Word of the day

April 12, 2014

Algerining –  prowling around with the intent to commit burglary.


5/10

April 12, 2014

Only 5/10 in the NBR’s Biz Quiz (which has questions from this week’s news although it’s headed December 7th).


Rural round-up

April 12, 2014

Drought causing problems in Rawene – Sophie Lowery:

The top of the North Island has been given a good dousing of rain today, but the region that desperately needs it received just a thimbleful.

Rawene, on the Hokianga Harbour, is just days away from running out of water and there are serious concerns for the local hospital.

The tiny Petaka Stream is the only water supply for the 250 residents of Rawene and it is almost dry.

“The situation in Rawene is critical. We are urging residents wherever they can to minimise their use of water to the essential uses only before we have to impose any more austere methods,” says the Far North District Council’s Tony Smith. . .

Exports to the motherland - Keith Woodford:

 There was a time when New Zealand’s exports went almost exclusively to Britain. Before and during the Second World War, and for many years thereafter, New Zealand was Britain’s farm. It was only in 1973 when Britain joined the EU, which itself had food surpluses, that we had to search for alternative markets.

Now, some forty years later, the only two major products exported to Britain are sheep meat and wine. Britain takes about 20% of New Zealand’s sheep meat exports and is the second most important sheep meat market after China. For wine, Britain also takes about 20% of New Zealand’s exports and is the third most important market after Australia and the USA. Minor export products include apples at about 10% of total apple exports. For wool, about 5% reaches the shores of the UK. Overall, only 3% of New Zealand’s exports are destined for Britain. . .

Minister welcomes Manawatu River clean-up progress:

Environment Minister Amy Adams has welcomed a new report on cleaning-up the Manawatu River, saying it shows that progress can be made even on the most difficult environmental problems when communities work together.

“It is still early days as far as the time frames for cleaning up polluted water ways are concerned, but I am pleased to see the Manawatu Leaders Accord reporting overall improving trends in nutrient levels and levels of bacteria in the Manawatu River,” Ms Adams says.

“The Government regards its $5.2 million investment in cleaning up this river as well worthwhile. By working together, we can achieve far more than leaving it to one group or organisation. . .

LIC scientists discover ‘fat gene’ in cows:

LIC scientists have discovered genetic variations which affect milk composition in dairy cows.

All cows have the ‘fat gene’, named AGPAT6, but LIC senior scientist Dr Matt Littlejohn said the variations they’ve discovered provide a genetic explanation for why some cows produce higher fat content in their milk than others.

“If you think of milk production in the cow’s udder as a factory assembly line, this variation is one of a few workers in the ‘fat chain’, with that worker being very efficient in some cows, and a bit lazy in others,” he said.

“The finding of AGPAT6 helps us to better understand what goes on in a cow’s mammary gland and how milk composition is regulated by genes.” . .

Pukekawa grower named New Zealand’s best young vege grower:

Brett Parker was crowned the New Zealand Young Vegetable Grower 2014, beating six other competitors, at the national competition on April 10.

Held in Pukekohe, the day-long event saw seven contestants go head-to-head in a series of theoretical and practical challenges needed to run a successful vegetable growing business.

Parker, 26, works at Hinemoa Quality Producers in Pukekawa as an assistant crop manager, and won $2500.

Of that $1000 will be used for professional development.    . . .

Diverse Farming Business Scores Supreme Double in Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Kaiwera farmers Andrew and Heather Tripp, Nithdale Station Ltd, have won the Supreme title in the Southland Ballance Farm Awards for the second time.

The Tripps were announced Supreme winners of the 2014 Southland Ballance Farm Awards (BFEA) at a special ceremony on April 10. They also collected the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award, the Massey University Innovation Award, the LIC Dairy Farm Award and the Alliance Quality Livestock Award.

Since first winning the Supreme title in the inaugural Southland BFEA in 2002, the Tripps have added a dairy farm to their diverse farming operation based on historic Nithdale Station, south east of Gore. . .

Support to build winter feed with urea price drop:

As the dry summer conditions ease, a drop in urea prices by Ballance Agri-Nutrients will be welcomed by farmers looking to build up feed reserves to meet stock requirements over winter and early spring.

Ballance dropped the price of urea from $695 to $645 and SustaiN from $751 to $697 yesterday on the back of a slump in global prices for urea.

Ballance General Manager of Sales, Andrew Reid, says that the imbalance between supply and demand that put upward pressure on urea prices earlier this year has now reversed.

