Word of the day


Limn – depict or describe in painting or words; represent; portray a scene or events; suffuse or highlight (something) with a bright colour or light.

Gilmore back


The Electoral Commission has declared Aaron Gilmore to be elected to Parliament from the New Zealand National Party list.

He fills a vacancy created by the resignation of former speaker Dr Lockwood Smith.

Friday’s answers


Thursday’s quiz asked:

1. Who said: All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt?

2. Love means never having to say you’re sorry was said in which book and film and who was the author?

3. It’s cadeau in French, regalo Italian and Spanish, and perehana in Maori what is it in English?

4. Dianthus is more commonly known as what?

5. Valentine’s Day – a romantic celebration, a bit of fun, just another exercise in commercialism or . . . ?

Points for answers:

Andrei got three and a bonus for extra information.

Alwyn got five, with a bonus for correcting the quote and adding an anecdote, winning an electronic box of chocolate hearts.

Adam got three and a bonus for relationship counselling.

Grant got four and a bonus for listening to his wife.

Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

Rural round-up


Rabobank Agribusiness Monthly February 2013:

The report covers all the major agricultural sectors that are important to New Zealand and Australia as well as covering off the latest economic, retail and currency developments.

Key highlights:

• The early stages of 2013 have brought some weather extremes across New Zealand and Australia. The latest outlook paints more of a normal picture for upcoming autumn seasonal conditions.
• Dairy commodity prices continue to trend higher with fundamentals slowly coming back into better balance. Markets are closely watching the dry weather in New Zealand’s North Island, which is taking its toll on milk flows.
• Effective February 1, Japanese beef import protocols will allow US beef exporters to source cattle up to the age of 30 months (previously 20 months) for export into the Japanese market.
• Record low US corn and soybean stocks continue to drive global grain markets. Australian prices continue to hold at historically strong basis levels.

The full report is here.

Eco-Warrior To Speak At Dairy Women’s Conference:

Three-time Ballance Farm Environment Award winner Dan Steele is on a mission to make New Zealand a better place for the future. In March he’s fronting up to hundreds of dairying women at their annual conference in Nelson to explain why he believes farmers and conservationists need to work together to ensure we have productive and sustainable farms to live and work on in the future.

Dan is a typical kiwi bloke. He’s a bushman, hunter, traveller, farmer, conservationist and business man. He’s been on his OE. He’s also used kiwi ingenuity to think outside the square and create an award-winning eco-tourism business – Blue Duck Station.

Blue Duck is an outdoor enthusiast’s playground located on the banks of the Whanganui and Retaruke rivers in the Ruapehu district. The Station is surrounded by Whanganui National park. . .

All forests to be monitored for foreign bugs:

All forest plantations will be brought into a nationwide forest health surveillance scheme if next month’s referendum of forest growers is successful.

“A yes vote in the referendum will see a small compulsory levy applied to harvested logs. Broadening the reach of the surveillance scheme will be one of the big benefits,” says Paul Nicholls, a Forest Growers Levy Trust board member.

“Forests owned by members of the Forest Owners Association have been monitored for exotic pests and diseases for more than 50 years. But new bugs don’t discriminate. We need to be monitoring forests on the basis of a scientific assessment of risk, not because they are owned by a member of an industry association.” . .

Iwi owned oyster business cements partnership with Cawthron Institute:

Iwi owned seafood company Aotearoa Fisheries Ltd this week signed an agreement with Cawthron Institute in respect to their Pacific oyster hatchery and oyster nursery based at Glenduan, north of Nelson. Under the agreement Aotearoa Fisheries will take over the Pacific oyster Nursery and Spat growing operations. Three of Cawthron Institute’s staff involved in the Nursery and growing operations will be seconded to Aotearoa Fisheries. Cawthron Institute will continue to spawn and produce Pacific oyster larvae at the site.

Aotearoa Fisheries is one of New Zealand’s largest fishing and seafood businesses and is the largest Pacific oyster company in New Zealand, trading as Kia Ora Seafoods and Pacific Marine Farms. This deal follows on from Aotearoa Fisheries acquisition of Sanford NZ Limited’s North Island Pacific oyster farms last year. . .

LIC lifts first-half profit 7.3 percent as dairy farmers ramp up investment:

Livestock Improvement Corp, which compensated some farmers for selling bull semen that caused ‘hairy calf’ mutations, increased first-half profit 7.3 percent as dairy farmers raised their herd investment, even as farmgate prices fell.

Net profit rose to $30 million, or $1.017 a share, in the six months ended Nov. 30, from $28 million, or 94.7 cents, a year earlier, the Hamilton-based company said in a statement. Sales rose 9.6 percent to $131.5 million, though LIC typically gets most of its revenue in the first half of the financial year and doesn’t recognise costs until the second half. . .

Lempriere reaches 90% of Wool Services International, hitting mop-up target:

Australian wool merchant Lempriere has reached the 90 percent target of Wool Services International, allowing it to mop-up the remaining shares.

