Word of the day


Fencible – capable of being defended, defensible; (formerly) a person who undertook military service in immediate defence of his homeland only.

Rural round-up


New Zealand urged to protect its brand – Sally Rae:

For an export nation like New Zealand, being “clean and green” is not enough any more, Oritain Global chief executive Dr Helen Darling says.

‘We actually need to be clean, green and clever,” Dr Darling said yesterday, while referring to the increasing instances of global food fraud.

Food fraud was an emerging risk for both consumers and producers worldwide, with the OECD estimating it cost legitimate producers about $US250 billion every year and that figure was growing, she said. . .

Local water focus urged – Howard Keene:

This month’s release of the third and final Land and Water Forum report marks a new consensus-driven approach to reform laws and practices around freshwater management in New Zealand, but its success will depend on how much the three reports the Government is willing to adopt.

The report recommends that local communities make decisions on individual catchments, acting within a national framework and bottom lines set by the Government. It also says water should be made more easily transferable between users.

While the report has received a mostly positive response there have been some cautioning voices. . .

Sweet smelling possums may help eradicate TB:

Using sex pheromones to capture possums is one example of the cutting-edge TB control initiatives featured in this year’s Animal Health Board (AHB) annual report and research report.

A two-year study into using sexually receptive female possums as a way to capture possums of both sexes in areas where numbers are low is among the scientific work forming part of the $2.5 million annually allocated by the AHB to research.

AHB chief executive William McCook said the two reports show the continuing significant progress being made in controlling and eradicating bovine TB from New Zealand, with the support of a range of government and industry partners. . .

Landcorp goal 80% fixed price sales – Alan Williams:

Landcorp sold more than 70% of its export lambs under fixed price contracts in its latest year, as part of a longer term goal to have 80% of all red meat sales handled this way.

This makes more than 230,000 lambs on fixed contracts out of a total 330,000 sent to processing companies in the year ended June 30 by the state-owned farmer.

Prices were on average higher than those achieved on traditional schedules, Landcorp livestock marketing manager Andrew Hall said in the written annual report.

About half the fixed price lamb contracts were for supply to the United Kingdom’s biggest grocery chain Tesco, he later told The New Zealand Farmers Weekly. . .

Rabobank Report: A New Wine Frontier:

With maturing or declining sales in many traditional markets, wine companies across the globe are increasingly searching for new growth markets. Emerging markets are attracting the interest of nearly all major wine companies. But those companies that were late to invest in these markets often have a greater challenge as the competition has already established routes to market and has garnered share of mind with the consumer. While China and South Korea probably rank as the most attractive emerging wine markets, Rabobank has identified Mexico, Brazil, Poland and Nigeria as four ‘hidden gems’ that have the potential to become important growth markets. Early investments to establish a route to market and build brand awareness hold the key to long term growth in these markets. . . 

And from Facebook:

If there’s going to be an investigation . . .


Labour  is asking the Auditor General to investigate KiwiRail’s tendering and procurement process for rail wagons.

If there’s going to be an investigation into KiwiRail it ought to cover Labour’s decision to pay nearly $700 million for the business in 2008.

The sale of the century for the previous owners Toll Holdings has left the government – and the public of New Zealand – with a very expensive liability.

2011-12 dairy season most productive


Dairy NZ has confirmed that the 2011-12 milking season was the most productive on record.

In 2011/12, dairy companies processed 19.1 billion litres of milk containing 1.69 billion kilograms of milksolids (Table 2.1). Total milksolids processed increased by a staggering 11.3% from the 1.51 billion kilograms processed in the previous season. The increase in milk production was the first double digit increase since 2000-01 and was due to a lift in milksolids production per cow (80%) and more cows milked (20%). . . 

. . . Average milksolids per cow in 2011/12 reached 364 kg, the highest on record (Graph 2.2). Average milk production per hectare was 1,028 kg
– the first time that it has surpassed 1,000 kg.

We can thank the weather for the increase in production per cow – the wet summer which wasn’t what holiday makers wanted was very good for growing grass.

After a cold spring with a slow start to growth, recent rain and increased temperatures are giving good pasture growth now with no need for irrigation yet.

Conspiracy theory


Finding it difficult to believe just how stupid the Labour Party constitutional changes and leadership debacle are?

What if it’s a deliberate ploy to take attention away from its policies?

Fortunately at least one journalist is on to them.

Rob Hosking writes in the NBR (not online) about former Labour Prime Minister Norman Kirk’s avoidance of economic matters and continues:

Mr Shearer appears to be similarly uncomfortable with economic issues. The focus of his speech was the symbolism of the era; what has been called “candyfloss liberalism” . . .

Labour’s new housing policy . . .  is pure 1970s feel good socialism with little regard to economic realities.

Housing will be made affordable by government fiat, by way of a national policy statement under the Resource Management Act. Implicitly, the policy requires price control either on house sales or on the building and construction industry. . .

In short, Mr Shearer presented himself as a political leader with Kirk’s wilful blindness of economic issues and Rowling’s charisma. . .

Few if any in Labour can be enjoying the attention the party’s internal strife is getting.

But they’d be even more unhappy if attention shifted from that to the economic stupidity of their policies.

Comprehensive deal better than Kyoto


The Kyoto Protocol had several faults, not least of which was it wasn’t supported by some of the countries with the biggest emissions.

