Word of the day


Vitiate – to make faulty or defective; impair; spoil the efficiency of; reduce the value or impair the quality of.

Rural round-up


Variation 6 roll out:

Variation 6 is now being rolled out to the lower Waikato and West Coast catchments by the Waikato Regional Council.

It confirms the requirement that all dairy farms taking more than 15 cubic metres of water per day for milk cooling and shed washdown purposes require a resource consent. 

Farmers have until January 1, 2015 to take advantage of the special grandparenting rules made available to them in the variation. 

Farmers who were taking more than 15 cubic metres a day for dairy shed wash down and milk cooling as at October 2008 will generally have the amount taken in 2008 grandparented providing they meet a range of conditions 

These conditions include applying for a consent by January 2015, developing a riparian management plan and excluding stock from waterways. . .

Loyalty key to 50 years as agent – Sally Rae:

When Robin Gamble turned up to work at National Mortgage as a fresh-faced school-leaver, little did he know he would still be in the stock and station industry 50 years later.

But luck and loyalty had proved to be a great combination in half a century with the same company, he said.

There might have been a few mergers over the years, adding a few different coloured ties to his wardrobe, but he still considered that he had worked for the same company, now PGG Wrightson, he said. . .

Workshop on biofarming – Sally Rae:

Joel Salatin, described as an American biological farming guru, is running a two-day workshop in Wanaka at the end of the month.

Mr Salatin hails from Polyface Farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, a family-owned, pasture-based, local-market farm which produces beef, pork, poultry, rabbits and forestry products.

It has become internationally known for promoting the importance of buying healthy, locally grown food. Initially, the farm could not support one salary but now it has annual sales of more than $US1 million. . .

Passionate breeders hang in – Sally Rae:

Ram breeders who have stuck with the sheep industry are the ones who are ”pretty passionate about it”, Min Bain believes.

He and his wife, Lisa, with children Lochie (13) and Danielle (10), farm at Waitahuna West, near Lawrence, and breed Romney, Dorset Down and Romdale rams.

He was among nine ram breeders at the Southfuels Farmarama in Lawrence last week, which was an increase on previous years. . .

Farmlands CRT merger one step closer:

The boards of CRT and Farmlands, recommending a merger of their societies, have attracted overwhelming shareholder support to take the process to its next stage.

The CRT shareholder meeting in Christchurch on Tuesday completed the first of two shareholder votes required to approve a merger with those in favour accounting for 85.5% of the vote, exceeding the threshold of 75% of votes necessary to proceed.

CRT chairman Don McFarlane said he was very pleased with the outcome. . .

Stop horsing around with our food:

Wellingtonians who buy their meat direct from the farm have nothing to fear from recent stories of horse meat being found in UK food.

UK’s Aldi and Tesco supermarkets and Burger King have all been in the food spotlight recently with significant traces of horse meat found in beef products they sell.

Greytown farmer Julian Downs of Rannoch Meats believes New Zealanders have plenty of opportunity to know where their food comes from. “Forty years ago we all had access to local producers, and that still exists today. There’s plenty of markets and ways to buy direct.

“It’s different in the UK, where cities are enormous and the countryside is unknown to many people says Julian, but more and more people are wanting to know more about what goes into their food.” . . .

More of a vegetable


Chicken used to be a special occasion meat, roast for Christmas dinner or other very rare celebration.

These days it’s both less expensive and more plentiful, though not universally appreciated:

”I like to cook meat, except for chicken. To me chicken’s like a ladies’ meat, so it’s more of a vegetable.”

That’s the view of Master Chef contestant and Tarras farmer, Jonny Trevathan.


Economic ludicrousness


An illuminating exchange during Question Time yesterday:

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: My response to that is, firstly, that we have very significant investment in this country in clean technologies. In fact, I could name for the member any number of companies that are developing further and investing further in jobs and growth in the New Zealand economy right now. But the member again seems to be suggesting that the Government subsidise jobs in industries where they would not otherwise occur—and that that is an answer for economic nirvana in some way—and actually move jobs away from industries where they are prepared to invest in those industries without Government subsidy. With the greatest respect, that is a recipe to head the country to the poorhouse.