The Melbourne-based company reached 90.9 percent of acceptances yesterday, according to a substantial security holder notice, meeting its minimum acceptance and letting it compulsorily acquire the remaining shares in the company.

Lempriere launched the takeover last year, offering 45 cents a share, valuing WSI at $31 million, a 22 percent premium to the trading price before the offer emerged. The shares last traded in January at 42 cents. . .

Survey reveals Scottish farming’s 2013 challenges – Gemma Mackenzie:

Confidence in Scottish agriculture remains high, despite falling profitability, harsh weather and poor lamb prices.

According to the Bank of Scotland’s annual agricultural report, only 11% of 474 respondents said they thought the industry was prosperous in 2012 – a drop of eight percentage points compared to the previous year.

Although only 59% expected to be profitable this year, 28% of farmers were optimistic about the future of the industry; the second highest level since the survey began 17 years ago.


• 85% of farmers were profitable in the last financial year – two percentage points lower than previous year
• Only 59% expected to be profitable in 2013 . . .

NFU Scotland calls for daiy contingency plan – Gemma Mackenzie:

NFU Scotland has called on the UK government to prepare a contingency plan for the dairy industry as the voluntary code of practice has not been as effective as hoped.

At a meeting with farm minister David Heath last week, president Nigel Miller said the voluntary dairy code of practice had not worked as well as it should have, and it was time to develop a plan B.

“NFUS is pushing for the UK goverment to explore a contingency plan, including legislation, in case the code fails to achieve its intentions. NFUS maintains that the best way of strengthening and developing the dairy market at home and abroad is to increase trust in the supply chain,” said Mr Miller. . .

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What’s earned and what’s spent


The campaign for a living wage is focussed on what people need to spend without taking any account of what they earn and what employers can afford:

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: I think it is important to note that everybody, I think, wants to see real wages grow in the New Zealand economy for New Zealanders and their families. It is absolutely something that we are all—I think, most people in this House—are very passionate about. But, of course, for that to occur we have to do the things that allow that to become affordable. We have already noted earlier in this House this afternoon, in question time, the growth of the minimum wage in the New Zealand economy and the fact that the minimum wage is a relatively high proportion of average wages. But, fundamentally, for Governments and organisations and companies to be able to afford further increases in wages, that involves further productivity increases, more investment, and, for companies, more sales. It is those things that the Government is very focused on assisting with, in order to enable wages to continue to grow, and our record in this matter is actually pretty positive. . .

Increasing wages to take account of what’s spent, rather than what’s earned and the worth of the work done is unsustainable.

Anything which adds costs without improving productivity will ultimately lead to business failure.


Minimum wage not so low


The campaign for a living wage has led to discussion on the minimum wage.

No-one is calling $13.50 high, but it’s not so low in relation to the average wage by world standards.

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: The minimum wage is currently $13.50 an hour in New Zealand, which is half the average hourly wage of $27. The OECD’s database shows that this proportion is, in fact, the highest in the developed world, and that, on this measure, our minimum wage is, therefore, the most generous in the developed world as a proportion of the average hourly wage. In all other countries the minimum wage is under half the average wage—for example, in Canada, it is 40 percent of the average wage; in the UK, it is 38 percent; and in the US, it is 28 percent.

John Hayes: Do any industries stand out as having higher than average wage increases?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: Yes, a few industries do stand out. One of them is the manufacturing industry, where average weekly wages rose 4.1 percent over the last year, and that is actually not a short-term thing. Over a longer period wages in manufacturing have also grown faster than average. Over the last 4 years average weekly wages in the manufacturing sector have risen 18 percent, compared with 13 percent in the economy as a whole. No doubt, that fact has been brought up and discussed at the Opposition’s manufacturing inquiry. 

Hon David Parker: Has the wage gap between New Zealand and Australia grown larger over the last year; if so, will he be providing milestones for National’s promise to close the wage gap with Australia, given that it is growing rather than closing?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: I do not have that information to hand, but I do know that the member is very careful to talk about the wage gap, rather than the after-tax wage gap, which people actually experience. But again, if the member wants to talk about the differences between here and Australia, fundamentally, the main difference is the investments made in Australia in the resources sector over the last few years. That is the fundamental difference. If the member would like to reverse his party’s ambivalence towards the investment in the resources sector in the New Zealand economy, I am sure we could have a good discussion. . .

Comparing wage rates between countries isn’t simple.

There are a lot of variables including tax rates but there is no doubt that the mining industry in Australia has a very strong influence on wage rates there and the government’s attempts to encourage mining here are met by little or no enthusiasm from the opposition.


Traceability counter to horsemeat scandal


The introduction of the traceability for New Zealand sheep and beef hasn’t been universally popular but the horse meat scandal in Ireland and the UK shows how important it is.

