Paula Bennett married

15/04/2012

Paula Bennett used Facebook to announce she got married at Piha yesterday.

That provides the escuse to use one of the loveliest blessings I’ve come across which was written by Pinky Agnew:

May God grant you:

Enough love to give each other trust,

Enough trust to give each other faith,

Enough faith to give each other strength,

Enough strength to give each other courage,

Enough courage to give each other freedom,

And enough freedom to give each other love.


Word of the day

15/04/2012

Jejune –  devoid of interest or significance; dull or insipid; lacking knowledge or experience; uninformed; dry; empty; immature; childish, juvenile.


Running of the bulls

15/04/2012

The annual running of the bulls in Pamploma gets world-wide attention but isn’t the only place in Spain people take on los toros.

The Toro Embolao is part of the spring festival in Vejer de la Frontera, the village on the Costa de la Luz in Andalucia where we spent a summer.


Rural round-up

15/04/2012

Grape expectations 2012 – Sarah Marquet:

Wine is one of Central Otago’s key industries,      pumping millions of dollars into the local economy, and after      fears a significant amount of fruit would be lost to disease,      a great vintage is predicted from this season. Reporter Sarah      Marquet finds out why.

A warm spring, leading to good flowering and fruit followed by a hot summer allowing growers to apply water stress to  their grapes set up a good season for Central Otago wine      makers, and the “spectacular Indian summer” has dried up any botrytis that was threatening crops. . .   

Season in Waitaki Valley ‘shaping up quite well’ – David Bruce:

It has been a challenging season for Waitaki Valley    winegrowers, but the talk is about quality, not quantity, David    Bruce reports.   

Cool and wet weather from late January will have an effect on      the quantity of grapes picked in the Waitaki Valley this      season, but quality of the wine is expected to be high,      Waitaki Valley Wine Growers’ Association chairman Jim Jerram predicts . . .   

Couple win farm awards – Sally Rae:

North Otago couple Blair and Jane Smith have been named    supreme winners of the 2012 Otago Ballance farm environment awards.   

 Mr and Mrs Smith run Newhaven Farms Ltd, a sheep, beef, forestry and dairy support operation that spans three family-owned properties.  . .  

Diversity within Sharemilker finalists:

The finalists in the 2012 New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year contest are a mix of experienced and new dairy farmers, and small, medium and large-scale operators. There are some migrants to New Zealand, is one man competing against 11 couples, and one equity farm manager competing against 11 sharemilkers.

National convenor Chris Keeping says the 12 regional New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards competitions always discover some talented and interesting finalists to contest for the national titles.

“This year’s finalists are a high calibre group focused and confident in achieving their goal of owning a stake in the dairy industry. They are young, ambitious and growing their businesses at great rates,” Mrs Keeping says. . .

Great muster for merino stud tour – Sally Rae:

When it comes to the history of sheep studs, it is hard to go      past the Taylor family from Tasmania.   

The Winton merino stud, established in 1835, is the oldest continually running stud still in the same family, in Australia.   

The stud was founded by David Taylor, whose great-great-grandson, John Taylor, was on the Central Otago Stud Merino Breeders tour last week with his wife Vera. It was the first time Mr Taylor had been on the tour and he was impressed. . .

Rangiora unscahed by quakes no more:

The closure of PGG Wrightson’s rural supply store and eviction for Farm to Farm Tours is another knock for Rangiora, a town that once looked to have escaped the worst of the Canterbury earthquakes.

Building inspectors have been at work in a big way here since the twin rattles of December 23 and the delicate frontages of High Street are now shielded by shipping containers and a lattice-work of protective fencing. You can still shop in main-street Rangiora but you have to pick your way through a maze of obstacles to do it.

Retailers have watched anxiously as one building after another is either temporarily or permanently put out of bounds because of earthquake damage. Among them is a rural mainstay, Farm to Farm Tours run by long-time farm management consultant Ross Macmillan. . .

Farmer in swimsuit for competition – Shawn McAvinue:

Southland dairy farmer wearing a slinky swimsuit has fleshed out entries in a competition to encourage low effluent ponds.

