A tale of two headlines

23/07/2011

The Press: Southland lift Ranfurly Shield – last minute drop goal steals shield

Southland Times: Southland’s shield again – late drop-goal gets Stags up


Word of the day

23/07/2011

Daedal – ingeniously contrived; complex in design; intricate; finely or skillfully and artistically crafted; artistic.


4/10

23/07/2011

Just 4/10 in the Herald’s travel quiz.

There’s a theory that you should go with your gut reaction if you don’t know the answer in a multi-choice quiz. I’d have got two more right  had I done so.


Terror or terrorism?

23/07/2011

Norway has suffered the worst violence since World War II with at least seven people killed in an explosion at a government building and many more shot dead at a youth camp.

These are acts of terror although it is not yet known if they were acts of terrorism.

Regardless of who was responsible, it is a reminder of how vulnerable we all are.

When we were in New York earlier this month we had to pass through x-rays at the entrance to places like the Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building. But there were many other places with no obvious signs of security where someone determined to unleash terror could have done so.

Today’s attacks in Norway show it is impossible to guard everyone everywhere and no-one should  try to. Just as the British people learned to live with the threat of IRA bombings in the 1970s and 80s, we must accept sensible precautions but not let them curtail our freedom.


Fonterra’s farmgate price formula sound

23/07/2011

Competition in domestic dairy production has increased since Fonterra was formed and the way it sets its farmgate milk pirce is sound.

This was the finding of internationally renowned competition expert, Compass Lexecon, which has been ranked as one of the leading antitrust economics firms in the world by Global Competition Review for the past seven years.

Fonterra commissioned Compass Lexecon to provide an economic evaluation of the competitive environment for dairy processing and to also review the methodology for calculating the milk price paid to Fonterra’s farmer-shareholders.

The report found that:

  • There had been a growth in competition in the New Zealand dairy industry under the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act.
  • There has been a significant investment in expanded dairy processing capacity in New Zealand by competitors as well as Fonterra since Fonterra was formed. This investment in new more efficient plant was driving down manufacturing costs.
  • The way Fonterra calculates its milk price – based on global prices for commodities, less the costs of a notional competitor – was correct.
  • Domestic dairy prices in New Zealand have increased less than global prices for dairy product, largely because of the growth of supermarket home brands sold at a discount. (Around 70 per cent of domestic fresh milk sales in New Zealand are now home brands.)

Compass Lexecon endorsed the fact that the Fonterra milk price was based on the costs of a notional competitor using efficient processing facilities, rather than Fonterra’s actual manufacturing costs. It noted that there had been considerable expansion of dairy processing in New Zealand, with more efficient plant commissioned by both Fonterra and competitors: “Even if Fonterra (and other processors) … have higher average variable costs of processing, the farm gate milk price will be bid up by competitors utilising efficient plants,” the report concluded.

“The history of actual expansion by both Fonterra and independent processors … indicates a strong belief by both Fonterra and competitors that they can secure a supply of raw milk at a price that allows them to operate profitably.”

Fonterra Group Chief Financial Officer, Jonathan Mason, said the Compass Lexecon report essentially concluded that the New Zealand environment was fostering competition in the dairy sector and that the way Fonterra set its milk price was fair.

“The Milk Price reflects international dairy commodity prices, less the costs to produce and export those commodities. . . “

This should allay fears that Fonterra is using its dominent position in setting prices which disadvantage its competitors and consumers.

The company has announced that it will be reducing the domestic price of butter and cheese in response to falls in international prices.


UF wants choice in retirement age

23/07/2011

United Future leader Peter Dunne is proposing allowing people to retire earlier and receive lower superannuation payments or later with higher payments.

“Kiwis would then be able to manage their retirement age and lifestyle – choices they currently do not have – and it would be cost neutral with the current scheme,” Mr Dunne said in launching the party’s superannuation policy.

“Each year below 65 that superannuation would be claimed down to 60, would see a small reduction, and each year over 65 up to 70, it would be enhanced.

He said the figures used would make it cost-neutral and he’s also proposing making Kiwisaver compulsory to address the long term sustainability of superannuation.

