Apathy front-runner in council elections

October 4, 2013

Only 15.5 percent of eligible voters in Wellington have voted in the local body elections halfway through the election voting period.

The return rate is even worse in Auckland with only 12.6% of eligible people having voted so far.
Local body elections rarely get the same participation as general elections do but participation in both has been dropping.
The reasons for that are many but I think postal voting, and particularly the length of time people have to vote, might have some impact on council elections.
It’s too easy to miss the envelope or put it somewhere intending to get back to it then forget about it or lose it.
This must be very frustrating to candidates who are putting serious time and money into campaigning.
Some, perhaps many, of those who haven’t voted yet might intend to, but it looks like apathy is the front-runner in council elections at this stage.
There is no easy answer to turning that around, though Keeping Stock points to a Facebook Page Roy Williams for Mayor which seeks to spice the Wanganui mayoral race with satire.

Series of quakes rocks central NZ

August 16, 2013

Geonet has recorded a series of earthquakes near Seddon.

The strongest measured 6.2.

Smaller ones rue recorded near Levin and Taihape.

NewsTalk ZB has live updates.


Perspective

July 22, 2013

Three years ago the news of a large earthquake in the top of the South and lower North Islands would have been even bigger news three years ago.

But the September 2010 and February 2011 and the thousands of others which followed them have changed our perspective.

Fortunately there have been no reported deaths or major injuries from last evening’s one and the smaller ones which preceded it.

Without in any way dismissing the fear and anguish of those who went through it and are still dealing with the aftershocks, especially people whose homes were damaged, and the hassles associated with trains not running and buildings which can’t be accessed, this was an upset, not a disaster.

Let’s hope it stays that way.


No recession in restaurants

November 23, 2012

My farmer and I were looking for somewhere to eat in Wellington on Wednesday evening.

The first place we stopped at had no spare tables and the second couldn’t take us until 9pm, which would have meant nearly an hour’s wait.

The next two were full and we finally got a table, and delicious food, at the fifth – Tuatara – which was busy but not quite full.

The city might not be booming but if full-houses mean anything there’s no sign of recession at the inner city restaurants.


Desperate sign of desperation

May 28, 2011

It’s not my land and it’s not my city so the outcry over the plan to erect a Wellywood sign on a hill overlooking our capital passed me by until I realised I would be paying for it, albeit a tiny amount.

I fly in and out of Wellingtona several times a year, using the airport which is going to put up the sign and therefore some portion of the airfare I pay must be paying for this wanton wannabeness.

If you apply the adage  if you can’t be first you must be better to the sign then the airport board which wants to erect it appears to have got it wrong.

Imitation may be the most sincere form of flattery but it doesn’t necessarily make the imitator right.

Wellywood was a clever enough word play linking Wellington with Hollywood, but turning it into a sign which imitates the one which overlooks the USA’s film capital isn’t so smart. As  Lonely Planet  says:

Lonely Planet New Zealand commissioning editor Errol Hunt said he was “torn” on the idea of a Wellywood sign, seeing it as partly bold, and partly cringe-worthy.

“On one hand, it’s a bit cheeky, a bit quirky, which does feel right. On the other hand, the tryhard-o-meter is beeping furiously.”

Jim Hopkins says it even better:

It is, after all, simply evidence, writ large, of how provincial, insecure and derivative we can be.

If you have to try that hard to impress people, you really shouldn’t bother. Better to pull your bottom lip over your top lip and pretend you don’t exist.

The Wellywood sign is just the biggest, dumbest version of all those gormless billboards we see bestrewn along the roadside all over the country, halfway between nowhere and somewhere else. . .

Well, of course it’s tacky, y’ daft ha’porths!

But it’s not tacky enough. It’s limp tacky, wimp tacky.

It should be wacky tacky. If it’s going to be tacky, it’s got to be Oh! tacky. Nothing less will do. . .

Since all such signs and symbols invite derision, get in first. Create one that will transcend silliness and scale the highest heights of kitsch. Then, when people say, “Strewth, that’s awful!” you can reply, with a satisfied grin on your gob, “Thank you.”

That sums it up – the sign is bad, but not bad enough,  a desperate sign of desperation, not that I’m likely to see it.

In spite of many flights to and from Wellington I have  no idea which hill the sign is destined to despoil. I am usually reading, sleeping or,  in the case of Wellington sometimes more than exciting landings, praying, and don’t recall seeing a hillside on any descent or take-off. 

