Word of the day

December 7, 2012

Clinquant – glittering; especially with tinsel; tinsel; imitation gold leaf; decked with garish finery.


Rural round-up

December 7, 2012

Feeding East Asia:

The importance of the East Asia region as the most significant market for many New Zealand and Australian food and fibre products is set to grow in coming years, highlighted more recently by the global economic downturn, according to Rabobank.

In a recent report titled, ‘Feeding East Asia’, Rabobank senior analyst Marc Soccio says the global and economic downturn has sharpened the focus onto the East Asian region as it continues to expand its slice of the global economic pie, offering opportunities no longer available in traditional markets as incomes grow and diets change in fundamental ways. . .

Fonterra seeks consent to build ‘Darfield-sized’ milk powder plant at Pahiatua site:

Fonterra Cooperative Group, the world’s biggest exporter of dairy products, is seeking consents to build a new milk powder plant at Pahiatua, more than doubling output from the site and mopping up surplus milk in the lower North Island.

The third drier at Pahiatua would process 2.5 million litres of milk a day, making it a similar size to its new 2.2 million litre-a-day plant at Darfield in Canterbury. The two existing driers at Pahiatua process 1.4 million litres a day, forcing Fonterra to send a further 1.6 million litres by rail to its Whareroa plant. . .

New welfare code to phase out battery cages:

Battery cages for layer hens are to be phased out under a new Code of Welfare released today by Primary Industries Minister David Carter.

From tomorrow (7 December), no new battery cages can be installed by egg producers and a staged phase-out of existing cages will begin.  By 2022, all battery cages will be prohibited.

“Scientific evidence and strong public opinion have made it clear that change is necessary.  We need alternatives to battery cages,” says Mr Carter. . .

Hemp Foods Coming Soon:

 Ashburton based company Oil Seed Extractions Ltd (OSE) has reached another milestone in its rapid rise as the Southern hemisphere’s leading producer and supplier of specialty seed oils and related oilseed products. This milestone relates to a new addition to the companies well established product range – hulled hemp seed.

Following on from other pioneering milestones in its short company history, OSE has become the first NZ company to produce hulled hemp seed in this country. Managing director Andrew Davidson was delighted with the quality of the product produced and was excited at the outcome in the company’s 10th year of business. “It’s great to be involved with the production of such a high quality and nutritious product and it’s even more rewarding for the business knowing the seed has been grown locally in Mid Canterbury, with complete traceability from the planting of the seed, through to the processing and packing of the final finished product”. . .

Nufarm earnings to rise at least 15% on Sth America, currency gains:

Agricultural chemicals manufacturer Nufarm says first-half earnings will rise at least 15% on improved trading in South America and Europe, and foreign exchange gains.

A strong performance in South America and an improved outcome in Europe “will more than offset what is likely to be a weaker first half result in Australia,” managing director Doug Rathbone told shareholders at their annual meeting in Melbourne.

“We remain very confident of generating an improved underlying ebit outcome for the current full year,” he says. . .

Pesky varmints - Wayne Linklater:

Did you know New Zealand has a pest problem?”

New Zealand is waking up from a nightmare to discover it is real. At least 2788 New Zealand species are threatened with extinction. Our iconic native species and their habitats are in trouble because they are being eaten by introduced pests. Cats, rats, possums, stoats and several others are a leading reason why New Zealand has one of the world’s worst records of native species extinction.

We should displace our nightmare with a dream. It is fun to dream and share our dreams. Our Department of Conservation (DoC) is dreaming…

Meeting People Best Bit of Dairy Awards:

 The 2012 New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year, Mick O’Connor, says the hardest part about the dairy industry awards is actually entering.

“Once you have done that, there’s no looking back.”

Mr O’Connor, who is contract milking 940 cows at Dunsandel for Dairy Holdings, says the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards is great.

“We entered for a number of reasons, but mainly to see where our business was at and where improvement was needed. . .

Super premium honey mead wine launched:

The first “super premium” honey mead wine has been launched on the New Zealand market. It is tagged “premium reserve”, and aged with toasted French oak, and wone best in class at the recent national Fruit Wine Competition. Appropriately named “Excaliber”, the back label describes it as “the Holy Grail of honey mead wine.” It is the latest addition to the Bemrose range of mead wine and liqueurs, produced by Wildfern NZ, which also produces premium cocktail liqueurs.