“Currently global supply is exceeding demand, which has resulted in international prices easing,” said Mr Reid. . .


Hard and harder

April 12, 2014

What’s Dotcom offering the Mana Party?

Well yes, that and money.

But there’s a but about what that would cost:

And there’s some who hold to those principles who would find it even harder to entertain any relationship with Dotcom.

. . . It’s clear how a Mana-Internet Party alliance will benefit Dotcom. His party would have decent shot at a presence in Parliament after September 20, even if it polls well under 5%.

But what’s in it for Mana? In part, money, which can buy profile, and get the party over the 1.5% of the vote mark (which would get the party a second seat in Parliament under MMP’s coat-tail rule). But is that, along with some liberal policies around broadband and surveillance, enough to overcome the cringe factor involved in getting into bed with what one Mana staffer called the ‘Fat rich white pr**k’? . . .

. . . And as the Mana leader admitted on Maori TV’s Native Affairs last week, two of his top lieutenants – John Minto, Annette Sykes – have expressed wariness about Dotcom, while a third, Sue Bradford. is outright hostile. Bradford says she’ll quit the party if there’s a hookup with Dotcom – and she’ll take some of the party’s white liberal faction with her. We’re note talking big numbers here, but the context is to push from 1.08% of the list vote (the mark Mana hit at the 2011 election) to 1.5%.

I can’t see Minto stomaching Dotcom, either. Minto is a true believer who has fought all his life for left wing causes. He’s not going to hold any truck with a fairweather friend who, in recent history, donated $50,000 to John Banks.

And it’s not just principles at stake:

Will she give it up
Harawira can probably live with a few Pakeha defections – he might even make hay from it. But I suspect Annette Sykes’ thinking is starting to crystalise, too.

Certainly, the outspoken Maori sovereignty hardliner is at the sharp end of things. 

On Native Affairs, Harawira refused to say if a shared Mana-Internet Party list would go Mana, Internet Party, Mana, Internet Party, Mana as candidates from both camps were evenly interweaved. 

But that’s the only outcome the Internet Party could be pushing for. And it would mean Sykes – currently number two on Mana’s list – would have to agree to demotion to third to make way for an Internet Party candidate at number two.

Good luck with that one, Kim.

Turning your back on your principles and dropping down the list as well could be harder still.


Saturday’s smiles

April 12, 2014

Michael O’Leary was waiting at the bus stop with his friend, Paddy Maguire, when a lorry went by loaded up with rolls of turf.

O’Leary opined, ‘I’m gonna do that when I win de lottery, Maguire.’

‘What’s that, Michael?’ responded his mate.

‘Send me lawn away to be cut,’ O’Leary replied.


If Peters is preferable . . .

April 12, 2014

John Armstrong forecasts storms ahead for the left:

Having turned its caucus room in Parliament Buildings into a war room staffed almost around the clock by policy wonks, political strategists, experts in social media, plus assorted press secretaries – all in readiness for the coming general election – the Labour Party may find itself with another war on its hands before then. Or something close to it.

The “enemy” on this occasion will not be National. Neither will it be Act. Nor United Future. Nor Colin Craig’s Conservatives. Nor even Kim Dotcom and his Internet Party.

No, this war will be of the internecine variety where the combatants all come from the same neck of the (political) woods.

It will have been sparked by the seemingly endless positioning and posturing ahead of September’s election which will count for little in the aftermath. But this week it all turned ugly for the Greens. And things may yet get uglier still.

It may be that fate has decreed that the power struggle between Labour and the Greens takes centre stage at the worst possible time for the centre-left.

It may not come to open warfare. But the dismissive, almost contemptuous attitude displayed by David Cunliffe with regard to a supposed ally is bound to rankle deeply wherever Green Party members gather.

You can be assured there will be a response; that there will no longer be any scruples about upstaging Labour on the hustings. . .

For all MMP is supposed to be about consensus it is first about competition and then compromise.

Labour has set up a war room and it is aiming not just at National but potential allies with whom it is in competition for votes and the biggest of those is the Green Party.

In-fighting and lack of traction by Labour has enabled the Greens to stake out territory as the de facto leading opposition party.

Labour has more MPs and is a bigger party, but it isn’t getting enough support to be a strong leader in a coalition.

The weaker it is, the stronger the Greens will be and that poses a dilemma for Labour. A stronger Green Party isn’t at all attractive to  voters in the centre. The more power the Greens are likely to have the less attractive a Labour-led government becomes to many in the centre who will be much more likely to move a bit right to National than leap left to Labour.

