Word of the day

April 10, 2014

Advesperate – to draw towards evening, grow dark, become night.


Gift of praise for birthday

April 10, 2014

Yesterday was Social Development Minister Paula Bennett’s birthday and Trans Tasman gives her the gift of praise:

. . .Is Paula Bennett the most effective Minister to have held the Social Development portfolio? There’s little doubt her welfare reforms are hitting the mark, judging by the fierce reaction to the news at least 21,000 beneficiaries have travelled overseas in the past nine months. Of those, nearly 5000 have had their benefits cancelled once eight weeks had elapsed since their departure. It makes it hard for Opposition politicians to pitch the case of growing inequality. Bennett has also been equally effective on issues like family violence, when lobbyists (who would normally be critical of a National Minister holding the portfolio) praise her work and say they want her to keep on with it…………

Having lobbyists on social matters, who are almost on the left of the spectrum, want her to stay on is high praise and well deserved.


What bird are you?

April 10, 2014

What bird are you?

I’m a swan:

You are a gentle person, kind and loving to all those you meet. You move gracefully throughout the world, making people smile with your soft smile and positive energy. You are a bit quiet, but don’t let that fool anyone, you’re also smart as a whip.

Of all the adjectives you might apply to me I don’t think graceful would come readily to mind. It’s something I might aspire too but am a long way from reaching.


Rural round-up

April 10, 2014

Personal tragedy drives ‘worker representative’ on ACC forestry sector injury prevention committee:

ACC announced today that following a nationwide ballot of forestry workers, Wiremu Edmonds and Neil Thomas will be the worker representatives on its new injury prevention programme, aimed at encouraging safer practices in the forestry sector.

Both are experienced forestry workers and passionate, experienced health and safety advocates – and in Wiremu’s case, his passion is strengthened by the personal tragedy of having lost a son to the industry.
The ‘ACC Forestry Sector Injury Prevention Programme’ is being developed and implemented in collaboration with WorkSafe NZ, the NZ Forest Owners Association (FOA), the Forestry Industry Contractors Association (FICA) and the Council of Trade Unions (CTU). . .

Aquaduct NZ wins IrrigationNZ Innovation Award:

Aquaduct NZ and its entrepreneurial founder Gerard van den Bosch took out the highly-sought-after 2014 IrrigationNZ Innovation Award at its biennial conference in Napier last night.

Aquaduct’s entry (alongside associate company Bosch Irrigation Ltd) included its ground-breaking solution for the manufacture of irrigation pipe for Valetta Irrigation Scheme’s new 84km underground pipe network.

A factory to produce pipe on-site was created in a paddock within the scheme’s boundaries slashing welding requirements by 80% and reducing installation time and costs. The company supplied over 80km of pipe in sizes from 1.6m diameter to 200mm – in lengths up to 250 metres. The factory is New Zealand’s largest capacity plant pumping out 5800 tonnes of pipe in 60 days. . . .

Irrigation champions share 2014 Ron Cocks Memorial Award:

For the first time ever, IrrigationNZ has awarded its Ron Cocks Memorial Award to two individuals at its national conference.

Retired MAF Policy Manager Grant McFadden and farm business consultant and rural valuer Bob Engelbrecht were jointly awarded the prestigious title at last night’s IrrigationNZ conference dinner in Napier.

McFadden from Christchurch and Ashburton-based Engelbrecht have together more than a century of involvement in advocating for agriculture and irrigation interests, said IrrigationNZ chairman John Donkers who presented the awards.

Grant McFadden began his career as a farm advisor with MAF in the mid 1960s and was a key support for farmers in the Lower Waitaki as they initiated their irrigation scheme in the 1970s. From the early 80s, McFadden worked with farmers going through deregulation and drought experiences and later moved into MAF Policy “as I realised there were opportunities in the policy area to make a real difference to people.” . . .

Minister welcomes first investment by Crown Irrigation company:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed the first investment by Crown Irrigation Investment Ltd, with draft terms agreed for $6.5 million towards the Central Plains Water scheme in Canterbury announced today.

“Last year the Government put $80 million towards creating Crown Irrigation as an independent investor to help kick-start regional water infrastructure projects.

“It’s great to see the first investment decision made. Central Plains Water will help irrigate around 60,000 hectares of land on the Canterbury plains once all three stages are complete, giving a real boost to the region’s economy.

“Without this funding, it’s unlikely the scheme would be developed to the size and scale required. . . .

