February 17, 2010

Today’ I”m better at politics than history – 10/10 in the Domion Post’s politics quiz.

Perhaps the only time I can claim to be Kiwiblog’s equal 🙂

Return to Paradise

February 17, 2010

Ron Goodwin would have been 85 today.

Keeping Up Appearances

February 17, 2010

Happy birthday Patricia Routledge, 81 today.

Did you see the one about . . .

February 17, 2010

Lessons in healthcare from Edinburgh Zoo – Theodore Dalrymple at Pyjamas Media (hat tip: Skeptical Doctor).

Looking at Ohariu {5} Vote Splitting – one of a series of posts at BK Drinkwater which show why Peter Dunne should retire gracefully before the next election. Links to the previous posts in the series are at the bottom of the post.

Getting people off benefits – Big News asks: “”how many people come off benefits because they go to prison?”.

Youth rates and Youth Rates Revisited Offsetting Behaviour shows why youth rates cost young people jobs. Kiwiblog has related posts A 10 year high in unemployment  and  Youth rates and youth unemployment.

On Travelling With A Toddler – Bernard Darnton at Not PC serves as a warning to others.

Another Labour Party Bureaucracy and Be happy – that’s an order and Staff Morale – a selection from the series of visual humour at Something Should Go Here.

The Wage Gap – Gooner shows the sorry stas at No Minister.

The Courts must be hellish busy – Lindsay Mitchell has the sorry stats on recidivism.

An interesting course – Kiwblog on law studies at Auckland.

How Not To Run A country – Anti-Dismal on the internet in Iran.

Reflections on media, name suppression etc – Inquiring Mind asks why we should take it any more.

Lactose Intolerant – Macdoctor on homeopathy.

Technology dystopia or utopia – The Visible Hand on technology and labour.


February 17, 2010

Last week I missed just one question, this week I slipped and got two wrong in the NZ History Online quiz.

Changes to sheep industry up to farmers

February 17, 2010

Late last year an email circulated seeking signatures for a letter to the Minister of Agriculture, David Carter,  asking for his assistance in arranging a merger of the meat companies Alliance and Silver Fern Farms.

The email was confidential so I’m not going to copy or quote from it. But its contents have been discussed in the media as has the response of the Minister.

He correctly said any changes in the meat industry are up to farmers and a merger is up to the co-operative’s shareholders.

Now there are suggestions Landcorp should use its muscle as a catalyst for change in the industry.

A State Owned Enterprise should not interfere in this way and fortunately Landcorp’s influence on the meat companies is limited because shareholdings in both companies are capped. 

Recent attempts by the Meat Industry Taskforce and then Alliance to sort out the meat industry failed at least in part because Silver Fern Farms wasn’t interested. The reason for the company’s reluctance to co-operate became clear when the merger between PGG Wrightson and SFF was announced. Now that’s fallen through SFF may be more willing to look at other options but it’s too late.

A merger between Alliance and SFF by themselves wouldn’t solve the problems of low returns to farmers because the new entity wouldn’t be big enough to exert enough influence on international markets.

Besides, returns from meat are only part of the problem, low prices for wool and other by-products are also responsible for the gloomy outlook for the sheep industry.

The Wool Taskforce has completed its report  The taskforce was established by the Minister and he says:

“The report asks the right questions and identifies strategies to restore profitability to a sector that has been in decline for decades,” says Mr Carter.

“Everyone knows that the only way to raise price is to raise demand. Rather than generically marketing New Zealand wool, the report says the industry needs to work across the supply chain to boost demand for clothing, carpets and other wool products.

“The Taskforce makes it clear that this will only come about through unity and leadership, essentially having one voice for the sector.  I’m encouraged to hear this challenge from a group formed from within the industry.”

As a result of their recommendations he is to appoint an independent expert to work on forming a single body for the wool industry.

Improving returns for wool will play an important part in restoring confidence and profitability to the sheep industry. Whether anything happens in the meat industry as well is in farmers’ hands.

They choose who they supply their stock to and they hold the shares in the co-operatives. If there is to be any change in the industry it can only come from them.

Money doesn’t buy elections

February 17, 2010

The ink was hardly dry on the media release about electoral funding when the usual suspects started raving about rich people buying elections.

Some thoughts which have escaped them:

* The only buying of an election in recent times was Labour’s with the pledge card paid for by public money.

* Spending more doesn’t necessarily win elections. Kiwiblog analysed the four elections from 1996 to 2005 and found

The impact of money on elections is relatively insignificant compared to policies, party reputation, leadership and media treatment.

Complaints aren’t just about election spending but spending on referenda with lots of derogatory references to Peter Shirtcliff and the money he spent campaigning against MMP.

A thought which has escaped them:

* He lost the campaign.

Money doesn’t buy elections or referenda.

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