Word of the day


Apposite – highly appropriate and well-suited to the circumstance; apt; of striking relevance.

Feds Farm Day this Sunday


Federated Farmers Farm Day is taking place this Sunday:

On Sunday 18 March 2012, six farms from around New Zealand will open their gates to the public as part of Federated Farmers Farm Day.  Over the last four years more than 12,000 people have visited a farm in their area.
This national event gives urban people a chance to see what goes on behind the farm gate and get a taste of the rural lifestyle. The farms range from  dairy  farms to meat and fibre operations.
This year each of the six participating provinces: Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Manawatu, Rotorua and the Bay of Plenty, have organised an array of fun filled activities, ranging from sheep shearing, working dog demonstrations, pony rides, milking demonstrations and scenic farm walks.
Federated Farmers Farm Day is in its fourth year. It was established to bridge the urban rural divide, giving both groups a chance to come together.

Farming is full of pleasant surprises and even more pleasant people, like Sue Brown, Federated Farmers Golden Bay Dairy chair. For establishing a farmer-led catchment project to improve water quality, Sue has just become a Landcare Ambassador for the NZ Landcare Trust. Water also links another Landcare ambassador, Andrew Hayes. Together with his wife Jenny, the Hayes invested substantial time and effort to improve peat lakes on their Waikato farm. This work also saw them win the Ministry for the Environment’s 2007 Green Ribbon Award for Rural Sustainability.

Right now, the regional finals for the Ballance Farm Environment Awards, New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards and Young Farmers are all underway. Farmers rightly ask why such positive initiatives aren’t being rewarded with greater media attention. Bad news sells but too much of the negative creates unhelpful stereotypes. It’s time for balance.

Farm Day is our direct appeal to you, the public, to see farming for yourselves. We want to challenge stereotypes by giving you the chance to ask farmers how we manage nutrients and what we do with water. Ask whatever you like about animal welfare while seeing real farms in action. If you happen to be near Wellington, tap me on the shoulder at the Battle Hill Regional Park in Pauatahaui.

Sure we have some ratbags in our industry but it’s my hope people will go away surprised by how ‘green’ most farmers genuinely are. Only last month, 550 people attended the inaugural Canterbury Dairy Effluent Expo in Christchurch. Getting 550 people to any event is big, but one specifically on dairy effluent management? At DairyLink events in the Manawatu, which Federated Farmers is part of, water quality scientist Shirley Hayward is helping farmers to boost productivity while reducing their environmental footprint. Farmers take this seriously.

It’s so easy to forget that the bad news we see in the media is there because it is news while the good news stories, farmers looking after their stock well, improving their farms, taking care of soil and water, aren’t news because that’s what most do, day in and day out.



7/10 in NZ History Online’s quiz.

Small risks sooner better than big ones later


Quote of the day:

“It’s better to learn about risk and consequences and controlling your emotion when you are 8 and up a tree, than when you are 18 behind the wheel of a Subaru, getting chased by the cops.”    Professor Grant Schofield.

He was commenting on the Milo State of the Play survey which shows that children have less playtime than their parents and grandparents did.

P.S. Thomas Lumley critiques reports on the survey in Run Along and Play at Stats Chat.

Businesses key to growth


The government is turning its focus on to initiatives that will help businesses grow and to build a more productive and competitive economy, Finance Minister Bill English and Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said.

“Sustainable economic growth which creates permanent worthwhile jobs is best achieved by building a competitive economy that allows business to trade successfully with the rest of the world,” the Ministers say.

“The Government has put together a business growth plan that will ensure ministers and departments are focused on the six important inputs businesses need to access to be internationally competitive.”

The six key areas in the business growth agenda are:

  • Capital markets
  • Innovation and ideas
  • Skilled and safe workplaces
  • Natural resources
  • Infrastructure (including electricity, broadband, transport); and
  • Export markets

Ministers English and Joyce will co-ordinate informal groups of ministers in each of these policy areas to drive the growth plan forward and deliver on the Government’s 120-point action plan announced before the election. New polices will be added to each of these areas over the next three years.

The Government will produce progress reports in the second half of this year on each of the six areas to give greater visibility to the Government’s actions and progress. The six reports will be rolled out starting from June.

The Economic Development Ministry will also produce a report this year on the GDP contribution of each major industry, discussing the challenges and opportunities they face.

“Throughout the 2000s the competitiveness of the New Zealand economy suffered as new costs were heaped on business and government spending grew out of control,” Mr English says.

“Over the past three years we’ve taken significant steps to make our economy more competitive and having a clear focus on these areas will help drive that forward.”

Mr Joyce says the business growth agenda will ensure the Government is focused on what matters to business, and ensures companies can more easily access the advice and support they need.

“Lifting the overall productivity and competitiveness of the economy is critical to business growth, to creating more jobs and higher wages,” Mr Joyce says.

“The reality is that if we want more and better jobs for New Zealanders we need to encourage more businesses to be based here. To do that, the Government is focused on making it easier for businesses to access the six key areas they need to grow.