Climate Change Issues Minister is correct when he says it is far better to seek a comprehensive deal than to continue with Kyoto.

. . . Some nations want the Kyoto Protocol, which expires this year, to be renewed until 2020.

Mr Groser says the signatories to that pact make up only a small part of total greenhouse gas emissions, and New Zealand, Canada, the United States, Japan and others are seeking to replace the protocol with a new, comprehensive scheme.

“Kyoto Protocol will cover 15% of global emissions, you can’t make a serious argument that you’re dealing with climate change unless you have a comprehensive deal that captures the 85% of emissions left out.”

Mr Groser says the aim is to have countries such as China, India, Indonesia, Mexico and Brazil to lower the growth rate of emissions, and have a cap on emissions in some years time.

Excluding countries like these from any new climate change agreement would leave 85% of total emissions uncovered, he says. . .

The opposition will say this is a cop-out.

But New Zealand is already doing more through the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Consortium which is attracting international support for  research than signing up to an extension of Kyoto would achieve,

November 26 in history


43 BC – The Second Triumvirate alliance of Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus (“Octavian”, later “Caesar Augustus”), Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, and Mark Antony was formed.

783 – The Asturian queen Adosinda was put up in a monastery to prevent her kin from retaking the throne from Mauregatus.

1476 – Vlad III Dracula defeated Basarab Laiota with the help of Stephen the Great and Stephen V Bathory and becomes the ruler of Wallachia for the third time.

1731 William Cowper, English poet, was born (d. 1800).

1778 –  Captain James Cook became the first European to visit Maui.

1789 – A national Thanksgiving Day was observed in the United States.

1805 – Official opening of Thomas Telford’s Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.

1842 – The University of Notre Dame was founded.

1863 – American Civil War: Mine Run – Union forces under General George Meade positioned against troops led by Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

1865 – Battle of Papudo: The Spanish navy engaged a combined Peruvian-Chilean fleet north of Valparaiso, Chile.

1876  Willis Carrier, American engineer and inventor (air conditioning), was born  (d. 1950).

1895 Bill Wilson, American co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, was born (d. 1971).

1918 – The Podgorica Assembly voted for “union of the people”, declaring assimilation into the Kingdom of Serbia.

1922 – Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon became the first people to enter the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun in over 3000 years.

1922 Charles M. Schulz, American cartoonist, was born (d. 2000).

1922 – Toll of the Sea debuted as the first general release film to use two-tone Technicolor (The Gulf Between was the first film to do so but it was not widely distributed).

1923  Pat Phoenix, English actress, was born.

1924 – George Segal, American Pop Sculptor, was born (d. 2000).

1939 – Shelling of Mainila: The Soviet Army orchestrated the incident which was used to justify the start of the Winter War with Finland four days later.

1939 –  Tina Turner, American singer and actress, was born.

1942 – World War II: Yugoslav Partisans convened the first meeting of the Anti-Fascist Council of National Liberation of Yugoslavia.

1944 – World War II: A German V-2 rocket hit a Woolworth’s shop on New Cross High Street killing 168 shoppers.

1944 – World War II: Germany began V-1 and V-2 attacks on Antwerp.

1949 – The Indian Constituent Assembly adopted India’s constitution presented by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar.

1950 – Korean War: Troops from China launch a massive counterattacked against South Korean and United Nations forces (Battle of the Ch’ongch’on River and Battle of Chosin Reservoir), ending any hopes of a quick end to the conflict.

1960 – The National Party, led by Keith Holyoake, defeated Walter Nash’s one-term Labour government. Holyoake went on to become the longest-serving post-war Prime Minister.

'Kiwi Keith' begins 12-year reign as PM

1965 – In the Hammaguir launch facility in the Sahara Desert, France launched a Diamant-A rocket with its first satellite, Asterix-1 on board, becoming the third country to enter outer space.

1968 – Vietnam War: United States Air Force helicopter pilot James P. Fleming rescued an Army Special Forces unit pinned down by Viet Cong fire and was later awarded the Medal of Honor.

1970 – In Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe, 1.5 inches (38.1 mm) of rain fell in a minute, the heaviest rainfall ever recorded.

1977 – ‘Vrillon’, claiming to be the representative of the ‘Ashtar Galactic Command’, took over Britain’s Southern Television for six minutes.

1983 – Brink’s-MAT robbery: In London, 6,800 gold bars worth nearly £26 million were stolen from the Brink’s-MAT vault at Heathrow Airport.

1990 – The Delta II rocket made its maiden flight.

1998 – Tony Blair became the first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to address the Republic of Ireland’s parliament.

2003 – Concorde made its final flight, over Bristol.

2004 – Ruzhou School massacre: a man stabbed and killed eight people and seriously wounded another four in a school dormitory in Ruzhou, China.

2004 – Male Po’ouli (Black-faced honeycreeper) died of Avian malaria in the Maui Bird Conservation Center in Olinda, Hawaii before it could breed, making the species in all probability extinct.

2008 – The first of 10 co-ordinated attacks on Mumbai by Pakistan-based terrorists were fired.

2011 –  NATO forces in Afghanistan attacked a Pakistani checkpost in a friendly fire incident, killing 24 soldiers and wounding 13 others.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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