Word of the day


Equipoise –  balance of forces or interests; state of being equally balanced; quality in distribution, as of weight, relationship, or emotional forces; equilibrium; counter balance.

Voice recognition rage


Voice recognition software is good in theory but it doesn’t always work well in practice (contains bad language).

Rural round-up


New Lincoln Hub plans unveiled:

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy have today unveiled concept plans for a world-class agricultural research and education facility to be sited at Lincoln, near Christchurch.

The Lincoln Hub concept plans and business proposal have been developed by a partnership of Lincoln University, DairyNZ and Crown Research Institutes (CRIs) AgResearch, Plant & Food Research, and Landcare Research.

“The Lincoln Hub has the potential to transform New Zealand’s farming productivity by providing a one-stop shop allowing information and ideas to be shared more easily,” Mr Joyce says. “Internationally, science and innovation parks that collect together public and private organisations in one place drive a lot of education, science and innovation. The Lincoln Hub can achieve this for New Zealand farming.” . .

AgResearch capitalises its strengths to boost science:

A mammoth $100 million investment in AgResearch’s core science resource will help boost its potential to support exports from the primary industries in reaching $60 billion by 2025, on current policy settings.

“It is no secret that some of AgResearch’s physical scientific infrastructure is getting a bit creaky,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Vice-President.

“It was a genuine pleasure to be at the unveiling of an impressive roadmap that will also see the “hubbing” of primary research capabilities at and with Lincoln University. . .

Meat Industry excellence Group campaign warms up – Allan Barber:

The MIE organised farmer meeting in Feilding on Friday was attended by about 700 farmers which one speaker from the floor compared unfavourably with 2000 at the Drought Shout. However there is obviously an increasing level of support for substantial change to the meat industry’s operating method which results in volatile market returns.

Alliance and Silver Fern Farms were both represented and the respective chairmen, Owen Poole and EoinGarden, spoke in support of the group’s aims. Poole told the meeting the industry was working constructively to develop an improved model which was simpler than MIE’s plan and it was important to ensure the two plans were complementary. . .

MPI’s loss is LIC’s gain but Primary still comes out on top:

The resignation of Wayne McNee, Ministry for Primary Industries Director-General, to take up the position of Chief Executive at Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC), will still see this talented person working in and for New Zealand’s primary industries.

“This role shows the versatility of Wayne who has performed to a very high standard with the public service and now departs for a high profile leadership role in a company important to New Zealand agriculture,” says Bruce Wills, President of Federated Farmers.

“Wayne has put the Ministry on the right path for farmers following the merger of the old MAF with the Ministry of Fisheries. I feel disappointed in one regard because he leaves it, just when we are starting to see the fruits of his work appear in this new and dynamic Ministry. . .

Budget 2012; support for frontline conservation work:

An additional $20 million over four years has been allocated to the Department of Conservation in Budget 2013 to provide for additional frontline roles and the upgrade of recreational facilities, Conservation Minister Nick Smith announced today.

“The four year funding package complements the Government’s recently announced tourism investment. It recognises that DOC is the Government’s primary agency responsible for providing infrastructure, visitor services and nature-based experiences that support the tourism industry,” Dr Smith says. . .

Innovative Dairy Companies Form Partnership to Boost Exports:

Two of New Zealand’s most innovative dairy companies are forming a partnership to boost exports to one of the world’s fastest growing consumer markets.

Synlait Milk will next month despatch the first consignment of a2® Platinum™ infant formula destined for mothers and infants in China. a2 milk™ contains only the A2 version of the beta casein protein which is more comparable to protein that mothers naturally produce than other versions of the beta casein protein found in standard milk.

Synlait Milk will be processing a2 milk™ from 10 suppliers from August this year and will further expand production to meet the requirements of A2 Corporation when a2® Platinum™ infant formula becomes available to mothers in New Zealand and Australia later this year. . .

Brancott Estate Celebrates the End of a “Sensational” Vintage:

Vineyard beats the weather to harvest pristine, flavoursome fruit

Early predictions of an outstanding vintage have proven true for Brancott Estate, the pioneers of the original Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, who have successfully completed harvest ahead of autumn rain, and with fruit that bears all the characteristics of the region.

“The season has been so dry until now and this has delivered a sensational vintage for Marlborough” says Patrick Materman, Chief Winemaker for Brancott Estate. “While we’ve enjoyed the sunshine, it hasn’t been a particularly warm season, tracking around the long-term average in terms of Growing Degree Days. This, combined with the lack of rain, is a real positive for vineyards. The dry conditions mean pristine fruit development and allow us to make harvest decisions based on optimal flavour development, while the relatively cool temperatures ensure the aromatic expression and balance of natural acidity that has made Marlborough famous.” . .

