November 4 in history

04/11/2018

1333  The River Arno flooding caused massive damage in Florence.

1429   Joan of Arc liberated Saint-Pierre-le-Moûtier.

1576   Eighty Years’ War:  Spain captured Antwerp.

1677  The future Mary II of England married William, Prince of Orange.

1737   The Teatro di San Carlo was inaugurated.

1783   W.A. Mozart’s Symphony No. 36 was performed for the first time.

1791  The Western Confederacy of American Indians won a major victory over the United States in the Battle of the Wabash.

1825  The Erie Canal was completed with Governor DeWitt Clinton performing the Wedding of The Waters ceremony in New York Harbour.

1839   The Newport Rising: the last large-scale armed rebellion against authority in mainland Britain.

1852  Count Camillo Benso di Cavour became the prime minister of Piedmont-Sardinia.

1853 – Anna Bayerová, Czech physician, was born (d. 1924).

1861  The University of Washington opened in Seattle, Washington as the Territorial University.

1864  American Civil War: Battle of Johnsonville – Confederate troops bombarded a Union supply base and destroyed millions of dollars in material.

1879 – Will Rogers, American actor and screenwriter, was born (d. 1935).

1883 – Nikolaos Plastiras, Greek general and politician 135th Prime Minister of Greece, was born(d. 1953).

1884 – Harry Ferguson, Irish engineer, invented the tractor, was born(d. 1960).

1889  Menelek of Shoa obtained the allegiance of a large majority of the Ethiopian nobility, paving the way for him to be crowned emperor.

1890   London’s first deep-level tube railway opened between King William Street and Stockwell.

1896 – Carlos P. Garcia, Filipino lawyer and politician, 8th President of the Philippines was born(d. 1971).

1908 – Joseph Rotblat, Polish-English physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate was born (d. 2005).

1915 – Marguerite Patten, English home economist and author, was born (d. 2015).

1916  Ruth Handler, American businesswoman and inventor of the Barbie doll, was born (d. 2002).

1916 – Walter Cronkite, American journalist, voice actor, and producer, was born (d. 2009).

1918 – The New Zealand Division captured  Le Quesnoy.

New Zealand Division captures Le Quesnoy

1918  World War I: The Armistice of Villa Giusti between Italy and Austria-Hungary was implemented.

1918  The German Revolution began when 40,000 sailors took over the port in Kiel.

1921 The Sturmabteilung or SA was formed by Adolf Hitler.

1921   Japanese Prime Minister Hara Takashi was assassinated in Tokyo.

1921  The Italian unknown soldier was buried in the Altare della Patria (Fatherland Altar) in Rome.

1922 In Egypt, British archaeologist Howard Carter and his men found the entrance to Pharaoh Tutankhamun‘s tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

1924 Nellie Tayloe Ross of Wyoming was elected the first female governor in the United States.

1929  – Anastasios of Albania, Greek-Albanian archbishop, was born.

1930 Phar Lap won the Melbourne Cup.

Phar Lap wins the Melbourne Cup

1932 – Thomas Klestil, Austrian politician and diplomat, 10th President of Austria, was born (d. 2004).

1937  Loretta Swit, American actress, was born.

1939   World War II: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the United States Customs Service to implement the Neutrality Act of 1939, allowing cash-and-carry purchases of weapons by belligerents.

1942   Second Battle of El Alamein – Disobeying a direct order by Adolf Hitler, General Field Marshal Erwin Rommel led his forces on a five-month retreat.

1944  World War II: Bitola Liberation Day.

1946  – Laura Bush, American educator, 50th First Lady of the United States was born.

1948  – Alexis Hunter, New Zealand-English painter and photographer, was born (d. 2014).

Photo of Alexis Hunter by Charles Thomson.jpg

1948 – Amadou Toumani Touré, Malian soldier and politician, President of Mali, was born.

1950 Charles Frazier, American author, was born.

1952   The United States government established the National Security Agency.

1955   After being totally destroyed in World War II, the rebuilt Vienna State Opera reopened with a performance of Beethoven’s Fidelio.

1956 James Honeyman-Scott, English guitarist (The Pretenders), was born (d. 1982)

1956   Soviet troops entered Hungary to end the Hungarian revolutionagainst the Soviet Union.

1957 Tony Abbott, Australia politician, Liberal leader, was born.

1962   In a test of the Nike-Hercules air defense missile, Shot Dominic-Tightrope was successfully detonated 69,000 feet above Johnston Island – the last atmospheric nuclear test conducted by the United States.

1966  Two-thirds of Florence was submerged as the River Arno floodedwith the contemporaneous flood of the Po River which led to 113 deaths, 30,000 made homeless, and the destruction of numerous Renaissance artworks and books.

1970  Genie, a 13-year-old feral child was found in Los Angeles, California having been locked in her bedroom for most of her life.

1973   The Netherlands experienced the first Car Free Sunday caused by the 1973 oil crisis.

1979   Iran hostage crisis began: a group of Iranians, mostly students, invaded the US embassy in Tehran and took 90 hostages.

1993   China Airlines Flight 605, overran Runway 13 at Hong Kong’s Kai Tak International Airport while landing during a typhoon, injuring 22 people.

1994   First conference that focused exclusively on the subject of the commercial potential of the World Wide Web.

1995  Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by an extremist Orthodox Israeli.

2002  Chinese authorities arrested cyber-dissident He Depu for signing a pro-democracy letter to the 16th Communist Party Congress.

2008   Barack Obama became the first African-American to be elected President of the United States.

2008  Proposition 8 passed in California, representing the first elimination of an existing right to marry for LGBT couples.

2010  – Qantas Flight 32, an Airbus A380, suffered an uncontained engine failure over Indonesia shortly after taking off from Singapore, crippling the jet. The crew manage to safely return to Singapore, saving all 469 passengers and crew.

2011 – The Hellenic Parliament rejected a no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister of Greece George Papandreou following a failed attempt to hold a referendum on a Eurozone bailout.

2015  – A cargo plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Juba International Airport in Juba, South Sudan, killing 37 people.

2015 – A building collapsed in the Pakistani city of Lahore resulting in at least 45 deaths, at least 100 injured.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


November 4 in history

04/11/2017

1333  The River Arno flooding caused massive damage in Florence.

1429   Joan of Arc liberated Saint-Pierre-le-Moûtier.

1576   Eighty Years’ War:  Spain captured Antwerp.

1677  The future Mary II of England married William, Prince of Orange.

1737   The Teatro di San Carlo was inaugurated.

1783   W.A. Mozart’s Symphony No. 36 was performed for the first time.

1791  The Western Confederacy of American Indians won a major victory over the United States in the Battle of the Wabash.

1825  The Erie Canal was completed with Governor DeWitt Clinton performing the Wedding of The Waters ceremony in New York Harbour.

1839   The Newport Rising: the last large-scale armed rebellion against authority in mainland Britain.

1852  Count Camillo Benso di Cavour became the prime minister of Piedmont-Sardinia.

1853 – Anna Bayerová, Czech physician, was born (d. 1924).

1861  The University of Washington opened in Seattle, Washington as the Territorial University.

1864  American Civil War: Battle of Johnsonville – Confederate troops bombarded a Union supply base and destroyed millions of dollars in material.

1879 – Will Rogers, American actor and screenwriter, was born (d. 1935).

