Mr Singer

August 6, 2012

He’s officially addressed as Mr Speaker but after leading the National Anthem at the National Party conference perhaps Lockwood Smith should be Mr Singer:


Word of the day

August 6, 2012

Rodomontade – pretentious, bragging; boastful or inflated talk or behavior; bluster.


All one when it suits

August 6, 2012

While browsing in the excellent Mary Ryan’s bookshop in Noosa last week I was amused to see three books by Lloyd Jones on the shelves devoted to Australian fiction.

When I mentioned this to the man serving me he said they didn’t have a section for New Zealand books and he thought Lloyd Jones was better with the Australian authors than in general fiction.

A conversation on the merits of our tendency to borrow the best from each other followed and how we were all one when it suits. We concluded that being close enough for some blurring of national boundaries was usually a good thing.

Often it is New Zealand which seeks to bask in Australia’s glory, but this week Australia is finding itself wanting to share some of ours.

This photo, borrowed from Facebook (thanks Andy) has Aus Zealand in ninth place in the medal tally in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph.

On the official medal table, we’re 14th and Australia is 24th.

However, when it comes to medals per capita, Stats NZ has us at number two for gold medals per 1,000,000 people, with Jamaica in first place; and second in total medals per 1,000,000 people.

However, Medals per Capita puts us at only 12th  for GDP per medal and 13th for golds per capita.

TV# has the story behind this website set up by  New Zealander Craig Nevill-Manning, who is an engineering director for Google  in New York.


Court via Skype

August 6, 2012

Courts Minister Chester Borrows has announced Oamaru will be the first place in New Zealand to trail Skype in Family Court hearings.

Oamaru has been without a permanent courthouse since November when the building was deemed an earthquake risk, and Mr  Borrows said while temporary alternative locations were being  sought, audio visual technology would be trialled with a sitting Family Court judge on August 14.   

Existing audio visual platforms, such as Skype, were reliable and efficient enough for use in court, he said, adding that the idea also had backing from legal professionals in the town.   

 Following the trial run, a larger six-month trial, which would take place in Family Court proceedings from Oamaru south, would occur in September, Mr Borrows said.

This will save time and money for lawyers and their clients.

Skype works well for interviews and meetings, there’s no reason it shouldn’t work as well for court.


Higher company taxes hit wages

August 6, 2012

The left generally favours higher taxes and some of the left also show an anti-business streak.

That combination can lead to policies which tax businesses more.

But Tim Worstall asks who pays for that:

 The only three groups possible are the shareholders of that company, the customers of it or the workers. At  which point we have an interesting new paper on what that incidence is in the European example:

A stylised model is provided to show how the direct effect of corporate income tax on wages can be identified in a bargaining framework using cross-company variation in tax liabilities, conditional on value added per employee. Using data on 55,082 companies located in nine European countries over the period 1996–2003, we estimate the long run elasticity of the wage bill with respect to taxation to be −0.093. Evaluated at the mean, this implies that an exogenous rise of $1 in tax would reduce the wage bill by 49 cents.

As we can see, the workers are paying 50% of that corporation tax bill. Meaning that anyone (and everyone) shouting that companies must pay more in taxes is in fact saying that they want to reduce the wages of the workers.

The law of unintended consequences at work again – higher company taxes hit wages.


End of an era for EDPPP

August 6, 2012

The retirement of Professor John Morris, the inaugural director of Rabobanks’ Executive Development Programme for Primary Producers, marks the end of an ispirational era.

The EDPPP programme started in 1999. The 15th class graduated on Thursday evening and the celebration dinner was also an opportunity to pay tribute to John.

He grew up in Canterbury and graduated from Lincoln  with a B Ag Sci. He then gained an MBA in marketing and finance from Cranfield School of Management and a PhD in food marketing from Cornell University. His business and academic career has included extensive international experience in retailing and food marketing and professorships of food marketing at leading universities.

He always retained a love of farming and rapport with farmers. Add to this a quick wit, an enviable ability to remember names and to make everyone he talked to feel valued and it would be difficult to find anyone better to start and develop the EDPPP.

Counting graduates isn’t hard – there’s been 450 of them – quantifying the positive difference the course has made on their lives and businesses would be much more difficult but there is no doubt it is significant.

Those 449 Australian and New Zealand, and one Dutch, graduates would be the first to say they and their businesses would not be where they are today without what they learned during the programme and that John played a very important role in it.

He will be missed but he won’t be forgotten. On Thursday Neil Dobbin, Group Executive Country Banking for Rabobank Australia and New Zealand announced that the award for the best project which participants complete between the programme’s two modules will now be known as the Dr John Morris prize.

You can read more about the EDPPP here. The programme will continue with Angus Taylor as director.


No shame in silver – Shearer

August 6, 2012

Labour leader David Shearer says there’s no shame in silver.

“The Australians appear to be struggling with their bridesmaid status in so many Olympic events but there is no shame in silver,” he said.

“If you’ve trained and prepared, got your policy straight (or not if we’re talking about marriage), delivered your lines without hesitation and given your all, you’ve done your best and can do nothing about being beaten by someone who does it better.”

He was commenting on the results of the TV3 and TV1 poll vaults in which he and his party came a distant second to the National team led by  long-time rival John Key.

Shearer showed no disappointment in managing  only 8.9 percent, 2.3 percent down on his previous outing in the TV3 individual event, the Preferred Prime Minister race and dropping 1% to 13 in the equivalent TVNZ competition.

He brushed off questions over individual members of the team which reached only  30.8% in the TV3 cross-country  falling 2.3 percent short of the score it achieved last month and gaining only 32% percent, slightly less than it managed in the TV1 team pursuit.

However,  Shearer admitted it didn’t help that some members of the team were running their individual races, others scored own goals and at times the team appeared to lose its way completely.

“But we can be pleased with what we’ve done in spite of that,” he said.

“Silver is still a precious metal, it’s nice and shiny and a medal is a medal. It means we’re better than all the rest except National and being better than everyone except the best is  still an achievement of which we can be proud.

“Besides, you have to keep in mind these are only trials. We’ve still got more than two years until the main event and I’m confident that our training programme will ensure we’re fit and reaching peak performance when it really matters. Some of our team are tiring and it’s likely we’ll have some fresh blood coming on as impact players before we head to the final straight.

“It’s no secret that we’ve some work to do on team cohesion, rowing in unison, heading in the same direction and taking the public with us. But these aren’t insurmountable hurdles, we might not be winning the sprint but we’ve still got a chance in the marathon.”


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