Word of the day

September 27, 2011

Privilege–  special advantage, favour, immunity, permission, right, or benefit granted to or enjoyed by an individual, class, or caste; such an advantage, immunity, or right held as a prerogative of status or rank, and exercised to the exclusion or detriment of others; the principle of granting and maintaining a special right or immunity; protection from being forced to disclose confidential communications in certain relationships, as between attorney and client, physician and patient, or priest and confessor; protection from being sued for defamation for making otherwise actionable statements in a context or forum where open and candid expression is deemed desirable for reasons of public policy;  an option to buy or sell a stock; to grant a privilege to; to free or exempt.

Speaker refers Leigh case to Privileges Committee

September 27, 2011

Speaker Lockwood Smith has referred the Erin Leigh case to the Privileges Committee.

The Supreme court ruled that advice from officials to ministers was not covered by absolute privilege, Dr Smith said the issue raised serious matters which he would refer to the privileges committee for consideration.

The court ruling allowed Ms Leigh to sue for defamation. That doesn’t mean she was defamed but it leaves her free to take a case but unfortunately the cost of doing that has stopped her taking the matter any further.

I hope the Privileges Committee not only looks at the implications of the ruling but at the behaviour of the MPs and state servants which prompted the case.

A report on the court decision is here.

Kiwiblog has a Q&A from Ms Leigh.

Duncan Garner says she deserves an apology, and a payout to not only cover costs, but  to reflect damages.


September 27, 2011

8/10 in Stuff’s Biz Quiz.

Verbal scores and decision fatigue

September 27, 2011

Links for today’s discussion with Jim Mora on Critical Mass:

How to stop the drop in verbal scores – E. D. Hirsch Jr. introduces the Matthew effect and rewrites “to those who have it shall be given . . . . ” as:

“To those who understand the gist shall be given new word meanings, but to those who do not there shall ensue boredom and frustration.”

Do you suffer from decision fatigue? – John Tierney asks,  to which I would answer an emphatic yes,  but I’m not quite sure . . .

Awards aim to change perception

September 27, 2011

The 2012 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards aim to change some urban perceptions of the country’s dairy farmers and the dairy industry.

Awards executive committee chair Matthew Richards says the 2012 awards will culminate with a series of activities in Auckland that leads into the national awards dinner, where the winners of the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions will be announced.

“We want Auckland and the rest of the country to witness the bright, talented and well presented individuals that are working hard on this country’s dairy farms to drive the dairy industry forward as the global leader that it is .

“Many of our past winners have gone on to leadership roles within the industry and we expect many of our current winners will be the industry’s future leaders,” Mr Richards, a Southland dairy farmer, says.

The 2011 New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year Jason and Lisa Suisted said they initially entered the awards to“stand out from the pack” when applying for sharemilking positions. They have gained considerably more.

“What we did not know at the time was how much we were going to learn both about ourselves and our business. We’ve been able to fine tune some of our farm systems and the awards had also allowed us to work side by side, highlighting the strengths we both bring to the business.”

Mr Suisted says the awards challenged them and forced them to take a brutal and critical look at their business.

“The benefits from this have paid off immensely.”

Like the Young Farmer of the Year and other industry competitions, the Dairy Industry Awards provide wonderful opportunities for participants to look at and improve  their own businesses, learn from other entrants and showcase farming.

Reputation at risk from word play on labels

September 27, 2011

An Australian television report says New Zealand is being used as the back door into Australia, and chemicals that are banned in other countries are being allowed in.

A dangerous trick is being played in the battle to take over local vegetable growers, with Chinese frozen vegetables sneaking into Australia through New Zealand.

The response from Horticulture New Zealand isn’t reassuring:

Chief executive Peter Silcock says testing proved that products coming from New Zealand met the requirements in terms of chemical residues and in labelling and the Ministry of Agriculture has confirmed that frozen vegetable exports to Australia comply with New Zealand food regulations.

But what if the regulations don’t go far enough for consumers?

However, Mr Silcock says Hort NZ does believe there could be amendments to New Zealand’s food labelling laws so they have more ‘country of origin’ information.

He says phrases such as “made from local and imported ingredients” are not as helpful as they could be and the industry would like to see more specific labelling.

If the industry wants to see more labelling, it doesn’t need to wait for legislation.

There is nothing preventing producers and manufacturers from introducing better country of origin labelling themselves and there are marketing opportunities for grown/made/processed in New Zealand.

It is difficult to give country of origin labelling to products with many ingredients but frozen vegetables usually contain only vegetables. How hard can it be to let consumers know where they were grown and processed?

New Zealand has very high standards for food safety and quality and the continuing demand for our exports rely on our reputation for that.

Any exporters who are playing with words on packaging and using New Zealand’s reputation to sell produce from other countries are risking that reputation.

That would not only impact on the product involved it could threaten all our other food exports too.

Perception is reality when it comes to food and we cannot afford to do anything to change the perception – based on strict quality and safety standards – that our food is good and safe.

Referendum tool helps sort out options

September 27, 2011

Confused about the referendum on electoral systems? Not sure which one to opt for?

Legal Beagle Graeme Edgeler has come up with a referendum tool which could help you work out which system is best for you.

He explains about it here.

If you want to skip the explanation, the tool is here.

As you click on each question, the tool ranks the options based on your answer.

I did it very quickly and finished with Supplementary Member ahead followed by First Past the Post then Preferential Vote, Mixed member Proportional and Single Transferable Vote was a very distant fifth.

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