“The sustainability arguments around superannuation, and whether it should be 65 or 67, then become redundant,” he said.

“People can then do their own maths and work out what works best for them based on their lifestyle and aspirations,” Mr Dunne said.

It will be interesting to see Act’s reaction to this. The now defunct 2020 Taskforce, which was chaired by Don Brash who is now Act’s leader, also suggested that people be able choose to delay receiving a pension and then get higher payments than those who retired earlier.

If it’s not going to cost any more it is an idea worth considering.

Our longest serving staff member has been receiving superannuation for 16 years and is still working fulltime at 81. Another is 79 and one is 65. I think all would have chosen to postpone receiving superannuation in return for higher payments later had they been able to.

Conversely, people not enjoying their work and/or in poor health might welcome the option of retiring earlier, albeit at a lower rate of superannuation.

Opting to receive superannuation doesn’t necessarily retiring though so this policy would also enable older people who are still happy to work to top up their wages with superannuation from the age of 60.

Providing it’s affordable, this policy might also take pressure off the debate on the need to raise the age at which people are eligible for superannuation by allowing them some choice.


Labour’s fair not fair

23/07/2011

Labour is trying to sell its proposal to impose a selective capital gains tax on us as an issue of fairness.

But as Trans Tasman argues it’s proposal isn’t so equitable:

It is difficult to understand why, if the fairness arguments are taken down the track Labour argues for, all gains are not taxed at the same rate. For example, why should the occupant of a substantial coastal lifestyle block escape this new tax when the person running a productive farm falls directly within it?

And why should art, gambling proceeds and  stamp collections be spared, when businesses aren’t?

Multimillionaires Sam Morgan and Selwyn Pellet have become Labour’s poster-boys to justify the CGT and new top rate. Both are said by Goff to have thought it unfair they did not pay tax on their huge gains. But Goff needs to be careful, Shewan says, not to overplay this hand. The public will quickly tire of extreme examples being rolled out to justify changes which will have a deeply pervasive effect on ordinary transactions much closer to home like the family farm or window cleaning business.

It is difficult to design a tax system which catches everyone but while Morgan and Pellet weren’t taxed on the proceeds of their sales they would have paid plenty of tax while running their businesses.

If a CTG is imposed, sales like this would be designed to avoid at least some of the tax by, for example, giving shares in lieu of cash.

But there are just extreme examples which Labour is using to stoke up envy and distract people from the impact their flawed proposal would have on many more people of very modest means.

Among them would be siblings who sell the family home after their parents die and couples who divest themselves of matrimonial property during a divorce settlement.

Retirement savings could also be eroded. The Shareholders Association warns that shareholdings in Kiwisaver would be hit by a CGT and that younger people would be most severely disadvantaged by this.


July 23 in history

23/07/2011

1632  Three hundred colonists bound for New France departed from Dieppe, France.

1793 Prussia re-conquered Mainz from France.

1829 William Austin Burt patented the Typographer, a precursor to the typewriter.

1833 Cornerstones are laid for the construction of the Kirtland Temple in Kirtland, Ohio.

 
KirtlandTemple Ohio USA.jpg

1840  The Province of Canada was created by the Act of Union.

1851 Twenty-six lives were lost when the barque Maria was wrecked near Cape Terawhiti, on Wellington’s rugged south-western coast.

<img src="http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/files/images/maria-event.preview.jpg&quot; alt="The Maria wrecked near Cape Terawhiti ” />

1862 American Civil War: Henry W. Halleck took command of the Union Army.

Henry Wager Halleck - Brady-Handy.jpg

1874  Aires de Ornelas e Vasconcelos was appointed the Archbishop of the Portuguese colonial enclave of Goa.

1881  The Federation Internationale de Gymnastique, the world’s oldest international sport federation, was founded.

1881  The Boundary treaty of 1881 between Chile and Argentina was signed in Buenos Aires.

 

1888 Raymond Chandler, American-born author, was born (d. 1959).

First edition cover

1892  Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia, was born (d. 1975).

