Word of the day

April 12, 2013

Prolepsis – the anticipation of possible objections in order to answer them in advance; the anachronistic representation of something as existing before its proper or historical time; the representation or assumption of a future act or development as if presently existing or accomplished; prochronism; a fundamental conception or assumption in Epicureanism or Stoicism arising spontaneously in the mind without conscious reflection; thought provoked by sense perception; the return of an attack of a periodic disease or of a paroxysm before the expected time or at progressively shorter intervals.


Rural round-up

April 12, 2013

New vehicle rules will reduce cost for rural sector:

New rules for agricultural vehicles will reduce compliance costs while maintaining safety standards, says Associate Transport Minister Michael Woodhouse.

Mr Woodhouse has signed changes to Land Transport (Driver Licensing) Rule 1999 and seven other Land Transport Rules that will offer agricultural vehicle owners improved compliance and greater operational flexibility from 1 June 2013.

“This Government recognises that the primary sector remains the powerhouse of New Zealand’s economy and we want to remove unnecessary costs and red tape,” says Mr Woodhouse.

The Ministry of Transport estimates that changes will result in a net benefit of $51 million over 25 years. . .

Great white butterfly not pretty – RivettingKate Taylor:

Federated Farmers has put out a warning about a significant new pest threat – the great white butterfly.

What is it?

It is a significant pest of brassica vegetable crops. Its caterpillars feed voraciously on host plants reducing them to a skeleton. In New Zealand, it poses a major threat to commercial and animal forage brassica vegetable crops.  It could also have serious consequences for the survival of many of New Zealand’s 79 native cress species. . .

86% vote supports forest levy:

A referendum of forest growers has shown strong support for a levy on harvested forest products.

“We have been given the thumbs-up to introduce a funding system that will provide greater certainty, equity and commitment for activities that benefit all growers, such as research, promotion and forest health,” says Forest Growers Levy Trust chair Geoff Thompson.

“At this stage, we expect the levy to be introduced on 1 January 2014.” . . .

Building innovation into Marlborough’s food and beverage sector:

The untapped potential of Marlborough’s primary sector, if cleverly exploited, could take this region out in front of the field as an export earner according to a report prepared for the Marlborough Research Centre (MRC).

The research, examining the prospects for innovation with existing primary products, suggests that these industries could be transformed, said MRC chief executive Gerald Hope.

“There’s enormous scope for products which are health and performance oriented. It’s about turning smart ideas and clever science into new products and processes which will meet the expectations of the future,” said Mr Hope. . .

After A Hot, Dry Summer Green Beans Up There With Tomatoes And Wine:

Wattie’s Canterbury green bean crop has, like its sister crop of tomatoes in Hastings, relished the benefits of the country’s hot, dry summer, which has also been experienced by the wine industry.

Harvesting and processing of the beans is scheduled to finish this week, and Wattie’s South Island Agricultural Manager Mark Daniels reports excellent yields and blemish-free quality.

“Our bean crop has thrived under the hot dry conditions and we are finishing slightly ahead of schedule compared with recent years. . .

GIMBLETT GRAVELS – the best of both worlds?:

Is it possible to make world class wines from Syrah and Bordeaux varietals grown in the same area?

In France, you would have to drive almost 500km between Bordeaux and the Northern Rhone. Yet in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, GIMBLETT GRAVELS wines from these grape varieties – growing, literally, side by side in an area less than 800 hectares (2000 acres) – continue to receive acclaim from leading international wine critics.

Each year, the Gimblett Gravels Winegrowers Association (GGWA) releases to key wine influencers a limited number of their Annual Vintage Selection, comprising an independent selection of the members’ red wines that best represent the given vintage. The current 2010 vintage, selected by Andrew Caillard MW, comprises nine blended reds (from Bordeaux varieties) and three Syrah’s. . .


Friday’s answers

April 12, 2013

Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said, I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.?

2.  Which Prime Minister did Margaret Thatcher defeat to win her first election as leader and which Prime Minister defeated her?

3.  What was Thatcher’s first job after graduating?

4. It’s fer in French, ferro in Italian, fierro in Spanish and rino in Maori, what is it in English.

5.  To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies. So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects.  True, false, it depends?

Points for answers:

Andrei got 4 1/2 – yes #1 was very easy and no, that’s not how you spell Callaghan.

Grant also got 4 1/2.

Gravedodger got a clean sweep, the only one to give both answers to #2, and wins an electronic chocolate cake.

Adam got 3 1/2.

Answers follow the break:

1.  Margaret Thatcher.

2. James Callaghan preceded her and John Major follower her.

3. Industrial chemist.

4. Iron.

5. I wouldn’t go quite as far as that, but consensus is rarely, if ever, achieved without compromise.


Still on track to surplus

April 12, 2013

In spite of the uncertain global economic environment, the government remains on track back to surplus:

The Budget on 16 May will confirm the Government remains on track to surplus in 2014/15, Finance Minister Bill English said today.

It will also confirm the need for responsible fiscal and economic management beyond then so the Government can start repaying debt and investing more in priority public services.

“The Government is in the midst of a comprehensive programme to make government and the economy more effective, and to create conditions to give businesses and families more confidence to invest in our shared future – despite global economic uncertainty,” Mr English said in a speech to the Wellington Employers’ Chamber of Commerce.

