Whale Oil hypocrisy on ‘free speech’

It’s very ironic that when I tried to comment on a Whale Oil post The left HATE free speech I got this message:


Whale Oil blocked

More than a bit ironic.

They took offence at what I’ve also posted here: Why there’s anger, Murray

When saw content decided you taken enough from us @Whaleoil

Not a free speech thing, but upholding standards

Ironic on the same day they posted Tania Billingsley and the Green and Rape Crisis fingerprints.

We speak uncomfortable truth…

…and reckless speculation, but seem to be uncomfortable with alternate ‘truth’.



Harawira apologises for “bugger all” comment

Hone Harawira has given a ‘sincere apology’ for a comment he made last week about the Malaysian diplomat case when he said “I think all of the media, their heads should roll for making a big fuss about bugger all.”

Stuff reports: Harawira U-turn in diplomat sex case

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira has apologised for calling the row over a sexual assault charge against a diplomat “bugger all.”

The Te Tai Tokerau MP made the remarks on political panel show Backbenches last week.

Asked on the show about the political storm around alleged attacker Muhammad Rizalman bin Ismail, Harawira said: “I think all of the media, their heads should roll for making a big fuss about bugger all.”

The country was facing more pressing matters such as “kids starving”, he said.

Harawira added: “Let’s just keep it there, it’s allegedly, and so until such time that this sorts its self out, let’s get on with running the country in the best interests of all off the citizens.”

Now Harawira says he made a “big mistake” and praised Tania Billingsley, the 22-year-old victim of the alleged attack, for speaking out about mishandling of the case.

In a Facebook post this morning, Harawira said: “I want to sincerely apologise if my comments on Backbenches may seem to have minimised the gravity of the situation regarding the young woman who asked police to investigate the complaint of sexual assault against the Malaysian diplomat.

“I have reviewed the tape and I accept that my comments were not helpful at all.

“Sexual assault IS a big deal, and I applaud Tania Rose Billingsley for her brave and courageous appearance on television last night.”

It’s good of Harawira to acknowledge his mistake and apologise for it.

Warmest June On Record

June Climate Summary – Warmest June On Record
Wednesday, 2 July 2014, 4:56 pm
Press Release: NIWA

NIWA is today officially announcing that New Zealanders have just experienced the warmest June since records began in 1909.

The June Climate Summary…
Highlights include:
• An exceptionally warm start to winter
• Dozens of climate stations placed in the top four for warmest June ever recorded
• Nationwide average temperature in June 2014 was 10.3°C surpassing the previous record for warmest June in 2003.
• There have now been nine Junes since 1909 where the departure from average has been greater than 1.0°C.
• Of those 9 instances, 5 have occurred since the year 2000 and 8 since the year 1970.


Here in Dunedin temperatures have plummeted today but June had seemed abnormally mild. Daffodils coming up, fruit trees starting to blossom, unseasonal buds and flowers all over the place. They might get knocked back a bit now but if winter hasn’t hit properly until July it doesn’t feel like it will be a hard or a long one.

Brief Summary

Full summary: Climate_Summary_June_2014.docx

China’s huge building boom compared to USA

Huffington Post points out a how huge China’s building programme has been in Bill Gates Just Blew Our Minds In A Single Tweet.


The most staggering statistic in @VaclavSmil’s new book: http://b-gat.es/1oYsC7G 

This points to:

Huff Post also point out:

Between 1901 and 2000, the U.S. built an entire interstate highway system, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Hoover Dam and just about all of its skyscrapers — to name just a few concrete-intensive things. China did all that, and almost half again, in just three years.

That’s massive in comparison.

UPDATE: One of the costs.

Key on possible election alliances

John Key talked to Newstalk ZB’s Leighton Smith today about possible alliances with other parties.

Leighton Smith: The post election alliances, the parties you’re prepared to work with, when are you going to announce that and let’s do it now.

