Word of the day

November 9, 2011

Garble – to mix up or distort to such an extent as to make misleading or incomprehensible; to confuse unintentionally or ignorantly; jumble; to scramble (a signal or message), as by erroneous encoding or faulty transmission; to sort out; cull.

 


Blue-green and black

November 9, 2011

Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills says you have to be black to be green.

National’s environment policy clearly recognises this, balancing environmental protection with economic considerations.

National’s environment and climate change policy will enable New Zealand to have a strong economy and a clean environment, Prime Minister and National Party Leader John Key announced today.

“Our environment is a valuable resource that we must preserve and protect. It’s a big part of our quality of life and it’s central to our international reputation, primary sector, tourism sector and wider economy,” says Mr Key.

This is most evident in the decision to Take a more cautious approach to the ETS.

“Our climate change policies carefully balance the costs to households and businesses with the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“That is why we intend to slow the phasing in of the emissions trading scheme from 2013 to 2015, at which point we will look to align our scheme with that adopted by Australia. Any change to our emissions trading scheme will be fiscally neutral,” says Mr Key.

One of the complaints about the Kyoto Protocol was that trees had to be replanted in the same place others had been felled. That might be sensible with native forests but not with farmland and Environment Minister Nick Smith has announced a welcome change to this policy:

“National’s policy also includes introducing offsetting from 1 January 2013. This will enable pre-1990 forest owners to change land use providing they plant an equivalent area of new forest elsewhere. We will also be reviewing the second tranche of pre-1990 forest allocations taking into account the benefit that offsetting provides.

Equally positive is the common sense stance on agriculture:

“It is not in New Zealand’s interests to include agricultural emissions in the ETS yet. The lack of any practical and real technologies to reduce agricultural emissions means it would only impose a cost or tax on our most important export industry. It would also have New Zealand too far ahead of our trading partners on climate change mitigation measures. National will review the position in 2014 and only include agriculture if new technologies are available and more progress is made internationally on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“National would introduce legislation in 2012 to amend the ETS. The overall change package would be fiscally neutral. Our objective is to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions at the least cost possible and for New Zealand to do its fair share on the global issue of climate change.”

Unlike the red policies of the Labour and Green Parties, National’s gone blue-green and black, aiming for environmental gains without crippling financial costs.

The full policy is here.


Rural round-up

November 9, 2011

NZ”s grass-fed livestock a missed marketing opportunity:

Leading British ruminant nutritionist Dr Cliff Lister says that “you are what you eat” is as true for livestock as it as for humans.

For New Zealand’s sheep, beef and dairy industries, he says that translates to meat and milk with a higher omega-3 content, thanks to a grass-based diet, and a “missed marketing opportunity.”

“Grass-based diets encourage lean muscle development rather than fat, meaning that grass-fed beef and lamb is typically leaner than meat produced from silage or grain-fed stock and contains a higher level of omega-3 fatty acids.”

Lincoln Universtiy Foundation Sth Island farmer of the Year:

Innovative South Canterbury farmers win the 2011 Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year competition

Last night Ray and Adrianne Bowan of South Canterbury won the Lincoln University Foundation’s showcase event – the South Island Farmer of the Year.

“We are incredibly humbled and overwhelmed by the win, especially as all the finalists were of high calibre. It is quite a surprise,” says Mr Bowan.

Lincoln University Foundation chairman Neil Taylor congratulated the Bowans. “Their commitment to innovation is ongoing –year after year. They are exceptional managers and are environmentally aware, as are all of the finalists.” . . .

Nuffield farming scholarship winners named:

Three farmers who are all involved in highly diversified operations have won this year’s Nuffield Farming Scholarships.

Sandra Faulkner from Gisborne . . . Richard Fitzgerald from Methven . . . Michael Tayler from Temuka . . .

Kiwifruit vine disease clouds export outlook –  Doug Steele:

The ongoing European debt saga continues to dominate financial market headlines and movements. Uncertainty is high.

For New Zealand agriculture, any impact will partly depend on how the European issues affect growth in China, Asia, and wider emerging markets as important factors in determining what price we can achieve for our exports.

While prices are obviously very important, so too is how much produce we have to sell. . .

Indian milk production – multiply three times ten – Dr Jon Hauser:

I am ever on the lookout for a good discussion topic on the global dairy industry, especially when it involves the fundamental numbers like milk production and price. I therefore couldn’t resist the temptation to delve into the Indian dairy industry when the following article appeared on the news services: India, the milk bowl of the world, Rahul Akkara, fnbnews.com, October 31, 2011.

Mr Akkara provides a glowing account of the indian dairy industry and its growth opportunities. The headline and sentence that particularly caught my eye was this:

Triple production

In the next 10 years, India’s dairy sector is expected to triple its production in view of expanding potential for export to Europe and the West.” . . .

Grass fed Rose Veau what an exciting meat experience – Pasture to Profit:

This week I was fortunate this week to be present at the launch of this exciting new beef product which can be a byproduct from the pasture based dairy farms in theUK. Many influential people who would have been keen to be present sadly were not able to attend this low key launch.

Grassfed Rose Veau (pronounced Vo) is an opportunity for every pasture based dairy farmer in the UK. No farmer likes to dispose of male calves at birth. What a shameful waste of protein the world simply can not tolerate. In the UK we have a fantastic opportunity to take these animals thru to 7-8 months & produce a wonderful “low fat, high Omega 3” high quality meat . . .
 
