At last

04/05/2013

It hasn’t been an easy season for Highlanders’ fans but at last they’ve won a game:

Highlanders 25 – Sharks 22.

 


Word of the day

04/05/2013

Fuliginous – pertaining to or resembling soot; sooty; obscure; murky; having a dark or dusky colour; coloured by, or as if by, soot.


Rural round-up

04/05/2013

How to drought-proof NZ as drought gets worse – Waiology:

For the most part, droughts are natural events. Rainfall and river flows wax and wane, and there will be times when there just isn’t enough water to fully meet our needs, whether to grow crops or to quench a city’s thirst.

And when it comes down to it, that’s really the best definition of a drought: when water supply is insufficient to meet demand. If no rain falls on the land, and there is no-one there to go thirsty, is it a problem? But there is a growing part of drought that isn’t natural. Increases in water use, beyond the capacity of the environment to supply the water, have led to what are called “demand-driven droughts”. . .

Sheep and Beef Sector Increases Eco-efficiency:

New research shows the New Zealand sheep and beef sector has a much lighter environmental footprint than in the past.
 
Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chief Executive Dr Scott Champion says a recent paper by Dr Alec McKay, published in the Proceedings of the New Zealand Grasslands Association, used the Overseer model to look at the changes in the relationship between inputs (eg, livestock numbers, nutrients) and outputs (eg, meat and fibre, greenhouse gas emissions, nitrate).
 
The research was conducted using the Ministry for Primary Industries sheep and beef farm monitoring models that cover hard hill country (Gisborne and Central North Island) and easy hill finishing (Manawatu) over the last 20 years. . .

Feilding Meat Industry Meeting Generates More Meetings:

So successful was the Meat Industry Excellence (MIE) meeting in Feilding last Friday, 26 April, where 700 farmers met  to establish a mandate for meat industry change, that further meetings are to be held in Gisborne and Te Kuiti..
 
Local organising Chairman and newly elected MIE executive member, John McCarthy, said that there was great support at the Fielding meeting from all over the lower North Island; “we got twice as many farmers to the meeting than we had originally planned for,” he added.
 
As a consequence, further meetings are being planned for Gisborne on 15 May and Te Kuiti on 17 May.  Details of these will be released next week. . .

Career Progression Support For Keen Dairy Farmers:

Registrations of interest have opened for DairyNZ’s popular Progression Groups taking place nationwide in 2013.

Since their launch, specialist discussion groups Biz Start and Biz Grow, have attracted more than 500 dairy farm managers, sharemilkers and owners, who are keen to build their skills and progress their career in the dairy industry.

Attendees at one of the first Biz Grow groups, Russell and Charlotte Heald (lower order sharemilkers from Central Hawke’s Bay) said the group was particularly good for meeting others who also want to get ahead and achieve more. . .

Skellerup cuts annual earnings forecast as drought hits agri business:

Skellerup, the industrial rubber goods maker, has cut its annual earnings guidance for a second time after the drought across the North Island sapped demand at its agri business as farmers put off buying until next season.

The Auckland-based company expects net profit of $17 million in the year ended June 30, down from trimmed down guidance of $20 million it gave in February, from a previous forecast range of between $22 million and $24 million. The manufacturer blamed the drought for weaker local demand, and also signalled its North American and European sales were tracking below forecasts. . .

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5/10

04/05/2013

5/10 in Stuff’s Biz Quiz.


Saturday’s smiles

04/05/2013

A keen duck shooter was on the look out for a new bird dog. His search ended when he found a dog that could walk on water to retrieve a duck. Delighted by his find, he was sure none of his friends would ever believe him.

He decided not to tell the news to a friend of his, a pessimist by nature, but invited him to hunt with him and his new dog.

As they waited by the shore, a flock of ducks flew by. They fired, and a duck fell. The dog responded and jumped into the water.

The dog, however, did not sink but instead walked across the water to retrieve the bird, never getting more than his paws wet. The friend saw everything but did not say a single word.

On the drive home the hunter asked his friend, “Did you notice anything unusual about my new dog?”

“I sure did,” responded his friend. “He can’t swim.”


Aust-NZ strengthen FMD defence

04/05/2013

A new action plan between Australia and New Zealand will strengthen defences against Foot and Mouth Disease.

Australian Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, and New Zealand’s Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy, have announced the two countries will work more closely together focusing combined defences against the threat of FMD.

“FMD poses one of the single greatest threats to livestock industries and rural communities in New Zealand and Australia. We’ve estimated that a large outbreak would cost Australia $AUD 16 billion to control,” Minister Ludwig said.

“Australia has successfully kept FMD out of the country for more than 130 years.

“Our countries have committed to work together to develop a trans-Tasman FMD Action Plan to improve preparedness.

“Collaborative government action will help ensure we are both adequately prepared for this disease.”

Minister Guy said both countries were extremely aware of the importance of preparing for the threat, given the importance of the agricultural sector to both economies.
“This work will build on the strong relationship we already have through years of working together on animal health and biosecurity issues,” Minister Guy said.

“It reflects an on-going commitment to improving our knowledge and preparedness.”

Key activities under the joint plan include:

• sharing intelligence on emerging animal health risks facing our region

• developing and improving training activities and FMD detection capabilities, including training in exotic animal disease recognition and participating in joint exercises

• sharing and comparing economic and disease models of FMD to inform management strategies

• collaborating on policy development, approaches and operational plans for vaccination and carcass disposal

• participating in simulation exercises to explore how we could support response efforts in the event of an incursion.

