Word of the day

March 7, 2013

Lollapalooza – an extraordinary or unusual thing, person, or event; person or thing that is particularly impressive or attractive; an exceptional example or instance.


Rural round-up

March 7, 2013

Proposed RMA Reforms Seem The Real Deal:

After analysing the discussion document released late last week on the Resource Management Act (RMA), Federated Farmers congratulates the Government for undertaking a comprehensive examination of how the RMA is working.

“To be honest it has taken us a few days to get our heads around this 83-page discussion document,” says Ian Mackenzie, Federated Farmers Environment spokesperson.

“Federated Farmers actually supports the purpose of the RMA and requirements to protect our most important natural assets.

”Yet if we want real jobs delivering living wages then policy reforms like this are needed. Reform also needs broad political support and that is probably the most important thing we need to communicate; the need for RMA reform to survive changes of government.

“Aside from missing provisions for compensation we will raise in our submission, it is closely aligned to Federated Farmers 2008 reform package; Let’s Make it work – Why the Resource Management Act must change. . .

Ruataniwha Water Scheme Stepping Up:

A number of elements for the proposed Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme are being worked on in tandem to prepare for potential construction and investment in the scheme.

The scheme is yet to secure resource consents, however it is necessary to line up companies who may be interested in construction. Last month Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) Ltd called for Expressions of Interest from companies potentially interested in tendering for the construction of the proposed dam for the project. It is expected that HBRIC will choose two companies to move to the next phase of design and planning by the end of March. . .

Water governance – we’re getting into overdraft – Andrew Fenemor:

Like the challenge of balancing the household budget, we NZers are finding that despite being a ‘pluvial country’ we’re reaching allocation limits in many of our catchments.

Looking back, 100+ years ago exploitation of water resources focused firstly on rivers. Then water use especially for irrigation and urban supplies moved to groundwater takes. Now as pumping from our aquifers starts to deplete river flows and aquifer storage too much, we are seeing greater interest in water storage. Case in point, the Government’s Irrigation Acceleration Fund is supporting feasibility assessments for large schemes in Canterbury, Otago, Hawkes Bay, Wairarapa and Tasman, most involving new dams.

The trouble is, it’s a tough job for regional councils to set catchment limits in their regional plans (PDF) before the symptoms of excess appear. That’s not surprising, given the sizable investments in catchment science needed, the long time frames required to understand the inherent variability in water fluxes, water quality and aquatic ecosystems and the long time period required to establish new regional planning regimes. Setting catchment limits certainly focuses the mind. Most councils are now getting on with the job. . .

Rural enterprise award big boost for business – Sally Rae:

Since winning the RWNZ Enterprising Rural Women Award last year, Rose Voice’s dog equipment business has gone from strength to strength.

Mrs Voice, who with her husband Nigel runs the Real Dog Equipment Company in Ranfurly, has taken on a part-time machinist to cope with demand and she has speaking engagements booked through to the end of the year.

She is now urging other women with small rural businesses to enter this year’s awards, saying it was ”absolutely” worth it. . .

A real story about inflation – Milking on the Moove:

My Uncle was a cropping farmer in Zimbabwe. He purchased his first farm as a young man and worked it for couple of decades.

Robert Mugabe decided in 2000 to implement his “Land Distribution Policy”.

The mob of “war veterans” arrived one morning and the beatings began.

My Uncle and his family fled to South Africa. They eventually immigrated to New Zealand.

Meanwhile the farm was distributed between Mugabe’s loyal supporters.

But the bank had a problem. There was still a mortgage on the property. . .

A2 Corp to join top 50 index, toppling PGG Wrightson from benchmark:

(BusinessDesk) – Alternative milk marketer A2 Corp is set to join the NZX 50 Index after qualifying in the February review, and will topple rural services firm PGG Wrightson from the benchmark bourse.

The change will come into effect from the open of trading on March 18, stock exchange operator NZX said in a statement. Shares in Wrightson rose 2.6 percent to 40 cents in trading today, while A2 was unchanged at 56 cents.

Wrightson is controlled by NYSE-listed Chinese agriculture firm Agria Corp, and has a market capitalisation of $301.9 million. . . .


