Word of the day

January 27, 2013

Derogate – to deviate from a standard or expectation; go astray; cause to seem inferior, disparage; take away; detract from.


Damp squib spotted in Wainuiomata

January 27, 2013

Fire service personal were on high alert after a threat of fireworks in Wainuiomata this afternoon.

But they have been stood down after all that was spotted was a damp squib.

One fire fighter who declined to be named said they’d been warned someone was wanting to set the year alight.

“We were expecting some pretty hot stuff with sparks flying but it was only talk,” she said.

“We were concerned the statement  we will not create more better paying jobs by simply exporting more milk powder might have been inflammatory. But the biggest reaction it got was a yawn from a farmer who said, ‘Another David told us farming was a sunset industry in the 1980s.’.”


Janet Frame’s house needs help

January 27, 2013

I’m doing my annual stint as receptionist at Janet Frame’s childhood home in Oamaru.

febrero-006

The first two visitors were from the Netherlands. They had read about the house in a book called New Zealand Detours and that is why they came to Oamaru.

The next visitors were four older women from Dunedin.

One of them stepped inside the door, stopped and said, “I’ve dreamed of coming here but never thought I would.”

She didn’t know Janet personally but loves her poetry.

As I type a couple from England are taking their time wandering through the rooms, soaking up the atmosphere.

The house was gifted to a trust and is maintained by volunteers.

The Trust has a plea:

Like all veterans of a certain age there comes a time when the usual day to day care is not enough to sustain you.  Our wonderful haven celebrating Janet Frame is showing her age and needs more than a little TLC.

We are extremely grateful for support we receive from friends, donors and visitors and these contributions help us with the day to day expenses each year.  Earlier last year it was discovered that the window frames all needed replacing as they were rotten then later in 2012 much to our horror it was discovered the plumbing needed extensive repairs as well.

We are trying to raise $6000 to cover the repairs bills for both sets of repairs and to tidy up after them.

Give a little is an approved charitable platform, now sponsored by Telecom.  This sponsorship means every cent donated goes to the cause you intended it for.  It is also a secure site that transfers the funds safely to the charity.

We are asking  the community of support for 56 Eden Street to ‘give a little’ to enable us to fundraise the amount to repair the property and keep it available to visit and store memories.

Please visit Give a Little on this link and donate to Fix our House http://www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/fixourhouse  by clicking on the blue  Donate now button about the middle of your screen.

The Janet Frame Eden Street Trust is a registered charity and all donations are tax deductible.  A receipt can be downloaded on the spot.

I hope you pause from your day to day and help us keep this wonderful property safe and open to the public.

The Trustees of the Janet Frame Eden Street Trust.


9/10

January 27, 2013

9/10 in the NBR’s Biz Quiz.


Rural round-up

January 27, 2013

Maori Trust beats 1080 opponent in court:

A veteran oponent of using 1080 poison to kill possums has lost his latest bid in the courts to stop a Maori organisation using the compound.

David Livingston asked for a review of the Lake Taupo Forest Trust, after the Maori Land Court previously refused to grant an injunction against the trustees . . .

The use of dicyandiamide (DCD) to control nitrogen pollution in NZ - Bob Wilcock:

For the last 20 years New Zealand has been undergoing a rapid expansion in dairy farming, driven by commodity prices. New Zealand’s dairy exports, although small on a global scale of production, comprise 30-40% of internationally traded dairy products and are a major component of our gross domestic product (roughly 3%). Dairy farming is an intensive form of agriculture and its expansion into areas that were previously used for sheep and beef farming, combined with increased stocking rates in established dairy farming regions, has resulted in much greater leaching of nitrate to groundwater, and to surface waters receiving inputs of groundwater. . . .

Cargill to idle Plainview, Texas, beef processing plant; dwindling cattle supply cited:

Cargill today announced that it will idle its Plainview, Texas, beef processing facility effective at the close of business, Friday, Feb.1, 2013, resulting primarily from the tight cattle supply brought about by years of drought in Texas and Southern Plains states.  Approximately 2,000 people work at the Plainview facility, and they will receive company support.  Federal, state, county and city government representatives, as well as Cargill customers, suppliers and other key stakeholders were informed today of Cargill’s decision, concurrent with Cargill employees being notified.

“The decision to idle our Plainview beef processing plant was a difficult and painful one to make and was made only after we conducted an exhaustive analysis of the regional cattle supply and processing capacity situation in North America,” said John Keating, president of Cargill Beef, based in Wichita, Kan.  “While idling a major beef plant is unfortunate because of the resulting layoff of good people, which impacts their families and the community of Plainview, we were compelled to make a decision that would reduce the strain created on our beef business by the reduced cattle supply.  The U.S. cattle herd is at its lowest level since 1952.  Increased feed costs resulting from the prolonged drought, combined with herd liquidations by cattle ranchers, are severely and adversely contributing to the challenging business conditions we face as an industry.  Our preference would have been not to idle a plant.” . . .

Brazillian beef imports doubled in 2012 – Gemma Mackenzie:

UK imports of Brazilian beef doubled during 2012, but trade restrictions mean import levels are still 85% lower than in 2007, said Quality Meat Scotland.

Speaking at a recent “EU Imports and CAP” seminar in Bridge of Allan, QMS head of economic services Stuart Ashworth said that since trade restrictions were placed on Brazil in 2008, beef imports to the UK fell by 80% between 2007 and 2008, and continued to fall until 2011.
 
