Lost chance


If I’d put my money where this morning’s post was I’d have been on to a winner.

My pick this morning was Terror To Love which won its second New Zealand Trotting Cup race this evening.

Terror To Love joined an elite list of some of the greatest Cup champions with his second successive NZ Trotting Cup win.

The defending champ had to be everything he was touted to be and more after he endured a midrace battled with leader Mah Sish.

When the whips were cracking though Terror To Love was still able to present his trademark finish and overwhelm a wall of horses featuring Highview Tommy, Sushi Sushi and Mah Sish.

It was a triumph once again for the father-and-son partnership of Graham and Paul Court. The Cup win was a culmination of a faultless preparation. Nothing went wrong. It threatened to a lap out when a dip for the lead proved unsuccessful but driver Ricky May didn’t panic, the horse came back to him and the rest is history.

The win takes Terror To Love past the million in stakes earnings.

But nothing for me except the dubious satisfaction of knowing that picking a winner in ignorance can sometimes be lucky.

Word of the day


Omnishambles –  something which is completely and continuously shambolic; a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations.

This is Oxford Dictionaries’ UK word of the year.

Why omnishambles? Well, it was a word everyone liked, which seemed to sum up so many of the events over the last 366 days in a beautiful way. It’s funny, it’s quirky, and it has broken free of its fictional political beginnings, firstly by spilling over into real politics, and then into other contexts. If influence is any indication of staying power, it has already staked its claim by being linguistically productive in its own right, producing a number of related coinages. While many of them are probably humorous one-offs, their very existence shows that the omnishambles itself has entered at least the familiar parlance, if not quite the common parlance. And for every Romneyshambles (coined in the UK to describe US presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s doubts that London had what it took to host a successful Olympic Games) and omnivoreshambles (detailing the furore over the proposed badger cull in England and Wales) there is the far more sober adjective omnishambolic. . .

Court protection to prevent forced marriages


Protecting young people from forced marriages is the intention of Dr Jackie Blue’s Marriage (Court Consent to Marriage of Minors) Amendment Bill.

There are only about 80 marriages each year which involve a minor (16 or 17 year old) , the vast majority being young women.  I am concerned that some minors may be undergoing forced marriage.
Currently 16 and 17 year olds who wish to marry need parental consent. This Bill will require 16 and 17 year olds who wish to marry to apply to the Family Court.  It also sets out how the court should consider the application.
This is an important amendment to the Marriage Act 1955 and will make sure that all minors wishing to marry are doing with the acceptance of the court and with equal consent from both parties.
I have made it very clear in the Bill’s explanatory note that forced marriage is not an arranged marriage where parents take a leading role in choosing a partner but ultimately the son or daughter has free choice.
Marriage celebrants have the right to refuse to carry out a marriage ceremony. Suspicion that one or both parties was under coercion would be good grounds for doing so but that isn’t sufficient protection.
Hearing about a distraught girl who was forced into marriage prompted the Bill.
Dr Blue said only a small number of teenage nuptials would be marriages forced upon girls for cultural reasons.

“The majority are probably quite legitimate, but the majority of those minors are young girls. I can’t not do anything. If it saves one young girl it’s going to be worth it.”

No data existed on how many people have been forced to marry as affected women were often hidden from the glare of social services.

But while researching the issue Dr Blue heard of a recent incident in which a school girl approached a social worker after being forced into an engagement. . .

By forcing teenagers to seek the court’s permission to marry, Dr Blue said it would take parental coercion out of the equation.

“It’s not going to stop people from dragging their sons and daughters off shore to get married. We can’t stop that, but it’s another hurdle.” . . .

This Bill won’t stop young people marrying of their own free will but it will make it more difficult to force them into marriage.

It is unlikely to affect many people but it is still worth doing.

Forced marriages are more common in other countries. This Bill, if enacted, will send a strong signal that they will not be condoned here.

SFF $31.1m loss


Silver Fern Farms has reported a net operating loss of $31.1 million from total revenue of $2 billion.