With New Zealand beef traceable under the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) scheme, Federated Farmers believes the current horsemeat scandal in Europe provides an opportunity for NAIT to deliver on its value-add promise for our farmers.

“The horsemeat scandal in Europe provides an acid test for the NAIT concept of traceability,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairperson.

“Europe was held up as the gold standard for traceability but in reality, it is New Zealand that now has one of the most rigorous systems on earth.

“I know Kiwi beef farmers are shocked by the almost daily revelations that stretch from Ireland to Romania. We keep asking how systems designed to ensure traceable meat there could have broken down so spectacularly.

“Aspects of European meat procurement resemble something out of an Ian Fleming novel.

“While our beef exports to the European Union are small, at over 12,000 tonnes, it is a lucrative market worth $149 million in 2011/12. This uncertain climate regarding European beef must surely make our traceable beef stand out; especially at the premium end.

“It is time for the NAIT value-add promise to deliver for farmers and don’t we need it. It may also be a golden chance to cement ‘NZ Inside’ European premium processed food products too,” Mrs Maxwell concluded.

NAIT has added effort and costs to production. The horse meat scandal might prove its worth.

Consumers will be even more anxious to know where their meat comes from now. NAIT makes it easy which provides an opportunity for New Zealand beef.

Relative speed


“You’ve got to wonder about her, some days she’s too slow to get out of his own way,” he said.

“Some days it’s not so much her going too slowly as everything else going too fast,” she said.


February 15 in history


509 Khosrau II was crowned king of Persia.

1564 Galileo Galilei, Italian astronomer and physicist, was born (d. 1642).

1637 – Ferdinand III became Holy Roman Emperor.

1804 – Serbian revolution started.

1805 – Harmony Society was officially formed.

1812 Charles Lewis Tiffany, American jeweller, was born (d. 1902).

1820 Susan B. Anthony, American suffragist, was born  (d. 1906).

1835 – The first constitutional law in modern Serbia was adopted.

1852 – Great Ormond St Hospital for Sick Children, London, admitted its first patient.

1874 Sir Ernest Shackleton, Irish Antarctic explorer, was born  (d. 1922).

1877  Louis Renault, French automobile executive, was born (d. 1944).

1879 American President Rutherford B. Hayes signed a bill allowing female attorneys to argue cases before the Supreme Court of the United States.

1882 The first shipment of frozen meat left New Zealand.

First shipment of frozen meat leaves NZ

1891 AIK was founded at Biblioteksgatan 8 in Stockholm by Isidor Behrens.

1898 – Spanish-American War: The USS Maine exploded and sank in Havana harbour, killing more than 260.

1906 – The British Labour Party was formed.

1909 Miep Gies, Dutch biographer of Anne Frank, was born (d. 2010).

1909 The Flores Theatre fire in Acapulco, 250 died.

1942  The Fall of Singapore. Following an assault by Japanese forces, British General Arthur Percival surrendered. About 80,000 Indian, United Kingdom and Australian soldiers become prisoners of war, the largest surrender of British-led military personnel in history. The Sook Ching massacre began.

1944 The assault on Monte Cassino, started.

1944 Mick Avory, British drummer (The Kinks), was born.

1945  – John Helliwell, British musician (Supertramp), was born.

1947 David Brown, American musician (Santana), was born (d. 2000).

1950 – The Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China signed a mutual defense treaty.

1951 Jane Seymour, British actress, was born.

1952 – King George VI was buried in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

1959 Ali Campbell, British singer and songwriter (UB40), was born.

1960 Mikey Craig, British musician (Culture Club), was born.

1961 – Sabena Flight 548 crashed in Belgium, killing 73, with the entire United States Figure Skating team, several coaches and family.

1965 – A new red-and-white mapleleaf design was adopted as the flag of Canada, replacing the old Canadian Red Ensign banner.

1970 – A Dominican DC-9 crashed into the sea during takeoff from Santo Domingo, killing 102.

1971 – Decimalisation of British coinage was completed on Decimal Day.

1972 – Sound recordings were granted U.. federal copyright protection for the first time.

1976 – The 1976 Constitution of Cuba was adopted by the national referendum.

1978 New Zealand beat England in a cricket test for the first time.

New Zealand beats England in a cricket test for the first time

1980 Television One and Television Two (formerly South Pacific Television) under the newly formed Television New Zealand went to air for the first time.

1982 The drilling rig Ocean Ranger sank during a storm off the coast of Newfoundland, killing 84 rig workers.

1989 Soviet Union invasion of Afghanistan: The Soviet Union officially announced that all of its troops have left Afghanistan.

1991 The Visegrád Agreement, establishing cooperation to move toward free-market systems, was signed by the leaders of Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland.

2001 First draft of the complete Human Genome is published in Nature.

2003 Protests against the Iraq war occurred in over 600 cities worldwide. It is estimated that between 8 million to 30 million people took part, making this the largest peace demonstration in the history of the world.

2005 – YouTube, was launched in the United States.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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