Nicolson not Nicholson


Cactus Kate  has challenged me to make sense of these musings  from Federated Farmers president Don Nicolson.

I’m working on that but have been side tracked by the by-line which says: By DON NICHOLSON – Sunday Star Times | Sunday, 18 January 2009 although they get it right with : Don Nicolson is the president of Federated Farmers at the end.

I’m very aware I’m throwing stones in a glasshouse because I don’t do details; like Pooh Bear’s friend Wol my spelling is wobbly; and that failing is aggravated because I type faster than I spell.

But I’m not a sub and one of the prime functions of subs is to stop basic errors, like the incorrect spelling of names, from getting published.

I probably wouldn’t have commented on it had it not been for a discussion on Journz  (an on-line chat group for journalists) about subs being laid off from papers and the work being done by people without local knowledge.

The print edition gets Nicolson’s name right in the by-line and at the end. Does this mean that it’s a typo that got corrected for the paper but not for the website or that it was correct but changed in error for the on-line copy? And If so why doesn’t the same copy go to the print and on-line editions?

P.S. I’ve checked my spelling for this but should you find a mistake feel free to embarrass me with it.

Whoops – PM broke arm


Six weeks after falling on my hand  I’m still having problems with it so John Key has my sympathy after a fall  which left him with two breaks in his arm.

At least my problem was with my left arm and I’m right-handed. John’s broken his right arm, which will be very frustrating in many ways, not least with the little things we do without thinking one of which is greeting people. He’ll have to act like a boy scout and shake hands with his left hand.

He may be the first PM to break a limb in office but he’s not the first MP. Eric Roy broke his leg while hunting with his sons, walked some distance in the bush to his vehicle, was taken home, flew up to Wellington next morning, went to caucus and only then sought medical attention.

The plaster meant he wasn’t able to wear trousers for several weeks so made good use of his kilt.

Anti-Dismal is back


Anti Dismal makes a welcome return to the blogosphere  with a post on Dennis Dutton and the art of instinct.

EU resumes ag subsidies


The European Union decision to resume export subsidies on butter, cheese and milk powder which were suspended a couple of years ago is a blow to free trade hopes and our dairy industry.

The world milk price has fallen steeply in recent months, the EU is already subsidising butter storeage and the new subsidies will encourage further supply which is unrelated to demand.

Trade Minister Tim Groser and Agriculture Minister David Carter say it’s a negative signal when so much effort is going in to reducing protection.

Groser said this makes completion of DOHA negotiations even more urgent and Dear John says the prohibition of these subsidies should be the number one goal of current WTO negotiations.

New Zealand farmers were brought kicking and screaming into producing without subsidies in the 1980s. The pain at the time was intense but farmers are more efficient and more secure now than we ever could be with subsidies.

This message has still to get through to producers, manufacturers and politicians in other parts of the world and  everyone is paying the price of unsustainable production because of that.

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