Auld Lang Syne

December 31, 2013


Word of the day

December 31, 2013

Noceur – someone who goes to bed late or not at all; one who stays out late to revel or party.


Lowest road toll since 1950

December 31, 2013

Safer roads and vehicles and better driving are factors in the lowest road toll since 1950.

As of Tuesday morning, 254 people have died on the roads this year – 17% fewer than last year.

In the last 60 years the only other year with a road toll below 300 was in 2011.

AA general manager of motoring affairs Mike Noon says 2013 has seen the lowest number of people killed in road crashes since 1950, when the road toll was 232. . . .

Mr Noon says vehicle and road safety are big factors driving down road deaths, while people’s driving habits, and attitudes to road safety have also improved.

The road toll doesn’t record non-fatal injuries and the numbers don’t reflect the impact even one death has on family and friends.

But a lower toll is encouraging.


Rural round-up

December 31, 2013

Rain threatens Canterbury’s veges:

Ongoing wet weather in Canterbury is preventing bees from pollinating this year’s vegetable crops.

About 100 mm of rain has fallen on Mid Canterbury farms since Christmas, causing problems for those who rely on warm, sunny days at this time of year for bee pollination.

Farmers growing flowering crops like potatoes, carrots, peas and radishes say they are starting to What get desperate for sunshine. . . .

Sniffing out new outlets for lavender oil – Alan Wood:

The owners of a large lavender farm say business is blooming with the latest summer crop and work to open up fresh export markets into China and the United States by February.

Philip Simms and Owen Dexter started the NZLavender business 10 years ago, with the first harvest in 2006.

More recently they have found competition in the bulk oil sector fierce, so there is a renewed focus on branded oils for the retail market, which already includes health shops and chemists in New Zealand.

A small bottle usually sells for between $10 and $12. . .

Dairy plant work up to schedule – David Bruce:

The pace is expected to quicken from the new year on construction of a $214 million dairy plant at Glenavy when installation of processing machinery and plant starts.

Just before Christmas, pieces of the drying plant, which will go into the 47m-high drying tower with its chimney, and boilers started to arrive on site.

While construction ramps down from about 200 staff to a smaller number over Christmas, that was expected to build up to about 300 in the new year, when contractors come on site to fit plant, Babbage construction site manager Murray Gifford said. . .

Introducing – Kora! - Jillaroo Jess:

After months of much anticipation, I’ve finally met my new pup! Her name is Kora, and she is a beautiful Border Collie. She came from a Border Collie stud called Mukkerdowns, which is located near Orange in New South Wales. Kora has so much personality. The more time I spend with her, the more I love her. She is around 5months old, I think, I’m yet to find out her birth date. Over the weekend, I took her for a walk down to the creek, which winds itself through the property. On the way down, we came across a small mob of cattle. Kora looked at them and within seconds was trying to run around behind them, before I called her back. We will start her on sheep or calves, so that she doesn’t get hurt for her first time herding. It is amazing how much the instinct is in these dogs, despite the majority of her brothers and sisters being city dogs. . . .

What your favourite cheese says about you -  Rebecca Orchant:

As you have probably noticed, we take cheese very seriously around here. We have threatened to change our name to HuffPost Cheese, have multiple cheese clubs that meet every week and believe that it may be the route to true happiness. That’s why, when you tell us what your favorite cheese is, we really take it to heart.

You can tell a lot about a person from their favorite cheese. Are they trustworthy? Should you marry them? Would they be good employee? If you need some help deciphering your favorite cheese-lover, we’ve made a list of what your favorite cheese says about you. Oh, and if you’re one of those people who hates cheese, or thinks the best cheese is no cheese, just go read something else. The Huffington Post has a lot to offer you, but this article just isn’t it. . . .


26/40

December 31, 2013

Only 26/40 in Stuff’s year in 40 questions.


Quotes of the year

December 31, 2013

“It was probably a classic example of me probably being too much army, and not enough prince. . . “ Prince Harry.

. . . Whether it is in sport, business, agriculture, the arts, science and the creative industries, or in international fora such as peacekeeping, New Zealanders have repeatedly shown their talent, tenacity, flair and commitment.

That legacy of the new way of doing things was well put by New Zealander and Saatchi and Saatchi worldwide chief executive Kevin Roberts a few years ago when he said: “We were the last to be discovered and the first to see the light. This makes us one of the great experimental cultures. We try things first. Whether it’s votes for women, the welfare state or the market economy, powered flight, nuclear physics, anti-nuclearism, biculturalism. First-isms. The New in New Zealand is our reason to exist.” Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae.