John Key: So what we did at the start of the year, which is probably more than anyone else has done, we sat  there and we said look, we’ve got some parties we can work with, we’ve worked well with United, Act and the Maori Party over the last six years and we’re happy to work with them again in the future.

We think we could work with the Conservatives if they make it, and we’d be prepared to have discussions with Winston Peters if he wanted to.

So that sort of gives people an indication of who we can and who we can’t work with.

You know what sort of accommodations we may or may not so, look we’ll make some decisions on that a bit nearer the time.

Obviously the particular issues are Epsom when it comes to Act, Ohariu when it comes to United, and whether we find some way of accommodation Colin Craig

Leighton Smith: It would appear as far as Colin Craig is concerned that you’ve run out of options…

John Key: Not necessarily…

Leighton Smith: …according to Mark Mitchell…

John Key: yeah, yeah well no I don’t think that’s right, in the end, National obviously believes that we’re the best party to be the governing party of this country, and MMP’s a system that causes, that forces you to find coalitions.

So you know in the end New Zealand’s got a chance to test that out in 2011. What they said overwhelmingly like it or not was that they wanted to keep that system and it’s a system that drives coalitions.

So what I’ve tried to do and am keen to do is treat the electorate with some maturity and respect and say look rather than play games here’s roughly the combinations and you guys decide.

Now when it comes to the Conservatives, they’re in a bit of a different position to United and Act. You’ve got to remember both of those parties won their seat in their own right at times where National pretty heavily contested those seats. That’s not the case with the Conservatives but that doesn’t mean that we couldn’t find a way through but I wouldn’t necessarily guarantee that we would.

Leighton Smith: When you say they won their seats where National contested them fairly heavily, you’re talking about about the original time or…

John Key: Yep. yeah I mean I accept that in 2011 we gave a very strong signal in Epsom for people to give their electorate vote to John Banks and the act Party and their party vote to National. Similarly in Wellington and Ohariu the same thing with United a pretty clear sort of view.

But I mean at the end of the day there’s nothing new about this, you hear David Cunliffe saying oh somehow there’s something odd about this. Well go back and trace  the history of it. Labour’s done the same thing with Alliance, they did the same thing with the Greens. there’s nothing new and in fact you’ve got you know Mana doing that with that Internet crowd at the moment.

Leighton Smith: So where would you think if there was a hole for Mr Craig, where would it most likely be?

John Key: Ah well I don’t honestly know because I haven’t really thought about it in great detail, but what I would say is look, in the end if we had to try and do some sort of deal, um then I’m sure we could find one, because in the end if, if, any member of our caucus will want the Government, National to be a part of the Government,  and in the end if that is what was required I’m sure they’d do it.

But I just wouldn’t jump to conclusions there because we’re a long way away from that position really with the Conservatives.

Leighton Smith: Right, but we’re not that far away, you are starting to run out of, well getting close to the wire…

John Key: Yeah we’re ninety nine days…

Leighton Smith: …it’s not that long, it’ll be gone in a flash.

John Key: Correct. But I mean don’t forget we’re in the position where we’re saying that. Labour on the other hand is saying well, you know, we’re going to work with Mana and Internet or whatever, um, Winston won’t tell you who he’ll work with and who he won’t, so  half the political parties are going to talk to you after the election, half of them will try and tell you one thing and do another, at least we’re going to be transparent.

So look, before the, well and truly before people are going to go to the polls they’ll have a sense of what we think makes sense.

Leighton Smith: Let me ask a question that’s been asked many times before and there’s a standard answer but, but, the possible combination of National and Labour. Is there any set of circumstances you could envisage where that could happen?

John Key: Well it’s happened in Germany, that’s ultimately…

Leighton Smith: I mean here though.

John Key: Yeah I know. Ah well I think no, um, but you look in a lot of ways, ah at times in the  history of the two parties they’ve been more similar, you know National’s been centre right and Labour’s been centre left.

This election is actually very unusual because you’ve got the Labour Party tracking a long way left and us staying very much in the centre, but I just don’t see that happening.

