Word of the day

April 7, 2014

Abatjour – lampshade; eyeshade; device like a reflector or skylight  to direct light into a room.


Take a bow NZ

April 7, 2014

Kiwiblog lists New Zealand’s place in a variety of  international rankings:

  • Rule of Law 6th
  • Economic Freedom 5th
  • Best to do business in 2nd
  • Least Corrupt 1st
  • Open Data 4th
  • Prosperous 5th
  • Best to be a woman 7th
  • Competitiveness 18th
  • Peaceful 3rd
  • Democratic 5th
  • Human Development 6th
  • Best for working women 1st
  • Freedom 1st
  • Open Budget 2nd
  • Best to be a mother 4th
  • Humanitarian responses 3rd
  • Smallest gender gap 5th
  • Generous 1st
  • Least failed 7th
  • Trade competitiveness 4th
  • Social progress 1st

No-one is suggesting there isn’t room for improvement in many areas.

But this is a list of which we can be proud.

Take a bow New Zealand.


Rural round-up

April 7, 2014

Understanding Fonterra gets even harder – Pattrick Smellie:

Ask anyone with half an eye on the New Zealand economy what’s leading its current recovery and they’ll tell you two things.

First: the Canterbury rebuild.

And second: the extraordinary boom in both the price and volume of dairy industry exports.

The dairy boom being what it is, you’d think the country’s only multi-national company with global scale, Fonterra, would have produced a stonking half-year profit result last week.

Not so.. .

Pukeuri meatworks still waiting for China go-ahead - Daniel Birchfield:

A resolution to the ongoing certification issue surrounding Alliance Group’s Pukeuri plant looks no closer to being resolved.

The plant’s certification for China was suspended by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) in July, after incorrectly labelled product was shipped to China.

Alliance Group general manager of processing, Kerry Stevens, said at this stage there was “no change” to the current situation.

Stevens declined to comment on how the issue at Pukeuri was affecting Timaru’s Smithfield plant in terms of staffing. . .

Farmers walk the environmental talk – Alan Wills:

. . . In a nut shell farming has a great future in New Zealand. We have our challenges but the long term future in my opinion is better than just good.

Why? We are naturally good farmers.  We have the climate and water availability in some areas to take the vagrancies out of seasonal production.  Globally this is called the ‘pastoral sweet spot’ and there aren’t too many countries in the world in it.

We have very good infrastructure here and abroad to effectively market what we produce. We have very focused research and development supporting us to stay on the front foot.  Politically, our Westminister type democracy provides stability and stability begets confidence.  I can think of one country that is like our twin except for politics and policies that shoots its economy in the foot.  Here, nothing is going to fall over by revolution or in a coup. 

Finally, we can produce food products in particular that the rest of developing world wants.

All of these attributes are vital in any successful production and marketing process. . .

If the IPCC backs adaptation, political parties should too:

The release of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment report’s chapter on Australasia, reinforces science, research and water storage are fundamental to New Zealand’s adaptive response.

“The IPCC report contains both good and bad news for the New Zealand farm system and New Zealand as a whole,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Vice-President, who has recently returned from the World Farmers Organisation’s General-Assembly.

“The report predicts that New Zealand will likely become drier in the northeast of the South Island as well as the east and north of the North Island.  On the other side of the ledger, it will likely become wetter in the south of the South Island. 

“This will change pest pressure and biosecurity risks and the effectiveness of biocontrols. . .

Tikorangi dairy farm takes top Taranaki award:

A TIKORANGI dairy farming operation is the inaugural winner of the 2014 Taranaki Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

It was described by judges as an outstanding example of best dairying practise.

The region’s first Supreme title was presented to Gavin and Oliver Faull, Faull Farms, and their sharemilkers, Tony and Loie Penwarden, at a special Ballance Farm Environment Awards ceremony on April 3. . .

Precision farmers feature of Fert and Lime Conference:

THE WORD improvisation can conjure images of ad hoc solutions and a slightly less than professional approach, but when it comes to precision agriculture, it’s not a dirty word: in fact, it’s exactly what’s needed, says one of New Zealand’s leading academics on the subject.

 Out of necessity, New Zealand farmers have become inherently good at improvising over the years and that background will stand them in good stead with the growing array of precision farming techniques becoming available, says Professor of Precision Agriculture at Massey University Ian Yule. . .

 

 

 


Prove it

April 7, 2014

Act leader Jamie White is challenging David Cunliffe to prove he’d be better at investing money than the private sector.

The Labour Party has announced a return to “industrial policy”. If elected, they will decide which businesses and sectors of the economy will deliver the highest returns and promote them in various ways – most obviously, by subsidising them with taxpayers’ money.