1883 – Nikolaos Plastiras, Greek general and politician 135th Prime Minister of Greece, was born(d. 1953).

1884 – Harry Ferguson, Irish engineer, invented the tractor, was born(d. 1960).

1889  Menelek of Shoa obtained the allegiance of a large majority of the Ethiopian nobility, paving the way for him to be crowned emperor.

1890   London’s first deep-level tube railway opened between King William Street and Stockwell.

1896 – Carlos P. Garcia, Filipino lawyer and politician, 8th President of the Philippines was born(d. 1971).

1908 – Joseph Rotblat, Polish-English physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate was born (d. 2005).

1915 – Marguerite Patten, English home economist and author, was born (d. 2015).

1916  Ruth Handler, American businesswoman and inventor of the Barbie doll, was born (d. 2002).

1916 – Walter Cronkite, American journalist, voice actor, and producer, was born (d. 2009).

1918 – The New Zealand Division captured  Le Quesnoy.

New Zealand Division captures Le Quesnoy

1918  World War I: The Armistice of Villa Giusti between Italy and Austria-Hungary was implemented.

1918  The German Revolution began when 40,000 sailors took over the port in Kiel.

1921 The Sturmabteilung or SA was formed by Adolf Hitler.

1921   Japanese Prime Minister Hara Takashi was assassinated in Tokyo.

1921  The Italian unknown soldier was buried in the Altare della Patria (Fatherland Altar) in Rome.

1922 In Egypt, British archaeologist Howard Carter and his men found the entrance to Pharaoh Tutankhamun‘s tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

1924 Nellie Tayloe Ross of Wyoming was elected the first female governor in the United States.

1929  – Anastasios of Albania, Greek-Albanian archbishop, was born.

1930 Phar Lap won the Melbourne Cup.

Phar Lap wins the Melbourne Cup

1932 – Thomas Klestil, Austrian politician and diplomat, 10th President of Austria, was born (d. 2004).

1937  Loretta Swit, American actress, was born.

1939   World War II: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the United States Customs Service to implement the Neutrality Act of 1939, allowing cash-and-carry purchases of weapons by belligerents.

1942   Second Battle of El Alamein – Disobeying a direct order by Adolf Hitler, General Field Marshal Erwin Rommel led his forces on a five-month retreat.

1944  World War II: Bitola Liberation Day.

1946  – Laura Bush, American educator, 50th First Lady of the United States was born.

1948  – Alexis Hunter, New Zealand-English painter and photographer, was born (d. 2014).

Photo of Alexis Hunter by Charles Thomson.jpg

1948 – Amadou Toumani Touré, Malian soldier and politician, President of Mali, was born.

1950 Charles Frazier, American author, was born.

1952   The United States government established the National Security Agency.

1955   After being totally destroyed in World War II, the rebuilt Vienna State Opera reopened with a performance of Beethoven’s Fidelio.

1956 James Honeyman-Scott, English guitarist (The Pretenders), was born (d. 1982)

1956   Soviet troops entered Hungary to end the Hungarian revolutionagainst the Soviet Union.

1957 Tony Abbott, Australia politician, Liberal leader, was born.

1962   In a test of the Nike-Hercules air defense missile, Shot Dominic-Tightrope was successfully detonated 69,000 feet above Johnston Island – the last atmospheric nuclear test conducted by the United States.

1966  Two-thirds of Florence was submerged as the River Arno floodedwith the contemporaneous flood of the Po River which led to 113 deaths, 30,000 made homeless, and the destruction of numerous Renaissance artworks and books.

1970  Genie, a 13-year-old feral child was found in Los Angeles, California having been locked in her bedroom for most of her life.

1973   The Netherlands experienced the first Car Free Sunday caused by the 1973 oil crisis.

1979   Iran hostage crisis began: a group of Iranians, mostly students, invaded the US embassy in Tehran and took 90 hostages.

1993   China Airlines Flight 605, overran Runway 13 at Hong Kong’s Kai Tak International Airport while landing during a typhoon, injuring 22 people.

1994   First conference that focused exclusively on the subject of the commercial potential of the World Wide Web.

1995  Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by an extremist Orthodox Israeli.

2002  Chinese authorities arrested cyber-dissident He Depu for signing a pro-democracy letter to the 16th Communist Party Congress.

2008   Barack Obama became the first African-American to be elected President of the United States.

2008  Proposition 8 passed in California, representing the first elimination of an existing right to marry for LGBT couples.

2010  – Qantas Flight 32, an Airbus A380, suffered an uncontained engine failure over Indonesia shortly after taking off from Singapore, crippling the jet. The crew manage to safely return to Singapore, saving all 469 passengers and crew.

2011 – The Hellenic Parliament rejected a no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister of Greece George Papandreou following a failed attempt to hold a referendum on a Eurozone bailout.

2015  – A cargo plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Juba International Airport in Juba, South Sudan, killing 37 people.

2015 – A building collapsed in the Pakistani city of Lahore resulting in at least 45 deaths, at least 100 injured.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


November 4 in history

04/11/2016

1333  The River Arno flooding caused massive damage in Florence.

1429   Joan of Arc liberated Saint-Pierre-le-Moûtier.

1576   Eighty Years’ War:  Spain captured Antwerp.

1677  The future Mary II of England married William, Prince of Orange.

1737   The Teatro di San Carlo was inaugurated.

1783   W.A. Mozart’s Symphony No. 36 was performed for the first time.

1791  The Western Confederacy of American Indians won a major victory over the United States in the Battle of the Wabash.

1825  The Erie Canal was completed with Governor DeWitt Clinton performing the Wedding of The Waters ceremony in New York Harbour.

1839   The Newport Rising: the last large-scale armed rebellion against authority in mainland Britain.

1852  Count Camillo Benso di Cavour became the prime minister of Piedmont-Sardinia.

1853 – Anna Bayerová, Czech physician, was born (d. 1924).

1861  The University of Washington opened in Seattle, Washington as the Territorial University.

1864  American Civil War: Battle of Johnsonville – Confederate troops bombarded a Union supply base and destroyed millions of dollars in material.

1879 – Will Rogers, American actor and screenwriter, was born (d. 1935).

1883 – Nikolaos Plastiras, Greek general and politician 135th Prime Minister of Greece, was born(d. 1953).

1884 – Harry Ferguson, Irish engineer, invented the tractor, was born(d. 1960).

1889  Menelek of Shoa obtained the allegiance of a large majority of the Ethiopian nobility, paving the way for him to be crowned emperor.

1890   London’s first deep-level tube railway opened between King William Street and Stockwell.

1896 – Carlos P. Garcia, Filipino lawyer and politician, 8th President of the Philippines was born(d. 1971).

1908 – Joseph Rotblat, Polish-English physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate was born (d. 2005).

1915 – Marguerite Patten, English home economist and author, was born (d. 2015).

1916  Ruth Handler, American businesswoman and inventor of the Barbie doll, was born (d. 2002).

1916 – Walter Cronkite, American journalist, voice actor, and producer, was born (d. 2009).

1918  World War I: The Armistice of Villa Giusti between Italy and Austria-Hungary was implemented.

1918  The German Revolution began when 40,000 sailors took over the port in Kiel.

1921 The Sturmabteilung or SA was formed by Adolf Hitler.

1921   Japanese Prime Minister Hara Takashi was assassinated in Tokyo.

1921  The Italian unknown soldier was buried in the Altare della Patria (Fatherland Altar) in Rome.

1922 In Egypt, British archaeologist Howard Carter and his men found the entrance to Pharaoh Tutankhamun‘s tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

1924 Nellie Tayloe Ross of Wyoming was elected the first female governor in the United States.

1929  – Anastasios of Albania, Greek-Albanian archbishop, was born.