Excaliber is made from a blend of native honeys, including Manuka honey: the rest are secret. “The quality comes from the exacting standard of balance with which we have selected honeys to give depth and richness with spice, lightness, and vanilla undertones: it is made the way you might make a blended red wine from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, and a touch of Pinot Meuniere”, explains owner and winemaker, Mark Atkin. . .

Another big lift in the Hawke’s Bay beetroot crop:

Early next week Wattie’s in the Hawke’s Bay will begin harvesting its beetroot crop which, at 22,000 tonne, will be 50 percent up on last year.

Wattie’s Crop Supply Agronomist Tim Agnew says that after some cooler temperatures in early and mid- November, warmer weather has had a dramatic effect on the crop, and it is “really kicking away” now.

“We will be harvesting baby beets from around December 10, and the harvest overall will continue through until May next year, although these plants are not yet in the ground. . .

NZB Karaka Premier Sale Catalogue Now Available

New Zealand Bloodstock’s 2013 Karaka Premier Sale catalogue is now available online.

The 2013 Premier Sale catalogue features a hot line-up of 441 yearlings that will be offered over the two-day Sale on Monday 28 & Tuesday 29 January.

With 106 yearlings from stakes-winning mares and 123 siblings to stakes winners, the 2013 Premier Sale features siblings to a number of star performers including:

• 34 siblings to Group 1 winners including the four time Group 1 & 2012 Cox Plate winner Ocean Park (Lot 330) as well as Glamour Puss (Lot 130), Lights of Heaven (Lot 182), El Segundo (Lot 285), Rollout the Carpet (Lot 284), Norzita (Lot 421), Ambitious Dragon (Lot 164) and more. . .


Can they compromise?

December 7, 2012

One of the virtues of MMP is that it is supposed to lead to more consensus.

In reality it requires more compromise as Chris Trotter points out:

. . . It is entirely unrealistic for a political party to join a coalition government without first acknowledging the inevitability of compromise. This is especially true if the party in question attracted fewer votes, and thus has fewer seats, than its prospective partner. The larger party cannot be expected to re-order its policy priorities or sacrifice its leading personnel merely to keep its junior partner happy. To do so would attract – and merit – universal scorn.
 
Such are the brutal realities of coalition politics. Parties either accept them – and become genuine players in the political game. Or, they reject them and remain permanent political spectators.
 
It is really only the world’s Green parties which struggle to accept these largely self-evident rules. As the ideological offspring of May 1968 (the year in which the great counter-cultural uprising of the world’s youth reached its zenith) the prototypical German Greens eschewed all political hierarchy in favour of “Appropriate Decision-Making” – by which they meant “grass-roots”, “bottom-up”, consensus-based democracy. And this was no mere rhetorical flourish: Greens really do believe that the way they arrive at major decisions is every bit as important as the decisions they make.
 
All of which lays a heavy burden on the shoulders of Russel Norman and Metiria Turei. Rather than laying claim to portfolios their prospective coalition partners in the Labour Party couldn’t possibly agree to assign them (not without opening up huge divisions within its own ranks) the Greens’ co-leaders should be thinking about how to reconcile their fellow party members’ to the unavoidable compromises of coalition politics.
 
Because these are likely to be both numerous and unpalatable. On practically every economic and social issue that matters the Greens have positioned themselves well to the left of Labour. That being the case, very few, if any, of the Greens’ preferred solutions to the high dollar, unemployment, child poverty, homelessness, climate change and dirty dairying, will win Labour’s unqualified endorsement. . .
It’s not just minor parties which have to compromise, major ones do too.
But a party which attracts more votes has a greater mandate and therefore a case for less compromise than one which attracts fewer.
Getting into government is a challenge for all parties, so is staying there.
Any which doesn’t accept the political reality of the need to compromise will find it even harder.

 


Friday’s answers

December 7, 2012

Alwyn and Andrei provided the questions yesterday.

Alwyn wins the electronic Christmas cake for stumping us all – please leave the answer in a comment here.


NZ-made robotic milking machines

December 7, 2012

An automated milking system has been developed by Scott Technology and Milktech.

The system, which has been developed in New Zealand over the past seven years, was presented by Scott Milktech Ltd to media and industry at a Rangitata dairy farm yesterday.

