Bibelot – a small, decorative ornament or trinket; a small object of curiosity, beauty, or rarity; a miniature book, especially one that is finely crafted.
The New Zealand Superannuation Fund, which today said the value of its portfolio topped $22 billion, has sold the bulk of 11 forestry blocks in the North Island to China National Forest Products Trading Corp for an undisclosed sum, with the remaining going to local investors.
The Chinese company, a subsidiary of state-owned China Forestry Group Corp, bought the majority of the portfolio, subject to Chinese regulatory approval, after getting the thumbs up from New Zealand’s Overseas Investment Office, the super fund said in a statement.
The Cullen Fund, so-called for its architect former Finance Minister Michael Cullen, was looking for a buyer for the blocks last year, when it valued the estates at some $91.1 million as at June 30. General manager investments Matt Whineray said the sale would let the fund focus on other domestic and international investment opportunities. . .
Pivotal time for central farms – Mark Price:
Dozens of centre-pivot irrigation machines installed in the past couple of years are turning the dry plains of Central Otago into lush meadows. But, as Mark Price reports, this is just the beginning.
One farm on the flat near Tarras installed four irrigation pivots over the summer.
Another, on terraces above Tarras, installed eight or nine.
And, when the Tarras water scheme goes ahead there will be room for another 80 to 90 in that area alone.
In the world of irrigation, pivots are the state-of-the-art way of growing crops to feed dairy cows. . .
Maori land bursting with farm potential -Ben Dalton:
Primary industries generate over 70 per cent of New Zealand’s merchandise exports.
You’d be forgiven then for thinking that every last hectare of rural land is producing at its maximum. But you’d be wrong.
It has been known for some time that a significant proportion of Maori land is not delivering its potential.
A 2011 Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry report estimated that close to one million hectares were under-productive.
Now, a report commissioned by the Ministry of Primary Industries has allowed a glimpse of what’s at stake in bringing this land into full production – for Maori, the primary industries, and the country. . .
Quest for semi-rural playground – Alison Rudd:
The organisation which runs most of Southland’s kindergartens wants to buy a back yard for urban children who have no access to a semi-rural playground.
Kindergarten South wants a 1ha block close to Invercargill with trees, native bush and perhaps a stream. It will be a place where the 3 and 4-year-olds can ”get back to good old-fashioned play”, business development manager Sandra King said.
”It’s somewhere where they can climb trees, dig worms, puddle in water, draw pictures on the ground using sticks, learn to take a bit of a risk.”. . .
Delegat’s Group has bought the assets of Australia’s Barossa Valley Estate out of receivership for A$24.7 million, just two months after snapping up the distressed vineyard and winery assets of Matariki Wines and Stony Bay Wines.
The Auckland-based winemaker, whose stable includes the Oyster Bay brand, will acquire a 5,000 tonne winery, a 41 hectare vineyard in the Barossa Valley, grape grower contracts and inventory and brands, it said in a statement. The deal is expected to settle in June, and will be funded through existing bank facilities. . .
Hawke’s Bay’s popular Gunn Estate has just launched a range of Reserve wines, adding to the long history of the brand.
The 2012 Reserve range includes Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Merlot/Cabernet varieties, made with grapes from specially selected vineyards in Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough.
Gunn Estate spokesman Denis Gunn says the new range represents the brand’s strong tradition.
“The Gunn Family has worked the land in Hawke’s Bay since 1920 and these wines are about keeping the passion and determination of three generations alive and well,” Mr Gunn says.
These glorious insults are from an era before the richness of the English vocabulary was obscured by foul language.
The Earl of Sandwich to John Wilkes M.P.: “Sir, you are a scoundrel; you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease”.
John Wilkes in reply: “That depends, my noble lord, on whether I embrace your policies or your mistress”.
“He had delusions of adequacy:” – Walter Kerr
“He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire”. – Winston Churchill
“I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure”. Clarence Darrow (US lawyer)
“He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary”. – William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway).
“Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I’ll waste no time reading it”. – Moses Hadas
“I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it”. – Mark Twain
“He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends”.- Oscar Wilde
“I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend, if you have one” – George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill
“Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second …. if there is one”. – Winston Churchill, in response.
“I feel so miserable without you; it’s almost like having you here”. – Stephen Bishop
“He is a self-made man and worships his creator”. – John Bright
“I’ve just learned about his illness. Let’s hope it’s nothing trivial”. – Irvin S. Cobb
“He is not only dull himself; he is the cause of dullness in others”. – Samuel Johnson
“He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up”. – Paul Keating (and also Rob Muldoon – who was first?).
“In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily”. – Charles, Count Talleyrand
“He loves nature in spite of what it did to him”. – Forrest Tucker
“Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?” – Mark Twain
“His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.” – Mae West
“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.” – Oscar Wilde
“He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts… for support rather than illumination”. – Andrew Lang (1844-1912)
“He has Van Gogh’s ear for music”. – Billy Wild
“I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening.But this wasn’t it.” – Groucho Marx
Paul Foster-Bell will become an MP at the end of May when Jackie Blue leaves parliament to become Equal Opportunities Commissioner.
. . .Mr Foster-Bell is currently on posting with MFAT as Deputy Head of Mission at the New Zealand Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. His previous appointments include Deputy Director for the Middle East and Africa, Deputy Chief of Protocol, First Secretary and Consul at the New Zealand Embassy in Tehran, and Regional Manager within MFAT’s Security Directorate.
He is an archaeologist by training, has a business diploma from the University of Otago, and also studied history at Oxford.
He was active in the National Party in Dunedin when he was a student and stood in Dunedin South although he knew he wouldn’t win the electorate and at that stage was very unlikely to gain a list seat.
