Word of the day


Comport – to behave or conduct oneself in a particuar manner; to accord with or agree with.

Dairy Holdings’ shareholders takeover SCF shares


Shareholders of Dairy Holdings Ltd, which owns 58 dairy farms in the South Island, have bought shares in the company which were owned by the collapsed South Canterbury Finance (SCF) and others.

Chairman Bill Baylis said earlier that transactions were due to settle on Thursday and that Overseas Investment Office approval would not be needed. Companies Office records on Friday show that SCF has been removed as a shareholder. It previously had a 33.6 percent stake.

Three UK entities, Pals Plus LLC, NZ Cow Company LLC , and Little Cow Company LLC, have also been removed as shareholders and holdings for existing shareholders Colin Armer and Alan Pye have been amended.

SCF receivers had been trying to sell the Dairy Holdings stake jointly with four other shareholders, creating a 62.5 percent controlling stake but there has been speculation that the existing shareholders had preemptive rights and that the company, rather than the receiver controlled the sale process. . .

Most of Dairy Holdings, farms are in North Otago and Canterbury and unlike the Crafar farms are regarded as being well run.

This news contradicts the rumour circulating earlier this week that the Government Superannuation Fund would buy the shares.



7/10 in Stuff’s Biz Quiz.

Friday’s answers


Thursday’s questions were:

1. This is the Chinese year of what?

2. Of which country is Goodluck Jonathan president?

3. Who said: Diligence is the mother of good luck.”?

4. It’s chance in French,  fortuna in Italian, suerte in Spanish and waimaria in Maori, what is it in English?

5. Who wrote Lucky Jim?

Points for answers:

Andrei wins an electronic bag of necterines with five right and  a bonus for having read the book. No, I didn’t win lotto or something. I just happened to read about Goodluck Jonathan.

PDM gets three and a smile for #5.

Willdwan gets four and a bonus for having read the book.

Alwyn wins an electrnoic bag of nectarines too for five right.

Adam gets four.

Grant gets four with a double bonus for the anecdote.

Answers follow the break Read the rest of this entry »

Information is power


Information is power and one of the criticisms of the education system is that too much information isn’t shared with parents.

Education Minister Hekia Parata is considering addressing that:

The Government appears set on publishing primary school performance data, criticised by a teacher union as “junk information”.

Education Minister Hekia Parata yesterday said she would consider setting up a website similar to the MySchool resource that operates in Australia.

The Australian example “deals with a number of the concerns that have been rumoured” about the risks of league tables, Ms Parata said.

Comparisons between schools on MySchool were only between “statistically similar schools,” giving a fairer picture of performance.

“I think that parents vest a lot of trust in the principals and teachers of the education sector – and so they should – and that trust should be returned by letting parents know accurate information about what’s happening,” she said.

Teachers – or at least their union – are opposed to the very idea of giving this information to parents but as Maxim researcher Steve Thomas points out the data has the potential to be very useful:

“. . .  Information about schools is a precious commodity and the reason it is so highly sought is simple—people want to know what goes on in classrooms and how well children are learning at school. This can help us understand which schools need the most assistance, and can help parents make informed choices about their children’s education. As long as the data is reported well and with sufficient detail,there is absolutely no need for alarm,” says Thomas.

It is better that the Ministry releases the data in a way that gives the most helpful and accurate indication about how school’s are performing, rather than leaving others to crudely interpret the data or to speculate with inadequate information,” says Thomas. . . 

The key is good data which compares like with like and gives parents all the information they need to understand how well their children are learning and the quality of the teaching they’re receiving.

At the moment parents have to rely on their own observations and the grapevine which are not necessarily reliable.

Triple profit still not good return


Landcorp has tripled its first half operating profit, largely due to improvement in livestock prices:

Net operating profit was about $11 million in the six months ended Dec. 31, up from $3.2 million a year earlier, the company said in a statement. Sales climbed 13 percent to $103 million.

Sales growth at New Zealand’s largest farming company was led by a 27 percent increase in revenue from livestock to $46.3 million, reflecting higher prices for meat and store animals. Dairy revenue rose 2.5 percent to $53 million on higher milk sales. Total expenses rose to $87 million from about $80 million, largely due to the rising cost of fuel.

“In the North Island, Landcorp operations were not constrained by weather extremes as they have been during each of the previous four springs,” the company said in its half year report. “Grass growth was strong in both islands, and reproductive performance unhindered by storms or exceptional dry conditions. These results were positive for the continued rebuilding of flock and herd sizes following the severe droughts of 2007 and 2008.”

Landcorp expects a positive outcome for 2011/2012, with a net operating profit above $20 million and a $15 million dividend payment for the year.

First-half net profit, which includes changes in the value of livestock required by NZ IFRS accounting standards, rose 73 percent to $71.95 million.

That last sum is an accounting entry which reflects the increase in the value of capital stock rather than revenue.

It all sounds very impressive but the expected $15 million dividend doesn’t look nearly as good as a percentage return on the value of its assets – $1.6b last year and given the increase in the value of land and stock it will be higher now.