No Southland dairy farmers had entered the competition a week before it closed on March 30 but shortly after an article in The Southland Times about the poor turnout farmers with low ponds came forward . . .

Remembering Five Forks school days – Ruth Grundy:

For an Oamaru couple who attended schools in the Five Forks district early last century, life on the farm and growing up in their small close-knit community left a lasting impression.

The Five Forks community will celebrate 100 years of schooling at three schools – Maruakoa, Fuchsia Creek and Five Forks, at Queen’s Birthday weekend.

There are no surviving pupils of Maruakoa School, which opened in 1912 and closed in 1918, but there is a good contingent of seniors who remember their school days at Five Forks and Fuchsia Creek primary schools.

Former Fuchsia Creek School pupil Jim Kingan, 82, said generations of the Kingan family had never moved far from the district and most had continued to farm. . .

Health capsules hve cherry on top claims – Andrea Fox:

Business is a bowl of cherries for two Waikato companies – or potentially, many tonnes of cherries, with their launch of a new natural health treatment for stress and sleep difficulty with globally superior claims.

The companies are a Waikato Innovation Park start-up joint venture called Fruision and established health and natural beauty products retailer Moanui Laboratories.

The story behind the commercialisation of their product is complicated and stretches back a few years, but starts simply enough with central Otago’s Summerfruit Orchards, a grower of fine sweet cherries, which wanted to add value to its fruit destined for the pigs because it was not perfectly shaped, or rain-split, or otherwise flawed. . .

All set for success – Ruth Grundy:

As the countdown begins to the opening tomorrow of New Zealand’s most prestigious pony club event, there are four North Otago women who are hoping they have thought of everything.

Tomorrow marks the start of the four-day 2012 New Zealand Community Trust New Zealand Pony Club Association (NZPCA) Horse Trials Championships. . .

The championships are being hosted by the Ashburton-South Canterbury-North Otago Area Pony Club, at the Oamaru Racecourse.


Fathers are parents too

15/04/2012

The headline says: working mothers caught in childcare trap.

The story begins:

A generation of young, educated New Zealand women is being lost to the workforce because they can’t afford childcare.

Many tertiary educated and trained mothers are deciding to retrain as teachers or nurses, professions that offer more flexible work options.

Some are opting for temp work, and others said returning to the workforce was not worth their while.

Passing quickly over the insult to teaching and nursing, it is only in the 16th paragraph that there is any mention of a father:

Laura Lyttelton has two children, aged three and 16 months. She returned to work after having them, and in the last six months resumed full-time work. When she and her partner were both working full time they had a joint income of about $90,000.

But now, she said, childcare had become so expensive it was better for her partner to resign from his work so he could get Working for Families tax credits.

Fathers are parents too, yet this story is typical of almost all on childcare which portray it as a woman’s issue.

Then there’s the irony that a story complaining about the costs of childcare and suggesting the government spends more on it, also shows that existing government assistance – WFF – provides a disincentive to work.

Paid Parental Leave is also mentioned. Arguments in favour of that include the benefits of at least one parent staying at home with children yet this story also mentions the benefits of workforce participation.

Yet more proof, life requires choices and there are costs and benefits to them all.

UPDATE: Kiwiblog looks at the stats in the story.


Dairying in NZ better work than in USA?

15/04/2012

The good news is that farming is in CareerCast’s list of the top 200 jobs.

The bad news is that farming was 179, between actor and disc jockey and dairy farming was 199th, between enlisted soldier and lumberjack.

Our team gathers mounds of data and sorts through all of the factors to break each element into five key categories: Physical Demands, Work Environment, Income, Stress and Hiring Outlook. Jobs receive a score in each individual category, and when these are added together, the career with the best overall score is ranked 1st, while the one with the worst overall score is ranked 200th.

