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.


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