Word of the day


Cerebration – working of the brain; the act or product of thinking; use of the power of reason.

Better farming than on board?


Colin Armer’s resignation from Fonterra’s board was unexpected.

One possibility is that he stood for chair and when he was unsuccessful decided his time and undoubted business acumen were better used elsewhere.

He epitimises what the New Zealand dairy industry is about. He is a master at running low cost farms to maximise the natural advantages of our pasture based systems.

He has demonstrated that with hard work and ability it is possible to start with nothing and succeed. He bought his first farm when he was 19 and he and his wife Dale are the country’s largest dairy farmers.

In spite of complaints about the high price of land, this is a model which still works for aspiring farmers.

The NBR has a brief biography here.

Good rain


A total of 70 mls with no damage, that’s a good rain.

UPDATE: Good for us but further north, in South Canterbury, they’ve had far too much of a good thing:

Torrential rain caused flooding across South Canterbury yesterday and by 10pm last night the Te Ngawai had reached a 50-year flood level, flowing at 1000 cumecs.

Wet conditions are forecast for the rest of the week.

Much of the region experienced more than 90 millimetres of rain – significantly more than the 75mm average total rainfall for the month. Rainfall of 180mm was recorded in some areas. Most rivers experienced flows of 10- to 20-year return periods. . .

Some roads are closed and the forecast is for more rain.

Buddy for party not electorate

In the last few weeks the news that Trevor Mallard is to be Labour’s buddy MP for Invercargill has had the odd mention.

That it’s more than eight months since the election and the party is only just getting round to appointing buddy MPs reflects poorly on both its organisational skills and its concern to provide a service to the electorate.

That they add insult to injury by choosing Mallard, the man who is still reviled for multiple school closures in the south when he was Minister of Education is even worse.
There might have been good reason for many, perhaps most of the closures and amalgamations, but they were done in a way that showed little concern for the people and communities affected.
Why then choose Mallard, especially when there are several South Island-based MPs who could service Invercargill more easily?
Credo Quia Absurdum Est has the answer in an email from a mate:
. . . Mallard has been sent down under the guise of buddy MP to make sure Lesey (sic) Soper doesn’t stand again.  The feeling is there must be someone down there to take her place, or HQ will parachute someone in.  Mallard couldn’t care less about Invercargill – the powers that be want her gone from standing at the next election and he’s just the bastard to do it. . .
A party that had any respect for the electorate and democratic principles would find a candidate who could win on his or her own merits.
It would also be more concerned about serving the people rather than its own ends with a buddy for the electorate rather than the party.

Wild threats no response to wilding threat


Forest Owners are justifiably dismayed at the suggestion Sir Alan Mark might assemble a group of activists to rip out forest seedlings on a farm near Dunedin.

Forest Owners are justifiably dismayed at the suggestion Sir Alan Mark might assemble a group of activists to rip out forest seedlings on a farm near Dunedin.
“It’s one thing for the professor to be a passionate advocate for environmental causes. It’s quite another to threaten vigilante action and to incite trespass,” says FOA Environment Committee chair Peter Weir.
The farm, Waipori Station, is owned by Landcorp. Sir Alan’s concern is Douglas-firs planted as a carbon forest on a 189 block neighbouring Te Papanui Conservation Park and the Stony Creek Scenic Reserve.
Sir Alan is fearful that wilding Douglas-fir will spread through these important tussock land reserves from seeds blown from the plantation. It is an issue he is passionate about. Sir Alan led a major campaign to remove wildling pines from thousands of hectares at Mid-Dome in Southland and has previously helped Landcorp remove wildling pines from Waipori Station.
He told Radio New Zealand yesterday that he might lead a group to the site to remove the trees if Landcorp will not.
Mr Weir says higher rainfall areas of the South Island high country are very good for growing Douglas-fir. It produces high value timber, much preferred for building in Otago and Southland, and is ideal for carbon sequestration.
“It is unfortunate that Landcorp is being criticised for addressing their on-farm greenhouse gas emissions in such a productive way. It’s also unfortunate that the proposed National Environmental Standard (NES) for Plantation Forestry has yet to get approval from government, because it includes a wilding risk calculator that drives rules for afforestation,” he says
“If the NES were in effect then the rules around afforestation would be much clearer for all land owners.
“Yes, there is a risk of wildling spread. But this can be mitigated by planting a Ponderosa pine buffer zone around the Douglas-fir, surrounded in turn by grazing land. Any seeds that do escape and grow into young trees are then easily controlled before they start producing cones. There is a 10 year window to eradicate any escapees before they produce fertile seeds.”
He says these form a suite of good forest management practices for forestry in the high country and have been adopted by Landcorp.
“Land owners have the right to plant forests, so long as they manage them responsibly,” Mr Weir says
“For a respected person like Sir Alan to suggest a planted forest be ripped out fills us with dismay. It’s not as if high country forestry is a new issue, or that he has exhausted all his legal options … not that this would justify vigilante action anyway.”
Wilding trees are a significant concern in the South Island high country but the risk of them spreading from forests is one that can be managed.
The threat of vigilante action at any time is unacceptable. In this case it is even more extreme when Landcorp appears to have a management plan which will ensure there isn’t a problem with the spread of wilding firs.
Radio NZ has more here.

