Rural round up

November 27, 2010

Family’s living proof of sheep farming viability – Neal Wallace in the ODT writes:

Given the sheep industry’s well documented problems, labelling yourself specialist sheep farmers might not be considered the most inspiring of titles, but it is one the Alderton family wears with pride.

They are living proof sheep farmers can make money and be profitable by balancing business, animal and environmental factors.

The key, according to Ron Alderton, was attitude and determination.

Blunt chat puts station on new path – Jackie Harrigan in Country-Wide writes:

You would think it a brave man who told a new farmer-supplier with 30,000 lambs that his lambs weren’t really up to scratch.
That farmer might be tempted to tell the meat company to take a running jump – but to Ren Apatu, managing director of Ngamatea Station, 28,000ha of wild tussock and improved high-performance pastures on the Napier-Taihape road, the comment was a seminal moment.
“We thought we were pretty clever, with that number of lambs, but the meat company said, ‘If you give us lambs like last season we really don’t want them’ – and we really hadn’t heard that before,” Ren says.
Even more of a revelation was being taken into the chiller and shown his lambs on the hooks, next to those of other farmers.
“There were our lambs, about 16kg with a big fatty pack of meat on their rumps, hanging next to lambs at about 25kg with no fat on them.”
Being told “this is what we want and this is what you guys are giving us and if you want to be a part of it you need to supply what we want” was a wake-up call to Ren.
“We were told – ‘Our markets don’t want fat, they want meat; we want high yield as well – its good for us and for you’.” . .

Cleaning up afte Norgate may be expensive – Chalkie writes in The Press:

 Craig Norgate is well gone from PGG Wrightson, but tidying up some of the messes created during his tenure seems to be taking time – and may involve a reasonable bill.

Here’s what the progress card to date looks like:

1. New Zealand Farming Systems Uruguay exited – a good outcome, sold above book but below cost, with a bonus $4 million for the management contract and a $19.2m receivable debt owed to PGGW due to be settled.

2. Tim Miles, the former managing director put in place by Mr Norgate has been ejected – but at what cost?

3. Fixing up the half-cocked exit from the wool business and associated creative accounting – work in progress.

New chairman Sir John Anderson comes with one of the finest reputations in New Zealand business, and certainly there seems to be decisiveness around the board table in terms of the sudden and immediate resignation of Mr Miles, who was rightly or wrongly seen as Mr Norgate’s right-hand man.. .

 

Sustainability’s like ‘beauty’ – go on try and define it. Peter Kerr at Sciblogs writes:

Sustainability’s a term that’s a bit like ‘beauty’ – everyone knows what it is, but pinning down exactly what it is, is often in the eye of the beholder.

However, NZ agribusiness better start getting a better grip on the actuality of sustainability, or risk being marginalised by overseas customers and consumers according to KPMG.

In a recent agribusiness green paper KPMG lays out the current and emerging environment in our markets on the vexed issue of sustainability, with a second paper to focus on the practicalities of implementing such a supply chain approach.

The report contends that while the term has broad meaning, in essence it is about meeting the needs of today, without adversely impacting on the needs of tomorrow, and in balancing environmental, social and economic concerns in doing so. . .


Word of the day

November 27, 2010

Inaniloquent – given to talking inanely; loquacious, garrulous; speaking foolishly, saying silly things.


If an MP doesn’t understand MMP . . .

November 27, 2010

. . . how many voters do?

Jim Anderton reckons if Labour can just win a few marginal seats it will win the next election.

All it will take is for them to pick up nine marginal seats from National.

Just a wee flaw in that plan – it’s the party vote which determines who gets the most seats overall, electorate seats are irrelevant unless, as the Maori Party does, you get more seats than the list vote entitles you too and then get an overhang.

This is wonderful ammunition for people wanting to campaign against MMP because if an long serving MP hasn’t got his head round how it works there must be a lot of other people who don’t understand how it works either.

On another tack, don’t sub-editors save columnists from making fools of themselves anymore or did the sub not understand MMP either?

UPDATE:

Offsetting Behaviour says Anderton  missed the point and Kiwiblog gives him an F for MMP 101 .


How can armchair experts know more than people at the coalface?

November 27, 2010

The mother of one of the miners trapped in the Pike River mine said she accepted he was dead as soon as she heard of the explosion.

Other miners knew this too.

West Coast miners knew their 29 mates at Pike River were a lost cause before the official announcement on Wednesday, a union convener in Solid Energy’s nearby Spring Creek pit says.

Pessimism was based on gas readings showing alarming levels of toxicity and the likelihood of further explosions, as the mine remained on fire, said Trevor Balderson, a night-shift development worker who heads a crew of six at Spring Creek, 40km from Pike River.

“The initial explosion wiped out all the infrastructure,” said Mr Balderson, who moved to the West Coast in 2008, after a Yorkshire colliery closed in 2002.

“If you talk to any coal mine workers anywhere in the world, the reality is that you do not survive an explosion if you are in the firing line,” he told the Yorkshire Evening Post newspaper.

This doesn’t stop armchair experts criticising the people in charge of rescue attempts and asking why a resuce wasn’t attempted sooner.

As I said in my first post on this tragedy, the first rule after an accident is to make sure the situation doesn’t get worse.

I posted on Wednesday morning about carrying hope in your heart even when your head knows that’s impossible.

The rescuers didn’t have the luxury of emotion, they couldn’t act from their hearts. They had to act from their heads in the knowledge they couldn’t endnager more lives when it was almost certain there was no-one left to save.

