Word of the day

December 2, 2012

Recherche – exquisite; lavishly elegant and refined; tasteful in appearance or behaviour or style;exotic; rare; affected, showy or pretentious.

Not such a quick dash

December 2, 2012

What was meant to be a quick dash into town to get my weekly fix of fine food from the Oamaru Farmers’ Market led me on a detour.

A friend at the market told me she’d just been to a house of flowers and I ought to go too.

It was a fundraising collaboration between Altrusa and floral artists.

The house and garden hosting the event were attractive to start with and the lawns and each room had been enhanced with stunning arrangements of flowers. Some had Christmas themes, all were amazing.

We were asked not to take photos so I can’t share any with you, but my mind’s eye is still full of beautiful floral pictures.

The quick dash to town took a lot longer than I’d planned but the detour was well worth the extra time.



December 2, 2012

6/10 in Stuff’s Biz Quiz.

That didn’t last long

December 2, 2012

Yesterday John Tamihere said he was going to behave.

Today, the RadioLive host pledged to behave.

Mr Tamihere said he can’t take back what he said in 2005 but he has no intention of repeating it in the future.

He hasn’t repeated those comments but  less than 24 hours later:

John Tamihere is back. And it seems nothing has changed. This time he’s calling one of National’s women MPs “fat”.

The former MP who in 2005 suffered a calamitous fall from grace has been allowed to become a member of the Labour Party once more.

But he’s vowing not to tone down his opinions or toe the party line. As if to prove his point, in an interview over a beer in a Henderson restaurant yesterday, Tamihere says he intends to be as outspoken as ever.

“People have got to get over themselves. There are some really fragile, brittle people in the Labour Party. When you give them a bit of a rev-up they get broken and bitter and twisted and hold it ’til the day they die.” . . .

He’s right about the fragility and brittleness of some in his party, but only when the insults are aimed at ones they consider their own, which this wasn’t:

. . .So, in the immortal words of fellow Westie MP Paula Bennett, we ask whether his return to politics will force him to “zip it sweetie”.

Tamihere laughs a big belly laugh. “Not for that bloody fat girl up here, I’m going to tell you that right now.” . . .

Had he referred to one of them as a fat girl there would have been objections to both the adjective and the noun.

There is very unlikely to be a response since it was aimed at a National MP.

Nor will you find National men condescendingly rushing to her defence as Trevor Mallard did to Jacinda Ardern last week.

In National men accept women as equals and don’t need blokes blundering in when they are perfectly capable of sticking up for themselves.




December 2, 2012

Just scraped a pass – 5/10 in the NBR’s Biz Quiz.

Fewer US cattle, more opportunities for NZ?

December 2, 2012

RadioNZ reports the US beef herd numbers are at an all time low:

Numbers peaked at 132 million head of cattle in 1975. At the start of this year this was down to just under 91 million.

Across the US, cattle are sometimes housed in feedlots to be fattened for slaughter. These huge operations on average contain around 3000 animals have also suffered a significant drop in numbers, down around 12.5% on last year.

So what is going on?

There are long term factors in terms of profitability and rising costs but what’s really pushing the decline right now is a potent mix of environmental issues and politics. . .

These factors have been compounded by drought. It will rain again one day, the impact of environmental and political issues will be harder to get over.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has had a mandate in place since 2005 that requires a certain percentage of US liquid fuel comes from renewable sources.

In practice this means blending ethanol made from grain with regular gasoline. This year, as the drought persisted, desperate farmers asked the EPA to set the mandate aside to help cut corn prices.

They refused and this year ethanol production will consume a whopping 42% of the corn crop, says the US Department of Agriculture.

It is difficult to understand how fuel takes precedence over food in a hungry world.

Dr Stan Bevers from Texas A&M University say the US beef industry was built on abundant corn supplies, so the cattle industry must adjust and get smaller.”

According to Dr Derrell Peel, from the University of Oklahoma the current problems could have long term impacts on US beef. He thinks it is likely there will be changes in how cattle are fed. Less grain, more grass, and lighter cattle.

Housing animals or having them in feedlots makes it easier to deal with effluent but it is a very inefficient way of converting grass to protein.

The New Zealand free range grazing system is much more efficient and the decline in beef herds in the USA could provide opportunities for us.

Better in the tent?

December 2, 2012

The Labour Party has agreed to let ex-MP John Tamihere rejoin the party.

It can’t have been an easy decision after his acrimonious departure but the party has obviously decided to follow Lyndon Johnson’s adage about it being better to have a potential trouble-maker inside the tent.


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