Word of the day


Preponderate – to exceed in amount, influence, importance or weight; To be greater than something else in force, power or quantity,  predominate.

Softening for milk payout drop?


An email from Fonterra chair Sir Henry van der Heyden this week warned farmers the outlook for milk is uncertain.

Total EU dairy exports are up 8.8% and the February milk price in the USA is 6.2% lower than it was at the same time last year.

Could he be softening us up for an announcement that the payout might be lower than forecast?

The price of milk has been fluctuating and the trade-weighted index price of milk dropped .9% in this morning’s GlobalDairyTrade auction.

The price of anhydrous milk fat increased 3.7%; cheddar was down 1.3% mik protein concentrate dropped 7.6%; rennet casein was down 2.5%; skim milk powder was down 1.9% and whole milk powder was down .3%.

Love pops up in unexpected places


Answer of the day from yesterday’s Question Time:

4. DAVID SHEARER (Leader of the Opposition) to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by all his recent statements?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): Yes, especially the one I said to my wife when I told her I loved her.

The video is here.

Many reasons for MOM


Prime Minister John Key explained the reasoning behind the Mixed Ownership Model for state assets during Question Time yesterday:

The mixed-ownership model is there for a variety of extremely sound reasons. For a start-off, it is to give New Zealanders an opportunity to have some quality assets to invest in. This is actually what opponents of the mixed-ownership model are saying: they are saying it is OK for the New Zealand Superannuation Fund to be the custodian of $17 billion worth of New Zealanders’ assets, and to invest in just about every single Australian energy company, but it is not to be allowed to invest in New Zealand energy companies, with the exception of Contact Energy. Secondly, the Government wants to expand the balance sheet, not contract the balance sheet, and in 5 years’ time we will have $22 billion more of assets. Thirdly, I do not know whether the member watches TV, but if he does he will see countries that are highly indebted, like Greece, and realise that that is not the right way to be going.

Quite why it is acceptable for our super fund to invest in Australian energy companies but be limited to investing in only one of ours escapes me.

Why opponents to the MOM think increasing borrowing from foreign banks is preferable to providing investment options for domestic individuals and institutions is even more puzzling.


Who else would they vote for?


The Sunday Star Times was excited by the 100 emails Prime Minister John Key received from people opposed to the sale of the Crafar Farms to Shanghai Pengxin, calling it a heartland backlash.

One farmer said he had been a National supporter for 45 years but the agreement to sell the farms to Chinese interests ahead of New Zealanders was the “final nail in the coffin”.

Key received more than 100 emails or letters opposed to the sale, most within days of the announcement of the deal with Shanghai Pengxin.

“For many years I have voted for National and I believe in the philosophies. I am utterly disappointed at the decision to sell the farms to a foreign buyer … 2011 will be the last time I vote for National,” one said.

Another wrote: “We have always supported you, and National, but we aren’t with you on this. We have to let you know how strongly we feel about this.”

One wonders how much these people understand about the National Party’s philosophy and principles because there is nothing there that would restrict the freedom of people to sell their own land to the highest bidder nor is there anything that would support xenophobia.

Regardless of that, 100 emails isn’t many on a hot-button issue.

“Pretty much on any issue in New Zealand I’ll get 100 emails,      and sometimes I get 10,000 emails if it’s a significant      issue. So there’s a mixture of views, no doubt about that,”      he told TV One’s Breakfast show.   

Mr Key said the Crafar farms sale was not the main issue farmers raised with him.   

“Certainly I’ve been around a lot of rural events – the      Waimumu Field Days, the Golden Shears on Saturday night – and that’s not really the issue they’re coming up and talking  about,” he said.   

“Some farmers come up to me and say `Look, I own the farm, it’s my property right and I should be able to sell it to      whoever I like.’ Others say they don’t want the farmland going overseas. There’s definitely a range of views but I don’t see it hurting National support.”  

People who change allegiance on a single issue aren’t strong supporters to start with, and any farmers who think they’re not happy with National only need to look at yesterday’s debate on changes to pastoral lease rentals to see how much worse off they’d be with a Labour-led government:

The Crown Pastoral Land (Rent for Pastoral Leases) Amendment Bill will replace the land valuation basis for setting rents on  pastoral leases (on mainly high country farms) with a system based on the income earning potential of the  farm land.

Labour MP Raymond Huo said his party was opposing the bill because it was subsidising some high country farmers and did not reflect the real worth of the Crown owned land.

Agriculture Minister David Carter accused Labour of the politics of jealousy and envy and said their policies in Government had shown a “lack of care for the most fragile farming environment’’ in the country.

He said former prime minister Helen Clark had attempted to “drive’’ the farmers off the land and turn it into part of the conservation estate.

The Government now wanted to allow farmers to pay a rent based on the income they could take off the land while maintaining it for future generations. The Crown, he said, had proven to be a poor caretaker of the high country land.

The loss of tussock at the top of the Lindis Pass is a sad reminder of what happens when the Crown tries to replace the high country farmers who have looked after pastoral lease land for generations.

Another example of how poorly Labour understands farming was last year’s beat-up on how much tax they pay.

As Cactus Kate asks, if farmers aren’t going to vote for National, who would they support?

