Death of a good man


Roger Kirk, husband of former national party president Judy Kirk, died this morning in a hunting accident:

A preliminary investigation has found Roger Kirk, 64, accidentally shot himself some time before 11am at his rural property on the outskirts of the town.

His body was found by a neighbour in a block of pine trees on the property, police said.

Taupo CIB Detective Senior Sergeant Todd Pearce said Mr Kirk may have shot himself during a fall.

Judy always paid tribute to the support Roger gave her during her speeches to National Party conferences and it wasn’t empty praise.

He was a gem – intelligent, hard working, warm, witty, and a successful businessman.

His early death is a tragedy for his family, friends and the wider community to which he contributed so much.

Word of the day


Elucubrate – to produce (especially literary work) by long and intensive effort; to work diligently; to work out or express by studious effort.

She’s a Mod


Terry Beale who wrote She’s A Mod has died.

EDPPP great for CPD


Continuing professional education is a requirement to retain registration in many occupations.

Farmers don’t have to be registered, nor do they have a professional body which requires them to meet standards, but the wise ones ensure they keep educating themselves.

There are plenty of field days which help with knowledge on new equipment, methods and techniques and good farmers are usually willing to share what works for them with others. But these sessions usually concentrate on the paddock and practical matters.

There is a lot more to modern farming with its increasing complexities and competitiveness than that. Farmers need better business and personal skills to help improve and grow their operations.  One of the most respected courses for farmers seeking to develop these areas of their businesses is Rabobank’s Executive Development Programme for Primary Producers.

It consists of two six-day residential modules. Held in Sydney, it attracts top producers from Australia and New Zealand who learn from business professionals, agricultural specialists, academics and each other. In between modules, participants complete a management project on an aspect of their business.

 Programme director John Morris graduated from Lincoln with a B Ag Sci. He followed that with an MBA in marketing and finance from Cranfield School of Management and a PhD in food marketing from Cornell University. His business and academic career has included extensive international experience in retailing and food marketing and professorships of food marketing at leading universities.

He has been director of the EDPPP since it started in 1999 and his qualifications and experience are at least matched by his personal skills which include an enviable ability to remember people’s names and to get the best out of everyone in a group.

The course looks at management theories as they apply to agriculture to help participants enhance their management skills, explore growth strategies and develop business strategies.

The EDPPP provides business and personal development. The interactive sessions cover a wide range of subjects including personality and work style preferences, understanding effective management and leadership, techniques and strategies for attracting, retaining and managing good people, understanding and planning for sustained growth, financial management, marketing, negotiation, risk management, communication, succession planning and work-life balance.

The course is restricted to 36 participants. Partners are encouraged to attend some sessions and are welcomed to alumni courses.

I haven’t met anyone who has taken part in the EDPPP who has anything but praise for the course and what it has done for them and their business. It’s not just what they learned but who they met. The inspiration from and networking with participants and presenters on both sides of the Tasman is of immeasurable value.

The EDPPP promises participants will be inspired, challenged and stimulated. It more than delivers on that in providing a business and life changing experience. If farmers are looking to continue their professional development, I can think of no better way to do it.

This was first published in the Otago Daily Times on 4.4.11

More information on the EDPPP and Rabobank’ Farm Managers’ Programme can be found here.

Daft policy, disloyalty and disunity


Andrew Little is now wearing only two hats. He’s belatedly given up the presidency of the Labour Party but is still national secretary of the Engineers Printers and Manufacturing Union and a candidate in the upcoming election.

But where does his loyalty lie? It certainly isn’t to his party leader.

In this week’s Listener Jane Clifton calls  Andrew Little’s public complaint that Phil Goff didn’t speak to him about Darren Hughes as gross a piece of vandalism of a political party in trouble by one of it’s own she has ever seen:

“A party president’s job is to support the leader, not to apply his own sprig-marks to the guy’s throat when he’s already at the bottom of a media ruck. . .

Little wants the leadership. He has been working hard to ensure people likely to be loyal to him – ie, people indebted to union support in Labour’s heavily union-weighted selection process – become candidates and ultimately MPs. . .