Proactive Mindset Helps Tihoi Farmers Win Supreme in 2014 Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

A unique and innovative approach to farming in an environmentally sensitive area has earned Tihoi beef farmers Mike and Sharon Barton the Supreme title in the 2014 Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

At a special Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) ceremony on April 8, the Bartons, who farm 142ha Glen Emmreth Farm on the western side of Lake Taupo, were also presented with the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award and the Massey University Innovation Award.

Mike and Sharon bought the Tihoi farm in 2004 at a time when strict environmental legislation to protect the health of the lake was looming. They faced this challenge head-on, determined to make their farm as environmentally sustainable as possible.

BFEA judges said the business “has been built from its inception with the understanding that it must be made environmentally sustainable in an extremely difficult location”. . . .

Busy winter ahead for contestant - Sally Rae:

Winter is shaping up to be a memorable season for Glenham farmer Dean Rabbidge.

Mr Rabbidge (28), a member of the Wyndham Young Farmers Club, is Otago-Southland’s representative in the grand final of the ANZ Young Farmer Contest in Christchurch on July 3-5.

He and his wife Sarah are also expecting the arrival of their first child on June 18.

”It’s just going to be busy enough this winter,” he quipped. . . .

Central Otago wineries “delighted” to showcase the region’s wines to Duke and Duchess of Cambridge:

Central Otago wineries are gearing up for what could be the most important wine tasting of the century ahead of the Duke and Duchess’s visit to Queenstown this Sunday April 13.

A handful of local wineries and staff have been selected to present their Central Otago wines to the young Royals at a private wine and food event to be held at host winery Amisfield.

Central Otago Winegrowers Association president James Dicey is the lucky man who will escort the Duke through the tasting, while Central Otago Pinot Noir Chairwoman Lucie Lawrence will accompany the Duchess. . .

Final call for applications – leading farm business management program:

Applications are to close at the end of this month for this year’s Rabobank Farm Managers Program, Australasia’s leading agricultural business management course for the next generation of farm leaders.

Now in its ninth year, the prestigious Rabobank program offers young farmers from across New Zealand and Australia, and a range of agricultural sectors, the opportunity to develop and enhance their business management skills.

Rabobank business programs manager Nerida Sweetapple says the Farm Managers Program is constantly evolving to reflect the changing challenges and opportunities in agriculture.  . . .

Steer and dog BFFs – Thomas Mead:

They’re usually each other’s worst enemy, but down south in Ranfurly a farm dog and steer have found a forbidden love.

Scotty, a jersey cross steer, and Bo, a purebred kelpie, have been inseparable after meeting on the job late last year. The unlikely duo often sneak away to play together, wrestling, licking and jumping around the farm.

Owner Jan MacKenzie says they’d spend all day together if they could.

“[Bo's] not allowed to be out there by himself – he does sneak over the fence when no one’s looking,” she says.

“He tries to play with everybody but they’re cows and he’s a dog. Everybody else, [except Scotty], understands it’s meant to work that way.”

But Bo, who is a working farm dog, knows the difference between work and play. . .


Manufacturing marching on

April 10, 2014

More good news of the manufacturing front:

Activity in New Zealand’s manufacturing sector continued to march onwards, according to the latest BNZ – BusinessNZ Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI).

The seasonally adjusted PMI for March was 58.4 (a PMI reading above 50.0 indicates that manufacturing is generally expanding; below 50.0 that it is declining). This was 1.9 points higher than February and the highest level of activity since July 2013. The sector has now been in expansion for 19 consecutive months, with the first quarter of 2014 averaging 57.1.

BusinessNZ’s executive director for manufacturing Catherine Beard said that there were a number of pleasing aspects to the March result.

“After five consecutive months of solid activity, it was pleasing to see activity experience a further boost. Both production and new orders remained strong, while employment also lifted to its highest level for over six years.

“The proportion of positive comments from manufacturers for March broke the 60 percent value for the first time this year, as new orders/customers and an improving economy is providing a stronger platform for business growth.”

BNZ Head of Research Stephen Toplis said, “The manufacturing sector is in a buoyant mood – and rightly so. However, the economy and financial markets are at an inflection point. At such times, the potential for significant movements in interest rates and exchange rates is heightened. Given this, businesses need to focus on risk management to ensure that the impact of such risks can be mitigated.”

For the first time since October 2013, all five seasonally adjusted main diffusion indices were in expansion for the current month. Both production and new orders (60.5) displayed the same level of expansion, while employment (56.3) rose 1.6 points to record its highest level since November 2007. Deliveries of raw materials (57.1) edged slightly downwards from February, while finished stocks (51.1) went back into expansion after four consecutive months in contraction.

