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News Worthy

News Worthy

21 October 2005
No. 50

Celebratory events

Today's edition is the 50th issue of this email newsletter. It shares the day with the following significant events:

* 1879 - Thomas Edison perfected his carbonized cotton filament light bulb after 14 months of testing at his laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey. It was the first incandescent electric lamp. The bulb burned for about 13 ½ hours.

* 1957 - Jailhouse Rock, starring Elvis Presley, opens. The title song hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts and became Presley's eighth chart topper.

* 1959 - Von Braun Moves to NASA

President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs an executive order transferring Wernher von Braun and his team from the U.S. Army to the newly created National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Von Braun, the mastermind of the U.S. space program, had developed the lethal V-2 rocket for Nazi Germany during World War II.

A "chop suey" Government

The announcement on 17 October 2005 of a new government with coalition/support arrangements involving Labour, Jim Anderton's Progressive Party, the Greens, New Zealand First and United Future provides an opportunity to reflect on the merit of the MMP system and in particular the readiness of parties to compromise principle in their quest for power.

To the dismay of his political team, Mr Peters abandoned his 7 September 2005 declaration that he would not "pursue the perks of office" but in his acceptance of the post of Foreign Minister has done so.

Did he mean it when he said:

"For my part, I never took as deputy Prime Minister ministerial cars or a house, so we genuinely don't care about the baubles of office. We in New Zealand First are going to put New Zealanders first."

In his unequivocal commitment "not to support backing a free trade deal with China" how can he discharge his task as Foreign Minister when the Labour Minority Government is committed to such an agreement.

But there is worse - he now wants legislation which expired at the close of the last Parliament (the electoral integrity provisions of the Electoral Act) to be re-enacted to lock in his NZ First MPs rather than rely on their loyalty.

And for those who are biblical scholars one is no doubt reminded of that great line from 1 Corinthians 13:12

And now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face

Greenhouse gases and Kyoto
A new report by economic consultancy Castalia concludes that it will be impossible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in New Zealand to meet our Kyoto Protocol targets without causing severe economic hardship to New Zealanders.

The report was prepared by Castalia for the Greenhouse Policy Coalition, an industry association representing energy intensive companies on greenhouse gas and climate change issues.

Author of the report, Alex Sundakov, says until new technologies have been developed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel use and agriculture, it will be impossible to reduce emissions in New Zealand if we want to continue to grow our economy.

The rights of prisoners

On 6 October 2005 the European Court of Human Rights gave a decision that there had been a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights by the United Kingdom in its refusal to allow a prisoner to vote in Parliamentary or local elections.

The particular prisoner who took the case had pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and had been sentenced to a term of discretionary life imprisonment.

The European Court said that prisoners continue to enjoy the fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed under the convention except for the right to liberty and the United Kingdom statute - the Representation of the People's Act 1983 - breached the Convention.

In New Zealand prisoners serving a sentence of life imprisonment, a sentence of preventive detention or a sentence of imprisonment for a term of three years or more are disqualified for registration as electors under the Electoral Act 1993.

Offshore red tape and the bureaucracy

In the editorial comment of a recent issue of the Daily Telegraph the writer said "our country is increasingly being run by meddlesome functionaries who need to justify their salaries by issuing asinine directives". The writer was commenting on the ruling that Police officers in Suffolk may no longer hoist a flag at their station on health and safety grounds.

John Young the Chairman of Young & Co (a major English Brewery) noted that in the brewery yard, signs warning of speed limits in miles per hour must have "MPH" printed after the figures. The reason is, according to the bureaucrats, that drivers from overseas could be confused in the brewery. Apparently they are not similarly confused while driving up the M20.

New Zealand heroes - Part 2 of a continuing series - William Pickering
The launch of Sputnik in 1957 forced the United States into the space race. Fighting in the Cold War the Americans needed to show the world that they too could launch a rocket into space - and they had to do it quickly. Less than three months later Explorer 1 was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The man behind it was William Pickering from Wellington.

Political Quote of the Week
"It is not enough to open the gates of opportunity. All of our citizens must have the ability to walk through those gates" - Lyndon Johnson - 36th US President

Upcoming Events

22-24 October
Labour Weekend - have a enjoyable and safe weekend
25 October
60th anniversary of the United Nations reception in Wellington
Launch of "The Judicial Process: Realism, Pragmatism, Practical Reasoning & Principles" by Rt Hon E W Thomas
28 October
40th anniversary of Wellington Samaritans.
29 October
Fundraising concert for Burmese refugees in Takapuna
30 October
Valley Road Independent Church Special "Celebration Sunday"
Auckland Diwali celebrations at Aotea Centre
Opening of Order St John OSJ Hibiscus Coast complex
31 October - 7.30pm
Remuera Branch meeting
1 November
Epsom "Melbourne Cup" function at Northern Club
2 November
AmCham-UPS Business Awards in Auckland
4 November
Epsom "Newsmakers" Breakfast with guest speaker Tim Groser
5 November
Auckland Indian Assn Diwali concert
7 November
Commission Opening and swearing in of MPs and confirmation of Speaker
8 November
State Opening of Parliament
"End of Ramadhan" and Silver Jubilee of FIANZ function in Wellington
19 November
Monaco National Day
20 November
Toast Martinborough
Laura Fergusson Christmas Fair

Richard Worth

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