Some of the armchair experts are still calling for speed now it’s a recovery mission rather than a resuce.  But there is no case for risking more lives in the mine when, after three explosions and a fire, there are no longer any there to be saved.

Kathryn Ryan interviewed some real experts on this topic  yesterday morning.

And (hat tip: Keeping Stock)  Guy Body shows the destructive gas starting to disperse.


November 27 in history

November 27, 2010

On November 27:

176 – Emperor Marcus Aurelius granted his son Commodus the rank of Imperator and made him Supreme Commander of the Roman legions.

Commodus Musei Capitolini MC1120.jpg
 

1095 – Pope Urban II declared the First Crusade at the Council of Clermont.

1295 – The first elected representatives from Lancashire were called to Westminster by King Edward I to attend  “The Model Parliament“.

1703 – The first Eddystone Lighthouse was destroyed in the Great Storm of 1703.

1815 – Adoption of Constitution of the Kingdom of Poland.

1830 – St. Catherine Laboure experienced a vision of the Blessed Virgin standing on a globe, crushing a serpent with her feet, and emanating rays of light from her hands.

1839 – The American Statistical Association was founded.

1856 – The Coup of 1856 led to Luxembourg’s unilateral adoption of a new, reactionary constitution.

1868 – Indian Wars: Battle of Washita River – United States Army Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer led an attack on Cheyenne living on reservation land.

Seventh Cavalry Charging Black Kettle s Village 1868.jpg

1874 Chaim Weizmann, 1st President of Israel, was born.

1886 – German judge Emil Hartwich sustainsedfatal injuries in a duel, which became the background for “Effi Briest“, a classic work of German literature.

1895 – Alfred Nobel signed his last will and testament, setting aside his estate to establish the Nobel Prize.

1901 – The U.S. Army War College was established.

1912 – Spain declared a protectorate over the north shore of Morocco.

1924 – In New York City, the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was held.

1925 Ernie Wise, British comedian, was born.

1934 – Bank robber Baby Face Nelson died in a shoot-out with the FBI.

1940 – The 16,712-ton New Zealand Shipping Company liner MV Rangitane was sunk by two German ‘auxiliary cruisers’ (armed merchant raiders), the Orion and Komet, 300 nautical miles off East Cape.

Liner sunk by German raiders off East Cape

1940 – Romania’s ruling party Iron Guard arrested and executed over 60 of exiled King Carol II of Romania‘s aides, including former minister Nicolae Iorga.

1940 – World War II: At the Battle of Cape Spartivento, the Royal Navy engaged the Regia Marina.

RNBolzano-Teulada.jpg

1940  Bruce Lee, American actor and martial artist, was born.

BruceLeecard.jpg

1942  Jimi Hendrix, American guitarist, was born.

1942 – World War II: At Toulon, the French navy scuttled its ships and submarines to keep them out of Nazi hands.

 
Toulon 1942.jpg

1944 – World War II: An explosion at a Royal Air Force ammunition dump at Fauld, Staffordshire killed seventy people.

 

1963 – The Convention on the Unification of Certain Points of Substantive Law on Patents for Invention iwa signed at Strasbourg.

1964 – Cold War Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru appealed to the United States and the Soviet Union to end nuclear testing and to start nuclear disarmament, stating that such an action would “save humanity from the ultimate disaster”.

1971 – The Soviet space programme’s Mars 2 orbiter released a descent module which malfunctioned and crashed, but was the first man-made object to reach the surface of Mars.

1973 – The Twenty-fifth Amendment: The United States Senate voted92 to 3 to confirm Gerald Ford as Vice President of the United States.
President Gerald Ford, arms folded, in front of a United States Flag and the Presidential seal.

1975 – The Provisional IRA assassinated Ross McWhirter, after a press conference in which McWhirter had announced a reward for the capture of those responsible for multiple bombings and shootings across England.

1978 –  San Francisco, mayor George Moscone and openly gay city supervisor Harvey Milk were assassinated by former supervisor Dan White.

1978 – The Kurdish party PKK was founded in the city of Riha (Urfa) in Turkey.

PKK.svg

1983 – Avianca Flight 011, a Boeing 747 crashed near Madrid’s Barajas Airport, killing 181.

1984 – Under the Brussels Agreement signed between the governments of the United Kingdom and Spain, the former agreed to enter into discussions with Spain over Gibraltar, including sovereignty.

1989 – Avianca Flight 203, a Boeing 727, exploded in mid-air over Colombia, killing all 107 people on board and three people on the ground. The Medellín Cartel claimed responsibility for the attack.

1991 – The United Nations Security Council adoptsedSecurity Council Resolution 721, leading the way to the establishment of peacekeeping operations in Yugoslavia.

1992 – For the second time in a year, military forces tried to overthrow president Carlos Andres Perez in Venezuela.

1997 – Twenty-five were killed in the second Souhane massacre in Algeria.

1999 – The Labour Party took control of the New Zealand government with leader Helen Clark, the coutnry’s second female PM.

2001 – A hydrogen atmosphere was discovered on the extrasolar planet Osiris by the Hubble Space Telescope, the first atmosphere detected on an extrasolar planet.

Exoplanet Comparison HD 209458 b.png

2004 – Pope John Paul II returned the relics of Saint John Chrysostom to the Eastern Orthodox Church.

2005 – The first partial human face transplant was completed in Amiens.

2006 – The Canadian House of Commons endorsed Prime Minister Stephen Harper‘s motion to declare Quebec a nation within a unified Canada.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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