The best job was software engineer:

  • Overall Score: 176.00  Income: $88,142.00
  •  Work Environment: 41.000   Stress: 10.420
  • Physical Demands: 40.00    Hiring Outlook: 25.02

Farmer was ranked at 179 between actor and disc jockey:

  • Overall Score: 1433.00           Income: $61,269.00
  • Work Environment: 76.660     Stress: 26.690
  • Physical Demands: 76.66        Hiring Outlook: -6.31

Dairying’s score was:

  • Overall Score: 1748.00     Income: $33,119.00
  • Work Environment: 77.660     Stress: 26.190
  • Physical Demands: 72.66         Hiring Outlook: -6.11

Agricultural scientist was 132nd, between choreographer and fashion designer:

  • Overall Score: 1217.00         Income: $33,141.00
  • Work Environment: 54.910   Stress: 19.410
  • Physical Demands: 51.91         Hiring Outlook: 10.81

The data might be extensive but the weighting is subjective. Some people would consider a physically demanding job much better than a sedentary one.

Federated Farmers dairy chair  Willy Leferink notes other differences which could make dairying more attractive here:

“The difference between the States and New Zealand is that farmers here are New Zealand’s 14th most trusted occupation.  It feels good to be in the company of scientists and childcare workers and to be even more trusted than judges.

“American dairy farmers are wrapped up in redtape, with farming regulations and subsidies.  They must feel like penpushers than farmers. When they see what we do and the way farming is treated here as a major industry, is it no wonder they feel down in the mouth?

“I don’t wish to rub it in but Fonterra is a major exporter of American milkpowder.  If that wasn’t enough, when dairy farmers in the US buy Italian food, there’s a good chance the parmesan has come from a Fonterra joint venture.

“That’s why New Zealand is seen as the Hollywood of farming but given IT was the top of this survey, perhaps the Palo Alto of farming is more apt. New Zealand is the hothouse where go-getters want to farm.

“The only regret I have is that Kiwis don’t understand just how high we’re regarded internationally. That’s why so many immigrants want to farm here.  They come from Israel, the Philippines and yes, from America too. Just ask Federated Farmers board member, Anders Crofoot. . . “

 Sharemilking offers dairy workers here opportunities not available in the United States.

A junior dairy worker here starts on about $30,000 with free accommodation. A good lower order sharemilker on a 500 cow farm could earn at least $100,000.


Families Commission sees sense on PPL

15/04/2012

National  has got support  from an unexpected quarter for announcing it will veto any extension to Paid Parental Leave.

Families Commissioner Carl Davidson has said the country probably can’t afford it:

Until recently the Families Commission has helped lead the campaign for increased paid parental leave. It argued strongly under its former boss Rajen Prasad – now a Labour MP – for a full year’s paid parental leave and reaffirmed its position in 2010.

But Mr Davidson, appointed that year by Social Development Minister Paula Bennett, told the Weekend Herald that the commission’s 2007 proposal should now be seen as “the gold standard”, which had to change because of the worldwide economic recession.

He said paid parental leave encouraged people to start families, which was socially and economically desirable but had certain limits.

Has anyone seen any research on this? Does PPL really encourage people who wouldn’t otherwise have had children to have them and if so in sufficient numbers to justify the cost?
Does it make a significant difference to parents taking time off work after a birth and to breast feeding rates or would they have done it anyway?
We don’t want to get too carried away of course because that argument could be extended to infinity.

“I mean, wouldn’t it be great if none of us had to go to work and we could just stay at home and raise our kids and get paid for it?

Quite.
No-one disputes the benefits of time off work to establish and continue breast feeding, to bond, to adjust to the demands of parenting not least of which is too little sleep.
A case for having at least one parent at home for a few weeks, months or even years could be easily made.
But does the public need to pay PPL to enable this?
Even in the best of financial times that’s debatable. It shouldn’t even be considered when we’re running deficits and there will be other more pressing priorities when we get back into surplus.

April 15 in history

15/04/2012

1071 – Bari, the last Byzantine possession in southern Italy, was surrendered to Robert Guiscard.

1450 – Battle of Formigny: Toward the end of the Hundred Years’ War, the French attacked and nearly annihilated English forces, ending English domination in Northern France.

