Phylica pubescens

Phylica pubescens

A small (1–1.5 metre tall) evergreen tree noticed during the Lions Garden Trail; possibly Te Horo Ornamentals grow it.  A description via Ben of Leafland:

Featherhead, flannel flower

Evergreen shrub from South Africa with narrow grey-green leaves densely covered with soft hairs. Tiny flowers with a very mild cinnamon scent, surrounded by showy, hairy, golden creamy bracts appear at the ends of the branches in autumn through to late winter. Often sold as the smaller growing Phylica plumosa (.3–.6 metre tall).

Happiest in full sun and well-draining soil. Copes well with dry conditions and is suitable for coastal gardens. Tolerates light to medium frosts (to about -6 degrees Celsius).

This would be the perfect plant for a ‘tactile’ garden; it feels so nice and soft. Lasts well on water as a cut flower or cut foliage, and can also dried. Once in flower, Phylica pubescens looks amazing since the whole plant is usually covered with its unusual flowers.

legal challenge to the Jacinda government’s gun bans by the Coalition of Licensed Firearms Owners

by Nicole McKee, Spokesperson

Fair and Reasonable Campaign

Last night I met with the lawyers again to discuss what Parliament is doing on the Arms Legislation Bill and our court case against Stuart Nash and the Government.

This Court case is our one chance to have Stuart Nash and Jacinda Ardern’s unfair decisions reviewed by the Courts before the election.

Now that the Parliamentary vote is so tight, the case is even more important to demonstrate to New Zealanders why what the Government is doing is wrong.

I know a lot of people have held off contributing to the cause until we could demonstrate that we had a good case, and a court date.  That time is right now, so I am writing to ask you to contribute to our legal fighting fund.

The judicial review is designed to enlist NZ First, National, and ACT, in reinstating what was once unchallenged principle: that taking away property rights and creating serious punishment overnight, is wrong. NZ First is the key.

Because the Select Committee heard and found nothing to justify most of this second instalment, there is no reason why NZ First can’t tell their Cabinet colleagues they just won’t allow last year’s tragedy in Christchurch to be exploited. NZ First knows that the Bill attacks lawful firearms users, not criminals. They know the Bill has scarcely a single provision relevant to stopping terrorists or other criminal shooters (whether mad or bad).

But turning around a political juggernaut is hard. Politicians in a democracy respond to majority opinion. And as you’ve seen over the last eight months, we have been working furiously to ensure the public can look behind the slogans they heard at a vulnerable time last year.  

So to win, we have to ensure there is enough media and public understanding of the facts so that (1): NZ First blocks the ‘own goal’ aspects of the Bill, and (2) National also feel confident of enough public understanding to agree with (and support) any NZ First-led initiative.

Our Court case is an essential part of the campaign to show how wrong the Police advice has been, and how unprincipled. Media and other opinion leaders can start with prejudice, but they trust courts to be objective.

In Court for two days starting May 4

We have just been given the Court timetable: two days starting on 4 May at the High Court in Wellington (the Monday and Tuesday immediately following duck shooting opening weekend).

We have a strong case. We’ve chosen to take on the government on the set of facts where Stuart Nash and Jacinda Ardern are at their weakest. Our QC is getting ready to represent us.  But we still need your help to get us to the fundraising target so we can put up the best possible case.

We’ve asked the Court to look at the Government’s process in the banning of ammo. Because their ammo definitions have absolutely nothing to do with safety. Stuart Nash just applied Police prejudices, unsupported by research or disciplined risk assessments.

Worse, they denied compensation completely, as if people with banned ammo became wrong-doers overnight.

So we are focused on this aspect, as our lawyers are confident that this route is the best demonstration of the Government’s lack of reason in poor processes by the Minister and the Police. But many of the principles and objections apply to the Government’s approach in other areas.

