Word of the day

April 14, 2014

Brabble – quibble; argue stubbornly about trifles or petty things; wrangle; noisy, quarrelsome chatter.


Rural round-up

April 14, 2014

Challenge of creating a strong red meat sector – Allan Barber:

I am obviously not alone in trying to work out ways of creating a strong red meat sector with profits being shared equitably between the participants. But it is an elusive model which nobody has yet succeeded in identifying. It makes me wonder if it is an impossible dream, but there are a number of determined dreamers who are still intent on finding the solution.

Recently I have had an exchange of emails, not always amicable, with John McCarthy, chairman of MIE, who is committed to achieving consensus among farmers about a future industry structure which will get away from the price taker model.

He takes me to task, quite legitimately, for seeing things from the companies’ perspective which, he says, focuses on making a profit for shareholders. But this doesn’t satisfy farmers’ objectives of being sustainably profitable which is the only way a strong red meat sector will emerge. He agrees the top farmers are performing satisfactorily, but in his view these only comprise 20-25% of farmers. . .

Wool industry picks up dropped stitches - Sally Rae:

New Zealand’s wool industry is ”a wee bit broken” , Wools of New Zealand chief executive Ross Townshend says.

At an autumn roadshow in Waikouaiti, Mr Townshend spoke of his observations since starting the job in August last year.

Sixty years ago, 85% of sheep farmers’ revenue was from wool and 15% was from meat, and now it was the complete opposite. . .

Linking youth and the land – Sally Rae:

Annika Korsten is on a mission to expose disengaged Dunedin youth to rural work opportunities.

Ms Korsten, a recipient of a $100,000 World of Difference grant from the Vodafone New Zealand Foundation, is establishing a programme, on behalf of the Malcam Charitable Trust, to develop opportunities for young people aged 18 to 24 to transition to work or further rural training.

Describing herself as passionate about people, place and food and the inter-relationship between the three, she said she enjoyed facilitating networks and connecting people. . .

 

The costs of GMO labelling -Foodie Farmer:

There has been much discussion over whether or not the labeling of “GMO” foods would add to the cost of food production or not. This was one of the supporting arguments for GMO labeling at the legislative hearing at the Maryland House of Delegates Committee on Health and Government Operations during which Doug Gurian-Sherman of the Union of Concerned Scientists and Michael Hansen of the Center for Food Safety, both insisted that labeling costs would be minor at best.

So does Mother Jones

So does The Grist

Wow, do these scientists and journalists have any understanding of the food supply chain from farm gate to grocery shelf?
Apparently not, nor does anyone else who thinks that “GMO” labeling won’t increase the cost of food.
Here is my pictorial analysis of the food supply chain from my farm gate: . . .

 

What is Your Dairy farm Profit?  – Pasture to Profit:

What is dairy farm profit? Is profit a dirty word? Too few New Zealand dairy farmers know their profit? Discussion groups rarely discuss or compare profit. Few farmers financially benchmark. Why do farmers and consultants continue to use profit per hectare to compare farms?

PROFIT = GROSS FARM REVENUE – FARM OPERATING EXPENSES + NON-CASH Adjustments. Non-Cash Adjustments include changes in feed & livestock inventory, inclusion of Family labour & Management and depreciation. See NZDairybase   Why do so few NZ dairy farmers know what their profit is? Profit per hectare is not enough, although every farmer should calculate Profit/hectare.  . . .


Press freedom

April 14, 2014

New Zealand’s in the top tier again:


Oamaru on-line census trial worked

April 14, 2014

Several trends have emerged following analysis of the 2013 Census online option, Statistics Minister Maurice Williamson says.

Close to two million census forms, or 34 per cent of all forms, were done online, with the response rate peaking at 130,000 forms per hour on census night.

“The average time taken to complete an individual form was 10 minutes and eight minutes for the dwelling form.

“The Auckland and Wellington regions had the highest proportion of individual forms done online.  It was also interesting to note the online option was most popular for people who were born overseas, of Asian ethnicity and aged in their thirties,” Mr Williamson says.

Another feature of the 2013 Census was a trial in Oamaru that saw everyone receive internet access codes via mail, with paper forms only delivered on request.

“About 65 per cent of people completed forms online, which was nearly double the national rate.  It shows an online delivery and collection method for census can work in New Zealand.