1930 Phar Lap won the Melbourne Cup.

Phar Lap wins the Melbourne Cup

1932 – Thomas Klestil, Austrian politician and diplomat, 10th President of Austria, was born (d. 2004).

1937  Loretta Swit, American actress, was born.

1939   World War II: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the United States Customs Service to implement the Neutrality Act of 1939, allowing cash-and-carry purchases of weapons by belligerents.

1942   Second Battle of El Alamein – Disobeying a direct order by Adolf Hitler, General Field Marshal Erwin Rommel led his forces on a five-month retreat.

1944  World War II: Bitola Liberation Day.

1946  – Laura Bush, American educator, 50th First Lady of the United States was born.

1948  – Alexis Hunter, New Zealand-English painter and photographer, was born (d. 2014).

Photo of Alexis Hunter by Charles Thomson.jpg

1948 – Amadou Toumani Touré, Malian soldier and politician, President of Mali, was born.

1950 Charles Frazier, American author, was born.

1952   The United States government established the National Security Agency.

1955   After being totally destroyed in World War II, the rebuilt Vienna State Opera reopened with a performance of Beethoven’s Fidelio.

1956 James Honeyman-Scott, English guitarist (The Pretenders), was born (d. 1982)

1956   Soviet troops entered Hungary to end the Hungarian revolutionagainst the Soviet Union.

1957 Tony Abbott, Australia politician, Liberal leader, was born.

1962   In a test of the Nike-Hercules air defense missile, Shot Dominic-Tightrope was successfully detonated 69,000 feet above Johnston Island – the last atmospheric nuclear test conducted by the United States.

1966  Two-thirds of Florence was submerged as the River Arno floodedwith the contemporaneous flood of the Po River which led to 113 deaths, 30,000 made homeless, and the destruction of numerous Renaissance artworks and books.

1970  Genie, a 13-year-old feral child was found in Los Angeles, California having been locked in her bedroom for most of her life.

1973   The Netherlands experienced the first Car Free Sunday caused by the 1973 oil crisis.

1979   Iran hostage crisis began: a group of Iranians, mostly students, invaded the US embassy in Tehran and took 90 hostages.

1993  A China Airlines  Boeing 747 overran Runway 13 at Hong Kong’s Kai Tak International Airport while landing during a typhoon, injuring 22 people.

1994   First conference that focused exclusively on the subject of the commercial potential of the World Wide Web.

1995  Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by an extremist Orthodox Israeli.

2002  Chinese authorities arrested cyber-dissident He Depu for signing a pro-democracy letter to the 16th Communist Party Congress.

2008   Barack Obama became the first African-American to be elected President of the United States.

2008  Proposition 8 passed in California, representing the first elimination of an existing right to marry for LGBT couples.

2010  – Qantas Flight 32, an Airbus A380, suffered an uncontained engine failure over Indonesia shortly after taking off from Singapore, crippling the jet. The crew manage to safely return to Singapore, saving all 469 passengers and crew.

2011 – The Hellenic Parliament rejected a no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister of Greece George Papandreou following a failed attempt to hold a referendum on a Eurozone bailout.

2015  – A cargo plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Juba International Airport in Juba, South Sudan, killing 37 people.

2015 – A building collapsed in the Pakistani city of Lahore resulting in at least 45 deaths, at least 100 injured.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Quote of the day

04/11/2015

I understand that government should live within its means, value the money it holds in trust from you the taxpayer, avoid waste and, above all else, observe the first maxim of good government: namely, do no avoidable harm. – Tony Abbott who turns 58 today.


November 4 in history

04/11/2015

1333  The River Arno flooding caused massive damage in Florence.

1429   Joan of Arc liberated Saint-Pierre-le-Moûtier.

1576   Eighty Years’ War:  Spain captured Antwerp.

1677  The future Mary II of England married William, Prince of Orange.

1737   The Teatro di San Carlo was inaugurated.

1783   W.A. Mozart’s Symphony No. 36 was performed for the first time.

1791  The Western Confederacy of American Indians won a major victory over the United States in the Battle of the Wabash.

1825  The Erie Canal was completed with Governor DeWitt Clinton performing the Wedding of The Waters ceremony in New York Harbour.

1839   The Newport Rising: the last large-scale armed rebellion against authority in mainland Britain.

1852  Count Camillo Benso di Cavour became the prime minister of Piedmont-Sardinia.

1853 – Anna Bayerová, Czech physician, was born (d. 1924).

1861  The University of Washington opened in Seattle, Washington as the Territorial University.

1864  American Civil War: Battle of Johnsonville – Confederate troops bombarded a Union supply base and destroyed millions of dollars in material.

1879 – Will Rogers, American actor and screenwriter, was born (d. 1935).

1889  Menelek of Shoa obtained the allegiance of a large majority of the Ethiopian nobility, paving the way for him to be crowned emperor.

1890   London’s first deep-level tube railway opened between King William Street and Stockwell.

1915 – Marguerite Patten, English economist and author, was born (d. 2015).

1916  Ruth Handler, American businesswoman and inventor of the Barbie doll, was born (d. 2002).

1918  World War I: Austria-Hungary surrendered to Italy.

1918  The German Revolution began when 40,000 sailors took over the port in Kiel.

1921 The Sturmabteilung or SA was formed by Adolf Hitler.

1921   Japanese Prime Minister Hara Takashi was assassinated in Tokyo.

1921  The Italian unknown soldier was buried in the Altare della Patria (Fatherland Altar) in Rome.

1922 In Egypt, British archaeologist Howard Carter and his men found the entrance to Pharaoh Tutankhamun‘s tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

1924 Nellie Tayloe Ross of Wyoming was elected the first female governor in the United States.

1930 Phar Lap won the Melbourne Cup.

Phar Lap wins the Melbourne Cup

1937  Loretta Swit, American actress, was born.

1939   World War II: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the United States Customs Service to implement the Neutrality Act of 1939, allowing cash-and-carry purchases of weapons by belligerents.

1942   Second Battle of El Alamein – Disobeying a direct order by Adolf Hitler, General Field Marshal Erwin Rommel led his forces on a five-month retreat.

1944  World War II: Bitola Liberation Day.

1946  – Laura Bush, American educator, 50th First Lady of the United States was born.

1950 Charles Frazier, American author, was born.

1952   The United States government established the National Security Agency.

1955   After being totally destroyed in World War II, the rebuilt Vienna State Opera reopened with a performance of Beethoven’s Fidelio.

1956 James Honeyman-Scott, English guitarist (The Pretenders), was born (d. 1982)

1956   Soviet troops entered Hungary to end the Hungarian revolutionagainst the Soviet Union.

1957 Tony Abbott, Australia politician, Liberal leader, was born.

1962   In a test of the Nike-Hercules air defense missile, Shot Dominic-Tightrope was successfully detonated 69,000 feet above Johnston Island – the last atmospheric nuclear test conducted by the United States.

1966  Two-thirds of Florence was submerged as the River Arno floodedwith the contemporaneous flood of the Po River which led to 113 deaths, 30,000 made homeless, and the destruction of numerous Renaissance artworks and books.

