Mr. Yang admitted that in the 1980s and early ’90s, before emigrating to Australia and then moving to New Zealand to teach at a university, he studied and taught at two Chinese educational institutions run by the People’s Liberation Army, China’s armed forces.
Dispatch from Down UnderPosted: November 7, 2017 Filed under: Australia, New Zealand Leave a comment
Asked our correspondent Barcelona Jim in Sydney to sum up of what’s up down there. He writes:
Australasian Politics has had a dose of Trump style mix ups, send ups, controversies, ejections and elections and chaotic decisions in this last week.In a short period that involves New Zealand as much as it involves scandals, the new Prime Minister of NZ was told by the media she had won the election whilst painting her back fence in her track pants.
Ardern got straight to work, looking seeming bored when receiving a congratulatory call from President Trump, but had an enjoyable conversation with a journalist phoning her team to ask the correct pronunciation of “Ardern” – only to get straight through to the PM herself to have a genial chat.Meanwhile – Australia is in an uproar about a long forgotten amendment to our constitution, Article 22.This states that members of parliament cannot hold dual citizenship.Beginning with a right-wing party calling out a left-wing member the news achieved enough attention to call the deputy PM of Australia, Barnaby Joyce, along with several others into question.
In a decision handed out yesterday by the high court of Australia, Barnaby and four other senators are foisted out, leaving the opposing party with no longer a majority.Meanwhile the previously mentioned party organised a federal police raid on the opposing party’s Australian Worker’s Union, but was tipped off by media leading to a Federal Investigation and a resigning of at least one staffer and possibly a leading member.Many members, senators, leaders of parliament are in a current flutter of back-stabbing, investigations, constitutional rediscovery.If this sounds confusing… It is.Best of wishes to Mueller.
He said he had not named the Chinese military institutions on his application for New Zealand citizenship, and had instead listed “partner institutions” as his employers, because that was what the Chinese “system” had told him to do.
Mr. Yang conceded that he had taught English to spies, but said he had never been a spy himself, was no longer a member of the Communist Party, and had been contracted and paid only as a so-called civilian officer.
Mr. Yang has not been officially investigated in New Zealand or charged with espionage.
But Nicholas Eftimiades, a former officer with the Central Intelligence Agency with extensive experience on China matters, said the title of civilian officer was a fluid one in China.
Mr. Eftimiades, now a lecturer at Penn State Harrisburg in Pennsylvania, said officers moved seamlessly between military and civilian assignments to include Chinese army units and work in the defense industry, think tanks and universities.
More investigation into New Zealand politicsPosted: September 25, 2017 Filed under: New Zealand, politics Leave a comment
The Economist reports:
A larger-than-life sculpture made of manure that depicts the hapless environment minister, Nick Smith, defecating into a glass of water has been a hit.
Some American politician should steal the New Zealand First party’s idea for the SuperGold card:
The SuperGold Card, a discounts and concessions card for senior citizens and veterans, has been a major initiative of the party.
New Zealand First established a research team to design the SuperGold Card, which included public transport benefits like free off-peak travel (funded by the government) and discounts from businesses and companies across thousands of outlets. Winston Peters negotiated with then-Prime Minister Helen Clark, despite widespread opposition to the card on the grounds of high cost. As a condition of the 2005 confidence and supply agreement between New Zealand First and the Labour Government, Peters launched the SuperGold Card in August 2007.
The card is available to all eligible New Zealanders over the age of 65. The card provides over 600,000 New Zealanders with access to a wide range of government and local authority services, business discounts, entitlements and concessions, such as hearing aid subsidies. A Veterans’ SuperGold Card, also exists for those who have served in the New Zealand Defence Force in a recognised war or emergency.
SuperGold Card came under threat in 2010 when National Minister Steven Joyce tried to terminate free SuperGold transport on some more expensive public transport services, including the Waiheke Island ferry and the Wairarapa Connection train. The Minister retreated when he came under fire from senior citizens.
Give old people a card that gets them free stuff! They’ll love it!
