Word of the day

July 16, 2012

Bruit –  a report or rumour;  din; a clamour; a sound or murmur heard in auscultation, especially an abnormal one;  to voice abroad; to spread a rumour.


Ashburton crowned Cooperative Capital

July 16, 2012

Ashburton has been crowned the Cooperative Capital of New Zealand:

The NZ Cooperatives Association has awarded Ashburton the Cooperative Capital title as part of the United Nations 2012 International Year of Cooperatives, which is being recognised by cooperatives around the world.

Cooperative Association chairperson Blue Read says Ashburton’s cooperatives provide for virtually every farming, business and household requirement a community could ever want or need. . . “

Local farmer Jack Allan is a Fonterra milk supplier and a former chairman of the Ashburton Trading Society, now branded ATS. He likes the idea of Mid-Canterbury and Ashburton being branded the cooperative capital.

“Just look at what cooperatives have done for the region and even nationally.” Mr Allan said. “Cooperatively-owned buying groups like ATS have been the catalyst for competitive prices in the rural supplies sector for the entire Canterbury Province and even further afield.” 

“When ATS started we didn’t advertise for members. Farmers saw the benefits and just joined. Most farmers would have recouped their membership fee with their first fertiliser order,” he said. “For farming to be successful we rely on keeping our costs in check and maximising the sale of what we produce.”

Cooperatives are more prolific in rural areas, which is put down to the community knowing their neighbours and a greater readiness in the country to help each other out. . .

Ashburton District Council Mayor Angus McKay said he was delighted with the “Cooperative Capital” title, and is a member of several local cooperative businesses. He is particularly proud of Ashburton Electricity which returns $3 to $5 million (depending on profitability) to the community each year. This includes between $100 and $140 in free line charges for low income families. . .

With more than 40 cooperatives, Ashburton has earned the title of capital.


Local Govt has to tighten belt too

July 16, 2012

Prime Minister John Key’s address to the Local Government conference included this message:

. . . Councils have a role to play in creating an  environment that is conducive to sustained economic growth – just as  central government does.

And just as central government does,  local government also needs to work on delivering better services to New Zealanders within tight financial constraints. . .

Better services within tight financial constraints isn’t easy but it’s necessary.

Central government has done its bit by tightening its belt.

Businesses, households, individuals and farms have also reined in debt, increased  savings and made changes in response to the Global Financial Crisis.

Like everyone else, local government needs to do the same, and continue to  do so as we move forward. And I am aware that, in some cases, that  process has been started.

Some councils are already thinking outside the box and proactively working together to share resources, thereby cutting costs.

As I said earlier local government makes up an important part of the  economy – around 4 per cent of GDP – so it has a big part to play.

Times are tight and ratepayers just can’t endure unaffordable rates rises. We are not telling you how to do your jobs, but we would urge you to think carefully about the capacity of your communities during these difficult financial times. . .

Rate increases have consistently been much greater than the rate of inflation, even if population growth is taken into account too.

One reason for that has been costs imposed on local government from central government.

But that is only part of the problem.

Too many councils have created empires of people who appear to do little more than add to the costs for ratepayers. Others have got away from their core business and poured money into expensive and unsustainable projects.

Central government has tightened its belt, businesses and households have tightened theirs, it’s time local government did too.


Hokitika new gumboot capital?

July 16, 2012

Taihape claims to be the gumboot capital of the world but it has a challenger.

AgFest West Coast was held in Hokitika at the weekend and the organisers set out to make a world record for the most people wearing gumboots at a single event.

The Facebook page records:

Wow what an awesome few days and event! Thank you so much to everyone that turned up to support AgFest and to all those Exhibitor’s that attended and stood though the rain for the 2 days! We hope that everyone got something out of our event and had an enjoyable time.  . .  And yes we did get the World Record for most Gumboots worn to a single event with 1605 pairs of gumboots recorded!

Given the wild weather on the West Coast at the weekend and that Westport was cut-off yesterday, gumboots would be footwear of choice for the sensible in those parts.

As Fred Dagg would no doubt have said had he been there, If it weren’t for you gumboots where would you be? . . .


Commonwealth economies beating EU

July 16, 2012

The Commonwealth today is just a loose group of nations tied together by little more than historical links to Britain.