On my most recent trip a couple of days ago all I saw was cloud until just before we touched down and more cloud when we took off again yesterday.

Therefore, in the spirit of the tackiness of the sign and with apologies to Ogden Nash I leave you with:

Deck your grassy hill in signs, the hill is yours my sweeting,

 I’ll not see it flying in, nor when I’m retreating.


January 22 in history

January 22, 2010

On January 22:

 1506 The first contingent of 150 Swiss Guards arrived at the Vatican.

1521 Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, opened the Diet of Worms.

1561 Sir Francis Bacon, English philosopher, was born.

1771 – Spain ceded Port Egmont in the Falkland Islands to England.
 
1788 George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron (Lord Byron), English poet, was born.

1824 – Ashantis defeated British forces in the Gold Coast.

 Map of the Ashanti Region within Ghana

1840 The New Zealand Company’s first settler ship, the Aurora, arrived at Petone, marking the official commencement of the settlement that would eventually become Wellington.

 First European settlers arrive in Wellington

  1889 Columbia Phonograph was formed in Washington, D.C.

Columbia-logo.jpg

1899 Leaders of six Australian colonies met in Melbourne to discuss confederation.

1901 Edward VII was proclaimed King after the death of his mother, Queen Victoria.

1905 Bloody Sunday in St. Petersburg, beginning of the 1905 revolution.

1906 SS Valencia ran aground on rocks on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, killing more than 130.

 SS Valencia shipwreck, seen from one of the rescuing ships

1919 Act Zluky was signed, unifying the Ukrainian People’s Republic and the West Ukrainian National Republic.

 Signing of the Act Zluky, on the St. Sophia Square in Kiev.

1924 Ramsay MacDonald became the first Labour Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

1927 First live radio commentary of a football match anywhere in the world, between Arsenal F.C. and Sheffield United at Highbury.

1931 Sir Isaac Isaacs was sworn in as the first Australian-born Governor-General of Australia.

1934 Graham Kerr, British-born, New Zealand chef, was born.

1940 John Hurt, English actor, was born.

1941 British and Commonwealth troops captured Tobruk from Italian forces during Operation Compass.

1946 Iran: Qazi Muhammad declared the independent people’s Republic of Mahabad at Chuwarchira Square in the Kurdish city of Mahabad. He was the new president; Hadschi Baba Scheich was the prime minister.

1946 – Creation of the Central Intelligence Group, forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency.

1952 The first Jet airliner, the de Havilland Comet, entered service for BOAC.

1957  Israel withdrew from the Sinai Peninsula.

1957 The New York City “Mad Bomber”, George P. Metesky, was arrested and charged with planting more than 30 bombs.

1959 Knox Mine Disaster: Water breaches the River Slope Mine near Pittston City, Pennsylvania in Port Griffith; 12 miners are killed.

1960 Michael Hutchence, Australian singer (INXS), was born.

1962 Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin of Terengganu, Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia, was born.

Yang di-pertuan agong ke-13.PNG

1963 The Elysée treaty of cooperation between France and Germany was signed by Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer.

1965 Steven Adler, American drummer (Guns N’ Roses), was born.

1968 Apollo 5 lifted off carrying the first Lunar module into space.

 LM1 embr original.jpg

1973  The Supreme Court of the United States delivered its decision in Roe v. Wade, legalizing elective abortion in all fifty states.

1984  The Apple Macintosh, the first consumer computer to popularize the computer mouse and the graphical user interface, was introduced during Super Bowl XVIII with its famous “1984” television commercial.

A beige, boxy computer with a small black and white screen showing a window and desktop with icons. 

1987  Pennsylvania politician R. Budd Dwyer shot and killed himself at a press conference on live national television, leading to debates on boundaries in journalism.

1990 Robert Tappan Morris, Jr. was convicted of releasing the 1988 Internet Computer worm.

 Disk containing the source code for the Morris Worm held at the Boston Museum of Science.

1992 Space Shuttle program: STS-42 Mission – Dr. Roberta Bondar became the first Canadian woman in space.

 Roberta Bondar NASA.jpg

1999 Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons were burned alive by radical Hindus while sleeping in their car in Eastern India.

2002 Kmart Corp beccame the largest retailer in United States history to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

2006 Evo Morales was inaugurated as President of Bolivia, becoming the country’s first indigenous president.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


Thank you . . .

December 16, 2009

. . . to whoever planted the pohutukawa on the road side between the centre of Wellington and the airport.

They look glorious.


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