“It also gives Statistics New Zealand a strong base to explore online options for other surveys,” Mr Williamson says.

As more people have reliable internet connections, on-line options should become more popular.

It will be considerably less expensive for Statistics NZ.

However, it might require an opt-in for paper as was used in Oamaru to prompt those less confident, or more reluctant, about using the internet to take the on-line option.


Attracting regional investment

April 14, 2014

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise is to establish a new regional investment attraction programme to encourage more international firms to invest in New Zealand’s regional economies, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says.

NZTE will work in partnership with regions around the country to create comprehensive investment profiles that outline the strengths of the particular regional economy, the opportunities for investment, and what the region can offer to investors.

“We know there are big opportunities for New Zealand from the massive growth in the numbers of consumers across Asia. However, companies these days can invest their money wherever they like around the world. The challenge for each of New Zealand’s regions is to showcase the real opportunities for competitive businesses in their region, and this programme will help them do it in a more systematic way,” Mr Joyce says.

The NZTE regional investment attraction programme is part of the agency’s work to mobilise capital from domestic and international sources to help lift exports and grow New Zealand’s economy. This includes the new “Better by Capital” service which helps companies to understand the capital raising process to fund their international growth.

“The regions that are doing the best are those that have a clear positive approach that welcomes investment and new opportunities,” Mr Joyce says.

“The profiles will allow regions to clearly lay out the advantages they offer investors in terms of natural resources, infrastructure, the availability of skilled workers, and innovation hubs that support investment.

“NZTE will also provide a toolkit, training, and assistance for regional economic development agencies to better support investor engagement, guidance, and due-diligence.”

To help create and further develop these investment profiles, the Government is commissioning a number of Regional Growth Studies to evaluate growth opportunities in particular regions. These detailed in-depth reports will identify areas of existing economic strength and where opportunities for further growth lie, with a particular focus on the primary sector.

“In commissioning the Regional Growth Studies, the Government will work alongside regional stakeholders such as regional councils and economic development agencies. Local input into the reports will be vital to ensure they are evidence-based and comprehensive,” Mr Joyce says.

“The first study, for the Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay region, arose out of discussions with Regional Councils last year and is nearly complete. A request for proposals for the Northland study was released yesterday by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment alongside the Ministry of Primary Industries, and additional studies will be considered in partnership with other regions.

“The latest data shows that it is the regions that have been clearly leading New Zealand’s recovery out of the GFC. Today’s announcements will further accelerate this progress.”

The left demonise foreign investment, but it brings significant benefits:

A $70 million investment in Hawke’s Bay that future-proofs one of the region’s biggest employers was celebrated yesterday.

Japan-owned Pan Pac in Whirinaki, north of Napier, has upgraded its grade of wood-pulp exports thanks to a new $50 million plant that bleaches the product.

A $20 million investment was also made so that treated waste was “better than it has ever been before”, pulp mill manager Roger Jones told dignitaries touring the plant.

Previously, Pan Pac sold only newsprint pulp to its owner Oji Holdings for the Japanese market but now exports two grades of pulp throughout the world, with the US an increasingly important customer.

Pan Pac has the country’s largest Market Mechanical pulp mill and thanks to a recent third shift of workers, now has the country’s most productive sawmill. . .

This investment safeguards jobs, it’s already brought in foreign money and some of the export earnings will remain here for on-ging maintenance and development.

Investors who come from cities whose population is bigger than that of the whole of New Zealand might not be aware of the potential for investment like this outside our main centres.

But lower costs for property and generally stable workforces could make regions attractive to overseas investors.

These factors ought to be considered by domestic investors too when close proximity to a larger market isn’t a consideration.


Seeking interest in social bond pilots

April 14, 2014

The Ministry of Health is seeking groups interested in social bond pilots:

A new and innovative alternative to the way social services are delivered has come a step closer, Minister of Finance Bill English and Health Minister Tony Ryall say.

The Government last year agreed to a social bonds pilot and people are now able to register their interest in becoming an intermediary in the pilot programme.

An intermediary is a person or group who brings investors and service providers together. The intermediary uses their skills in project management and finance to raise funds and drive performance to achieve agreed outcomes. 

“The Government does not have all the answers to our communities’ problems and social bonds are one new way to involve investors and private or not-for-profit organisations in improving social outcomes, while achieving value for taxpayers,” Mr English says. 

