Word of the day


Peradventure – maybe, perhaps, possibly; uncertainty, doubt.



12/14 15 in Stuff’s kids’ quiz – entertainment and the trick maths questions caught me.

Freelancer top Ag journalist


The economic and social importance of agriculture in New Zealand is reflected in both the quantity and quality of rural journalism.

The best of that is recognised in the Guild of Agricultural Journalists and Communciators’ annual awards.

Freelancer Hugh De Lacy has won the Rongo,  the top award for agricultural journalists, for 2011.

He won the supreme award, the Rongo Award recognising excellence in agricultural journalism, for articles which appeared in MG Business focussing on far-reaching changes to the strong wool industry and on doing business with China.   The runner-up was Dominion Post farming editor Jon Morgan.

. . . The key objectives of the awards are the encouragement and recognition of excellence in agricultural journalism.

The inaugural winner of the PGG Wrightson Sustainable Land Management Award, is Tim Cronshaw of The Press. This award was established to recognise high quality communication and effective analysis of local, national and global agribusiness and environmental factors that impact on the sustainability of farm businesses.

Lynda Gray of Country-Wide won the AgResearch Science Writers Award, established to enhance standards of science writing, especially about pastoral agriculture.

Elaine Fisher, of the Bay of Plenty Times, won the Horticulture New Zealand Journalism Award, set up to recognise excellence in agricultural journalism focussing on New Zealand’s horticulture industry.

Rebecca Harper, of NZX Agri won the Rural Women of New Zealand Award, which recognises the important contribution women make (and have always made)  in the rural community, either through their role in the farming sector or to the general rural environment.

Hugh Stringleman, of NZX Agri won the AGMARDT Agribusiness Award, which recognises high quality information about and effective analysis of national, global and other agribusiness.

Dominion Post photographer, Phil Reid, won the Federated Farmers Rural Photography Award, for a single photo that illustrates a rural event or activity – agricultural, horticultural, industry, human interest, on farm / off farm, or any activity reflecting life or work in rural New Zealand.

Andrew Stewart of NZX Agri won the Agricultural Journalism Encouragement Award. This is the Guild’s own award and is designed to encourage and recognise excellence among journalists with three or less years reporting on agricultural issues.

Supporting our neighbours


Australia or Wales? Dragons or Wallabies?

They meet tonight to decide third and fourth place in the Rugby World Cup and it’s not easy to decide which team to support.

Both teams have New Zealand coaches but if I take them into account I’d opt for Robbie Deans who made such a wonderful contribution to Canterbury rugby – even if several of their wins were against Otago teams.

I know Wales deserved to win last week, and maybe the All Blacks would have a less daunting task on Sunday if they had, but if I have to pick a side, it will be the Wallabies.

It’s not personal, the Welsh are lovely people but most of them are on the other side of the world and Australia’s just next door so I’m opting for our neighbours.

Friday’s answers


Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said: “It is a noteworthy fact that kicking and beating have played so considerable a part in the habits which necessity has imposed on mankind in past ages that the only way of preventing civilised men from beating and kicking their wives is to organize games in which they can kick and beat balls.”?

2. Name four of the seven All Blacks who have been knighted.

3. It’s jeu in French, gioco in Italian, juego in Spanish (not to be used in place of jugo, which means juice, as I did at an Argentinean cafe)  and purei in Maori, what is it in English?

4. Which university did Graham Henry study at and what qualification did he gain?

5. What will you be doing on Sunday from about 8:45pm?

Points for answers:

Andrei gets four and a bonus for spotting my dropped colon.

David got 2/12 with a bonus for name dropping.

Roger got five and a lucky you for #5 which earns an electronic bag of jelly beans (All Black but not necessarily all black).

Neil got two with a bonus for name dropping and leading me to the full answer (I only knew about Otago and PE until I read your asnwer).

Adam got 2 3/4 (and yes I thought jeu had an x too but I was relying on Google translate which didn’t).

Paul got four with a lucky your too for #5;  a bonus for extra information and a good try (as in attempt, not as in rugby) for #1.

PDM got three with a nod for #4 and a bonus for Mrs PDM’s good sense.

Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

Labour’s ag policy loses last farmer votes


If there are any farmers misguided enough to be considering supporting Labour, the announcement of their agriculture policy should persuade them to give their vote to another party which understands farming.

Phil Goff is channelling Winston Peters with the plan to allow the Reserve Bank to play with our currency.

“Labour will amend the Reserve Bank of NZ Act 1989 to broaden the Bank’s primary function so that it includes stability of the currency to give farmers and exporters greater certainty,” Phil Goff said.

Stability? He’s been in parliament long enough to remember just how unstable the currency and economy were when it was managed in the past.

Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills says:

. . . while fluctuations in the exchange rate are problematic for exporters, he is not comfortable with any moves to interfere with a market-based mechanism, especially with little detail on what is actually being proposed.

Quite. A floating currency isn’t perfect but it’s better than any alternatives.

Wills gives Labour a couple of bouquets but mostly brickbats for its labour and agricultural policies:

“Labour plans to intervene in industry structures, further confuse the tax system, meddle with the Reserve Bank Act and create uncertainty around overseas investment in farm land,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers National President.

“To cap it off Labour is proposing a draconian Emissions Trading Scheme policy which puts New Zealand farmers at a severe disadvantage to international competitors by including animal emissions from 2013.

“If Labour wants New Zealand Agriculture to help pay this country’s bills then this policy does not help.

“The ruminant stomach has been around for centuries and science is yet to come up with workable options to make it carbon neutral, so I just don’t see the sense in taxing animal owners for something they can’t control.

“Adding uncertainty to overseas investment is not a sensible policy for encouraging investment in agriculture. Instead it will lower the price for New Zealand sellers and make it cheaper for foreign investors. This is not the most beneficial outcome for New Zealand.

“There is no mention of important issues, like biosecurity or rural roading in Labour’s policy. . .

Labour’s policies aren’t about what’s good for the country or the countryside. They’re admissions the party has given up on this election and is just aiming at its core constituency.

NZ 3rd for ease of doing business


New Zealand is third in the world for the ease of doing business in a World Bank report.

Doing Business 2012: Doing Business in a More Transparent World assesses regulations affecting domestic firms in 183 economies and ranks the economies in 10 areas of business regulation, such as starting a business, resolving insolvency and trading across borders. This
year’s report data cover regulations measured from June 2010 through May 2011.

The report rankings on ease of doing business have expanded to include indicators on getting electricity. The report finds that getting an electrical connection is most efficient in Iceland; Germany; Taiwan, China; Hong Kong SAR, China; and Singapore.

The global report shows that governments in 125 economies out of 183 measured implemented a total of 245 business regulatory reforms—13 percent more reforms than in the previous year. In Sub-Saharan Africa, a record 36 out of 46 economies improved business regulations this year. Over the past six years, 163 economies have made their regulatory environment more business-friendly. China, India, and the Russian Federation are among the 30 economies that improved the most over time.

This year, Singapore led on the overall ease of doing business, followed by Hong Kong SAR, China; New Zealand; the United States; and Denmark. The Republic of Korea was a new entrant to the top 10. The 12 economies that have improved the ease of doing business the most across several areas of regulation as measured by the report are Morocco, Moldova, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, São Tomé and Príncipe, Latvia, Cape Verde, Sierra Leone, Burundi, the Solomon Islands, the Republic of Korea, Armenia, and Colombia. Two-thirds are low- or lower-middle-income economies.

At a time when persistent unemployment and the need for job creation are in the headlines, governments around the world continue to seek ways to improve the regulatory climate for domestic business. Small and medium businesses that benefit most from these improvements are the key engines for job creation in many parts of the world,” said Augusto Lopez-Claros, Director, Global Indicators and Analysis, World Bank Group.

Take note Labour, the key engines for job creation are small and medium businesses which benefit from improvements in the regulatory climate.

That is the opposite of what will be achieved by Labour’s work and wages policy.

 The rankings (with New Zealand’s place in brackets) were based on the ease of starting a business (1), dealing with construction (2) getting electricity (31), registering property (3), getting credit (4), protecting investors (1) , paying taxes (36) , trading across borders (27), enforcing contracts (10) and resolving insolvency (18).

