Word of the day

May 7, 2012

Condign – appropriate or suitable to the crime or fault; fitting and deserved; adequate.


Rural round-up

May 7, 2012

Slow down speed bumps ahead! – Dr Jon Hauser:

There’s an old joke that if you ask three economists a question you’ll get four different answers. Despite this, the one thing everyone agrees on is that global milk production over the last year has been going up, up, and up! The million dollar question, and the one that has been causing the dismal science’s split professional personalities, is: ‘will global demand keep pace?’.

The final numbers are in for 2011, so this week we’ve decided to throw our analysis into the ring . . .

“Kaitiakitanga”  nurturing our natural resources and people for a prosperous future – Pasture to Profit:

Kaitiakitanga” in Maori means to nurture our natural resources & people for a prosperous future.

This is one of 5 Farm Business Management values set out by Tauhara Moana Trust, one of three finalists in theBNZ Ahuwhenua Maori Excellence in Dairy Farming Award 2012. Maori Trusts have different business objectives to most other NZ dairy farmers.  . .

Why does wool polarise farmers? – Alan Ememrson:

Derek Daniell’s remit to the Beef + Lamb New Zealand annual meeting regarding a wool levy achieved, if nothing else, a positive plethora of emails to my inbox.

It was an innocent enough remit calling for an “evaluation of the result of the discontinuation of the wool levy and investigation whether a future collective investment would add value for wool growers”.

The problem is, as it seems with all things wool, people are either firmly on one side of the fence or the other.

For the record Derek is a good bloke and a highly successful farmer. His remit is well worded. How it is handled from here by B+LNZ will determine if it is successful. . .

Lincoln honours palm oil alumnus – Tim Fulton:

An executive in the global palm oil industry has been awarded Lincoln’s international medal, backed by an assurance from the university that his company is the “socially responsible standout” in the industry.

Just over 40 years after leaving Lincoln College with a diploma in Valuation and Farm Management, John Clendon was recognised last Friday for his involvement with coconut, cocoa and oil palm production in the south-west Pacific and Asia.

Clendon is managing director of Univanich, a Thai company which Lincoln credits as “the world’s leader in the production of sustainable palm oil”. . .

Tight unit wins Farmer of Year award – Sally Rae:

It was cattle that brought the 2012 OtagoSharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year winners James and Helen Hartshorne together.   

 Mr Hartshorne, originally from Shrewsbury in Shropshire, was showing Holstein-Friesians at the Royal Welsh Show in 1999,      while his future bride, from Wales, was exhibiting Guernseys .. .

Farm managers of  year love their job – Sally Rae:

Gareth Dawson always knew he was going to pursue an    outdoors career.   

He did not want to be “stuck indoors” and chose dairy farming, after helping a friend herd testing one day “and      just never left” the industry.   

Mr Dawson and his wife Angela, who now manage a 560 cow 186ha property at Clinton, won the 2012 Otago Farm Manager of the Year title.   . .

Rabobank builds rural business:

Rabobank New Zealand Ltd (RNZL) continued to build its rural banking business in 2011, recording net lending growth of $724 million, despite a contraction in the total rural debt market over the same period.  

Rabobank New Zealand CEO Ben Russell said the bank’s rural portfolio growth during 2011 was a positive result which primarily reflected refinance activity rather than organic growth of existing customers. . .

Kiwi avocado comapny wants slice of food service market:

A New Zealand owned avocado company has targeted the billion dollar food service market, with a goal to switch consumers from imported to locally grown produce.

Fressure Foods, a mainly grower-owned organisation, is encouraging Kiwi food trade companies to source locally produced avocados wherever possible to support local farmers and meet with growing consumer demand.

Currently the imported avocado industry in New Zealand is valued at around $1 million and around 200 tonnes of the fruit are brought into the country each year.

The February issue of Country-Wide is on-line here.


Tax cuts offset loan repayment increase

May 7, 2012

Kiwiblog has a chart showing net income after student loan repayment increases.

. . . This shows that all graduates will have higher net incomes than in April 2008, even after the repayment rate increases. In fact they will also have higher net incomes than in October 2008 and in April 2009.  So all graduates will still have higher net incomes than before the tax switch, and considerably more than before the other tax cuts.

The other factor of course, is that you keep the tax cuts for ever. . . .

Maybe not forever if we get a Labour/Green/NZ First/Maori/Mana government which in spite of the opposition rhetoric shows that students are still better off under National.

