Geoffrey Hughes – 1944 – 2012

29/07/2012

British actor Geoffrey Hughes died today.

His career included the role of Eddie Yeats in Coronation Street. More recently he played Onslow in Keeping Up Appearances.

In the latter he often wore a hat with the initials FH which stood for Fulton Hogan. The Dunedin based company gave him the hat when he was In New Zealand for a Telethon.

 


Word of the day

29/07/2012

Pudencymodesty; shame; prudishness.


Blooming marvellous

29/07/2012

For the first time in the history of the Olympics every country has at least one woman in its team.

That’s blooming marvellous and someone’s said it with flowers – leaving roses on the grave of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst.

The note on the blooms reads: In remembrance of your courage and determination. For the first time ever all Olympic teams have a female athlete. Thank you EMC.

Hat Tip: Open Parachute


7/10

29/07/2012

7/10 in Stuff’s Biz Quiz


Dead right euphemisms wrong

29/07/2012

A discussion on a journalists’ Facebook page bemoaned the use by reporters of euphemisms for death.

The instance which prompted the discussion was the a sentence in which a reporter wrote that someone had passed.

Passed where? one could be excused for asking – passed away, passed on, passed over or was news of the death exaggerated and had the subject of the story just passed by?

Most who commented agreed that, in news stories at least, dead is right and euphemisms are wrong.

Should you  prefer a less direct way of stating a life has ended there are scores of possibilities here.

But no-one does it better than Monty Python:


Stats stuttering

29/07/2012

Sitemeter usually has a slightly more conservative total than other visit counters but the trend is usually the same.

But on Friday and yesterday it stuttered – no visits on the 27th and only 58 visits and 62 page views on the 28th?

Anyone else notice something similar on your blog?

This Month's Visits and Page Views


Rural round-up

29/07/2012

New dairy chairman wants unity – Andrea Fox:

Fonterra chairman-elect John Wilson says ensuring there is the smoothest of board leadership transitions and uniting the farmer-owned co-operative after the rigours of the internal TAF debate are his priorities. 

    The Waikato farmer-elected director will take the reins of New Zealand’s biggest company in December from Sir Henry van der Heyden, who steps down after 10 years in the job. 

    Wilson, 47, will take his seat at the top of the table just after Fonterra is scheduled to have introduced share trading among farmers, or TAF, as it has come to be better known after more than two years of debate. . .

Biofuels and energy production dominate Europe’s landscape – Allan Barber:

After a week in England and a month touring central Europe by road, rail and river, I have gained a superficial impression of the predominant types of agricultural activity in the region. I am talking about Austria, Bavaria, Rhineland and some of the old Communist countries – East Germany, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

While these observations cannot claim to be comprehensive or even accurate in the matter of detail, they will provide a fairly accurate point of contrast with New Zealand’s agricultural landscape.

In particular they indicate a totally different set of political, economic and environmental priorities in Europe. . .

Farming bears – Bruce Wills:

In 12-months you could say we have gone from farming forward to farming bears, such was the sentiment in Federated Farmers new season Farm Confidence survey.

While agriculture will generate $21.7 billion in revenue over 2012, more than half, $11.9 billion, will go on the goods and services farmers consume.

Much of this intermediate consumption is spent locally on everything from number eight wire to builders and injects billions into the provincial economy’s heart.

Being intermediate consumption, it does not include the wage bill for 151,000 primary workers, interest or taxes either. . .

Time to break free of “No 8 wire” mentality – Jon Morgan:

Our pride in our heritage of being useful, practical people who can turn our hands to anything is holding us back, says Claire Massey. 

“That No 8 fencing wire mentality is now at a point where it’s hampering us,” the newly appointed Massey University director of agri-food business says. 

“We say ‘We can do anything’ when we can’t. We’ve got to break free of that. It was useful, but now we need to find the experts.” 

The irony is that it is not only an image we have of ourselves but that others have of us, she says. . .

Ngai Tahu Holdings CEO leaves

Christchurch’s Ngai Tahu Holdings Corporation chief executive Greg Campbell is leaving the job to take up the reins at big fertiliser co-operative Ravensdown. 

    Ravensdown, 100 per cent owned by 30,000 farmer shareholders, announced today the appointment of Campbell as its new chief executive to replace Rodney Green when he retires on December 31, 2012. 

    Campbell has been chief executive at Ngai Tahu for three years. . .

Lincoln farm in drive to be more efficient – Gerald Piddock:

The Lincoln University Dairy farm finished the 2011-12 season well ahead of its production budget. But it will now seek ways to become even more efficient. 

    The farm produced 297,740kg milk solids at 471kg per cow, well ahead of its budget of 281,600. This was achieved with 5 per cent fewer cows. 