This policy effectively replaces the decisions of private investors with the decisions of Labour Party politicians. It would be a foolish policy if Labour Party politicians were not better investors than the private investors they will replace.

So, before asking people to vote for the policy, shouldn’t David Cunliffe prove that he and his colleagues really are better investors than those who do it professionally?

He could do this easily. Mr Cunliffe could set up a small investment fund – $5,000 would suffice to get started – and trade it in the months before the election. Since he claims to know better than private investors which businesses will give the best returns, his fund should massively outperform the NZX 50 and other stock market indices. . .

Mr Cunliffe talks a good game when it comes to investing. And he plans to put your money where his mouth is. But before anyone goes along with him, they should insist that he puts his own money where his mouth is.

So I challenge Mr Cunliffe. Trade the stock market in the months before the election. Publish your trades as you make them and explain how you arrived at your supposed knowledge of which investments are best. By the election we will be able to see if you really do know what you claim to.

If you won’t accept the challenge, then withdraw your proposal to use taxpayers’ money to invest in the businesses that take your fancy.

A defining feature of the National-led government since 2008 is a respect for public money because they understand it’s other people’s.

That has yet to penetrate the we-know-better fog which envelopes the left, all of whom are concentrating on how they’ll divide the national pie rather than working on how to make it bigger.


Two egos no mana

April 7, 2014

Kim Dotcom is to speak at the Mana Party AGM:

Internet Party founder Kim Dotcom will address the Mana Party annual conference in Rotorua next weekend ahead of Mana’s decision about whether to form an alliance with the Internet Party.

Mana leader Hone Harawira and Mr Dotcom met for the second time in Auckland over the weekend to discuss the potential relationship.

The Mana executive invited Mr Dotcom to speak and he accepted “to talk to and understand the view of Mana members,” a Mana statement says.

The speech will be late Saturday morning in the open session of the conference, which news media can attend. . .

What this does is guarantee that the conference will get more coverage than a wee party might otherwise get.

However, all publicity isn’t good publicity and any relationship with Dotcom and his Internet Party has the potential to tear Mana apart.

Those with principles will leave in disgust that the party would sell out for money.

Dotcom and Mana leader Hone Harawira have little in common politically except a hatred of John Key.

Keeping Stock calls it Dotcomana.

It has no principles.

All it has is two egos and no mana.


Not as green as they’re painted

April 7, 2014

Organic production is better for the planet, isn’t it?

The Green Party which advocates for a far more organic production would have us believe it is but University of Waikato professor of agribusiness Jacqueline Rowarth says that isn’t so:

. . . People’s first consideration when buying food was price, despite claims they might buy based on factors like organic growth, she said.

While people might think buying organically or from the farmers market was environmentally friendly, research showed carbon dioxide emissions were higher buying that way, Prof Rowarth said.

A lot of so-called environmentally friendly policies, including buying local, organics, and recycling aren’t nearly as green as they’re painted.

Support for them are often based more on emotion than science.

The need for more of the latter was another point Prof Rowarth made:

. . . The future of ensuring the world’s population was nutritionally well fed was incorporating all the best technology, including the strategic use of genetic engineering, she said during a public lecture at the University of Otago yesterday.

There also needed to be a greater research and innovation culture so advances could be made to feed the world’s ever-growing population.

”That is why in New Zealand we need to encourage everybody to become involved in science,” Prof Rowarth said.

The downsizing of the Crown research campus at Invermay and the discussions about making science elective at school in year 11 did not meet that brief, she said.

”Nutrition depends on agriculture which depends on an understanding of the soil.” . . .

Scientific research and advances have and will continue to improve agriculture and nutrition.

There were plenty of examples of how the past few hundred years of science had helped increase the yield from plants and animals, improving human nutrition.

Advances in wheat and milk production were prime examples.

The benefits of this were highlighted in the fact that the percentage of the world’s population that was malnourished had dropped significantly from 34% in 1969 to 17% in recent years, even though the population had grown massively.

”More people are fed to a better level of nutrition. It is a triumph of agriculture.” . . .

A triumph of agriculture based on science and hard work.

Prof Rowarth also dispelled a few modern-day myths on modern food consumption, pointing to literature showing in real dollars food was cheaper than it had ever been, even though it ”didn’t feel like it”.

People could now afford to buy fresh fruit and vegetables, as they were more affordable than ever, and what they should be worried about was their consumption of highly processed foods.

”Back in 1912 you were lucky to get vegetables, maybe a carrot or potato.” . .

Cheaper doesn’t mean cheap but we have a far wider range of food at prices which make the cost of feeding ourselves a lower percentage of most household budgets than it was for previous generations.

An increase in organic production and buying local will reduce yield, choice and increase prices and the environmental worth of such practices isn’t backed up by science.