How big are places compared to other places?Posted: September 9, 2016 Filed under: Australia, maps, New Zealand, the California Condition, the ocean, the world around us Leave a comment
Traveling across the South Island of New Zealand by train, I was trying to work out for myself how big exactly the country is.
With the help of OverlapMaps, here’s a comparison of New Zealand to California:
The total land area of New Zealand, says Google, is 103,483 mi²
In US state terms, that makes it just smaller than Colorado, at 104,185 mi².
Colorado has about 1 million more people.
Colorado: 5.356 million (2014)
New Zealand: 4.5 million
Pop wise New Zealand is about the size of Kentucky or Louisiana.
The folks at Brilliant Maps do fantastic work in this field. Here are some of my favorites:
Los Angeles and other cities overlaid on The Netherlands:
US in China by population:
And The Circle:
Here’s one more for you, from OverlandMaps:
Australia’s population is 23.13 million or so, so it’s about three million people bigger than Florida (20.2 mill) and smaller than Texas (27.46 mill). Whole lotta room down there. About as many people as Illinois and Pennsylvania put together, in a land area (2.97 million square miles) that’s about as big as 51 Illinoises.
Cape FlatteryPosted: August 25, 2016 Filed under: New Zealand Leave a comment
Stormy day in Lyttelton, New Zealand.
Named, apparently, after George Lyttelton:
Shackleton left from Lyttelton on his first Antarctic expedition:
On this day, there was a ship in the harbor called Cape Flattery:
I had to look up where Cape Flattery is:
Cape Flattery is the northwesternmost point of the contiguous United States.
Cape Flattery is the oldest permanently named feature in Washington state, being described and named by James Cook on March 22, 1778. Cook wrote: “… there appeared to be a small opening which flattered us with the hopes of finding an harbour … On this account I called the point of land to the north of it Cape Flattery.
I learn that beloved 1930s movie characters Ma and Pa Kettle live on Cape Flattery:
Ma (Phoebe Kettle, played by Marjorie Main) is a robust and raucous country woman with a potato sack figure.
Wikipedia helpfully links to the article on potato sack:
Further Investigations into New Zealand politicsPosted: August 21, 2016 Filed under: New Zealand Leave a comment
I was interviewed on the phone with someone from this great website in New Zealand. (A stressful interview because I was late to meet Nick Wegener at Callendar’s, let’s hope I didn’t embarrass myself!) I mentioned I’d been reading up on New Zealand’s prime minister John Key. She suggested I look into John Key’s son, who is a DJ who drives around in a Ferrari apparently.
Here are some photos of him, and here is his song:
Brushing up on New Zealand politicsPosted: August 11, 2016 Filed under: New Zealand 2 Comments
John Key is the prime minister:
In November 2012, Key told students at St Hilda’s Collegiate in Dunedin that football star David Beckham was “thick as batshit”. The comments were picked up by UK papers The Daily Mirror and The Sun. On the same day, there was controversy over Key’s comments to a radio host that his shirt was “gay”. “You’re munted mate, you’re never gonna make it, you’ve got that gay red top on there”, he told host Jamie Mackay on RadioSport’s Farming Show. The following day, Lord of the Rings actor Sir Ian McKellen said in a blog entry that Key should “watch his language”.
It would appear from a brief scan that Key’s nemesis is internet pirate king Kim Dotcom:
The event causing perhaps[original research?] the most embarrassment to John Key was the arrest of Kim Dotcom and the subsequent revelations that the New Zealand Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) had illegally spied on Dotcom.
Christchurch, New ZealandPosted: July 15, 2016 Filed under: New Zealand Leave a comment
Going to Christchurch, New Zealand for the WORD Readers and Writers festival at the end of August. Doing some research, I found this picture. Looks cool!
If I had the time I would like to bike the Queen Charlotte Track:
That looks cool but I guess it will be cold.
Who was Queen Charlotte, exactly? She was George III’s wife, a tough job.
What were once called the Queen Charlotte islands in British Columbia are now Haida Gwaii. I agree that’s a better name.
This lady sure got a lot of piney, fjord type areas named after her.