Property rights 1 government 0

October 31, 2008

The High Court decision against the Crown’s attempt to transfer land occupied under pastoral lease to the Department of Conservation is a victory for farmers and property rights.

High Court judgement has ruled against the Crown for reneging on a deal to offer a special lease to a group of high country farmers.

In 2003 the Commissioner of Crown Lands (CCL) decided to grant a special lease on the expiry of a pastoral occupation licence to the group, known as the Soldiers’ Syndicate.

In 2005 the CCL changed his mind and decided to designate the land, comprising 4,400 hectares in the Hawkdun and Ida ranges near Ranfurly in Otago, as a conservation area. The syndicate appealed to the High Court and was vindicated by the decision released yesterday (30 October).

High Country Accord Chairman Ben Todhunter said:

“This is one of three court cases where high country farming families are defending their legal rights against the Crown, or Crown entities.

“Basically, you have a government determined to convert tussock grasslands that have been grazed by farmers for generations into high country parks and reserves. Because the government hasn’t been able to achieve this on the scale it wants through good faith bargaining, ministers and the agencies that report to them, have been abusing legal processes.”

The second case, challenging the government’s decision to charge farmers for amenity values, is being held in Dunedin. The ODT reports on it here, here and here.

The third case is a challenge to property rights by Fish & Game which contends that pastoral leases do not allow farmers to restrict access to their land.


Fonterra opens $4m US research centre

October 31, 2008

Fonterra has opened a $4 million research centre  at its USA base in Chicago.

The centre will work with North American customers tailoring innovations using New Zealand technology and ingredients to the needs of United States and Canadian markets.

The Chicago Technical Centre (CTC) situated near the O’Hare International Airport houses advanced processing equipment, a sample analysis lab and an ingredient supply site, and will use innovations derived from Fonterra’s other research and development hubs in Palmerston North, Melbourne and Hamburg.

Key customers will be able visit the centre and see the processes and taste the products, as food scientists develop cheeses, yoghurt, paediatric formulas, beverages and bars. “Our investment in the CTC reinforces Fonterra’s commitment to the US dairy industry and to innovation,” said Fonterra USA’s chief operating officer, Martin Bates.


All Of These

October 31, 2008

This Friday’s poem is All Of These by Denis Glover from Enter Without Knocking published by Pegasus Press in 1971.

 

                   All Of These

 

Consider, praise, remember all of these –

 

All, blueprints in hand, who slowly river

The intricate structure, handle, girders like feathers,

take the inert and formless cement, give it

meaning, rearing new alls against weather;

 

these, guiding surely the sky-swung cargo bales

yawning over black hold; against all gales

they steady with merchandise the rolling mast,

pack tightly the walls of a ship, storm-fast;

 

these, building together the parts of an engine,

till revolutions, sweetly tension-strung,

instantly answer as control sends in

message to metal, giving lovely tongue;

 

these whose laboured cunning plough

carves deeply the sweep of the hill’s brow;

now with horses clumsily swinging anew

they’ve creamed over the black earth, arrow-true;

 

hands, timber-tried, that round the vessel’s bow

to take the wave, know prematurely how

the unsalted hull will lift to breaking seas –

consider, praise, remember all of these.

 

Their easy partnership of hand and eye

divides them not; life they identify

with effortless use of tools, lovely, articulate,

striking clear purpose into the inanimate.

 

            -  Denis Glover -


Over or under?

October 31, 2008

Time for a discussion on what really matters: is it better to have the end of the loo paper coming over the roll or under it?

Andrew Hedges  put two new rolls into the loo at his workplace and discovered the one with the paper coming over the top was used much faster than the one where the end came underneath.

I have a theory as to why this is the case (this is where the usability part comes in). With an over roll, you can easily see where the end of the TP is. There is no ambiguity about where to grab hold. With under rolls, you’re lucky to see a little corner of the last square. Usually, you have to bend down, grope around, or spin the roll to find the last square.

He may be right, but what I want to know is, regardless of whether the end’s over or under,  why people use both rolls at once instead of using one then the other?

If one roll is used first as in the photo above then the empty core might remind someone to replace it with a new roll. If both are used at the same time chances are they’ll run out at the same time leaving none when it’s needed.

Hat Tip: Idealog Weekly


Anlene clean – Fonterra

October 31, 2008

Fonterra says independent tests  on its Anlene milk powder have found no traces of melamine.

Results today from the Health Sciences Authority in Singapore on samples from Bangladesh have come back negative,” said Fonterra’s director of group manufacturing, Gary Romano.

