Word of the day

April 21, 2012

Illatration – the act of barking at something or someone.


4/10

April 21, 2012

4/10 in the Herald’s Changing World quiz – I’d have thought my chances of getting a few of the six I guessed right would have been better than 0.


Rural round-up

April 21, 2012

Crafar decision imposes defacto tax on foreigners says lawyer – Rob Hosking:

There is still a higher hurdle for foreigners buying New Zealand land after today’s decision, says Wellington lawyer Mark Ford.

The decision by ministers to approve the deal for Chinese company Shanghai Pengxin to buy the 7892 hectare, 16 Crafar Farms properties is accompanied by a series of conditions . . .

Good riddance baby boomers; Why the sale of the Crafar Farms to the Chinese serves you right, from generation Y – Alex Tarrant:

I’ve been asked to pen my thoughts as a Gen-Yer over the sale of the Crafar Farms to a Chinese company

Well, I have to say, I’m actually loving watching and hearing our Baby Boomer politicians, media commentators, and talkback hosts getting all up in arms over it.

What a travesty, they all argue, the way we sell to the highest foreign bidder. These farms shouldn’t be allowed to be sold overseas. Kiwis can’t compete with the vast hordes of cash foreigners have.

First of all, I don’t buy that. If a Kiwi investor, or a group of Kiwis, believed it was economical enough to pay what Pengxin’s offering for those 16 run-down farms, I’m sure they would have found the money.

We supposedly know about farming here. We supposedly know the economics behind it. We supposedly know the business models.

The fact no Kiwi bidder put up over NZ$210 million for the farms should be a sign that Pengxin is paying way too much for them. So good luck trying to turn it into an economic business. Let them pick up the pieces for a failed piece of lending by Westpac and Rabobank. . .

From socialite to sheep farmer:

It is an extraordinary landscape – one of this country’s iconic high country  stations and it is up for sale.

For the last eight years Canterbury’s Castle Hill has been owned by Christine  Fernyhough – the one time darling of the Auckland social scene and now a  successful sheep farmer. . .

Video here.

Legendary farming education centre for sale:

A pioneering rural education institution that taught thousands of young New Zealanders the rudimentary skills of farming has been placed on the marked for sale.

Flock House near Bulls in the Manawatu was founded in 1924 and was initially used to accommodate and train the sons of British Naval personnel who died during World War One.

In 1947 the school was opened to young New Zealand boy aged between 14 – 18 years of age wishing to gain an education in farming. The introduction of a ‘full fee’ structure in the 1980s led to a dramatic fall in student numbers, and in 1988 the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries which administered Flock House, closed the centre. . .

Little impact on farmers from latest strike:

Affco says the latest strike action from the Meat Workers Union will have little impact on farmers sending stock for processing.

The latest strike began at 5:00am this morning. The week-long strike is the 16th by the union since negotiations over a collective agreement started in December.

Affco Operations Director, Rowan Ogg said all of Affco’s plants are fully operational with the majority of Affco’s staff not impacted by the dispute and many union members had chosen not to strike. “Good conditions through summer and autumn also mean there is no shortage of feed giving farmers more flexibility in when they send stock away.” . .

Last call for applications for 2012 farm managers’ programme:

Applications are to close at the end of this month for young farmers to join this year’s Rabobank Farm Managers Program, a course specifically designed to strengthen the operational and strategic management skills of emerging farm leaders.

The program, now in its seventh year, is open to all progressive young farmers from across New Zealand and Australia from a range of agricultural commodities. .


7/10

April 21, 2012

7/10 in Stuff’s Biz Quiz.


No jobs are bad jobs

April 21, 2012

The trans-Tasman tide appears to be turning as businesses choose to move from Australia to New Zealand.

That should be cause for celebration, but not for opposition MPs:

. . .  the Labour Party turned up its nose at every kind of new job available, from cigarette-roller to croupier to call centre operator, egged on by most other political parties. 