Among the arguments against allowing the sale of farmland to foreigners advanced in the last couple of weeks is that it provides unfair competition for local buyers.

Is competition from an SOE any fairer?

Giving win for effect


Trans Tasman sums up the Maori Party grandstanding over the changes to references to Treaty principles in the SOE Act needed to enable partial sales:

The Maori Party needs a win. For its own supporters it could not be seen to give way on this one although the point is largely symbolic. National needs to give them a win which won’t make a lot of difference. You can drive a herd of elegance over this, but the substance is still so much political dust and noise.

If a minority of shares is to be sold the government must do everything it can to ensure it gets the best price.

If the Treaty clause remained it would create uncertainty which would devalue the shares.

Besides, the Treaty was an agreement between the Crown and Maori, it doesn’t bind other people and can’t apply to companies with other shareholders the way it does to SOEs which are wholly owned by the state.

February 3 in history


On February 3:

1112 Ramon Berenguer III of Barcelona and Douce I of Provence married, uniting the fortunes of those two states.

1377  More than 2,000 people of Cesena were slaughtered by Papal Troops (Cesena Bloodbath).

1451 Sultan Mehmed II inherited the throne of the Ottoman Empire.

1488 Bartolomeu Dias of Portugal landed in Mossel Bay after rounding the Cape of Good Hope, becoming the first known European to travel so far south.

1637 Tulip mania collapsed in the United Provinces (now the Netherlands) by government order.

1690 The colony of Massachusetts issued the first paper money in America.

1777 John Cheyne, British physician, surgeon and author, was born  (d. 1836).

1807 A British military force, under Brigadier-General Sir Samuel Auchmuty captured the city of Montevideo.

1809 Felix Mendelssohn, German composer, was born (d. 1847).

1821 Elizabeth Blackwell, first female American physician, was born  (d. 1910)

1830 The sovereignty of Greece was confirmed in a London Protocol.

1867 Emperor Meiji became the 122nd emperor of Japan.

1870 The Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, granting voting rights to citizens regardless of race.

1874 Gertrude Stein, American writer, was born (d. 1946).

1894 Norman Rockwell, American illustrator, was born  (d. 1978).

1899 Doris Speed, English actress, was born (d. 1994).

1907 James Michener, American author, was born  (d. 1997).

1913 The Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, authorizing the Federal government to impose and collect an income tax.

1916  Parliament buildings in Ottawa, Canada burned down.

1918 The Twin Peaks Tunnel in San Francisco started service as the longest streetcar tunnel in the world at 11,920 feet (3,633 meters) long.

1927  Val Doonican, Irish singer and entertainer, was born.

1931 The Hawkes Bay earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale struck – New Zealand’s worst natural disaster killed 258 people.

Hawke's Bay earthquake strikes

1932 Peggy Ann Garner, American actress, was born (d. 1984).

1943 Dennis Edwards, American singer (The Temptations), was born.

1944 Trisha Noble, Australian singer and actress, was born.

1947 Dave Davies, English musician (The Kinks), was born.

1947 The lowest temperature in North America  was recorded in Snag, Yukon.

1950 Morgan Fairchild, American actress, was born.

1958 Founding of the Benelux Economic Union.

1959 Lol Tolhurst, English musician (The Cure), was born.

1959 A plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper, and pilot Roger Peterson and the incident becomes known as The Day the Music Died.

1960 British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan spoke of the “a wind of change” of increasing national consciousness blowing through colonial Africa, signalling that his Government was likely to support decolonisation.

1966 The unmanned Soviet Luna 9 spacecraft made the first controlled rocket-assisted landing on the Moon.

1967 Ronald Ryan, the last person to be executed in Australia was hanged in Pentridge Prison, Melbourne.

1969 Yasser Arafat was appointed Palestine Liberation Organisation leader at the Palestinian National Congress.

1971 New York Police Officer Frank Serpico was shot during a drug bust in Brooklyn and survived to later testify against police corruption. Many believe the incident proves that NYPD officers tried to kill him.

1976 Isla Fisher, Australian actress, was born.

1984 Dr. John Buster and the research team at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center announced history’s first embryo transfer, from one women to another resulting in a live birth.

1984 Space Shuttle programme: STS-41-B Mission was launched to International Space Station.

1988  Iran-Contra Affair: The United States House of Representatives rejected President Ronald Reagan’s request for $36.25 million to aid Nicaraguan Contras.

1989 P.W. Botha resigned party leadership and the presidency of South Africa.

1989 A military coup overthrew Alfredo Stroessner, dictator of Paraguay since 1954.

1991The Italian Communist Party dissolved and split into the Democratic Party of the Left and the Communist Refoundation Party.

1996 The Lijiang earthquake in China struck, killing 200 people.

1998 – Cavalese cable-car disaster: a United States Military pilot caused the death of 20 people when his low-flying plane cuts the cable of a cable-car near Trento, Italy.

2007 A Baghdad market bombing killed at least 135 people and injured a further 339.

2010 – A cast of the sculpture L’Homme qui marche I by Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti sells for £65 million, setting the record for most expensive sculpture sold at a public auction.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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