”I like to cook meat, except for chicken. To me chicken’s like a ladies’ meat, so it’s more of a vegetable.” Jonny Trevathan, Master Chef entrant.

By 1984 the economy was in a mess, and I hope history will record more positively the decisive actions of both the Lange-Douglas Labour Government and the Bolger-Richardson National Government that followed. The resilience of the New Zealand economy during the recent global downturn owes much to the courage of those Cabinets, at least in their early years, putting New Zealand’s very real needs ahead of political considerations in pursuing necessary reform. – Lockwood Smith

As a former Commonwealth Scholar in Science, I have often regretted that I never got involved in that area during my time here. Science and technology have been so crucial to the advancement of human well-being, yet scientists are a rare breed in politics. Internationally, there is something of a disconnect between the two. In politics, for example, green is the claimed colour of sustainability. Yet in science, the very reason we perceive plants to be green is that they reflect green light. They cannot use it. It is red and blue light that sustain most of our living world. Lockwood Smith

Some commentators assess members on how successfully they play the political game. But to me what sets a member of Parliament apart is how much they care about the impact of the State on an ordinary person, and how far they are prepared to go in representing people whose lives can be so knocked around by the actions of the State. Lockwood Smith

This House, in so many ways, has become a place of political parties rather than a House of Representatives. I am not for one moment trying to make a case for the old system, but I do believe there will come a time when we will need to re-examine that balance of accountabilities. Representation is enhanced when members have to help ordinary people in their local communities, many of whom may never have voted for them. Lockwood Smith.

We aren’t scientists we are farmers, we choose not to debate the science but work hard to deal with changing weather patterns. Bruce Wills.

Anyway, credit where credit is due. The Labour Party has finally adopted one of the very sensible policies of the National Government, and that is the mixed-ownership model. That is right. These days, the Labour Party is 51 percent owned by Labour and 49 percent owned by the Greens. Yes, these two parties have come together in this happy little place, where fruit meets loop. John Key.

. . . Kids who read stay out of jail (unless they grow up to be financial investment directors). Reading gives them words. Words give them the ability to express and clarify themselves to others. How many young guys end up in strife because they don’t have the vocab to explain what they’re doing, and so they move from incoherence to frustration to violence?

Reading helps young people come to terms with themselves and their issues. . .  David Hill

“Oh my god, another cross to bear,” Tim Shadbolt on being told  he was the most trusted mayor in the country in a Readers Digest poll.

. . . The response that students gave to Christchurch is phenomenal, and it only was thanks to a really strong team of people who all were able to bring their individual skills to something.  . . .  just like young people right around New Zealand – all specialising in different areas, focusing on what they’re good at, being willing to be wrong, being willing to ask for help and fundamentally believing that change is possible, that you can look at things in a different way, no matter what level of society you’re on.  It’s our philosophy – the skill of the unskilled.  I sit at a lot of conferences, and I’m the only one without a PhD, but we say, ‘What about this idea?  What about this idea?  Where are we going?  Are we fundamentally doing things that are right and taking our country and world in a good direction?’ . . .Sam Johnson

. . . You know, Christchurch is still in a position that it’s hard there for a lot of people, but it’s also— the group of people that I am with every day through Volunteer Army Foundation, the Ministry of Awesome, we are— we love Christchurch, and you couldn’t pay us to move anywhere else, because of the innovation, the excitement.  You know, population numbers are up in Christchurch, and we are going to be a— it’s a strong place to be. . .  Sam Johnson

. . . I focus on doing things that I love.  I focus on surrounding myself with people much more intelligent than myself and people who can really make things happen, building strong teams.  I think that’s the philosophy we take in Christchurch.  We specialise in different areas with what we’re good at and focus on that. Sam Johnson

One witness was asked to identify an accused by describing the man’s tattoos. I applauded his response. “I can’t really describe his tattoos. They were a load of rubbish. They looked like the graffiti on a public dunny wall.” District Court Judge Russell Callander

“You’ve got to have a reason for getting up in the morning and I firmly believe retirement has killed more farmers than farming.” – Ted Ford

A Government should not be relied upon to create jobs. To bolster our economy and growth, we need the private sector to be creating jobs in the tradeables sector.

Whether they are high-earning export roles, or an entry level company, it is the job of entrepreneurs. Government’s role is to put in place the right conditions for economic growth, so companies can feel comfortable about expanding, growing, or just starting out in the business world.

Local government also has a role, through having plans for economic growth and development that encourage businesses and don’t stifle their creativity. Eric Roy

Politics is a two-stage process: first you’re sworn in, then, inevitably, eventually, you’re sworn at. Denis Welch.