Oh Joy – Tim Worstall:
Honey is a miraculous food. Properly stored, it can last for ever. Jars of the stuff, thousands of years old and still edible, have been found in the tombs of the Pharoahs and in the detritus of the Roman Empire. And one thing that honey has always contained is pollen, because foraging bees bring it back to the hive. It has never crossed the mind of beekeepers to list pollen as an ingredient in honey because, as one apiarist pointed out, it is “like saying peanuts contain nuts”.  . .
 

Campaigning not constituency work

November 9, 2011

It is difficult at times to distinguish between the political and non-political work of an MP, there is a grey area where one merges into the other.

But telling someone who to vote for is absolutely nothing to do with constituency work and everything to do with politics.

Earlier this year Jim Anderton did that in a letter to constituents, endorsing the Labour candidate in what is still his seat of Wigram.

He has now been referred to the police by the Electoral Commission, following a complaint from Cameron Slater.

Anderton’s reaction?

“Nonsense, rubbish, waste of time, waste of police resources, waste of space. It’s just as ridiculous as the referral I had to police at the last election.
They threw it in the bin then and they’ll do it again now.

“I’m authorised to send my constituents any message I damn well like. This is my electorate.

“And if the Commission wants to start stopping electorate MPs from communicating with their electorate, they’d better get prepared for a breach of privilege complaint, because that’s what it amounts to.

They are interfering with the regular work of an MP.”

It’s not the communication per se that is the problem but that he was endorsing a candidate without an authorisation statement.

While it’s not a matter for the police, if it was done under the parliamentary crest then it would also be falling foul of using taxpayers money for political communications.

Someone who’s been in parliament as long as he has ought to know and respect the rules. That he doesn’t is another sign he’s been there far too long.

A candidate and two other MPs have been referred to the police for minor breaches.

Anderton’s breach is major and could result in a $40,000 fine.

 

 


Voting starts today

November 9, 2011

Anyone who can’t get to a polling place on election day, including people overseas, can cast a vote from today.

The Electoral Commission has information here for people wishing to cast a special vote in New Zealand.

Information for people wishing to vote overseas is here and those of a blue persuasion might be interested in the National Party’s Internats.


Stats Dept is squeaky clean UPDATED

November 9, 2011

Labour’s building and construction spokesperson Phil Twyford didn’t like the message so he attacked the messenger:

If any government department must be squeaky clean in terms of political neutrality at all times, it should be Statistics New Zealand, says Labour’s Building and Construction spokesperson Phil Twyford. . .

“There was a large slump in consents in September this year compared to September last year —- seasonally adjusted figures fell 17 per cent, including apartments, and fell 14 per cent when apartments are excluded — but the headline on the Statistics NZ press release read: Trends for new home approvals continue to rise.

Talk about spin!” Phil Twyford said. “Stats NZ’s enthusiasm could perhaps be excused in less partisan times, but during an election period when National is patting itself on the back for doing as good a job as anyone could in terms of keeping the economy ticking over, it is impossible not to see a lack of neutrality in the department’s media release. . .

Statistics New Zealand’s chief executive, Geoff Bascand, understandably took exception to this slur on the department’s neutrality:

As Government Statistician, I am fiercely protective of my statutory independence in the production and release of statistics.

Statistics New Zealand takes its responsibility seriously to explain and present statistics in a meaningful and accurate way.

Phil Twyford MP has questioned our choice to highlight the trend series of statistics in our 31 October release of Building Consents Issued: September 2011.

In this case, volatility over the past months meant that in our judgement, the trend series provided the most useful indicator of movements in building activity.

We also reported the seasonally adjusted series within the first paragraph of our media statement and our more detailed information release included the actual monthly number of building consents.

Statistics New Zealand has an obligation to release objective statistics. We will continue to do this at all times.

Phil needs to take a chill pill if a headline in a media release is sufficient to raise his ire.

If he was more interested in the truth than creating his own headlines he would have contacted Mr Bascand before making the serious accusation that the department was breaching public service neutrality.

The department is squeaky clean, its accuser is just squeaking.

UPDATE:

He’s not just wrong on the neutrality, he’s wrong on the stats.

Matt at The Visible Hand In Economics and Alex Tarrant at Interest.co.nz both point out Twford has misunderstood the data.


Property rights vs BORA

November 9, 2011

Property rights have met BORA in Dunedin’s Octagon and property rights have lost.

Police have refused to enforce the Dunedin City Council’s trespass notice against the protesters in the Octagon:

Police had been considering their legal position for the past week, but Insp Sparrow yesterday concluded the trespass notices did not meet “the test of balancing the rights and freedoms of all parties”.

What about the rights of other people to use the green space being occupied by the protesters?

What about the council’s right to object to rubbish and human waste on public space?

What about the rights of the council to determine what can happen on the land it owns and is responsible for on behalf of the whole community?

Mayor Dave Cull is considering other legal options.

He told the Otago Daily Times he was “disappointed” at the time police had taken to reach their conclusion, and by their decision not to enforce “legitimate” council bylaws.

“We are completely at a loss to know where the lack of enforceability might begin or end.

“It makes one wonder just what the police will enforce in our community and what they won’t. Is it up to them to decide what the law is, or can we rely on our laws and bylaws?

“It leaves us wondering, I guess, whether we can rely on backup for the community’s interests.”

The council isn’t saying the people can’t protest, it’s just saying they can’t protest in this manner in this place.

The ODT opines:

The police’s reluctance to act on the trespass order raises an interesting question. If they take no action against breaches of the reserves and camping control bylaws, might they also hold back on enforcing breaches of other bylaws?

Indeed, which would they uphold and which would they not?

And what would happen if the protest was taking place on private land?

Property rights aren’t absolute. But are they  all, including the right to exclusive use and peaceful enjoyment of your own land, subservient to the Bill of rights?


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