The European market was shielded from these imports as a result of significant import tariffs, however if trade restrictions were lifted, Scottish farmers faced the prospect of lower and more volatile beef prices, he warned. . .

Fonterra CFO announces retirement:

 One of the chief architects of Fonterra’s successfully launched listed units, chief financial officer Jonathan Mason, is to leave the co-operative.

The softly spoken former senior executive for the American wood products giant International Paper first came to New Zealand from 2000 to 2005 to be cfo at Carter Holt Harvey, which IP owned at the time, before returning to the US. . .

And a media release from the Pasture Renewal Charitable Trust:

Competition to boost awareness of pasture renewal:

Over 80% of New Zealand dairy farmers intend to renew run-out pastures this season, regardless of their financial outlook, reports a dairy farm survey released recently from CINTA.

This result highlights farmers know that annual pasture renewal is vital to their operations and yet actions do not always follow those intentions.

To encourage more action on pasture renewal, agribusiness organisations have the opportunity to get alongside farmers to discuss and encourage their annual pasture renewal programmes through the “Win a Free Paddock” campaign which runs from 20 January through until the closure date of 28 February.

Open to all farmers (from both the dairy and sheep/beef/deer sectors) the three prizes, valued at $8,000 each, will be drawn on 5 March 2013. The prizes consist of products and technical advice used in the pasture renewal process and may be redeemed direct from the winners’ nominated rural retailer.

On-line entries are encouraged at http://www.pasturerenewal.org.nz. Entry forms are also available from most rural retailers or direct from their representatives. Winners will have the option to undertake their pasture renewal in either autumn or spring depending on their farming system and location.

Run by the Pasture Renewal Charitable Trust (PRCT), the competition is an excellent chance to be “in the money” and “do something about the difference” between the best producing paddock on farm and the worst”, to boost overall farm productivity, says PRCT project manager Nicola Holmes.

“PRCT recognises the importance of trusted, long-term working relationships between rural retailer representatives, contractors, consultants and farmers and having them plan programmes and timing of pasture sowing to ensure the best results,” says Nicola.  “Right now plans for autumn pasture renewal activity for 2013 will be well underway on many North Island dairy farms.”

Farmers not committed to an annual pasture renewal programme miss the chance to significantly improve pasture quality on their farm, which in turn will ensure greater productivity, increased returns, improved animal health and more farm management options.

Nicola says The CINTA survey of 600 dairy farmers nationwide shows cropping programmes, not finances, are the biggest barrier to increased areas of pasture renewal on New Zealand dairy farms.

Around New Zealand the total percentage of pasture renewal falls well behind the 10-12% annually recommended by the Trust. Dairy farmers renew around 6-7% annually and the sheep and beef sector 2-3%.


No good faith in strike threat

January 27, 2013

Primary teachers in Christchurch are planning to strike in February, a day after Education Minister Hekia Parata is scheduled to make an announcement on the future of schools in the region:

Union spokesperson Sandra Spekriejse said that while the members have not decided what form the strike will take, it will be only the first in a series of actions because they have not been listened to. . .

How can they say they haven’t been listened to when they don’t know what’s in the announcement?

The Ministry of Education made a dogs’ breakfast of the start of the process.

That may or may not have anything to do with John Armstrong’s description of the ministry as highly dysfunctional and teacher union-driven.

But regardless of the ministry’s incompetency in this process,  there’s been a lot of consultation and plenty of opportunity for submissions since the initial announcement.

If the union had any notion of acting in good faith it would wait until the announcement is made before taking strike action which will disadvantage pupils who have already had more than enough disruption from the earthquakes.

They would also accept that there are far more places available in Christchurch schools than pupils available. The sooner there is certainty over which schools stay open, which merge and which close, the better for the pupils, the staff and the school communities.


Parents admit son’s ordeal their fault

January 27, 2013

Parents whose son nearly died from tetanus admit it was their fault:

Auckland couple Ian and Linda Williams thought they had made an informed decision against immunising their three children because of concerns over adverse reactions.

But they regretted their decision when middle child Alijah contracted the potentially fatal disease just before Christmas, and was put in an induced coma on life support at Starship hospital.

They immediately immunised their other children and wrote to Alijah’s school to warn parents who had not vaccinated against the disease and others such as whooping cough.

“It was me that put my son in this situation,” Mr Williams said.

“Parents like us make the decision to not vaccinate on very little factual information about the actual consequences of the diseases – massive pain, disability and death – and a lot of non-factual, emotive information from the internet stating inflated figures on the frequency and severity of adverse reactions and conspiracy theories about ‘evil’ doctors, governments and drug companies.” . . .

This is another example of arguments based on emotion rather than science.

Mr Williams, a food technologist with a science degree, believed much of the information that convinced him and his wife not to vaccinate was misinformation and myths.

“Believing myths about vaccines is not the same as getting the facts. And that is the core problem.”

Auckland Regional Public Health clinical director Dr Julia Peters said parents who did not immunise their children were making choices with potentially far-reaching implications for society.

They should think about whether they might infect someone without the same level of defence as them, for example, someone with cancer or a baby who was not yet immunised. . .

Herd immunity requires most of the herd to be vaccinated.

Those who don’t immunise their children put them and other vulnerable people at risk.

My mother nursed people with polio, tetanus, whooping cough and other debilitating and potentially fatal diseases which were common before mass immunisation.

That they are rare now is no excuse not to vaccinate. the Williams’ family’s story illustrates the risk is still there.

If you follow the link above you’ll see a list of myths about immunisation and the rebuttal.

 

 


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