Word of the day


Coterminous – having the same or coincident boundaries; coextensive in scope or duration; a suppplemental loan with a maturity that is the same as the senior, or original, loan.

Rural round-up


Alliance expands greenhouse measuring programme:

Alliance Group is expanding a green-house gas monitoring programme to all of its suppliers after a successful trial.

The meat co-operative introduced the web-based Hoofprint programme late last year and tested it with farmers supplying meat for Sainsbury’s supermarket chain in the UK.

It’s a software system that farmers can use to measure and monitor agricultural greenhouse gases associated with beef and lamb production on their farms and improve their productivity. . .

Lean manufacturing helps Tru-Test Group become first to achieve NZQA certification:

Tru-Test Group is bucking the trend towards outsourcing manufacturing to lower-cost economies overseas. The world leader in electric fencing, milk metering and animal weighing and recording, has chosen to keep more than 80 per cent of its production in Auckland.

Reflecting this commitment to the local market, Tru-Test Group has become the first New Zealand company to achieve a New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) Level 2 Certificate in Competitive Manufacturing for its entire production and stores staff.

The NZQA qualification allows factory operators to become actively involved in developing systems that improve productivity and quality. . .

Beef + Lamb NZ has photos and presentations from the Red Meat Sector conference here.

Among them are:

Opening address – Wayne McNee, Director general of Minsitry of Primary Industry.

NZ political environment  – Colin James.

The International Meat Industry – an update  – Murray Johnston General Manager Merchandise  Progressive Enterprises

An Australian perspective – market development, access and outlook – Scott Hansen, Director, Meat & Livestock Australia

Domestic trends and measuring progress against the Red Meat Sector Strategy  –  Rob Davison, Executive Director Economic Service, Beef + Lamb New Zealand

Best practice implementation – tertiary institutions, crown research institutes and industry working together – Dr Andrew West, Vice-Chancellor, Lincoln  University

Dairy sector – best practice in action – Dr Mark Paine, Strategy Investment Leader for People & Business, Dairy NZ

And from Facebook:

#Songs from the South Island


Twitter has a whatever things are called on Twitter on songs from the South Island.

Among them are:

Bluff the Magic Dragon; Stairway to Blenheim; You Picked A Fine Time to Leave Me Mosgiel; Wake Me Up Before Otago; Sgt Peppers Lonely Hast Club Band; If I had a Hamner; Hazy Shade of Winton; Sumner Nights;  Fraction Too Much Picton; Stuck in Middlemarch With You; Shine On You Crazy Diamond Harbour; I See Red-Zone; and Mull of Rakaia.

Hat Tip: Today Is My Birthday

Without them we’d be Greece


Quote of the day:

Every week we borrow from the savings of hardworking Swiss, Germans and Chinese so we can keep consuming.  New Zealand would be another Greece without those who get up in the morning and milk the cows; those who take the milk, process it, and sell powder to the world.

In the year to December 2011, dairying generated almost 13 billion in exports – it accounts for about 25 per cent of our exports.  Dairy exports help close our current account deficit and that means lower borrowing costs for all business.

The ACT Party stands with the productive; the wealth creators.  Yes a tiny minority of dairy farmers ignore their responsibility not to pollute local waterways.  But the vast bulk of farmers are keen on a clean environment.

To damn a whole industry as ‘dirty dairying’ because of a tiny minority – as some in this House do – is just ignorant.

Members of Parliament should be deeply grateful for dairying – it keeps the lights on in this place. . .  John Banks.

From boom to ?


Farmer confidence is down in the latest Federated Farmers survey.

“In January, the mid-way point for the 2011/12 season, farmer confidence in their profitability was strong. This has gone fully into reverse gear with most farmers now expecting farm profitability will worsen over the coming year,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.

“While a drop in sentiment was expected its size wasn’t. The 2011/12 season was probably one of the best in recent times for dairy, meat and wool and would be near impossible to top. Instead of a slight easing, farmer confidence has found the trap door and jumped right in.

“The past few months have seen large falls in commodity prices, with the June 2012 ANZ World Commodity Price Index down 12.3 percent from January. The Exchange rate has not fallen to the same extent so has eaten into farmgate returns.

“As farmers are exporters, the European sovereign debt crisis has been extremely negative on sentiment. That comes on top of weak growth out of Japan and the United States.

“As the global economy is on the edge, questions remain if China’s high rates of growth can be sustained. Recent Chinese economic news has not been rosy as China is dependent on exports to an anaemic West. Meanwhile Australian growth, like our own, hinges on China.

“This is the backdrop for farmers at the start of the 2012/13 season. We aren’t alone because our survey reflects a general pessimism among the wider business community.

“The $64,000 question for all farmers is whether prices will fall further? We are all keeping a wary eye on the global economy and frankly, we don’t like what we are seeing.