“Nothing creates sustainable jobs and boosts our standard of living better than business confidence and growth.”

Governments don’t create jobs but they can foster an environment that helps the businesses that do maintain and create jobs.


Bad policy good politics


The 2005 election was very, very expensive.

Helen Clark threw everything she could at it including large amounts of public money.

Graphs of government spending tell the story – a slight increase from 1999 to 2005 then a steep incline from 2005.

Among the expensive 2005 election bribes was interest-free student loans which, as John Key says was good politics (in the sense that this policy helped Labour wint he election) but bad policy.

He said the scheme was politically popular, even if it “may not be great economics”.

“That is about the only thing that will get [students] out of bed before 7 o’clock at night to vote, but it’s not politically sustainable to put interest back on student loans. It may not be great economics, but it’s great politics.

“It is a bit of a tragedy because it sends the wrong message to young people, it tells them to go out and borrow debt.”

It’s not just students who voted for the policy, a lot of their parents and grandparents did too.

Once people have been given something like this it’s very difficult to take it away.

The only way to make a sustainable change to the policy would be with cross-party support and that is unlikely.

The government is making a much more concerted effort to get money back from people who have gone overseas and perhaps the publication of graduate incomes might make some students think before they incur large debts.

March 14 in history


1489 The Queen of Cyprus, Catherine Cornaro, sold her kingdom to Venice.

1590 Battle of Ivry: Henry of Navarre and the Huguenots defeated the forces of the Catholic League under the Duc de Mayenne during the French Wars of Religion.

1647 Thirty Years’ War: Bavaria, Cologne, France and Sweden signed the Truce of Ulm.

1681 – Georg Philipp Telemann, German composer, was born (d. 1767).

1757 Admiral John Byng was executed by firing squad, on-board the HMS Monarch, for neglecting his duty.

1794 Eli Whitney was granted a patent for the cotton gin.

1804 – Johann Strauss, Sr., Austrian composer, was born (d. 1849).

1833 – Lucy Hobbs Taylor, first female dentist in the United States, was born (d. 1910).

1844 – King Umberto I of Italy, was born (d. 1900).

1864 – Casey Jones, American railroad engineer, was born (d. 1900).

1868 – Emily Murphy, Canadian women’s rights activist, first female magistrate in the British Empire, was born (d 1933).

1869 Defeat of Titokowaru.

Von Tempsky's death Kennett Watkins.jpg

1879 – Albert Einstein, German-born physicist, Nobel Prize laureate, was born (d. 1955).

1900 The Gold Standard Act was ratified, placing United States currency on the gold standard.

1903 The Hay-Herran Treaty, granting the United States the right to build the Panama Canal, was ratified by the United States Senate.

1905 Chelsea Football Club was founded.

1910 Lakeview Gusher, the largest U.S. oil well gusher near Bakersfield, California, vented to atmosphere.

1914 – Bill Owen, British actor, was born (d. 1999).

1915 Cornered off the coast of Chile by the Royal Navy after fleeing the Battle of the Falkland Islands, the German light cruiser SMS Dresden was abandoned and scuttled by her crew.

1933 – Sir Michael Caine, British actor, was born.

1936 – Sir Bob Charles, New Zealand golfer, was born.

1939 Slovakia declared independence under German pressure.

1942  Orvan Hess and John Bumstead became the first in the world to successfully treat a patient, Anne Miller, using penicillin.

1945 World War II – The R.A.F. first operational use of the Grand Slam bomb, Bielefeld, Germany.

1945 – Walter Parazaider, American saxophonist (Chicago), was born.

1947 – Pam Ayres, British poet, was born.

1948 – Billy Crystal, American actor and comedian, was born.

1951  Korean War: For the second time, United Nations troops recaptured Seoul.

1958 – Albert II, Prince of Monaco, was born.

1964  A jury in Dallas, Texas found Jack Ruby guilty of killing Lee Harvey Oswald, assassin of John F. Kennedy.

1968 – Megan Follows, Canadian actress, was born.

1972  Italian publisher and former partisan Giangiacomo Feltrinelli was killed by an explosion.

1976 – Daniel Gillies, Canadian born New Zealand actor, was born.

1978  The Israeli Defense Force invades and occupies southern Lebanon, in Operation Litani.

1979 A Hawker Siddeley Trident crashed into a factory near Beijing, killing at least 200.

1980 Split Enz reached No 1 with I Got You from their True Colours  album.

Split Enz hit No.1 with 'I got you'

1980 A plane crashesd during final approach near Warsaw killing 87 people, including a 14-man American boxing team.

1984 – Gerry Adams, head of Sinn Féin, was seriously wounded in an assassination attempt.

1989 General Michel Aoun declared that he will act for the liberation of Lebanon.

1994 Linux kernel version 1.0.0 was released.

1995 Astronaut Norman Thagard became the first American astronaut to ride to space on-board a Russian launch vehicle.

1998 An earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale hit southeastern Iran.

2005 Cedar Revolution: hundreds of thousands of Lebanese went into the streets of Beirut to demonstrate against the Syrian military presence in Lebanon and against the government.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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