Mr Ryall says social bonds give service providers greater freedom and flexibility to use private capital and expertise to deliver services to their communities – with the Government paying a return depending on achievement of agreed outcomes.

“This shifts risk from the taxpayer and provides an incentive for our investment community to use its expertise for generating results in the social sector,” Mr Ryall says.

Social bonds trials are underway in the United Kingdom, United States, and Australia where examples of their use include targets of reducing reoffending, increasing employment, improving outcomes for children in care, and improving management of chronic health conditions.

In New Zealand, service providers have submitted their ideas and a shortlist is being compiled by the Ministry of Health, which is leading cross-agency work on the pilot.

“We’re still in the early stages here but progress from the overseas pilots is encouraging,” says Mr Ryall.

“We see potential for social bonds to deliver better results and attract investment to preventative services and we think the time is right to pilot this model here.”

Mr English says there is a strong alignment between the social bonds model and many of the other initiatives being put in place across government like Better Public Services where the focus is on achieving results for the investment New Zealanders make in public services through their taxes.

“If successful, the social bonds pilot might attract investment and offer lessons that could be used for contracting in future, including further social bonds,” Mr English says.

How refreshing, and encouraging, to have a government which admits it doesn’t have all the answers and is willing to try a different approach to solve problems.

Rewarding achievement puts the risk with the provider while giving them a strong incentive to succeed.

This isn’t just throwing money at problems, it’s aimed at getting solutions.

More information of Social Bond Pilots is here.


Dotbomb divides Mana

April 14, 2014

Kim Dotcom’s reverse Midas touch has infected the Mana Party:

Sue Bradford and other leading Mana Party figures have walked out of the party’s AGM over its decision to continue negotiations towards an alliance with Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party.

After discussions which went into the night at Mataikotare Marae near Rotorua yesterday, Mana’s branches “unanimously” agreed to move forward with the negotiations.

The party has given its leaders a month to negotiate, before they put any proposed alliance out to the party’s local branches for consultation.

However, Mana President Annette Sykes this morning said : “Our movement, I was concerned that it may be fragile and some of our membership – I don’t know whether some have chosen not to come back today.”

“There’s quite a number. We’re not talking hundreds, but we’re talking people who I think are leaders young and old and they are principled people who I have respect for. They’ve gone back to reflect with their branches.”

Ms Bradford this morning confirmed she was among those who had walked out.

“We left us last night so she perhaps includes us among those people because there was deep debate, deep dissension and resistance to the idea of going into an alliance with the Internet Party.”

“Some of us, both Maori and Pakeha, are really disturbed by the idea of going into an alliance with a neo-liberal billionaire.”. . .

The Internet Party has policies but it’s difficult to detect clear priceless principles.

Th Mana Party has principles and some of its members are principled enough to care enough about them than to be wary of the Dotbomb which could well leave the wreckage of their party in its wake.


April 14 in history

April 14, 2014

43 BC  Battle of Forum Gallorum: Mark Antony, besieging Julius Caesar’s assassin Decimus Junius Brutus in Mutina, defeated the forces of the consul Pansa, who was killed.

69 -  Vitellius, commander of the Rhine armies, defeated Emperor Otho in the Battle of Bedriacum and seizes the throne.

1028  Henry III, son of Conrad, was elected king of the Germans.

1205 Battle of Adrianople between Bulgarians and Crusaders.

1294 Temür, grandson of Kublai, is elected Khagan of the Mongols and Emperor of the Yuan Dynasty with the reigning titles Oljeitu and Chengzong.

1341 Sacking of Saluzzo  by Italian-Angevine troops under Manfred V of Saluzzo.

1434 The foundation stone of Cathedral of  St. Peter and St. Paul in Nantes was laid.

1471 The Yorkists under Edward IV defeated the Lancastrians under Warwick at the battle of Barnet; the Earl of Warwick was killed and Edward IV resumed the throne.

1699  Birth of Khalsa  the brotherhood of the Sikh religion, in Northern India in accordance with the Nanakshahi calendar.

1775 The Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage  – the first abolitionist society in North America – was organized in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush.

1828  Noah Webster copyrighted the first edition of his dictionary.

1846 The Donner Party of pioneers left Springfield, Illinois, for California, on what became a year-long journey of hardship, cannibalism, and survival.