I think New Zealanders fundamentally want to have a choice, and I think they’d rather, they will probably, they’ve had a very canny way of making sure that there’ve been plenty of alternatives, or at least some alternatives to the um, ah, you know for the part that they’ve wanted to govern.

Leighton Smith: Just briefly cover this off for me. The election’s over. National is the biggest party with the most votes, marginally short of being able to pull together a coalition naturally, simply. We’re now into negotiations.

John Key: And that’s a very real possibility.

Leighton Smith: You’ve got, and you’ve got one or two parties that are sitting there, the mini parties that are sitting there hunting for the best deal that they get. Is it a case of government at any price? Or could you imagine a situation, literally imagine a situation where you would say no we’re not paying, we’re not going that far, we’re not paying that penalty. For instance let’s say that um Winston  wanted a Prime Ministerial sharing.

John Key: Ah yes, so there’d certainly be circumstances  where we’d just say no. And I think actually it’s be in the interests of the National Party to say no, because in reality if you did a deal that was so toxic that at the end of that three year period you unwound what I think has been the good work we’ve done in the last six years, ah then I think you’re failing the country and you’re failing your supporters.

For me it’s not Government at any price, um and I don’t think it’s practical to be starting to say well the Prime Ministership is something that we share around a bit like, you know, they player of the day.



How Internet/Mana will appear on the ballot

Originally posted on Grumpollie:

I received this email from the very helpful folks at the Electoral Commission today:

It appears that the proposal is for Internet and Mana parties to retain their status as registered parties, but a new umbrella party will be formed called ‘Internet Mana’. The Mana and Internet parties will be component parties of Internet Mana.

The new umbrella party must apply to be registered and must include a declaration that it has component parties. The umbrella party, as part of its application, will need to meet the requirements for registration, including providing evidence that it has 500 current financial members. The new party may also register a new logo for the umbrella party. This would need to be completed before writ day for the election which is 20 August 2014.

The umbrella party will contest the party vote by submitting a Party List. The Party will need to file a…

View original 256 more words

Is Peters up to holding the balance of power?

Performances of Winston Peters have been raising eyebrows and provoking much comment. He is a master of attracting attention, but recent attention is painting a worrying picture.

Peters in ParliamentNot just Peters looking pained.

Peters is obviously past his best. One of the big questions this election will be whether Peters is too far past it to be trusted with potentially deciding the next Government, and dictating to it.

The reaction on Twitter to Peter’s question to John Key in Parliament yesterday was unflattering, to put it mildly.

Peters talked up a smoking gun and after dithering and stumbling he eventually delivered a damp squib.

He has scored some big hits over the course of his career but he has often missed his mark after failing to produce sufficient or any evidence to back up his many accusations.

He claimed yesterday he would damn Judith Collins and end her career – Collins will be ‘gone by Monday’ - Peters

Instead his on career spluttered embarrassingly. He was thrown out of Parliament, possibly a deliberate ploy to feed the media but he only offered stale crumbs. The Winston gloss has worn off, even for entertainment hungry journalists.

3 News: Winston Peters‘ attack on Judith Collins fizzles

Mr Peters claimed he had the knock-out blow which would force Ms Collins to resign.

But it ended with Mr Peters and National MP Tau Henare being kicked out of the House.

Sunday Star Times: Peters kicked out of Parliament

For days, Peters has been claiming he has a smoking gun that would see Prime Minister John Key sack Collins.

But in farcical scenes during Question Time, it took several attempts for him to make the allegations, as he was blocked by Speaker David Carter.

His stumbling caused Key to remark: ”I don’t understand the information that the member has got or the allegation… if the member could just speak a bit more clearly it might help everyone including the media.”

NZ Herald: Knockout blow dimissed as “pop gun”

Asked whether Ms Collins should have declared the support from the Chinese government, Registrar of Pecuniary Interests Sir Maarten Wevers said he didn’t know.