. . .  Chief Executive Keith Cooper commented that Silver Fern Farms operates in an environment where many outcomes are beyond the company’s control but materially impact on the business. 

 “Climatically  we  went  into  the  2011/12  season  with  ideal  pasture  growing  conditions  which  meant  livestock  was  held  on  farm  for  valid  reasons.  This  resulted  in  markets  being  short  of  product  versus historical supply patterns. Off the back of this, we saw global prices for lamb in particular, escalate to  unsustainable levels, which resulted in a sharp fall in demand, and which then led to a significant decline  in value. This market correction was subsequently reflected back to suppliers and, in turn, caused write-downs in inventory valuations throughout the financial year of circa $25.6 million.  Through this period,   Silver Fern Farms had to manage business continuity – supplying to customers and operating processing  assets – which meant we had to compete for livestock at unsustainable prices which further contributed to the problem.  . .

SFF wasn’t alone in facing these problems.

Strong competition for stock was good for farmers in the short term but bad for the companies.

Rural round-up


Fonterra shares in hot demand despite unknowns – Terry Hall:

Dairy farmers should be very, very happy. It seems heaps of Asians, Australians and Kiwis want to invest in their now highly desirable, fashionable industry, even if many haven’t a clue precisely what they are putting their money into.

Even well-tested professional investors are finding the prospectus and the concept behind the $525 million Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund tough to get their heads around. It is essentially an untried investment, the first of its type ever unleashed anywhere. Essentially, owners of the co-operative company will retain full control while opening an investment opportunity to outsiders. This is to provide additional finance to further expand a crucial part of their business, which the farmers seem reluctant to do themselves. . .

Fonterra is a price taker – Milking on the Moove:

Following on from my post about how New Zealand agriculture can learn from Apple, I thought I’d look at some New Zealand companies that are doing well overseas.

Geoff Ross is a former advertising executive who rose to prominence when he founded 42 Below, the Vodka company. He and his partners have gone on to invest and run other companies which they take public. The companies Geoff and co have invested in are Ecoya which makes candles and Moa Beer.
I think he is an interesting business person to study because he hasn’t invented anything new or created a unique product. He has simply taken products which are already common place, but he creates brands that enable him to sell these products at a premium price. . .

Scientists looking at smarter irrigation technology:

Lincoln University researchers are investigating the use of microwave technology to improve efficiency and reduce water wastage from farm irrigation.

The university’s research subsidiary, Lincoln Ventures, has won government funding of almost $850,000 over two years to put its smarter irrigation concept to the test. . .

Fernbaby marketing infant formula – Sally Rae:

When it comes to travelling, Tianxi Shao could be considered a frequent flyer.

The Chinese businessman and sporting enthusiast has visited 60 countries, yet fell in love with New Zealand, captivated by the “clean, green image”.

Mr Shao is now principal of Fernbaby, a company formed to provide a locally-made high-quality alternative to the Australian and Singaporean-made infant formulas, which it says dominate the New Zealand market. . .

Wool-Rich Innovations Take Centre Stage at Shear Brilliance:

Fill your living environments with wool and do it in style – that’s the message from the Campaign for Wool.

The Campaign is hosting HRH The Prince of Wales today at Shear Brilliance – a wool showcase at The Cloud, Queens Wharf, Auckland (1pm today).

“From a carpet couch to a wool peg necklace, from grass grown on wool dags to Tiki artwork on Merino, from Zambesi’s carpet bag to the loftiness of wool knops, Shear Brilliance will surprise and delight anyone who might have thought wool was passe,” says Stephen Fookes, Chair, Campaign for Wool New Zealand. . .

Shearing Showcase At The Cloud For Prince Charles

New Zealand’s shearers and wool handlers have welcomed the opportunity to join Prince Charles in Auckland today at Shear Brilliance, a showcase celebrating the Campaign for Wool.

As patron of the campaign Prince Charles supports the industry’s efforts to raise awareness of wool’s virtues and while In New Zealand for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations visits the Cloud in Auckland to inspect a wool showcase staged by the industry.