1849 Hungary declared itself independent of Austria with Lajos Kossuth as its leader.

1860 The first Pony Express rider reached Sacramento, California.

1864 Battle of Dybbøl: A Prussian-Austrian army defeated Denmark and gained control of Schleswig. Denmark surrendered the province in the following peace settlement.

1865   Abraham Lincoln was shot in Ford’s Theatre by John Wilkes Booth.

1865 U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward and his family were attacked in their home by Lewis Powell.

1866 Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller’s teacher, was born (d. 1936).

1881 The Four Dead in Five Seconds Gunfight erupted in El Paso, Texas.

1890 The Pan-American Union was founded by the First International Conference of American States.

1894 Thomas Edison demonstrated the kinetoscope, a device for peep-show viewing using photographs that flip in sequence.

1904 Sir John Gielgud, English actor, was born (d. 2000).

1912  The British passenger liner RMS Titanic hit an iceberg at 11.40pm in the North Atlantic, and sankthe following morning with the loss of 1,517 lives.

1915 The Turks invaded Armenia.

1927 The first Volvo car premiered in Gothenburg.

1927 Alan MacDiarmid, New Zealand chemist, Nobel laureate, was born  (d. 2007).

1931 Spanish Cortes Generales deposed King Alfonso XIII and proclaimed the 2nd Spanish Republic.

1932 A crowd of about 1500 rioted in Queen Street.

Unemployed riots rock Queen Street

1935 Black Sunday Storm, the worst dust storm of the U.S. Dust Bowl.

1935 Loretta Lynn, American singer/songwriter, was born.

1941 Julie Christie, British actress, was born.

1941 World War II: The Ustashe, a Croatian far-right organisation was put in charge of the Independent State of Croatia by the Axis Power after the Operation 25 invasion.

1941 – Rommel attacked Tobruk.

1944 Bombay Explosion: A massive explosion in Bombay harbour killsed300 caused economic damage valued then at 20 million pounds.

1945 -  Osijek, Croatia, was liberated from fascist occupation.

1945 – Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, 8th Prime Minister of Samoa, was born.

1945 Ritchie Blackmore, English guitarist (Deep Purple), was born.

1951 Julian Lloyd Webber, English cellist, was born.

1956 In Chicago videotape was first demonstrated.

1958 The Soviet satellite Sputnik 2 fell from orbit after a mission duration of 162 days.

1961 Robert Carlyle, British actor, was born.

1969  Academy Award for Best Actress was a tie between Katharine Hepburn and Barbra Streisand.

1973 David Miller, American tenor (Il Divo), was born.

1978 – Thousands of Georgians demonstrated in Tbilisi against Soviet attempts to change the constitutional status of the Georgian language.

1981 The first operational space shuttle, Columbia (OV-102) completed its first test flight.

1986 In retaliation for the April 5 bombing in West Berlin that killed two U.S. servicemen, U.S. president Ronald Reagan ordered major bombing raids against Libya, killing 60 people.

1986 1 kilogram (2.2 lb) hailstones fell on the Gopalganj district of Bangladesh, killing 92 – these were the heaviest hailstones ever recorded.

1988 The USS Samuel B. Roberts struck a mine in the Persian Gulf during Operation Earnest Will.

1988  The Soviet Union signed an agreement pledging to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan.

1994 In a U.S. friendly fire incident during Operation Provide Comfort in northern Iraq, two United States Air Force aircraft mistakenly shoot-down two United States Army helicopters, killing 26 people.

1999  NATO mistakenly bombed a convoy of ethnic Albanian refugees.

1999 A severe hailstorm struck Sydney causing A$2.3 billion in insured damages, the most costly natural disaster in Australian history.

2002 Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez returned to office two days after being ousted and arrested by the country’s military.

2003 The Human Genome Project was completed with 99% of the human genome sequenced to an accuracy of 99.99%.

2003 U.S. troops in Baghdad captured Abu Abbas, leader of the Palestinian group that killed an American on the hijacked cruise liner the MS Achille Lauro in 1985.

2005 The Oregon Supreme Court nullified marriage licenses issued to gay couples a year earlier by Multnomah County.

2007 At least 200,000 demonstrators in Ankara protested against the possible candidacy of incumbent Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

2010 – Nearly 2,700 people were killed in a magnitude 6.9 earthquake in Yushu, Qinghai, China.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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