Questions on PPL


A poll shows a majority of people support extending Paid Parental Leave to 26 weeks.

But do those supporting it know the answers to these questions?

1. How many people receive PPL?

2. How many people receiving PPL earn more than the average wage?

3. How many people receiving PPL earn the average wage or less?

4. How many people receiving PPL return to week when it’s finished?

5. How many people receiving PPL get an extension of the government-funded period from their employers?

6. How many people receiving PPL require it for basic living expenses?

7. How many people receiving PPL use it to fund extras?

I don’t know the answer to any of these questions but do know people earning well above the average wage who receive PPL.

It is the only benefit I can think of, except superannuation, which isn’t means tested and I can’t think of any other benefit which gives more to wealthier people than poorer people.

The benefits of time together for parents and babies are unquestioned but is paying for that the responsibility of families or the taxpayer, especially for wealthy recipients?

MRP good buy?


A share broker wrote to David Shearer and Russel Norman thanking them for sabotaging the Mighty River Power float because it would enable him to buy more shares.

He said one of the unfortunate consequences of the LabourGreen power play was that it was putting off first time investors.

They’d been prepared to dip their toes in the investment market with MRP but the uncertainty in the wake of the LabourGreen sabotage was putting them off.

So are MRP shares still a good buy?

I’m not qualified to give financial advice and wouldn’t presume to tell anyone else what to do with their money but I’ll be putting some of mine in MRP.

Tired creativity


“Trying to look on the bright side of exhaustion,” she said. “Any mother will tell you it makes you more creative.

“If only because you don’t have any energy for thinking so you just get on with doing and feeling without tripping over your thoughts.”

April 30 in history


313  Roman emperor Licinius unified the entire Eastern Roman Empire under his rule.

1006  Supernova SN 1006, the brightest supernova in recorded history, appeared in the constellation Lupus.

1315 Enguerrand de Marigny was hanged on the public gallows at Montfaucon.

1492 Spain gave Christopher Columbus his commission of exploration.

1513 Edmund de la Pole, Yorkist pretender to the English throne, was executed on the orders of Henry VIII.

1651 Jean-Baptiste de la Salle, French educational reformer, Catholic saint, was born (d. 1719).

1662 Queen Mary II of England was born (d. 1694).

1671  Petar Zrinski, the Croatian Ban from the Zrinski family, was executed.

1789  George Washington took the oath of office to become the first elected President of the United States.

1794  The Battle of Boulou was fought, in which French forces defeated the Spanish under General Union.

1803  Louisiana Purchase: The United States purchased the Louisiana Territory from France for $15 million, more than doubling the size of the young nation.

1838  Nicaragua declared independence from the Central American Federation.

1864  Pai Marire warriors were defeated at Sentry Hill.

Pai Marire defeated at Sentry Hill Taranaki

1865 ex-Governor Robert Fitzroy committed suicide.

Ex-Governor FitzRoy commits suicide

1871 The Camp Grant Massacre took place in Arizona Territory.

1894 Coxey’s Army reached Washington, D.C. to protest the unemployment caused by the Panic of 1893.

1900 Hawaii became a territory of the United States, with Sanford B. Dole as governor.

1900  Casey Jones died in a train wreck in Vaughn, Mississippi, while trying to make up time on the Cannonball Express.

1904 The Louisiana Purchase Exposition World’s Fair opened in St. Louis, Missouri.

1907  Honolulu, Hawaii became an independent city.

1909  Queen Juliana of the Netherlands,  was born (d. 2004).

1925 Dodge Brothers, Inc was sold to Dillon, Read & Company for $146 million plus $50 million for charity.

1927  The Federal Industrial Institute for Women, opened in Alderson, West Virginia, as the first women’s federal prison in the United States.

1927 – Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford became the first celebrities to leave their footprints in concrete at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood.

1933 Willie Nelson, American musician, was born.

1937  The Philippines held a plebiscite for Filipino women on whether they should be extended the right to suffrage; more than 90% voted in the affirmative.

1938  The animated cartoon short Porky’s Hare Hunt debuted in movie theatres, introducing Happy Rabbit.

1938 The first televised FA Cup Final took place between Huddersfield Town and Preston North End.

1939  The 1939-40 New York World’s Fair opened

1939  NBC inaugurated its regularly scheduled television service in New York City, broadcasting President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s World’s Fair opening day ceremonial address.

