Word of the day

September 28, 2011

Sacrifice  – the offering of animal, plant, or human life or of some material possession to a deity, as in propitiation or homage; the person, animal, or thing so offered; the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim; the thing so surrendered or devoted; a loss incurred in selling something below its value; the surrender of something of value as a means of gaining something more desirable
or of preventing some evil; osmething given up or lost.

Logic fail

September 28, 2011

When I first heard a student trying to convince the public that the introduction of voluntary membership for student associations was anti-democratic I thought I must have misunderstood his argument.

Since then I’ve heard several more student advocates advance the same argument and like Adam Smith I’m struggling to understand the logic of their view that democracy is under threat if compulsion is removed.

It might be possible to argue cogently for compulsory student membership. The failure to do so by those who think they represent students merely illustrates the case for those who advocate making membership voluntary.

Student associations take money from most students but truly represent a small minority of them and if the quality of their argument on this issue is anything to go by they do that poorly.

Second SAS death

September 28, 2011

The SAS has lost a second soldier in Afghanistan.

The biggest loss will be felt by his family and friends.

The death is also a loss for the SAS, the defence force and New Zealand and a reminder of the ever-present danger our troops face over there.

Bob’s done enough

September 28, 2011

Bob Clarkson did a great public service by winning the seat of Tauranga which got rid of New Zealand First’s lifeline and kept Winston Peters from returning to parliament in 2008.

However, I suspect there will be a great many Act members and supporters who think he’s done enough and will be relieved that he has no intention of standing for that party.

Grin and bear it

September 28, 2011

Given my propensity for typos and wobbly spelling, I thought I should point out that the bear in the heading is deliberate to introduce this photo:

You’re invited to provide a better caption – political is fine, personal abuse is not; wit and/or humour are encouraged.

Christchurch meat works loss others’ gain

September 28, 2011

The plan to close the Alliance meat works at Sockburn is bad news for the people who will lose jobs and for Christchurch but it is good news for other centres which will increase capacity.

There is never a good time to close an operation and the loss will be more keenly felt in the city because of the business interuptions and job losses caused by the earthquakes.

Under the proposal Alliance Group would relocate its cattle and venison processing to other plants. Chief executive Grant Cuff said the Sockburn hasn’t operated profitably in recent years and the company has explored a number of options to address this. The current proposal . . .  will reduce fixed overhead costs, increase the company’s overall processing capacity and enhance profitability.

Beef processing will transfer to Alliance’s Mataura and Pukeuri plants and venison processing would shift to a new processing facility to be built at Smithfield in Timaru.

The many pundits who ruminate on the meat industry keep saying there is over capacity of killing space and the Meat Workers’ Union sees the Sockburn closure as an omen.

However, while 250 jobs will be lost in Christchurch, the Sockburn closure will be compensated for by an increase in the company’s killing capacity at other plants and provide employment opportunities in Timaru, Pukeuri and Mataura.

Rather than reducing capacity this move will increase it while reducing overheads.

Brash pot plan too timid

September 28, 2011

Federated Flamers say they are encouraged by Act leader Don Brash’s move towards decriminalising cannabis but it doesn’t go far enough.

“His pot plan is a good start but that’s all it is, he’s being far too timid,” the federation’s Alternative Revenue Stream Encouragement (ARSE) spokesman Blue Smoke said.

“Don has just dipped his toe in the drug water by initiating a discussion on decriminalising cannabis. He should leap right in and make it legal for the sake of the economy,” Mr Smoke said.

“If it’s legal we can grow it; if we can grow it we can make money from it and if we can make money from it the government can tax it.

“That is we would if we paid tax, but as Labour showed, we don’t, at least not the way they look at it.”

Mr Smoke said successive governments, consultants and economists had been talking about the need to broaden the economy and legalising cannabis would be a good way to do that.

“Dairy, meat and fibre are doing well at the moment but what goes up will one day come down. We need to diversify to enable us to weather the inevitable downturn and pot plantations would be a very good way of doing that.

“It wouldn’t be hard to find markets for medicinal and recreational products and there may well be opportunities for the fibre.”

Mr Smoke said he was sure it was no coincidence that a letter from Dr Brash and Act’s agricultural spokesman Don Nicolson had arrived in the mail this week, just days after the speech in which decriminalisation was mooted.

“It’s obvious this is part of the party’s economic policy that’s aimed at farmers.”

Mr Smoke said he thought the pot plan might also be a cunning strategy for Act to take over other wee parties the way United Future did.

“Who can remember how many different parties have been taken over and absorbed by the various manifestations of whatever Peter Dunne’s latest party is called? Act needs to do the same and this pot plan is the obvious way to open the door to the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party.”

However, Mr Smoke said he was concerned at the way the plan had opened up the urban-rural divide.

“One Don grows kiwifruit, the other has stock, they understand farming. But that bloke Banks, he’s a townie and he can’t see the opportunities.

“Sure there could be a few health problems. They reckon it affects your memory and concentration but, um what was I saying? Oh wow, look at that flower, it’s soooo biiiig . . . .”

Hat tip: Jim Hopkins on the Farming Show

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