4/10 and 8/10

July 5, 2011

The NZ herald has a Maori language quiz.

I got a lowly 4/10 in yesterday’s on greetings – hint don’t be fooled by the pictures.

I did better with today’s on food – 8/10.


Word of the day

July 5, 2011

Turpitude – baseness, deprarvity, vileness.

How to spot a meth lab

July 5, 2011

A public service annoucnement at  Credo Quia Absurdum Est shows how.

Rural round-up

July 5, 2011

Young Farmer contest #5 Will Grayling – RivettingKate Taylor:

Photos make the world go around…. here’s a selection of photos of Will in action at the 2011 National Bank Young Farmer Contest in Masterton over the past week – Wednesday’s welcome at the Masterton Town Hall where Will’s likeness to Prince Harry was first mentioned; Thursday’s technical day at the historic Brancepeth homestead and the speech back at the Solway Copthorne; Friday’s practical challenges, head to head (s) and agrisports at the Solway Showgrounds and finally the evening show at the new Wairarapa College auditorium. . .

Politicos turn to the land – Sally Rae:

Everyone, it seems, is the farmer’s friend – after all, it is election year.

Act New Zealand leader Don Brash probably summed it up best at Federated Farmers national conference in Rotorua when he said those attending would be “enduring a procession of politicians”. . .

Fonterra to pour $250m into Darfield – Tim Cronshaw:

Dairy giant Fonterra wants to pour another $250 million into trebling milk production at its Darfield site with a new dryer vying to be the largest in New Zealand.

The co-operative entered talks about stage two of the project with neighbours at a community meeting yesterday and is about to begin the consent process. The plan is to have the second dryer built by 2015 as the $200m site, still being constructed, is expected to be at full capacity by then.

 German investors pay $33m for farm – Collette Devlin:

A German investment management company is now possibly the largest player in rural land in Southland after it spent $33million to buy a dairy farm at Dipton.

Aquila AgrarINVEST Investitions Gmbh was granted approval under the Overseas Investment Act to secure the acquisition of rights or interests in up to 100 per cent of the units of Glencairn Ltd Partnership, which owns or controls a freehold interest in 1401ha of an existing dairy farm. . .

Following role models could double NZ food production:

Following role models could double NZ food production

New Zealand could produce enough food to feed around 40 million people if every farm performed at the same level as the most profitable, said Ballance Agri-Nutrients Chairman, David Graham.

He was speaking at the Ballance Farm Environment Awards annual showcase held in the Hawke’s Bay on 25 June.

“New Zealand currently produces enough food to feed approximately 20 million people. We know our most profitable farms achieve an economic farming surplus of $3,500 per hectare, yet the average farm achieves just over $2,000 and about half of all farms are operating below this.

“To double the amount of people we can feed we must lift our production by working on assisting the bottom half of this bell curve to lift its game.” . . .

My word, look – speculation works – Tim Worstall:

This followed a report on Thursday that showed US farmers had planted more corn than analysts had expected and that stocks of the grain were higher than forecast across the US.

Corn futures fell more than 6pc on Friday, bringing the fall since a US report was issued to about 10pc. . .

The Great corn con – Steven Rattner:

FEELING the need for an example of government policy run amok? Look no further than the box of cornflakes on your kitchen shelf. In its myriad corn-related interventions, Washington has managed simultaneously to help drive up food prices and add tens of billions of dollars to the deficit, while arguably increasing energy use and harming the environment.

Even in a crowd of rising food and commodity costs, corn stands out, its price having doubled in less than a year to a record $7.87 per bushel in early June. Booming global demand has overtaken stagnant supply. . .

Hat tip:  Anti-Dismal

Credit card charges: user pays or buyer beware?

July 5, 2011

Any credit comes at a price and credit cards charge twice – both the owner and retailer pay fees.

Until recently it’s been relatively rare for retailers to charge more for sales by credit card although discounts for cash weren’t uncommon.

Now more retailers are imposing a surcharge on credit cards:

Banking ombudsman Deborah Battell says “charging a fee for using a credit card is becoming a lot more common and so we do see complaints about this kind of issue”.

Meanwhile Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin says “retailers are seeing this as an opportunity to up the value of what they’re actually selling”.

Using a credit card to shop online for flights with Air New Zealand will incur $7 for a return flight. Many service stations now charge a service fee and even paying council rates online can attract a fee of nearly 3 percent.

If retailers don’t make the user pay they or other customers are subsidising the card users.

However, if the surcharge is greater than the fees the retailer pays it goes beyond cost recovery and buyers need to beware.

However, sometimes, even with the charge it can still be a good deal.

Our travel agent imposes a surcharge on credit card payments but if we use the card for at least half  any pre-paid travel costs we get free insurance.

Last time we did bookings we balked at the credit card charge, paid by internet banking then found that buying insurance cost about twice what the fees would have.

To kill or to breed?

July 5, 2011

Whether to kill lambs or keep them for breeding is the question exercising the minds of many sheep farmers.

With prices at levels we could only dream of this time last year it is tempting to sell but there’s also a need to rebuild the national flock.

Lamb numbers have been dropping for years for a variety of reasons including better returns from other land-uses.

Last spring’s snow storm in Southland which killed thosuands of sheep compounded the problem and falling lamb numbers are hitting the freezing works.

While that’s difficult for people whose jobs are affected it could be a sign that farmers are choosing to hold back stock for breeding which is better for the industry in the long term.

Unions losing power in Labour

July 5, 2011

A Labour leader is biting the union hand that elected him but it’s in Britain, not here.

In the Pensions War that has erupted between the government and the trade unions, the unions must surely feel astonished by the ingratitude of Ed Miliband. The unions founded and financed the Labour party. They currently give about £9 of every £10 that the cash-strapped party receives in donations. Moreover, Ed Miliband would not be Labour leader had he not had crucial union support. Yet here we are, at the beginning of the first serious confrontation between unions and the coalition, and Mr Miliband declines to back them and instead attacks strike action as “wrong”.

It’s difficult to understand how any party which preaches democracy can give more power and influence to unions than its individual members.

Labour here is quick to criticise National of legislating for its mates if it does anything which might help businesses. Some businesses donate to National but only members have power in the party and most of the bigger ones donate to Labour and possibly some of the minor parties as well.

Some unions donate to other left wing parties, but it would be a cold day in hell before they gave money to National and I think it’s only in Labour where they have constitutional rights.

The internal workings of a party are the party’s own business. But if influence and policy in return for money is wrong for donors to right wing parties, it must also be wrong for left wing ones.

. . . Mr Miliband . . . also wants to recalibrate the relationship between Labour and the unions as a key element of his project to make the party more democratic, vigorous and engaged with the public. . .

The unions wield 50% of the vote at the party conference, a proportion that Mr Miliband thinks might be diminished by creating a new voting role at the conference for the elected members of the National Policy Forum.

The British Labour Party is attempting to reduce the power unions have in their party to make it  more democratic. What chance is there of Labour here doing the same?


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