August 1 in history


BC Octavian(later known as Augustus) entered Alexandria bringing it under the control of the Roman Republic.

10BC Claudius, Roman Emperor was born (d. 54).

69 Batavian rebellion: The Batavians in Germania Inferior (Netherlands) revolted under the leadership of Gaius Julius Civilis.

527 Justinian I became the sole ruler of the Byzantine Empire.

607  Ono no Imoko was dispatched as envoy to the Sui court in China.

902 Taormina, the last Byzantine stronghold in Sicily, was captured by the Aghlabid army.

1203  Isaac II Angelus, restored Eastern Roman Emperor, declared his son Alexius IV Angelus co-emperor after pressure from the forces of the Fourth Crusade.

1291  The Swiss Confederation was formed with the signature of the Federal Charter.

1461  Edward IV was crowned king of England.

1498 Christopher Columbus became the first European to visit what is now Venezuela.

1545 Andrew Melville, Scottish theologian and religious reformer (d. 1622)

1619 First African slaves arrived in Jamestown, Virginia.

1664  The Ottoman Empire was defeated in the Battle of Saint Gotthard by an Austrian army led by Raimondo Montecuccoli, resulting in the Peace of Vasvár.

1774 The element oxygen was discovered for the third (and last) time.

1798 French Revolutionary Wars: Battle of the Nile (Battle of Aboukir Bay) began when a British fleet engaged the French Revolutionary Navy fleet in an unusual night action.

1800  The Act of Union 1800 was passed which merged the Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

1828 Bolton and Leigh Railway opened to freight traffic.

1831  A new London Bridge opened.

1832  The Black Hawk War ended.

1834  Slavery was abolished in the British Empire as the Slavery Abolition Act 1833 came into force.

1837 Mary Harris “Mother” Jones, American labor organiser, was born (d. 1930).

1838 Non-labourer slaves in most of the British Empire were emancipated.

1840 Labourer slaves in most of the British Empire were emancipated.

1842 Lombard Street Riot erupted.

1855 First ascent of Dufourspitze (Monte Rosa), the second highest summit in the Swiss Alps.

1894 The First Sino-Japanese War began between Japan and China over Korea.

1902 The United States bought the rights to the Panama Canal from France.

1907  Start of First Scout camp on Brownsea Island.

1914 Germany declared war on Russia at the opening of World War I.

1916 Anne Hébert, French Canadian author and poet, was born (d. 2000).

1927 The Nanchang Uprising – the first significant battle in the Chinese Civil War between the Kuomintang and Communist Party of China. This day is commemorated as the anniversary

1936 Yves Saint Laurent, French fashion designer, was born (d. 2008).

1937  Tito read the resolution “Manifesto of constitutional congress of KPH” to the Croatian Communist Party in woods near Samobor.

1941  The first Jeep was produced.

1942 Jerry Garcia, American musician (The Grateful Dead), was born (d. 1995).

1944  Anne Frank made the last entry in her diary.

1944  Warsaw Uprising against the Nazi occupation began.

1949 Kurmanbek Bakiyev, President of Kyrgyzstan, was born.

1951 Tommy Bolin, American musician (Deep Purple), was born (d. 1976).

1957  The United States and Canada formed the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD).

1959 –  Joe Elliott, English musician (Def Leppard), was born.

1960 – Dahomey (later renamed Benin) declared independence from France.

1964  The Belgian Congo was renamed the Republic of the Congo.

1966 Charles Whitman killed 15 people at The University of Texas before being killed by the police.

1966  Purges of intellectuals and imperialists became official Chinese policy at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution.

1967  Israel annexed East Jerusalem.

1968 The coronation of Hassanal Bolkiah, the 29th Sultan of Brunei.

1975  CSCE Final Act created the Conference for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

1980  Buttevant Rail Disaster killed 18 and injured dozens of train passengers.

1981 MTV began broadcasting in the United States and aired its first video, “Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Buggles.

1987 Maori became an official language in New Zealand.

Maori becomes official language

1993  The Great Flood of 1993 in the US Mid-West  peaked.

1995  The first Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was held at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

1996  Michael Johnson broke the 200m world record by 0.30 seconds with a time of 19.32 seconds at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.

2001 – Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore had a Ten Commandments monument installed in the judiciary building, leading to a lawsuit to have it removed and his own removal from office.

2004  A supermarket fire killed 396 people and injured 500 in Asunción, Paraguay.

2007  The I-35W Mississippi River Bridge collapsed during the evening rush hour.

2009 – Gay centre shooting in Tel Aviv.

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