“All I have is what has been stated in the House. I’m in no position to judge the veracity of that. It’s for the member. Should she wish to make a change to the declaration, she can do that. If in her view the declaration is correct as it stands then she doesn’t have to. It’s entirely in her hands.”

However he said any other Member of Parliament “can at any stage ask me to undertake an inquiry into another member’s return”.

Mr Peters has chosen not do that, instead he has referred the matter to Speaker of the House David Carter as a potential breach of Parliamentary Privilege. The last MP who was the subject of a Privileges Committee hearing related to a failure to make pecuniary interest disclosures was Mr Peters himself in 2007 for his failure to declare a donation from businessman Owen Glenn.

Patrick Gower: Peters‘ ‘smoking gun’ on Collins backfires

New Zealand First Party leader Winston Peters signalled to Parliament he had come gunning for Justice Minister Judith Collins this afternoon.
He promised more revelations about her China trip which would see her sacked. But when he pulled the trigger, he appeared to inflict a wound to his own foot.

This isn’t an isolated example. Winston Peters has never taken a balanced approach to political jousting but looks like he is struggling to hold his own balance let alone the balance of power.

In The House: Question 2, Winston Peters to John Key:

‘Cabinet club’ kock up

Karol is an an author at The Standard and claims to be a Green supporter. She promotes her researching ability and has been critical of my researching. Putting oneself on a pedestal  is risky, especially in social media.

She recently posted The politics of private dinners where she promoted a ‘National bad, Labour/Green good’ meme, which she summed up as:

a) the Nats secretive practices that support the profit-making, self -serving power of corporate elites, by exploiting their networks with backroom deals in private place (for the ultimate benefit of the few), and

b) Labour and the Greens very highly publicised acceptance of corporate wealth to publicly support policies to combat climate change (for the ultimate benefit of everyone).

I questioned this, and I asked her to substantiate some of her claims as her post didn’t stack up. She bollocksed me a number of times for “not reading” and “ignoring” her post…

Did you read the post, PG? A major difference is between National Party’s exclusive, and secretive fundraising practices, often seemingly arranged privately and without any verifiable rational organisation other than cronyism, and union activities and Labour Party practices that are transparent and open to public scrutiny.


PG, for goodness sake, you keep making statements that ignore the content of my post.

I tried to find out what Cabinet Clubs are and presented the evidence I’d found in my post. Go read. 

Obviously she saw her research differently to me. What was her evidence? She had used photos to back up her primary points of National’s privacy.

harper-key-abbott dinner

Karol’s comment after this:

However, a distinctive thing about Cabinet Club is the values embedded in the practices, and seen in the exclusive and private nature of the events.  These mostly seem to be focused around cosy private dinners, targeting wealthy donors. 

That was a world wide publicised photo showing the Prime Minister’s of New Zealand, Australia and Canada having a discussion over a meal:

No sign of Barack buddy David Cameron, but here are three of the Queen’s other prime ministers – Australia’s Tony Abbott, Canada’s Stephen Harper, New Zealand’s John Key – having a working lunch ahead of the memorial service.

But what I like about the photo is its ordinariness, right down to the restaurant decor, the wall print of wine bottles, and the spare chair.

From Government by Mere Mortals (Mark Steyn).

The ‘three Prime Ministers’ picture was a very public meeting. And the next example:

This was shown graphically on the 3 News report on the Chinese Cabinet Club event at which immigration minister Michael Woodhouse was a guest speaker.  3 News had obtained a slideshow with images of the event, including this one:

Cabinet Club Woodhouse Chinese

Here mainstream politics meet private activities, within someone’s home.  Woodhouse is set up to speak, with the cosy little dinner table seen in the background; the after-glow of a friendly bit of exclusive networking on a very personal scale.

I queried this a number of times because I wasn’t seeing what karol saw.

Great, PG, so you really haven’t read my post. @ 2.46pm. You said:

Did 3 News show a photo of a secret fundraiser in a private home? I didn’t see it.

head desk – if you want to continue commenting about my post, please make an effort to read (and understand) the post and stop wasting my time & discussion space.