“There is no basis in fact for any speculation that Fonterra product sold under the Anlene brand is anything but the highest quality,” he said.

“We fully expect this to be confirmed by the Bangladesh government tests on our product which are expected to be released in the next few days.”

The Bangladesh Government is re-testing all major dairy brands in its market, after saying that a mix of negative and positive results from different laboratories on the same batches of infant formula had caused confusion.


Fizzer fallout

October 31, 2008

The rolling average of polls  still favours National so Labour needed something big to give them the momentum they’ll need to catch up in the last week of the campaign.

But the neutron bomb they dropped proved to be a fizzer and the fallout from it is hitting them in the face.

 

The Press editorialises:

 

The attempt failed ignominiously and the muck the party was trying to throw has wound up all over itself. Yesterday morning, every senior figure in Labour suddenly became uncontactable when journalists were trying to get hold of them, and all of them, from Clark down, were busily distancing themselves from it.

 

To add to their woes The Press  found:

 

. . . that Labour used its taxpayer-funded research unit to trawl through the documents, and also that its chief campaign strategist, senior MP Pete Hodgson, was also working on the story with Williams.

 

The paper also has a he said-she said contradiction between Mike Williams and Helen Clark:

 

Williams told TVNZ last night that the Labour Party had funded his trip to Australia a claim at odds with Clark’s version of events.

Clark told reporters in Christchurch yesterday that Labour had “absolutely not” paid for Williams’ trip, and that the money had come from his own pocket.

 

The Dominion has an explanation for that:

Yesterday Miss Clark said Mr Williams paid for the Melbourne excursion himself, but today said on Newstalk ZB that she had since been updated on the situation.

“He (Mr Williams) told me he paid for it, he now tells me he got reimbursed by the party…” she said.

 

Miss-use of taxpayers’ money is our business but whether Williams or the party paid for his trip is a matter for the them.

 

However, regardless of who stumped up the money it was not only a wasted trip, it could prove to be very costly for Labour.

 

I wouldn’t go so far as Matthew Hooton who reckons Labour’s delivered a fatal blow to their own election chances, but the Stuff poll is encouraging:

 

Do you think Labour’s attempts to dredge up evidence against John Key from a 20-year-old case the Serious Fraud Office says he was not involved with look desperate?

 Yes (1222 votes, 83.0%) 

No (251 votes, 17.0%) 

 

 

Stuff polls are not scientific and reflect the opinions of only those internet users who have chosen to participate.


Taking the Pulse of Tauranga

October 31, 2008

The ODT’s Dene Mackenzie has reached Tauranga as he takes the political pulse of the country.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters faces a voter backlash in Tauranga that could prove terminal unless his party squeaks across the 5% threshold and he can return to Parliament through the party vote.

There is a chance, albeit an outside one, that his law and order spokesman, Ron Mark, will win Rimutaka and take Mr Peters back into Parliament with him, but Mr Peters better not count on that.

At a meet-the-candidates night in Tauranga on Wednesday night, Mr Peters had to contend with hecklers calling out “baubles of office” as the stood-down foreign affairs minister tried to get his message across.

He was not above attacking National Party leader John Key either, attracting some hissing from people near where Taking the Pulse was sitting.

. . . Outside the election meeting, three retired farmers (you could just tell from a distance) were in earnest conversation.

“So, Winston did well tonight,” I volunteered.

The reaction could not have been stronger. Words that cannot be printed here were used to describe the MP for whom two had voted twice.

Richard (72) – he would not give his last name – believed he should give his vote to Act New Zealand this time, to get rid of Mr Peters once and for all.

When asked if he understood how to use the party vote strategically to change the government, he admitted he did not.

Neither did the other two. And that was part of the problem for other voters. They wanted National to win but were not going to vote National for the party vote, voting only for Mr Bridges.

Labour voters were on the money with their voting preferences. No splitting the vote for them.

. . . National-leaning voters believed that Tauranga voters were seen as supporting all the bad things that were happening in Parliament.

Labour voters disliked Mr Peters for dragging Prime Minister Helen Clark into the donations scandals and “forcing her to defend that b . . .”.

They hated the idea that Mr Peters could again be in Cabinet if Labour won the election.

At the RSA club, Mr Peters still had some loyal supporters.

The Gold Card had not proved too helpful for them, but the slogan “Seniors First” on Mr Peters’ election signs meant a lot to those voters.

Interesting that the policy he’s responsible for did little for them but they still trust what he says.

There’s little doubt that Peters will lose the seat. But he needs only 5% of voters to think like the people at the RSA to enable him and his party to crawl back to parliament and maybe into government.


