CRT’s profit at PGW’s expense?


Rural supplies co-operative CRT has posted a record annual result with a 39% growth in revenue in the year to the end of March.

The record dairy payout and better returns for sheep, beef and cropping farmers last season boosted farmers’ spending power which will have contributed to the good result.

However, PGG Wrightson which operates a similar businesss hasn’t performed nearly as well and is expecting a decline in its profit.

It’s blaming its exposure to dairying for this but I wonder if it is also a result of its unsuccessful attempt to take a 50% shareholding in Silver Fern Farms?

That angered a lot of farmers who voted with their chequebooks and shifted their business to CRT.

If that’s right then CRT’s profit has come in part at PGW”s expense.

Monday’s Quiz


1. Which is New Zealand’s shortest river?

2. Who said “What is left for men to do? After they’ve taken the rubbish out, that is?”

3. Who wrote For Better, For Worse and For Lunch?

4. Who was the first woman to graduate from the University of Otago (which I think means NZ)?

5. What are the Maori and botanical names for cabbage tree?

Incentives work


Anti Dismal has a continuing series of posts headed Incentives Matter .

We saw how incentives work at Singapore’s Changi Airport.

Ground staff are paid a bonus if luggage is on the carousel by the time disembarking passengers reach it.

We were among the first people off a Singapore Airlines flight from Christchurch last week. Our thousand acre strides helped us overtake those ahead of us on the route march from the plane to immigraation so we were first in the queue there. 

Getting through those formalities took only a few minutes and our bags were waiting for us when we reached the carousel.

Only minutes in the country and we were already impressed.

All NZers are farmers


Every New Zealander is a farmer, Federated Farmers’ president Don Nicolson said in his address to the organisation’s annual conference.

It’s just a question of whether you have your hands in the soil, like us, or if you depend on those who have their hands in the soil. 

From the cabby who got you here, to the hotel staff helping run this event to the media covering our conference, they all depend on what we do.

That makes them farmers….of us.

Yet we in turn, depend on them for our healthcare, our education and our information.

That means even our most vocal critics are farmers too. 

Everyone in this country has a direct stake in our success. 

Everyone in this country depends upon us to bring dollars into this economy.

The interdependence is an important point because as the planks on the bridge between rural and urban New Zealanders grow weaker, we need to be reminded we need each other.

It’s a long speech with many other good points. You can follow the link above to read it.

Other conference speeches on line include those from:

Feds chief executive Conor English; dairy section chair Lachlan McKenzie;    and meat & fibre chair Bruce Wills;

About the money he still owes us


My initial reaction to the news that Winston Peters may be considering a political come back was one of horror.

Then I remembered:

* He still owes the taxpayer $158,000, the amount of public money New Zealand First wrongly used to fund its 2005 election campaign.

* No-one knows how much if any of the money he said New Zealand First gave to charity, instead of repaying the public, actually went to charity, and if it did which causes it went to.

* This is the man who lied about Owen Glenn.

* This is the man who pretended his party was funded by little donations when it wasn’t.

* This is the man who said he wouldn’t be wooed by the baubles of office but was, and continued as the Minister with Baubles after he was sacked.

The list could go on, but having remembered all that I relaxed. There can’t be enough people  in New Zealand who could overlook all that and vote for the man. Or could there?

Rankings happen anyway


There is probably no profession whose members spend more time and energy on assessment than teaching.

Therefore teachers must understand that good assessment looks not just at what’s achieved but how much it took to achieve it. A little progress from a child with learning difficulties could be a greater achievement than a lot of progress from someone with much greater ability.

Teachers make such assessments all the time but distrust other people’s, particularly parents’ , ability to exercise a similar level of judgement and sense if they had information on schools’ performance.

That’s part of why they are so strongly opposed to Education Minister Anne Tolley’s plans for assessment which could result in publication of information which in turn might lead to ranking of schools. They don’t trust the public to make intelligent use of the information.

But parents rank schools already, based on their own experience and others’. That’s why people in cities pay far more than a house ought to be worth to ensure their offspring are in the “right” zone for a particular school.

This concern about which school your children attend is more an urban than a rural one.

In the country there isn’t a lot of choice. If you, or your child, doesn’t like the local school the alternatives require a lot of travel or boarding.

However, if the local school isn’t up to scratch, most parents put the educational needs of their children before their own convenience. If the problems aren’t addressed – and it’s not easy to improve or remove poor teachers – the children move to another school.

The decision by several parents to bypass our local school in response to concerns over a principal which eventually led to its closure.

It doesn’t need official rankings, parents talk to each other and soon find out if there are major concerns.

Publishing schools’ performance will make that information more public it might also help identify schools with problems and get them the help they need to solve them

Dim Post has a very good Q&A on this issue.

July 6 in history


On July 6:

1885 Louis Pasteur  successfully tested his vaccine against rabies.

French microbiologist and chemist

1097 Mexican artist Frida Kahlo was born.

Frida Kahlo, Self-portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, Nikolas Muray Collection, Harry

1922 Australian swimmer Annette Kellerman was born.

Annette Kellerman, Diving Venus, 1920

1964 Malawi declared its independence from Britain.

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