There is rarely any danger of overestimating Labour Party stupidity. Having described myself recently as ‘a sentimental socialist’, I’m inclined to think that sentiment may be the main, and possibly the only reason for my ongoing belief in an organism genetically predisposed to push the self-destruct button when faced with the slightest glimmer of electoral success. . .   Brian Edwards.

. . . within 48 hours it looks very much to us as if it is just another David, another day, and another step to the left, as we see the disloyalty in the Labour caucus slowly beginning to foment. Gerry Brownlee.

But now, of course, under the new leader of the Labour Party, the pledge card, like his CV, will be a living document—kind of like the Treaty but without the principles.Bill English

“We were given opportunities in Mangere. Education unlocks opportunities you would not otherwise have.” - Sam Lotu-Iiga MP

The big, bad thing is that large parts of the Left have never faced up to the failure of socialism. The nicer Leftists, often very belatedly, deplored Stalin and Mao – the purges, the Gulags, the famines, the invasions. The more intelligent ones detected certain (let us put it gently) problems with state ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange. Yet when, in 1989, the Berlin Wall was knocked down by the citizens in whose name it had been erected, few could admit that this was a defeat for socialism as fundamental as that of Nazism in 1945. . . Charles Moore

Arts degrees are awesome. And they help you find meaning where there is none. And let me assure you, there is none. Don’t go looking for it. Searching for meaning is like searching for a rhyme scheme in a cookbook: you won’t find it and you’ll bugger up your soufflé. Tim Minchin

We must think critically, and not just about the ideas of others. Be hard on your beliefs. Take them out onto the verandah and beat them with a cricket bat.
Be intellectually rigorous. Identify your biases, your prejudices, your privilege.

Most of society’s arguments are kept alive by a failure to acknowledge nuance. We tend to generate false dichotomies, then try to argue one point using two entirely different sets of assumptions, like two tennis players trying to win a match by hitting beautifully executed shots from either end of separate tennis courts. Tim Minchin

Parliament applauded Eleanor Catton winning the Man Booker Prize for her book ‘The Luminaries’ when it resumed today.

Prime Minister John Key said the success should be celebrated by New Zealanders as much as they did sporting victories. Catton’s feat in becoming the youngest winner of the prize at 28, came as 16 year old Lorde topped the US charts with her music showing New Zealand was blessed with strong, creative young women. Parliament Today

“You guys have spent your careers trying to analyse what he says and you’ve got more sense out of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. He talks in riddles, he doesn’t stick to what he says, it’s a waste of time having discussions that are about a bottom line.

“There are no bottom lines with Winston Peters. He will do a deal with who he feels like doing a deal with.” John Key

Not so much a political honeymoon as a naughty weekend with the floating voters. – Vernon Small on David Cunliffe.

. . . Girls dress for other girls. They dress to fit in. They dress to be part of a group. They want to be respected and they want to be liked. They want to be beautiful. They dress to impress. They copy their celebrity idols. These might well be fashion crimes, but short skirts and cleavage don’t signal a willingness to be victimised.

New Zealand is internationally rated as one of the best countries to be a woman. This year, we celebrated 120 years of women winning the right to vote.

With that goes the right to not be abused. Judith Collins

. . . considering I’m probably in the 10% of New Zealanders who pay 70% of the tax, considering I’m a self-employed business owner with farming interests and considering I still bear the farming scars from some incredibly short-sighted, militant union behaviour in the 1970s and 80s, why would I vote Labour now?

There’s nothing for me in their policies of higher tax, greater environmental and economic handbrakes for farming and re-unionising the workforce. Farming Show host Jamie Mackay on Labour after its leader refused to appear on the show in case he was laughed at.

. . . For the farmer, the business person, the property owner, and the financial investor it’s all pretty straightforward. What’s in it for National’s electoral base is economic growth, low inflation, reduced taxation and a reasonable rate-of-return. What they’re not looking for is more economic regulation, higher taxes, rising prices or inflationary wage demands.

