Save the Last Dance for Me


Happy birthday Bruce Willis, 55 today.

I remember him from Moonlighting but while trawling YouTube discovered he’s also a singer:

Tommy Cooper


Tommy Cooper would have been 89 today.

Cleaning up dairying


The rise is serious non-compliance with the Clean Streams Accord from 12 to 15% is disappointing.

It is particularly concerning when there’s been so much work put into improving compliance within the industry.

However, the response from the industry is encouraging.

Fonterra announced it will check effluents systems on all its suppliers’ farms every year.

DairyNZ has already done a lot of work on the problem:

DairyNZ CEO Dr Tim Mackle says through this investment over the last two years, they have learned a lot more about why many dairy farm systems are non-compliant.

“The design of many systems is such that they are not fit for purpose throughout the year. We have been working with the effluent industry to develop a code of practice and are strongly advocating a warrant of fitness approach so that we correct this fundamental problem.”

Last week DairyNZ and industry partners released for consultation new standards and a code of practice for the design of farm dairy effluent systems.

“We would like to get our effluent systems on all farms to a high standard within the next five years, or sooner if possible.”

Dr Mackle says many farmers are uncertain about what they need to do to be compliant and DairyNZ is working with regional councils to establish effluent compliance checklists to give farmers greater guidance on what needs to be done on their farm.

“Our aim is by doing this we will come away with a better system design and promote systems that work and have a higher standard of rural professionals advising on these systems which will cut costs. We can then focus our efforts on making sure staff know how to work these systems.

“We are serious about getting this right, and are working closely with Fonterra and Federated Farmers on the issue. It’s crucial to our industry’s reputation both nationally and internationally, as well as being essential for the environment,” he says.

Federated Farmers dairy chair Lachlan Mckenzie said the results present a challenge for farmers, but he’s accentuating the positive:

“Yet while our news is disappointing, the dairy industry is fronting it publicly. Disclosing our environmental footprint, good or bad, is all about being open and accountable because our performance is out there for all to see.

“Wouldn’t it be encouraging, for once, if the vast majority of dairy farmers actually got positive reinforcement for the big strides we’ve made.  Farmers may have a right to farm but the good ones, the majority, swear by their environmental obligations.

“We mustn’t lose sight of the fact that 85 percent of New Zealand’s dairy farmers are either fully compliant or guilty of no more than an administrative breach.  This Report really highlights need for greater consistency with the way farms are inspected.

“To take the dairy industry forward, Fonterra, DairyNZ and Federated Farmers want to work with regional councils to develop what may resemble a dairy farm ‘warrant of fitness’ (WoF).

“The concept is just like that for a car WoF.  It’s about setting consistent standards and methodologies that take into account regional variations in soil, climate and topography.  You would never test vehicles the way our dairy farms are currently tested.

Agriculture Minister David Carter isn’t impressed by the results:

“The data from this year’s snapshot tells a totally unacceptable story of effluent management. Regardless of whether this is because farmers don’t have the right tools, don’t know how to comply, or simply don’t care, behaviour has to change.”

Mr Carter says the dairy industry as a whole will suffer through the damage caused to its national and international reputation, unless New Zealand can back up its claims of sustainable dairying with tangible action and evidence.

“You can argue the merits of dairy to our economy until the cows come home – but until every farmer takes responsibility for improving effluent management, the environment and dairying’s reputation will suffer.

“I am putting non-complying dairy farmers across the country on notice. You need to take individual responsibility for this issue and work more effectively with your neighbours, your regional councils and your industry body.

“I am also calling on regional councils and partners of the Dairying and Clean Streams Accord to lift their game. They need to work harder at identifying those farmers who want to comply but need some help, and support them toward compliance. Regional councils also need to be more consistent in their monitoring, and be more rigorous in their application of existing regulations to penalise those flouting the law.

Any non-compliance is unacceptable and recent successful prosecutions by the Otago regional Council have provided salutary lessons for dairy farms in our area.

However, there ought to be some leeway to differentiate between a one-off accident, for example a sprayer breaks down when some leniency could be shown, and deliberate non-compliance which ought not to be tolerated.

Farming families drink the water from rivers and swim in them which provides us with a very high motivation ensuring they are clean.

Consent cost kills cubicle dairy application


The news that the companies applying for resource consents for large cubicle dairying operations in the Mackenzie basin have withdrawn their applications will be welcomed by the many people who were horrified by the idea.

A lot of the reaction was based on emotion rather than fact and included concerns over animal welfare which have nothing to do with resource consent.

I had mixed views on the application – some of it emotive – so I’m not altogether unhappy that the applications have been withdrawn, at least for now.

But what does concern me is that the reason for the applicants aren’t going ahead with their plans is the cost of going through the consent process.

It was the “extraordinary cost of the call-in process, combined with the premature consideration of effluent consents without certainty of gaining water” that led to the decision to withdraw effluent applications, Southdown Holdings director Richard Peacocke said.

This doesn’t mean the companies won’t reapply later. Environment Canterbury is considering their applications for water and if they are granted the applications for effluent discharges could be lodged again. But that will still be an expensive process.

Any development has to meet the requirements of the RMA but applying for consent shouldn’t be so costly ideas die on the drawing board for financial rather than environmental reasons.

How else are we going to pay?


Borrowing billions of dollars to stay still isn’t good economics.

The government can change that by spending less or taking more tax and it’s making progress on both those fronts.

But there are limits to spending cuts if it’s to keep its election promises – and it is determined to do that.

It has also said any tax changes will be fiscally neutral.

That leaves finding new ways to make money and extracting some of the mineral wealth which lies under our land could be part of that.

