December record for Fonterra exports

January 19, 2012

Fonterra set a new record for its exports last month:

Fonterra has broken its record for the highest export month with 246,000 tonnes of dairy products loaded on ships during December boosting New Zealand’s economy by $1.3 billion for the month.

In March 2011 Fonterra shipped 229,000 tonnes of product, but continued growth in global demand for dairy products combined with record milk production early on in the current dairy season has led to another spike.

In December, Fonterra closed the door on an export container every 2.7 minutes — 546 containers a day. Fonterra’s exports account for more than a quarter of all NZ exports.

Fonterra Trade & Operations Managing Director Gary Romano said a good autumn and a mild winter created optimal grass growing conditions ahead of the 2011/12 dairy season.

“This helped create a wave of milk up about 10 per cent on a daily basis during the peak flow in late September through to November.

“While conditions were good overall, farmers did face extreme challenges including a near nationwide dumping of spring snow and flooding in some regions.

“Our farmers have coped tremendously, not just with bad weather but also the record milk flow which peaked at more than 80 million litres a day,” he said.

“Our teams have gone the extra mile to manage the huge amount of milk this season and get value out of every drop of milk. From the moment we collect the milk, process it, pack it, store it, ship it — our people have put in a huge effort, they haven’t stopped.”

Demand for high quality dairy products is still looking strong with South East Asia, China, the Middle East and North Africa driving the growth in exports.

“Dairy is becoming increasingly important in these markets as people grow wealthier and want access to more nutritious foods,” Mr Romano said.

This is good for the company, its shareholder producers and the country.

It’s also a good sign for global development that more people are growing wealthier and it is a tribute to successive governments and businesses that more of what we produce is going to non-traditional markets.


Thursday’s quiz

January 19, 2012

1. Who said: “We sometimes think that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.”?

2. Who wrote Poor Man’s Orange, The Harp in the South, A fence Around the Cuckoo and Fishing in the Styx?

3. It’s pauvre in French,  povero  in Italian,  pobre in Spanish and

4. Which marine reserve lies about 20 kilometres off the Tutukaka Coast?

5. Who heads the ministerial committee on poverty?


But he only saw Auckland

January 19, 2012

Editor-in-chief of Monocle magazine Tyler Brûlé  wrote a column in praise of New Zealand and Australia in the Financial Times.

But he only saw Auckland.

Imagine how much more effusive his praise would have been had he travelled further afield!


Shearing for Olympics?

January 19, 2012

If sport is defined as an athletic  activity requiring skill or physical prowess  and often of a competitive nature there is no doubt shearing fits.

The most memorable sporting commentary I’ve ever encountered in fiction was Witi Ihimaera’s account of a shearing competition in Bulibahsa and this report on this record -breaking attempt shows it also has spectator appeal:

A world shearing record which stood for 16 years was broken in front of a frenzied crowd of more than 150 packed into a King Country woolshed today.

Stecey Te Huia, of Te Kuiti, and Sam Welch, of Waikaretu, shore a combined tally of 1341 ewes in nine hours to beat by six the previous record of 1335 set by Southlanders Darin Forde and Wayne Ingram in 1996.

If it’s sport, then why not an Olympic one? 

Jeanette Maxwell of Federated Farmers said recordholders could strip more than 700 sheep in eight hours and likened the feat to running back-to-back marathons.

“Our World Championship teams are athletes who take it to another level. Surely, time has come to elevate shearing’s sporting status to the ultimate world stage.

“One way would be to make shearing a demonstration sport at a Commonwealth Games, if not the Olympics itself.”

A spokesman said the New Zealand Olympic Committee took the suggestion seriously and would be behind any attempt to include shearing.

I can see some obstacles, not least of which would be sourcing enough sheep in some of the   host countries and animal welfare issues.

But I disagree with Otago University sports marketing senior lecturer John Guthrie who said it could play up to stereotypes about New Zealand, whose sheep flock is about 10 times the human population.

The best way to counter stereotypes is with education and showcasing shearing at the Olympics would be a very good way to educate people about the skill and athleticism required to do it.

It could also help people trying to market wool to counter the misconception held by too many people that sheep have to be killed before the fibre is harvested.


From headlines to help

January 19, 2012

You’ve got to give the left credit where it’s due – they’re very good at getting issues into the headlines and they’re doing well with their latest cause – child poverty.

Getting headlines is easy enough for what is a very emotive issue.

Translating that into practical help is much harder but at least there is growing acknowledgement that the solution isn’t as simple as giving more money.

Professor David Fergusson who directed a study which shows parental income affects how well children do as adults said:

the study showed that income inequality and behavioural issues, such as parents’ addictions, both had to be tackled to fix social problems.

“For example, increasing the income of substance-using parents may be counter-productive since it will give them more access to purchasing alcohol or drugs,” he said.

Giving parents more money is no guarantee any or all of it will be spent to the benefit of children.

It’s also important to remember it’s not just the amount of money a family earns/receives that makes a difference.