1943  World War II: Operation Mincemeat: The submarine HMS Seraph surfaced in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Spain to deposit a dead man planted with false invasion plans and dressed as a British military intelligence officer.

1945 World War II: Fuehrerbunker: Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun committed suicide after being married for one day. Soviet soldiers raised the Victory Banner over the Reichstag building.

1946 King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, was born.

1947 The Boulder Dam was renamed Hoover Dam a second time.

1948 The Organization of American States was established.

1949 António Guterres, former Prime Minister of Portugal, was born.

1953  In Warner Robins, Georgia, an F4 tornado killed 18 people.

1953 Merrill Osmond, American musician (The Osmonds), was born.

1954 Jane Campion, New Zealand film director, was born.

1956 Former Vice President and Senator Alben Barkley died during a speech in Virginia. He collapsed after proclaiming “I would rather be a servant in the house of the lord than sit in the seats of the mighty.”

1959 Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, was born.

1973  Watergate Scandal: U.S. President Richard Nixon announced that top White House aids H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman and others had resigned.

1975 Fall of Saigon: Communist forces gained control of Saigon. The Vietnam War formally ended with the unconditional surrender of South Vietnamese president Duong Van Minh.

1980 Accession of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

1988 Queen Elizabeth II officially opened World Expo ’88 in Brisbane, Australia.

1993  CERN announced World Wide Web protocols would be free.

1993 Virgin Radio broadcast for the first time in the United Kingdom.

1995 U.S. President Bill Clinton became the first President to visit Northern Ireland.

1999 Cambodia joined the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bringing the number of members to 10.

2004 U.S. media release graphic photos of American soldiers abusing and sexually humiliating Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison.

2008  Two skeletal remains found near Ekaterinburg, Russia were confirmed by Russian scientists to be the remains of Alexei Nikolaevich, Tsarevich of Russia and one of his sisters Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna.

2009 Chrysler  filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

2009 – Seven people were killed and 17 injured at a Queen’s Day parade in Apeldoorn, Netherlands in an attempted assassination on Queen Beatrix.

2010 – Hailed as the largest World’s Fair in history, Expo 2010 opened in Shangai.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

Parekura Horomia 1950 – 2013


Parekura Horomia, MP and Maori Affairs spokesman and former Minister, has died.

In his maiden speech he said:

– I’ve been a fencer, shearer, scrub cutter and printer.
– I’ve also worked in the upper levels of bureaucracy in management roles.

As a Maori Member of Parliament I have a dual responsibility.
– I have a responsibility to my people and the wider public.

– Unfortunately, if we look at the statistics for the people I represent the picture is bleak. We feature disproportionately in negative statistics. . .

. . . – The future for Maori is about acknowledging who we are and determining where we want to go. . . 

– Not every Maori will reap the same success as Michael Campbell but we should be encouraging them all to swing that high.

– We have to set an example for the younger generation and I accept that challenge as a new Maori Member of Parliament.

– Let me take you back a few years to the time when I was a schoolboy. I vividly recall walking to school barefoot with my seven brothers and sisters.

– Everyday, whatever the weather, we walked five kilometres to school and back.

– While this may not have been unusual for Maori children, there was a certain irony about this journey.

– Everyday we would watch the empty school bus drive past us and other whanau to collect the pakeha kids that lived a half a kilometre from our school. This bus would pick them up, turn around, drive back past us and take those kids to the school in Tologa Bay.

– As a child the bureaucrats who made those decisions mattered little. All I knew is that I had to walk and the bus was leaving me and the rest of my whanaunga behind.

– I used to dream of being picked up by that school bus. But as I grew older we became more resilient. We went from wishing it would stop to pick us up …to thinking that if it did stop we wouldn’t hop on anyway.

– I relate that story now because Maori are often told we’ve missed the bus. And many cases Maori have not even had the opportunity to get on the bus.

– The irony in all of this is that I’m now the Associate Minister of Education, responsible for school transport!

– So now I’m not only riding the bus, I’m helping to drive the bus with my colleagues, Mr Samuels, Mr Mallard and Mr Maharey.

– As one of the drivers you can be damn sure I’m going to stop the bus and pick up as many Maori as possible. . .

He held the seat of Ikaroa-Rawhiti since first winning it in 1999. His death will force a by-election.