1903  The Ford Motor Company sold its first car.

1914  Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia demanding Serbia to allow the Austrians to determine who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

1926 Fox Film bought the patents of the Movietone sound system for recording sound onto film.

1929  The Fascist government in Italy bannedthe use of foreign words.

1936  The Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia was founded through the merger of socialist and communist parties.

 

1940 United States’ Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles‘s declaration on the U.S. non-recognition policy of the Soviet annexation and incorporation of three Baltic States – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

 

1942 The Holocaust: The Treblinka extermination camp  opened.

 

1942  World War II: Operation Edelweiss began.

 

1945  The post-war legal processes against Philippe Pétain began.

 

1947 David Essex, English singer, was born.

1950 Blair Thornton, Canadian guitarist (Bachman-Turner Overdrive), was born.

1952  New Zealand’s first female Olympic medallist, Yvette Williams (now Corlett) won gold in the long jump with an Olympic-record leap of 6.24 metres (20 feet 5 and 3/4 inches).

Yvette Williams leaps for gold at Helsinki

1952 Establishment of the European Coal and Steel community.

1952 General Muhammad Naguib led the Free Officers Movement (formed by Gamal Abdel Nasser– the real power behind the coup) in the overthrow of King Farouk of Egypt.

 

Profile portrait of a young man facing left. He is wearing a tarboosh over his head and is dressed in military uniform. He is holding a sword and gloves in his left hand.

1956 The Loi Cadre was passed by the French Republic in order to order French overseas territory affairs.

1961 Martin Lee Gore, English musician and songwriter (Depeche Mode), was born.

1961 The Sandinista National Liberation Front was founded in Nicaragua.

FSLN.png

1962 Telstar relays the first publicly transmitted, live trans-Atlantic television program, featuring Walter Cronkite.

1962  The International Agreement on the Neutrality of Laos was signed.

1965 Slash, American guitarist (Guns N’ Roses), was born.

1967  12th Street Riot in Detroit, Michigan  began in the predominantly African American inner city (43 killed, 342 injured and 1,400 buildings burned).

1968 Glenville Shootout: In Cleveland, Ohio, a violent shootout between a Black Militant organization led by Ahmed Evans and the Cleveland Police Department occurs. During the shootout, a riot begins that lasted for five days.

1968  The only successful hijacking of an El Al aircraft  when a 707 carrying 10 crew and 38 passengers was taken over by three members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

1970 Qaboos ibn Sa’id became Sultan of Oman after overthrowing his father, Sa’id ibn Taimur.

 
Qabus bin Said.jpg

1972 The United States launched Landsat 1, the first Earth-resources satellite.

1973 Himesh Reshammiya, Indian Bollywood composer, singer and actor, was born.

1980 Michelle Williams, American singer (Destiny’s Child), was born.

1982  The International Whaling Commission decided to end commercial whaling by 1985-86.

 

1983 The Sri Lankan Civil War began with the killing of 13 Sri Lanka Army soldiers by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam .

Sri Lanka-CIA WFB Map.png

1983  Gimli Glider: Air Canada Flight 143 ran out of fuel and made a deadstick landing at Gimli, Manitoba.

 

1986  Prince Andrew, Duke of York married Sarah Ferguson at Westminster Abbey.

1988 General Ne Win, effective ruler of Burma since 1962, resigned after pro-democracy protests.

 

1992 A Vatican commission, led by Joseph Ratzinger, (now Pope Benedict XVI) established that it was necessary to limit rights of homosexual people and non-married couples.

Benedykt xvi.jpg

1992 Abkhazia declared independence from Georgia.

1995 Comet Hale-Bopp was discovered and becomes visible to the naked eye nearly a year later.

1997 Digital Equipment Company filed antitrust charges against chipmaker Intel.

1999 Crown Prince Mohammed Ben Al-Hassan was crowned King Mohammed VI of Morocco on the death of his father.

1999  ANA Flight 61 was hijacked in Tokyo.

2005 Three bombs exploded in the Naama Bay area of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, killing 88 people.

 

2008 Cape Verde  joined the World Trade Organization, becoming its 153rd member.

 

2009 Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox  became the 18th pitcher to throw a perfect game in Major League Baseball history, defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 5-0.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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