So we’re back to wanting the nanny state, now, are we?  What a luxury to feel the country is able to pass up gainful employment in legal industries. . .

These are the same MPs who have complained about losing New Zealand jobs to Asia but they can’t have it both ways:

There are complaints that firms are moving over here because we have lower wages than in Australia, and that is causing anger and concern for people that enjoy complaining.

However, these same people are also complaining that the strong NZ dollar against a number of countries (primarily China and the US) is leading us to loss jobs by making labour less competitive – in other words, by making New Zealand labour relatively more expensive, in other words by pushing up peoples real wages.

I wonder what the people doing the jobs think of the MPs’ criticism of their gainful employement?

No jobs are bad jobs and working for a low wage doesn’t have to be a life sentence. Some people might not have the ability and/or will to earn more but low-skilled work still has to be done and many who start in low-paid positions can work their way up to better ones.

Finance Minister Bill English rightly says that the increasing number of Australian companies investing and creating  jobs in New Zealand is good for the economy and will help increase  incomes:

“For the first time  in quite a few years, Australian businesses are seeing competitive  opportunities in New Zealand,” he says. “This reflects a number of  issues, ranging from the exchange rate, lower business costs, an  improving regulatory environment and the positive direction of economic  policy.

“That was conveyed to the New Zealand team of ministers  and officials at the Australian New Zealand Leadership Forum in Sydney  last week, where business leaders said they were encouraged by New  Zealand’s economic policy direction.”

Over the past three years,  the Government has implemented a wide-ranging economic programme to make New Zealand more competitive.

This includes:

  • The  Budget 2010 tax package which increased taxes on consumption and  property speculation, and reduced taxes on work, companies and saving.
  • Improvements to regulation – for example resource management laws, building laws and industrial relations laws.
  • The Government’s multi-billion dollar infrastructure programme, in rail,  roads, electricity transmission and ultra-fast broadband, to make the  economy more productive.
  • A focus on changing the incentives around welfare and work.
  • Reducing government-imposed costs on business – for example, ACC levies on  employers and the self-employed will fall by 22 per cent this year,  reducing total costs to business each year by about $250 million.

“This is a long-term programme that will continue over the next few years to  improve New Zealand’s competitiveness,” Mr English says.

“We need  to encourage companies to invest, and create jobs, including from  countries like Australia. This investment needs to come from businesses  because the Government simply cannot afford to borrow and spend at the  rate of the past decade.

“When capital is invested and management  skills improve, New Zealand companies can sell their products for higher prices in overseas markets. It’s a recipe for higher wages, more  exports and a faster-growing Kiwi economy.

We’d all be better off if our economy supported higher wages, and we’re more likely to get there by having people employed in any jobs, even if they’re low paid, than by having them unemployed.

The more people in work the better it is for them and the economy and a healthier economy supports higher wages.


The real threat

April 21, 2012

Quote of the day from Pattrick Smellie:

To the Greens and an increasingly hysterical band of Labour MPs with economic portfolios, this will be evidence of our capitulation to the wily Orientals. 

Sorry guys. The real threat is that China has plenty of other options.  It’s a big world out there, and Beijing is the most powerful economic force in the world today. 

As the Chinese Embassy’s urbane political counsellor, Cheng Lei, put it at a press briefing timed just before the Crafar announcement this morning, Fonterra is a big investor in China and is welcome.

The two countries could even grow two-way trade to $20 billion before the 2015 target formally set this week during the visit of fourth-ranked Communist Party official Jia Qinglin.

But only if we want to.

Trade is a two-way street. If we expect the Chinese to take from us we must also be prepared to give a little.

There are advantages to China in dealing with us. It enables them to dip their toe in the water of free trade with a country which doesn’t offer any threat to them.

But there are plenty of other countries they could buy from, it would take a lot of other countries willing to buy from us to replace the exports we send there.