Labour knows it has to grow the left block, but it also knows this will be harder with a strong Green Party which is why it is doing its best to keep its distance.

Labour’s failure to take the initiative must have made the Greens suspicious. So they approached Labour with a proposal for both parties to co-operate to a much greater extent in the run-up to the election and “brand” themselves as the Government-in-waiting.

What the Greens were really doing was testing the extent of Labour’s commitment to working with them in government following signs that Cunliffe was wavering on that question.

The Greens got their answer soon enough. It was not what they wanted to hear. They got a lecture in semantics – that the next Government would be a “Labour-led” one, not a “Labour-Greens coalition” – and a lesson in history – that Labour had been the dominant party on the centre-left for the past 100 years and thus called the shots as of right.

Cunliffe made it patently clear in word – and more so in tone – that Labour was decoupling itself from the Greens and would be seeking to “maximise its share of the vote” – code for saying it was now open season on territory occupied by the Greens.

Neither could Cunliffe muster much enthusiasm when asked to digress on how Labour would treat the Greens in any post-election negotiations.

Of course, Cunliffe’s remarks were for targeted at an audience of one – Winston Peters. Cunliffe knows he will likely need both New Zealand First and the Greens to make it to the swearing-in of a new Government. But it is Peters’ chalk to the Greens’ cheese. It is Cunliffe’s conundrum.

Peters has choices. The quickest way to have him running helter-skelter towards National’s camp would be for Labour to get tied down in some pre-election arrangement with the Greens.

The Greens are consequently expendable. But for how long? Cunliffe is clearly taking things step-by-step, conscious that the voters might solve his problem. Or compound it.

But Labour’s antipathy cuts deep. Labour does not trust the Greens and believes that party is seeking to supplant it. . .

If Labour doesn’t trust a potential coalition partner it can’t expect voters to either.

The net result of this week’s wrangling is to reduce the centre-left’s share even more. The message most voters would have picked up is that Labour no longer wanted to work with the Greens. Voters hate disunity and punish accordingly.

The Greens deserved better. They are not responsible for Peters’ existence. Cunliffe could have been less dismissive and more accommodating in his language.

He could have accepted a much more limited pre-election understanding. Something symbolic, like Jim Anderton’s invitation to Helen Clark to speak at the Alliance’s conference a year before the 1999 election.

Key likes to wind Peters up; Cunliffe risks looking like he is being cowered by the veteran politician.

Labour’s pursuit of power dictates, however, that Labour be hostage to Peters for the next five months despite knowing such obedience will not make even the tiniest bit of difference as to whether he ultimately favours the centre-right or centre-left. . .

Labour is competing with the Greens to keep its vote strong and is signalling if it has to make comprises it would prefer to do so with Winston Peters.

Peters will be enjoying that. However, if he’s the more preferred partner for Labour it speaks volumes about how little the party thinks of the Greens.


Tough on tax evasion

April 12, 2014

One of the left’s complaints is that tax evaders are treated more leniently than those who abuse welfare.

That is not supported by the facts:

Speaking at the OECD Cash and Hidden Economy Conference today, Revenue Minister Todd McClay reiterated the Government’s commitment to clamping down on tax evasion and avoidance.

“This is an area the Government has invested heavily in and we are starting to see results,” says Mr McClay.

“In Budget 2010, we invested $120 million in going after tax non-compliance; another $78.4 million was further invested in Budget 2012.”

“Last year compliance activity for ‘hidden economy’ tax evasion gave a return of $45 million, $5.60 for every dollar spent. For non-compliance through property speculation, $53.8 million worth of discrepancies were found, a return of $8.42 for every dollar invested.”

“That is money we now have to invest in things like health, education and rebuilding Christchurch.”

“Our opponents claim that we are obsessed with welfare fraud while do nothing about tax dodging, however, this couldn’t be further from the truth.”

“Spending on Welfare Fraud has remained at exactly the same level as it was under the last Government, around $35 million a year, yet the management of debt and outstanding returns by IRD has gone up from $88 million to $125 million in Budget 2013.”

Overall last year, Inland Revenue collected around $4 billion worth of debt and outstanding returns.

“Prevention is always better than the cure, however.”

“Inland Revenue works hard to help people understand their obligations and is constantly finding ways to simplify and speed up compliance for taxpayers.”

“I encourage anyone who may be struggling to meet their obligations to contact Inland Revenue and work out a repayment plan.”