    “We ended up with 12.5 per cent more production per hectare than last season and 15 per cent more profit,” farm manager Peter Hancox said at a field day at Lincoln. . .

Quest for lower nitrate leaching – Gerald Piddock:

Work is underway at Lincoln University to determine ways of reducing the environmental footprint of the wintering systems on dairy farms. 

    Lysimeters are being used to simulate the nitrogen levels within trial plots of three different wintering systems. These plots are early and late sown kale crops and a fodderbeet crop planted at the Lincoln University Dairy Farm’s wintering site, Ashley Dene Farm. . .

 


It’s up to business

29/07/2012

Anyone who has taken a modicum of interest in politics in the last four years should be in no doubt about the government’s economic plans.

They might not like it but they should understand it.

But a majority of respondents to the Herald’s mood of the boardroom survey say the government has failed to articulate its plan.

Just how much does a political party have to do to get its message across?

Almost every speech from Prime Minister John Key, Finance Minister Bill English, and any other minister who mentions the economy spell out the plan quite clearly.

Perhaps those who haven’t got the message should follow this advice:

Can’t understand why the Business leaders aren’t aware of the present National Governments long term PLANS. I have certainly had no trouble finding and understanding where National wishes to position NZ, such that the sons and daughters of not only Business Leaders, but all NZ’ers will have a future in NZ.This is a vastly different future to that which Parker is planning for when he rolls Shearer next year, a possibility, regardless of the recent labour conference change of rules.
The information is out there, if one looks; BUT you are unlikely to find it headlined in the written, or voice media. They are too Socialist.
Perhaps the Business Leaders should step out of the Cocktail circuit, and visit their local National Party office for a briefing; or if they wish have both, hold the Chardonnay glass in the left hand, and lookup the National website using the Right hand.

However, in spite of what respondents to the Herald survey said, a BusinessNZ survey show its members do understand, and support, what the government is doing:

BusinessNZ chief executive Phil O’Reilly said the “standard response” that might otherwise be expected from business was that the Government should cut spending. But the results from his organisation’s survey were consistent with what members were telling him.

“They are supportive of this kind of track the Government’s taking. You don’t want to get so much austerity that you push the economy into recession – at the same time you don’t want them to just blast money everywhere in the hope of getting the economy moving faster because a lot of it will be low-quality spend.” . . .

O’Reilly said the SME Snapshot results largely reflected what business people told him every day. That included the widely held view among members that they generally supported the direction of the Government’s “relatively conservative economic reform programme”.

Building business competitiveness, reducing Government spending as a proportion of GDP, improving New Zealand’s international situation, and building innovation and skills were all regarded as important.

“There will be some in the business community that will have concerns about the pace and execution of government policy, but they broadly support it.

Regardless of what businesses know and understand about government’s plans, the good ones treat governments like the weather, enjoy it when it’s good and do all they can in spite of it when it’s not.

The businesses that get on with their businesses, concentrating on what they can control, are the ones with the best chance of success which will be good not just for them but for the wider economy.

This point is made by Liam Dann:

. . . In reality business knows that there is little point in looking to Government for any major new spending in the next few years.

So what next? Where does all this leave business in 2012? Where will the circuit breakers for this economic cycle come from?

We are going to need strong and innovative leadership from the business community to turn the tide. And we are going to have to see some of that dogged optimism translate into business spending.

Teasing the public out of its recessionary mindset will be a slow process but it is a chicken and egg scenario. Business can lead the way by being proactive and trying new things. It is never easy because there are many reasons why we can’t afford to do something. But if the alternative is slowing sinking in the mire of a stagnant economy – can we afford not to?

Governments come and governments go, so do recessions.

The global financial crisis one isn’t going anywhere fast and it will have an impact here.

But where there is crisis there is also opportunity and businesses which realise it’s up to them and do what they can about it will help turn the tide.


Marriage Bill good news for Conservatives

29/07/2012

It’s not easy for a party with no MPs to get into parliament.

The Maori and Mana Parties managed it in by-elections but their candidates had just resigned to stand under a new banner. NZ First got lucky at the last election but it and, more significantly for its supporters, its leader had been there before.

A party with neither at least one MP nor a previous term in parliament has yet to win a seat in an election.

But Patrick Gower thinks Labour MP Louisa Walls might have improved the chances of the Conservative Party doing that.

. . . On  the other hand, Key and  National may want to look liberal; the party has just  taken up the idea of  same-sex adoption. Going for the bill could help Key in the   centre-ground.

And  that, of course, would open  up room on the right for, guess who? The  Conservatives leader Colin  Craig. . .

Rob Hosking has a similar thought:

New Zealanders are increasingly liberal on the issue of gay marriage – the National Party conference, which, pretty much by definition, is one of the country’s more conservative bodies, voted last weekend in favour of gay adoption.