All four regions were again in expansion during March, with levels very similar across the country. In the North Island, the Northern region (59.2) rose 6.3 points, while the Central region (57.6) was almost identical to February’s result. In the South Island, the Canterbury/Westland region (59.9) picked up 6.2 points from February, while the Otago-Southland region (59.8) dipped 1.9 points.

Employment at its highest level since November 2007 is particularly encouraging.

The Opposition spent a lot of their time and our money touring the country manufacturing a manufacturing crisis.

When the sector has been expanding for 19 consecutive months, even they must admit there is no crisis.


Thursday’s quiz

April 10, 2014

1. Who said: My spelling is Wobbly. It’s good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places. ?

2. What are an ampersand  and an  octothorp? (You might have heard the latter on Afternoons yesterday, I’d come across it a week ago and decided it would be a good word for this quiz).

3. It’s  écriture  in French,  scritto   in Italian, escritura in Spanish and  tuhituhi  in Maori, what is it in English?

4. What is a libretto?

5. How much does how you write/speak matter?


Foreign investment welcomed

April 10, 2014

Foreign investment gets negative press but this story shows the positive side:

The potential investment in a Central Otago vineyard by a global luxury goods group is ”ecstatically good news” for the region, a wine industry leader says.

Subject to gaining Overseas Investment Office approval, the 23ha Northburn Station vineyard at Cromwell and The Shed cellar door and function centre on the same site will be sold to Cloudy Bay Vineyards.

”I think this is a real coup for Central Otago wines for a major player like this, a global luxury brand, to be putting a stake in the ground,” Northburn owner Tom Pinckney said yesterday. . .

He and wife Jan bought Northburn Station, northeast of Cromwell, in 1993 and run sheep and cattle on the 13,000ha property.

They diversified into grapes in 1999 and opened The Shed on the property in 2008.

They would remain on the farm and the sale of the vineyard and function centre was good timing, he said. It would give him more time with his young family and to explore new projects ”which I’m keeping under my hat for now”.

As well as focusing on the farm, he would continue to grow the Northburn 100-mile mountain run, launched four years ago, which attracted endurance athletes from around the world. ”We won’t be getting out of wine altogether, though. We’ll remain the most important part of the wine industry – consumers.” . . .

Those opposing foreign investment often overlook that the vendors can use the money for other projects.

Central Otago Winegrowers’ Association president James Dicey, of Bannockburn, said the conditional sale was ”ecstatically good news”.

”To have Cloudy Bay in the region is a wonderful endorsement of what this area’s wine industry has achieved and continues to achieve and the profile we’ve generated,” Mr Dicey said.

The deal would have ”fantastic” spin-offs for Central Otago winegrowers.

”It will mean our wine, Central Otago wine, will get in front of a lot more consumers from all around the world, because of the iconic brands involved, and pinot noir drinkers are inquisitive and will want to know more about the area.

”It will do a power of good for Central Otago and develop new markets and contacts that would have taken us years to reach.” . . .

The Pinckneys were finalists in the Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards last year and won the Donaghy’s Farm Stewardship Award.

If this sale goes through it will benefit the vendors, Central Otago wine in general and the wider economy.


The right recipe for better times

April 10, 2014

Getting through the recession required careful management and disciplined spending.

Both those are needed when we get back into surplus:

Paul Goldsmith: Why will it remain important for the Government to maintain fiscal discipline, even after the Crown’s accounts return to surplus?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: The first reason is that we should not, of course, be wasting taxpayers’ money, and, given that this Government has developed much more thoughtful ways of spending Government money, we should stick to that. Secondly, we want to make sure we do not put extra pressure on interest rates. The Reserve Bank has already started to raise interest rates from 50-year lows towards more neutral levels. Keeping Government spending under control means that over the course of the interest rate cycle, interest rates will be lower than they would otherwise be. The Government wants to avoid the mistakes of the previous cycle, when a 50 percent jump in

Government spending under the previous Labour Government led to first mortgage rates of close to 11 percent. Households and businesses simply could not carry that burden this time.

Paul Goldsmith: What will be the Government’s approach to allocating new spending in the Budget next month and in future years?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: The Government’s approach is to examine critically each of its interventions and to ensure that any new spending shows a clear pay-off. A good example would be the fairly significant commitment to increasing the quality of teaching, with a view that we will gain a clear pay-off of more children reaching national standards and higher levels of achievement in our secondary schools. We have found that if we take that robust approach, many propositions that people have simply do not add up to a good use of taxpayers’ money.