Students have some control over how big a loan they incur and even more over how quickly they repay it. There’s nothing we can do about tax increases.

When loans are interest-free there is no incentive to pay them off quickly unless the borrower takes the altruistic approach that repaying the money faster is better for the country.

The government’s policy change to require faster repayments will free up more money sooner and as the Herald points out, start rebalancing tertiary funding

Given the choice between a loan, the repayment of which cuts in to net income for a relatively short time, or higher taxes which cut into net income long after a loan would have been repaid, students are better off with loans.

 


New tests too tough?

May 7, 2012

As my father aged my brother and I became increasingly concerned about his driving.

I raised it with my mother who quoted a friend of hers who had told her, “It takes both of us to drive these days.”

Knowing Dad was due to sit a driving test I rang the police and explained why we were concerned. The officer told me to let Dad’s GP know because failing a medical was often a kinder way to let an elderly person lose their licence than failing a test. But if he passed the medical I should phone again so the testing officer could be aware of our concerns.

I spoke to the GP who said he would keep that in mind but he was away when Dad went for the medical. The locum passed him and he’d sat and passed the driving test before I’d found out.

He then had three accidents over a period of a few weeks – fortunately without injuring anyone – and after the third voluntarily handed in his licence.

The driving test has been toughened since then and older drivers are finding it particularly difficult.

Does that mean it’s too tough?

Instant failure for forgetting to indicate does seem a bit harsh.

But while it’s easy for me to say when I’ve got decades to go before I’ll have to worry about sitting another test, the experience with my father, and some other elderly drivers, makes me think tougher tests than used to be the norm isn’t necessarily a bad thing.


Loans not interest-free for people overseas

May 7, 2012

One of the criticisms of the government’s determination to have graduates repay student loans a little bit faster is that it will give them another incentive to go overseas.

But Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce points out the flaw in that argument:

. . .  the ones that go overseas pay interest on their loans, Paul.  The moment they leave, they’re paying interest on their loans, so that’s actually yeah, it’s actually a disincentive for people to go overseas, because if you go overseas, you’re paying interest on your loans and it accumulates while you’re overseas.  If you stay in New Zealand, you can pay it off under the system.  Yes, it will cost a little bit more, but they’ll pay it off on average four to five months faster and well get the money back for loans, and meanwhile were chasing those overseas, which the previous government dismissed as a too-hard approach.  They said, Oh, if they go overseas, well catch them when they come back. . .

The loans are only interest-free while the borrower is in New Zealand. Going overseas might – and might is the operative word – enable some people to earn more than they can here, but that is less attractive when compounding interest on student loans is taken into account.

The video of the interview is here.


May 7 in history

May 7, 2012

558 In Constantinopl, the dome of the Hagia Sophia collapsesd Justinian I immediately ordered that it be rebuilt.

1272 The Second Council of Lyons opened to regulate the election of the Pope.

1348  Charles University in Prague (Universitas Carolina/Univerzita Karlova) was established as the first university in Central Europe.

1429  Joan of Arc ended the Siege of Orléans, pulling an arrow from her own shoulder and returning, wounded, to lead the final charge.

1664  Louis XIV  inaugurated the Palace of Versailles.

1697  Stockholm’s royal castle was destroyed by fire.

1711 David Hume, Scottish philosopher and historian, was born (d. 1776).

1718  The city of New Orleans was founded by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville.

1748 Olympe de Gouges, playwright and feminist revolutionary, was born (d. 1793).

1763  Indian Wars: Pontiac’s Rebellion began – Chief Pontiac began the “Conspiracy of Pontiac” by attacking British forces at Fort Detroit.

1812 Robert Browning, English poet, was born (d. 1889).

1824  World premiere of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in Vienna, conducted by Michael Umlauf under the deaf composer’s supervision.

1832 The independence of Greece was recognized by the Treaty of London. Otto of Wittelsbach, Prince of Bavaria was chosen King.

1836 The settlement of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico was elevated to the royal status of villa by the government of Spain.

1840  Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Russian composer, was born (d. 1893).

1840  The Great Natchez Tornado struck  Natchez, Mississippi killing 317 people.

1846 The Ngati Tuwharetoa village of Te Rapa on the south-western shore of Lake Taupo was obliterated in a landslide.

Devastating landslide at Lake Taupo

1847  The American Medical Association was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1847 Archibald Primrose, United Kingdom Prime Minister, was born (d. 1929).