At the National party conference last weekend Finance Minsiter Bill English spoke of the black cloud of the Global Financial Crisis which is still on the horizon.

We’re a trading nation and what happens in the rest of the world will affect us.

If our customers aren’t doing well they will either buy less of our produce or be able to pay less for it, either way it will impact on export income and farmers’ balance sheets.

“That New Zealand is ‘less bad’ when compared to Europe and North America, provides cold comfort when our Dollar is kept artificially high because of it.

“While dairy production in the United States, the world’s third largest dairy exporter, will be hit hard by drought the culling of dairy cows there may increase the supply of beef. In the short term that could soften demand for our beef.

“We cannot anticipate what the weather has in store for New Zealand either; especially in areas that rely on plentiful rainfall without much water storage and irrigation infrastructure.

“Most farmers seem to be hoping they can continue to increase production. It won’t come as a surprise that farmers are also looking to reduce on-farm spending too.

“Lower spending will have an impact on the local, regional and especially, the national economy. This partly explains farmer pessimism about the general economy.

“Despite a negative outlook many farmers still expect to reduce debt, although worsening profit expectations appear to be putting a brake on deleveraging.

“Reserve Bank statistics indicates agricultural debt has started to rise; at the end of May it was up 2.6 percent on the same point last year at $47.9 billion. Debt needs to be put into context because the primary industries are a growing part of the New Zealand economy.

“Farmers across the board continue to perceive the farm labour market as tight and getting tighter.

The last couple of seasons have been good ones for farming but anyone who’s been in the industry for long knows that prices that go up also come down.

We’ve had the boom but most shouldn’t be facing bust.

Prices for our produce are almost certain to be lower in the coming season but most farmers have been paying off debt and keeping a tight rein on costs which should help most weather whatever the new season delivers.

The survey is here.

This is why we need a threshold


One of the questions under consideration in the review of MMP is what the threshold should be to allow a party to enter parliament, or whether there should be a threshold at all.

This is why there should be a threshold and why the threshold for registering as a party should be higher:

TV star and comedian Ben Boyce has been discharged without conviction for a botched fake pilot stunt which was condemned by the aviation industry and Prime Minister John Key. 

 The former Pulp Sport star was discharged, alongside The Rock host Bryce Casey and TV producer Andrew Robinson at the Manukau District Court today. . .

The trio were charged with providing false information in an attempt to gain access to a secure area after a skit for the TV3 series WannaBen in September 2011 went wrong.

This is the Ben of the Bill and Ben Party which gained .56% of party votes in the 2008 election.

With no threshold he could have been in parliament.

Having a threshold is no guarantee against idiots gaining seats and power.

But having a higher hurdle to jump before being able to register as a political party and a threshold of at least 5% does make it harder and gives some protection against the plague-on-all-their-houses votes inflicting this sort of accidental MP on the country.

July 25 in history


285 Diocletian appointed Maximian as Caesar, co-ruler.

306 Constantine I was proclaimed Roman emperor by his troops.

864 The Edict of Pistres of Charles the Bald ordered defensive measures against the Vikings.

1139  Battle of Ourique: The independence of Portugal from the Kingdom of León declared after the Almoravids, led by Ali ibn Yusuf, were defeated by Prince Afonso Henriques.

1261  The city of Constantinople was recaptured by Nicaean forces under the command of Alexios Strategopoulos, re-establishing the Byzantine Empire.

1536  Sebastián de Belalcázar on his search for El Dorado founded the city of Santiago de Cali.

1547 Henry II of France was crowned.

1567 Don Diego de Losada founds the city of Santiago de Leon de Caracas, modern-day Caracas, the capital city of Venezuela.

1593  Henry IV of France publicly converted from Protestantism to Roman Catholicism.

1603 James VI of Scotland was crowned bringing the Kingdoms of England and Scotland into personal union.

1722 The Three Years War began along the Maine and Massachusetts border.

1755  British governor Charles Lawrence and the Nova Scotia Council ordered the deportation of the Acadians.

1758 Seven Years’ War: the island battery at Fortress Louisbourg in Nova Scotia was silenced and all French warships destroyed or taken.

1788 Wolfgang Mozart completed his Symphony number 40 in g minor (K550).

1792 The Brunswick Manifesto was issued to the population of Paris promising vengeance if the French Royal Famiy was harmed.

1795 The first stone of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct was laid.

1797 Horatio Nelson lost more than 300 men and his right arm during the failed conquest attempt of Tenerife.

1799 David Douglas, Scottish botanist, was born (d. 1834).

1799 At Aboukir in Egypt, Napoleon I of France defeats 10,000 Ottomans under Mustafa Pasha.

1814 War of 1812: Battle of Lundy’s Lane.

1837 The first commercial use of an electric telegraph was successfully demonstrated by William Cooke and Charles Wheatstone on 25 July 1837 between Euston and Camden Town.

