Another moment

September 19, 2012

Valerie Adams was robbed of her moment on the Olympic podium by a drug cheat.

Nothing can bring that moment back.

But tonight she got another moment to cherish when Governor General Lt General Sir Jerry Mateparae presented her with her medal.

Word of the day

September 19, 2012

Suffrage – the right to vote in political elections; the exercise of that right; franchise;  a vote cast in deciding a disputed question or in electing a person to office or trust; a series of intercessory prayers or petitions.

Questions to members

September 19, 2012

Question time usually deals with questions from Members of Parliament to Ministers.

Today there are four from a Member to another Member:


1. ANDREW WILLIAMS to the Chairperson of the Local Government and Environment Committee: When will the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill be reported back to the House and approximately how many written submissions have been received on the Bill?

2. ANDREW WILLIAMS to the Rt Hon Winston Peters: What is the intention of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (Amending Primary Function of Bank) Amendment Bill?

3. ANDREW WILLIAMS to the Rt Hon Winston Peters: How will the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (Amending Primary Function of Bank) Amendment Bill help the Reserve Bank pursue a balanced macro-economic policy?

4. ANDREW WILLIAMS to the Rt Hon Winston Peters: Why is the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (Amending Primary Function of Bank) Amendment Bill needed now?

At least three of those could be candidates for patsy question of the day.

For international Book Week

September 19, 2012

A post on Facebook from the bloke behind Quote Unquote tells me it’s International Book Week and there’s a rule:

 Grab the book nearest you, turn to page 52nd post the 5th sentence as your status. Don’t post the title.

It’s such a good idea I thought I’d borrow it for this post.

The nearest book to me was The Big Red Book of Spanish Verbs  which doesn’t have sentences so I grabbed the closest one from the bookshelf in front of me instead.

The 5th sentence on the 52nd page was: Confession was not as easy for Georgie Wi as it was for the white people.

I look forward to reading yours.

Stop and pop

September 19, 2012

Der spring is sprung
Der grass is riz
I wonder where dem boidies is?

Der little boids is on der wing,
Ain’t dat absoid?
Der little wings is on de boid!

Among those birds are starlings which are building nests and too many choose under the hoods of tractors to do it with potentially disastrous results for the birds, the nests, the tractors and anything near-by.

FMG is reminding farmers to stop and pop the hood to check for nests before starting tractors.

Double standards in jobs and trade

September 19, 2012

To send jobs off-shore or not?

That is the question that many companies face and it’s one to which there isn’t a simple answer.

 James Adonis gives the case for and against such a move:

Whenever an offshoring announcement is made, it’s usually followed by a  cacophony of predictable condemnation, much of it reminiscent of that classic  clip from South Park:They took our job!” It’s worth pondering, though, whether the offshoring of  jobs is really as bad as it seems.

First, the case in favour.

Proponents of offshoring point towards globalisation as a reason to support it. Part of doing business in an interconnected world means that, yes, we’ll lose some jobs overseas, but we’ll also gain others. Or, at the very least, the exporting of low-skilled jobs leaves Australians with more fulfilling high-skilled ones.

Offshoring’s advocates also suggest it provides economic benefits and positive PR in the beneficiary country, making that population more likely to buy Australian goods. It similarly increases Australians’ purchasing power because products are cheaper when they’re manufactured overseas.

Then there’s the profit motive. If offshoring enables Aussie firms to make more money, that creates a stronger Australian economy, greater shareholder returns, and healthier superannuation balances. There was a study released this year by Harvard, for example, which showed that a 10 per cent increase in foreign investment leads to a 2.6 per cent increase in investment back home.

And we haven’t even touched on the skills shortage yet. If companies can’t source the right workers in Australia, it makes sense to look elsewhere. To not do so would restrict economic growth.

That, in a nutshell, is the argument in favour of offshoring. In short, the most efficient allocation of resources is paramount. Even though it’s sad to see people lose their jobs, there’s a net advantage overall from a macroeconomic viewpoint.

But now for the downside.

Professor Greg Bamber from Monash University is a co-author of International and Comparative Employment Relations. He provided me with four compelling reasons to justify why Australia should reverse the offshoring movement:

  • “Offshoring tends to decrease employment in this country as jobs are exported.”
  • “Offshored customer-service staff in overseas call centres tend to annoy customers.”
  • “It may be more difficult for Australian enterprises to manage and motivate staff who are based in remote offshore locations.”
  • “Intermediaries … tend to exaggerate the benefits of offshoring and gloss over the costs and possible disadvantages.”

. . . For me, the crux of the offshoring debate is the ever-present but frequently ignored double standard.

We revolt whenever Australian jobs are sent elsewhere but we celebrate when they’re sent here. We complain about developing countries taking our jobs, but we’re not resentful of the technologies that do the same thing. And when small business owners use online services – such as – to outsource projects to freelancers in Pakistan and Bangladesh, most of us don’t kick up a fuss.

It’s a complex debate – but also, at times, a hypocritical one.

The debate about sending jobs offshore is taking part on this side of the Tasman too and it’s not just jobs but goods and services where double standards can be found.

We need other countries to buy the goods and services we export yet there are calls  for the government to restrict imports or put tariffs on or subsidise them to give an advantage to local producers.

Free trade has to work both ways, whether its goods, services or jobs.

4th consecutive price rise in GDT auction

September 19, 2012

Can four consecutive increases in the trade weighted index for milk in the GlobalDairyTrade auction be called a trend?

Today’s 2.4% increase in the TWI takes the price above the 10 year average again.

The price of anhydrous milk fat fell 9.8%; butter milk powder was down 2%; cheddar was up 1%; the price of milk protein concentrate decreased by 3.4%; rennet casein increased 4.2%; skim milk powder was up by 4.7% and the price of whole milk powder had a 2% lift.

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