Word of the day


Louche – of questionable taste or morality; disreputable or indecent; dubious; shady; sordid in a rakish or appealing way

Rural round-up


Hydatids rule changes proposed:

The Ministry for Primary Industries is proposing changes to controls covering a disease that has not been seen in New Zealand since the 1990s.

Hydatids can infect humans, sheep and other animals, and is contracted from dogs which carry the hydatid tapeworm.

The disease killed more than 140 people in a decade between 1946 – 1956. Many more people had to have surgery to remove hydatids cysts.

After about 50 years of control efforts, including regular dog dosing, the Ministry of Agriculture declared New Zealand to be provisionally free of hydatids in 2002.

But regulations have remained in place aimed at preventing any future outbreaks. . .

Farmers back tradeable killing rights, says Beef + Lamb:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s chairman says he’s had strong farmer feed-back supporting tradable slaughter rights as one way of helping to rationalise the processing end of the meat industry.

Mike Petersen says the concept was first suggested in a consultants’ report 28 years ago, but never picked up.

He thinks it could be a circuit breaker to unlock the challenges of getting farmers and privately owned meat companies to work together.

Mr Petersen says a share of the kill would have to be allocated to each company, and from a set point in time companies would have the right to slaughter that percentage on an annual basis.

He says regular updates on the size of the kill would be needed. . .

Meat firms working on simple plan

Meat companies are working together on a plan to rationalise the processing industry and the two big co-ops are willing to work with the Meat Industry Excellence group, farmers at a packed meeting in Feilding on Friday were told.

The co-ops and up to 700 farmers endorsed the MIE group’s aims and put forward John McCarthy, Steve Wyn-Harris and Tom O’Sullivan to represent North Island farmers on the group executive.

Alliance chairman Owen Poole said the industry was putting effort into an improved model and a decision on whether it would go ahead could be expected within two months. . . .

North Island farmers back calls for meat industry reform:

North Island farmers are planning further meetings to keep the pressure on for meat industry restructuring.

An estimated 600 to 700 farmers met in Feilding on Friday, to support the Meat Industry Excellence Group campaign launched in the South Island last month.

It has a five step plan to overhaul the red meat sector to improve profitability for companies and farmers through more co-ordinated processing and marketing.

Spokesman John McCarthy says there’s a strong commitment from farmers to see meat industry reforms through this time, but it is important to take things one step at a time. . .

Federated Farmers feed operation may be approaching an end:

The Federated Farmers Grain & Seed led feed operation, which will have shipped some 220,000 small bale equivalents from the South Island, may soon be approaching an end. With demand beginning to slow, Federated Farmers is concerned some farmers may be over-estimating pasture recovery following rain.

“Federated Farmers Grain & Seed can rightly be proud of the contribution our members have made in helping our North Island colleagues out,” says David Clark, Federated Farmers Grain & Seed Vice-Chairperson.

“With winter upon us demand for feed is slowing right up and we don’t understand why. . .

A Beekeeper’s Story:

When he was just a young lad, Bill Bennett built his first bee hive from scrap wood.

Thus a lifelong passion for producing the best quality Manuka honey had its beginnings.

From its humble beginnings, SummerGlow Apiaries has blossomed to over 1600 hives, setting the standards for Manuka Honey production.

Bill and Margaret Bennett have been beekeeping for over 36 years in the greater Waikato area.

Summerglow Apiaries specialises in the production of high activity UMF Manuka Honey.

Back in the early days of SummerGlow, Bill and Margaret used to make their own bee hives. . .

Queenstown Biking Community ‘thrilled’ with New Rabbit Ridge Bike Resort:

Queenstown’s Rabbit Ridge Bike Resort got the thumbs up at the soft launch yesterday when members of the local biking community got to check out the newly-constructed trails.
Some last minute rain ensured the trails were ‘bedded in’ and locals of all ages and experiences took to the trails with vigour.
From experienced downhill bikers to families with children, everyone enjoyed the opportunity to test trails including the beginner ‘Bunny’ trail and intermediate Donnas Dually track.
The invitation-only event saw bikers, bike shop owners and front line staff experience the resort for the first time. Rabbit Ridge is a joint venture by local bike business Around the Basin and Gibbston Valley Winery and will be the area’s only year-round dedicated and serviced bike resort. . . .

Canada farm persecuted by gov., thankful for help: Tiffany’s non-blog:

For some background:

Apparently I am farmed and dangerous…

But I am not a criminal. I’m a shepherd, farmer and writer who has been preserving rare Shropshire sheep for the last 12 years, and farming various other heritage breeds and vegetables for the last 30.