1970  Genie, a 13-year-old feral child was found in Los Angeles, California having been locked in her bedroom for most of her life.

1973   The Netherlands experienced the first Car Free Sunday caused by the 1973 oil crisis.

1979   Iran hostage crisis began: a group of Iranians, mostly students, invaded the US embassy in Tehran and took 90 hostages.

1993  A China Airlines  Boeing 747 overran Runway 13 at Hong Kong’s Kai Tak International Airport while landing during a typhoon, injuring 22 people.

1994   First conference that focused exclusively on the subject of the commercial potential of the World Wide Web.

1995  Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by an extremist Orthodox Israeli.

2002  Chinese authorities arrested cyber-dissident He Depu for signing a pro-democracy letter to the 16th Communist Party Congress.

2008   Barack Obama became the first African-American to be elected President of the United States.

2008  Proposition 8 passed in California, representing the first elimination of an existing right to marry for LGBT couples.

2010  – Qantas Flight 32, an Airbus A380, suffered an uncontained engine failure over Indonesia shortly after taking off from Singapore, crippling the jet. The crew manage to safely return to Singapore, saving all 469 passengers and crew.

2011 – The Hellenic Parliament rejected a no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister of Greece George Papandreou following a failed attempt to hold a referendum on a Eurozone bailout.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Quote of the day

15/09/2015

“I have been heartened by the messages of support flooding into Liberal MPs’ offices this evening saying most emphatically, ‘We are not the Labor Party’,” –  Tony Abbott


John Howard Lecture to Menzies Research Centre – Bill English

28/06/2015

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.


As Aussies see us

06/04/2015

Cameron Stewart writes in The Australian on how, and why the trans-Tasman tide is flowing in New Zealand’s favour:

Jennifer Zhu, a former Australian public servant, was writing briefing notes for incoming prime minister Tony Abbott when she hatched her own Pacific solution.

She leans forward so her story can be heard above the rhythmic grunts of the dragon boat teams gliding across New Zealand’s ­Wellington harbour at dusk. “I was in Canberra working on the briefings for the change of ­government [in 2013] when I realised how much the public service was going to be cut [under Abbott],” she says. Her Australian boyfriend, ­fellow public servant Iain McKenzie, 28, chimes in: “We could see that promotions were unlikely.”

“So I looked up a website,” continues Zhu, 27, who now works for ­Immigration New ­Zealand, “and there were lots of government jobs here. We thought, ‘Why not?’ ” After a year in Wellington, they haven’t looked back. “We both have good [public service] jobs and it’s a much more relaxed culture,” says Iain. “We’re not leaving anytime soon.” . . .

Stewart gives other examples of Australians and ex-pat New Zealanders who have moved here to work in a variety of occupations including farming, viticulture, nursing and hospitality then looks at why the tide has turned.

What has happened is that somewhere, somehow, perhaps in the dead of night when no one was looking, Australia and New Zealand have swapped sides. Cocky, confident Australia is now home to dysfunctional politics, yawning budget deficits, rising unemployment and an electorate unwilling to accept tough reforms.

By contrast, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key is running the most successful and ­stable centre-right government in the world. Whereas Abbott might not survive his first term as leader, Key, 53, is into his third term and has never been more popular. Key presides over a country that is no longer a dead-end backwater but one that enjoys plentiful jobs, strong economic growth and is on the cusp of a budget surplus. All this despite its second-largest city, Christchurch, being devastated by the earthquake of February 22, 2011, which left 185 people dead, the city centre in ruins and a $40 billion clean-up.

Even the Kiwi dollar, for so long the poor cousin to our own currency, is at virtual parity these days. “I’ve been here for 15 years and I’ve never seen this before,” mutters the woman at the Melbourne airport currency exchange as she hands me fewer $NZ than I gave her in $A. “They must be doing something right over there.”

GDP growth in New Zealand last year was 3.3 per cent compared with 2.8 per cent in ­Australia, while unemployment was 5.7 per cent in the December quarter compared with 6.1 per cent (now 6.3 per cent) here. Forget rugby; New ­Zealand is winning a bigger game. When Abbott visited New Zealand in February, he had to ­concede Key has led “a very successful, a really, really successful centre-right government. There are lessons for ­Australia in what you have done.” By contrast, the New Zealand press pack suppressed giggles when Key told an Australian journalist: “I think it’s a bit harsh to describe it [Australia] as one of the more unstable democracies in the Pacific.”

As a result of this trans-Tasman shift in ­fortunes, we are seeing something we have not seen for a generation. The tide of Kiwis coming to our shores has ebbed while the number of those going back home has flowed. This year the trans-Tasman migration is likely to be in New Zealand’s favour — something that has not been seen since Australia had “the recession it had to have” in the early 1990s. . .

[Prime Minister John]Key says Australia’s mining sector and growth in the big cities has slowed, making the country less attractive. “It is harder; I don’t think the opportunities are there in the same way, while on the other side of the equation there are lots of opportunities here in New Zealand and while they may make less money the cost of ­living is generally a lot lower.” . . .

A friend who works in Australia says he earns more and a lot of things cost less there than they do here. But when he takes into account the higher tax rate and other compulsory costs he pays the difference isn’t nearly as big as it appears.

It is often said that Key runs New Zealand like a CEO rather than a politician and that there are clear parallels in style with another self‑ made millionaire-turned-politician, Malcolm Turnbull. “I know [Malcolm] well and I like him,” is all that Key will say of Turnbull, wary of wading into leadership speculation.

Key is a delegator rather than a dictator and makes a habit of consulting in person with ­several of his ministerial colleagues each ­morning. He holds informal meetings ahead of formal Cabinet sessions so that people can float ideas or shoot them down without undue embarrassment. “Most people realise we are not doing extreme things,” he says. “We try to explain what we are about.” He says he is “unashamedly pro-economic growth” but prefers the path of pragmatism over ideology. “My instincts are very much in the middle so I am not fighting internal demons,” he says. “I am not a secret right-winger who wants to do things.”

He does not accuse Abbott of being a secret right-winger but the truth is that compared with Abbott, Key is much more of a pragmatic centrist economically and is more liberal socially, having voted for gay marriage in 2012.

It says much about Key’s political skills that he managed to usher in an increase in the GST in 2010, a debate that both sides of Australian politics are unwilling to have. Ironically, Key did this despite Howard, the architect of ­Australia’s GST, advising Key over a lunch in Auckland in 2010 that a rise was too risky. “I said to [Howard] ‘I am going to raise the GST and drop personal tax rates’ and he said, ‘Don’t do it’. He said, ‘You’ll have the obvious ­argument that the price of bread goes up and it will be felt more keenly by the poorer person and so you will lose that debate’.”

But in the end Key chose to pursue the reform and succeeded, with surprisingly little political bloodshed, in lifting the GST by 2.5 percentage points to 15 per cent while cutting personal and company tax. As a result, New Zealand’s top personal tax rate is now only 33 per cent compared with 45 in Australia, while the company tax rate is 28 per cent compared with 30 per cent here. Key has also been part-privatising state assets in power, coal and aviation, a path that causes political grief in Australia. Key’s reform record has been helped by ­having a first-rate finance minister, Bill English.