We score worst for trading across borders, getting electricity and paying taxes.

Coming 36th, 31st and 27th respectively out of 183 isn’t bad but there is still a lot of room for improvement.

Tyrant dead, now for democracy


In acknowledging the death of Muammar Gaddafi we can be thankful another tyrant has gone.

But celebrations must wait until the tyranical dictatorship is replaced by a far better, more democratic and stable regime in Libya.

Labour policy for losers


Political parties which think they are going to win an election promote policies to attract voters and that they believe will be beneficial if implemented in government.

Political parties which think they are going to lose elections promote policies to lock in their core supporters.

Labour’s work and wages policy is one for losers.

The Otago Daily Times said legislating for higher wages is counter-productive:

That is because basic economics means money has to be earned. Printing money  . . . or forcing businesses to pay staff more cannot lead, long term, to either more jobs or higher wages.   

The bottom line is New Zealand and New Zealand businesses, in a highly competitive world, have to be profitable. It is they and, particularly the taxes paid by the staff they employ, that earn the money to support public servants, benefits and public services.   

This fundamental truth has been fudged in the West for years, and we are all beginning to pay the price.  Greece exemplifies the fool’s paradise.   

Inefficiencies and dislocation from economic rules have placed that nation on the brink of defaulting on its debts.  In essence, what applies to individuals applies to nations.  Everybody and every country has to earn their living.   

Thus, the productive sector must be fostered rather than hindered, a matter most obvious in export businesses. 

The Press says: it’s very unlikely the policy will boost economic performance and provide a better future for workers:

The policy’s strange mish-mash of bureaucratic centralised wage-setting, legislated higher minimum pay and repeal of some of the present Government’s liberalising workplace reforms has gruesome echoes of the unlovely 1970s. Far from being a forward-looking policy, as the Labour leader, Phil Goff, has declared it to be, it recalls policies long thought dead and buried. . .

According to Goff, the policy would help stem the flow of people to Australia. Given that the effect of much of it would be to price some jobs out of existence, quite how it would do this is unclear. Labour still does not appear to understand that it cannot legislate its way to prosperity. Introducing impediments to the creation of jobs or raising wages by legislative or administrative order will do nothing to close the wage gap with Australia and will, if anything, see more workers decamping for greener pastures elsewhere.

The Dominion Post says the policy is out of touch:

The consequence of hiking the minimum wage from $13 to $15 an hour, as Labour is proposing to do, will be to deny more unskilled young job seekers the opportunity to get a foot on the job ladder. The consequence of telling international film producers it is our way or the highway will be for them to pack their bags. And the consequence of requiring all employers in an industry to offer the same minimum set of terms and conditions will be to ship more jobs off overseas.

The only winners from Labour’s work and wages policy, unveiled on Tuesday, will be unions, which can expect a temporary increase in members and influence.

The NZ Herald says the policy revives the bad old days:

It will not be easy to take the Labour Party seriously at this election if it comes up with any more policy like the one announced on Tuesday. . .

The Labour Party would surely hesitate to propose this if there was much prospect of the party winning the election and having to put the policy into effect. Like one or two other planks in the party’s platform this year – notably the removal of GST on fresh fruit and vegetables – the policy is mainly interesting for what it says about Labour’s condition at present and how much younger members of the caucus have to learn.

This is a policy which would hinder the businesses which provide and create jobs. It’s a misguided attempt by a party trying to legislate its way to prosperity. It would help only unions and would not be considered if the party thought it had much prospect of putting it into effect.

The papers have given a concerted damning and deserved thumbs down to policy which would impose bureaucracy and cost on businesses at the expense of them and their employees.

It is not policy for workers.

It’s policy for losers and the unions on whose might and money they depend.

October 21 in history


1096 People’s Crusade: The Turkish army annihilated the People’s Army of the West.

1520  Ferdinand Magellan discoversed the strait which was named after him.

1600 Tokugawa Ieyasu defeatedthe leaders of rival Japanese clans in the Battle of Sekigahara, which marked the beginning of the Tokugawa shogunate that ruled Japan until the mid-nineteenth century.

