Word of the day

January 28, 2013

Maritorious – being fond of one’s husband to the point of obsession; excessively fond of one’s husband.

(This should be regarded as an interesting word, not a confession).

Inflation 83%

January 28, 2013

Another quote of the day from Facebook:

I see Labour’s housing policy has been hit by inflation already. Prices for Akl houses up 83% in 2 months – now $550k!
UPDATE: And another one (from someone else):
Just so funny. With all his grandiose spending promises I will start calling him David Shearerpisos. Because he and Russell Norman will make us like Greece. . .

Long days, short years

January 28, 2013

We’re celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary today.

I use celebrating in a very loose sense – my farmer is at stock sales and I’m dealing with some bits and pieces which fell off my to-do list at the end of last year.

But we’re remembering a beautiful sunny day three decades ago and some of what has happened since.

We’ve had our moments – wonderful and  woeful – as any couple does.

Our marriage has been for better and worse, richer and poorer, and in sickness and in health.

We’ve experienced the wonder of welcoming our children into the world, the sadness of the illness and death of our two sons and the challenges and rewards of bringing up their sister.

We’ve confided and confronted; we’ve had laughter and tears; we’ve changed and grown.

There’s been some very long days but looking back those 30 years seem very short.

In fairy tales everyone marries and lives happily ever after.

In real life it doesn’t happen quite like that but while good times and bad come and go, love endures.

Own vision beats government’s

January 28, 2013

Quote of the day:

Individuals in a free and open society should not need politicians to articulate visions on their behalf.

What kind of shrivelled and gutless soul needs a government to set out a vision for them?

The only vision any government should require is fostering a society where each of us can pursue our own visions. That is the only vision worthy of its name.

All the rest is just politicians’ windbaggery and ego-boosting, which is funded, of course, by taxpayers . . . 

These wise words came from Rob Hosking in the print edition of the NBR.

They were written before David Shearer made his threat to run a more hands-on government but serve as a warning against state interference in matters best left to the people.

$550,000 and rising

January 28, 2013

Last year Labour promised to build 100,000  new houses for $300,000.

This year the price has gone up:

Labour leader David Shearer has conceded his party’s affordable housing policy will only be able to deliver small apartments or terraced housing in Auckland for the $300,000 price tag – while standalone family homes are more likely to cost up to $550,000.

He can’t blame that on inflation, it’s his party’s own fudged figures.

We built a three-bedroom, one bathroom house with a lean-to car port for dairy staff for $180,000 last year and a three bedroom, two bathroom manager’s house with a double garage for $280,000.

That leaves $120,000 for a section for the smaller house which wouldn’t be difficult in small towns but wouldn’t buy much in Auckland.

You’d be in the likes of Ohai before you’d find a $20,000 section for the bigger house.

After his speech yesterday Mr Shearer said the $300,000 figure Labour had quoted was the average price of KiwiBuild homes nationwide rather than applying to every house under the scheme. “In some places it will be more.”

But the housing affordability isn’t a nationwide problem it’s mostly an Auckland one.

Labour’s plan does nothing to address the cause of that which is the availability, and therefore price, of land.

That is why National’s policy addresses the high cost and lengthy time some councils take to process consents for new developments.

“They are apartments, they are terraced houses. For a three- or four-bedroom standalone house it will be more.”

He said three- and four-bedroom standalone homes were “of a different ilk” and a lot of the homes built in Auckland would be two-bedroom apartments or terraced housing.

Isn’t Labour also concerned about overcrowding? How many families do they expect to fit on two-bedroom apartments?

This is typical of Labour to promise much, spending our money, to benefit a lucky few, neither helping those most in need nor addressing the cause of the problem.

NZ milk is safe – MPI, Fonterra

January 28, 2013

Ministry of Primary Industry Director-General Wayne McNee says there’s  confusion about the suspension of a pasture treatment, DCD, in New Zealand and what this means for the safety of New Zealand milk products.

“Use of DCD was suspended by its manufacturers because very small traces of residue were unexpectedly detected in New Zealand milk. DCD residues have been only found in some milk powder products and not in other dairy products such as butter and cheese.

“The detection of these small DCD residues poses no food safety risk. DCD itself is not poisonous,” Mr McNee says.

“DCD is not used directly in or on food in New Zealand and never has been. It is a product used on pastures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the leaching of nitrogen into waterways.

“DCD manufacturers have voluntarily suspended DCD because New Zealand’s international dairy customers expect New Zealand products to be residue-free, where there is no internationally accepted standard for residues for particular compounds. An international standard has yet to be agreed for DCD.

Mr McNee says the European Commission has set an acceptable daily intake for DCD, and based on the highest DCD residue that was detected in New Zealand milk products, a 60 kg person would have to drink more than 130 litres of liquid milk or consume some 60 kg of milk powder to reach the Commission’s limit for an acceptable daily intake, and considerably more to have any health effects.

The Ministry says there is only a small amount of dairy product potentially involved in this issue. DCD has been used by less than five percent of the country’s dairy farmers who applied it only twice a year. Each application leaves only traces of residue on the grass for no more than a few days. This means only very small numbers of New Zealand cows could have come into contact with DCD in very limited time frames.

“The chance of any residues of DCD being present in milk products processed now is minimal,” Mr McNee assures.

“There has been no use of DCD on New Zealand pastures since September 2012, and now that its use has been suspended, it is not possible that any New Zealand dairy produce currently in production will have DCD residues in it.”

There has been absolutely no restriction on dairy sales in New Zealand because of this suspension of DCD use on pasture.

DCD is not melamine. It is a different chemical and has none of the toxicity that melamine has.

Fonterra is also reassuring consumers our milk is safe:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited Chief Executive Theo Spierings has today reassured global customers that New Zealand dairy products are safe to consume.

“We know some of our customers and regulators have questions.

“We need to answer them, and that’s exactly what we are doing.

“We have strong science and we are providing assurances about the safety of our products.

Let’s keep it in perspective. Our testing has found only minute traces of DCD in samples of some of our products.

“It is important to remember that the minute traces detected were around 100 times lower than acceptable levels under European food safety limits.

“The Ministry of Primary Industries has confirmed that the minute traces pose no risk to human health.

“DCD has never at any point been a food safety issue – and if it had been, we would have been the first to speak out. Fonterra has one of the highest standard food supply chains in the world, and safety is part of our DNA.

“Since November we have been closely involved in a working group with the Government, the fertiliser companies, scientists and other dairy industry representatives gathering information, scientific opinion, and undertaking tests.

“The bottom line? Our products are safe. Customers can rest assured,” said Mr Spierings.

Those are the facts.

DCD was only found in some milk powder products, not in butter or cheese. It poses no food safety risk and it’s not poisonous.

But when it comes to food safety perception and emotion will trump facts.

Overseas media is a carrying the story and that will be enough to make some consumers wary, regardless of the facts.

The risk isn’t a food safety one. It’s a perception and marketing one and will be higher in countries where people can’t trust their government and businesses to tell them the truth.

Natural consequences

January 28, 2013

“Have you noticed how whatever tasted so delicious yesterday leaves a sour taste when you get on the scales this morning?” he asked.

“Yes, it’s called natural consequence,” she said. “It’s supposed to teach you to refrain from doing things you’ll regret.”

“But I very rarely have regrets over the doing,” he said. “It’s only the consequences which cause compunction.”

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