In welfare reform, Australia is looking to ­emulate the New Zealand system, which is ­saving billions in long-term payments. In 2011, Key adopted a new model of welfare that ­identifies groups at risk of long-term welfare and establishes special targeted programs for them. “We’ve done a lot in what is called the ‘investment approach’ to welfare reform and we have been genuinely investing money up front in people who would otherwise be long-term beneficiaries,” says Key. When social services minister Scott Morrison addressed Canberra’s National Press Club in February he spent most of his speech lauding the New Zealand model and promising to look at what Australia could adopt from it.

Part of Key’s popularity stems from what political analyst Colin James calls his macro- personality. “Key has a remarkable rapport with ­people across the political spectrum and that is unusual. Bob Hawke probably had that but ­certainly Rudd, Gillard and Abbott didn’t.” . .

Because Australians and New Zealanders are allowed to work in each other’s countries without restrictions, migration statistics are not definitive but they do suggest that far more Australians are now moving to New Zealand to live. While there will always be a flurry of movement because of family ties between the estimated 600,000 Kiwis in Australia and 60,000 Australians in New Zealand, the total number of ­people from ­Australia moving to New Zealand (including New Zealanders returning home) has soared in the past two years to February from 15,355 to 23,571.

Spoonley says the ­number of non-Kiwi ­citizens arriving from Australia to live in New Zealand has jumped by 50 per cent in the past two years, from 5234 in the 12 months to ­January 2013 to 7895 this year.

Job opportunities and quality of life have driven this trend. According to data comparison website Numbeo, apartment rents are on average 24 per cent lower in New Zealand than in Australia and apartment costs per square metre 36 per cent lower. The national median house price has stayed flat at $350,000, according to the Real Estate Institute NZ, and even in Auckland, where the market is hottest, the median price of a house — $675,000 — still ­compares favourably with Australian cities.

New Zealand also enjoys a reputation for better work-life balance, although OECD ­figures suggest New Zealanders only have ­marginally more leisure time than Australians. The downside is that salaries in New Zealand are also around 30 per cent lower on average, although this gap is said to be closing.

Even so, New Zealand is trying to make the most of its moment in the sun, having recently held job expos in Perth and Sydney and another in Melbourne later this month to spread the message that “New Zealand is one of the best performing economies in the world right now and the demand for skilled workers is high”. . .

The current contrasting fortunes of both countries could easily be reversed in years ahead, and the traditional flow of Kiwis to ­Australia could resume. Like Australia, New Zealand is heavily dependent on the health of the Chinese economy and its dairy industry, the country’s biggest export earner, suffered sharply lower prices last year.

In addition, the rebuilding of Christchurch is adding around 1.25 per cent to GDP growth each year but this will tail off as the city nears completion. Even so, a report last month by Moody’s Investor Services predicts continued strong economic growth for at least the next two years and for New Zealand’s budget to return to surplus — a word that Australians can only dream about.

Key concedes that New Zealand has better growth and employment than Australia right now but declines to brag. “We want a strong Australia,” he maintains. “A strong Australia is good for New Zealand. No relationship is more important to New Zealand … there is naturally a bit of rivalry but Aussies are looked at fondly here. Most people, I think, look at Aussies and go, ‘It really is the lucky country even if it has one too many creepy-crawlies and sharks’.”

Key lists several high-profile Australians who have come to New Zealand to live, but his final one packs a punch. “The Australian High ­Commissioner [Michael Potts], who is just about to finish his time here, is not going back to Australia,” the PM reveals. “He is about to live down the road here in Wellington,” he says, pointing out the window. “His wife is a Kiwi so they have made the call they are going to live in New Zealand.”

Key cannot hide his grin. Now even the ­diplomats are defecting. It’s taken a generation, but the Bondi Bludgers are finally enjoying their revenge.

 

"A great read from The Australian on why so many Kiwis are coming home: http://nzyn.at/1FbFD4s"


Abbott survives 61 – 39

09/02/2015

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot has survived the spill vote on his leadership with 61 votes to 39.

That is not a convincing win.

Unless he can win back the confidence of those unhappy with his leadership this will be seen as the first battle in an on-going war.

That won’t be good for the government, the Liberal Party or Australia.

 


Hard to hang on when cracks appear

09/02/2015

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is facing a leadership vote this morning.

If he wins it, his victory is likely to be temporary. It is very hard to hang on to the leadership once cracks appear in a caucus.

He benefitted from that as Labor went through a prolonged leadership uncertainty with Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard then Rudd again.

We’ve seen it in New Zealand with members of the Labour caucus undermining successive leaders.

One of the reasons John Key’s leadership and the National Party have been so successful is because the caucus has been disciplined and united.

No doubt there are some robust conversations behind closed doors, which is healthy. But there has been none of the disunity or disloyalty that signal a caucus in turmoil and a leadership in trouble.

It is, of course, much easier to be united when your leader and party are popular.

But whether disunity and disloyalty precipitate a poll plunge or follow it, one builds on and encourages the other.

Party leaders come and go, and an unhappy and leaking caucus is a strong sign that the going is likely to be sooner rather than later.


Sydney siege

15/12/2014

How terrifying it must be for the hostages in the Lindt café in Sydney, those who know them and those trying to help them.

After an update from NSW Deputy Police Commissioner Catherine Burn, this is what is known now about the Martin Place hostage crisis:

  • Burn says the situation is now a “negotiation” and the police intend to pursue it “peacefully.”
  • Burn will not say whether the five people to emerge from the cafe escaped or were released.
  • The crisis may continue into tomorrow. An exclusion zone is in place around the Lindt Cafe and Martin Place.
  • The police will not confirm what the gunman is asking for. Nor will they confirm how many people remain in the building. . . .

Five hostages have escaped from the café.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has urged people to go about their business as usual:

. . . “We don’t yet know the motivation of the perpetrator, we don’t know whether this is politically motivated although obviously there are some indications that it could be,” Mr Abbott said.

“We have to appreciate that even in a society such as ours, there are people who would wish to do us harm. . .

Hostages were being forced to hold an Islamic flag against the window of the Lindt Chocolat Café in Martin Place after at least one gunman stormed the premises on Monday morning.

“This is a very disturbing incident. I can understand the concerns and anxieties of the Australian people at a time like this, but our thoughts and prayers must above all go out to the individuals who are caught up in this,” Mr Abbott said.

“I can think of almost nothing more distressing, more terrifying than to be caught up in such a situation and our hearts go out to these people.”

Mr Abbott said NSW police responding to the unfolding siege were receiving strong support from Commonwealth agencies.

“The whole point of politically motivated violence is to scare people out of being themselves. Australia is a peaceful, open, and generous society,” Mr Abbott said.

“Nothing should ever change that and that’s why I would urge all Australians today to go about their business as usual.” . .

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said the government is monitoring the Sydney siege:

“Our hearts go out to those involved and our thoughts are very much with them and their families,” says Mr Key.

Prime Minister John Key contacted Prime Minister Tony Abbott directly to offer a message of support, shortly after the siege got underway today.

Currently, agencies are unable to confirm the nationalities of those involved, including whether any New Zealanders have been caught up in this situation.

Authorities in New Zealand and Australia will continue to stay in close contact as events unfold and facts become clearer. . .

It is almost impossible to guard against fundamentalists motivated by misguided beliefs.

The challenge is to be vigilant and prepared without unduly restricting the freedom of the majority who are innocent and pose no danger.