April 21 in history

April 21, 2012

753 BC – Romulus and Remus founded Rome (traditional date).

43 BC Battle of Mutina: Mark Antony was again defeated in battle by Aulus Hirtius, who was killed.

1509  Henry VIII ascended the throne of England on the death of his father, Henry VII.

1519 Hernán Cortés landed in Veracruz.

1651 Blessed Joseph Vaz, Apostle of Ceylon, was born.

1671 John Law, Scottish economist, was born  (d. 1729) .

1729 Catherine II of Russia, known as ‘Catherine the Great’, was born  (d. 1796) .

1792 Tiradentes, a revolutionary leading a movement for Brazil’s independence, was hung, drawn and quartered.

1809 Two Austrian army corps were driven from Landshut by a First French Empire army led by Napoleon I of France as two French corps to the north held off the main Austrian army on the first day of the Battle of Eckmühl.

1816  Charlotte Brontë, English author, was born  (d. 1855) .

1836 Texas Revolution: The Battle of San Jacinto – Republic of Texas forces under Sam Houston defeated troops under Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna.

1838 John Muir, Scottish environmentalist, was born (d. 1914) .

1863 Bahá’u’lláh, considered the founder of the Bahá’í Faith, declared his mission as “He whom God shall make manifest“.

1894 Norway formally adopted the Krag-Jørgensen rifle as the main arm of its armed forces, a weapon that would remain in service for almost 50 years.

1898 Spanish-American War: The U.S. Congress, recognised that a state of war existed between the United States and Spain.

1915 Anthony Quinn, Mexican-born American actor, was born (2001) .

1918 World War I: German fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen, known as “The Red Baron”, was shot down and killed over Vaux sur Somme.

1922 The first Aggie Muster was held as a remembrance for fellow Aggies who had died in the previous year.

1923 John Mortimer, English barrister and writer, was born (d. 2009) .

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1926  Queen Elizabeth II was born.

1942 World War II: The most famous (and first international) Aggie Muster was held on the Philippine island of Corregidor, by Brigadier General George F. Moore (with 25 fellow Aggies who are under his command), while 1.8 million pounds of shells pounded the island over a 5 hour attack.

1952 Secretarys’ Day (now Administrative Professionals’ Day) was first celebrated.

1959 Robert Smith, British musician (The Cure), was born.

1960 Brasília, Brazil’s capital, was officially inaugurated. At 9:30 am the Three Powers of the Republic were simultaneously transferred from the old capital, Rio de Janeiro.

1960 – Founding of the Orthodox Bahá’í Faith in Washington, D.C.

1961 The first Golden Shears contest was held – won by Ivan Bowen.

First Golden Shears competition

1962 The Seattle World’s Fair (Century 21 Exposition) opened – the first World’s Fair in the United States since World War II.

1963 The Universal House of Justice of the Bahá’í Faith was elected for the first time.

1964 A Transit-5bn satellite failed to reach orbit after launch; as it re-entered the atmosphere, 2.1 pounds of radioactive plutonium in its SNAP RTG power source was widely dispersed.

1965 The 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair opened for its second and final season.

1966  Rastafari movement: Haile Selassie of Ethiopia visited Jamaica, an event now celebrated as Grounation Day.

1967  A few days before the general election in Greece, Colonel George Papadopoulos led a coup d’état, establishing a military regime that lasted for seven years.

1970 The Hutt River Province Principality seceded from Australia.

1975  Vietnam War: President of South Vietnam Nguyen Van Thieu fled Saigon, as Xuan Loc, the last South Vietnamese outpost blocking a direct North Vietnamese assault on Saigon, fell.

1987 Tamil Tigers were blamed for a car bomb that exploded in Colombo, killing 106 people.

1989 – Tiananmen Square Protests: In Beijing, around 100,000 students gathered in Tiananmen Square to commemorate Chinese reform leader Hu Yaobang.

1993 – The Supreme Court in La Paz, Bolivia, sentenced former dictator Luis Garcia Meza to 30 years in jail without parole for murder, theft, fraud and violating the constitution.

1994 – The first discoveries of extrasolar planets were announced by astronomer Alexander Wolszczan.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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