Word of the day

September 12, 2012

Contumacious – obstinately,  stubbornly or willfully disobedient or rebellious; insubordinate.


78.1b reasons for welfare reform

September 12, 2012

The welfare system costs $78.1 billion over the working lifetime of beneficiaries.

The valuation report, which cost the Government $800,000 to  prepare, is the first of its type in the world and designed as a measuring stick  for the likely cost of the welfare system.

The figure is based on the number of beneficiaries in the  system in 2011 but uses 20 years of data to map their behaviour.

Using figures from this year, the cost is 10 percent higher  at $84.9 billion.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says the report  shows the huge cost of beneficiaries and emphasises the importance in changing  the path of youth welfare dependency. . .

The break down of costs is:

    • Benefit:      $17.8 billion
    • Invalids      Benefit: $19.1 billion
    • Accommodation      Supplement: $10.2 billion
    • Sickness      Benefit: $7.2 billion
    • MSD      Expenses: $6.8 billion
    • Woman      alone/widow’s benefit/Orphan’s benefit/unsupported child/DPB       carer/emergency benefit: $5.1 billion
    • Unemployment      benefit: $4 billion
    • Recoverable      hardship assistance/net loan cost: $4 billion
    • Disability      allowance/child disability allowance/childcare subsidy: $3.4  billion
    • Loans:      $0.4 billion
    • Total:      $78.1 billion (as of March 2011) but $84.9 billion using June  2012      figures. The total figure does not include costs associated with  welfare      like family court costs.

Ms Bennett says taxpayers spend $22 million a day on the  welfare system and this needs to be reduced.

The report is intended to help the Ministry of Social  Development focus on the most important areas, especially long-term welfare  dependency. . .

Some people will need welfare permanently because they will never be able to support themselves.

Most people require only temporary support.

The problem area is those whose need is temporary but whose dependence becomes permanent.

The shorter the time people who could support themselves are in receipt of a benefit the better it is for them, society and the economy.


Rural round-up

September 12, 2012

 

We’re the only protein production system that can say VISIT – Pasture Harmonies:

Forget the science, briefly, about our agriculture, even though that’s the wonderful legacy that has got us to where we are today.

Forget the rational.

Forget the food safety, the genetics of plants and animals, the fertiliser….all those things that are objective or measureable in their input and output.

For many of us, myself included, that’s a difficult thing. We’re programmed, almost obliged to look at the facts, to deal with what’s real.

Instead think emotions, hearts and minds, soul even when it comes to our farming.

Because that’s the trigger, hook, main consideration (even if they don’t realise it) for consumers. . .

Loder Cup awarded to Dunedin ecologist:

Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson has announced Dunedin Ecologist Dr Ralph Allen the 2012 winner of the prestigious Loder Cup for his outstanding achievements in plant conservation work.

A professional plant ecologist for 30 years with the former DSIR and then Landcare Research, Dr Allen has been pivotal in protecting thousands of hectares of native forest, shrublands, and coastal vegetation throughout Otago, Southland, and the Kapiti Coast.

“Dr Allen’s efforts have inspired others to cherish the native plants and ecosystems around them,” Ms Wilkinson says. . .

Very unlikely NZ bees have CCD

The National Beekeepers’ Association of New Zealand’s co-chief executive, Daniel Paul, doubts New Zealand is seeing the first signs of CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder).

Mr Paul was commenting on a NZ Herald article that indicated CCD may be occurring in NZ.

“It’s very unlikely,” he said.

“We’re probably seeing the effects of the increasing resistance to the treatments that are used to control the varroa mite and while that’s not unexpected, it is still a concern.” . . .

Last farmer out turn out the lights – Willy Leferink:

Here is a typical media scenario: anything to do with farming and water,they pull stock video of cattle shitting in water.

Instead of rational discussion on complex water policy, it is boiled down to images that yell stock exclusion. This misses the real story by the proverbial country mile.

Case in point was the 3News story about the Environment Court kicking the guts of independent hearings commissioners over Horizons One Plan. Now, these commissioners reached a quite different view in 2010 and after months of sitting through detailed evidence. On the evidence, they tended towards the arguments of Federated Farmers and those in the primary industries over that of the council

So did 3News show images of stream plantings, lysimeters and the marked improvement in dairy compliance? No, instead they showed beef cattle shitting into a river. . .

Ballance Supports Rural Leadership:

Ballance Agri-Nutrients is backing a rural leadership programme to foster governance and business capabilities for women in the sector.

The Agri-Women’s Development Trust (AWDT) Escalator programme is designed to build the skills already accumulated by rural women within their businesses and communities.