Getting the attention of those who feel that their stake in New Zealand society is much too meagre to matter is a considerably more daunting task. - Chris Trotter

There is a saying that you do not beat New Zealand – you just get more points than them at the final whistle. – Sir Ian McGeechan

“I don’t really believe in Great — insert a country — Novels,” she said. “I don’t see how you can reconcile that with diversity, and I think the diversity is the most important thing in any national literature.” Eleanor Catton

I knew it would never be about zeroes. I’m not a spreadsheet with hair; will never be. I am an artist, an author, with a hunger for showing people what I can do and a talent for making people turn my name into a call while they’re waiting front row. It’s me. I’m here. - Lorde

Imagine if Nelson Mandela was as angry as John Minto when he got out of prison” – Josie Pagani on ‘The Huddle

Beyond the All Blacks being unbeaten for a whole season, and Emirates Team New Zealand coming second in a two-boat race, what put New Zealand on the world’s front pages in 2013 was a novel, a song and a film. – Hamish Keith

It’s one of the oldest cliches in politics - that perception is reality. In other words, if enough of us are convinced that what we think we see is real, then it may as well be real. Even if it’s not. - Tim Watkins

I find it fascinating that if you dig a hole and plant a tree in it, you are a greenie; if you dig a big hole, take the gold out of the ground and plant a forest, suddenly you’re an eco-terrorist. There’s no consistency in that. – Colin Craig

“Tasmanian Devils are renowned for their big mouths, bad behaviour and noisiness, so they will fit in well with the nation’s politicians in the capital,” - Nick Smith

I totally disagree with it. If you’re going to earn money, you earn it. You’re given it by your productivity.” - Sir John Walker on the living wage.

Science is not a bunch of facts. Scientists are not people trying to be prescriptive or authoritative. Science is simply the word we use to describe a method of organising our curiosity. It’s easier, at a dinner party, to say ”science” than to say ”the incremental acquisition of understanding through observation, humbled by an acute awareness of our tendency towards bias”. Douglas Adams said: ”I’d take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day.”

Science is not the opposite of art, nor the opposite of spirituality – whatever that is – and you don’t have to deny scientific knowledge in order to make beautiful things. On the contrary, great science writing is the art of communicating that ”awe of understanding”, so that we readers can revel in the beauty of a deeper knowledge of our world. Tim Minchin

. . . Remember the Government’s $30 million cash injection to secure the immediate future of Tiwai Point?  That helped to protect 3,200 jobs and the smelter’s $1.6 billion annual contribution to the Southland economy. Dairying doesn’t need such support, but in 2009, it injected over $700 million into the Southland economy and employed over 2,300 people.  Dairying may not be number one here but we’re a pretty important second that’s become more important over the past four years. . . Russell MacPherson

All of us pay for some of us to indulge romantic dreams about trains or to feed fanciful beliefs that the government owns these “assets which are valuable”

This stuff is not silver its rust… the best performers can’t perform without laws which force revenue into their pockets, the worst performers are a receivers dream.

Genuine concern for the poor would not see government owning commercial assets. - Eye to the Long Run

. . . If from the time their children could read, parents had introduced them to newspapers, as certainly happened when I was young, rather than addiction to idiotic texting, they would, instead, be addicted to the world in all of its wide-ranging fascination and zaniness (the human factor), as delivered to us daily in the newspaper.

It’s a shame as nothing matches the daily newspaper for sheer stimulation, education, and entertainment value for money. Take a recent Dominion Post. First the pleasure of its crosswords and tussling over the wordgame, this after quickly scanning the front page for later reading. Each news item induced a full spectrum of emotions, from rage to delight, in the latter case from the splendid heading, “Mr Whippy frozen with fear by chainsaw wielding cross-dresser”. That alone was worth the price of the paper and was promptly dispatched to friends abroad. These texting obsessives don’t know what they’re missing. . .  -  Bob Jones

. . .  Seemingly the first duty on rising every morning for Remuerites is to go outside and rake up the $100 notes that have fallen like confetti on them overnight. It must be very tiresome.  . . Bob Jones

. . . But as you go through life when you run into a brick wall, you’ve just got to knock the bastard over. – Sir Peter Leitch.

 


NZ’s turn to ride commodity wave

December 31, 2013

For several years we’ve looked across the Tasman as Australia boomed on the back of Chinese demand for its minerals.

It’s now New Zealand’s turn:

. . . For so long the poor cousins across the ditch, it’s the Kiwis’ turn to ride the China resources roller coaster, with all the fun and fear that can engender. The commodity is different but the fundamental story is much the same as the China boom that lifted Australia over the past decade.

What iron ore and coking coal did for Oz, milk powder is doing for New Zealand. Forget the cliches about New Zealanders and sheep – it’s cows that are making Kiwis feel good now, as well as the All Blacks having an undefeated year.

But it’s not only dairying and the All Blacks doing well.

. . . An ANZ bank survey this month found NZ businesses the most confident they’ve been since 1994. House prices and wages are rising and consumers are spending more – the government is expecting consumption growth of 2.8 per cent while Australia struggles to manage 2 per cent.