But its economic growth is better than that of the European Union:

Economic growth, in real terms, in the European Union (see definition below) has been falling decade upon decade since the 1970’s, and more sharply since 1973. . . . In contrast to the EU, economic growth in the Commonwealth has accelerated over the post 1973 period, as shown in chart 2.

The Commonwealth has already overtaken the EU for its percentage share of GDP and is on track to overtake the Eurozone:

The future looks even better:

The IMF produces forecasts for economic growth for the EZ and the Commonwealth for the next 5 years. Given the current crisis in the EZ the 2.7% annual average growth forecast might be thought optimistic. But optimistic or not it pales into insignificance compared with the continued growth expected in the emerging markets of the Commonwealth.

GDP Growth Forecasts (Real terms, average annual growth)

  2012 – 2017
Eurozone 2.7%
Commonwealth 7.3%

Source: IMF, World Economics calculations

For many years we thought New Zealand had been disadvantaged by Britain’s entry to the EU. Perhaps the opposite is the case:

Why did we join the Common Market in the first place? What was the knock-down argument used by Heath, Jenkins and the rest? Do you remember? The Commonwealth, they told us, was finished. We needed to be part of an alternative market, one that would grow.

At the time, the claim seemed sound enough. Between 1945 and 1973, Western Europe enjoyed spectacular growth, bouncing back from the artificial low of the Second World War. Britain and her Commonwealth, by contrast, were exhausted and indebted. Much of our postwar decline was caused by successive governments eroding their debts through inflation, unaware of, or perhaps untroubled by, the damage they were doing to our national competitiveness and productivity.

We can now see that our timing could hardly have been worse. We joined the EEC in 1973. Europe’s Wirschaftswunder came to an abrupt end with the oil shock of 1974, and never properly got going again. The expansion came instead in the Commonwealth markets from which Britain had just stood aside. . .

Given the economic weakness of Europe and strength in Asia, we are much better off with growing markets closer to home.

There might be opportunities for us in other developing markets we don’t yet have much trade with too even though we might at the moment have little in common except that historical accident which makes us all part of the Commonwealth.

Hat tip: I was led to the Telegraph through a blog, but have forgotten which. If it was yours, feel free to either leave a comment or email me and I’ll give credit where it’s due.


The Clutha’s still there

July 16, 2012

We drove down the east side of Lake Dunstan before crossing over it at Cromwell on Wednesday evening.

The lake was formed – more than a little controversially – when the Clyde Dam was built.

It interrupts the flow of the Clutha River but the river is still there, feeding and in turn being fed by Lake Dunstan.

We crossed the Clutha again north of Luggate on our way home yesterday. The water looked just as it always has, even though it’s dammed at Hawea a few kilometres above the bridge.

I have no doubt it looks the same below the  Clyde Dam too even though both dams are owned by Contact Energy which, is a publicly listed power company.

In case that’s not clear, that means the state doesn’t own the dams and hasn’t for sometime.

Private ownership of the power companies operating on the Clutha River hasn’t affected the water and whoever may or may not own it. Why would the partial float of other energy companies have any affect on the water they use?


July 16 in history

July 16, 2012

622 The beginning of the Islamic calendar.

1054 Three Roman legates fracture relations between Western and Eastern Christian Churches through the act of placing an invalidly-issued Papal Bull of Excommunication on the altar of Hagia Sophia during Saturday afternoon divine liturgy. Historians frequently describe the event as starting the East-West Schism.

1194 Saint Clare of Assisi, Italian follower of Francis of Assisi, was born (d. 1253).

1212  Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa: Forces of Kings Alfonso VIII of Castile, Sancho VII of Navarre, Pedro II of Aragon and Afonso II of Portugal defeated those of the Berber Muslim leader Almohad, thus marking a significant turning point in the Reconquista and medieval history of Spain.

1377  Coronation of Richard II of England.

1661 The first banknotes in Europe were issued by the Swedish bank Stockholms Banco.

1683 Manchu Qing Dynasty naval forces under traitorous commander Shi Lang defeated the Kingdom of Tungning  in the Battle of Penghu near the Pescadores Islands.

1769  Father Junipero Serra founded California’s first mission, Mission San Diego de Alcalá.

1779 American Revolutionary War: Light infantry of the Continental Army seized a fortified British Army position in a midnight bayonet attack at the Battle of Stony Point.