November 4 in history

04/11/2014

1333  The River Arno flooding caused massive damage in Florence.

1429   Joan of Arc liberated Saint-Pierre-le-Moûtier.

1576   Eighty Years’ War:  Spain captured Antwerp.

1677  The future Mary II of England married William, Prince of Orange.

1737   The Teatro di San Carlo was inaugurated.

1783   W.A. Mozart’s Symphony No. 36 was performed for the first time.

1791  The Western Confederacy of American Indians won a major victory over the United States in the Battle of the Wabash.

1825  The Erie Canal was completed with Governor DeWitt Clinton performing the Wedding of The Waters ceremony in New York Harbour.

1839   The Newport Rising: the last large-scale armed rebellion against authority in mainland Britain.

1852  Count Camillo Benso di Cavour became the prime minister of Piedmont-Sardinia.

1861  The University of Washington opened in Seattle, Washington as the Territorial University.

1864  American Civil War: Battle of Johnsonville – Confederate troops bombarded a Union supply base and destroyed millions of dollars in material.

1889  Menelek of Shoa obtained the allegiance of a large majority of the Ethiopian nobility, paving the way for him to be crowned emperor.

1890   London’s first deep-level tube railway opened between King William Street and Stockwell.

1916  Ruth Handler, American businesswoman and inventor of the Barbie doll, was born (d. 2002).

1918  World War I: Austria-Hungary surrendered to Italy.

1918  The German Revolution began when 40,000 sailors took over the port in Kiel.

1921 The Sturmabteilung or SA was formed by Adolf Hitler.

1921   Japanese Prime Minister Hara Takashi was assassinated in Tokyo.

1921  The Italian unknown soldier was buried in the Altare della Patria (Fatherland Altar) in Rome.

1922 In Egypt, British archaeologist Howard Carter and his men found the entrance to Pharaoh Tutankhamun‘s tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

1924 Nellie Tayloe Ross of Wyoming was elected the first female governor in the United States.

1930 Phar Lap won the Melbourne Cup.

Phar Lap wins the Melbourne Cup

1937  Loretta Swit, American actress, was born.

1939   World War II: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the United States Customs Service to implement the Neutrality Act of 1939, allowing cash-and-carry purchases of weapons by belligerents.

1942   Second Battle of El Alamein – Disobeying a direct order by Adolf Hitler, General Field Marshal Erwin Rommel led his forces on a five-month retreat.

1944  World War II: Bitola Liberation Day.

1946  – Laura Bush, American educator, 50th First Lady of the United States was born.

1950 Charles Frazier, American author, was born.

1952   The United States government established the National Security Agency.

1955   After being totally destroyed in World War II, the rebuilt Vienna State Opera reopened with a performance of Beethoven’s Fidelio.

1956 James Honeyman-Scott, English guitarist (The Pretenders), was born (d. 1982)

1956   Soviet troops entered Hungary to end the Hungarian revolution against the Soviet Union.

1957 Tony Abbott, Australia politician, Liberal leader, was born.

1962   In a test of the Nike-Hercules air defense missile, Shot Dominic-Tightrope was successfully detonated 69,000 feet above Johnston Island – the last atmospheric nuclear test conducted by the United States.

1966  Two-thirds of Florence was submerged as the River Arno flooded with the contemporaneous flood of the Po River which led to 113 deaths, 30,000 made homeless, and the destruction of numerous Renaissance artworks and books.

1970  Genie, a 13-year-old feral child was found in Los Angeles, California having been locked in her bedroom for most of her life.

1973   The Netherlands experienced the first Car Free Sunday caused by the 1973 oil crisis.

1979   Iran hostage crisis began: a group of Iranians, mostly students, invaded the US embassy in Tehran and took 90 hostages.

1993  A China Airlines  Boeing 747 overran Runway 13 at Hong Kong’s Kai Tak International Airport while landing during a typhoon, injuring 22 people.

1994   First conference that focused exclusively on the subject of the commercial potential of the World Wide Web.

1995  Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by an extremist Orthodox Israeli.

2002  Chinese authorities arrested cyber-dissident He Depu for signing a pro-democracy letter to the 16th Communist Party Congress.

2008   Barack Obama became the first African-American to be elected President of the United States.

2008  Proposition 8 passed in California, representing the first elimination of an existing right to marry for LGBT couples.

2011 – The Hellenic Parliament rejected a no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister of Greece George Papandreou following a failed attempt to hold a referendum on a Eurozone bailout.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Security agencies foil terror attack

18/09/2014

Australian police have arrested suspected terrorists in Sydney and Brisbane:

A SERIES of anti-terrorism raids were sparked by intelligence reports that Islamic State supporters were planning a public execution in Australia, Prime Minister Tony Abbott says.

Details of the planned attack have emerged in the wake of the biggest anti-terrorism operation in Australia’s history, involving hundreds of police officers in co-ordinated raids across Sydney and Brisbane this morning.

Mr Abbott was briefed on the police raid on Wednesday night, which included intelligence that public beheadings were planned. “The exhortations, quite direct exhortations, were coming from an Australian who is apparently quite senior in ISIL to networks of support back in Australia to conduct demonstration killings here in this country,” he told reporters.

“So this is not just suspicion, this is intent and that’s why the police and security agencies decided to act in the way they have.”

LIVE UPDATES: Terror raids

NSW Police will allege that some of the Sydney men arrested in the operation had communicated with the Islamic State organisation while developing their alleged plan to seize a random member of the public and behead them live on camera. . . .

Some comments on the raids:

    1:41pm: Labor leader Bill Shorten is holding a press conference about the terror raids.

“The raids will no doubt come as a shock to many Australians.”

“It does remind us that the threat of terror can actually occur on our shores.”

“The reports of what these people were allegedly preparing are truly shocking.”

“Australians should be reassured by the capabilities of our security agencies. People should be reassured that our [agencies] are able to do their job before bad things happen to people.”

He said four major terrorist attacks planned on Australian soil had been disrupted since 2003 with the participants convicted and jailed. . .

 

12:44pm: NSW Premier Mike Baird said the alleged plot, to behead a person on the streets of Sydney, was “undoubtedly horrifying”.

“But I want to pay absolute … thanks to the authorities that have done their job,” he said.

“We want to say to the community: be assured, the actions [today] show that every single effort will be made to ensure that we are safe.”

12:42pm: NSW Premier Mike Baird is holding a press conference about the anti-terrorism raids.

He warned those who wanted to harm the community that “we will hunt you down”.

“To those that think they may be operating in dark corners, we are shining the light upon you,” he said.

 

This puts into perspective what Prime Minister John Key said last night:

New Zealanders face real threats and as Prime Minister of New Zealand I can either choose to walk away from protecting New Zealanders or do my job. I will never walk away from protecting New Zealanders.

If we ever lived in a benign strategic environment we don’t now and that is why security agencies must have the powers they need to protect us.

 


Rural round-up

10/02/2014

Staff vital part of dairy farm –  Sally Rae:

At Willowview Pastures in North Otago, staff are considered an integral part of the business.

Owners Geoff and Katrina Taylor run the dairy farm on the lower Waitaki Plains near Waitaki Bridge.

Employees were given responsibility for particular on-farm tasks, described by Mr Taylor as their on-farm ”niche”, but still kept up with what was happening farm-wide. . .

