Irish pork back on shelves

December 11, 2008

Irish pork  is returning to retail shelves after European Union health experts decided that dioxin tainting which had been found wouldn’t pose any threat to health. Food health is based on perception

But a new battle began over who should pay for losses from the pork recall, which were estimated to range from €100 million ($130 million US) to €500 million ($650 million US). Irish farmers accused the government of moving too slowly on the issue.
     
The findings from the European Food Safety Authority should make it easier for Ireland to persuade its international customers to resume importing pork soon.
     
Within hours of the experts’ announcement, pork products began to reappear on a few Dublin supermarket shelves with new government labelling. “Irish Pork & Bacon APPROVED,” the labels read.

Perecption has a lot to do with people’s ideas on food safety so even though the pork has been deemed to be safe, consumers might need some persuading before they buy it again.


Dear Father Christmas #4

December 11, 2008

Dear Father Christmas

Those books you’ve given me as an early present are very interesting but I’m finding them pretty heavy going because of the coloured numbers.

I wonder if you have any of those magic pens in your sack?

If so I’d really like a packet of the ones that can turn red to black, please.

Yours sincerely,

Bill.


Environmental decision-making not evidence based

December 11, 2008

An interesting admission from DOC’s BIM

66. Unlike economic and social policy, environmental decision-making in New Zealand is not well supported by a strong evidence base.

In particular, we lack the integrated environmental and economic information needed to systematically assess the effects of policy on resource efficiency, the environment, economic activity and productivity.

This makes it difficult to demonstrate New Zealand’s environmental sustainability at a national or sectoral level.

To support good decision-making, we need to strengthen the existing environmental-economic accounts and other related data, and build capability across government to use that information.

The evidence base should be a key component of the official statistics system, shared across government, and focused on the current and future priorities for New Zealand.

This would support farmers’ views that policies and decisions on pastoral leases including tenure review, land use and amenity values are based on emotion and politics rather than evidence.


What about the (other) workers?

December 11, 2008

The world as we know it is about to end, the economy will grind to a halt and society will collapse.

Instead of going about their business, employers with fewer than 20 staff are going to devote most of their time, energy and money to the recruitment and training of new staff.

At least that’s the logical conclusion of the main argument by opponents of the government’s plan to allow a no-fault dismissal procedure in the first 90 days – employers will sack people because they can.

But why would they unless those employees weren’t doing what was required to the required standard?

Recruitment and training of staff, even in unskilled jobs, takes time, energy and money none of which business owners are going to spend any more than absolutely necessary.

Opponents who are misguidedly fighting for the new workers also ignore the impact new employees who aren’t up to scratch have on existing staff who have to work with them and compensate for their short comings.

The law change will only apply to SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) and most of these employ only a handful of staff. Having one who can’t or won’t fit in for whatever reason makes an unhappy and possibly unsafe workplace for the others so the change in law is not only better for employers, it’s also better for other workers.


Buy what’s best

December 11, 2008

Is a t-shirt made here from imported cotton and synthetic material better than one made somewhere else from our wool?

There’s no single right answer to that because it depends on what’s meant by better and there are so many variables including who and what it’s better for – the consumer, the producer, the tax payer, the environment, the economy?

That is one of the reasons that the buy New Zealand made camapign was ill conceived.

The first t-shirt would have been considered kiwi made the second wouldn’t, although the latter probably had a greater New Zealand input but the amount of local input doesn’t by itself make something better or worse anyway.

When my children were young, clothing was sized by age but the sizes and ages didn’t match because babies’ clothes didn’t attract tariffs and those for older children, I think it was from three, did. That meant clothes were labelled for under the tariff-attracting age for as long as possible because they were much cheaper. Once your children got too big for them you had to pay considerably more in the mistaken belief that protecting local producers was better.

The buy kiwi made campaign didn’t take us back to those bad old days but the thinking behind it was similarly misguided.

I buy what’s best for me which almost always means I buy on price and quality and if everything is equal I’ll choose a local product over one from somewhere else. Although that’s emotional rather than rational because as a country which depends on exports we would be disadvantaged if people in other countries bought local produce rather than ours.

But regardless of what I buy and why I buy it, I don’t need a multi-million dollar advertising campaign telling me -wrongly – that buying kiwi-made is better and I’m delighted the new government has scrapped it.


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