New Zealand’s terms of trade are at their highest since 1974, giving the average Kiwi sharply stronger buying power. It’s not so expensive for Kiwis to visit the relatives in Australia – but the land of the strangled dipthong is no longer a cheap holiday for Australians. The Kiwi dollar started the year above $1.26 to the Aussie. It’s finishing at $1.09. . .

While our Treasury forecasts Australia’s unemployment will nudge up to 6.25 per cent, New Zealand’s is 6.2 and falling from a high of 7.3 last year, twin factors that can be expected to reduce the usual migration flow. Australia has done well out of its Kiwi migrants. Given the direction of the New Zealand currency, we might have left it a wee bit late to stock up on five-eighths and sauvignon blanc. . .

Trans-Tasman rivalry is usually pretty good natured.

But while we can enjoy our moment in the sun, we shouldn’t forget that Australia is our second biggest market.

Beating them because we’re doing well and we’re doing better is to be celebrated. Bettering them because they’re going backwards is bad for both of us.


New Year honours

December 31, 2013

Two dames and four knights have been created in the New Year honours.

Trelise Cooper has been honoured for services to fashion.

Alison Paterson has been honoured for services to business which includes significant service to agriculture.

She is chair of Crown Irrigation Investment and Farm IQ,  Stevenson Agriculture and New Zealand Formulary, which is developing markets for furnishing fabric made from wool and rice. She was a director of 
She is a director of Landcorp Farming, and PGG Wrightson.

The new knights are:

Dr Noble Curtis, of Rotorua for services to Māori education;  Archbishop David Moxon, of Rome for services to the Anglican Church, Bob Parker, for services to local body affairs and the community and Peter Vela, ONZM, for services to the thoroughbred industry.

The first link takes you to the full list at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s website.

Southern and rural people honoured include:

CNZM:

Former Southland mayor Frano Cardno who is profiled in the ODT.

ONZM

John Coles, former Waimate mayor.

Tom Lambie,  a pioneering organic farmer, former president of Federated Farmers, representedboard member of Trade Liberalisation Network,  New Zealand on the International Federation of Agricultural Producers, former chair of the Landcare Trust, and is Chancellor of Lincoln University and an ECan commissioner.

MNZM

Former Waitaki mayor Alex Familton.

QSO

Former Oamaru police officer and current scout leader Derek Beveridge.

Former Waitaki mayor Alan McLay.

 

 

 

 

 

 


11 -10 against Brown on living wage

December 31, 2013

The people of Auckland should be very grateful to Councillor Cameron Brewer for moving what is a contender for the motion of the year:

“That the Governing Body agrees that Auckland Council first and foremost prepare a remuneration policy in the 2014/15 financial year, and as part of that policy work fully investigate the costs and wider implications on the organisation, business community and region of the Living Wage policy and have the CE back to the Governing Body at a later date.”

The motion was seconded by Dick Quax and passed by 11 votes to 10.

It is ridiculous to effectively raise the minimum wage to the level supposedly needed for a family of four to have a reasonable life.

Those families would be little if any better off because any gains in their wages would be offset by reductions in Working for Families payments.

The ones who would gain would be single, mostly young, workers, many of whom would be part-timers.

Aucklanders should be grateful that a majority, albeit a slim one, of the council have the good sense to require a thorough investigation of the costs and implications before committing a large sum of money to implementing the policy.

This was a big defeat for mayor Len Brown who campaigned on introducing a living wage.

But it’s a win for the city and its people.


December 31 in history

December 31, 2013

400  Vandals, Alans and Suebians crossed the Rhine, beginning an invasion of Gaul.

1229  James I of Aragon the Conqueror entered Medina Mayurqa (now known as Palma) consummating the Christian conquest of the island of Majorca.

1491 – Jacques Cartier, French explorer, was born (d. 1557)

1599  The British East India Company was chartered.

1687– The first Huguenots set sail from France to the Cape of Good Hope.

1695 A window tax was imposed in England, causing many shopkeepers to brick up their windows to avoid the tax.

1720 Charles Edward Stuart, pretender to the British throne, was born  (d. 1788).

1759 Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum and started brewing Guinness.

1853 Sir George Grey left New Zealand after finishing his first  term as Governor.

Grey leaves NZ after first term as Governor
1857 Queen Victoria chose Ottawa, as the capital of Canada.
1869 Henri Matisse, French painter, was born (d. 1954).
1878  Elizabeth Arden, Canadian businesswoman, was born (d. 1966).

