This week’s Dominion Post political quiz looked easier than last week’s but I still got only 8/10.

I didn’t know which public servant got the biggest pay rise nor how much a day victims’ families will get during a trial.

Mid-week music – Do Wah Diddy


In recognition of Manfred Mann’s birthday-  Do Wah Diddy:

Hairy Maclary’s Caterwaul Caper


There had to be at least one book by Lynley Dodd in my contribution to New Zealand Book Month.

It could have been any or all of them, but I chose Hairy Maclary’s Caterwaul Caper partly because Deborah and Rob have already posted on other titles, and mostly because – like all of the others – it’s a delight to read.

Hairy Maclary and his friends, Hercules Morse,  Bottomley Potts, Muffin McLay, Bitzer Maloney and Schnitzel von Krumm, Scarface Claw and Miss Plum play a rhyming rhythmy role in this rollicking tale.

That this is the only author which all of us doing the post a day challenge have posted on says a lot about Lynley Dodd and her books.

Wonderful words and fantastic pictures – the author does her own illustrations – make this one of those books I didn’t mind reading again and again and again.

dairy 10004

Post 21 in the post a day for New Zealand Book Month challenge.

book month logo green

Over at In A Strange Land Deborah is celebrating Pohutukawa, written and illustrated by Sandra Morris. 

P.S. If you’re a Lynley Dodd/Hairy Maclary fan you might want to test your memory with the Hairy Maclary quiz. I managed only 22/32 the first time last week. I’ve done some re-reading since then and managed 28 last night.

Backwards, forwards and sideways


Confused about what’s happening with the All Blacks?

Need to know more about rotating players and coaches?

Jim Hopkins has got the backwards, forwards and sideways sussed:

The forward coach is becoming the back coach, the back coach is going sideways to be the defensive coach, the defensive coach will be handling the attacks from the backs while the attack coach will be looking at the defence from the forwards . . .

Well it made sense when he  explained it all to Jamie McKay on the Farming Show.

Is Agria the answer?


The market approved of the Chinese company Agria taking a stake in PGG Wrightson with an initial lift in PGW”s share price.

However, the subscriber-only section of the NBR raised questions which the ODT mentions too.

Silver Fern Farms took advantage of the price rise to cash in the shares they’d got in part settlement after PGW’s offer to take a 50% share in the meat company fell through.

I think that’s a wise move because as a newsletter from our sharebroker said: . . . any targeted upside from the strategic partnership is mostly aspirational and long term at this point . . .

Agria might be part of the answer to PGW’s problems but a need for investors isn’t the company’s only worry.

Its attempt to buy in to SFF was seen by many as a ticket-clipping exercise, not unlike its involvement with Farming Systems Uruguay.

Farmers unhappy about these moves have taken their business elsewhere and the company has lost some of its good stock agents too.

It’s got a lot of ground to recover in the field and its new partner won’t be able to help with that.

Trust and confidence


Investment requires confidence and that is based on trust.

Events over the past few months have eroded both.

This was obvious at a meeting of a charitable organisation of which I am a trustee.

We have some modest investments.

When decisions were made on where to put the money we trusted the companies in which we invested and had confidence in them

The companies are government guaranteed which gives us reassurance that the money is safe for now.

But two investments mature next year. Chances are, unless something happens to boost our confidence we won’t be reinvesting in these two companies.

We’ve lost confidence and because of that we can’t trust them with the Trust’s money.

That sentiment is not uncommon and caution by individuals and organisations with far more to invest than this Trust will be a brake on economic recovery.

Money might make the world go round but until confidence and trust are restored it will be going round more slowly.

GW or GM


If you see a member of an endangered species eating an endangered plant, what do you do?

That’s an environmental conundrum and here’s another: what if genetic modification could reduce globbal warming?

AgResearch is seeking approval for trials of transgenic grasses which it thinks could reduce greenhouse emissions.

AgResearch’s applied biotechnologies manager, Jimmy Suttie, said the transgenic grasses had both environmental and productivity advantages.

The grasses were high in energy, which meant fewer animals were needed to get the same production, reducing the amount of methane released.

The science behind the forage meant digestion of the plant was more efficient, cutting the amount of methane produced by animals and increasing energy that went into tissue and productivity.

But Dr Suttie said the technology also had implications for further research to cut methane emissions and reduce the volume of water required by the plants.

A lot of people who oppose oppose genetic modification also support radical efforts to reduce greenhouse gases.

Would they be prepared to relax their opposition to genetic modification if it could be part of the solution to global warming?

GW or GM? Some see both as threats but GM also provides opportunities.

Australia to exclude ag from ETS?


Australian Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull has his coalition’s blessing to negotiate agriculture out of his country’s emissions trading scheme.

“New Zealand’s headlong rush into an ETS was always the tail attempting to wag the Australian dog,” says Don Nicolson, Federated Farmers President.

“With recent political developments in Australia, the New Zealand ETS without amendment, looks like a dog with fleas.

“While the balance of power in the Australian Senate rests on a knife edge, the Coalition’s new proposals seem to have the backing of Independent Senator, Nick Xenophon.  That gives the Opposition potentially 39 Senate votes to the Labor/Green Party’s combined 37.

If we have to have an ETS – and I’d rather we didn’t – it makes sense to keep pace with what Australia does. 

It’s not only our biggest trading partner, its producers also compete with ours in many markets.

If Australia exempts agriculture from its ETS while we include it in ours, primary production here is going to be at a disadvantage in the international market place.

October 21 in history


On October 21:

1520 Ferdinand Magellan discoversed what is now known as the Strait of Magellan.

1772 English poet  Samuel Taylor Coleridge was born.

1805  The Battle of Trafalgar took place.A British fleet led by Admiral Lord Nelson defeated a combined French and Spanish fleet off the coast of Spain under Admiral Villeneuve.

Turner, The Battle of Trafalgar (1806).jpg
The Battle of Trafalgar, as seen from the mizzen
starboard shrouds of the Victory

by J. M. W. Turner (oil on canvas, 1806 to 1808)

1824 Joseph Aspdin patented Portland cement.

1833 Alfred Nobel, Swedish inventor and founder of the Nobel Prize was born.

1854 Florence Nightingale and a staff of 38 nurses were sent to the Crimean War.

Florence Nightingale.png

1917 US musician Dizzy Gillespie was born.

1921 English composer Sir Malcolm Arnold was born.


1929 US author  Ursula K. Le Guin was born.

1931 English actress Vivian Pickles was born.

1940 English cricketer Geoff Boycott was born.


1940 English musician Manfred Mann was born.

1942 Judy Sheindlin, American judge (“Judge Judy“) was born.

1945 Argentine military officer and politician Juan Perón married  actress Evita (María Eva Duarte de Perón).



1952 Trevor Chappell, Australian cricketer, was born.


1953 British politician Peter Mandelson was born.

1956 US author and actress Carrie Fisher was born.

1959 The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York opened to the public.

1964 Peter Snell won his second gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

1966 A coal tip fellon the village of Aberfan in Wales, killing 144 people, mostly schoolchildren.

 1983 The metre was defined at the seventeenth General Conference on Weights and Measures in terms of the speed of light as the distance light travels in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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