Word of the day

January 8, 2013

Commensal – of, relating to, or characterised by a symbiotic relationship in which one species is benefited while the other is unaffected; of or relating to those who habitually eat together.

Pedal power

January 8, 2013

It works

January 8, 2013

Imperator Fish is trying to increase traffic to his blog.

I don’t think he’s tried this yet:

But as someone with a propensity for typso typos, I can vouch that someone is sure to notice, and comment on a speeling spelling mistaek mistake.

The ones in the last sentence were deliberate but most aren’t and I do appreciate the comments which give me the opportunity to make corrections.

Hat tip: Grammarly

Money doesn’t mend the harm

January 8, 2013

In New Zealand we have people facing a nightmare finding staff in spite of relatively high levels of unemployment.

In South Africa welfare perversion has gone even further:

In a sign of just how bad things are in parts of South Africa – some women are deliberately trying to harm their unborn babies in order to claim disability benefits.

Sky News reporter Alex Crawford has been to Port Elizabeth, where she met women who admit to drinking heavily during pregnancy in the hope their child will be born with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome. . .

There’s more on the video here.

Both our sons had brain disorders. They were undiagnosed but presumed to be genetic. They definitely weren’t deliberately inflicted.
Looking after them was hard, even with wonderful support from extended family, friends, their doctors and organisations like Plunket and IHC.
No amount of money could make it easy.

The extra welfare payments these women are hoping to get is supposed to be for the extra costs of caring for a child with disabilities.

It won’t cover the cost of the full care needed, it won’t compensate for the extra difficulties the families face nor will it mend the deliberate harm done to the children and society.

Blind means don’t see differences

January 8, 2013

Quote of the day:

Anti-racists collect statistics about race with a celerity and obsessional intrusiveness that would have put the apartheid regime to shame. The opposite of a racist is not an anti-racist but someone who does not think in racial categories at all. Theodore Dalrypmple

This also applies to gender, age and any other difference some people consider more important than our common humanity.

Those who regard all people as equal see them as people first and foremost, not as a member of a sub-group.

Positive discrimination can sometimes be a force for good but it is still discrimination which focusses on a difference.

Being blind to colour, gender,age or any other difference means you don’t see those things, you simply see the people inside because that is what really matters.

Confidence up and more in south than north

January 8, 2013

South Island businesses are increasingly bullish, outshining their northern counterparts, according to the latest Grant Thornton IBR survey.

Simon Carey, a Christchurch based partner of Grant Thornton New Zealand Ltd, said that over the next year, 73.20% of South Island businesses expect an increase in revenue or turnover compared with 65.4% in the North Island. Overall 65% of southern businesses are very or slightly optimistic compared with 57.2% in the North Island.

He said that the Christchurch rebuild was a major factor in the growing confidence.

“Last year (2012) I think it’s fair to say that many businesses have been watching from the sidelines as they wait for the city’s blueprint to be finalised and the way cleared for rebuild activity. We’re now almost at that stage and businesses are optimistic about what lies ahead,” Carey said.

“Clearly there will be benefits across the country and in the past year we have already seen some businesses opening an office in Christchurch or expanding their operations, poised for the economic spin-offs which are set to accrue.”

The owner of a small business in Oamaru told me that Christchurch competitors which had been operating further south were now busy closer to home.

Carey said that while the Christchurch rebuild will have a significant positive impact on the South Island economy for many years to come, the importance of the agricultural sector cannot be under-estimated. Commodity prices remain strong and dairy numbers are growing.

“With large irrigation schemes such as Central Plains Water about to kick off, the importance of agriculture in the South Island will continue to grow. Minister Gerry Brownlee is quoted as saying that for every $1 billion invested in irrigation it will return $1 billion year-on-year. Over $1 billion is earmarked for investment in irrigation in Canterbury alone over the next few years.”

Irrigation is definitely a factor in business confidence and growth in North Otago.

Carey said that both South Island and North Island businesses expect profitability to increase – 64.90% and 67.30% respectively while 26.80% and 24% think it will remain steady.

“That confidence is reflected in the intention of 66% of South Island firms (North Island 51%) to increase investment in plant and machinery, while 47.40% (North Island 34.60%) are planning to increase the number of employees.”

Underpinning the brighter employment picture in the South Island, 44.30% of businesses increased the number of people they employed during the past year against 27.90% in the North Island while 26.80% of southerners (North Island 21.20%) are tipping an increase in salaries by more than inflation and 50.50% (48.10%) in line with inflation.

The jury is out on whether selling prices will rise – 47.40% believe they will but the same number think they will remain unaltered.

Carey said it was encouraging to note that almost half the businesses surveyed (48.50%) did not expect the cost of finance to pose any constraint to expansion and another 19.60% saw it as a minor impediment.

“And it’s certainly good news to find that seventy six per cent expect little or no constraint around long term finance while slightly more than half those surveyed (55.6%) see little or no impediment around shortage of orders and reduced demand.”

This confirms the barbecue barometer – the mood of people we’ve been chatting to while on holiday.

Most were cautiously optimistic with the emphasis more on optimism than caution.

Important things

January 8, 2013

“Are you ever tempted to ignore the ordinary things and just do the important things?” he said.

“Often,” she said. “But then I remember the ordinary things usually are the important things.”

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