1452 Leonardo da Vinci, Italian Renaissance polymath, was born (d. 1519).

1469 Guru Nanak Dev, the first of the ten Sikh Gurus, was born (d. 1539).

1632 Battle of Rain; Swedes under Gustavus Adolphus defeated the Holy Roman Empire during the Thirty Years’ War.

1641 Robert Sibbald, Scottish physician, was born  (d. 1722).

1642 Suleiman II, Ottoman Sultan, was born  (d. 1691).

1684 Catherine I of Russia, was born (d. 1727).

1710 William Cullen, Scottish physician, was born  (d. 1790).

1715 Pocotaligo Massacre triggered the start of the Yamasee War in colonial South Carolina.

1738 Premiere in London of Serse (Xerxes) an Italian opera by George Frideric Handel.

1755 Samuel Johnson‘s A Dictionary of the English Language published in London.

1783 – Preliminary articles of peace ending Revolutionary War ratified.

1802-  William Wordsworth and his sister, Dorothy saw a “long belt” of daffodils, inspiring him to pen I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.

1841 Joseph E. Seagram, Canadian distillery founder, was born (d. 1919).

1843 Henry James, American author, was born (d. 1916).

1865 Abraham Lincoln died after being shot the previous day by actor John Wilkes Booth.

1868 The first two Maori MPs ,  Frederick Nene Russell (Northern Maori) and Tareha Te Moananui (Eastern Maori), were elected to parliament.

First two Maori MPs elected to Parliament

1885 The first sod was turned on the North Island main trunk line.

First sod dug for North Island main trunk

1883 Stanley Bruce, eighth Prime Minister of Australia, was born  (d. 1967).

1892 The General Electric Company was formed.

1894 Nikita Khrushchev, Premier of the Soviet Union, was born  (d. 1971).

1894 Bessie Smith, American blues singer, was born  (d. 1937).

1895 Clark McConachy, New Zealand billiards player, was born  (d. 1980).

1906 The Armenian organization AGBU was established.

1912 Kim Il-sung, President of North Korea, was born  (d. 1994).

1912 RMS Titanic, sank in the North Atlantic, after hitting an iceberg two and a half hours earlier, the previous day, killing more than 1,500 people.

1916 Alfred S. Bloomingdale, American businessman, was born (d. 1982).

1921 Black Friday, mine owners announced a decrease in wages leading to the threat of a strike all across England

1923 Insulin became generally available for use by people with diabetes.

1924 Sir Neville Marriner, English conductor, was born.

1924 Rand McNally published its first road atlas.

1930 Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, President of Iceland, was born.

1933 Elizabeth Montgomery, American actress, was born  (d. 1995).

1940 The Allies begin their attack on the Norwegian town of Narvik which was occupied by Nazi Germany.

1940 Jeffrey Archer, British author, was born.

1940 Robert Lacroix, French Canadian professor of economics, was born.

1941 In the Belfast Blitz, two-hundred bombers of the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) attacked Belfast, killing 1,000 people.

1942 George Cross was awarded to “to the island fortress of Malta – its people and defenders” by King George VI.

1943 An Allied bomber attack missed the Minerva automobile factory and hits the Belgian town of Mortsel instead, killing 936 civilians.

1945 The Bergen-Belsen concentration camp was liberated.

1947 Jackie Robinson debuted for the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking baseball’s colour line.

1952  The maiden flight of the B-52 Stratofortress

1955 – Dodi Al-Fayed, Egyptian businessman, was born  (d. 1997).

1957 White Rock, British Columbia officially separated from Surrey,  and was incorporated as a new city.

1959 Emma Thompson, English actress, was born.

1960 Prince Philippe, Duke of Brabant, heir to the Belgian throne, was born.

1979 An earthquake (of M 7.1) on Montenegro coast.

1989 A human crush occured at Hillsborough Stadium,  in the FA Cup Semi Final, resulting in the deaths of 96 Liverpool F.C. fans.

1989 Upon Hu Yaobang‘s death, the Tiananmen Square protests began.

1992 The National Assembly of Vietnam adopted the 1992 Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

1994 Representatives of 124 countries and the European Communities signed the Marrakesh Agreements revising the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and initiating the World Trade Organization (effective January 1, 1995).

2002 – An Air China Boeing 767 200, flight CA129 crashed into a hillside during heavy rain and fog near Busan, South Korea, killing 128.

2010 – Volcanic ash from the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland led to the closure of airspace over most of Europe.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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