 

 

 


Don’t want wiffle waffle

April 7, 2014

Winston Peters says that the issue of foreign ownership of farms and residential property has always been a bottom line for New Zealand First.

“The reality is that’s always been a bottom line for New Zealand First.”

Read his lips – always has been is not quite the same as is now or will always be.

“We are making it very clear where we stand in this election. People out there don’t want wiffle waffle they want certainty. . .

He’s right we don’t want wiffle waffle.

But wiffle waffle is what we often get from him and it’s what we’re still getting on the question of which party New Zealand First would be prepared to support should he be in a position to do so after the election.

He continues to say it’s up to the voters, as it is. But voters who know if Winston and his sycophants would be prepared to enter a coalition with or give confidence and supply to, one party or another would be able to vote with their eyes open.

As it stands anyone silly enough to favour New Zealand First with a vote will be taking a stab in the dark.

If you can cope with the wiffle waffle, you can listen to the interview on Q & A.

 


Republic inevitable – McKinnon

April 7, 2014

Sir Don McKinnon, former deputy Prime Minister and Commonwealth Secretary General, says it’s inevitable that New Zealand will become a republic.

“I think it’s inevitable. I don’t know when and I’m not going to campaign actively one way or the other. I have a great respect for Her Majesty the Queen. I had so many meetings with her, and I have respect for Prince Charles. We had him here a little over a year ago and he proved very popular with the people. But it’s a debate that will continue, it’s important we have a good debate about this and about the flag.

“I think we have been for a long time, and I’m quite certain the Royal Family understands that completely. Look, 54 countries in the Commonwealth, only 16 are realms, and I can tell you now, one Caribbean publicly and three Caribbean privately are probably going to give up that relationship with the monarchy when the Queen dies. So it is a diminishing group of countries, and the important thing is for us to openly and candidly debate the issue.”

I think he’s right that it’s inevitable but unless there’s a big change of opinion it won’t be happening soon,

Recent polls show no burning desire for change.

I am agnostic on the issue.

I don’t like the idea that someone has power, albeit titular, and prestige through an accident of birth rather than their own efforts.

However, what we have works, is stable and relatively inexpensive.

Sir Don’s comments were made during an interview on Q & A.


Barbara Kuriger Nat candidate for TKC

April 7, 2014

National party members have selected Barbara Kuriger, who was the inaugural Dairy Women of the Year, as its candidate for Taranaki King Country.

 . . . Mrs Kuriger said she was honoured to receive the nomination to contest the seat.

 “It’s a tremendous privilege to be able to contest the seat for National and for Taranaki – King Country communities,” said Mrs Kuriger.

 “John Key and National are delivering real opportunities for regional New Zealand. I will be working hard to ensure our communities keep a strong voice in National at the election.”

 Barbara is a shareholder and Director of 3 family owned farming businesses.

 Focused succession planning has created the opportunity for Barbara to transition from full time farming to follow her passion for the Agribusiness industry into the roles of governance, coaching, and leadership.

 In 2012 she was awarded the Inaugural Dairy Women of the Year which came with a Fonterra scholarship to participate in the Global Women’s Breakthrough Leadership Program, from which she graduated in September 2013.

Barbara is currently on the Board of Directors for DairyNZ, Dairy Training Limited, Primary ITO, New Zealand Young Farmers, Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre, Te Kauta, Venture Taranaki Trust, and the Dairy Women’s Network. She is Chair of the Primary Industries Capability Alliance.

She is highly regarded in the agricultural industry and is seeking more opportunities to collaborate with other industries to promote regional growth. 

Barbara is a sought after speaker for conferences and events both within New Zealand and internationally, and is involved in many community activities. She is also a regular columnist with the NZ Farmers Weekly and does regular opinion pieces on radio.

There’s more on her website.

Rural electorates are supposedly more conservative but members in TKC have, like those in Waitaki (held by Jacqui Dean), Rangitata (Jo Goodhew) and Selwyn (Amy Adams)  in earlier years, selected a woman in a safe blue seat.

Anyone reading her biography will realise that she was chosen on her merits and has the skills and experience to make a positive difference to her electorate, in parliament and for the country.


April 7 in history

April 7, 2014

451 – Attila the Hun sacked the town of Metz and attacked other cities in Gaul.

529 First draft of Corpus Juris Civilis (a fundamental work in jurisprudence) was issued by Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I.