Thursday’s quiz

March 7, 2013

1. Who said, All I ask is the chance to prove that money can’t make me happy.?

2. Who wrote Not A Penny More, Not A Penny Less and why?

3. It’s richesse in French, ricchezza, riqueza in Spanish and rawa in Maori, what is it in English?

4. The following lyrics come from which song from which show?

“Dear God, you made many, many poor people.
I realize, of course, that it’s no shame to be poor.
But it’s no great honor either!
So, what would have been so terrible if I had a small fortune?

5. If you won a fortune what would you do with it?


Choice is good

March 7, 2013

Mike Hosking gets to the nub of charter schools:

. . . Being a charter school isn’t the trick. The trick is what it potentially allows. It potentially allows you to do things differently and some people want and like that. It potentially allows you to focus on specialist areas of learning instead of a broad brush approach, and some people like that as well. There might be some with a religious element or a sporting element or an artistic element, and some people think that’s exactly what they need. But what it indisputably does is provide more choice, and why you’d be afraid of that bewilders me.

Here’s the other bit that makes all the opponents’ arguments null and void – none of it is compulsory. You don’t like it? Don’t go. You don’t believe in it? Don’t enrol your kids. You think it will be a disaster? Stay away.

All that a charter school is is choice, and choice is good.

Charter schools won’t work for all pupils, just as the many variations of schools we already have don’t.

But they will provide choice and opportunity for children who need something they’re not getting from what’s on offer now.

Only a handful of charter schools are being established. No-one will be forced to teach at or attend one and they shouldn’t be regarded as a threat to existing schools.

They will complement other schools not compete with them.


Cost higher than risk?

March 7, 2013

Proposals for changes to the system for dealing with earthquake-prone buildings have caused consternation among councils.

The proposals set out a consistent national approach to dealing with these buildings.

Essentially the proposals would require all non-residential and multi-unit, multi-storey residential buildings to have a seismic capacity assessment done within five years. Owners of buildings identified as earthquake-prone would then have up to 10 years to strengthen or demolish these buildings. . .

That might have looked feasible on a drawing board in Wellington but it’s not regarded as affordable or necessary by provincial councils.

The Government’s proposals to deal with earthquake-prone buildings place too much emphasis on the earthquake risk, at substantial cost, in comparison to other risks (both natural and other) that individuals and local communities face, the Dunedin City Council says. . .

The consultation document contains proposals to improve the earthquake-prone building system, in response to the recommendations of the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission.

The proposals include substantial changes to local systems that could cost $1.8 billion in the southern South Island, according to an assessment commissioned by local councils.

They include a much greater role for local authorities in assessing buildings and much shorter time frames for either upgrading or demolishing earthquake-prone buildings. . .

The plan has also met with outrage from some civic leaders and landlords.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull, Otorohanga Mayor Dale Williams and Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule, who is also president of Local Government NZ, have spoken out against the proposals, saying provincial towns and rural communities would be financially ruined.

Timaru Mayor Janie Annear has described the proposals as devastating. . . .

Waimate mayor John Coles says if the proposals are implemented his town’s main street could be flattened.

. . . “Already some organisations, such as churches, have chosen to vacate their buildings because of assessments showing the building’s strength is well under the current level,” he said.

“It is my fear that organisations and businesses forced to find alternative buildings because of their own policies may not find suitable accommodation and have to leave town.” . . .

The Waitaki District Council describes the proposals as ‘‘inflexible, unworkable and unaffordable”.

It has been estimated it will cost the council $2.5 million – 2% of total rates it collects – to assess at-risk buildings and the community or building owners $178 million to upgrade them.

Those details will be included in a submission the council will make on the Government’s proposed changes to earthquake prone buildings, a draft of which was outlined to councillors earlier this week.

The submission makes it clear the changes, as proposed, will place a heavy level of compliance and cost on the council and community.

Overall, the council wants to see greater flexibility, rather than a ”one size fits all” approach, with the community able to decide what level of risk is acceptable.

While agreeing improvements can be made in the light of what happened in the Christchurch earthquakes, the council has concerns with many of the proposals and timeframes, which may prove unaffordable for the Waitaki community.

