers.”

“Labour has run roughshod over Auckland Council and the NZTA’s cost-benefit planning processes. Its pledge to spend $1.4 billion on light rail risks an expensive bidding war with the Government – with the cost landing on taxpayers.”

“The Bribe-O-Meter is to provide transparency and accountability for what those promises will cost.”

The Mt Roskill Bribe-O-Meter will be hosted online at www.taxpayers.org.nz.

In a by-election voters can, as they do with their electorate vote in a general election, choose the person they think will best represent them and pay less attention to parties.

The more Labour promises to spend, the more it will be showing it lacks confidence it its candidate.

 


Optional hypocrisy

September 29, 2016

The Green Party has announced it won’t be contesting the Mt Roskill by-election, should there be one.

Not wasting time and resources on a contest they can’t win isn’t stupid but it shows up both the Greens and Labour as hypocrites.

Both have been highly critical of National for not trying to win Epsom and Ohariu to help Act’s and United Future’s candidates.

The hypocrisy is particularly bad for Labour’s candidate who stood in Epsom at the last election.

The Opposition’s hypocrisy over ‘dirty deals’ is brazen, says ACT Leader David Seymour as the Green Party confirms that they won’t stand a candidate in Mt Roskill as part of an arrangement with Labour.

“Michael Wood’s campaign in Mt Roskill is set to be a brazen display of hypocrisy,” says Mr Seymour. “Two years ago he was bemoaning John Key’s endorsement of a vote for me in Epsom as a ‘dodgy deal’. Now look at him.

The Greens ought to be just as embarrassed, with Julie-Anne Genter having called John Key’s Epsom endorsement ‘undemocratic’. Clearly, this was nothing more than faux-outrage.

Strategic voting is a reality of MMP, but hypocrisy is optional. Labour and the Greens have shown how cheap their words are by participating in a deal that far eclipses the electoral arrangements they criticise every election.”

Labour and the Greens claimed the principled high ground in their criticism of what they called ‘dirty deals’.

Neither can claim to be so principled and both are guilty of making the wrong choice when faced with otional hypocrisy.


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