Homeopathy and farming; let’s do better, media – Grant Jacobs:

Today Fairfax NZ News published at Stuff.co.nz an article titled, Homeopathy key for dairy farming couple. Unsurprisingly this has been spread to other sites, including pro-homeopathy sites.

Unlike many (most?) articles at Stuff, no means of commenting on this article are available.

Let’s quickly look at key problems in this story.

We might use as inspiration the TED slogan, “ideas worth sharing”, altering it to fit our purposes “information worth sharing”, considering ‘information’ and ‘news’ to be synonymous.

It carries with it a catch: if the information isn’t sound, it’s not worth sharing – not worthy of a place in a newspaper or news website. . .

Welsh shearers learn by competing in NZ – Helena de Reus:

Competing in New Zealand is a chance for Welsh shearers to learn from the best.

Welsh shearing team manager John Davies is touring the country with shearers Gareth Daniel and Richard Jones to contest the four-test Elders Primary Wool series between New Zealand and Wales. The series reached Balclutha at the weekend.

”New Zealand have the best sheep shearers in the world, so it’s good to learn from them and compete against the best.” . . .

Wool titles go far and wide:

Young shearers and woolhandlers fought for three titles at the Otago Shearing and New Zealand Woolhandling Championships in Balclutha yesterday.

The three winners of yesterday’s competition once again hailed from outside Otago, with Erica Reti (Gore) winning the New Zealand junior woolhandler title, Carlton Aranui (Raupunga, Hawkes Bay) winning the Otago junior shearing, and Dylan McGruddy (Masterton) taking the intermediate shearing title.

Two South Island woolhandling circuit titles were also awarded, with Liv Gardner (Southland) winning the junior section and Juliette Lyon (Alexandra) taking the senior. . .

Hort NZ to lobby on labelling:

The national horticulture body says it will continue to keep a close watch on moves by Australian supermarkets to remove New Zealand food products from their shelves, even though nothing has come from political talks on the issue.

The two big supermarket chains in Australia, Coles and Woolworths, are backing the Buy Australian campaign and as part of that, say they’ll stop stocking New Zealand products in their house brands.

Prime Minister John Key raised the issue at a meeting with his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott last week, but was told it was a commercial decision for the supermarkets and did not breach the Closer Economic Relations (CER) free trade agreement between the two countries. . .

Drought roadshow starts:

Farmers in Hawke’s Bay, East Coast and Bay of Plenty – areas still recovering from last year’s drought – will attend a roadshow this week to find out how they can drought-proof their farms.

They’ll hear from Marlborough farmer Doug Avery, who’s been inspiring farmers around the country with the story of how he and his family rescued their farm from collapse after a series of droughts in the 1990s. . .

 


Buy local here but not there

07/02/2014

The chief executive of one of Australia’s big supermarket chains told an agribusiness dinner in Melbourne about its strategy to buy local produce.

It was, he said, a response to customer demand for Australian goods.

The supermarket was also going to go direct to producers, eschewing buyers in between.

It would, he said, be good for customers and producers.

The New Zealanders in the audience saw the danger in this and even the Australians weren’t entirely convinced of the scheme’s merits.

They liked the idea that they wouldn’t be competing with overseas producers but they’d seen how hard dairy farmers had been squeezed by milk wars.

Many of them were exporters and they recognised the risk, and hypocrisy, in supporting buy local at home when they would be wanting customers in other markets to do the opposite.

The Australian-made strategy is now hitting New Zealand producers as supermarkets stop buying are fresh and processed food.

New Zealand products are being stripped off supermarket shelves across the Tasman because of the aggressive Buy Australia campaign, says an organisation promoting local goods.

Buy NZ Made executive Scott Wilson says big Australian supermarket chains Coles and Woolworths are “systematically removing New Zealand-produced goods from their house brand labels simply for being non-Australian”.

Mr Wilson says frozen foods, cheese and fresh vegetables are among products affected.

“We have no intention of taking a protectionist stance by suggesting people avoid products that aren’t New Zealand made,” he said.

New Zealand supermarkets aren’t copying the Australian strategy – and given one is Australian-owned, it’s unlikely to. But there’s a very fine line between saying buy Kiwi-made and don’t buy imported goods.

. . . Prime Minister John Key addressed the issue today, which he says is against the spirit of trade relations with New Zealand.

“Even if it’s legally not [a breach of CER], it’s arguably a breach of the spirit of CER, and we’re going to be raising that with Tony Abbott,” says Mr Key.

“The whole spirit of CER is an integrated Australasian market, and we feel that the big companies in Australia should actually observe that. We can always retaliate but their market’s five or six times bigger than ours, so that doesn’t help us much.” . . .

Labour is huffing and puffing about the issue, but what would they do if Tony Abbott tried to tell supermarkets here what to do?

It is a contravention of the spirit of CER which has created a free market between Australia and New Zealand.

But removing tariffs is a government decision, it doesn’t impose requirements on businesses to buy imported goods or stop them only buying local produce.

New Zealand producers could organise a boycott of Australian-owned supermarkets here but there’s little else they can do.

The Aussie supermarkets are trying to sell the scheme as being better for customers and producers but it won’t be in the long run.

Australian customers will have less choice when they shop and that could eventually lead to having to pay higher prices.

They will  also less certainty of supply when, for example droughts or floods, affect production. When supply drops, prices rise.

Producers will find themselves locked into contracts as the weaker partner which will eventually lead to them having to accept lower prices.

There are good things to be said for buying local, and I do it when I can if there’s little difference in price and quality.

But that’s my choice and the Aussie supermarkets are taking that choice away from their customers.

There are also many good things to be said for free trade, for customers and producers who will be the losers if the supermarkets continue to swim against that tide for their own ends.

There is a lesson in this for the Buy NZ Made campaign too – it’s arrant hypocrisy to say buy local here but not there.


How often do people like a leader?

21/01/2014

Richard Prebble makes an interesting observation in The Listener:

. . . The polls are amazing. John Key is not only our most popular Prime Minister in the history of polling, but also the most popular leader in the Western world. Key is on 62%; Barack Obama is on 41%. Tony Abbott was elected in a landslide and, still in the honeymoon period, is on 47%. The Queen asks Key to Balmoral for the same reason Obama asks him to play golf: they like him. Heck, I like him. There is no one we would rather have in charge in a crisis. . . .

How often do people really like a leader and when was the last time we had a leader who wasn’t just popular but who was widely  liked here and further afield?

We’ve had popular Prime Ministers, we’ve had ones who have been admired, more than a few who were disliked and some who were feared. But widely liked well beyond their parties and personal friends?  I can’t remember one.

Leaders often aren’t likeable but John Key is. Not universally of course, some people won’t be able to see beyond their politics to the person. But people who know him like him and so does the general public.

Prebble thinks National will win the election and the PM’s likeability is a major reason for that.

He may or may not be right about the outcome of the election, but he is right about people liking the PM and that gives him, and National, a huge advantage.

The popularity of Prime Ministers and Presidents fluctuates for all sorts of political reasons. A leader’s likeability is more stable and will often trump politics.


NZ invited to 2014 G20 meetings

02/12/2013

Australia has invited New Zealand to participate in the 2014 G20 meetings during Australia’s year as Chair.

Prime Minsiter John Key said:

“Prime Minister Tony Abbott phoned me on Thursday to invite New Zealand to the G20 meetings next year and I warmly welcomed his invitation to take part,” says Mr Key.