The mask of ambition was never particularly opaque but, now it has slipped, we can see something not terribly pleasant. . .

In openly participating in the questioning of Goff’s judgement, Little has helped further damage Labour’s brand. That’s a cardinal sin for any politician, but a special breach of trust from a party president.

It’s a double breach when that now former president is also a candidate.

It is also another very clear signal that even if Labour does form the next government – and with MMP under which the silver, bronze and also-rans can take the prize that is possible – Goff is very unlikely to be able to stay as leader.

So what’s Labour offering voters? Daft policy, disunity, disloyalty and – sooner or later – a leadership coup.

Small price drop for small volume of milk


The trade weighted index for milk eased slightly in this morning’s globablDairyTrade auction.

The price of anhydrous milk fat was down 1.7%; skim milk powder was up 1.5%; whole milk powder dropped 5.6% and the tradeweighted index was down 2.4%.

The 12,000 tonnes on offer was a relatively small volume and the easing is a correction after steep rises earlier in the year.

Early election call only bravado


Oh how brave you can be when the lion at which you’re poking sticks is safely caged.

So it is Phil Goff can pretend he wants the government to resign and force an early election when he knows the election date is set for November 26.

If he casts his mind back to the last early election – 2002 – he would remember an opposition disorganised, disunified and under funded which the electorate judged and found wanting. 

Voters would almost certainly make the same judgement of  Mr Goff and his colleagues should his call to make his day be taken seriously.

The election lion is safely caged until November 26. He knows this, we know this and we all know his call to let it out early is nothing but bravado.

April 6 in history


On April 6:

46 BC Julius Caesar defeated Caecilius Metellus Scipio and Marcus Porcius Cato (Cato the Younger) in the battle of Thapsus.


402 Stilicho stymied the Visigoths under Alaric in the Battle of Pollentia.

1199  Richard I of England died from an infection following the removal of an arrow from his shoulder.


1320 The Scots reaffirmed their independence by signing the Declaration of Arbroath.

1327 The poet Petrarch first saw his idealized love, Laura, in the church of Saint Clare in Avignon.

1385 John, Master of the Order of Aviz, was made king John I of Portugal.

1483 Raphael, Italian painter and architect, was born (d. 1520).


1652 At the Cape of Good Hope, Dutch sailor Jan van Riebeeck established a resupply camp that eventually becomes Cape Town .


1667 An earthquake devastated Dubrovnik, then an independent city-state.

1671 Jean-Baptiste Rousseau, French poet, was born (d. 1741).


1773 James Mill, Scottish philosopher and historian, was born (d. 1836).

1782  Rama I succeeded King Taksin of Siam who was overthrown in a coup d’état.

1793 During the French Revolution, the Committee of Public Safety became the executive organ of the republic, and the Reign of Terror began.


1808 John Jacob Astor incorporated the American Fur Company.

1812 British forces assaulted the fortress of Badajoz under the command of the Duke of Wellington was the turning point in the Peninsular War against Napoleon led France.


1814 Napoleon abdicated and was exiled to Elba.

Full length portrait of Napoleon in his forties, in high-ranking white and dark blue military dress uniform. He stands amid rich 18th-century furniture laden with papers, and gazes at the viewer. His hair is Brutus style, cropped close but with a short fringe in front, and his right hand is tucked in his waistcoat.

1830 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was organized by Joseph Smith, Jr. and others at Fayette or Manchester, New York.

Joseph Smith, Jr. portrait owned by Joseph Smith III.jpg

1832  Indian Wars: The Black Hawk War began when the Sauk warrior Black Hawk entered into war with the United States.

Native American chief with red headdress and red robe

1860 The Reorganised Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints—later renamed Community of Christ—was organized by Joseph Smith III and others at Amboy, Illinois.


1862 American Civil War: The Battle of Shiloh begand  when forces under Union General Ulysses S. Grant met Confederate troops led by General Albert Sidney Johnston.

Battle of Shiloh Thulstrup.jpg

1864  A British patrol was ambushed by Pai Marire warriors near the present-day township of Oakura, south-west of New Plymouth.

