Farrar #4 on Listener media power list

November 30, 2009

David Farrar is number four on the Listener’s 2009 power list for media.

It is a reflection of both the quality and quantity of posts on  Kiwiblog, and well deserved recognition of its influence.

It’s also a sign  of the blogosphere’s growing role in the media.

Scotland the Brave

November 30, 2009

Because it’s St Andrews Day

(and because I usually post a music video for singers who have a birthday today but a quick trawl through YouTube for something from Billy Idol came up with nothing I liked).

2025 Taskforce report requires tough decisions

November 30, 2009

The 2025 Taskforce chaired by Don Brash has made  35 recommendations to help close the income gap between here and Australia.

Most of them require some tough decisions from government and some belt tightening from the rest of us.

Finance Minister Bill English said:

“Having steered the economy through the recession in better shape than many had predicted, the Government is now focused on getting a step change in New Zealand’s economic performance over the next three to five years.

“We must consider a range of options if we are to get the investment, economic growth and new jobs needed for that to happen.

“Having said that, this Government is pragmatic. And any decisions about key economic policies must meet the tests of fairness and equity.

“Where we specifically campaigned on doing certain things, we’re not going to break our word.”

The government isn’t going to break any election promises but not everything in the report was covered by a promise.

There is also plenty of scope for fresh promises in National’s 2011 election campaign.

The sale of state assets, for example. The previous government sold some Landcorp farms and there is nothing wrong with continuing with that in the future.

The government isn’t going to do anything which will threaten economic recovery in the short term. But it has sent very strong signals about the lack of money available for new spending which will make next year’s budget pretty stringent.

That might help focus the rest of us on how much we expect from public funding and how much we should be doing for ourselves and that any funding of luxuries now will be at the expense of some necessities later.

The resilience of the economy in the face of global economic uncertainty was due in no small part to the tough decisions the governments of the 80s and early 90s made.

If the economy is going to continue growing and be strong enough to cope with the next recession, we’re all going to have to accept the need for some tough decisions from government and the sooner it makes them the sooner we’ll feel the benefit.

Hat Tip: interest.co.nz

The full list of recommendations follows the break.

Read the rest of this entry »

Monday’s quiz

November 30, 2009

1. What is a cutty sark (as distinct from the Cutty Sark)

2. Who is the patron saint of farmers? 

3. Who said, “There are several good protections against temptations, but the surest is cowardice.”?

4.Who wrote, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever?

5. What’s a kakaruwai?

NZ aims for space

November 30, 2009

A mention of Great Mercury Island grabbed my attention in a news item this morning.

I spent a school -year there supervising the correspondence lessons of the manager’s children 30 years ago.

But what’s happening there today is of far greater importance than that – a New Zealand designed and built rocket is being launched in to space.

Rocket Lab is launching Atea-1, a two-stage sub-orbital vehicle capable of carrying payloads of 2 kg up to 120 km altitude, from Great Mercury.

TV3 has an interview with Rocket Lab directors Peter Beck and Mark Rocket* here and the island’s co-owner Michael Fay here.

* Is that his real name or did he change it to fit his business?

St Andrew’s Day

November 30, 2009

The appeal of whisky escapes me and I’m not very keen on porridge.

But it’s St Andrew’s Day and I’ve got tartan genes which require me to acknowledge Scotland’s patron saint and the country’s national day.

Saint Andrew's Day

Learning to play the game

November 30, 2009

The ETS has been enacted and whether or not we like the rules we’re going to have to learn to play the game.

Most attention has been on costs, but there will also be opportunities.

I’ve yet to find anyone who fully understands what’s involved in carbon farming, but most reasonable sized farms in our district have hillsides and gullies which are probably better suited to trees than crop or pasture.

Farmers may also be able to develop micro-generation of power from small wind farms.

There is also an opportunity at Copenhagen, to negotiate changes to the one-size-fits-all rules which disadvantage New Zealand because most of our emissions come from agriculture, 94% of which is is exported, and we grow exotic trees well for forestry.

In Friday’s print edition of the National Business Review, Federated Farmers’ president Don Nicolson gave his wish list for changes:

* Excluding emissions from crops and farm animals from the successor to the Kyoto protocol; or if emissions from primary food production are included it needs to take a global not an individual country perspective. That would allow efficient producers like us to “over emit” because we “over produce” food, most of which is exported.

* International funding for the Global Alliance concept to tackle agricultural emissions.

* The inclusion of pre-1990 forests as permanent forestry sinks.

*The ability to count non-forest crops, plantings and grasses for credits (eg riparian plantings which aren’t Kyoto compliant).

* Global standardisation of foot printing methodologies.

* Inclusion of territorial seas and Exclusive Economic Zones as permanent carbon sinks.

How much progress our negotiators make on these points will be one measure of whether the focus is on making a positive difference to the environment or just on politics.

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