Then the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) killed my beautiful ewes and their unborn lambs to find out if they were healthy. They were.

They were also rare and pregnant. Now they are dead. . .

There are always at least two sides to a story and a Google search led me to several others including these two:

Sheep flock is both rare and slated for slaughter – Suzanne Atkinson:

A Hastings’ woman’s desperate attempt to save her rare Shropshire sheep from the CFIA’s axe is ballooning into a fundraising and full scale social media campaign.

Montana Jones, whose flock of 44 Shropshires represents approximately 25 percent of the country’s inventory of the breed, is facing the decimation of her flock after Scrapies was found in a sheep which originated in her herd more than five years ago. While her entire herd has tested negative – a test considered 85 per cent accurate, the 44 animals have also been genotyped QQ and are considered less resistant to the disease.
While Scrapies is not a human health risk, it can affect the productivity of sheep and CFIA is mandated to eradicate it within Canada to enhance trade opportunities. . .
Rare sheep on death row – Alyshah Hasham:

Montana Jones loves her Shropshire sheep.

She raises the rare heritage breed at no profit in a bid to protect the bloodlines tracing back to some of the first sheep on Canadian shores.

But the fluffy romance of 12 years has become a nightmare, with more than half of her flock of 75 slated for the chopping block for no reason, says the farmer.

Her Wholearth Farm in Hastings, near Peterborough, was put under quarantine and listed as a possible source of infection after a ewe she sold to an Alberta farmer five years ago was diagnosed with scrapie. . .

How endangered are Shropshire sheep? – Agrodiversity  Weblog:

You may have seen stories in the past week or so of a flock of Shropshire sheep that authorities in Canada have threatened with destruction. The sheep belong to Montana Jones, who raises them at her Wholearth Farm, near Hastings in Peterborough. Five years ago she sold a ewe to a farmer in Alberta, and that sheep has been diagnosed with scrapie. As a result, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency wants to destroy other animals from the same flock who are infected or suspected of being infected.

One problem for Montana Jones is that the test “is only about 85% accurate”. So the sheep that tested positive may not have scrapie, although I have no idea what that 85% figure actually means. False positives? False negatives? What?

It is a long time since I last had to get my ahead around scrapie, the risks to humans (it is not “mad sheep disease”), the different breed susceptibilities, and the different approaches to eradication. All of those are important issues, I am sure. What concerns me about Montana Jones’ case is whether the appeal to the rarity of Shropshire sheep justifies not taking the precaution of slaughtering some of the flock. . .

In praise of VSM


Opponents of Voluntary Student Membership predicted the sky would fall if people weren’t compelled to join students unions.

It hasn’t and here’s proof of its benefits.

It enabled some Young Nats to choose to join the Otago University Students Association and then use the OUSA van to get to the National Party’s Mainland conference in Hanmer at the weekend.

Like a boss

They’re pictured here with two of the MPs who voted in favour of VSM – Prime Minister John Key and Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean.

MPI founding DG moves to LIC


The man who oversaw the creation of the Ministry of Primary Industries and became its first Director General, Wayne McNee,  has resigned to take up the role of chief executive of Livestock Improvement.

. . . After becoming the General Manager of PHARMAC in 1998, then Chief Executive of PHARMAC in 2001, Mr McNee became Chief Executive of the Ministry of Fisheries (MFish) in 2008. He was appointed as Chief Executive of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) in 2010 and then as Chief Executive of the Ministry for Primary Industries in 2011, following the merger of MAF and MFish. . . 

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said:

“I’ve enjoyed working with Wayne over the last two years. He has overseen the merger of MAF with the New Zealand Food Safety Authority and the Ministry of Fisheries to create the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) in 2012,” says Mr Guy.

“The merger has resulted in savings of over $20 million a year and created a new strategy of ‘grow and protect’. MPI now has the ambitious target of doubling exports from the primary sector from $30 billion to $60 billion by 2025.

“Wayne has created great relationships with key stakeholders, both here and internationally. He knows that businesses are the engine room of economic growth.

“I’m sorry to see Wayne go but his new role as Chief Executive of the Livestock Improvement Corporation will utilise his skills, experience and knowledge. . .

MPI’s loss is LIC’s gain.

Labour is anti-growth party


What’s the difference between the National and Labour parties?

There are plenty but the most stark is their attitudes to growth.