Pai Marire ambush in Taranaki

1865 American Civil War: The Battle of Sayler’s Creek – Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia fought its last major battle while in retreat from Richmond, Virginia.

1866 The Grand Army of the Republic, an American patriotic organization composed of Union veterans of the American Civil War, was founded.


1869 Celluloid was patented.

1886 Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII, The Last Nizam of Hyderabad state, was born.

Nawab Mir Osman Ali Khan.jpg

1888 Hans Richter, Swiss painter, film maker, graphic artist and avant-gardist, was born  (d. 1976).

1888 Thomas Green Clemson died, bequeathing his estate to the State of South Carolina to establish the Clemson Agricultural College.

1890 Anthony Fokker, Dutch designer of aircraft, was born  (d. 1939).


1892 Lowell Thomas, American travel writer, was born (d. 1981).

1893 Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was dedicated by Wilford Woodruff.

Salt Lake Temple is the centerpiece of the 10 acre (40,000 m2) Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah.

1895 Oscar Wilde was arrested after losing a libel case against the John Sholto Douglas, 9th Marquess of Queensberry.


1896 The opening of the first modern Olympic Games was celebrated, 1,500 years after the original games are banned by Roman Emperor Theodosius I.

Athens 1896 report cover.jpg

1903 The Kishinev pogrom began, forcing tens of thousands of Jews to later seek refuge in Israel and the Western world.


1909 Robert Peary and Matthew Henson allegedly reached the North Pole.


1911  Dedë Gjon Luli Dedvukaj, Leader of the Malësori Albanians, raised the Albanian flag in the town of Tuzi, Montenegro, for the first time after Gjergj Kastrioti (Skenderbeg).


1917  World War I: The United States declared war on Germany.

1919 Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi ordered a general strike.


1923 The first Prefects Board in Southeast Asia was formed in Victoria Institution, Malaysia.


1926 Ian Paisley, Northern Irish politician, was born.

1928 James D. Watson, American geneticist, Nobel laureate, was born.

1929 André Previn, German-born composer and conductor, was born.

1930 Gandhi raised a lump of mud and salt and declared, “With this, I am shaking the foundations of the British Empire.”  and started the Salt Satyagraha.


1936 Tupelo-Gainesville tornado  hit Gainesville, Georgia, killing 203.

1937  Merle Haggard, American musician, was born.

1938  Paul Daniels, English magician, was born.

1941Nazi Germany launched Operation 25 (the invasion of Yugoslavia) and Operation Marita (the invasion of Greece).


1947 The first Tony Awards were presented for theatrical achievements.

1955 Rob Epstein, American filmmaker and journalist, was born.

1957 Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis bought the Hellenic National Airlines (TAE) and founded Olympic Airlines.


1962 Leonard Bernstein caused controversy with his remarks from the podium during a New York Philharmonic concert featuring Glenn Gould performing the First Piano Concerto of Johannes Brahms.


1965  Launch of Early Bird, the first communications satellite to be placed in geosynchronous orbit.


1965 – The British Government announced the cancellation of the TSR-2 aircraft project.

1968 In Richmond, Indiana’s downtown district, a double explosion killed 41 and injured 150.

1970 Newhall Incident: Four California Highway Patrol officers were killed.

1972 Vietnam War: Easter Offensive – American forces begia sustained air strikes and naval bombardments.

T-59 VC.jpg

1973  Launch of Pioneer 11 spacecraft.


1982 Estonian Communist Party bureau declared “fight against bourgeois TV” — meaning Finnish TV — a top priority of the propagandists of Estonian SSR

1984 Members of Cameroon’s Republican Guard unsuccessfully attempted to overthrow the government headed by Paul Biya.

1994  The Rwandan Genocide began when the aircraft carrying Rwandan president Juvénal Habyarimana and Burundian president Cyprien Ntaryamira was shot down.

1998 Pakistan tested medium-range missiles capable of hitting India.

2004 Rolandas Paksas became the first president of Lithuania to be peacefully removed from office by impeachment.

2005 Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani becameIraqi president.

2009 A 6.3 magnitude earthquake which struck near L’Aquila, Italy, killed 307 people.

Soucred from NZ History Online & Wikipeda

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