President of the New Zealand Shearing Contractors’ Association Barry Pullin says Royal patronage at Shear Brilliance is an opportunity for the industry to state it’s fundamental principle that more successful farmers will sustain a more successful wool industry.  . .

Farmers urged to take early action to prevent crop damage

Auckland/Waikato Fish & Game is urging farmers to make plans now for reducing the damage that can be caused by large flocks of Paradise shelduck, and other game birds.

Game Bird Manager David Klee says that with summer approaching, farmers will start to see large groups of birds moving into their newly-planted crops.

“We urge farmers to plan ahead to reduce the damage done by these flocks,” he says. “We encourage farmers to place bird-scaring equipment out before the new grass or crops start emerging and providing birds with an easy source of food.” . . .

New Zealand Cup picks


The New Zealand Trotting Cup takes place at Addington 5:15 pm today.

I know even less about harness racing than I do about gallops, which is almost nothing, but on the strength of their names am opting for  Terror To Love,  Gold Ace and Pure Power.

The field is:

1 Zenola Seelster
2 Caribbean Blaster
3 Terror To Love
4 Major Mark
5 Sushi Sushi
6 Mah Sish
7 Franco Ledger
8 Fly Like An Eagle
9 Stunin Cullen
10 Mach Banner
11 Pure Power
12 Ohoka Texas
13 Donegal Delight
14 Highview Tommy
15 Gold Ace
16 Jarcullembra
17 Pembrook Benny
18 Auckland Reactor

Fonterra offer oversubscribed


Dairying seems to get more bad headlines than good, but that obviously doesn’t reflect investors’ confidence in the industry.

A share broker tells us that his firm is getting only 5% of the Fonterra units it applied for and the price is likely to be towards the upper end of the $4.50 – $5.50 spectrum.

That could be a concern for farmers who have to share-up to match increased production.

But once they’ve bought the extra shares they could sell them again which wasn’t an option before.


The enemy within


Labour Party leader David Shearer probably doesn’t look to Margaret Thatcher for advice, but he would do well to mark her words: . . . We always have to be aware of the enemy within, which is much more difficult to fight and more dangerous to liberty.”

Shearer is facing an onslaught from the enemies within – his party, the left leaning commentariat in blogs and the media.

Thatcher was talking about unions and given the power they wield in Labour it’s probable that they too are working to undermine Shearer’s leadership.

That isn’t a difficult job because after nearly a year in the position he’s failed to gain traction in the party or in opposition.

As Tapu Misa says:

Some people grow into the role of party leader; others seem somehow diminished by it. . .

Shearer seems a decent man. Unwilling to engage in the unwholesome side of politics, he projected himself as the anti-politician politician – reasonable, pleasant, honourable. His made-for-television back story (brave, selfless aid worker saving the world’s starving millions) looked like the perfect foil to John Key’s.

But it’s a punishing gig being Opposition leader, and Shearer is, sadly, out of his depth. . .

Helen Clark handed Phil Goff a poisoned chalice when she resigned on election night in 2008.


Shearer won the leadership at least partly by default – because he wasn’t the other candidate David Cunliffe.

That meant he didn’t start with a huge vote of confidence. His first job was to get that and he hasn’t.

He also needed to unite his caucus, get the slackers working, ease the deadwood out, revitalise the volunteer base and be an effective opposition leader and he hasn’t done that either.

His caucus is still divided, the slackers are still slacking, the deadwood is still comfortably ensconced, volunteers are disillusioned, and both Winston Peters and Russel Norman are far more effective at attacking the government and getting public attention than he is.

He’ll have to work miracles at the party conference this weekend, but even if he does, it’s possible few will notice. There’s a royal visit, the All Blacks are playing Italy, it’s Show and Cup weekend in Canterbury, heritage celebrations in North Otago and all sorts of other events around the country that will be competing for public attention and media space.

This weekend will be Shearer’s big chance to really shine but even if he does the strength of the enemy within means it is almost certainly too late.

