Word of the day

March 1, 2012

Corgi – dwarf dog; either of two long-bodied short-legged sturdy breeds of dog, the Cardigan and the Pembroke, also called Welsh corgi.


Google doodle: dafs and dragon

March 1, 2012

When I’ve googled a couple of times today I’ve ended up on the New Zealand page on which it’s business as usual.

But if you go to google.co.uk you find the Google doodle depicts a dragon in a field of daffodils in honour of St David’s Day and Wales whose patron saint he is.

Google doodle: St David's Day dragon

St David :
or Dewi Sant, as he is known in the Welsh language, . . . was a Celtic monk, abbot and bishop, who lived in the sixth century. During his life, he was the archbishop of Wales, and he was one of many early saints who helped to spread Christianity among the pagan Celtic tribes of western Britain. . . Dewi was a very gentle person who lived a frugal life. It is claimed that he ate mostly bread and herbs – probably watercress, which was widely used at the time. Despite this supposedly meagre diet, it is reported that he was tall and physically strong. . . Dewi is sometimes known, in Welsh, as ‘Dewi Ddyfrwr’ (David the Water Drinker) and, indeed, water was an important part of his life – he is said to have drunk nothing else. Sometimes, as a self-imposed penance, he would stand up to his neck in a lake of cold water, reciting Scripture. . .
Hat Tip: The Guardian

Is this a record?

March 1, 2012

Is this a record?

The 50th parliament sat for a couple of days last year. It is now coming to the end of its second week this year and Speaker Lockwood Smith has already ejected an MP from the House.

It comes as no surprise that the MP was Winston Peters who was not an MP in the previous parliament when the Speaker asserted his authority to clean up behaviour.

Peters has been testing the limits and learned today when he called Gerry Brownlee an illiterate woodwork teacher that this Speaker takes a much firmer line than his predecessors.


Rural round up

March 1, 2012

US dairy lobby drops oppostion to NZ export access:

An American dairy producers’ group has dropped its longstanding opposition to New Zealand dairy exports being included in the nine-country trade talks known as the TransPacific Partnership, or TPP.

The backdown by the United States Dairy Export Council comes as New Zealand negotiators prepare to take on the US over dairy access in the talks. . .

NZ Farming Systems ekes out $US 367000 1h profit:

NZ Farming Systems Uruguay, the South American dairy farmer that was bailed out by Singaporean owner Olam International, eked out a small profit in the first half on higher milk sales and a one-time accounting gain on he value of livestock.

Profit was US$367,000 in the six months ended Dec. 31, from a loss of $6.77 million a year earlier, the company said in a statement. Sales jumped 81 percent to $34 million.

Farming Systems first-half result would have been a loss of $5.1 million, if not for a fair-value adjustment on livestock of US$5.5 million. In the year-earlier period there was no adjustment.. .

North Island beef processing competition heats up – Allan Barber:

In spite of the slow start to theNorthIslandseason, currently 18% behind last year, forecasts suggest it will catch up, even exceed last season. But it is certain to come late with dairy farmers likely to keep milking as long as they can, unless we get an unseasonably cold early winter. What’s also certain is there will be plenty of processing capacity to handle it, especially when the Te Aroha rebuild is finished. . .

Battle of employment philosophies spreading – Allan Barber:

The weekend’s announcement by AFFCO of a lockout at five of itsNorth Islandmeat plants comes hard on the heels of the three week strike by the Ports of Auckland stevedores, following several months of increasingly acrimonious negotiations.

 Unless it gets agreement to its proposal, AFFCO intends to lock out 758 of its meat workers covered under the Core Collective Agreement which expired last September and which the company has been trying to renegotiate unsuccessfully with the Meat Workers Union for some months now. . .

Cooper’s resignation signals broader meat industry frsutration – Allan Barber:

Keith Cooper’s resignation from the board of Beef & Lamb New Zealand, sudden as it appeared to be, had been brewing for a time. Cooper had previously expressed frustration with farmer directors’ lack of commercial awareness, terming it naivety, and obviously believed B&LNZ was getting involved in areas it should leave to the meat companies, such as market development. . .

Australian Dairy conference – the use of social media by dairy farmers– Pasture to Profit:

“Consumers don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care!” This was one of the powerful messages from Charlie Arnot CEO of the Centre of Food Integrity (@foodintegrity, @charlie_Arnot) presented at the Australian Dairy conference (#ausdairy) in Warragul, Victoria, Australia.

Charlie spoke of the need for all farmers to acquire a “Social License to operate” by building trust with not only the local community but in fact all consumers & customers of the food farmers produce.  http://www.foodintegrity.org/   Trying to defend farmers & farming practices by arguing with science or attacking the attackers is clearly failing. . .

Smart on-farm management is good risk maangement – Pasture to Profit:

Simple low cost On farm management changes can substantially contribute to a better environmental outcome. This is a really powerful & positive message to come out of the Massey University’s Fertilizer & Lime Research Centre’s conference held last week at Massey’s campus at Palmerston North, NZ.

Over 3 days there were papers from researchers, consultants, farmers, Regional Councils, the fertilizer industry & environmental groups…..


Thursday’s quiz

March 1, 2012

1. Who said: “We’re all human, aren’t we? Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving.”? 

2. It’s viein French, vita in Italian, vida in Spanish and koiora in Maori, what is it in English?

3. Who is the only NZ Governor General who was born in the South island?

4. Name two of the four members of The Monkees.

5. Which is your favourite of their songs?


Tourist hot-spots and hot tourist spots

March 1, 2012

There are tourist hot spots and there are hot tourist spots.

The hot-spots are the ones most people know about and where most tourists will be directed by travel agents.

The hot tourist spots are often less well known and none the less attractive for that. Among these is Oamaru and its hinterland and it’s not just parochial people like me who think so.

In this month’s 25th anniversary issue of Cuisine Amanda Hyde lists 25 of the hippest destinations.

Only two of the hip destinations are in New Zealand – one of those is the Te Araroa Trail, the other is the Waitaki Valley and Oamaru.

 Want your holiday to come with spectacular scenery, good food, top wine and cute penguins? Head to New Zealand’s Waitaki Valley.

Oamaru’s beautiful historic stone buildings will transport you back several centuries – complete the illusion with morning tea at Annie’s Victorian Tea Rooms, where you’ll be served leaf tea and homemade cakes by staff dressed in period costume.

Steampunk HQ continues the historic vibe – through art, music, film and machines, it imagines a world where steam power is king.

The region is also home to the renowned Riverstone Kitchen, Fleurs Place and The Loan & Merc, as well as a host of vineyards and, of course, the blue penguin colony. visitoamaru.co.nz

The ODT and Oamaru Mail have more on the story.

If you want to learn more about the area’s charms, have a look at Oamaru Life. This is the blog written by the owner of Pen-y-bryn Lodge, a  five star, category-one historic residence. He has travelled widely and lived in many different exotic locations but is now pleased and proud to call Oamaru home.


Science when it suits

March 1, 2012

The Taranaki Daily News has a very good editorial on how the Greens want to have their scientific cake and eat it too:

. . . It is fascinating that the Green Party clearly supports science and scientists when the issue is climate change but sees little stock in the science and scientists when the issue is something that might run counter to their ideology.

Which is what this is all about. Because it most definitely is not about the science, the rational.

It is the pursuit of ideology that puts the Greens in bed with one set of scientists but has them estranged from another. And that politically inspired hypocrisy is a disservice both to the party and the New Zealand scientific community they should be supporting, celebrating, promoting. . .

Science is good when it suits their argument but not when it doesn’t.


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