National is pro-growth and has spent the last four years implementing policies which will promote it.

Labour has spent the last four years opposing those policies and is, aEconomic Development Minister Steven Joyce says fast becoming the Anti-Growth Party by pursuing polices that would hurt households and damage the New Zealand economy.

“What has become increasingly clear is that intentionally or unintentionally, Labour is promoting policy ideas that would stunt New Zealand’s growth. On top of that they are opposed to all initiatives that would create jobs and boost incomes. They are becoming the ‘Anti-Growth’ Party’,” Mr Joyce says, speaking today at the National Party’s Mainland Regional Conference in Hanmer Springs.

“They want to introduce a capital gains tax on every business and farm, print money to lower the dollar, force households to pay an extra $500 a year under the ETS and spend and borrow more money. In their rush to appeal to the political left and scratch every political itch, they are ignoring the economic impact of their ideas.
“Their latest ‘plan’ on electricity is playing politics with the value of New Zealand’s economic assets and they don’t care who it affects. They clearly haven’t thought through the consequences of discouraging investment and savings to both KiwiSavers and jobs, all for a policy that pretty much everyone agrees won’t work.
“It is becoming obvious that under the influence of Grant Robertson and David Parker – and the threat of the Greens – Labour has shifted further to the left. More middle-of-the-road MPs like Shane Jones are now isolated and forced to recite the new anti-growth party mantra of saying ‘no’ to every idea to boost growth.”
Anti-growth Labour policies include:
• Dramatically increasing the effects of the ETS on trade-exposed businesses and New Zealand households
•  Introducing a capital gains tax on all productive businesses
•  Abandoning sensible monetary policy in an attempt to force down the value of the New Zealand dollar
• Nationalising the power industry and discouraging investment in the New Zealand economy
• Borrowing more money rather than having the Government make savings and get back into surplus
Policies Labour has rejected that will boost investment and growth include:
• Resource management law changes to speed up investment decisions
• Plans to build an International Convention Centre in Auckland (despite supporting a similar arrangement in 2002)
• Oil and gas exploration on the North Island’s East Coast
•  Investment by Chinese companies, including the investment by Haier in Fisher & Paykel Appliances
• Encouraging more international investment generally
• Reforms to allow greater aquaculture development in the Marlborough Sounds
• Speeding up Bathurst Resources consents at Denniston
•  Increasing irrigation and agricultural intensification
“The National-led Government is encouraging more investment in New Zealand as we know that nothing creates jobs and grows incomes for New Zealand families better than business growth,” Mr Joyce says.
“Labour has talked a lot in the last four years about savings, jobs and growth.  If they are serious about those things they need to start showing it. They need to support sensible initiatives that will encourage investment, create jobs and help New Zealand families get ahead.
“Constantly adopting policies that discourage investment, and also saying ‘you can’t do this and you can’t do that’ shows Labour is fast becoming the Anti-Growth Party, joining the already anti-growth Greens on the far left of New Zealand politics.”

The Green Party has never made any secret of its disdain for economic development. Labour used to pretend it was interested in growth.

But in abandoning the centre ground and lurching leftwards it has given up the pretence it is economically rational and wants a growing economy.

Some commentators say this more united LabourGreen approach will help them look more like a government in waiting.

That might be so but it will also scare the moderate swinging voters in the centre. Given the choice between extreme-left, anti-growth Labour Green and moderate centre-right National they are much more likely to tick blue rather than red and green.

National would reverse LabourGreen power play


If LabourGreen win the next election and manage to implement their power play promise, it won’t be for long.

Prime Minister John Key told the National party’s Mainland conference yesterday that if National lost next year’s election the party would reverse the LabourGreen power policy as soon as it got back into government.

That means there is almost no chance of the monopoly wholesale model being implemented.

That will be a relief to anyone worried about the prospect of insecure supply, rising costs and investment flight.


April 29 in history


711  Islamic conquest of Hispania: Moorish troops led by Tariq ibn-Ziyad landed at Gibraltar to begin their invasion of the Iberian Peninsula (Al-Andalus).

1429 Joan of Arc arrived to relieve the Siege of Orleans.

1483 Gran Canaria, the main of the Canary Islands was conquered by the Kingdom of Castile, an important step in the expansion of Spain.

1624 Cardinal Richelieu became Prime Minister of Louis XIII.

1672 Franco-Dutch War: Louis XIV of France invaded the Netherlands.

1707  Scotland and England unified in United Kingdom of Great Britain.

1770 James Cook arrived at and named Botany Bay, Australia.

1832 Évariste Galois released from prison.

