Word of the day


Xeonophobia – an unreasonable fear or hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign.

Friday’s answers


Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said: “Never be afraid to laugh at yourself, after all, you could be missing out on the joke of the century.”?

2. What is the common name for Didelphimorphia Phalangeriforme?

3. It’s premières crevette in French, gambero crudo in Italian and gamba crudo in Spanish (I couldn’t find it in Maori), what is it in English?

4.Who wrote My Brilliant Career? and who wrote A Town Like Alice?

5. What are the first four lines of the Australian National Anthem?

Points for answers:

David got  two – one for # 3 for being close with the Maori answer and another for a good try with the anthem.

Gravedodger got three and a half with a bonus for extra commentary on the possums.

Andrei got one and a half and a bonus for being the only one to get raw and for confusing me with #5. Was there another meaning in the wording of the question that I missed?

Adam got two and a bonus for being the first to get Miles Franklin whose endowment funds one of Australia’s most prestigious literary awards.

PDM got a half plus a near enough with the anthem and on the right track with the kangaroo.

Teletext wins an electronic bag of apricots for five (though I think Opoosum is the American one.

I’ve been lenient over answers to #2 –  shrimp is near enough to prawn – though for the record shrimp is crevette in French; gamberetto in Italian; camarón in Spanish and kōura rangi, kōuraura or uraura in Maori. Only Andrei got raw.

Answers follow the break:

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Crafar farm bid approved


Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson and Associate Finance Minister Jonathan Coleman have accepted the Overseas Investment Office recommendation to approve the sale of the 16 Crafar farms to  Milk New Zealand Holding Limited (Milk New Zealand), a subsidiary of Shanghai company Pengxin.

“It is clear that all criteria under sections 16 and 18 of the Overseas Investment Act 2005 have been met, therefore we accept the recommendation of the OIO to grant consent,” Mr Williamson said.

“We are satisfied that Milk New Zealand’s application for consent meets the criteria set out in the Act,” Mr Coleman said.

The approval follows the receivers, KordaMentha’s acceptance in late 2010 of Milk New Zealand’s bid for the farms.

Milk New Zealand’s acquisition will further support the supply of high quality dairy products into the Chinese market and help set the foundations for further economic and export opportunities with China.

Stringent conditions policed by the OIO will ensure that Milk New Zealand’s investment delivers substantial and identifiable benefits to New Zealand. These include investing more than $14m into the farms making them more economically and environmentally sustainable; protecting the Nga Herenga  and the Te Ruaki pa sites and improving walking access to the Pureora Forest Park and Te Rere falls.  An on-farm training facility for dairy farm workers will also be established.

If the application meets the Act’s criteria the ministers had little choice but to approve the bid.

But this won’t be the end of the matter:

A press release just issued by the Michael Fay backed Crafar Farms Purchase Group says the decision to approve the farm sale to Shanghai Pengxin Group was “wrong in law and, if not overturned by Judicial Review, sets up open season for any foreign buyers wanting New Zealand land.”

The Group said it is the highest New Zealand bidder ($171.5 million), offering $21.5 million more than the Government’s farming SOE, Landcorp.

The Group confirmed it would proceed with a Judicial Review launched earlier this week to try to stop the land from being sold offshore.

But the Herald puts the purchase of the farms into perspective:

The 16 Crafar farms have a combined area of approximately 7,893 hectares.

In the last two years, consent was granted for overseas persons to acquire 357,056 hectares of agricultural land.

Consents granted involving agricultural land by country of majority ownership, are:

* United States to acquire 25,306 hectares of farm land

* Germany to acquire 6,834 hectares of farm land

* Switzerland 9,727 hectares of farm land

* Australia 3,861 hectares of farm land

* United Kingdom 22,600 hectares of farm land

* Hong Kong to acquire 759 hectares of farm land

I don’t remember any fuss over any of those sales nor over the sale of a total of 650,000 to foreigners approved by Labour in the nine years it was in government.

There are very stringent conditions on the sale:

  • The individuals with control of Milk New Zealand must continue to be of good character
  • Milk New Zealand must invest a minimum of NZD $14m in the properties
  • Milk New Zealand and their associates must not acquire an ownership or control interest in milk processing facilities in New Zealand unless a 50% or more ownership or control interest in those facilities is held by non-overseas persons
  • Milk New Zealand must establish an on-farm training facility for dairy farm workers and must meet the capital cost of establishing this facility
  • Milk New Zealand must give two scholarships of not less than NZD $5,000 each year to students of the on-farm training facility with the first two scholarships to be awarded by 31 December 2013
  • Milk New Zealand must use reasonable endeavours to assist Landcorp to extend its business to, and market its products, in China
  • Milk New Zealand must provide public walking access over Benneydale Farm and Taharua Station, in consultation with the Department of Conservation  and the New Zealand Walking Access Commission
  • Milk New Zealand must take reasonable steps to protect and enhance existing areas of significant indigenous vegetation and significant habitats of indigenous fauna and flora on the properties
  • Milk New Zealand must register a heritage covenant in respect of the Te Ruaki pa site on Tiwhaiti Farm
  • If required by the Office of Treaty Settlements, the Applicant must transfer the Nga Herenga pa site (approximately 1.6ha located on Benneydale Farm) to the Crown for nil consideration.

The third point, restricting ownership or control of milk processing here to no more than a 50% share, should allay concerns about food safety and standards.

The OIO’s recommendation is here; the decision summary is here  and background information here.