“It is easier for taxpayers if they comply on time than have Inland Revenue chase them up later,” says Mr McClay.

 

Photo: Since National's been in power, extra money has been spent to make sure everyone pays their fair share of tax. http://nzyn.at/1gRPkse


Saturday soapbox

April 12, 2014

Saturday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation. You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, to muse, amuse or bemuse.
Word Porn's photo.</>


April 12 in history

April 12, 2014

467  Anthemius was elevated to Emperor of the Western Roman Empire.

1204 Constantinople fell to the Crusaders of the Fourth Crusade, temporarily ending the Byzantine Empire.

1557 Cuenca was founded in Ecuador.

1606  The Union Flag was adopted as the flag of Great Britain.

1633 The formal inquest of Galileo Galilei by the Inquisition began.

1776 American Revolution: With the Halifax Resolves, the North Carolina Provincial Congress authorised its Congressional delegation to vote for independence from Britain.

1820 Alexander Ypsilantis was declared leader of Filiki Eteria, a secret organization to overthrow Ottoman rule over Greece.

1861 American Civil War The war began with Confederate forces firing on Fort Sumter, in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina.

1864  American Civil War: The Fort Pillow massacre: Confederate forces killed most African American soldiers who surrendered at Fort Pillow, Tennessee.

1877  The United Kingdom annexed the Transvaal.

1902 – A train accident in South Africa killed 16 NZ soldiers.

1913 HMS New Zealand began a tour of New Zealand.

HMS New Zealand begins tour of NZ

1917 World War I: Canadian forces successfully complete the taking of Vimy Ridge from the Germans.

1919 Billy Vaughn, American musician and bandleader, was born  (d. 1991).

1927 April 12 Incident: Chiang Kai-shek ordered the CPC members executed in Shanghai, ending the First United Front.

1932  Tiny Tim, American musician, was born (d. 1996).

1934 The strongest surface wind gust in the world at 231 mph, was measured on the summit of Mount Washington, USA.

1934 The US Auto-Lite Strike began, culminating in a five-day melee between Ohio National Guard troops and 6,000 strikers and picketers.

1935  First flight of the Bristol Blenheim.

1937 Sir Frank Whittle ground-tested the first jet engine designed to power an aircraft at Rugby, England.

1939 Alan Ayckbourn, English writer, was born.

1942 Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa, was born.

1945 US President Franklin D. Roosevelt died while in office; vice-president Harry Truman was sworn in as the 33rd President.

1947 Tom Clancy, American author, was born.

1947 David Letterman, American talk show host, was born.

1949 Scott Turow, American writer, was born.

1950 David Cassidy, American singer and actor, was born.

1955 The polio vaccine, developed by Dr Jonas Salk, was declared safe and effective.

1961 Yuri Gagarin became the first human to travel into outer space in Vostok 3KA-2 (Vostok 1).

1963 The Soviet nuclear powered submarine K-33 collided with the Finnish merchant vessel M/S Finnclipper in the Danish straits.

1968 Nerve gas accident at Skull Valley, Utah.

1978 Guy Berryman, British musician (Coldplay), was born.

1980 Brian McFadden, Irish Singer (Westlife) was born.

1980  Samuel Doe took control of Liberia in a coup d’état, ending over 130 years of national democratic presidential succession.

1980 – Terry Fox began his “Marathon of Hope” at St. John’s, Newfoundland.

1981 The first launch of a Space Shuttle: Columbia launched on the STS-1 mission.

1990 Jim Gary’s Twentieth Century Dinosaurs exhibition opened at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

1992 The Euro Disney Resort officially opened with its theme park Euro Disneyland.

1994 Canter & Siegel posted the first commercial mass Usenet spam.

1998 An earthquake in Slovenia, measuring 5.6 on the Richter scale occured near the town of Bovec.

1999 US President Bill Clinton was cited for contempt of court for giving “intentionally false statements” in a sexual harassment civil lawsuit.

2002 Pedro Carmona became interim President of Venezuela during the military coup against Hugo Chávez.

2002 – A female suicide bomber detonated at the entrance to Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda open-air market, killing 7 and wounding 104.

2007 A suicide bomber penetrated the Green Zone and detonated in a cafeteria within a parliament building, killing Iraqi MP Mohammed Awad and wounding more than twenty other people.

2010 – A train derailed near Merano, Italy, after running into a landslide, causing nine deaths and injuring 28 people.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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