1861 American Civil War: Maryland’s House of Delegates voted not to secede from the Union.

1863 William Randolph Hearst, American publisher, was born (d. 1951).

1864 – The British attacked the Ngāi Te Rangi stronghold of Pukehinahina (Gate Pā) with the heaviest artillery bombardment and one of the largest forces used in the New Zealand Wars.

1864 The Theta Xi fraternity was founded at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.

1881 – The steamer Tararua, en route from Port Chalmers to Melbourne, struck a reef at Waipapa Point, Southland. Of the 151 passengers and crew on board, 131 were lost including 12 women and 14 children.

1882  The “Elektromote” – forerunner of the trolleybus – was tested by Ernst Werner von Siemens in Berlin.

1899 Duke Ellington, American jazz pianist and bandleader, was born (d. 1974).

1901 Hirohito, Emperor of Japan, was born (d. 1989).

1903 A 30 million cubic-metre landslide killed 70 in Frank, Alberta.

1915 Donald Mills, American singer (Mills Brothers), was born (d. 1999).

1916 World War I: The British 6th Indian Division surrendered to Ottoman Forces at Kt in one of the largest surrenders of British forces up to that point.

1916 Easter Rebellion: Martial law in Ireland was lifted and the rebellion was officially over with the surrender of Irish nationalists to British authorities in Dublin.

1933 Rod McKuen, American poet and composer, was born.

1934 Otis Rush, American musician, was born.

1938 Bernard Madoff, American convict, who was a financier and Chairman of the NASDAQ stock exchange., was born.

1945 World War II: The German Army in Italy unconditionally surrendered to the Allies.

1945 World War II: Start of Operation Manna.

1945 World War II – Fuehrerbunker: Adolf Hitler married his long-time partner Eva Braun in a Berlin bunker and designated Admiral Karl Dönitz as his successor.

1945 – The Dachau concentration camp was liberated by United States troops.

1945 – The Italian commune of Fornovo di Taro was liberated from German forces by Brazilian forces.

1946  Former Prime Minister of Japan Hideki Tojo and 28 former Japanese leaders were indicted for war crimes.

1952 Anzus came into force.

ANZUS comes into force

1953 The first U.S. experimental 3D-TV broadcast showed an episode of Space Patrol on Los Angeles ABC affiliate KECA-TV.

1954 Jerry Seinfeld, American comedian, was born.

1957 – Daniel Day-Lewis, British-Irish actor, was born.

1958 Michelle Pfeiffer, American actress, was born.

1958 Eve Plumb, American actress, was born.

1965 Pakistan’s Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) successfully launched its seventh rocket in its Rehber series.

1967 After refusing induction into the United States Army the day before (citing religious reasons), Muhammad Ali was stripped of his boxing title.

1968  The controversial musical Hair opened on Broadway.

1970 Andre Agassi, American tennis player, was born.

1970 Vietnam War: United States and South Vietnamese forces invaded Cambodia to hunt Viet Cong.

1974 President Richard Nixon announced the release of edited transcripts of White House tape recordings related to the Watergate  scandal.

1975 Vietnam War: Operation Frequent Wind: The U.S. began to evacuate U.S. citizens from Saigon prior to an expected North Vietnamese takeover. U.S. involvement in the war ended.

1979  Jo O’Meara, British singer (S Club), was born.

1980 Corazones Unidos Siempre Chi Upsilon Sigma National Latin Sorority Inc. was founded.

1980 Kian Egan, Irish singer (Westlife), was born.

1986 Roger Clemens then of the Boston Red Sox set a major league baseball record with 20 strikeouts in nine innings against the Seattle Mariners.

1986 A fire at the Central library of the City of Los Angeles Public Library damaged or destroyed 400,000 books and other items.

1991 A cyclone struck the Chittagong district of southeastern Bangladesh with winds of around 155 mph, killing at least 138,000 people and leaving as many as 10 million homeless.

1992  Riots in Los Angeles  following the acquittal of police officers charged with excessive force in the beating of Rodney King. Over the next three days 53 people were killed and hundreds of buildings were destroyed.

1997 The Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993 enters into force, outlawing the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons by its signatories.

1999 The Avala TV Tower near Belgrade was destroyed in the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.

2002 The United States was re-elected to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, one year after losing the seat that it had held for 50 years.

2004 Dick Cheney and George W. Bush testified before the 9/11 Commission in a closed, unrecorded hearing in the Oval Office.