1853 Joaquin Murietta, the Californio bandit known as “Robin Hood of El Dorado”, was killed.

1861 American Civil War: the Crittenden-Johnson Resolution was passed by the U.S. Congress stating that the war was being fought to preserve the Union and not to end slavery.

1866 The U.S. Congress passed legislation authorizing the rank of General of the Army (commonly called “5-star general”). Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant becomes the first to be promoted to this rank.

1869 The Japanese daimyō began returning their land holdings to the emperor as part of the Meiji Restoration reforms.

1894 The First Sino-Japanese War began when the Japanese fired on a Chinese warship.

1898  The United States invasion of Puerto Rico began with U.S. troops led by General Nelson Miles landing at harbour of Guánica.

1907  Korea became a protectorate of Japan.

1908 Ajinomoto was founded. Kikunae Ikeda of the Tokyo Imperial University discovered that a key ingredient in Konbu soup stock was monosodium glutamate (MSG), and patented a process for manufacturing it.

1909  Louis Blériot made the first flight across the English Channel in a heavier-than-air machine, from Calais to Dover in 37 minutes.

1915  RFC Captain Lanoe Hawker became the first British military aviator to earn the Victoria Cross, for defeating three German two-seat observation aircraft in one day, over the Western Front.

1917 Sir Thomas Whyte introduced the first income tax in Canada as a “temporary” measure (lowest bracket 4% and highest 25%).

1920 Telecommunications: the first transatlantic two-way radio broadcast.

1925 Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union (TASS) was established.

1930 Murray Chapple,  New Zealand cricketer, was born (d. 1985).

1934 Nazis assassinated Austrian Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss in a failed coup attempt.

1940  General Guisan ordered the Swiss Army to resist German invasion and makes surrender illegal.

1942  Bruce Woodley, Australian musician (The Seekers), was born.

1942 Norwegian Manifesto called for nonviolent resistance to the Nazis

1943  Jim McCarty, English musician (The Yardbirds), was born.

1943  Benito Mussolini was forced out of office by his own Italian Grand Council and replaced by Pietro Badoglio.

1944 Operation Spring – one of the bloodiest days for the First Canadian Army during WWII:  1,500 casualties, including 500 killed.

1946 Operation Crossroads: an atomic bomb was detonated underwater in the lagoon of Bikini atoll.

1946   Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis staged their first show as a comedy team.

1948  The Australian cricket team set a world record for the highest successful run-chase in Test cricket history in the Fourth Test against England.

1951 Verdine White, American musician (Earth, Wind & Fire), was born.

1953 Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank, was born.

1956 Italian ocean liner SS Andrea Doria collided with the MS Stockholm in heavy fog and sank the next day, killing 51.

1957  Republic of Tunisia proclaimed.

1958 The African Regroupment Party (PRA) held its first congress in Cotonou.

1959  SR-N1 hovercraft crossed  the English Channel from Calais to Dover in just over 2 hours.

1965  Bob Dylan went electric as he plug in at the Newport Folk Festival, signaling a major change in folk and rock music.

1969 Vietnam War: US President Richard Nixon declared the Nixon Doctrine, stating that the United States expected its Asian allies to take care of their own military defense.

1973 Soviet Mars 5 space probe launched.

1978 The Cerro Maravilla incident – two young Puerto Rican pro-independence activists were killed in a police ambush.

1978  Louise Brown, the world’s first “test tube baby” was born.

1981 The invasion of  Hamilton’s Rugby Park by 350 anti-tour demonstrators forced the Springboks-Waikato match to be abandoned.

Anti-Springbok protestors derail Hamilton match

1983  Black July: 37 Tamil political prisoners at the Welikada high security prison in Colombo were massacred by the fellow Sinhalese prisoners.

1984  Salyut 7 Cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to perform a space walk.

1993  Israel launched a massive attack against terrorist forces in Lebanon.

1993 The St James Church massacre in Kenilworth, Cape Town, South Africa.

1994  Israel and Jordan signed the Washington Declaration, which formally ends the state of war that had existed between the nations since 1948.

1995 A gas bottle exploded in Saint Michel station in Paris. Eight were killed and 80 wounded.

1996 In a military coup in Burundi, Pierre Buyoya deposed Sylvestre Ntibantunganya.

1997  K.R. Narayanan was sworn-in as India’s 10th president and the first Dalit— formerly called “untouchable”— to hold this office.

2000  Air France Flight 4590, a Concorde supersonic passenger jet, F-BTSC, crashed just after takeoff from Paris killing all 109 aboard and 4 on the ground.

2007  Pratibha Patil was sworn in as India’s first woman president.

2010 – Wikileaks published classified documents about the War in Afghanistan, one of the largest leaks in U.S. military history.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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