He stayed loyal, stood again in Wellington Central last year and now will enter parliament.
Some people question why anyone would stand in a seat they couldn’t win.
A good campaign will help with the party vote and won’t go unnoticed.
Paul’s journey to parliament shows the willingness to take on tiger country can be part of a longer game and that perseverance and loyalty pay off.
His campaign experience and work history will both be assets in his career as an MP.
Political comprehension test.
Which of the following statements can you trust:
a. Labour has no plans to intervene in any other markets.
b. Labour has no plans for economic growth.
c. Labour has no plans to continue reducing the burden of government.
d. Labour has no plans to impose more taxes.
e. Labour has no plans to lurch further left.
Saturday’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.
1124 David I became King of Scots.
1296 – Battle of Dunbar: The Scots were defeated by Edward I of England.
1495 Suleiman the Magnificent, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire was born (d. 1566).
1509 Pope Julius II placed the Italian state of Venice under interdict.
1565 Cebu was established as the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines.
1578 Duel of the Mignons claimed the lives of two favourites of Henry III of France and two favorites of Henry I, Duke of Guise.
1650 The Battle of Carbisdale: A Royalist army invaded mainland Scotland from Orkney Island but was defeated by a Covenanter army.
1749 First performance of Handel’s Fireworks Music in Green Park, London.
1773 The British parliament the Tea Act, designed to save the British East India Company by granting it a monopoly on the North American tea trade.
1777 American Revolutionary War: The Battle of Ridgefield: A British invasion force engaged and defeated Continental Army regulars and militia irregulars.
1791 Samuel F. B. Morse, American inventor, was born (d. 1872).
1805 First Barbary War: United States Marines and Berbers attacked the Tripolitan city of Derna (The “shores of Tripoli” part of the Marines’ hymn).
1810 Beethoven composed his famous piano piece, Für Elise.
1813 War of 1812: United States troops captured the capital of Upper Canada, York (present day Toronto).
1822 Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War general and 18th President of the United States, was born. (d. 1885).
1840 Foundation stone for new Palace of Westminster was laid by Lady Sarah Barry, wife of architect Sir Charles Barry.
1861 President of the United States Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus.
1865 The New York State Senate created Cornell University as the state’s land grant institution.
1865 – The steamboat Sultana, carrying 2,400 passengers, exploded and sank in the Mississippi River, killing 1,700, most of whom were Union survivors of the Andersonville and Cahaba Prisons.
1893 New Zealand’s Premier John Ballance died.
1904 Cecil Day-Lewis, Irish poet and writer, was born (d. 1972).
1927 Carabineros de Chile (Chilean national police force and gendarmery) was created.
1927 Coretta Scott King, American civil rights activist and wife of Martin Luther King, Jr, was born (d. 2006).
1927 Sheila Scott, English aviatrix, was born (d. 1988).
1932 Pik Botha, South African politician, was born.
1941 – World War II: The Communist Party of Slovenia, the Slovene Christian Socialists, the left-wing Slovene Sokols (also known as “National Democrats”) and a group of progressive intellectuals established the Liberation Front of the Slovenian People.
1945 World War II: German troops were finally expelled from Finnish Lapland.
1945 World War II: The Völkischer Beobachter, the newspaper of the Nazi Party, ceased publication.
1945 World War II: Benito Mussolini was arrested by Italian partisans in Dongo, while attempting escape disguised as a German soldier.
1947 Peter Ham, Welsh singer and songwriter (Badfinger) was born (d. 1975),.
1948 Kate Pierson, American singer (The B-52′s), was born.
1950 Apartheid: In South Africa, the Group Areas Act was passed formally segregating races.
1951 – Ace Frehley, American musician (Kiss), was born.
1959 The last Canadian missionary left China.
1959 Sheena Easton, Scottish singer, was born.
1960 Togo gained independence from French-administered UN trusteeship.
1967 Expo 67 officially opened in Montreal with a large opening ceremony broadcast around the world.
1967 Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange, Dutch heir apparent, was born.
1967 Erik Thomson, Australian actor, was born.
1972 Constructive Vote of No Confidence against German Chancellor Willy Brandt failed under obscure circumstances.
1974 10,000 march in Washington, D.C. calling for the impeachment of US President Richard Nixon.
1977 28 people were killed in the Guatemala City air disaster.
1981 Xerox PARC introduced the computer mouse.
1987 The U.S. Department of Justice barred the Austrian President Kurt Waldheim from entering the United States, saying he had aided in the deportation and execution of thousands of Jews and others as a German Army officer during World War II.
1992 The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, comprising Serbia and Montenegro, was proclaimed.
1992 Betty Boothroyd became the first woman to be elected Speaker of the British House of Commons in its 700-year history.
1993 All members of the Zambia national football team lost their lives in a plane crash off Libreville, Gabon in route to Dakar to play a 1994 FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Senegal.
1994 South African general election, 1994: The first democratic general election in South Africa, in which black citizens could vote.
1996 The 1996 Lebanon war ended.
2002 The last successful telemetry from the NASA space probe Pioneer 10.
2005 The superjumbo jet aircraft Airbus A380 made its first flight from Toulouse.
2006 Construction began on the Freedom Tower for the new World Trade Centre.
2007 Estonian authorities removed the Bronze Soldier, a Soviet Red Army war memorial in Tallinn, amid political controversy with Russia.
2011 – The April 25–28, 2011 tornado outbreak devastated parts of the Southeastern United States, especially the states of Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Tennessee. 205 tornadoes touched down on April 27 alone, killing more than 300 and injuring hundreds more.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia