Word of the day


Battology- needless or futile repetition of words in speaking or writing.



Just 1/10 in the Herald’s really hard Harry Potter quiz.

They warned it was for die-hard fans which I’m not, though I have read all the books.

Biosecurity month reminder of need for vigilence


An overseas visitor was amused about how concerned border control staff were about dirt on his shoes.

“I thought New Zealanders must have a very high standard of dress,” he said.

We explained that they weren’t concerend about his satorial standards but the risk of introducing pests or diseases which could endanger native flora and fauna and primary produce.

That message isn’t clear to all visitors, or locals, so  Biosecurity Month  provides a timely reminder of the need for eternal vigilence:

From an emperor penguin on Peka Peka beach to the kiwifruit vine disease Psa and the alga didymo which congests waterways, it’s always possible that a new plant, animal or microbe will arrive in New Zealand.

The New Zealand Biosecurity Institute has designated July as “Biosecurity month” to raise awareness of the work done by those involved in protecting New Zealand’s natural environment from pests and diseases.

Peter Thomson, MAF Acting Deputy Director-General says collaboration is key.

“New Zealand’s biosecurity system is designed to balance the careful management of risks, with protecting our ability to trade and travel internationally,” says Peter.

“MAF leads a biosecurity system that operates on three fronts: working overseas to stop travellers and importers from bringing pests here; working at the border to identify and eliminate pests that do arrive; and working in New Zealand to find, manage or eliminate pests that have established here.”

“Collaboration is the key to keeping our country safe from incursions, and MAF works in partnership with other organisations with an interest in biosecurity, such as the Department of Conservation, regional councils, affected industry and iwi.

“But all New Zealanders have a role to play.

“For example: farmers need to make sure they buy disease-free stock; boaties need to check, clean and dry their gear between waterways; and for anyone who finds something unusual, it means calling MAF to report it.”

There is more information at www.biosecurity.govt.nz

Wool levy funds 7 entrepreneurial projects


Seven entrepreneurial projects using wool will share half a million dollars from Beef + Lamb NZ.

The cash comes from a contestable fund set up to share out the remaining wool levies, with the money going to businesses demonstrating the greatest potential to pump money back into the wool industry – and ultimately, into farmers’ pockets.

Some of the projects aim to do this by achieving savings through the development of tools and systems for improved efficiency and consistency. Others are focused on increasing demand for wool through research and the creation of new products and niche markets.

The successful applicants were chosen by an advisory panel from 28 bids by farmer groups, wool industry service providers and manufacturers.

B+LNZ Chief Operating Officer, Cros Spooner says it was exciting to review all 28 projects. “It shows there is some genuine passion and talent with companies involved in the New Zealand wool industry.”

“We believe each of the seven projects we’ve funded has a very real chance of delivering value back to New Zealand farmers, which is great news.”

To ensure the Wool Levy Fund distribution improves returns for wool growers, applicants were required to show their commitment to investing time, money and resources in the success of the project. Each of the successful projects will be matched 50:50 with funding from the applicant group.

  • Eastbourne-based Potroz-Smith Technologies Ltd is researching the production
    of an environmentally friendly, super absorbent wool-based material for use in
    personal hygiene and wound-care products that will be natural, non-toxic and
  • NZ Wool Services International will focus on developing practical tools to
    avoid underweight bales, which currently cost the industry an estimated
    $4million a year. The company is based in Christchurch.
  • Wellington company and sustainable textile inventor The Formary is looking
    at blending New Zealand strong wool and a waste material to develop a range of
    commercial and domestic interior products.
  • Wool Partners International and Banks Peninsula Wool Growers Group are
    working together to develop a truly sustainable carpet using natural processes
    and materials, including low pesticide, ethically-produced, traceable New
    Zealand wool.
  • Invercargill’s Alliance Group plans to incorporate wool production into its
    Hoofprint software package (developed in conjunction with Dunedin-based
    AbacusBio to measure on-farm carbon footprints). The company will work with NZ
    wool producers and marketers to gain extra market value for Hoofprint-accredited
    wool products.
  • Wool’s eco-friendly properties are the basis for a project by Matamata
    manufacturer Wool Equities, which will carry out market research, design and
    produce samples, and establish markets for high value bed blankets for premium
    international markets.
  • The New Zealand Shearing Contractors’ Association will use the funding to
    establish a quality assurance programme, underpinning recent work to ensure
    accredited shearing operators provide consistent product descriptions and
    demonstrate socially sound and sustainable business practices.

RadioNZ has a story on one of the recipients. Protroz-Smith Technologies is developing a super absorbent wool-based material called NatraZorb, to be used in disposable nappies, personal hygiene and wound care products .

Just wondering . . .


. . .  why no-one throws out a pen the first time it doesn’t work?

Leading Act where?


Don Brash’s expectation that his leadership would enable Act to get 20% support was always

The best the party’s done was 7.1% in 2002 when National was at its nadir. To get even that
when National is polling so strongly was never realistic but he, and the party, will be very disappointed that the polls aren’t showing any noticeable surge in support.

When challenging for Act’s leadership, Brash said he’d managed to make a real difference to National as leader, taking it very close to winning the 2005 election.

But Brash’s leadership wasn’t the only factor in that result.

Part of the credit for that was the change in National’s constitution brought about by then leader Bill English, president Judy Kirk and general manager Steven Joyce. That revolutionised the party organisation and for the first time since MMP was introduced, National ran a campaign for the party vote.

The party also had a solid foundation of members on which to build and a functioning volunteer structure in every electorate. They provided a nation-wide network of people ready to back up the new leadership.

Act had a much shakier foundation. Its membership probably wasn’t much above the 500 minimum needed for registration when Brash took over.

Act’s finances might have improved with the change of leadership but while parties need money for campaigns, there’s a lot more to winning votes than that.

They need to be united, well organised and have a message which is based on clear principles
and philosophy.

Brash says he’s offering the same prescription he offered in 2005. But while his message
hasn’t changed, other things have.

Back then he was offering the prospect of an alternative government. This time his party will be a minor coalition party in government, sitting on the cross benches or in opposition. Minor parties get some policy concessions, those on the cross benches or in opposition might be able to block legislation but rarely get much of their own policy enacted.

In 2005 Brash was up against a government coming to the end of its second term whose popularity was waning. This time National is in its first term and still getting unprecedented support in the polls.

In 2005, voters were open to radical change, this year they are showing no appetite for
that at all.

Brash did lead National close to victory in 2005 but he didn’t do it by himself. He had a
major party with a united caucus and strong volunteer base behind him.

Now he’s leading a wee party with a divided caucus and few volunteers and the polls
reflect that.

Agriculture excluded from Australian carbon tax


Australia’s decision to exempt agriculture from its carbon tax has political implications for farmers here.

National has consistently said the Emissions Trading Scheme won’t be imposed on agriculture until our competitors face a similar regime.

Labour’s policy is to force agriculture into the ETS in 2013.

National  understands there’s no environmental gain to imposing an ETS on farming until there are scientifically proven methods farmers can use to reduce emissions. It also understands the economy would suffer if our competitors didn’t face similar costs.

Labour just wants to tax farmers more – the impact on the environment and economy are irrelevant to them.

The difference is clear and every farmer should take that into account when voting.

July 12 in history


1191  Saladin’s garrison surrendered to Conrad of Montferrat, ending the two-year siege of Acre.

Siege of Acre.jpg

1543 King Henry VIII  married his sixth and last wife, Catherine Parr at Hampton Court Palace.

1562 Fray Diego de Landa, acting Bishop of Yucatan, burned the sacred books of the Maya.


1580 Ostrog Bible, the first printed Bible in a Slavic language, was published.


1690  Battle of the Boyne (Gregorian calendar) – The armies of William III defeated those of the former James II.


1691  Battle of Aughrim (Julian calendar) – The decisive victory of William’s forces in Ireland.

Aughrim cross.jpg

1730 Josiah Wedgwood, English potter, was born  (d. 1795).

1790  The Civil Constitution of the Clergy was passed in France by the National Constituent Assembly.


1804  Former United States Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton died after being shot in a duel.

1806  Sixteen German imperial states left the Holy Roman Empire and formed the Confederation of the Rhine.


1812  War of 1812: The United States invaded Canada at Windsor, Ontario.

1817 Henry David Thoreau, American writer and philosopher, was bron (d. 1862).

1854 George Eastman, American inventor, was born  (d. 1932).

1862 The Medal of Honor iwa authorised by the United States Congress.


1895 Buckminster Fuller, American architect, was born  (d. 1983).


1895 Oscar Hammerstein II, American lyricist, was born (d. 1960).

1917 Andrew Wyeth, American artist, was born (d. 2009).


1917  The Bisbee Deportation –  vigilantes kidnapped and deported nearly 1,300 striking miners and others from Bisbee, Arizona.

1918  The Japanese Imperial Navy battle ship Kawachi blew up at Shunan, killing at least 621.

1920   The Soviet–Lithuanian Peace Treaty was signed. Soviet Russia recognized independent Lithuania.


1932  Hedley Verity established a first-class record by taking all ten wickets for only ten runs against Nottinghamshire on a pitch affected by a storm.

1933 Donald E. Westlake, American author, was born (d. 2008).

1943   World War II: Battle of Prokhorovka – German and Soviet  forces engaged in largest tank engagement of all time.


1937 Bill Cosby, American comedian and actor, was born.

1943 Christine McVie, British singer, musician, and songwriter (Fleetwood Mac), was born.


1947 Gareth Edwards, Welsh rugby union footballer, was born.

Gareth Edwards.jpg

1950 Eric Carr, American drummer (Kiss), was born  (d. 1991).

1951 Cheryl Ladd, American actress, was born.

1960  Orlyonok, the main Young Pioneer camp of the Russian SFSR, was founded.


1961  Pune floodseddue to failure of Khadakvasala and Panshet dams. Half of Pune was submerged. More than 100,000 families dislocated and death tally exceeded 2000.

1962  The Rolling Stones performed their first ever concert, at the Marquee Club in London.

1967 The Newark riots began in Newark, New Jersey.

1975 São Tomé and Príncipe declared independence from Portugal.

Flag Coat of arms

1979  The island nation of Kiribati became independent from Great Britain.

1979  Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park Chicago.

2006  Hezbollah initiated Operation True Promise.

Tyre air strike.jpg

Sourced from Wikipedia & NZ History Online

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