Hon David Parker: Did he say in 2008 “This is the rainy day that Government has been saving up for.”, after Labour ran nine Budget surpluses and reduced net Government debt to zero, and can he confirm his Government has since borrowed over $50 billion?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: Yes, I did say that. What the member left out of his little story is that in the last Labour Budget of 2008 they forecast a surplus of $1.3 billion. What actually happened was a deficit of over $3 billion, plus forecasts of a decade of deficits and a blowout in Government debt. We are very pleased this Government has been able to get that financial wreckage under control.

Paul Goldsmith: As part of its wider economic programme, what progress has the Government made in reducing previous increases in Government spending?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: If I could use just one measure of progress, following the previous Government’s final Budget in 2008, since that seems to be where Labour members prefer to fight their political battles, core Crown expenses jumped $7 billion, just in that Budget—just in that Budget. This left a deficit of $3.9 billion in Labour’s last year. Since then, under the discipline of the current National-led Government, spending has increased by only 13 percent over five Budgets, compared with a 12 percent increase in just the one Budget in 2008. We are very pleased to be off that track.

The country faced a decade of deficits because Labour squandered the good times, doing far more taxing and spending than was good the economy and implementing too few policies that promote growth.

National rejected the temptation to slash and burn, protecting the most vulnerable through the recession.

It had to borrow to do that.

Now surpluses are in sight, we need a government that continues careful management and discipline to reduce debt and keep the economy growing sustainably.

Labour’s failed policies of the past combined with new tax and spend measures won’t do that.

 


SMART Irrigation launched

April 10, 2014

Irrigation New Zealand has launched a framework called SMART Irrigation to ensure that future irrigation in New Zealand is implemented and managed sustainably.

The SMART (Sustainably Managed, Accountable, Responsible and Trusted) framework provides three simple steps for irrigators to better manage their environmental footprint.

(1) Design future irrigation systems to industry standards and codes of practice

(2) Annually check the irrigation system is performing as it should

(3) Justify the reason for applying irrigation.

Central to all the above is record keeping – providing evidence the three simple steps are being achieved.

Irrigation New Zealand CEO Andrew Curtis says the SMART framework will help irrigators meet the public’s expectations around environmental responsibility, and will provide assurance to the public that irrigating farmers are using water efficiently and with care.

“The SMART framework is about providing a benchmark for sustainable irrigation, and is a way for irrigators to share with the community how they irrigate. It’s about being transparent.”

The programme focuses on efficient water use and regular auditing and technological improvements. This is to be supported by ever evolving education and training resources and accreditation programmes all provided by Irrigation New Zealand.

The SMART Irrigation website (www.smartirrigation.co.nz) also launched today, compliments the SMART Irrigation framework. It provides information to the public about how irrigation in New Zealand works: why, how and where irrigation takes place; why it is beneficial; what regulations and policies oversee it; more details on the SMART framework and examples of SMART Irrigators that will be added to monthly.

“We have done nationwide polling to understand what the public thinks of irrigation – two responses were overwhelming in their majority: that New Zealanders (71%) are pro-sustainable irrigation and that the public needs more information about irrigation. The SMART Irrigation website and framework responds to this.”

The website answers several questions:

What is irrigation?

What is SMART irrigation?

Why is it good for New Zealand?

Who’s doing it well?

The last one includes NOIC – the North Otago Irrigation Company which was the first irrigation company to:

  • Introduce the Audited Farm Environment Plan system
  • Have a full time environmental manager on staff
  • Actively supports other irrigation schemes, providing advice on how to develop robust management systems
  • Won Irrigation New Zealand’s Innovation in Irrigation Award’ 2012 for their Farm Environment Plan programme

SMART Irrigation is a smart initiative.

Irrigation done well has intergenerational economic, environmental and social benefits.


Greens spurned by Labour

April 10, 2014

Labour has spurned Green Party overtures to form a pre-election coalition.

ONE News has learnt the Green Party proposed a formal coalition with Labour to contest this year’s election but Labour MPs rejected it.

The proposal called on the two parties to campaign together and brand themselves as a future Labour/Greens Government. The proposal also wanted a divvy up of cabinet positions in proportion to the number of seats won.

It also called for a strategy on how the parties could work with New Zealand First.

“Some specific ideas that were put forward by the Greens did not find favour on our side…that’s a fair statement,” Labour Leader David Cunliffe told ONE News. . . .

Rejecting Green advances was Labour’s best option.

Most swinging voters in the centre aren’t enamoured of the Greens.

Any support Labour gained from the left with a pre-election coalition would be more than lost by the number of voters that prospect would have been scared away from the centre.

But Labour’s still got a problem.

