I don’t believe in purgatory . . .


. . . but if I did I’d suggest a category of drivers spend a considerable period there.

They’re the ones behind the wheel of big, slow vehicles who travel too close behind another big slow vehicle.

By doing anyone wanting to pass them also has to pass the first vehicle and while there’s sometimes room and time to pass one big, slow vehicle there’s rarely enough of both to safely pass two.

Saturday’s smiles


An Auckland lawyer was representing the railway company in a lawsuit filed by an old farmer.

The farmer’s prize bull was missing from the section through which the railway line passed.

The farmer was a reasonable woman and only wanted to be paid the fair value of the bull.

The case was scheduled to be tried before the justice of the peace in the back room of the local hotel.

The lawyer for the railway company immediately cornered the farmer and tried to get her to settle out of court. The lawyer did his best selling job, and finally the farmer agreed to take half of what she had been seeking.

After the farmer had signed the release and banked the cheque the young lawyer happened to run into her again and couldn’t resist gloating a little over his success.

“You know, I hate to tell you this, old girl, but I put one over on you in there. I couldn’t have won the case. The engineer was asleep and the fireman was reading the paper when the train went through your farm that morning. I didn’t have one witness to put on the stand. I bluffed you!”

The old farmer replied, “Well, I’ll tell you, young feller, I was a little worried about winning that case myself, because the bull came home the morning we settled the claim.”

Eligible vs entitled


In the dictionary the meaning of eligible and entitled are very similar.

But in practise, being eligible for something doesn’t necessarily mean the same as being entitled to it.

An MP and his partner might have been eligible for a taxpayer funded trip

But when the MP’s colleagues had warned Chirs Carter about his spending it suggests they thought he and his partner were taking more than they were entitled to.

Ex-minister wants to waste more money


The ex-Minister of Lands David Parker is urging the Crown to appeal the Otago District Land Value Tribunal’s decision that amenity values shouldn’t be taken into account when setting rents for pastoral leases.

He said last week’s Otago District Land Valuation Tribunal ruling meant the rent-setting methodology created a large discount to what he considered was proper rent, and would increase land prices to the point where only wealthy overseas investors could afford to buy the land.

He was the one behind the inclusion of amenity values in pastoral rents. The subsequent legal battle ahs already cost the taxpayer and pastoral lessees hundreds of thousands of dollars and the ruling makes it quite clear he was wrong.

He didn’t understand the issue when he was a minister and still doesn’t.

Rent for pastoral leases is based on land exclusive of improvements and leases tightly proscribe what leaseholders can do with the land. Regardless of the beauty of the surroundings, pastoral leases are for pastoral farming. Meat, wool and leather don’t earn a premium because the sheep and cattle from which they came enjoyed the view while they were grazing.

Fortunately Parker’s no longer in government and the people who are have a much better grasp on the issue.

Agriculture Minister David Carter told the ODT he expects pastoral lessees to welcome the new policy for the high country which is to be released soon.

Asked about last Friday’s land valuation tribunal ruling on rent-setting methodology, which found in favour of pastoral lessees, Mr Carter said it was a victory for farmers. High-country farmers had a role in managing the “difficult and fragile environment, in many cases better than some Wellington-based bureaucrat,” he said.

High Country Accord chair and Minaret Station owner, Jonathon Wallis said in a newsletter to accord members:

As a result of the decision, the rent on Minaret Station will increase by 400 per cent from the previous rental set 11 years before, but this a sixth of the rent proposed by the Crown.

 “For many farmers, the rent sought by the Crown exceeded the gross income from the farm. There is nothing rational in that,” states Mr. Wallis.

 He says the persistent attacks and treatment of high country farmers by the previous government were cynically motivated.

 “The tribunal reflects this in its criticism of the previous government for choosing ‘to direct and demand of its valuers a process that is intended to achieve a particular outcome’.”

 This issue has caused a lot of anxiety for farmers, some of whom had been farming the land for generations. Had amenity values been taken into account when assessing rents pastoral farming would no longer have been viable on many properties.

That may well have been the ultimate aim of the previous administration which failed to understand the role pastoral farming has played in the conservation of the high country.

David Carter has made it clear the current administration has a much better understanding of the issue and while it is up to LINZ to appeal the decision or not, it is obvious the government would not be in favour of wasting any more money on this exercise in futility.

August 8 in history


On August 8:


1915 The Wellington Battalion captured Chunik Bair.

1937 Actor Dustin Hoffman was born.

1963 The Great Train Robbery took place in Britain.

1974 US President Richard Nixon announced his resignation as a result of the Watergate Scandel.

Sourced from Wikipedia and NZ History On line.

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