Ballance supports the Escalator programme through sponsorship of one of 14 places on the 10-month programme.

The recipient of the Ballance-supported spot is Ekatahuna sheep and beef farmer Lisa Sims. . .

Please ask dairy farmers to contribute to your research by using social media – Pasture to Profit:

Low input pasture based dairy farmers are generous with their practical information. In my experience they want to contribute to research that they help fund. However agricultural researchers rarely include farmers to the detriment of the research results & the practical usefulness of the project.

Farmers can easily respond through Facebook & Twitter networks greatly enriching research outcomes. Farmers are often the leading researchers in their field of expertise. Come on we all want good quality research outcomes so include farmers in your research team. . .


Who remembers the champions?

September 12, 2012

It’s less than a month since the end of the Olympics but already most of us will have forgotten the names of the champions.

It’s unlikely any but those keenly interested in sport ever knew the names of many if any of those who didn’t win a medal.

Since then we’ve had the Paralympics, which got only a fraction of the media coverage given to the Olympics.

New Zealand athletes won 17 medals but it’s unlikely most of us remember them, except perhaps swimmer Sophie Pascoe . She was recognised for winning three gold and three silver medals by being chosen as the flag bearer in the closing ceremony.

Now the games are over who remembers the champions?

Beef + Lamb NZ has recognised two with sponsorship.

Olympic gold medallist Lisa Carrington and silver medallist Sarah Walker are the new faces of Beef + Lamb New Zealand. . .

B+LNZ Inc CEO Rod Slater says choosing the popular Olympians to front the organisation’s domestic marketing campaigns was a no-brainer.

“These girls have it all and New Zealanders have really taken them into their hearts.”

They follow in the footsteps of Sarah Ulmer, Georgina Earl (née Evers Swindell) and Caroline Meyer (née Evers Swindell), whom Beef + Lamb New Zealand continues to support.


Less for all or more for those in need?

September 12, 2012

Finance Minister gets to the nub of the problem of a universal benefit for children:

. . . a move from a targeted programme to a lower universal payment would leave many low-income working families worse off, to start with, and, secondly, would leave them in a less beneficial position, relevant to being on the benefit. It has been a focus of social policy, regardless of party, in New Zealand in the last 20 years to ensure that the reward for work is significantly greater than the income that one can receive on benefit. We intend to maintain that policy.

It is possible to give a lesser amount to more people or give more to those in need by targeting it.

The reasoning behind decreasing assistance to those in real need so people well able to look after their own children get a benefit too defies logic.


For the sake of the children

September 12, 2012

Long term welfare dependency isn’t good for the recipients, their dependants, taxpayers or society.

Nor is giving people money without expecting something in return.

For too long people have been able to claim benefits with no social obligations in return. That is about to change.

Incorporating important health and wellbeing goals into welfare reform will help ensure children get the best possible start in life says Social Development Minister Paula Bennett.

“Social obligations will ensure dependent children of beneficiaries access and benefit from vital education and health services,” says Mrs Bennett.

“These services are particularly important for vulnerable children as many currently miss out; we have an opportunity to address this through reforms.”

“These obligations are reasonable and achievable and they reflect the expectations most New Zealanders have of parents, this is a positive move for vulnerable families.”

Around 125,000 beneficiary parents support more than 220,000 children.

Social obligations require all beneficiary parents to ensure their children:

  • attend 15 hours a week Early Childhood Education (ECE) from age 3
  • attend school from age five or six
  • enrol with a General Practitioner
  • complete core WellChild/Tamariki Ora checks

This is not a punitive attack on parents, it’s a proactive move for the sake of children who are not receiving the care and services they need.

. . . “We are mindful there may be barriers like geographical location or capacity so parents will need to make reasonable steps to achieve these goals.”

Our intention is to work with and support parents to comply in the best interests of children and if they struggle to comply for any reason they could be referred to specific support services to get further help.

“But where barriers do not exist and parents don’t meet these obligations, graduated sanctions could apply,” says Mrs Bennett.

The graduated sanction process will see parents receive three reminder opportunities to comply before a maximum 50 per cent financial sanction applies.

“We have made it easy to re-comply, with plenty of opportunities and in the interests of the child, have capped the sanction at 50 percent.”

No-one will lose a benefit automatically, a lot of effort will go in to ensuring people do what is required of them for the sake of their children.

Parents may receive a higher level of case management support at any stage in the process if they are considered to be high risk, have complex needs or a level of vulnerability that requires additional support.

These social obligations will come into effect in July 2013 and cost around $1.4 million a year to administrate.