PS; I don’t know how secret it was. I used the term “secretive” – ie that it’s kept pretty well away from public scrutiny.

I pressed her:

karol, the photo you posted didn’t look like a private home setting to me.

I’ve just viewed the news item you linked to again:

This looks nothing like your description. 3 News makes no mention of a home.

So my question stands – can you show any 3 News photo of a ‘cabinet club’ meeting in a private home? That would support your claim…

a) the Nats secretive practices that support the profit-making, self -serving power of corporate elites, by exploiting their networks with backroom deals in private place (for the ultimate benefit of the few),

…but I don’t think the coverage you posted and linked to does.

karol has now accepted that. She conceded:

Fair enough. It wasn’t stated as a private home in the vid. But to me the photo looks like it is in a private home.

The slide show in the link shows what is obviously not a private home. There’s sign writing on the windows and doors (in Chinese). There are toilet signs.

Karol seems to have been intent on pushing a “National bad, private meetings, secerecy” meme and was blind to what the evidence she presented actually showed. She insisted I was not taking any notice of her evidence but i saw what she didn’t – her kock up.

No one likes being proved wrong. As is standard at The Standard karol didn’t take this very well, as advised by lprent:


I would strongly suggest that you limit your comments on karol's posts. She is rather pissed off with you. She really doesn't like wasting the time that she could expend on research for another post simply saying "you're wrong and here is why" on her posts without some actual useful discussion ensuing. For that matter neither do I, her posts are invariably interesting because of the research she puts into them (even though I seldom agree fully).

I think she was of the opinion that it was simple deliberate diversion trolling. I was of the opinion that you were being your usual crass and rather unthinking self. However she didn't offer the fateful words taht would cause me to just accept her opinion as fact. But whatever it was, I suspect that you will be a short shift next time and I will have the pleasure of seeing karol do her very first ban. :twisted: ]

karol was pissed off because she was hoist by her own petard. “Diversion trolling” is Standard-speak for challenging authors who might not always be correct.

And there was a Standard outcome. As has happened before this initiated a campaign to hound me off the blog and initially resulted in me being put into auto-moderation (Standard-speak “the ban sword hovering to enforce meek compliance”). lprent took me back off moderation long enough to use a lame excuse to ban me – not ironically this was over pointing out evidence he provided proved a point I was making.

[That is a deliberate repeated lie and one that there is no absolutely basis in any fact for.

Standard-speak for "don't debate with head censor".

Banned for four weeks so we can talk without an idiot astroturfing. ]

Standard-speak for message control and protecting their bull from being challenged.

This just proves the obvious and resulted in the inevitable. Such is the level of debate at The Standard, where their resident trolls deliberately and repeatedly lie without any restriction to enforce message control.

I used to think karol was more reasonable and research and fact based, but she seems to have been sucked in to the Standard system. Unlike some of the others I put her kock-up down to sloppiness rather than the deliberate disingenuous messages of some of their other authors, but her reaction was part of the Standard regime.

Their blog, their rules, but I think debate on the left is the worse for it.

The uncle I never knew


Born in North Wales (Caernarfon area) – 20 May 1922 ?, Forden Volume 11b, Page 267 (near Welshpool)

Emigrated with family to New Zealand 1929.

Lived in Queenstown, Arthur’s Point, Monowai.

Kenneth William Lloyd
Lance Corporal
Kenneth William
World War II, 1939-1945
12 April 1945
Killed in action
Faenza War Cemetery, Italy
IV. C. 15.
Kenneth Lloyd was the son of Robert David Lloyd and of Florence Annie Lloyd (nee Davies), of Tuatapere, Southland, New Zealand.
Portrait, Weekly News
Commonwealth War Graves Commission. URL: http://www.cwgc.org

New Zealand Infantry 24th Battalion

Faenza, Italy:

Kenneth Faenza gravestone


Kenneth certificatehttp://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2237523/LLOYD,%20KENNETH%20WILLIAM

Cemetery notes and/or description:
Faenza War Cemetery contains 1,152 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War.

