Word of the day

March 27, 2013

Importunate – persistent, esp. to the point of annoyance or intrusion; overly persistent in request or demand; troublesomely urgent; unreasonably solicitous; pressingly entreating.


Rural round-up

March 27, 2013

Strong half year result a well-needed boost for Farmers: Brown:

A strong half year result which culminated in an increase in the Milk Price, a raise in the advance rate paid to Farmers and an interim dividend of 16cents has provided some much needed relief for Fonterra Farmers said Fonterra Shareholders’ Council Chairman, Ian Brown.

Mr Brown: “The Council has made the Board very aware of the hardships being faced by a lot Farmers in the Shareholder base and we are pleased they have demonstrated some flexibility in the form of an increased advance rate, to help relieve some of the financial pressure on-farm.

“It’s been a strong half year performance and we understand the challenges ahead.

“Particular acknowledgement should be made of the New Zealand Milk Products team who have delivered a really impressive result exactly when it was required.” . . .

RDR looks at water storage – Alan Williams:

Rangitata Diversion Race (RDR) managers are considering a centralised water storage scheme as its farmers ride out a second spell of water restrictions.

RDR, in the upland plains of Mid Canterbury, had to restrict water use in early March, much later than in some previous dry years, when cut-backs kicked in as early as December. . .

Evolution of water governance models in NZ – Bryan Jenkins:

In her work that won her the 2009 Nobel Prize in economics, Elinor Ostrom identified three types of governance models for common pool resources like water. One is the “Leviathan model” where there is direct government provision of services with integration of policy making and operational functions. The second is the “privatisation model” where there is private sector provision of services with government role as regulator. The third is the self-governing community model where there is community determination of resource management requirements.

We have seen the evolution of these different models in western countries. After WW2, the welfare state was the dominant approach of government. In relation to water management in NZ, the Ministry of Works had the prime responsibility for water management – a classic example of a Leviathan governance model. In the 1980s there was a shift to the neoliberal concept of the private sector being responsible for service provision and that the government’s role was that of regulator. . .

Returns From Beetle Battle Show Importance Of Pest Management:

Success in tackling a destructive beetle on the West Coast has underlined the importance of having integrated pest management plans on farms.

Richard Townsend, Research Associate at AgResearch at Lincoln, said that the work in battling the manuka beetle has seen a reduction of pesticide costs as a proportion of milk solid revenues from 23% to 7% a year.

Return on investment over the three-year project has been $10 for every dollar invested. . .

Progressive Arable Farmers Take out Top Award in Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

An intensive arable operation that utilises technology to maximise production in a sustainable manner has won the Supreme title in the 2013 Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Methven farmers Craige and Roz Mackenzie of Greenvale Pastures Ltd received the award at a Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) ceremony on March 21.

BFEA judges described the Mackenzies as top producers who offer “high levels of innovation and leadership in the arable industry”.

They said the progressive couple has taken technology to the next step on their irrigated farm “using every available tool to improve their production and cost efficiency”. . .

Ballance announces new Chairman:

Waikato farmer and businessman David Peacocke has been elected as Chairman designate of Ballance Agri-Nutrients Limited, set to replace David Graham who will retire from the board in September after 10 years as Chairman.

Mr Peacocke, who joined the board in 2005, was elected to the new position by fellow directors at the company board meeting in late February. He and his family are based in Raglan on their beef property and he has interests in several large family farming operations.

The Peacocke family farmed cattle up until about 20 years ago when they transitioned to a mixed operation which now includes dry stock, dairy and cropping in both the Waikato and Canterbury regions. The family are long-standing customers and shareholders of Ballance and its predecessors, and Mr Peacocke’s father Frank also served as a director on the Bay of Plenty Fertiliser Co-operative then Ballance board from 1991 to 2005. . .

New Zealand salmon producer attains global certification:

Attaining an internationally accepted aquaculture sustainability certification confirms NZ King Salmon’s world-class environmental standards the company says.

The South Island-based business has been confirmed as a sustainable salmon producer through achieving the Global Aquaculture Alliances Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification.

The certification covers NZ King Salmon’s entire current operations – five sites and three production facilities in Marlborough and Nelson. The company’s new sites awarded following the recent Environmental Protection Authority hearings will be audited as they come on stream. . .