It doesn’t want to govern with the Greens but could well find it difficult, if not impossible, to govern without them.

Whether they’re in a pre-election coalition or not, the prospect of the radical left policies a red-green government would implement isn’t at all attractive to undecided moderates.

 


April 10 in history

April 10, 2014

879  Louis III became King of the Western Franks.

1407 The lama Deshin Shekpa visited the Ming Dynasty capital at Nanjing where he was awarded with the title Great Treasure Prince of Dharma.

1500 Ludovico Sforza was captured by the Swiss troops at Novara and handed over to the French.

1606 The Charter of the Virginia Company of London was established by royal charter by James I with the purpose of establishing colonial settlements in North America.

1710 The first law regulating copyright was issued in Great Britain.

1741 War of the Austrian Succession: Prussia defeated Austria in the Battle of Mollwitz.

1794 Matthew C. Perry, American commodore, was born  (d. 1858).

1815 The Mount Tambora volcano begins its peak eruption period that lasted until July 15.

1816 The United States Government approved the creation of the Second Bank of the United States.

1821 Patriarch Gregory V of Constantinople was hanged by the Turks from the main gate of the Patriarchate and his body was thrown into the Bosphorus.

1826 The 10,500 inhabitants of the Greek town Messolonghi start leaving the town after a year’s siege by Turkish forces. Very few of them survive.

1829 William Booth, English founder of the Salvation Army, was born (d. 1912).

1847 Joseph Pulitzer, American journalist and publisher, was born  (d. 1911).

1858  The original Big Ben, a 14.5 tonne bell for the Palace of Westminster was cast in Stockton-on-Tees by Warner’s of Cripplegate. It cracked during testing and was recast into the 13.76 tonne bell by Whitechapel Bell Foundry and is still in use to date.

1864 Archduke Maximilian of Habsburg was elected emperor of Mexico.

1865 American Civil War: A day after his surrender to Union forces, Confederate General Robert E. Lee addressed his troops for the last time.

1866 The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) wass founded in New York City by Henry Bergh.

1868 At Arogee in Abyssinia, British and Indian forces defeated an army of Emperor Theodore. While 700 Ethiopians were killed and many more injured, only two of the British/Indian troops died.

1874 The first Arbor Day was celebrated in Nebraska.

1887 On Easter Sunday, Pope Leo XIII authorised the establishment of The Catholic University of America.

1912 The RMS Titanic left port in Southampton for her first and only voyage.

1916 The Professional Golfers Association of America (PGA) was created in New York City.

1919  Mexican Revolution leader Emiliano Zapata was ambushed and shot dead by government forces in Morelos.

1925  The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald was first published in New York City, by Charles Scribner’s Sons.

1932 Omar Sharif, Egyptian actor, was born.

1933  New Deal: The Civilian Conservation Corps was created.

1941 Paul Theroux, American author, was born.

1941 World War II: The Axis Powers in Europe established the Independent State of Croatia from occupied Yugoslavia with Ante Pavelić‘s Ustaše fascist insurgents in power.

1944  Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler escaped from the Birkenau death camp.

1947 Bunny Wailer, Jamaican musician, was born.

1953 Warner Brothers premiered the first 3-D film, entitled House of Wax.

1959 Akihito, future Emperor of Japan, married Michiko.

1963 – 129 people died when the submarine USS Thresher sank at sea.

1968 The ferry Wahine sank with the loss of 52 lives (plus a 53rd victim who died in 1990 from injuries sustained in the wreck), this was New Zealand’s worst modern maritime disaster..

Sinking of the <em>Wahine</em>

1971 Ping Pong Diplomacy: In an attempt to thaw relations with the United States, the People’s Republic of China hosted the U.S. table tennis team for a weeklong visit.

1972  Oberdan Sallustro was executed by communist guerrillas 20 days after he was kidnapped in Buenos Aires.

1973 – The NZ government postponed a Spingbok tour.

1973 A British Vanguard turboprop crashed during a snowstorm at Basel, Switzerland killing 104.

1979 Red River Valley Tornado Outbreak: A tornado landed in Wichita Falls, Texas killing 42 people.

1987 Hayley Westenra, New Zealand soprano, was born.

1991 Italian ferry Moby Prince collided with an oil tanker in dense fog off Livorno, Italy killing 140.

1991 – A rare tropical storm developed in the Southern Hemisphere near Angola; the first to be documented by satellites.

1998 The Belfast Agreement was signed.

2007 Abortion was legalised in Portugal.

2010 – Polish Air Force Tu-154M crashed near Smolensk, Russia, killing all 96 people on board including President Lech Kaczyński.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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