While the company had made a conscious effort to maintain a low profile, it was now ”struggling to keep the lid on it” and it decided to disclose what it had been working on, chairman Murray King said.

It had kept its developments out of the public domain as far as possible until it had been confident it could provide a solution.

Mr King stressed it was not a product launch.

Rather, it was a technology update, and there was still work to be done before it was ready to take to the market.

The next stage was to run full production trials in more working dairy sheds, the aim being to start discussions with interested farmers to achieve a managed roll-out and sales of the product during 2013.

The company was working with other parties to commercialise it over the next 12 months, Mr King said. . .

Automated milking machines have been used in Britain and Europe for more than a decade.

We saw one on a farm near Aberdeen 12 years ago and in June this year stayed on a farm in Holland which had a fully automated dairy.

A cow wanders in to the bale when she’s ready to be milked.

robot 2

The computer reads the chip on her collar, if she’s been milked too recently the bale opens and she walks out. If it’s time for milking a brush washes her teats then the cups go on.

robot 1

While she’s being milked she gets her personal portion of feed. When milking’s finished he gate opens and she goes back to the herd.

robot milk

The shed was immaculately clean, the cows in the peak of health and very contented.

The one using the back scratcher was almost smiling:

back scratch

British and European farms are usually much smaller than New Zealand ones but there are a a few here already using fully automated systems.


And they think they’re ready for government?

December 7, 2012

Labour’s finance spokesman David Parker can’t count.

Backbencher David Clark doesn’t understand the difference between revenue and profit for tax purposes.

And now Phil Goff doesn’t understand the role and responsibilities of a non-beneficial trustee.

. . . “By attacking Mr Kiely without checking the facts Mr Goff has impugned the reputation of a highly professional individual without any justification.

“Central to Mr Goff’s allegation is that Mr Kiely held shares in shipping company Sofrana at the time PFL, of which he was a director, was considering an offer from Sofrana.

“Mr Kiely has never owned shares in Sofrana. The shares referred to by Mr Goff were held by Mr Kiely as a non-beneficial trustee for a Sofrana employee. Practising lawyers like Mr Kiely commonly hold shares for clients as non-beneficial trustee. If Mr Goff had asked he could have been told this.

“There was no obligation for Mr Kiely to disclose such matters to the Ministry when he was appointed a director. Only personal interests must be disclosed. There has never been a requirement for lawyers to disclose clients’ interests.

“Furthermore, when Sofrana expressed interest in PFL, Mr Kiely ensured that the PFL chairman was made aware of the non-beneficial trustee holding, and took the further step of ceasing to act as trustee. This is more than he was obliged to do. I have sighted the relevant documentation today. . .

And they’d like to think they’re ready for government!

The series of errors reflects on the MPs’ competency.

Goff was trying to embarrass the government because of Keily’s links to the National Party.

Instead he’s embarrassed himself and reminded voters again that a party that can’t perform in opposition is far from ready for government.


About that trust

December 7, 2012

Susan Couch, the victim of a vicious attack in which her work mates were killed, has accepted the payment of $300,000 from the Corrections Department to settle her claim for exemplary damages.

Officer of Corrections, Ray Smith has said, the department is “doing right by Sue and her family”.

Compensation is only available in New Zealand via the ACC legislation…Sue is a social welfare beneficiary as ACC legislation does not provide her with adequate support” said Brian Henry.

ACC is not injury based compensation; it is salary based compensation.

Susan will continue the fight for compensation, which now moves to a campaign to change the ACC legislation so that victims, especially women, receive a fair outcome. . .

That is not a lot of money given the severity of her injuries which were inflicted by a man  with a string of violent convictions who was on parole.

I want to thank all my supporters over the past 11 years, especially Garth Mc Vicar and Sensible Sentencing Trust for the huge support I have received from them over those years”.

I also especially wish thank Winston Peters for the donation that established the Susan Couch Victims Trust, which helps all victims of violent crime”.

Ah yes, that trust.

That’s the one which was established with  some of the $158,000 New Zealand First owes taxpayers after spending parliamentary services’ funds on its 2005 election campaign.

I don’t begrudge Ms Couch any money. She is disabled as a result of her injuries and isn’t eligible for much compensation through ACC.

But the trust was established with money which ought to have been used to pay back parliamentary services.

Given that, we have a right to know how much it gave her and what other donations the trust has made.


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