Buttercups at Mt Cook

August 15, 2008

This Friday’s poem is by Diane Brown from her collection learning to lie together, published by Godwit in 2004.

Buttercups at Mt Cook

 

all day I try to remember

the rhyme, then conclude

 

there wasn’t one

it was just a game

 

for idle moments

in paddocks, the placing

 

of a buttercup

under the chin

 

the question

do you like butter?

 

there wasn’t a choice

back then, we all

 

said yes knowing

if there was no

 

yellow reflection

we were deemed liars

 

today I leave

the buttercups alone

 

there are too few

these are white

 

and butter is bad

for you now

 

– Diane Brown


MIAG taking SFF to court

August 15, 2008

The Meat Industry Action Group  is taking Silver Fern Farms to the High Court to force it to name a date for a special general meeting.

MIAG collected enough proxy votes from shareholders to force both SFF and Alliance Group to hold sgms as a first step in MIAG’s plan to promote a merger between the two co-operatives.

Alliance has agreed to hold its meeting on September 5, but MIAG said SFF has delayed committing to a date, forcing it to seek a court ruling.

But it appears the meat companies are less than enthusiastic about calling the special meetings at which MIAG has 11 remits to put to shareholders.

MIAG says the remits would advance industry consolidation and help create a new farmer-owned entity, it calls the National Champion, to handle 80% of the country’s red meat industry.

Alliance chairman Owen Poole this week slated MIAG, saying the resolutions were prescriptive, divisive and counter to the legal requirements of directors acting in the best interests of the company.

SFF chairman Eoin Garden accused MIAG of being disruptive and misleading.

“It is more likely that history would record MIAG, by its actions in destabilising the governance of both companies, has in itself been the cause of slowing the progress of industry consolidation.”

MIAG has got the co-operatives agreeing about something – their opposition to the ginger group.

Mr Garden said the company had agreed to hold the meeting following its own special meeting on September 8. A promise to hold the meeting was communicated to MIAG on August 10 and he said the court action was a waste of time, resources and money.

It was important to get an outcome on the SFF-PGG Wrightson vote so the new board could hear issues raised at the special meeting initiated by MIAG.

“We have a firm option on the table to be voted on, whereas MIAG requirements are about a process, as opposed to a concrete transaction.”

MIAG is seeking proxies for the special general meetings. Farmers should be very careful about giving them until they understand exactly what their votes would be supporting.

The groups demands for industry consolidation are not a recipe for improved returns and as Poole points out they would breach directors’ legal responsibility to act in the best interests of their company.


Too little light too much heat?

August 15, 2008

When the Government announced that incandescent light bulbs would be phased out as an energy-saving measure people complaiend the alternatives didn’t provide enough light. Now there are concerns the eco bulbs provide too much heat.

Energy Safety has warned the Fire Service  that compact fluorescent lamps may be hazardous with reports they are melting, exploding and blackening surrounding electrical equipment.

Fire Service national fire investigation manager Peter Wilding confirmed he put a message out to staff “to be aware of the issue and pay particular attention to these faults”.

There were reports that eco bulbs had burnt out and scorched fittings, causing smoke stains, and in a few cases they had caught fire.

I have eco-bulbs in my office but I can’t see to read by them so need a desk lamp as well which probably defeats the power saving purpose. I’ve also noticed that the radio crackles when I turn the lights on.

Saving power is an admirable objective but not at the cost of safety. Until we have proof the bulbs are safe  Keeping Stock  is right to ask if the decision to ban incandescent bulbs is an error of judgement.


OUSA president wants 4-day student week

August 15, 2008

Newly elected Otago University Students Association president Jo Moore is promoting the idea of a four-day week for students with no lectures on Fridays and departments closed to students.

Some departments, including commerce, already operated that way, although buildings were open to students, she said.

Not being required on campus on Fridays would enable students to study or take part-time jobs, would save on campus consumables and cleaning costs and would lower carbon emissions and be better for the environment.

Yes students might get part-time work and there would be a day’s less mess to clean. But if five day’s of lectures, tutorials and labs were squeezed in to four days would they need more staff and rooms?

I’m not sure about the environmental benefits either. Heating lots of individual flats would probably take more power than heating university buildings and if staff are at work the buildings will still need heating.

When I was a student one of the considerations when choosing a course was the timetable. But the popularity of those with late starts on Monday, early finishes on Friday or no classes at all on one of those days was purely coincidental. 🙂


If it’s good enough for the Chinese …

August 15, 2008

On the day that Rodney Hide  says he has given new evidence to the Serious Fraud Office about Winston Peters and the select committee investigation into scampi, Jim Hopkins suggests he could emulate the Chinese at the Olympic opening ceremony and employ a little digital enhancement:

Suppose, for example, you’re Winston Peters, beset with allegations of malfeasance and baubletude. With a click of the mouse, you could computer-enhance the Spencer Trust (complete with receipts for Bob Jones) leaving it bathed in a celestial glow of Presbyterian rectitude.


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