Getting the Government’s own finances in better shape remains an important part of that programme.

“The Government has set a target of returning to fiscal surplus in 2014/15 and the Budget will set out updated forecasts next month.

“But I can confirm that it will show the Government remains on track to surplus in 2014/15, as a result of our careful management of the accounts.

“That is a considerable achievement – and a significant turnaround in the space of just a few years. Just two years ago, we ran an $18.4 billion deficit, half of which was the cost of contributing to the rebuild of Canterbury.

“Returning to surplus in 2014/15 will complete only the first part of our task.

“We will still have some way to go in rebuilding the fiscal buffers that have been run down in recent years. That means fiscal responsibility will be permanent,” Mr English said.

Looking beyond the return to surplus, the Government’s focus would shift toward using forecast surpluses after 2014/15 to achieve its second fiscal objective: bringing down the Government’s net debt to 20 per cent of GDP by 2020.

“This reflects what the Government considers to be prudent levels of debt in the current economic environment. . .

This is a considerable achievement given the global financial crisis and that New Zealand was already in recession when National came to power.

“In the Half-Year Update in December, net government debt was forecast to be almost 30 per cent of GDP in 2017.

“So you can see there is quite a challenge in front of us to meet the 20 per cent debt target by 2020,” Mr English said.

“It means we will need to maintain firm expenditure control beyond our return to surplus, so we can run big enough surpluses to have choices about paying down debt and investing more in priority public services.

“It is also a critical element of building a more internationally competitive economy.

“By reducing the resources the Government absorbs, we are making room for private investment while minimising upwards pressure on interest rates and the exchange rate. Budget 2013 will reflect those realities.”

The Budget will also continue to focus on macro-economic stability.

“Conventional monetary policy, predictable fiscal policy and a sound financial system are precious advantages in an unstable world. We will hold on to them,” Mr English says.

That reduction in debt is an ambitious goal and is dependent on National continuing in power.

A Labour/Green/New Zealand First/Mana coalition would take us back to higher spending, higher taxes, more bureaucracy and other policies which would sabotage the journey back to surplus and debt reduction.


Nothing to be done

April 12, 2013

Dairy farmers were blamed for high levels of E-Coli in the Kakanui river at Clifton Falls.

The culprits were not farmers, or their stock, but birds and some of those birds are protected:

A colony of nesting gulls responsible for polluting the Kakanui River and a popular North Otago swimming hole cannot be removed from the area because the colony contains protected bird life.

The Otago Regional Council located a previously unknown gull colony on steep rocky faces, 5km above Clifton Falls in February, after an investigation was launched to examine the cause of a series of high E. coli levels recorded in the river.

Council resource science manager Matt Hickey said an aerial inspection of the site had revealed that the colony contained at least one species of protected gull, and that meant the council could not act to remove the nesting birds.

”There are three species of gulls, and two of them are protected.

”Basically it’s just one of those things, native birds doing what they do, and we can’t really do much about it, other than a few signs warning people at that swimming hole during December-January that there are colonies upstream breeding.”

E. coli levels at Clifton Falls breached safety guideline four times last summer and peaked at 2400 parts per 100ml of water on January 3, well above the council’s limit of 300 parts per 100ml. . .

Just one of those things – nothing to be done about the river from which our drinking water comes and in which we swim.


Does this apply to politics too?

April 12, 2013

The Warehouse is toning down its use of red.

Warehouse Group chief executive Mark Powell is toning down the use of red in the retailer’s iconic Red Sheds as part of efforts to give shoppers a better experience and shake the cheap and nasty image.“

Red is a very aggressive colour,” Powell told reporters in Wellington.  The company is aiming to be “discount and contemporary, not cheap and nasty,” he said . . .

Aggressive, cheap and nasty, not contemporary – does this apply to the use of red in politics too?


Police seek public’s help

April 12, 2013

Police are asking for the public’s help in arresting a criminal thought to be involved in multiple offences.

“Unfortunately we haven’t got a clear description of the wanted person, although because of his size we’re assuming it’s a man, ” Detective Inspector Anna Rest said.

“Victims just describe him as huge and amorphous,”

DI Rest said police were puzzled that nobody had been able to detain the culprit because every witness has said he was stolid and slow moving.

“That doesn’t mean this person isn’t dangerous. Several victims say the attacks on them were like being drowned in syrup.

“Other complainants say felt like they were wrestling candy-floss covered barbed wire. Every time they thought they had grasped something, they realised they were empty handed but were still left bruised and bloody.”

DI Rest said at first police thought they were dealing with a gang.

“There’s been so many victims with complaints ranging from the petty to profoundly serious.  There’s been damage to property, disorder, mental distress, physical injury and even death, so many offences in so many places we suspected no one person could be responsible.

“However,one thing linked all the crimes. The culprit always left a trail of paperwork. Then we got an anonymous tip which has led us to believe it is in fact just a single pernicious offender.

“No-one has been able to give us a name but we can confirm the wanted person goes under the pseudonym The System.”

DI Rest said she is sure that a lot of victims won’t have come forward and is asking them to do so.

“Most people have had more than enough by the time The System has finished with them, and are reluctant to approach us.

“But if we’re to make an arrest and out The System we need all the evidence we can get.

“I can’t overstate the seriousness of the situation and unless victims and witnesses are prepared to help The System will continue to offend, leaving havoc in his wake.”


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