1348 Charles University was founded in Prague.

1506  Saint Francis Xavier, Spanish co-founder of the Society of Jesus, was born (d. 1552).

1521  Ferdinand Magellan arrived at Cebu.

1541 Francis Xavier left Lisbon on a mission to the Portuguese East Indies.

1718 Hugh Blair, Scottish preacher and man of letters, was born  (d. 1800).

1770 William Wordsworth, English poet, was born  (d. 1850).

1776 Captain John Barry and the USS Lexington captured the Edward.

1788 –  American Pioneers to the Northwest Territory arrived at the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum rivers, establishing Marietta, Ohio as the first permanent American settlement of the new United States in the Northwest Territory, and opening the westward expansion of the new country.

1795 France adopted the metre as the basic measure of length.

1803 Flora Tristan, French feminist and socialist philosopher, was born (d. 1844).

1827 John Walker, an English chemist, sold the first friction match that he had invented the previous year.

1856 New Zealand’s first state secondary school, Nelson College, opened.

First state secondary school opens in Nelson

1860 Will Keith Kellogg, American cereal manufacturer, was born (d. 1951).

1862 American Civil War: Battle of Shiloh ended – the Union Army under General Ulysses S. Grant defeated the Confederates.

1868 Thomas D’Arcy McGee, one of the Canadian Fathers of Confederation was assassinated.

1890 Completion of the first Lake Biwa Canal.

1908 Percy Faith, Canadian composer and musician, was born  (d. 1976).

1906  Mount Vesuvius erupted and devastated Naples.

1906 – The Algeciras Conference gave France and Spain control over Morocco.

1908 H. H. Asquith of the Liberal Party took office as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

1915 Billie Holiday, American singer, was born (d. 1959).

1922 Teapot Dome scandal: United States Secretary of the Interior leased Teapot Dome petroleum reserves in Wyoming.

1927 First distance public television broadcast (from Washington, D.C. to New York City, displaying the image of Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover).

1933 Prohibition  in the USA was repealed for beer of no more than 3.2% alcohol by weight, eight months before the ratification of the XXI amendment.

1934 Ian Richardson, Scottish actor, was born  (d. 2007).

1938 Spencer Dryden, American drummer (Jefferson Airplane), was born (d. 2005).

1939  World War II: Italy invaded Albania.

1939   Francis Ford Coppola, American film director, was born.

1939  Sir David Frost, English broadcaster and TV host, was born.

1940 Booker T. Washington became the first African American to be depicted on a United States postage stamp.

1941 Gorden Kaye, British actor, was born.

1943 Germans ordered 1,100 Jews to undress to their underwear and march through the city of Terebovlia to the nearby village of Plebanivka where they were shot dead and buried in ditches.

1944 Gerhard Schröder, former Chancellor of Germany, was born.

1945 World War II: The Japanese battleship Yamato, the largest battleship ever constructed, was sunk 200 miles north of Okinawa while en-route to a suicide mission in Operation Ten-Go.

1945 – World War II: Visoko was liberated by the 7th, 9th and 17th Krajina brigades from the Tenth division of Yugoslav Partisan forces.

1946 Syria‘s independence from France was officially recognised.

1948 The World Health Organisation was established by the United Nations.

1948 A Buddhist monastery burned in Shanghai, leaving twenty monks dead.

1951 Janis Ian, American singer and songwriter, was born.

1954 U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower gave his “domino theory” speech during a news conference.

1954 Jackie Chan, Chinese actor, director, producer, and martial artist., was born.

1956 Spain relinquished its protectorate in Morocco.

1963 Yugoslavia was proclaimed to be a Socialist republic and Josip Broz Tito was named President for life.

1964  IBM announced the System/360.

1964 Russell Crowe, New Zealand actor, was born.

1969 The Internet’s symbolic birth date: publication of RFC 1.

1971 U.S. President Richard Nixon announced his decision to increase the rate of American troop withdrawals from Vietnam.

1977 German Federal Prosecutor Siegfried Buback and his driver were shot by two Red Army Faction members while waiting at a red light.

1978 Development of the neutron bomb was canceled by U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

1983 During STS-6, astronauts Story Musgrave and Don Peterson performed the first space shuttle spacewalk.

1985 Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev declared a moratorium on the deployment of middle-range missiles in Europe.

1989  Soviet submarine Komsomolets sank in the Barents Sea killing 42 sailors.

1990 John Poindexter was found guilty of five charges for his part in the Iran Contra Affair (the conviction was later reversed on appeal).

1992 Republika Srpska announced its independence.

1994  Massacres of Tutsis begin in Kigali, Rwanda.

1999 The World Trade Organisation ruled in favour of the United States in its long-running trade dispute with the European Union over bananas.

2001 Mars Odyssey was launched.

2003 U.S. troops captured Baghdad.

2009 Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori was sentenced to 25 years in prison for ordering killings and kidnappings by security forces.

2009 – Mass protests began across Moldova under the belief that results from the parliamentary election are fraudulent.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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