1879 Thomas Edison demonstrated incandescent lighting to the public for the first time.

1904 The first New Year’s Eve celebration was held in Times Square (then known as Longacre Square) in New York.

1908  Simon Wiesenthal, Austrian Holocaust survivor, was born (d. 2005).

1909  Manhattan Bridge opened.

1923 The chimes of Big Ben were broadcast on radio for the first time by the BBC.

1937 Sir Anthony Hopkins, Welsh actor, was born.

1941 – Sir Alex Ferguson, Scottish football manager, was born.

1943 John Denver, American singer and songwriter, was born (d. 1997).

1943 Sir Ben Kingsley, English actor was born.

1943  Pete Quaife, English bassist (The Kinks) was born.

1946 President Harry Truman officially proclaimed the end of hostilities in World War II.

1951 The Marshall Plan expired after distributing more than $13.3 billion USD in foreign aid to rebuild Europe.

1955  The General Motors Corporation became the first U.S. corporation to make over $1 billion USD in a year.

1960 The farthing coin ceased to be legal tender in the United Kingdom.

1963  The Central African Federation officially collapsed and split into Zambia, Malawi and Rhodesia.

1965  Nicholas Sparks, American author, was born.

1980 – Richie McCaw, All Black captain, was born.

Richie McCaw 2011.jpg

1983 – The AT&T Bell System was broken up by the United States Government.

1991  All official Soviet Union institutions ceased operations by this date and the Soviet Union was officially dissolved.

1992 Czechoslovakia was dissolved, resulting in the creation of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

1998  The European Exchange Rate Mechanism froze the values of the legacy currencies in the Eurozone, and established the value of the euro currency.

1999  Boris Yeltsin resigned as President of Russia, leaving Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as the acting President.

1999 – The United States Government handed control of the Panama Canal (as well all the adjacent land to the canal known as the Panama Canal Zone) to Panama. This act complied with the signing of the 1977 Torrijos-Carter Treaties.

2004  The official opening of Taipei 101, the tallest skyscraper at that time in the world, standing at a height of 509 metres (1,670 ft).

2007 -  Bocaue Fire: Seven people were injured when a fire resulted in the explosion of several fireworks stores in Bocaue, Bulacan, Philippines.

2009 – Both a blue moon and a lunar eclipse occurred.

2011 – NASA succeeded in putting the first of two Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory satellites in orbit around the moon.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


Word of the day

December 30, 2013

Risorial – causing, pertaining to, or producing laughter.


Espiner to replace Robinson

December 30, 2013

Guyon Espiner is to replace Geoff Robinson when he retires from Morning report next year.

. . . Espiner has been a political editor for Television New Zealand and the Sunday Star-Times, and has presented TVNZ’s Q + A programme on Sundays.

He also worked on TV3 programmes The Vote and 3rd Degree and has been in journalism for 20 years.

Radio New Zealand’s chief executive Paul Thompson described Espiner as an incisive interviewer with an impressive career and impeccable journalistic credentials. . . .

When I did the Kellogg Rural Leadership programme we visited Radio NZ while Morning Report was on air and were able to speak to Robinson afterwards.

I asked him what made a good interviewer, he said, one of the most important attributes was being a good listener.


Rural round-up

December 30, 2013

Irrigation holds key to future farming viability – Tim Crighton:

Water issues polarise people, not just in Canterbury but throughout the country. The debate is inextricably entwined with water quality and the link to dairy farming and irrigation.

New Zealand relies on the agricultural sector to provide economic success.  And in turn the sector relies on effective irrigation techniques and investment to increase land productivity, which also enhances capital value.

Dairy farming is the highest and best use of land within larger irrigation schemes but there have been periods when intensive arable land use has competed strongly on economic terms. . .

TracMap signs agreement to improve tomato harvest efficiency:

TracMap has further extended its market reach by signing a supply agreement with Kagome Foods, the largest tomato grower in Australia.

Kagome, part of the Japanese group of the same name, grows a range of process vegetables, with tomatoes being its main crop in Australia. They will use the TracMap systems to improve harvest efficiency and reduce risk of quality errors.

GM of Field Operations Jason Fritsch is excited by the TracMap technology. “We have 11 harvesters operating 24 hours a day a for over 2 months, so it’s fairly full on over this period”, said Jason. “With 2100 hectares of crop spread over a 150km range, logistics is a big issue for us, and the TracMap system solves most of those issues.” . . .

2014 will be ‘massive’ for New Zealand’s $6 billion red meat industry:

Federated Farmers members are currently mulling its options for how to best reform New Zealand’s $6 billion red meat industry.