2004  Oldsmobile built its final car ending 107 years of production.

2005 Syria completed withdrawal from Lebanon, ending 29 years of occupation.

2005 – New Zealand’s first civil union took place.

2011 – Wedding of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Kate Middleton.

Sourced from NZ History Online and Wikipedia.

Word of the day


Flaneur – one who strolls or saunters about aimlessly; a lounger; a loafer; idler; dawdler.

Where are we?


Where do you believe we are, Adam?

Look . . . we’re naked, without a house and without work, but they say that this is Paradise. For me, we are in Argentina.

If we power back to the socialist 70s with LabourGreen policies, it won’t be much better in New Zealand.

Those were the bad old days


Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers president, reminds us how it was in the bad old days:

. . .  the good old days, was one of wage and price freezes, exchange rate controls and carless days.

To those of us who can recall this period, it was not a stellar time for New Zealand economically.

An increasingly desperate government had all but exhausted the interventionist toolkit.

We seemed to have more controls than what the international space station currently has.

Tourists would joke, “I came to New Zealand but it was closed”.  From 1945 until October 1980, shops opened Monday to Thursday at 9am and closed at 5pm; late night Friday trading to 9pm was the week’s highlight. Limited Saturday trading from 1980 meant just that and families would wander the streets “window shopping” – an expression out of favour with those born from the late 1980’s.  Those who now shop on Sunday should know it only arrived in 1990 and following deregulation.

Prior to the 1980’s economic reforms, the entire New Zealand tax system was a dog’s breakfast.

The largest tax burden fell upon wage and salary earners who, in 1983/84, carried 64 percent of the burden. Today, it is less than 40 percent.

Personal income taxes were eye-wateringly high with 66 percent as the top rate and that started at $38,000 ($106,817 in today’s dollars). Tax avoidance and evasion were rife due to copious tax shelters, dodges and “cash jobs”. 

When it came to business and industry, if it moved it was taxed and regulated. If it stopped moving then it was protected and subsidised.

Looking back this led to some truly bizarre endeavours.

Up until the 1990’s, car manufacturers would build a car in Japan, disassemble it, put it into a container and ship it to New Zealand. Here, it would be reassembled but not necessarily as well. Today, we don’t much use the “Monday” or “Friday” car to denote reliability; indicative of car factory workers keen to get home, or to the pub.

You could also forget JetStar because the government-owned Air New Zealand had a monopoly on domestic air travel.

Trucks were limited to distance and to what they could carry to protect the government-owned railway.

Even then, the railway was legendary for high staffing and ability to wreck or lose goods.

Domestic shipping was protected to shelter the government-owned shipping corporation and the Cook Straight Ferry.

Ports were an inefficient union closed-shop.

Relevant to Labour’s desire to turn the clock back on power, private sector electricity generation was all but banned to protect government-owned generators.

Even courier services were strictly controlled to protect the government-owned Post Office’s monopoly.

As for telecommunications, you could forget moving house and having a phone immediately.

Outside of the state system, occupations behaved like guilds under legislative protection.  Numbers were strictly controlled to ensure that fortunate elite had a good life and an even better income.

In agriculture, subsidies filled warehouses all because government knew much better than the international marketplace.

These helped to create an expression some may still recognise, “the Queen Street Farmer”.

It was wrong but the system was milked until Federated Farmers worked with the Lange Labour Government to row it back.

Then again, the old Producer Board’s reputedly exchanged product for Lada cars made in the defunct Soviet Union.  At that time, I doubt many could have told our respective economic systems apart.

This was a New Zealand where strikes were a union tactic and going out consisted of a buffet restaurant. It was only in the late 1970’s that restaurants and sports clubs found it slightly easier to sell wine with food.

This is why I struggle with those who look back to a past that never was. . .

Those won’t the good old days and a LabourGreen government would take us back there.

We’lll pay for it


Keeping  Stock asks how much we’ll really save on power under a LabourGreen government?

Ministers Bill English and Steven Joyce gave the answer at yesterday’s National party Mainland conference: nothing, we’ll be paying more.

They’re promising households a $300 saving on power bills. Even if they can deliver on that which is most unlikely, they’re also going to impose a $500 cost through their ETS.

The best we can hope for under LabourGreen is a net $200 increase in our power bills, not any decrease.

Sunday soapbox


Sunday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation.

You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, to muse or amuse.

Respect for the fragility and importance of an individual life is truly a mark of an educated man.

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