Dr Russel Norman: With regard to subsidies, is he aware that in his previous answers and in the previous answers of the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister they have given us long lists of particular sectors that the Government is subsidising—the mining sector is, of course, the favourite of the Government—and why is it that it is OK for the Government to subsidise areas such as mining, whereas it is quite hostile to providing even a level playing field to the clean-technology sector?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: Well, with the greatest respect to the member, we are not subsidising the mining sector. In actual fact, all we are not doing is putting the extra costs that the member would advocate on the mining sector, and, somehow, that is supposed to be a subsidy—which, with the greatest respect, is just up there with printing money in economic ludicrousness.

Economic ludicrousness, a very accurate description of Green Party policies.

Unequivocal or not


Spot the difference in responses to New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser’s vitriolic attack on people from “Wogistan”.

Judith Collins was unequivocal:

Minister for Ethnic Affairs, Justice, and Minister Responsible for the Human Rights Commission, Judith Collins says comments by New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser are extremely disappointing and may cause international embarrassment for New Zealand.

“New Zealand values diversity and prides itself on being an inclusive society.

“Muslims in New Zealand are also a diverse community – it is simply appalling to profile people based on their religion, skin colour, country of origin, or a perceived stereo-typed ‘look’ as Mr Prosser has done.

“Mr Prosser’s anti-Muslim rant has let New Zealand down and as a Member of Parliament he should know better.

“New Zealand First Leader, Winston Peters, needs to do much more than to hide his MP – he needs to explain why Mr Prosser’s behaviour is acceptable to New Zealand First.

“The Office of Ethnic Affairs works closely with the Muslim community in New Zealand – a community that denounces terrorism and has vowed to work with authorities to counter any terrorism threat.

“We have a strong tradition of human rights in New Zealand. Our Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on race and religious belief, and our Bill of Rights Act affirms the right to freedom of religion, including the right to hold views without interference.

“As far back as 1978, New Zealand ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which underlines the right to freedom of religion.

“I suggest Mr Peters and his caucus familiarise themselves with this legislation to avoid causing further embarrassment to New Zealand,” says Ms Collins.

Prosser’s leader, Winston Peters, made a very brief statement:

I have spoken with Mr Prosser regarding the Investigate magazine article.

He wrongfully impugned millions of law-abiding, peaceful Muslims.

Mr Prosser agrees that the article did not have balance, and does not represent the views of New Zealand First.

Peters would be the first to call for a government MP to resign for a statement far less damaging than Prosser’s.

However, he has been a strident critic of immigration and is no doubt careful about not alienating the supporters attracted by his xenophobic stance.

Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesman Phil Goff was much firmer:

“Mr Prosser’s statement is unacceptable from an MP and he and New Zealand First should consider whether he has any future in politics,” Phil Goff said.

Labour leader David Shearer was somewhat more equivocal than Ms Collins:

David Shearer says Richard Prosser’s comments were “offensive and completely inappropriate” but wouldn’t say if he would stand him down.

A war of words on Twitter between Green co-leader Russel Norman and Labour MP Trevor Mallard point to problems with one of Labour’s potential coalition partners.

Maybe Shearer’s initial reluctance to take a stand on this was because any tension between his party and the Green Party increases Labour’s reliance on Peters and his party.

Or maybe it’s just another example of Shearer being quick to criticise but much slower to commit himself or his party to action.

Leadership requires the ability to be unequivocal when it matters, Shearer has yet to show he has it.



“Grandma told me that if you don’t know what to say, you should just give a hug,”she said.

“But I don’t think that would help when the words you can’t find are the answer to a maths problem.”

February 13 in history


711 BC  Jimmu, Japanese emperor, was born (d. 585 DC).

1503 Disfida di Barletta challenge between 13 Italian and 13 French knights near Barletta.

1542 – Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VII , was executed for adultery.