. . .  Labour who will tax the sale on their farm at 15% who along with the Greens will make them pay for their pollution and treat them as the rich pricks they deserve to be treated as?  NZ First…hehe…..

The small number of farmers who have their noses in a knot over the farm sales are shooting the wrong target.

I have nothing against the sale of the farms to foreigners but those who do should be directing the ire at the receivers who insisted on selling the farms as a job lot rather than individually.  That would have opened up a far larger number of would-be buyers and made it much easier for locals to make realistic offers.

Election win gives mandate


Elections in New Zealand are run on a multitude of issues.

The winning party can’t claim to have a mandate on every issue but holding a majority in parliament gives it a mandate to govern and to do what it said it would do in its campaign even if that isn’t popular.

The Opposition has done a good job in stirring up opposition to what it labels asset sales but is more accurately a partial sale.

But the attempt to force a referendum on the issue of the Mixed Ownership Model for a few state assets is a stunt which will, if it is successful, cost a lot but change nothing.

Asked about the plans for a referendum today, Key said: “We’ve had that, it was called an election.”

He said National had openly campaigned on the issue and won the election decisively.

As the Prime Minister pointed out in parliament yesterday there are many reasons that more voters favoured National than any other party in the election:

 I accept that voters’ votes are for a variety of different reasons. I think voters who voted for National in the last campaign did so because they knew that we could manage the economy better than Labour and the Greens, they knew that we would have a better jobs programme than Labour and the Greens, they knew that we would run the health system better than Labour and the Greens, they knew that we would run the police force better than Labour and the Greens, and they knew that we would look after education services and demand standards better than Labour and the Greens. So I accept that there is a multitude of reasons, but you would have to say election 2011 was very much on the mixed-ownership model, and, on that basis, more people voted for National than in the previous election.

Some people might have voted for National in spite of the mixed ownerhsip model policy but even with almost all other parties vigorously opposing the partial sale of a few energy companies, the party won enough seats to lead the government.

That gives it a mandate to enact the policies on which it campaigned with or without a referendum.

March 7 in history


321  Roman Emperor Constantine I decreed that the dies Solis Invicti (sun-day) was the day of rest in the Empire.

1277 Stephen Tempier, bishop of Paris, condemned 219 philosophical and theological theses.

1671 Robert Roy MacGregor, Scottish folk hero, was born (d1734).

1799 – Napoleon Bonaparte captured Jaffa in Palestine and his troops killed more than 2,000 Albanian captives.

1814 Napoleon I of France won the Battle of Craonne.

1827 – Brazil marines unsuccessfully attacked the temporary naval base of Carmen de Patagones, Argentina.

1827 – Shrigley Abduction: Ellen Turner was abducted by Edward Gibbon Wakefield a future politician in colonial New Zealand.

1842 The first official execution in New Zealand took place when Maketu Wharetotara, the 17-year-old son of the Nga Puhi chief Ruhe of Waimate, was hanged for killing five people.

First official  execution in NZ

1850 Senator Daniel Webster gave his “Seventh of March” speech endorsing the Compromise of 1850 in order to prevent a possible civil war.

1875 Maurice Ravel, French composer, was born(d. 1937).

1876 Alexander Graham Bell was granted a patent forthe telephone beating Antonio Meucci by just 4 hours.

1887  North Carolina State University was founded.

1912 Roald Amundsen announced that his expedition had reached the South Pole on December 14, 1911.

1914 Prince William of Wied arrived in Albania to begin his reign.

1925  Rene Gagnon, American Marine shown in photograph of the Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, was born (d. 1979).

1930 Antony Armstrong-Jones, British photographer, Lord Snowdon, former husband of Princess Margaret, was born.

1936  In violation of the Locarno Pact and the Treaty of Versailles, Germany reoccupied the Rhineland.

1944 Sir Ranulph Fiennes, British soldier and explorer, was born.

1946  Matthew Fisher, British musician (Procol Harum), was born.

1945 American troops seized the Ludendorff Bridge over the Rhine River at Remagen.

1951 Korean War: Operation Ripper – United Nations troops led by General Matthew Ridgeway began an assault against Chinese forces.

1952 Viv Richards, Antiguan West Indies cricketer, was born.

1958 Rik Mayall, British actor, was born.

1965 Bloody Sunday: A group of 600 civil rights marchers were forcefully broken up in Selma, Alabama.

1971  Sheikh Mujibur Rahman delivered his historic “This time the struggle is for our freedom” speech at Ramna Race Course, calling upon the Bengali people to prepare for the freedom struggle ahead.

1973 Sébastien Izambard, operatic pop singer (Il Divo), was born.

1986 Challenger Disaster: Divers from the USS Preserver located the crew cabin of Challenger on the ocean floor.

1989 Iran and the United Kingdom broke diplomatic relations after a row over Salman Rushdie and his controversial novel.

1994 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that parodies of an original work are generally covered by the doctrine of fair use.

2007 – British House of Commons voted to make the upper chamber, the House of Lords, 100% elected.

2009– The Real Irish Republican Army killed two British soldiers and two civilians, the first British military deaths in Northern Ireland since The Troubles.

2009 – The Kepler space observatory, designed to discover Earth-like planetso orbiting other stars, was launched.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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