Word of the day

February 29, 2012

Cheese – the curd of milk separated from the whey and prepared as a food; a definite mass of this substance, often in the shape of a wheel or cylinder; something of similar shape or consistency, as a mass of pomace in cider-making;  partly digested milk curds sometimes spit up by infants; an important person (big cheese); to forge (an ingot or billet) into a cheese.


Lifetime achievement award for Bob Berry

February 29, 2012

The New Zealand Specialist Cheese Association has presented Whitestone Cheese founder Bob Berry was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding contribution to the country’s speciality cheese industry.

Bob started his working life as a stock agent before taking over his own farm. He and his wife Sue started Whitestone Cheese in 1987 in an attempt to overcome the ag-sag.

We were privileged to be at the company’s 25th anniversary celebrations and listened in admiration to the story of how the company started and grew. Whitestone now supplies delicious cheeses to outlets throughout New Zealand and has a growing export market.

The company has been a consistent winner in cheese awards since the early days and in last night’s Cuisine Champions of Cheese awards notched up another two wins – the Vintage Blue won the Ecolab Champion Blue Cheese Award and the Whitestone Range won the Caspack Champion Cheese Packaging Award.

The Oamaru Mail reports:

The company’s flagship cheese, Windsor Blue, has won more awards than any other cheese in New Zealand. Whitestone Cheeses have also been included in gift packs at the Oscars after-parties in the US.

Whitestone Cheese attributes its success to the use of locally sourced ingredients, including rich North Otago milk and traditional cheesemaking techniques.

Earlier this month son and general manager Simon Berry told the Oamaru Mail his father was often still on the road promoting the brand.

“Bob will never retire. He’s a bit like an old farmer; always tapping away at his fences,” he said.

He also acknowledged how Whitestone Cheese had become a proud North Otago institution, creating plenty of regional pride among his workers and the wider community.

“There is a bit of a culture of pride. We’re up there with the world’s best and we’re just from little Oamaru.”

The pride is justified, the cheese is delicious and most of it is named after North Otago localities or geographical features.

You can find out more about the company and order cheese online here.

If you watch the TV ad on the front page, you’ll  hear Bob and get an idea of his passion for his cheese.

The full list of 2012 Cuisine Cheese champions is here.


More late referrals from Electoral Commission

February 29, 2012

The Electoral Commission has made more referrals to the police:

  1. Mediaworks for the broadcast of The Jono Project on TV3 on 4 November 2011, which in the Electoral Commission’s view was an election programme, contrary to section 70 of the Broadcasting Act 1989.
  2. Five comments posted by members of the public on social media on election day, which in the Electoral Commission’s view were advising or intended or likely to influence any elector as to the candidate or party or referendum option for whom the elector should or should not vote, contrary to section 197(1)(g)(i) of the Electoral Act 1993.

The offending episode of the Jono Project is here.

I haven’t watched it nor do I know what the comments on social media were and where they were made.

But this is yet another example of how our electoral law is failing.

If we have laws about acts which might influence the election they are ineffective if they’re not policed and any breaches acted on before the election.

 


Why work is better than welfare

February 29, 2012

Why is work better than welfare?

Why do we think it is better for them to go to work? Well, if you look at the system that has been in place now through a number of Governments, you see that that system supports high levels of income for people in work. Let us take somebody who works 20 hours a week and leaves the domestic purposes benefit. They get the minimum family tax credit, which is $22,204 a year, and on top of that they get the in-work tax credit, which is $3,120 a year— all of which adds up to about $25,300 a year for 20 hours. The domestic purposes benefit for that person would be $15,000. That household will be considerably better off. This Government is also investing $130 million in support for those mothers, whether it is in retraining or in childcare facilities.  . .

. . . If you add to that the fact that the Government is providing enormous support around these families and individuals in terms of retraining and help, I personally think it is actually helping those families to give them the assistance, to give them the training, to give them the childcare facilities, and to actually make sure that they get an opportunity to fill their lives. And if anyone thinks that that is going to come through a lifetime on welfare, then they should go all the way back to the architect of the welfare system, Michael Joseph Savage, whose exact words were: “Welfare will never be an armchair ride to prosperity.” John Key


Has the Minister seen . . . ?

February 29, 2012

Questions and answers  of the day:

Maggie Barry: Why is it important to keep Government debt under control?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: You only need to watch TV any night of the week currently to see the impacts of excessive debt on some of our communities. The best reason to get on top of debt is to protect our most vulnerable, because our most vulnerable are most dependent on sustained support from the Government, and Governments with too much debt cannot sustain support for their most vulnerable.

And:

Maggie Barry: Has the Minister seen any reports of alternative approaches to managing debt?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: I have heard reports that indicate that other political parties do not believe that it should be managed at all. In fact, they are proposing that the Government should not sell shares in some assets, because they would rather go to volatile international financial markets and borrow billions more, paying interest to overseas lenders rather than dividends to New Zealanders.


Where are the jobs?

February 29, 2012

The very restrained and moderate welfare reforms announced by the government have resulted in the obvious question: where are the jobs for the beneficiaries who could work and will now be expected to seek work?

One answer lies in occupations where there is a high proportion of immigrants, among which is dairying.

It is work which requires stamina and the ability to work long hours but the tasks required of basic dairy workers aren’t particularly difficult to master.

Most position offer on-farm accommodation. Workers also have the opportunity to study through AgITO, gain qualifications and promotion.

Yet people who advertise for dairy workers often end up with immigrants because they can’t find New Zealanders willing to do the job.

Last year our dairy farms had a distinctly international look with staff from Belgium, England, the USA, Ireland, Sweden and Nigeria.

More than 1,000 people from the Philipines  are working, or will be next season, on dairy farms in Southland.

It might not be easy for solo-parents to find child-care to enable them to work the hours required in dairying and some older people might not cope with the physical demands of the job.

But there are jobs there for younger people who aren’t primary caregivers with the will to work.


Leap Day

February 29, 2012

Today’s today in history post was shorter than usual because it’s Leap Day, the extra day added to February every four years to keep the calendar in sync with the sun.

It is traditionally the day in which women can propose to men:

According to an old Irish legend, or possibly history, St Bridget struck a deal with St Patrick to allow women to propose to men – and not just the other way around – every 4 years. This is believed to have been introduced to balance the traditional roles of men and women in a similar way to how Leap Day balances the calendar.

In some places, Leap Day has been known as “Bachelors’ Day” for the same reason. A man was expected to pay a penalty, such as a gown or money, if he refused a marriage proposal from a woman on Leap Day. In many European countries, especially in the upper classes of society, tradition dictates that any man who refuses a woman’s proposal on February 29 has to buy her 12 pairs of gloves. The intention is that the woman can wear the gloves to hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring. During the middle ages there were laws governing this tradition.

 Proof indeed that not all traditions are good ones.


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