“It is a testament to the Australia-New Zealand relationship, and a strong indicator of how the new Tony Abbott Government in Australia views New Zealand.” 

“New Zealand is not a formal member of the G20 because of our size, but has always been supportive of it. It is very significant that New Zealand has access to the G20 meetings at the invitation of Australia,” says Mr Key.

“While the global economy is improving, growth remains a concern – and unemployment is too high in a number of economies. It is important the G20 countries continue to promote policies directed at securing global growth and stability.”

This is the first time New Zealand has been invited to contribute to a full year’s deliberations. The G20 revolves around a number of meetings of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, and culminating in a Leaders meeting towards the end of the year.

That final meeting could influence the timing of our election.

“As a small trading nation, New Zealand has a significant stake in the global economy and we will provide valuable input. We will bring some ‘small economy’ perspectives to these discussions which may be somewhat different from the issues facing major economies,” says Mr Key.

The host of the annual G20 meeting has an ability to invite some additional countries it thinks will add value during its year as Chair.

The G20 is a grouping of the world’s largest economies accounting for around 90 per cent of global GDP and 80% of international trade. It is a key vehicle for tackling the world’s economic challenges. It is responsible for continuing to help guide the global economy as it emerges from the financial crisis.

“New Zealand will support Australia in its efforts to make its year as Chair a success and we are looking forward to working with Australia and other G20 members,” says Mr Key.

This is a good opportunity for New Zealand to work with bigger countries, develop stronger relationships with them and represent the views of smaller countries in the big countries’ forum.


November 4 in history

04/11/2013

1333  The River Arno flooding caused massive damage in Florence.

1429   Joan of Arc liberated Saint-Pierre-le-Moûtier.

1576   Eighty Years’ War:  Spain captured Antwerp.

1677  The future Mary II of England married William, Prince of Orange.

1737   The Teatro di San Carlo was inaugurated.

1783   W.A. Mozart’s Symphony No. 36 was performed for the first time.

1791  The Western Confederacy of American Indians won a major victory over the United States in the Battle of the Wabash.

1825  The Erie Canal was completed with Governor DeWitt Clinton performing the Wedding of The Waters ceremony in New York Harbour.

1839   The Newport Rising: the last large-scale armed rebellion against authority in mainland Britain.

1852  Count Camillo Benso di Cavour became the prime minister of Piedmont-Sardinia.

1861  The University of Washington opened in Seattle, Washington as the Territorial University.

1864  American Civil War: Battle of Johnsonville – Confederate troops bombarded a Union supply base and destroyed millions of dollars in material.

1889  Menelek of Shoa obtained the allegiance of a large majority of the Ethiopian nobility, paving the way for him to be crowned emperor.

1890   London’s first deep-level tube railway opened between King William Street and Stockwell.

1916  Ruth Handler, American businesswoman and inventor of the Barbie doll, was born (d. 2002).

1918  World War I: Austria-Hungary surrendered to Italy.

1918  The German Revolution began when 40,000 sailors took over the port in Kiel.

1921 The Sturmabteilung or SA was formed by Adolf Hitler.

1921   Japanese Prime Minister Hara Takashi was assassinated in Tokyo.

1921  The Italian unknown soldier was buried in the Altare della Patria (Fatherland Altar) in Rome.

1922 In Egypt, British archaeologist Howard Carter and his men found the entrance to Pharaoh Tutankhamun‘s tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

1924 Nellie Tayloe Ross of Wyoming was elected the first female governor in the United States.

1930 Phar Lap won the Melbourne Cup.

Phar Lap wins the Melbourne Cup

1937  Loretta Swit, American actress, was born.

1939   World War II: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the United States Customs Service to implement the Neutrality Act of 1939, allowing cash-and-carry purchases of weapons by belligerents.

1942   Second Battle of El Alamein – Disobeying a direct order by Adolf Hitler, General Field Marshal Erwin Rommel led his forces on a five-month retreat.

1944  World War II: Bitola Liberation Day.

1950 Charles Frazier, American author, was born.

1952   The United States government established the National Security Agency.

1955   After being totally destroyed in World War II, the rebuilt Vienna State Opera reopened with a performance of Beethoven’s Fidelio.

1956 James Honeyman-Scott, English guitarist (The Pretenders), was born (d. 1982)

1956   Soviet troops entered Hungary to end the Hungarian revolution against the Soviet Union.

1957 Tony Abbott, Australia politician, Liberal leader, was born.

1962   In a test of the Nike-Hercules air defense missile, Shot Dominic-Tightrope was successfully detonated 69,000 feet above Johnston Island – the last atmospheric nuclear test conducted by the United States.

1966  Two-thirds of Florence was submerged as the River Arno flooded with the contemporaneous flood of the Po River which led to 113 deaths, 30,000 made homeless, and the destruction of numerous Renaissance artworks and books.

1970  Genie, a 13-year-old feral child was found in Los Angeles, California having been locked in her bedroom for most of her life.

1973   The Netherlands experienced the first Car Free Sunday caused by the 1973 oil crisis.

1979   Iran hostage crisis began: a group of Iranians, mostly students, invaded the US embassy in Tehran and took 90 hostages.

1993  A China Airlines  Boeing 747 overran Runway 13 at Hong Kong’s Kai Tak International Airport while landing during a typhoon, injuring 22 people.

1994   First conference that focused exclusively on the subject of the commercial potential of the World Wide Web.

1995  Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by an extremist Orthodox Israeli.

2002  Chinese authorities arrested cyber-dissident He Depu for signing a pro-democracy letter to the 16th Communist Party Congress.

2008   Barack Obama became the first African-American to be elected President of the United States.

2008  Proposition 8 passed in California, representing the first elimination of an existing right to marry for LGBT couples.

2011 – The Hellenic Parliament rejected a no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister of Greece George Papandreou following a failed attempt to hold a referendum on a Eurozone bailout.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

#gigatownoamaru hoping to make history as Southern Hemisphere’s fastest town.


Caption contest

08/09/2013

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!

Open for business

08/09/2013

The question wasn’t if the Liberal National Coalition would win but by how much, and it is a decisive victory:

TONY Abbott has declared the nation “open for business” once again, vowing to lead a competent and trustworthy government for all Australians.

Claiming election victory in Sydney, he said he was proud and humbled as he shouldered the responsibility of government. . .

The incoming Abbott government is likely to have at around 90 seats and Labor at least 55, on the back of a 3.6 per cent national swing against the ALP. 

The Greens retained Melbourne, independent Bob Katter held his Queensland seat of Kennedy and Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie hung on to Denison

However, 27 seats remained “close” as the Australian Electoral Commission continued counting and two were too difficult to call at all. . .

Being open for business is necessary for Australia and will be good for New Zealand.

It doesn’t mean business at the expensive of people or the environment, but it does mean a change from the policies that have wasted the opportunities from the mineral boom, created a two-speed economy and let Australia’s international competitiveness slip.

As our  Prime Minister John Key said in congratulating Tony Abbott:

“Australia is our most important relationship.  Our common interests span trade, economic, defence and security matters and we cooperate closely in our region and on the international stage. . . “

In spite of the, usually, good-natured Trans Tasman rivalry our common interests are best served by both countries prospering.

We have been going forward but the gap between us has widened more because they’ve been in reverse.

Being better than Australia because its going backwards isn’t good for either of us.

 

 


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