The first few years of life are important. Children who start school behind their peers are at a disadvantage which can dog them for the rest of their lives.

Critics of the policy ask why all parents aren’t to be faced with the same obligations.

It’s a fair question when at least some might be getting taxpayer support through in work tax credits.

But the policy is aimed at those who need it most because children of beneficiaries do worse than those of people in work even if they are on the same income.


September 12 in history

September 12, 2012

1213 Albigensian Crusade: Simon de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester, defeated Peter II of Aragon at the Battle of Muret.

1575 Henry Hudson, English explorer, was born (d. 1611).

1683  Austro-Ottoman War: Battle of Vienna – several European armies joined forces to defeat the Ottoman Empire.

1814 Battle of North Point: an American detachment halted the British land advance to Baltimore in the War of 1812.

1846 Elizabeth Barrett eloped with Robert Browning.

1847  Mexican-American War: the Battle of Chapultepec began.

1848  Switzerland became a Federal state.

1852  H. H. Asquith, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born (d. 1928).

1857 The SS Central America sank drowning a total of 426 passengers and crew, including Captain William Lewis Herndon. The ship was carrying 13–15 tons of gold from the San Francisco Gold Rush.

1888 Maurice Chevalier, French singer and actor, was born (d. 1972).

1897  Tirah Campaign: Battle of Saragarhi

1906 The Newport Transporter Bridge was opened by Viscount Tredegar.

1910 Premiere performance of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 in Munich (with a chorus of 852 singers and an orchestra of 171 players).

1913 Jesse Owens, American athlete, was born (d. 1980).

1914 – Forty three miners were killed in an explosion at Huntly.

1919  Adolf Hitler joined the German Workers Party.

1930  Wilfred Rhodes ended his 1110-game first-class career by taking 5 for 95 for H.D.G. Leveson Gower’s XI against the Australians.

1933  Leó Szilárd, waiting for a red light conceived the idea of the nuclear chain reaction.

1940   An explosion at the Hercules Powder Company plant in Kenvil, New Jersey killed 51 people and injured over 200.

1942  RMS Laconia, carrying civilians, Allied soldiers and Italian POWs was torpedoed off the coast of West Africa and sankwith a heavy loss of life.

1942 First day of the Battle of Edson’s Ridge during the Guadalcanal campaign.

1943  Benito Mussolini was rescued from house arrest on the Gran Sasso in Abruzzi, by German commando forces led by Otto Skorzeny.

1948 Invasion of the State of Hyderabad by the Indian Army on the day after the Pakistani leader Jinnah’s death.

1952 Gerry Beckley, American musician (America), was born.

1952 Strange occurrences, including a monster sighting,  in Flatwoods, West Virginia.

1958  Jack Kilby demonstrated the first integrated circuit.

1959  Premiere of Bonanza, the first regularly-scheduled TV programme presented in color.

1964 Canyonlands National Park was designated as a National Par

1966  Gemini 11, the penultimate mission of NASA’s Gemini programme.

1974  Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia was deposed following a military coup by the Derg, ending a reign of 58 years.

1977 South African anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko was killed in police custody.

1979 Indonesia was hit by an earthquake that measures 8.1 on the Richter scale.

1980 Military coup in Turkey.

1981 Flour bombs ended the rugby test between the All Blacks and Springboks at Eden Park.

'Flour-bomb test' ends Springbok tour

1983  A Wells Fargo depot in West Hartfor,was robbed of approximately US$7 million by Los Macheteros.

1988  Hurricane Gilbert devastated Jamaica.

1990 The two German states and the Four Powers signed the Treaty on the Final Settlement With Respect to Germany in Moscow, paving the way for German re-unification.

1992  NASA launched Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-47 which marked the 50th shuttle mission. On board were Mae Carol Jemison, the first African-American woman in space, Mamoru Mohri, the first Japanese citizen to fly in a US spaceship, and Mark Lee and Jan Davis, the first married couple in space.

1992 Abimael Guzmán, leader of the Shining Path, was captured by Peruvian special forces.

1994 Frank Eugene Corder crashed a single-engine Cessna 150 into the White House’s south lawn, striking the West wing and killing himself.

2001  Ansett Australia, Australia’s first commercial interstate airline, collapsed due to increased strain on the international airline industry, leaving 10,000 people unemployed.

2003 – In Fallujah, US forces mistakenly shot and killed eight Iraqi police officers.

2005  Hong Kong Disneyland opened.

2007 Former Philippine President Joseph Estrada was convicted of the crime of plunder.

2008 The 2008 Chatsworth train collision between a Metrolink commuter train and a Pacific Union Freight Train killed 25 people.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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