It says too much emphasis is being placed on the earthquake risk, at a substantial cost, in comparison to other risks communities faced.

Ultimately, the solutions must be risk-based, workable and affordable for both New Zealand and local communities. . .

The Christchurch earthquakes have changed the way we regard earthquake risk and the government has to address issues raised by the Royal Commission.

However, risk and cost must be balanced, especially in smaller, less populated areas.

The proposals are only proposals and are open for submissions until tomorrow.


Grown up

March 7, 2013

“Grandma, how do you know you’re grown up?” he asked.

“When you’re able to say you neither need nor want anything for a birthday or Christmas – and mean it,” she said.

“So are you grown up, then?” he asked.

“Oh yes,” she said. “Though sometimes I regress and need reminding.”


March 7 in history

March 7, 2013

321  Roman Emperor Constantine I decreed that the dies Solis Invicti (sun-day) was the day of rest in the Empire.

1277 Stephen Tempier, bishop of Paris, condemned 219 philosophical and theological theses.

1671 Robert Roy MacGregor, Scottish folk hero, was born (d1734).

1799 – Napoleon Bonaparte captured Jaffa in Palestine and his troops killed more than 2,000 Albanian captives.

1814 Napoleon I of France won the Battle of Craonne.

1827 – Brazil marines unsuccessfully attacked the temporary naval base of Carmen de Patagones, Argentina.

1827 – Shrigley Abduction: Ellen Turner was abducted by Edward Gibbon Wakefield a future politician in colonial New Zealand.

1842 The first official execution in New Zealand took place when Maketu Wharetotara, the 17-year-old son of the Nga Puhi chief Ruhe of Waimate, was hanged for killing five people.

First official  execution in NZ

1850 Senator Daniel Webster gave his “Seventh of March” speech endorsing the Compromise of 1850 in order to prevent a possible civil war.

1875 Maurice Ravel, French composer, was born(d. 1937).

1876 Alexander Graham Bell was granted a patent forthe telephone beating Antonio Meucci by just 4 hours.

1887  North Carolina State University was founded.

1912 Roald Amundsen announced that his expedition had reached the South Pole on December 14, 1911.

1914 Prince William of Wied arrived in Albania to begin his reign.

1925  Rene Gagnon, American Marine shown in photograph of the Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, was born (d. 1979).

1930 Antony Armstrong-Jones, British photographer, Lord Snowdon, former husband of Princess Margaret, was born.

1936  In violation of the Locarno Pact and the Treaty of Versailles, Germany reoccupied the Rhineland.

1944 Sir Ranulph Fiennes, British soldier and explorer, was born.

1946  Matthew Fisher, British musician (Procol Harum), was born.

1945 American troops seized the Ludendorff Bridge over the Rhine River at Remagen.

1951 Korean War: Operation Ripper – United Nations troops led by General Matthew Ridgeway began an assault against Chinese forces.

1952 Viv Richards, Antiguan West Indies cricketer, was born.

1958 Rik Mayall, British actor, was born.

1965 Bloody Sunday: A group of 600 civil rights marchers were forcefully broken up in Selma, Alabama.

1971  Sheikh Mujibur Rahman delivered his historic “This time the struggle is for our freedom” speech at Ramna Race Course, calling upon the Bengali people to prepare for the freedom struggle ahead.

1973 Sébastien Izambard, operatic pop singer (Il Divo), was born.

1986 Challenger Disaster: Divers from the USS Preserver located the crew cabin of Challenger on the ocean floor.

1988 – Cyclone Bola struck Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne–East Cape region

1989 Iran and the United Kingdom broke diplomatic relations after a row over Salman Rushdie and his controversial novel.

1994 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that parodies of an original work are generally covered by the doctrine of fair use.

2007 – British House of Commons voted to make the upper chamber, the House of Lords, 100% elected.

2009– The Real Irish Republican Army killed two British soldiers and two civilians, the first British military deaths in Northern Ireland since The Troubles.

2009 – The Kepler space observatory, designed to discover Earth-like planetso orbiting other stars, was launched.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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