PGW SFF deal dying

October 31, 2008

The deal hasn’t quite died but PGG Wrightson has indicated its bid to take a 50% stake in Silver Fern Farms is definitely on life support.

At its annual meeting in Christchurch yesterday, chairman Craig Norgate told shareholders that his belief in the partnership and its benefits to farmers remained, but “it was fair to say that we are now unlikely to be able to consummate the transaction in its current form within an acceptable time-frame to Silver Fern Farms.”

PGG Wrightson’s share price had tumbled along with almost every other stock, and Mr Nor-gate said it would now be more costly to raise the necessary finance.


Plunging the depths of the shallows

October 31, 2008

Jim Hopkins gets it right again:

For all that we may wish to be regarded as deep and meaningful, much given to the sort of metaphysical ponderings best left to turgid German philosophers, the truth is most of us are never happier than when we’re paddling in life’s shallows.

The rest of his column is here.


Dismal stats

October 31, 2008

Eric Crampton’s has analysed voting odds at iPredict and concludes:

So, National’s chances of getting more seats than Labour look more like 57% than like 70%. And those chances get much worse in the 26% probability case that Peters returns to Parliament.

Anti Dismal  says:

Don’t you just love economists and statisitics?! But what this says is that either Eric has gotten his calculation very wrong or the iPredict market has gotten something wrong. If it is the latter then there is money to be made. Go to it!


8 more sleeps . . .

October 31, 2008

. . . until election day and is anyone surprised at which parties the unions like?


Trust ‘em – yeah right

October 30, 2008

From the creative genius at goNZo Freakpowere


Standing ovation from 1000 in Southland

October 30, 2008

John Key got a standing ovation from 1000 people  at the Invercargill Working Men’s Club last night.

National’s Eric Roy won the Invercargill electorate in 2005. He’s worked hard, is very good with people, even his opponents admit he’s a honey and the boundary changes which take the seat north to the outskirts of Mataura and west (or is it south?) to Riverton favour him so he should have no trouble retaining the seat.

eric_writing.gif

I love being a writer.  What I can’t stand is the paperwork

However, Eric’s personal popularity - 15, 570 votes was greater than that for his party and Labour won thae party vote with support from 14,369 people compared with 12,559 who voted for National.

The standing ovation from a near capacity audience is a good sign that the party vote may have grown in the city.

However, I’m not sure whether to be further encouraged by the news that Winston Peters could only attract around 80 people to a meeting at the same venue earlier in the day. That’s only 8% of the numbers who came to hear John, but he needs only 5% support to stay in parliament.

Hat Tip: Roarprawn


Clark tumbles

October 30, 2008

It hasn’t been helen Clark’s day.

First she’s had to dodge the fallout from the “neutron bomb” which turned into a fizzer and backfired on Labour, then she took a tumble in a shopping mall.

It was an unfortunate accident and she wasn’t hurt, but, like Don Brash’s plank walking, it’s not the sort of shot she’d want the media to have in their libraries when they’re looking for a photographic metaphor for her political fortunes.


Melamine fears in Bangladesh milk

October 30, 2008

Milk powder from eight companies, including Fonterra’s Anlene brand, has been seized from shops in Bangladesh after labratory tests found traces of melamine in samples.

Independent tests conducted by the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution and Plasma Plus had found its brands contained no traces of melamine, a Fonterra spokesman said.

But a third independent test by a Bangladesh agency found traces of melamine in all eight dairy brands.

As a result, samples of all eight brands have been sent to two further laboratories for independent testing.

“We are confident that none of our products in Bangladesh contain melamine,” said the Fonterra spokesman.

Both Fonterra and New Zealand’s Food Safety Authority have conducted a range of tests across eligible dairy products.

All had produced negative results, the company said.


Breaking news: shock resignation

October 30, 2008

National leader John Key has resigned and withdrawn his party from the election.

 

In a shock announcement today, he admitted that he simply didn’t have what it takes to be Prime Minister.

 

“This hasn’t been an easy decision for me but after a close examination of the government’s response to recent events I’ve been forced to admit that a couple of decades of hard work in the real world haven’t equipped me to steer the ship of state through the rough economic seas,” he said.

 

“I thought that the skills and abilities which enabled me to succeed in business and my personal life and all I’ve learned from that would be enough. But I’ve been studying Helen Clark and realise I simply don’t have what it takes to do the job.

 

“I made a real mistake gaining international business and leadership experience when I should have been devoting myself to academia and politics at home.

