Music for Royal Fireworks

April 27, 2010

Handel’s Music for Royal Fireworks was first performed on this day in 1749.


For Your Eyes Only

April 27, 2010

Happy birthday Sheena Easton – 51 today.


Für Elise

April 27, 2010

It’s 200 years today since Beethoven composed Für Elise.


Milk payout up again

April 27, 2010

Fonterra has announced an increase in the forecast  milk price and distributable profit which should take the payout up to $6.30 – $6.40.

In a newsletter to shareholders board chair Henry Van der Heyden says:

  • The Board met today and has announced an increase in the forecast Milk Price for 2009/10 to $6.10 per kgMS. This is up 40 cents from $5.70.

  • We are holding our forecast Distributable Profit range at 40-50 cents per share.

  • The forecast Dividend to farmers remains unchanged – we’re still targeting 20-30 cents per share. This means 10-30 cents per share of the Distributable Profit will likely be retained.

  • The board will discuss the opening forecast for next season at its May meeting and is advising farmers to budget on a similar price to this season’s.

    This is the second best payout Fonterra has made and will be particularly welcomed by farmers who’ve had to dry off early because of the drought.

    The company will make progressive increases in payments over the next six months which will help cash flow.

    It might also help persuade farmers to buy more dry shares.

    A media release from the company says:

    Fonterra CEO, Andrew Ferrier, said that, since the last Milk Price forecast, dairy prices had remained relatively high and more stable than expected for several months, and had recently increased further.   

      “The global supply/demand balance for dairy products has shifted to a slight supply deficit.  Demand from Middle East/North Africa and Asian markets continues to grow.  On the supply side, global milk production has continued to slow, with production contracting in several key markets.  For instance, supply has been affected by a tough winter in Europe, while North America and Australia production is also down.   In New Zealand, the effects of drought mean Fonterra’s production is now projected to be similar to last season, compared to the modest increase that we forecast at the beginning of the season,” Mr Ferrier said.

     Although the net effect was good news for the Milk Price in the short term, Mr Ferrier cautioned that the market continues to show significant volatility. 

    Jamie Mckay spoke to Andrew about the payout increase on the Farming Show today.


    Tuesday’s answers

    April 27, 2010

    Monday’s questions were:

    1. What does Waitaki  mean?

    2. Name four of the seven heavenly virtues.

    3. What does sapid mean?

    4. Who said: “ There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women”? 

    5. Whose autobiography is called Bums on Seats?

    I got my translation of Waitaki  from A.W. reed’s Dictionary of Place Names.  It says rumbling waters but given Richard’s expertise in this area I’m accepting weeping waters too.

    Points for answers:

    David 3 plus 1/2 for two of the four virtues requested.

    Richard got two and a bonus of satire.

    Bearhunter got 3 and like David 1/2 for two virtues.

    Paul got three plus 1/4 of the virtues (without losing anything for obsequiousness) and a bonus for satire.

    Ray wins the electronic bunch of flowers this week with three plus 1/2 for two virtues and a bonus for the extra information on Waitaki.

    The answers follow the break.

    Read the rest of this entry »


    It’s not the age it’s the attitude

    April 27, 2010

    The root cause of problems with alcohol isn’t the purchase age, it’s our attitude.

    The Law Commission’s report on alcohol  leaked by Kiwiblog last week is due out today.

    It had some radical recommendations including a 50% excise tax on alcohol. Listening to Bill English on the Farming Show yesterday, I don’t think that’s likely.

    Another suggestion was raising the purchase age. Voting on that has always been a conscience vote and I don’t think it’s likely to be a measure on which MPs are whipped.

    I was in favour of reducing the purchase age to 18.

    Now I have reservations and would favour keeping the age for drinking alcohol on licensed premises at 18 but raising the purchase age from off licences to 20.That would allow young adults access to alcohol in supervised environments where it is easier to control irrsponsible drinking but restrict access for unsupervised drinking. It would also make it a bit more diffcult for people under the age of 18 to get alcohol.

    However, that too treats the symptom not the cause.

    Problems caused by the misuse of alcohol may be reduced a little by increased taxes, increasing the purchase age and reducing the number and/or operating hours of liquor outlets.

    But they won’t go away until there’s a change of attitude.

    Information on the dangers of smoking and action to reduce the harm it caused were just starting when I was leaving school. That was more than 30 years ago and it’s only in the last decade that there’s been a real change in attitude which has put non-smokers’ right to fresh air above that of tobacco addicts’ right to smoke.

    The attitude to driving drunk has changed, although there’s still room for improvement. But the message that it’s not what we’re drinking it’s how we’re drinking, hasn’t yet made much traction.

    Until it does and the attitude which at best doesn’t condemn, and at worst condones and even encourages, drunkenness changes any change of law will make little impact on the problems caused by alcohol abuse.


    Drought breaker

    April 27, 2010

    We’ve had another 20 mls of rain since we measured 10 mls yesterday morning.

    It’s still raining and it’s still a steady, heavy drizzle.

    That’s exactly what we need for a drought breaker without any damage to soil, fences, tracks, roads, bridges or danger to stock and people.

    Southland isn’t so lucky with roads closed and phone lines severed but so far stop banks are holding.


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