They’re listening to our music here


Driving through Cadiz with only half an ear on the radio I realised something sounded familiar – it was Split Enz singing Weather With You.

Did you see the one about . . .


Holidays at Oswald Bastable

What’s the Point of United Future? at Fairfacts Media (one in a series looking at NZ political parties).

 How to cook a hairy sausage at Quote Unquote.

It’s not okay to be blind drunk and expect police to be there at Cactus Kate.

Spot the criminal at Macdoctor.

Today’s referendum at Keeping Stock (also one in a series).

Read aloud to your children at NZ Conservative.

The Four Pillars at Fenemy.

Comics in the clinics at Not PC.

And a new (to me) blog: A cat of impossible colour  (Hat Tip: Open Parachute)

1984’s crisis provided opportunity for change


Kiwiblog reminded me  it was 25 years ago yesterday that the Lange government came to power.

One of the fascinating aspects of the radical changes made by his government is that generally centre right and right wing people accept the need for them while those on the left do not.

Many of those in the previous government and their supporters who like to call them the “failed policies of the 80s” display selective memory, because they supported them at the time. They also fail to acknowledge that few of the fundamental policies the Lange-Douglas government introduced, and subsequent National administrations under Jim Bolger and Jenny Shipley built, on have been reversed.

Labour governments from 1999 tinkered with some of the legislation which dragged us into the real world, tempering it a bit, but they left the foundations on which our economy now stands untouched.

It took a crisis to bring those changes about. The situation we’re facing now isn’t as bad as it was then, but 10 years of deficits is a very gloomy prospect.

Could the government use that as an opportunity to develop a plan for more radical changes and if so would MMP allow them to be implemented?

Train stop stops town


Okay, I exagerate, but the news the Overlander was going to stop in Taihape did cause some excitement:

Word quickly spread around Taihape that a passenger was getting off the train in their town.

Elizabeth Mortland of the Taihape Community Trust says it was major news for the community – which has a population of just 1,788.

“The train, at long last, was going to stop,” she says.

Locals mustered a crowd on the station’s platform.

“There were a lot of people keen to see the train stop and see a passenger alight,” says Elizabeth.

They clapped and cheered for David, the man who stopped the train in their town.

This was the first time the Overlander had stopped in Taihape since April 10, 2005.

This is the town which prides itself on being the gumboot capital.

As a frequent wearer and fan of that footwear in the right place, I’m happy to say that’s a worthy claim to fame.

But when the townsfolk get this excited about a train stopping it suggests they’ve been sniffing their own gumboots too long.

Fair isn’t always equal


Succession is rarely easy and with farms there’s the added complication of emotion.

Usually the farm isn’t just a business it is, or has been, home to the owners and their family.

To further complicate matters one or more of the offspring may have been working on the farm, making a contribution to it and increasing  its worth, while others have not.

Then there’s a further complication if more than one of the children want to go farming if the property isn’t big enough for two or more.

If one or more get, or buy in to the farm at family rates, there is then a question of how to treat other siblings fairly.

Simply splitting the farm, or its value, by the number of offspring may give them an equal amount but it could cripple the business.

Another point to consider is what happens if one of the children gets the farm at family rates, then the property is subsequently sold? There is a case for putting a clause in the agreement which ensures that if the farm is sold, all siblings get a share of the capital gain.

Then there is also continuing income for the parents to consider and given that some succession plans still favour sons above daughters and mothers, this is of particular concern for women.

There have been some very sad cases where the farm has gone to the next generation and the widowed mother is left with little or no independent income. That shouldn’t happen now with the Matrimonial Property Act but if the farm was in a trust it still might.

If the farm is the parents’ they have the right to do what they will with it including staying on it or selling it and spending the proceeds.

However, most want to see a family member take over if s/he’s willing, and to ensure other family members get their fair share. There is no one way to get it right, but the stakes are high and getting it wrong can split families apart.

The best strategy is to start succession planning early, involve all the family and be open about figures and plans.

Regular family meetings are a necessary part of this. Held at least annually with an independent chair, it’s an opportunity to open the farm’s books and discuss plans for the future, both immediate and longer term, including when the parents are dead.

As one of our friends said, if children aren’t still friends after he and his wife have died, it will be the parents’ fault.

To quote another, you can’t always treat your family equally but you have a duty to treat them fairly.

July 16 in history


On July 16:

1880 Dr Emily Stowe became the first woman licensed to practise medicine in Canada.

1911 US actress and dancer Ginger Rogers was born.

in The Thirteenth Guest (1932)

1926 English novelist Anita Brookner was born.
1956 The Mont Blanc Tunnel opened.

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