1772 Samuel Taylor Coleridge, British poet, was born (d. 1834).

1797  In Boston Harbor, the 44-gun United States Navy frigate USS Constitution was launched.

1805 Battle of Trafalgar: A British fleet led by Vice Admiral Lord Nelson defeatd a combined French and Spanish fleet off the coast of Spain under Admiral Villeneuve.

1805 Austrian General Mack surrendered his army to the Grand Army of Napoleon at the Battle of Ulm.

1816 The Penang Free School was founded in George Town, Penang, by the Rev Hutchings. It is the oldest English-language school in Southeast Asia.

1824  Joseph Aspdin patented Portland cement.

1833  Alfred Nobel, Swedish inventor and founder of the Nobel Prize, was born(d. 1896).

1854 Florence Nightingale and a staff of 38 nurses were sent to the Crimean War.

1861 American Civil War: Battle of Ball’s Bluff – Union forces under Colonel Edward Baker were defeated by Confederate troops.

1867  Manifest Destiny: Medicine Lodge Treaty – Near Medicine Lodge, Kansas a landmark treaty was signed by southern Great Plains Indian leaders. The treaty required Native American Plains tribes to relocate a reservation in western Oklahoma.

1879 Using a filament of carbonized thread, Thomas Edison tested the first practical electric incandescent light bulb.

1892 Opening ceremonies for the World’s Columbian Exposition were held in Chicago, though because construction was behind schedule, the exposition did not open until May 1, 1893.

1895 The Republic of Formosa collapsed as Japanese forces invaded.

1902 In the United States, a five month strike by United Mine Workers ended.

1917  Dizzy Gillespie, American musician, was born (d. 1993).

1921 Sir Malcolm Arnold, British composer, was born (d. 2006).

1921 President Warren G. Harding delivered the first speech by a sitting President against lynching in the deep south.

1921 George Melford’s silent film, The Sheik, starring Rudolph Valentino, premiered.

1929 Ursula K. Le Guin, American author was born.

1931 Vivian Pickles, English actress, was born.

1940  Geoff Boycott, English cricketer, was born.

1940  Manfred Mann, English musician, was born.

1942 Judy Sheindlin, American judge (“Judge Judy”), was born.

1944 The first kamikaze attack: A Japanese plane carrying a 200 kilograms (440 lb) bomb attacked HMAS Australia off Leyte Island, as the Battle of Leyte Gulf began.

1945 Women’s suffrage: Women were allowed to vote in France for the first time.

1945 Juan Perón married Evita.

1952 Trevor Chappell, Australian cricketer, was born.

1953  Peter Mandelson, British politician, was born.

1956 Carrie Fisher, American actress and writer, was born.

1959 The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, opened to the public.

1964 Peter Snell won a second gold at the Toky Olympics.

Peter Snell wins second gold in Tokyo

1965  Comet Ikeya-Seki approached perihelion, passing 450,000 kilometers from the sun.

1966  Aberfan disaster: A slag heap collapsed on the village of Aberfan, killing 144 people, mostly schoolchildren.

1967 Vietnam War: More than 100,000 war protesters gathered in Washington, D.C..  Similar demonstrations occurred simultaneously in Japan and Western Europe.

1969 A coup d’état in Somalia brought Siad Barre to power.

1973 John Paul Getty III‘s ear was cut off by his kidnappers and sent to a newspaper in Rome.

1978 Australian pilot Frederick Valentich vanished in a Cessna 182 over the Bass Strait, after reporting contact with an unidentified aircraft.

1979  Moshe Dayan resigned from the Israeli government because of strong disagreements with Prime Minister Menachem Begin over policy towards the Arabs.

1983  The metre was defined at the seventeenth General Conference on Weights and Measures as the distance light travels in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second.

1986  In Lebanon, pro-Iranian kidnappers claimed to have abducted American writer Edward Tracy.

1987 Jaffna hospital massacre by Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka killing 70.

1994 North Korea and the United States signed an agreement that requires North Korea to stop its nuclear weapons program and agree to inspections.

1994  In Seoul, 32 people were killed when the Seongsu Bridge collapsed.

2003  Images of the dwarf planet Eris were taken and subsequently used in its discovery by the team of Michael E. Brown, Chad Trujillo, and David L. Rabinowitz.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipeda

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