That idea isn’t universally popular and it’s no surprise that the leaked cabinet papers on possibilities for mining have been greeted with shrieks of outrage.

But a lot of that opposition is based on emotion not facts. If there is any mining it will be on a tiny amount of land and any applications will be subject to the safeguards of the resource consent process.

As Grey Distrct mayor Tony Kokshoorn said:

. . . there were “huge areas of the DOC estate that could be mined.

“The bottom line is that we are not going to let anybody ruin the West Coast, and the RMA [Resource Management Act] protects it,” he said.

Applicants will have to go through the consent process and that will ensure that any economic and social benefits from mining don’t come at the expense of the environment.

Emotion put an end to sustainable logging on the West Coast.

I hope it doesn’t put paid to new jobs and other wealth creating opportunities which could come from mining a small amount of land with low conservation values there. 

Because if we’re not allowed to mine then how else are we going to pay for the services which we’re borrowing so much to fund?

March 19 in history


On March 19:

1279  A Mongolian victory in the Battle of Yamen eneds the Song Dynasty in China.

1687 Explorer Robert Cavelier de La Salle, searching for the mouth of the Mississippi River, was murdered by his own men.

Cavelier de la salle.jpg

1813 David Livingstone, Scottish missionary and explorer, was born.

1821 Richard Francis Burton, British explorer, diplomat and author, was born.


1839 Bees were introduced to New Zealand.

Honey bees brought to NZ

1848 Wyatt Earp, American policeman and gunfighter, was born.

1853 The Taiping reform movement occupied and makes Nanjing its capital.

 The Heavenly king’s throne in Nanjing

1861 The First Taranaki War ended.


1863  The SS Georgiana, said to have been the most powerful Confederate cruiser, was destroyed on her maiden voyage with a cargo of munitions, medicines and merchandise then valued at over $1,000,000.

1865  The Battle of Bentonville started.

1866 A hurricane caused major damages in Buenos Aires.

1906 Adolf Eichmann, Nazi official, was born.


1915 Pluto  was photographed for the first time but is not recognised as a planet.


1916 Irving Wallace, American novelist, was born.

1916 Eight American planes took off in pursuit of Pancho Villa, the first United States air-combat mission in history.

1918 The U.S. Congress established time zones and approved daylight saving time.

1921 One of the biggest engagements of theIrish War of Independence took place at Crossbarry, County Cork. About 100 Irish Republican Army (IRA) volunteers escaped an attempt by more than 1,300 British forces to encircle them.

Iarthair Chorcaí 163.jpg

 1921 Tommy Cooper, Welsh comedy magician, was born.

1921 Italian Fascists shot from the Parenzana train at a group of children in Strunjan (Slovenia): two children were killed, two mangled and three wounded.

1931  Gambling was legalized in Nevada.

1932 The Sydney Harbour Bridge was opened.

1933 Philip Roth, American author, was born.

Goodbye columbus.jpg

1936 Ursula Andress, Swiss actress, was born.


1941 The 99th Pursuit Squadron also known as the Tuskegee Airmen, the first all-black unit of the Army Air Corp, was activated.


1944 Said Musa, Prime Minister of Belize, was born.

1944 World War II: Nazi forces occupied Hungary.

1945 A dive bomber hit the aircraft carrier USS Franklin (CV-13), killing 724 of her crew.

USS Franklin underway

1945 – World War II: Adolf Hitler issued his “Nero Decree” ordering all industries, military installations, shops, transportation facilities and communications facilities in Germany to be destroyed.

1946 Jayforce landed in Japan.

Jayforce lands in Japan

1946 French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Réunion become overseas départements of France.

1946  Ruth Pointer, American singer (Pointer Sisters), was born.


1947 Glenn Close, American actress, was born.

1952  Warren Lees, New Zealand Test wicket-keeper, was born.

1953 Ricky Wilson, American musician (The B-52’s), was born.

1954 Willie Mosconi set the world record by running 526 consecutive balls without a miss during a straight pool exhibition at East High Billiard Club in Springfield, Ohio.

1955 Bruce Willis, American actor, was born.

1958 The Monarch Underwear Company fire left 24 dead and 15 injured.

1962 – Algerian War of Independence: A ceasefire takes effect.

1965 The wreck of the SS Georgiana, valued at over $50,000,000 was discovered by then teenage diver and pioneer underwater archaeologist E. Lee Spence exactly 102 years after its destruction.

1969 The 385 metres (1,263 ft) tall TV-mast at Emley Moor, collapses due to ice build- up.

1972 India and Bangladesh sign a friendship treaty.

1982 Falklands War: Argentinian forces landed on South Georgia Island, precipitating war with the United Kingdom.


1989 The Egyptian Flag was raised on Taba, Egypt announcing the end of the Israeli occupation after the Yom Kippur War in 1973 and the Peace negotiations in 1979.

1990 The ethnic clashes of Târgu Mureş began.

2002 Operation Anaconda ended (started on March 2) after killing 500 Taliban and al Qaeda fighters with 11 allied troop fatalities.


2002 – Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth on charges of human rights abuses and of election tampering, following a turbulent presidential election.

2004 Konginkangas bus disaster: A semi-trailer truck and a bus crash head-on in Äänekoski, Finland. 24 people were killed and 13 injured.

Konginkankaan bussiturma.jpg 

2004 A Swedish DC-3 shot down by a Russian MiG-15 in 1952 over the Baltic Sea was recovered after years of work.

2004 Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian and Vice President Annette Lu were shot just before the country’s presidential election on March 20.

 Chen and Lu minutes before the shooting incident

2008  GRB 080319B: A cosmic burst that is the farthest object visible to the naked eye was briefly observed

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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