Before the hearing, our team needs to finish gathering our evidence – including from international experts. We want to lodge affidavits from them, reply to the Government’s evidence, make written legal submissions and cross submissions.  All of those steps churn time and resources. We cannot let the Government burn us off, that is why I am asking for your support right now.

We are asking the court to recognise that a Minister without good reason to know it would make people safer, should get told to start again, and next time to offer fair compensation, or explain why not.

While the lawyers are heavily discounting their usual fees, that fact is the Government is ensuring that this process isn’t cheap.

Will you make a contribution to the firearm owners’ fighting fund, so we can take on Stuart Nash’s taxpayer-funded legal team?

To put our best foot forward, we need to raise at least $41,500 to ensure we get a valuable precedent that everyone remembers, next time they want to scapegoat ordinary people instead of targeting criminals.

The Government’s approach was designed to create a ‘them and us’ climate in New Zealand – to exploit an opportunity to create fear of firearms and of firearm owners. Winning this case makes it easier for sensible, decent people, who know little of firearms, to approve of their MPs cutting back on the toxic stuff in the Bill. It makes it more respectable to sympathise with our cause. Winning the case should get, at a minimum, a Judge to tell the Government to go back to the drawing board, at least on the ammo decisions.

And that is all part of the bigger, unending, campaign to ensure that for the foreseeable future, politicians are not tempted to think it will be easy to win votes by vilifying lawful firearms users.

Winning this case is a vital part of the strategy to cement in place a widespread Wellington understanding that lying about firearms users will cost more, politically, than it is worth. Because we will not lie down and take it. We will make the truth known. Please support this Court case, to make that happen.

p.s. The legal case is just one of the strategies we are implementing to defeat the Government and the proposed new bans.

train passenger journeys to and from Waikanae station increased by 60% between 2016 and 2019




That is the remarkable statistic revealed in the above OIA response from the Greater Wellington Regional Council.  (The journeys figure for 2019 actually looks a little lower than one would expect, given the increase over the two previous years.)

It explains why parking around the station — and the town centre — has become such a big problem.

It is something that the WCB members are looking at right now in conjection with council staffers and Beca consultants involved with Town Centre traffic and safety.

One of the answers must be to encourage Waikanae people to use the buses more — we are told that the route around the hill zone streets is poorly patronised, for example.

But there is also the fact that many commuters from Otaki and Levin drive to Waikanae to get the trains.  Not only that, Jill Griggs says she knows of Paraparaumu people who drive to Waikanae, because it is standing room only on the trains there.

Short term an answer is to run longer trains and we’re told that the power substations on the Kapiti line have been upgraded to allow that.

Longer term, well, congestion at the Elizabeth Street level crossing is going to get steadily worse.  But on a slightly more positive note, a separate response from KiwiRail says that there were no blockages on the level crossing caused by stopped trains in the past 5 years.  One hates to think of the chaos that would cause!

Food for Thought: from the History Channel: ‘Little Ice Age: Big Chill’

About 1,000 years ago world temperatures were a lot warmer than they are now: Greenland was literally that. About the year 1300 that started to change:

“From 1300 to 1850, a period of cataclysmic cold caused havoc. It froze Viking colonists in Greenland, accelerated the Black Death in Europe, decimated the Spanish Armada, and helped trigger the French Revolution. The Little Ice Age reshaped the world in ways that now seem the stuff of fantasy–New York Harbor froze and people walked from Manhattan to Staten Island, Eskimos sailed kayaks as far south as Scotland, and two feet of snow fell on New England in June and July during “the Year Without a Summer”. Could another catastrophic cold snap strike in the 21st century? Leading climatologists offer the latest theories, and scholars and historians recreate the history that could be a glimpse of things to come. Face the cold, hard truth of the past–an era that may be a window to our future…”

damage done to the new Mahara Place ‘stage’ by teenage skateboarders

Mahara Place stage damage

Since the completion of the Mahara Place renovations about 6 months ago, teenage skateboarders have been launching off the slatted wood stage — and in doing so have been causing a safety risk for passers-by enjoying the redeveloped area — and damage to the stage.