Thursday’s quiz

March 27, 2013

1. Who said: “Christmas and Easter can be subjects for poetry, but Good Friday, like Auschwitz, cannot. The reality is so horrible it is not surprising that people should have found it a stumbling block to faith.”

2. What determines the date of Easter?

3. Who wrote the poem Easter 1916 which concludes:

Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

4. In which garden was Jesus when Judas pointed him out to the authorities?

5. Hot Cross buns and Easter eggs – a treat for this weekend, just another commercial opportunity or . . .?


Fonterra milk price up 30c dividend up 4c

March 27, 2013

A newsletter from Fonterra chair John Wilson has good news in the announcement of the company’s interim results.

The good start to the season has helped offset tough conditions because of the drought.

The forecast Farmgate Milk Price is up 30 cents to $5.80 per kgMS and the interim dividend is up 4 cents to 16 cents.

  • The key results from the business up to 31 January are:
    • 33 per cent increase in Net Profit After Tax of $459 million
    • Record milk volumes collected up 6 per cent
    • Total external sales volume growth of 8 per cent to 2.1 million metric tonnes
    • Earnings per share of 29 cents per share.
  • The results have been driven by:
    • A strong performance by NZ Milk Products and a lift in sales volumes in Fonterra’s Asian and Latin American brands.
    • However, to some degree these have been offset by tough market conditions in Australia.

    This is good news for farmers and the wider economy.

 


School closure investigation overdue

March 27, 2013

Chief Ombudsman Dame Beverly waken is investigating the way in which the Ministry of Education conducts consultation on school closures and mergers.

. . . Dame Beverley will be looking in some detail at a number of closure and merger consultations carried out in recent years, including the process that is currently underway in Christchurch

“I will assess whether the consultation processes operate in a manner that adequately ensures fair and meaningful participation by affected parties and, if they do not, how they could be improved”, says Dame Beverley. . .

Such an investigation is long overdue.

School mergers and closures are always fraught and the Ministry has been handling them poorly for years.

North Otago was one of the areas into which then Minister of Education Trevor Mallard strode in clodhopper boots demanding mergers and closures nearly 10 years ago.

There was little if any consultation and very poor understanding of communities of interest and other factors which ought to have been considered.

The Minister got the blame and three MPs who lost their seats in the south – Mark Peck in Invercargill, David Parker in Otago and Jim Sutton in Aoraki – could lay some of the responsibility on this issue.

But then, as now, most of the blame ought to have been laid at the Ministry’s door.

It didn’t learn from the mistakes made before the 2005 election and repeated them with bells on in Christchurch where even more sensitivity was required.

Changes in population result in changing educational needs. New Schools will be needed in areas of growth, old ones will need to close or merge in areas of decline.

Handling that is core Ministry business for which it ought to follow best practice. Instead it appears to follow the process which didn’t work nearly a decade ago and from which it seems to have learned nothing.

I wish Dame Beverley well in her investigation and hope her findings lead to much needed improvements for the sake of schools, pupils, staff and their communities.


Half asleep

March 27, 2013

“You look half asleep,” she said.

“I feel it too,” he said, “and unfortunately it’s the energetic half that hasn’t woken up yet.”


March 27 in history

March 27, 2013

196 BC  Ptolemy V ascended to the throne of Egypt.

1306 Robert The Bruce was crowned King of Scotland at Scone.

1309  Pope Clement V excommunicated Venice and all its population.

1329  Pope John XXII issued his In Agro Dominico condemning some writings of Meister Eckhart as heretical.

1613  The first English child born in Canada at Cuper’s Cove, Newfoundland to Nicholas Guy.

1625  Charles I beccame King of England, Scotland and Ireland as well as claiming the title King of France.

1782 Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

1794 The United States Government established a permanent navy and authorized the building of six frigates.

1794 Denmark and Sweden formed a neutrality compact.

1814 War of 1812: Forces under General Andrew Jackson defeated the Creek at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.

1836 Texas Revolution: Goliad massacre – Antonio López de Santa Anna ordered the Mexican army to kill about 400 Texans at Goliad, Texas.

1836 Kirtland Temple in Ohio was dedicated in an 8 hour long service led by Joseph Smith, Jr. and Sidney Rigdon.

1846  Mexican-American War: Siege of Fort Texas.

1851 – First reported sighting of the Yosemite Valley by Europeans.