And various polls show a fair majority of New Zealanders polled are in favour of allowing gay marriage. . .

I was at a marriage celebrants’ education forum yesterday. Walls’ Bill came up during a panel discussion, none of the panelists had any objection and the body language of the audience suggested theyw ere reflecting the views of the majority of the audience.

But a small but significant chunk of New Zealand voters march to a different drum.

One poll, in the run up to the 2008 election, showed that about 15% of New Zealanders polled would consider voting for a Christian-based party. . .

It is not too difficult to see a Christian-based party pulling in some churchgoing Labour voters, especially from the Pasifika community.

Mr Craig is already campaigning hard on the issue. It is a gift from Heaven for his party, and his party’s approach to politics is much more aligned with that of National than of Labour. . .

Craig has been pilloried for saying that it is “not intelligent to pretend that homosexual relationships are normal”.

He’d need a far more intelligent argument than that to change the minds of people who aren’t opposed to the idea of liberalising marriage laws but those aren’t the voters he’s chasing.

His party is Conservative by name and it’s moral conservatives whose votes he’s after.

Walls’ Bill could make it a lot easier for him to get them.


July 29 in history

29/07/2012

1014  Byzantine-Bulgarian Wars: Battle of Kleidion: Byzantine emperor Basil II inflicted a decisive defeat on the Bulgarian army.

1030  Ladejarl-Fairhair succession wars: Battle of Stiklestad – King Olaf II fought and died trying to regain his Norwegian throne from the Danes.

1565 The widowed Mary, Queen of Scots, married Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, Duke of Albany at Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh.

1567  James VI was crowned King of Scotland at Stirling.

1588 Anglo-Spanish War: Battle of Gravelines – English naval forces under command of Lord Charles Howard and Sir Francis Drake defeated the Spanish Armada off the coast of Gravelines, France.

1693 War of the Grand Alliance: Battle of Landen – France won a Pyrrhic victory over Allied forces in the Netherlands.

1793  John Graves Simcoe decided to build a fort and settlement at Toronto.

1830  Abdication of Charles X of France.

1836  Inauguration of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

1847 Cumberland School of Law was founded in Lebanon, Tennessee.

1848 Irish Potato Famine: Tipperary Revolt – an unsuccessful nationalist revolt against British rule was put down by police.

1851  Annibale de Gasparis discovered asteroid 15 Eunomia.

1858 United States and Japan signed the Harris Treaty.

1883 Benito Mussolini, Italian dictator, was born (d. 1945).

1891 Bernhard Zondek German-born Israeli gynecologist, developer of first reliable pregnancy test, was born (d. 1966).

1899  The First Hague Convention was signed.

1900 King Umberto I of Italy was assassinated by Italian-born anarchist Gaetano Bresci.

1901  The Socialist Party of America founded.

1905 Stanley Kunitz, American poet, was born (d. 2006).

1907 Sir Robert Baden Powell set up the Brownsea Island Scout camp in Poole Harbour. The camp ran from August 1-9, 1907, and is regarded as the foundation of the Scouting movement.

1920 Construction of the Link River Dam began as part of the Klamath Reclamation Project.

1921  Adolf Hitler became leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party.

1925 Mikis Theodorakis, Greek composer, was born.

1937  Tongzhou Incident – assault on Japanese troops and civilians by Japanese-trained East Hopei Army in Tōngzhōu, China.

1945  The BBC Light Programme radio station was launched.

1948 The Games of the XIV Olympiad – after a hiatus of 12 years caused by World War II, the first Summer Olympics to be held opened in London.

1957  The International Atomic Energy Agency was established.

1958  U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law the National Aeronautics and Space Act, which created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

1959  John Sykes, British guitarist (Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake, Tygers of Pan Tang), was born.

1965  Tfirst 4,000 101st Airborne Division paratroopers arrived in Vietnam.

1967 USS Forrestal caught on fire  killing 134.

1967  During the fourth day of celebrating its 400th anniversary, the city of Caracas, Venezuela was shaken by an earthquake, leaving approximately 500 dead.

1981 Up to 2000 anti-Springbok tour protestors were confronted by police who used batons to stop them marching up Molesworth Street to the home of South Africa’s Consul to New Zealand.

Police baton anti-tour protestors near Parliament

1981 Marriage of Charles, Prince of Wales to Lady Diana Spencer.

1987  British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President of France François Mitterrand signed the agreement to build a tunnel under the English Channel (Eurotunnel).

1988 The film Cry Freedom was seized by South African authorities.

1987  Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi and President of Sri Lanka J. R. Jayawardene signed the Indo-Lankan Pact on ethnic issues.

1993  The Israeli Supreme Court acquitted alleged Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk of all charges.

2005  Astronomers announced their discovery of Eris.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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