“As red-meat industry revenues are worth around 35 Avatar movies each year and generates some 80 times the annual revenue of Xero, you can say its future is fairly important to every Kiwi,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre spokesperson.

“2014 promises to be a massive year for the red meat industry and for wool too. Just before Christmas, we got the great news that Wellington-based The Formary’s breakthrough mid-micron/rice straw fabric is moving into commercial production. . .

ECan’s Land & Water Regional Plan sets Federated Farmers to work:

Federated Farmers three Canterbury provinces are fully committed to doing their bit for the community and for farmers in the management of our most precious resource.

“As people head to the summer barbecues no doubt water quality will feature as part of the discussion, “says Chris Allen, Federated Farmers Mid-Canterbury provincial president.

“The recent Lincoln perceptions survey shows we’ve got a wee way to go before public perceptions of what food producers do catches up with reality. . .

Artistic Vistas :

For 10 years North Canterbury’s Art in a Garden has been drawing crowds of about 2000 people to view work by some of this country’s leading artists.

The three-and-a-half day event is held at the Zino family’s Flaxmere Gardens, situated on river bed terraces of the Waitohi River at Hawarden, North Canterbury. Art in the Garden is regarded as one of the top events of its kind in New Zealand. It is an art exhibition in a garden that has been awarded the title A Garden of National Significance by The New Zealand Garden Trust.

These extensive and stunning gardens, covering 4ha, have been lovingly created and tended by Penny Zino. . .

 


Strange encounters of the bovine kind

December 30, 2013

This year’s strangest encounter was a five-legged steer we met on a farm near Mansfield in Victoria.

5 legged cow

Not only does the steer have an extra leg, he also has a Facebook page.

The condition has a name – polymelia and isn’t confined to cattle.


Next year there will be more . . .

December 30, 2013

. . .  of this:

Laughter Yoga's photo.

Laughter Yoga is the funniest way to exercise and the best way to have fun while exercising I’ve ever tried.


China changing one child policy

December 30, 2013

China has been forced to change its one child policy:

Earlier today, China announced that it would finally loosen its decade old one-child policy. This policy has had a disturbing affect in China in the form of skewed demographics.

It’s well known that China’s population is ageing rapidly, causing the workforce to shrink. And without siblings, children are under tremendous financial pressure as they have to care for their own aging parents. But those aren’t even the most disturbing trends, wrote BI’s Mamta Badkar citing a 2011 report from Nomura.

“Perhaps the more alarming concern for population sustainability is the large imbalance between baby girls and boys,” wrote the Nomura analysts.

For every 100 girls born there are 120 boys and a couple of years ago there were 51 million more men than women in the country.

fm births

The one child policy is unsustainable.

One of its tragic consequences has been the abortion and infanticide of female babies.

There are now far too many young men and not enough young women.

It will take decades to get the population back in balance and will need a change in attitude to value girls as highly as boys.


China culls 2m cows

December 30, 2013

We know dairying is big in New Zealand, but it’s even bigger in China.

China’s dairy herd has shrunk by two million cows in the past year.

There has been a mass exodus of small dairy farmers due to high production costs and record beef prices.

Dairy Australia industry analyst John Droppert says China has killed more cows this year than the entire Australian dairy herd.

That’s about 20% of New Zealand’s dairy herd.

“Basically it means production in the country is in a hole, in short,” he said.

“But you are certainly seeing a reduction in production, I think they are talking 10-15 per cent this year.

“Effectively that means at the broader level they have a bigger gap.

“Demand is growing and at the same time supply is shrinking.”

This is the main reason demand for milk from New Zealand is so strong and is likely to remain so which is good for the whole economy.


December 30 in history

December 30, 2013

39  Titus, Roman emperor was born  (d. 81).

1066 Granada massacre: A Muslim mob stormed the royal palace in Granada, crucified Jewish vizier Joseph ibn Naghrela and massacred most of the Jewish population of the city.

1460  Wars of the Roses: Battle of Wakefield.

1835 Charles Darwin left New Zealand after a nine day visit.

Charles Darwin leaves NZ after 9-day visitThis red gurnard was collected by Charles Darwin when the Beagle visited the Bay of Islands.

1865 – Rudyard Kipling, English writer, Nobel laureate, was born (d. 1936).

1916 The last coronation in Hungary was performed for King Charles IV and Queen Zita.

1919 – Lincoln’s Inn in London admitted its first female bar student.

1922  Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was formed.