1854 Crimean War: The United Kingdom declared war on Russia.

1863 Sir Henry Royce, English automobile pioneer, was born (d. 1933).

1871 The first international rugby football match, England v. Scotland, was played in Edinburgh at Raeburn Place.

1881 Rioting took place in Basingstoke in protest against the daily vociferous promotion of rigid Temperance by the Salvation Army.

1883 English Salvation Army officers, Captain George Pollard and Lieutenant Edward Wright, arrived at Port Chalmers on a mission to establish a New Zealand branch of the quasi-military Christian evangelical movement, which had been founded in the slums of London’s East End in 1865.

The 'Sallies' come to New Zealand

1886 Apache warrior, Geronimo, surrendered to the U.S. Army, ending the main phase of the Apache Wars.

1899 Gloria Swanson, American actress, was born  (d. 1983).

1906 The Alpine Club of Canada was founded in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

1910 A fire during a barn-dance in Ököritófülpös, Hungary, killed 312.

1912 James Callaghan, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born (d. 2005).

1917  Cyrus Vance, American politician, was born (d. 2002).

1918 Moldova and Bessarabia joined Romania.

1924 Sarah Vaughan, American singer, was born (d. 1990).

1931 David Janssen, American actor, was born (d. 1980).

1938  The Battle of Taierzhuang.

1941 Yugoslavian Air Force officers toppled the pro-axis government in a bloodless coup.

1943  Battle of the Komandorski Islands – In the Aleutian Islands battle started when United States Navy forces intercepted Japanese attempting to reinforce a garrison at Kiska.

1945 Operation Starvation, the aerial mining of Japan’s ports and waterways began.

1950 Tony Banks, English musician (Genesis), was born.

1958  Nikita Khrushchev became Premier of the Soviet Union.

1959 Andrew Farriss, Australian musician (INXS), was born.

1963  Beeching axe: Dr. Richard Beeching issued a report calling for huge cuts to the United Kingdom’s rail network.

1964  The Good Friday Earthquake, the most powerful earthquake in U.S. history at a magnitude of 9.2 struck South Central Alaska, killing 125 people and inflicting massive damage to the city of Anchorage.

1969 Mariner 7 was launched.

1970 Concorde made its first supersonic flight.

1975 Construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System began.

1975  Fergie, American pop singer (The Black Eyed Peas), was born.

1976 The first 4.6 miles of the Washington Metro subway system opened.

1977 Tenerife disaster: Two Boeing 747 airliners collided on a foggy runway on Tenerife in the Canary Islands, killing 583 (all 248 on KLM and 335 on Pan Am). 61 survived on the Pan Am flight.

1980 The Norwegian oil platform Alexander Kielland collapsed in the North Sea, killing 123 of its crew of 212.

1980 Silver Thursday: A steep fall in silver prices, resulting from the Hunt Brothers attempting to corner the market in silver, led to panic on commodity and futures exchanges.

1984 Ernie Abbott, the caretaker at Wellington’s Trades Hall, was killed instantly when he moved a booby-trapped suitcase.

Trades Hall bombing

1986 A car bomb exploded at Russell Street Police HQ in Melbourne, killing 1 police officer and injuring 21 people.

1990 The United States begins broadcasting TV Martí to Cuba in an effort to bridge the information blackout imposed by the Castro regime.

1993  Jiang Zemin was appointed President of the People’s Republic of China.

1993 – Italian former minister and Christian Democracy leader Giulio Andreotti was accused of mafia allegiance by the tribunal of Palermo.

1994 – One of the biggest tornado outbreaks in recent memory hit the Southeastern United States. One tornado slammed into a church in Piedmont, Alabama during Palm Sunday services killing 20 and injuring 90.

1994 – The Eurofighter took its first flight in Manching, Germany.

1998 The Food and Drug Administration approved Viagra for use as a treatment for male impotence.

1999 An F-117 Nighthawk was shot down during the Kosovo War.

2002 – Passover Massacre: A Palestinian suicide bomber kills 29 people partaking of the Passover meal in Netanya, Israel.

2004 HMS Scylla (F71), a decommissioned Leander class frigate, was sunk as an artificial reef off Cornwall, the first of its kind in Europe.

2009 – Situ Gintung, an artificial lake in Indonesia, failed killing at least 99 people.

2009 – A suicide bomber killed at least 48 at a mosque in the Khyber Agency of Pakistan.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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