1864  American Civil War: The Army of the Potomac, under General Ulysses S. Grant, broke off from the Battle of the Wilderness and moved southwards.

1881 A meeting in Dunedin presided over by the mayor unanimously called for a ban on further Chinese migrants.

Anti-Chinese hysteria in Dunedin

1892 Josip Broz Tito, President of Yugoslavia, was born (d. 1980).

1895  Russian scientist Alexander Stepanovich Popov demonstrated to the Russian Physical and Chemical Society his invention, the Popov lightning detector — a primitive radio receiver.

1901 – Gary Cooper, American actor, was born (d. 1961).

1909 Edwin H. Land, American inventor ,was born (d. 1991).

1915  World War I: German submarine SM U-20 sank  RMS Lusitania, killing 1,198 people.

1919 Eva Peron, Argentine first lady, was born  (d. 1952).

1920  Kiev Offensive (1920): Polish troops led by Józef Piłsudski and Edward Rydz-Śmigły and assisted by a symbolic Ukrainian force captured Kiev.

1920  Treaty of Moscow: Soviet Russia recognsedthe independence of the Democratic Republic of Georgia.

1927 Angelos Sikelianos organised the first Delphic Festival in Delphi to celebrate the ancient Greek Delphic ideal.

1928 Dixie Dean scored a hat trick for Everton F.C. against Arsenal F.C. to set a new goal scoring record of 60 goals in a season.

1937 Spanish Civil War: The German Condor Legion, equipped with Heinkel He 51 biplanes, arrived in Spain to assist Francisco Franco’s forces.

1940 Angela Carter, English novelist and journalist (d. 1992), was born.

1942 During the Battle of the Coral Sea, United States Navy aircraft sank the Japanese Imperial Navy light aircraft carrier Shōhō. The battle marked the first time in the naval history that two enemy fleets fight without visual contact between warring ships.

1943  Peter Carey, Australian author, was born.

1944 Richard O’Sullivan, British actor, was born.

1945  World War II: General Alfred Jodl signed unconditional surrender terms at Reims ending Germany’s participation in the war.

1945 Christy Moore, Irish folk artist, was born.

1946 Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering (later renamed Sony) was founded with around 20 employees.

1946 Thelma Houston, American singer, was born.

1948 The Council of Europe was founded during the Hague Congress.

1952 The concept of the integrated circuit, the basis for all modern computers, was first published by Geoffrey W.A. Dummer.

1953  Ian McKay, British soldier (VC recipient) was born (d. 1982), .

1954 Indochina War: The Battle of Dien Bien Phu ends in a French defeat (the battle began on March 13).

1956 Jan Peter Balkenende, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, was born.

1960  Cold War: U-2 Crisis of 1960 – Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev announced that his nation was holding American U-2 pilot Gary Powers.

1964  Pacific Air Lines Flight 773, a Fairchild F-27 airliner, crashed near San Ramon, California, killing all 44 aboard; the FBI later reported that a cockpit recorder tape indicated that the pilot and co-pilot had been shot by a suicidal passenger.

1974 West German Chancellor Willy Brandt resigned.

1986 Canadian Patrick Morrow became the first person to climb each of the Seven Summits.

1992 Michigan ratified a 203-year-old proposed amendment to the United States Constitution making the 27th Amendment, which bars the U.S. Congress from giving itself a mid-term pay raise, law.

1992  Three employees at a McDonald’s Restaurant in Sydney, Nova Scotia, were murdered and a fourth permanently disabled after a botched robbery.

1992 – Latvia conducted its first post-Soviet monetary reform and began issuing Latvian rublis, a temporary currency in use until the introduction of Latvian lats. The move reduced the pressure on Latvian economy caused by shortage of cash and hyperinflation of rouble, and led way to ultimately successful economic reforms.

1995 Finland won the World Championship in men’s ice hockey after beating Sweden in the final

1998 Mercedes-Benz bought Chrysler for $US40 billion and formed DaimlerChrysler in the largest industrial merger in history.

1999  Pope John Paul II travelled to Romania becoming the first pope to visit a predominantly Eastern Orthodox country since the Great Schism in 1054.

1999  Kosovo War: In Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, three Chinese citizens were killed and 20 wounded when a NATO aircraft bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade.

1999 Guinea-Bissau, President João Bernardo Vieira was ousted in a military coup.

2002  A China Northern Airlines MD-82 plunged into the Yellow Sea, killing 112 people.

2007  The tomb of Herod the Great was discovered.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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