Did you see the one about . . .

May 24, 2009

The invisible hand at Anti Dismal

Seventies pessimism: Polemical Poets 1978  at Bowalley Road

Beatles’ karaoke a viral hit in ad land at Dave Gee

Bob Jones’  appreciation corner at Cactus Kate and also on the same subject ( the entrepreneurs summit): Yes We Can Do  at Opposable Thumb.

Sex, sleep, eat, drink, dream  at Quote Unquote

Oh Dear  – on the frustrations of dictionary definitions – at Mr Gronk


Feds talk straight to Obama

May 24, 2009

Federated Farmers aren’t mucking about with their response to the USA’s reintroduction of export subsidies for dairy products.

In a media release headlined US dairy subsidies a potential catostrophe they start by inviting President Obama to New Zealand to explain why his administration has decided to subsidise 92,000 tonnes of American dairy products destined for international markets.

“I cannot express the anger I feel about today’s decision,” says Philip York, Federated Farmers economics and commerce spokesperson.

“The precedent this sets is actually worse than the European Union’s (EU) decision in January to go down the same path.

“Federated Farmers had respected American restraint from not retaliating against the EU. That has all been thrown away on the compost heap that is the US dairy lobby.

“The US dairy lobby is more interested in protecting subsidies than in exporting on free market principles. The fact President Obama caved into their demands is a genuine shock. I honestly thought the age of pork barrel politics had passed but I’m sadly mistaken.

“What’s worse is that this comes at a time when international prices for dairy commodities had started to stabilise.

“Now, from left field, comes this ludicrous decision which takes the world to the edge of trade anarchy.

“The World Trade Organisation needs to get to Washington and Brussels urgently to discuss this with the EU and the Obama administration. I know Don Nicolson, the President of Federated Farmers, will be raising this at next month’s meeting of the Cairns Group.

“This could easily set off a domino effect as smaller economies rush to follow the irresponsible ‘example’ being set by the EU and the United States. Tariffs and tit-for-tat trade barriers could depress international prices and trade volumes before spreading to other trade categories.

“The world is back to five minutes to midnight for an all out trade war and President Obama needs to get his hand off the trigger,” Mr York concluded.

That’s a very direct message.

I don’t think the chances of Obama hearing it are very high and the chances of him heeding it are even lower but no-one can accuse Feds of taking a half-hearted approach to their fight for free trade.

Hat Tip: SOLO


Susan’s in the semis

May 24, 2009

Susan Boyle whose initial performance in Britain’s Got Talent became a YouTube sensation, has made it through to the show’s semi finals.

She is one of 40 artists who will go on to compete for the 100,000 pound prize.


Tractor sale chugging along

May 24, 2009

Bidding on the International 574 tractor for sale on TradeMe has passed the QV for the farm which comes with it for free.

The QV is $250,000 and the latest bid as I write (at 11.20) is $250,300.

The auction closes at 10.30 tonight.

It has attracted 298,522 views and TradeMe is donating their fee to charity.


Kyoto take 2

May 24, 2009

New Zealand was very badly served by the people who negotiated our commitments to reducing carbon emissions under the first Kyoto Protocol.

Trade & Associate Climate Change Minister Tim Groser is doing his best to ensure a better deal, not just for New Zealand but the global environment in the next round of negotiations.

The ODT’s Agribusiness editor Neal Wallace has a comprehensive interview with Groser in which he speaks of the need to include developing countries in future agreements, for scientific solutions to reduce agricultural emissions, and the importance of food security.

He also spoke of the risk to trade:

International climate change and trade liberalisation policies were linked, he said, but equally there could be a distortion in international trade.

A carbon tax or emissions trading scheme imposed in one country could result in carbon leakage, or another country retaliating by imposing tariffs and other trade restrictions, he said.

“Simply, I suspect that those politicians in various countries who today believe there is a simple fix to carbon leakage through unilaterally imposed carbon-tax adjustment do not actually intend to put a time-bomb under the world trading system.

“But there is no doubt in my mind that that is the risk.”

Regardless of whether the climate is changing and human induced emissions are contributing to it, the international politics require us to be seen to be doing our part to reduce them.

At least with Groser in charge, there’s hope that any agreements won’t wreck the economy without helping the environment which is what the original agreement would do.

You can read the interview here.


When the Cat’s Away – Asian Paradise

May 24, 2009

Day 24 of the tune a day challenge for New Zealand Music Month.

When the Cat’s Away singing Asian Paradise.


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