November 13 in history


1002 – English king Æthelred II ordered the killing of all Danes in England, in the St. Brice’s Day massacre.

1160 – Louis VII of France married Adele of Champagne.

1642 – First English Civil War: Battle of Turnham Green – Royalist forces withdrew in the face of the Parliamentarian army and failed to take London

1715 Dorothea Erxleben, first German female medical doctor, was born (d. 1762).

1841 – James Braid first saw a demonstration of animal magnetism, which led to his study of the subject he eventually called hypnotism.

1850 Robert Louis Stevenson, Scottish writer, was born (d. 1894).

1851 – The Denny Party landed at Alki Point, the first settlers in what would become Seattle, Washington.

1864 – The new Constitution of Greece was adopted.

1887 – Bloody Sunday clashes in central London.

1901 – The 1901 Caister Lifeboat Disaster.

1906 Eva Zeisel, American industrial designer, was born (d. 2011).

1916 – Prime Minister of Australia Billy Hughes was expelled from the Labor Party over his support for conscription.

1927 – The Holland Tunnel opened to traffic as the first Hudson River vehicle tunnel linking New Jersey to New York City.

1934 – Peter Arnett, New Zealand-born American journalist, was born.

1941 – World War II: The aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal was torpedoed by U 81.

1942 – World War II: Naval Battle of Guadalcanal – U.S. and Japanese ships engaged in an intense, close-quarters surface naval engagement.

1947 – Russia completed development of the AK-47, one of the first proper assault rifles.

1950 – General Carlos Delgado Chalbaud, President of Venezuela, was assassinated.

1954 – Great Britain defeated France to capture the first ever Rugby League World Cup in Paris.

1955 Whoopi Goldberg, American actress, comedian, and singer, was born.

1956 – The United States Supreme Court declared Alabama and Montgomery, Alabama laws requiring segregated buses illegal, ending the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

1965 – The SS Yarmouth Castle burned and sanks60 miles off Nassau with the loss of 90 lives.

1969 – Vietnam War: Anti-war protesters in Washington, D.C. staged a symbolic March Against Death.

1970 – Bhola cyclone: A 150-mph tropical cyclone hit the Ganges Delta region of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), killing an estimated 500,000 people in one night. This is regarded as the 20th century’s worst natural disaster.

1971 – The American space probe, Mariner 9, became the first spacecraft to orbit another planet successfully, swinging into its planned trajectory around Mars.

1982 – The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C. after a march to its site by thousands of Vietnam War veterans.

1985 – The volcano Nevado del Ruiz erupted and melted a glacier, causing a lahar that buried Armero, Colombia, killing approximately 23,000 people.

1985 – Xavier Suarez was sworn in as Miami, Florida’s first Cuban-born mayor.

1988 – Mulugeta Seraw, an Ethiopian law student in Portland, Oregon was beaten to death by members of the Neo-Nazi group East Side White Pride.

1990 – David Gray shot dead 13 people, in the Aramoana Massacre.

David Gray kills 13 at Aramoana

1992 – The High Court of Australia ruled in Dietrich v The Queen that although there was no absolute right to have publicly funded counsel, in most circumstances a judge should grant any request for an adjournment or stay when an accused was unrepresented.

1994 – In a referendum voters in Sweden decided to join the European Union.

1995 – A truck-bomb exploded outside a US-operated Saudi Arabian National Guard training center in Riyadh, killing five Americans and two Indians.

2000 – Philippine House Speaker Manuel B. Villar, Jr. passed the articles of impeachment against Philippine President Joseph Estrada.

2001 – War on Terrorism: US President George W. Bush signs an executive order allowing military tribunals against foreigners suspected of connections to terrorist acts or planned acts on the United States.

2002 – The oil tanker Prestige sank off the Galician coast and causes a huge oil spill.

2005 – Andrew Stimpson, a 25-year old British man, was reported as the first person proven to have been “cured” of HIV.

2007 – An explosion hit the south wing of the House of Representatives of the Philippines killing four people, including Congressman Wahab Akbar, and wounding six.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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