 

“If I’d done that I’d have understood that winning an election and governing the country aren’t about looking forward and having a sound, costed plan to provide the economic foundation on which to build a better educated, healthier and more secure society where success is valued, independence is encouraged and environmental protection and enhancement are measured by results not slogans.

 

“I admit that’s what I thought was needed but I was obviously wrong because everyone says Helen Clark is a consummate politician and she’s not doing any of that.

 

“She’s looking backwards, dropping irresponsible and un-costed promises like confetti at a wedding, getting sidetracked by soap operas and muckraking. And I know this is a sign of weakness but I haven’t got what it takes to do that.

 

“I thought it would help to bring honesty, integrity and principles to the office of Prime Minister but a close scrutiny of the incumbent and her behaviour have shown that those things would be liabilities.

 

“She’s made it obvious that what you need is a complete lack of scruples; the will to surrender dearly held principles for political gain; to prostitute yourself to anyone who’ll help you cling to power; the ability to lie through your teeth and anyone else’s; and the gall to deny any knowledge of muckraking even though your hands are covered in mud.

 

“When it comes down to it I just don’t have the stomach for that. I wouldn’t be able to get up every morning, look myself in the mirror then face my family and try to explain to them that it didn’t matter what was happening to New Zealand and its people as long as I was in charge.

 

Mr Key said while he took full responsibility for his decision he also felt he’d been let down by his party hierarchy.

 

“When I suggested Judy [Kirk, National Party president] might dig into old university records to prove that Helen Clark once split an infinitive in an essay she said she had an election to win and wasn’t going to waste her time on inventing dirty kites that wouldn’t fly.

 

Mr Key made the announcement at a media conference at which he handed the election to Labour in a second hand recycled hemp hand basket.

 

He said he’d chosen it himself and had taken great care to ensure it would be acceptable to the Green Party which would be the new government’s dominant coalition partner.


Can you hide it from your husband?

October 30, 2008

I had a bugger-moment yesterday – and I was driving a Toyota at the time.

I was running late but as I rushed out the door I saw a large truck parked in the drive where I normally reverse on leaving the garage.

I started carefully, then noticed a couple of blokes in the truck, put the window down to say “hello, sorry I’m late, can’t stop” and took off again taking care so I didn’t hit the tree on the left and . . .  yes I hit the truck on the right.

One of the blokes leapt out of the truck to inspect the damage which, because I was going slowly, was minimal – broken light cover and a bit of a scratch. 

But what intrigued me was his question: “Can you hide it from your husband?”

Why would I do that?

My farmer’s known me for 27 years and we’ve been married for 25. This isn’t the first time I’ve done something stupid, it may not be the last and if our marriage couldn’t survive honesty about such things it would be a very sorry indictment on our relationship.


Fireworks restrictions racist?

October 30, 2008

The Marlborough Express  laments the tight restrictions on the sale of fireworks prevents the Indian adding a sparkle to their Diwali festival.

Surely it’s racist to allow the sale of fireworks to enable people to mark Guy Fawkes, a celebration from one imported culture, and not Diwali, a festival from another?


Pink elephant goes walk about

October 30, 2008

The roadside at Chatto Creek, east of Alexandra, is enhanced by an array of creative mailboxes including tractors and snails.

One of them, a pink elephant called Simba, went walk about last Saturday night and hasn’t been seen since.

supplied.

Simba’s owner, Stephen Price, said this is not the first time the elephant has been AWOL, he undertook a brief educational safari to the Unviersity of Otago campus in Dunedin about eight months ago.

Katene will win Te Tai Tonga?

October 30, 2008

The ODT is predicting that the Maori Party will win Te Tai Tonga:

Once the fiefdom of the Tirikatene family, this enormous electorate covering all the South Island, and a small part of Wellington, has been held solidly by Labour’s Mahora (sic) Okeroa since 2002.

At 40 on Labour’s list, he must have a reasonable hope of remaining in the house, but he is under a severe electorate challenge from Rahui Katene of the Maori Party (he  (sic) is 7th on its list).

If Mr (sic) Katene can win a majority, it may ensure the Maori Party wins all seven Maori electorates, thus giving the party its hoped-for powerful position in the House, especially if the election is reasonably close.

It is being widely predicted that Mr (sic) Katene will win the seat, with the party vote going to Labour.

Update: This is a cut and paste but as Buggerlugs points out below Rahui is a woman.

Update 2: A Maori TV poll  gave Mahara Okeroa a 10 point lead over Rahui Katene but nearly a quarter of the 500 people polled are undecided.


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