The 2008 living standards survey  found that:

  • the hardship rate for sole parent families is around 4 times that for those in two parent families (39% and 11% respectively)
  • beneficiary families with dependent children have a hardship rate of around 5 times that for working families with children (51% and 11% respectively)
  • sole parent families in work have a hardship rate (20%) well below that for sole parent beneficiary families (54%)
  • Maori and Pacific people have hardship rates some 2 to 3 times that of those in the European or Other ethnic groups
  • families with 4 or more children have higher hardship rates (27%) than those with 1-2 children (17%)
 This shows that money, or lack of it, is not the only factor which contributes to hardship.What they do with it, the number of children, relationship break downs, ethnicity and income source also make a difference.
Keeping poverty in the headlines will raise awareness  but it won’t by itself do anything to address any of those.

January 19 in history

January 19, 2012

1419 – Hundred Years’ War: Rouen surrendered to Henry V of England completing his reconquest of Normandy.

1511 – Mirandola surrendered to the French.

1520  – Sten Sture the Younger, the Regent of Sweden, was mortally wounded at the Battle of Bogesund.

1607 San Agustin Church in Manila, now the oldest church in the Philippines, was officially completed.

1736 James Watt, Scottish inventor, was born (d. 1819).

1764  John Wilkes was expelled from the British House of Commons for seditious libel.

1788  Second group of ships of the First Fleet arrived at Botany Bay.

1795  Batavian Republic was proclaimed in the Netherlands. End of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands.

1806 – The United Kingdom occupied the Cape of Good Hope.

1807  Robert E. Lee, American Confederate general, was born  (d. 1870).

1809 Edgar Allan Poe, American writer and poet, was born (d. 1849).

1817 An army of 5,423 soldiers, led by General José de San Martín, crossed the Andes from Argentina to liberate Chile and then Peru.

1829 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe‘s Faust Part 1 premiered.

1839  Paul Cézanne, French painter, was born (d. 1906).

1839 The British East India Company captured Aden.

1840 Captain Charles Wilkes circumnavigated Antarctica, claiming what became known as Wilkes Land for the United States.

1845 Hone Heke cut down the British flag pole for the third time.

Hone Heke cuts down the British flagstaff -  again
1848 Matthew Webb, English swimmer/diver  first man to swim English Channel without artifical aids, was born (d. 1883).

1853 – Giuseppe Verdi‘s opera Il Trovatore premiered in Rome.

1883  The first electric lighting system employing overhead wires, built by Thomas Edison, began service at Roselle, New Jersey.

1893 Henrik Ibsen‘s play The Master Builder premiered in Berlin.

1899 – Anglo-Egyptian Sudan was formed.

1915  Georges Claude patented the neon discharge tube for use in advertising.

1915  German zeppelins bombed the cities of Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn killing more than 20, in the first major aerial bombardment of a civilian target.

1917 German Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmermann sent the Zimmermann Telegram to Mexico, proposing a German-Mexican alliance against the United States.

1917 – Silvertown explosion: 73 killed and 400 injured in an explosion in a munitions plant in London.

1918 Finnish Civil War: The first serious battles between the Red Guards and the White Guard.

1923 Jean Stapleton, American actress, was born.

1935 Coopers Inc.  sold the world’s first briefs.

1935  Johnny O’Keefe, Australian singer, was born (d. 1978).

1937 Howard Hughes set a new air record by flying from Los Angeles, California to New York City in 7 hours, 28 minutes, 25 seconds.

1939 Phil Everly, American musician, was born.

1942  Michael Crawford, British singer and actor, was born.

1943 Janis Joplin, American singer, was born (d. 1970).

1943  Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, was born.

1945  Soviet forces liberated the Łódź ghetto. Out more than 200,000 inhabitants in 1940, less than 900 had survived the Nazi occupation.

1946  Dolly Parton, American singer and actress, was born.

1946 General Douglas MacArthur established the International Military Tribunal for the Far East in Tokyo to try Japanese war criminals.

1947 Rod Evans, British musician (Deep Purple), was born.

1951  Dewey Bunnell, American singer and songwriter (America), was born.

1953 68% of all television sets in the United States were tuned in to I Love Lucy to watch Lucy give birth to Desi Arnaz, Jr., American actor.

1966 Indira Gandhi was elected Prime Minister of India.

1972 – Princess Kalina of Bulgaria, was born.

1977 – Snow fell in Miami, Florida for the only time time in the history of the city.

1978  The last Volkswagen Beetle made in Germany left VW’s plant in Emden.

1981 United States and Iranian officials signed an agreement to release 52 American hostages after 14 months of captivity.

1983  Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie was arrested in Bolivia.

1983 – The Apple Lisa, the first commercial personal computer from Apple Inc. to have a graphical user interface and a computer mouse, was announced.

1996  The barge North Cape oil spill occurred as an engine fire forced the tugboat Scandia ashore on Moonstone Beach in South Kingstown, Rhode Island.

1997 Yasser Arafat returned to Hebron after more than 30 years and joined celebrations over the handover of the last Israeli-controlled West Bank city.

2006 – The New Horizons probe was launched by NASA on the first mission to Pluto.

2007– Armenian Journalist Hrant Dink was assassinated in front of his newspaper’s office by 17 year old Turkish ultranationalist Ogün Samast.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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