1575 Henry III of France was crowned at Rheims and married Louise de Lorraine-Vaudémont on the same day.

1633 Galileo Galilei arrived in Rome for his trial before the Inquisition.

1668 Spain recognised Portugal as an independent nation.

1689 William and Mary were proclaimed co-rulers of England.

1692 Massacre of Glencoe: About 78 Macdonalds at were killed early in the morning for not promptly pledging allegiance to the new king, William of Orange.

1728 John Hunter, Scottish surgeon, was born (d. 1793).

1743 Joseph Banks, English botanist and naturalist, was born (d. 1820).

1815 The Cambridge Union Society was founded.

1835 Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, was born ( d 1908).

1849 Lord Randolph Churchill, British statesman, was born (d. 1895).

1869 A Ngati Maniapoto war party led by Wetere Te Rerenga attacked Pukearuhe. They killed  Lieutenant Gascoigne, his wife and three children and a Wesleyan missionary John Whiteley.

Killings at Pukearuhe

1880 Work began on the covering of the Zenne, burying Brussels’s primary river and creating the modern central boulevards.

1880 – Thomas Edison observed the Edison effect.

1881 The feminist newspaper La Citoyenne was first published in Paris by the activist Hubertine Auclert.

1891 Kate Roberts, Welsh nationalist and writer, was born (d. 1985).

1894 Auguste and Louis Lumière patented the Cinematographe, a combination movie camera and projector.

1914 The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers was established to protect the copyrighted musical compositions of its members.

1920 The Negro National League was formed.

1934 The Soviet steamship Cheliuskin sank in the Arctic Ocean.

1942 Peter Tork, American musician and actor (The Monkees), was born.

1944 Jerry Springer, American television host, was born.

1945 The siege of Budapest concluded with the unconditional surrender of German and Hungarian forces to the Red Army.

1945 World War II: Royal Air Force bombers were dispatched to Dresden to attack the city with a massive aerial bombardment.

1950 Peter Gabriel, English musician (Genesis), composer and humanitarian, was born.

1955 Israel obtained 4 of the 7 Dead Sea scrolls.

1960 France tested its first atomic bomb.

1960 Black college students staged the first of the Nashville sit-ins at three lunch counters in Nashville, Tennessee.

1967 American researchers discovered the Madrid Codices by Leonardo da Vinci in the National Library of Spain.

1970 Black Sabbath, arguably the first heavy metal album, was released.

1978 Hilton bombing: a bomb exploded in a refuse truck outside the Hilton Hotel in Sydney, killing two refuse collectors and a policeman.

1979 An intense windstorm struck western Washington and sank a 1/2-mile-long section of the Hood Canal Bridge.

1982  Río Negro massacre in Guatemala.

1981 A series of sewer explosions destroyed more than two miles of streets in Louisville, Kentucky.

1984 Konstantin Chernenko succeeded the late Yuri Andropov as general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

1990 German reunification: An agreement was reached on a two-stage plan to reunite Germany.

1991 Gulf War: Two laser-guided “smart bombs” destroyed the Amiriyah shelter in Baghdad.

2000 The last original “Peanuts” comic strip appeared in newspapers one day after Charles M. Schulz died.

Peanuts gang.png

2001 An earthquake measuring 6.6 on the Richter Scale hit El Salvador, killing at least 400.

2004 The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics announced the discovery of the universe’s largest known diamond white dwarf star BPM 37093. Astronomers named this star “Lucy” after The Beatles’ song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”.

2008 Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made an historic apology to the Indigenous Australians and the Stolen Generations.

2011 – For the first time in more than 100 years the Umatilla, an American Indian tribe, were able to hunt and harvest a bison just outside Yellowstone National Park, restoring a centuries-old tradition guaranteed by a treaty signed in 1855.

2012 – The European Space Agency (ESA) conducted the first launch of the European Vega rocket from Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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