1924 Edwin Hubble announced the existence of other galaxies.

1927  The Ginza Line, the first subway line in Asia, opened in Tokyo, Japan.

1928 – Bo Diddley, American singer and musician, was born (d. 2008).

1931  Skeeter Davis, American singer, was born  (d. 2004) .

1937 -  Noel Paul Stookey, American folk singer (Peter, Paul & Mary), was born.

1940 California opened its first freeway the Arroyo Seco Parkway.

1942 – Michael Nesmith, American singer and musician (The Monkees) was born.

1944 King George II of Greece declared a regency, leaving the throne vacant.

1945  Davy Jones, English singer (The Monkees), was born (d. 2012).

1947 King Michael of Romania was forced to abdicate by the Soviet-backed Communist government of Romania.

1947 Jeff Lynne, English musician (ELO), was born.

1948  The Cole Porter Broadway musical, Kiss Me, Kate (1,077 performances), opened at the New Century Theatre and was the first show to win the Best Musical Tony Award.

1950 Bjarne Stroustrup, Danish computer scientist, creator of C++, was born.

1953 The first ever NTSC colour television sets went on sale for about USD at $1,175 each from RCA.

1959 Tracey Ullman, English actress and singer, was born.

1961 – Bill English, New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister, was born.

1965  Ferdinand Marcos became President of the Philippines.

1975 Tiger Woods, American golfer, was born.

1993  Israel and the Vatican established diplomatic relations.

2004 A fire in the República Cromagnon nightclub in Buenos Aires, Argentina killed 194.

2005  Tropical Storm Zeta formed in the open Atlantic Ocean.

2006  Madrid’s Barajas International Airport was bombed.

2006 Deposed President of Iraq Saddam Hussein, convicted of the executions of 148 Iraqi Shiites, was executed.

2009 – The last roll of Kodachrome film was developed by Dwayne’s Photo, the only remaining Kodachrome processor at the time, concluding the film’s 74-year run as a photography icon.

2011  – Owing to a change of time zone the day was skipped in Samoa and Tokelau.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


Word of the day

December 29, 2013

Fannaa – annihilation, destruction or dissolution of the self or ego in love; sacrificing oneself for another.


Rural round up

December 29, 2013

Wool rice product developed:

A Wellington company which has developed a new upholstery fabric blended from wool and rice straw is expecting to start commercial production next year.

The Formary, a textile design and development company, is proposing to use 70% New Zealand mid-micron wool and 30% rice straw in the fabric, which will be manufactured in China.

The Formary co-founder Bernadette Casey said manufacturing of commercial samples would start in China early next year, with full production by mid-year. . .

Indo Minister steps up rhetoric on live cattle:

The Indonesian agriculture minister Suswano has stepped up his anti-Australia rhetoric, calling for cut backs on the importation of live cattle from Australia due to the ongoing spying rift between the two neighbours.

The Minister has called on the cattle industry to cease imports of cattle from Australia and to give preference to local suppliers. He said the appeal was related to Australia’s snooping on Indonesia.

“Basically it is business-to-business, (and is) the right of businesspeople to chose where they source their meat supplies. However, when the government shows a certain political stance, it would be good if the businesspeople adapt to it,” he said. . .

Donating kidneys to protect the landscape – Erin Hutchinson:

Manawatu farmer Dave Stewart reckons the agricultural landscape needs a lot more kidneys.

Dave uses the term to describe the numerous small native-bush blocks he has planted in the small, incised gullies that criss-cross the family’s property.

Those organs across the flat to occasionally rolling territory intercept nutrients carried in paddock run-off before they enter waterways. Dave calls them nutrient-interceptor beds.

Dave and wife Jan are the fourth generation of Stewarts to farm the 600ha property at Hiwinui, a short distance from Palmerston North. . .

Year in review – April - Rebecca Harper:

Fonterra’s strong balance sheet was used to bring forward the advance payment schedule for its milk supply pool and improve cashflow for drought-affected dairy farmers. The co-op declared a net profit increase of 33% on the first half of 2011-12 to $459 million in the six months to January 31 after an 8% increase in sales volume. The milk payout forecast was lifted 30c to $5.80/kg milksolids.

The Meat Industry Excellence Group (MIE) continued to hold farmer meetings around the country to gauge support for its push for red meat industry consolidation. Meat companies said they were working together on a plan to rationalise the processing industry and the two big co-ops said they were willing to work with MIE. Tradable slaughter rights were suggested as one solution to industry woes as the impetus for change gathered momentum.

MIE elected a national executive with Richard Young as chairman. . .

And from the Nutters Club:

>:) kindest, Boris


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