1782  First performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart‘s opera The Abduction from the Seraglio.

1809  The city of La Paz  declared its independence from the Spanish Crown during the La Paz revolution and formed the Junta Tuitiva, the first independent government in Spanish America, led by Pedro Domingo Murillo.

1862 American Civil War: David Farragut was promoted to rear admiral, becoming the first officer in United States Navy to hold an admiral rank.

1872 Roald Amundsen, Norwegian polar explorer, was born (d. 1928).

1880 Emily Stowe became the first female physician licensed to practice medicine in Canada.

1911 Ginger Rogers, American actress and dancer, was born (d. 1995).

1915  Henry James became a British citizen, to dramatise his commitment to England during the first World War.

1918 Czar Nicholas II, his family, the family doctor, their servants and their pet dog were shot by the Bolsheviks, who had held them captive for 2 months in the basement of a house in Ekaterinberg, Russia.

1928 Anita Brookner, English novelist, was born.

1931 Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia signsedthe first constitution of Ethiopia.

1935 The world’s first parking meter was installed in the Oklahoma capital, Oklahoma City.

1941 Joe DiMaggio hit safely for the 56th consecutive game.

1942 Holocaust: Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup (Rafle du Vel’ d’Hiv): the government of Vichy France orderswsthe mass arrest of 13,152 Jews who were held at the Winter Velodrome in Paris before deportation to Auschwitz.

1945 World War II: The leaders of the three Allied nations, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, US President Harry S Truman and leader of the Soviet Union Josef Stalin, met in the German city of Potsdam to decide the future of a defeated Germany.

1945  Manhattan Project: The Atomic Age began when the United States successfully detonated a plutonium-based test nuclear weapon.

1948 Following token resistance, the city of Nazareth, capitulated to Israeli troops during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War’s Operation Dekel.

1948 – The storming of the cockpit of the Miss Macao passenger seaplane, operated by a subsidiary of the Cathay Pacific Airways, markedthe first aircraft hijacking of a commercial plane.

1951 King Léopold III of Belgium abdicated in favor of his son, Baudouin I of Belgium.

1951  J.D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye was published by Little, Brown and Company.

1952 Stewart Copeland, American drummer (The Police, was born.

1957  United States Marine major John Glenn flew a F8U Crusader supersonic jet from California to New York in 3 hours, 23 minutes and 8 seconds, setting a new transcontinental speed record.

1960  USS George Washington (SSBN-598) a modified Skipjack class submarine successfully test fired the first Ballistic missile while submerged.

1965 New Zealand’s 161 Battery, stationed at Bien Hoa air base near Saigon, opened fire on a Viet Cong position in support of the American 173rd Airborne Brigade.

NZ artillery opens fire in Vietnam

1965 The Mont Blanc Tunnel linking France and Italy opened.

1969 Apollo program: Apollo 11, the first manned space mission to land on the Moon was launched from the Kennedy Space Center.

1973 Watergate Scandal: Former White House aide Alexander P. Butterfield informed the United States Senate that President Richard Nixon had secretly recorded potentially incriminating conversations.

1979 Iraqi President Hasan al-Bakr resigns and was replaced by Saddam Hussein.

1981 Mahathir bin Mohamad became Malaysia’s 4th Prime Minister; his 22 years in office, ending with retirement on 31 October 2003, made him Asia’s longest-serving political leader.

1983 Sikorsky S-61 disaster: A helicopter crashed off the Isles of Scilly, causing 20 fatalities.

1990 Luzon Earthquake struck in Benguet, Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija, La Union, Aurora, Bataan, Zambales and Tarlac, Philippines with an intensity of 7.7.

1994 Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 collided with Jupiter.

1999 John F. Kennedy, Jr., piloting a Piper Saratoga aircraft, died in a plane mishap, with his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and sister-in-law Lauren Bessette.

2004  Millennium Park, considered Chicago’s first and most ambitious early 21st century architectural project, was opened to the public by Mayor Richard M. Daley.

2007  2007 Chūetsu offshore earthquake: an earthquake 6.8 in magnitude and aftershock of 6.6  off Japan’s Niigata coast, killed 8 people, with at least 800 injured, and damaged a nuclear power plant.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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