On 3 September 1943 the Allies invaded the Italian mainland, the invasion coinciding with an armistice made with the Italians who then re-entered the war on the Allied side. Following the fall of Rome to the Allies in June 1944, the German retreat became ordered and successive stands were made on a series of defensive lines. In the northern Appenine mountains the last of these, the Gothic Line, was breached by the Allies during the Autumn campaign and the front inched forward as far as Ravenna in the Adriatic sector, but with divisions transferred to support the new offensive in France, and the Germans dug in to a number of key defensive positions, the advance stalled as winter set in. The war cemetery at Faenza was formed during these months for the burial of those who were killed in the static fighting before the Allied advance was renewed in April 1945.

Spring 1945 offensive in Italy

The Spring 1945 offensive in Italy, codenamed Operation Grapeshot,[5] was the Allied attack by Fifth United States Army,British 8th Army and Brazilian Expeditionary Force into theLombardy Plain which started on 6 April 1945 and ended on 2 May with the surrender of German forces in Italy.

Date 6 April 1945 – 2 May 1945
Location Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy and the Veneto regions, northern Italy


In the first week of April, diversionary attacks were launched on the extreme right and left of the Allied front to draw German reserves away from the main assaults to come. This included Operation Roast, an assault by British 2nd Commando Brigade supported by the partisans of 28th Garibaldi Brigade and armour to capture the seaward isthmus of land bordering Lake Comacchio and seize Port Garibaldi on the lake’s north side. Meanwhile, damage to other transport infrastructure having forced Axis forces to use sea, canal and river routes for re-supply, Axis shipping was being attacked in bombing raids such as Operation Bowler.

The build-up to the main assault started on 6 April with a heavy artillery bombardment of the Senio defenses. In the early afternoon of 9 April, 825 heavy bombers dropped fragmentation bombs on the support zone behind the Senio followed by medium and fighter bombers. From 15:20 to 19:10, five heavy artillery barrages were fired, each lasting 30 minutes, interspersed with fighter bomber attacks. In support of the New Zealand operations, 28 Churchill Crocodiles and 127 Wasp flamethrower vehicles were deployed along the front.

The 8th Indian Division, New Zealand 2nd Division and 3rd Carpathian Division (on the Polish Corps front at Route 9) attacked at dusk. In fighting in which there were two Victoria Crosses won by 8th Indian Division members, they had reached the river Santerno, 3.5 miles (5.6 km) beyond, by dawn on 11 April. The New Zealanders had reached the Santerno at nightfall on 10 April and succeeded in making a crossing at dawn on 11 April. The Poles had closed on the Santerno by the night of 11 April.[17]

By late morning of 12 April, after an all night assault, the 8th Indian Division was established on the far side of the Santerno and the British 78th Division started to pass through to make the assault on Argenta. In the meantime the British 24th Guards Brigade, part of British 56th (London) Division, had launched an amphibious flanking attack from the water and mud to the right of the Argenta Gap. Although they gained a foothold, they were still held up at positions on the Fossa Marina on the night of 14 April. 78th Division was also held up on the same day on the Reno River at Bastia.



2nd New Zealand Division

The 2nd New Zealand Infantry Division was a military unit sent by New Zealand to fight in Africa and Europe during World War II, following his declaration of war against the Axis forces. She fought in several theaters from 1940 to 1945.

The defense of Greece

The primary mission of the division was pushing the German forces invaded Greece in the spring of 1941 during Operation Marita. Despite the presence of other Australian and British units, she had to leave the country invaded by Germany.

Battle of Crete

Following the retreat, the division was sent to Crete, where she was responsible for the defense of the island. Its commander, General Bernard Freyberg was in command of all troops present. The Germans had recourse to an airborne assault to capture the island. Fast enough, the German forces took over and eventually forcing New Zealand to leave Crete without equipment. However, due to heavy losses during the operation Merkur, Hitler no longer republished airborne assaults.