They are not allowed to be skateboarding there, and there is a purpose-built area for it in Waikanae Park.  We recommend that if readers see this happening, you remonstrate with the offenders.

WCB members are talking to the police and agitating for council CCTV cameras in Mahara Place, but that won’t be enough. (photo by Margaret Stevenson-Wright)

Waikanae audiologist helps Kiribati children hear

from the Kapiti News:

Wanita Hunter

Wanita Hunter owns an audiology company called Kiwi Hearing, but she is expanding her reach a lot further than kiwis.

Working as an audiologist for Kiwi Hearing in Waikanae, Wanita has flown the nest all the way to Kiribati to provide hearing to children on an island where hearing support is barely existent.

With a population just over 110,000 Kiribati is made up of 32 atolls, ring-shaped coral reefs encircling a lagoon, and many islands.

More than half the population lives on Tarawa atoll and while it may look like a beautiful place with coral reefs and clear blue water, the lagoon is used for everything.

Read the rest

the British royals — wealthy, but it’s chicken feed compared with the Saudis

As far as we can tell, the main cost to the NZ taxpayer of being a monarchy is that of the Governor General, their premises and staff — and that would be incurred regardless if there was another state figurehead in a republic. —Eds

By Paul Mulvaney

Saudi royalsThe British Royal family is collectively worth ‘only’ $US 88 billion compared with the net worth of over $US 2 trillion of the Saudi Royal family (the House of Saud).

However, most the Crown’s assets are not personally owned: for example, Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, St James Palace, Windsor Castle, and the Tower of London belong to the Crown estate, and cannot be sold.

Nevertheless, Balmoral Castle, Sandringham House and Frogmore Cottage and others belong to the Queen personally, and could be sold if she wished. But the Crown Jewels, the Royal Art collection and the Royal Library are all Crown assets, which cannot be disposed of by the royals.

The actual worth of Queen Elizabeth II is estimated at about $US 520 million, which places her 144th most wealthy person in Great Britain. This means that she is not as wealthy as some New Zealand mega-rich like Graeme Hart, Michael Fay and David Richwhite, the Todd family, or the American billionaire Julian Robertson who lives in New Zealand.

The British Royal family generates an income of about $2.3 billion to the British economy from tourism and visits e.g. Trooping the Colour, Changing of the Guard, VE day and Remembrance day, Royal weddings, etc. So I think that they are more value for money than the Saudi Royal Family, who are despots anyway.

Changing times

Magna CartaBritain has had a constitutional monarchy since 1215 when King John signed the Magna Carta (Great Charter) and more so since 1265 when aristocrat Simon de Montfort won the right from King Henry III for the nation to have a parliament or assembly of the “Commons”. Before these times, there was an absolute monarchy when the King (or Queen) held complete power over their people, including the noblemen and the serfs. However, he/she did consult with chosen “Councillors”.

Diana Spencer was not of royal blood despite connections. I guess Megan might have sensed that and the vibes from the others might not have been all that positive. Therefore I was,  not surprised they have ‘pseudo-left’ the Royal Family.

I know that Royal visits cost quite a lot, but it’s less than $1 per British person per year, not bad value really. It is true that the British taxpayer funds the ‘civil list’ which for the Queen alone is $97 million per year, but they get value for money from her knowledge and diplomacy. It’s the royal hangers-on and other members of the extended family who are a bit of a drain.

Looking ahead

Charles and CamillaDepending upon the Queen’s circumstances, I think once Prince Charles gets his crown he will slim down the Monarchy, which has been economising recently, and also cut back on members of the royal family who receive a civil list allowance, e.g the Queen’s cousins, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Prince Michael of Kent, and Princess Alexandra Ogilvie, etc.

Already, the children of Princess Margaret get nothing from the civil list, and they had ordinary jobs, and Princess Anne’s children have ordinary jobs and receive no civil list income, and don’t have royal titles.

More analysis here