The only question I’m left with is why the receivers insisted on selling the operation as a whole rather than offering up individual farms.

They say they would not have got as much that way but I find that difficult to believe. The demand for individual farms would have been much greater than it was for the whole operation and therefore the price ought to have been higher.


Food safety’s the key


It’s not just growing demand for food but safe food which makes New Zealand dairy products and the land which produces them so attractive:

It’s not just New Zealand’s temperate climate and ability to grow lush green  grass that has caught the eye of Chinese investors.

Our ability to produce high quality milk cheaply and efficiently is matched  only by our ability to do so safely.

As an analyst for NZX, Susan Kilsby has compiled a report on the booming  Chinese dairy industry. She says for the Chinese, it’s all about food  security.

“It’s not just setting up the farm, it’s also the security of supply chain  from the time the milk leaves the cow to the time it reaches the consumer  product at the end,” she said.

Our reputation for food safety is priceless and something we must do everything in our power to safeguard.

I don’t have any problem with the sale of farm land to foreigners as mandated by current legislation. But we do need to ensure that any food which is produced in, and marketed as from, New Zealand conforms to our standards.


Quote of the day


The most distracting political battle will be over who leads the opposition. Elbow work between Winston Peters and David Shearer has already begun, and although the Green Party has been slow to start it will not be long before Russel Norman’s Australian accent will be heard decrying foreign ownership of NZ land. If the battle turns up the heat on the Govt, democracy will be served: if not, the only winners will be Key – and, probably, David Cunliffe.Trans Tasman

Old rules don’t fit new media


The mainstream media is being very careful to not divulge the contents of the so-called teapot tapes.

But it wouldn’t take anyone who knows their way around the internet long to find the YouTube clip of the conversation recorded between John Key and John Banks.

The MSM is constrained by police advice it is an offence to disclose private communication unlawfully intercepted.

That could apply to websites based here but lots aren’t. It’s all over Twitter and some blogs also have links to the clip or enough information to help people looking for it.

And people are looking:

Yesterday evening the top search terms for this blog were:

Search Views
teapot tape transcript 49
teapot tapes transcript 21
blair mayne 7
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youtube teapot tape 7
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Whether or not the old rules apply to new media might be debatable but the coverage the tapes are getting on the internet show that there is enough uncertainty to leave old media at a disadvantage.

However, without divulging the contents almost everyone agrees there was nothing of great moment on the recording.

That has led political opportunists to say that proves John Key was wrong to make an issue of it.

On the contrary it shows he was motivated not by a desire to hide something but by principle.

All of us, whether or not we are public figures, ought to be able to have a conversation without the risk it might be recorded and made public without our knowledge or permission.

January 27 in history


1186 Henry VI, the son and heir of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I, married Constance of Sicily.

1343 Pope Clement VI issued the Bull Unigenitus.

1606  Gunpowder Plot: The trial of Guy Fawkes and other conspirators began, ending with their execution on January 31.

1695 Mustafa II became the Ottoman sultan on the death of Ahmed II. Mustafa rules until his abdication in 1703.

1756 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Austrian composer was born  (d. 1791).

1785 The University of Georgia was founded, the first public university in the United States.

1825 The U.S. Congress approved Indian Territory clearing the way for forced relocation of the Eastern Indians on the “Trail of Tears“.

1832  Lewis Carroll, English author, was born (d. 1898).
1888 The National Geographic Society was founded in Washington, D.C..

1908 William Randolph Hearst, Jr., American newspaper magnate, was born (d. 1993).

1921 Donna Reed, American actress, was born (d. 1986).

1933  Mohamed Al-Fayed, Egyptian billionaire businessman, was born.

1939 First flight of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning.

1941 Beatrice Tinsley, New Zealand astronomer and cosmologist , was born  (d. 1981).

1944  Nick Mason, English drummer (Pink Floyd),was born.

1944 The 900-day Siege of Leningrad was lifted.

1945 – World War II: The Red Army liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland.

1951 Brian Downey, Irish musician (Thin Lizzy), was born.

1951 Nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site began with a one-kiloton bomb dropped on Frenchman Flat.

1962 Peter Snell broke the world mile record  on grass at Cook’s Garden, Wanganui, in a time of 3 mins 53.4 secs.

Peter Snell breaks world mile record

1967 Apollo 1Astronauts Gus Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee were killed in a fire during a test of the spacecraft at the Kennedy Space Centre.

1967 – More than 60 nations signed the Outer Space Treaty banning nuclear weapons in space.

1968 Mike Patton, American singer (Faith No More), was born.

1973 Paris Peace Accords officially ended the Vietnam War. Colonel William Nolde was killed in action becoming the conflict’s last recorded American combat casualty.

1974 The Brisbane River flooded causing the largest flood to affect Brisbane City in the 20th Century.

1979 Daniel Vettori, New Zealand cricketer, was born.

1981 Tony Woodcock, New Zealand rugby union player, was born.

1983 Pilot shaft of the Seikan Tunnel, the world’s longest sub-aqueous tunnel (53.85 km) between the Japanese islands of Honshū and Hokkaidō, broke through.

1984 Pop singer Michael Jackson suffered second and third degree burn on his scalp during the filming of a Pepsi commercial in the Shrine Auditorium.

1996 Colonel Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara deposed the first democratically elected president of Niger, Mahamane Ousmane, in a military coup.

1996 Germany first observed International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

2006 Western Union discontinued its Telegram and Commercial Messaging services.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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