Desert warfare

As a result of these failures, the unit was transferred to North Africa in the 8th Army where they had to stand up to the Afrika Korps of General Rommel. The division played an important role during the Crusader operation and especially during the Second Battle of El Alamein where it broke through the German positions and found himself behind the side of Rommel. But the British could not send reinforcements to the division suffered heavy losses against the Panzers Rommel Ruweisat Bridge.

Monte Cassino

The division made its return to Europe after landing in Italy. Being reorganized following the losses it had suffered, she did not participate much in the Sicilian countryside. She joined the 8th Army at the end of 1943. In February 1944, it replaced the 4th Indian Division on the Adriatic coast. She then formed the New Zealand body that belonged to the U.S. 5th Army. The body was joined by the 78th British Infantry Division. New Zealand then participated in two unsuccessful attempts to capture the monastery during the battle of Monte Cassino, which break the resistance of the Gustav Line was designed for.

The body of New Zealand was not a body per se, but rather a reinforced division, New Zealand at the time did not have the human resources to hire more men.

Taking Trieste

Following heavy fighting in Monte Cassino, the unit was then used as a spearhead of the attack of the 8th Army who led the crossing of multiple Italian rivers. The division was then incorporated into the 1st Canadian Corps, where she participated in the Olive operation against the Gustav Line in the fall of 1944. It was then during the winter attached to the 5th British Corps and the 13th body. She participated in the crossing of the Senio River, which marked the beginning of the Allied offensive in April 1945. The division was then sent as soon as possible to Trieste to prevent it from falling into the hands of Tito’s partisans and prevent therefore it is part of Yugoslavia.


A detailed description of the Spring Offensive in Italy from Italy Volume II : From Cassino to Trieste

III: The Assault on the Senio Line

It’s quite sobering to read virtually a blow by blow account of this battle (Operation Grapeshot) in April 1945 that brought an end to Word War 2 in Italy and Europe.

The Reichstag was captured in Berlin on 3o April signalling military defeat for the 3rd Reich, the same day that Hitler committed suicide.

Surrender was negotiated in Italy on 29 April and formalised on 2 May. Total and unconditional surrender was signed on 7 May, effective 8 May, although German resistance continued in Prague until May 11.

My uncle was killed in the last weeks of the war when defeat must have been inevitable. In April 1945 in Italy there were 16,258 Allied casualties with 2,860 killed. There were about twice as many German casualties.

I don’t know what part my uncle took in the war apart from where (approximately) and when he died.

My father also took part in this last month of the war. He didn’t talk much about it but once recalled being frightened on sentry duty outside a farmhouse while hearing battle inn the distance. He ended up in Trieste where he was billeted by a local family. He carried a rifle when he went to movies. This was a tense time of standoff with Yugoslav forces who wanted to take control of Trieste.

UPDATE: My sister has commented on this on Facebook:

When Mum and I visited Uncle Ken’s grave in 1995 there was a clap of thunder when we arrived at the cemetery and the same when we left. It was a very poignant visit for me

DPF’s Himalayan adventure

David Farrar runs one of the most widely read and respected (and hated) political forums – Kiwiblog. He doesn’t stick to politics, he often posts about what he does, he reviews arts and he reports on his frequent travels. He gets some friendly criticism for this but they can be a good diversion from hard core politics.

He is currently trekking in the Himalayas and has posted a series of accounts with numerous photos. It’s a very interesting look at something very different to New Zealand politics.

A lot of the trekking is at 4,000-5,000 meters, with a peak of 5360 metres going over the Chola Pass. Mt Aoraki/Cook is 3,724 metres.

DPF described this as “Just to prove I was here” but he’s been known to use Photoshop.

The region of the trek (from Google Maps)


The trek went was past the Gyoko lakes that can be seen just above and below the text “Sagarmatha National Park” beside the glacier.

On the eleventh day…

A view of Everest.


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