“While both countries will work towards a coordinated Action Plan, the best strategy is to not let FMD ever get into either country in the first place,” Minister Guy said.

“Prevention remains the first priority for both countries through our world class biosecurity systems. New Zealand is fortunate to have never had an outbreak but we must always be prepared.”

Minister Ludwig agreed saying early detection was essential to reduce the potential impact of this disease.

“FMD has been able to establish and spread in a wide range of environmental and production systems around the world so vigilance and preparedness are essential safeguards to protecting Australia and New Zealand’s valuable primary industries, Minister Ludwig said.”

Australia and New Zealand have the strictest border controls I’ve ever struck.

The importance of agriculture and horticulture to both our economies provide a very good reason for that.

As island nations it’s easier for us to keep disease out than it is for countries which border others but there is absolutely no room for complacency.

Combining forces against FMD will strengthen defences in both countries.


Opening morning

04/05/2013

Irrigation ponds attract ducks and ducks attract shooters.

Neither my farmer nor I are hunters but our staff and hangers-on take advantage of our ponds.

Preparation starts some weeks in advance of opening day with the building, or resurrecting of maimais.

On opening morning the hunters get up early, pack up provisions and sneak into the maimais before dawn to await the ducks.

This year the long, hot summer has left the ponds with little water. That might not make it easier to shoot the birds but it will make it easier to retrieve them.

The number shot, and missed, will be recounted in the pub later in the day although the tally isn’t particularly important.

It’s my observation that while duck shooting is the excuse for the exercise,  it’s not necessarily the point of it.

:) kindest, Boris


There’s hope

04/05/2013

Quote of the day:

. . . Before the electricity market could be replaced with a state-controlled pricing regime, two things would need to happen. Labour and the Greens would need to win the next election, and if they did they would need to carry out this policy. Neither, I think, is likely.

John Key remains the most widely admired of any New Zealand Prime Minister I have seen. National continues to lead all polls by a margin that is remarkable five years into the life of a government.

Unless something disastrous happens, he looks certain to win again next year. . . 
John Roughan.

But winning the most votes of any party isn’t enough under MMP, parties have to get above 50%, by themselves or in coalition.

Should National go into the election with no partners in prospect, an absolute majority is conceivable. Conventional wisdom says it is practically impossible because it hasn’t happened since 1951. But before then, it was not unusual.

Labour won more than 50 per cent of the vote in 1938 and 1946, as did National in 1949 as well as 1951. Since then many have gone as close as 47 per cent, including National at the last election when it became only the third post-war government to be re-elected with an increased share of the vote.

There is nothing magical about an extra 3 per cent. Conventional wisdom is destined to be surprised sooner or later.

It becomes more possible the more often David Shearer stands too close to the larrikin.

Shearer is a sensible man. To enact Norman’s scheme or Labour’s version of it, he would need to ignore all the economic advice available to him. . .

It can be very easy to ignore the soundest of advice if it doesn’t fit your policy and you’re more interested in power – or the electoral rather than the electrical kind – than people.

Yesterday’s  Roy Morgan poll showed National up and LabourGreen down after the latter’s power plan was announced.

However, that poll is notoriously unreliable.

The next few polls will be more significant but even if they do give the thumbs down to the LabourGreen policy it’s more than a year until the election.

We have few one term governments which makes the odds on winning a second term better than reasonable.

Winning a third term is much harder.

Roughan’s comment shows there’s hope. Enough voters might understand the danger of powering back to seventies socialism to scorn LabourGreen.

But hope doesn’t win elections.

That takes good people, good policy, active party members, money and a lot of hard work.

There’s hope but no certainty.


Saturday soapbox

04/05/2013

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.
:) kindest, Boris


May 4 in history

04/05/2013

1008 Khajeh Abdollah Ansari, The Persian Sufi was born (d. 1088).

1256  The mendicant Order of Saint Augustine was constituted at the Lecceto Monastery when Pope Alexander IV issued a papal bull Licet ecclesiae catholicae.

1343 The four Estonian kings were murdered at the negotiations with the Livonian Order.

1415 Religious reformers John Wycliffe and Jan Hus were condemned as heretics at the Council of Constance.

1471  Wars of the Roses: The Battle of Tewkesbury: Edward IV defeatsed a LancastrianArmy and killed Edward, Prince of Wales.

1493 Pope Alexander VI gave most of the New World to Spain via the papal bull Inter caetera.

1494 Christopher Columbus landed in Jamaica.

1626  Dutch explorer Peter Minuit arrived in New Netherland (present day Manhattan Island) aboard the See Meeuw.

1655 Bartolomeo Cristofori, Italian maker of musical instruments, was born (d. 1731).

1675  King Charles II ordered the construction of the Royal Greenwich Observatory.

1715 Richard Graves, English writer, was born (d. 1804).

1772 French explorer Marion du Fresne arrived in the Bay of Islands.

Marion du Fresne arrives in Bay of Islands

1776  Rhode Island became the first American colony to renounce allegiance to King George III.

1799 Fourth Anglo-Mysore War: The Battle of Seringapatam: The siege of Seringapatam ended when the city was assaulted and the Tipu Sultan killed by the besieging British army, under the command of General George Harris.

1814 Emperor Napoleon I of France arrived at Portoferraio on the island of Elba to begin his exile.

1814 – King Ferdinand VII of Spain signed the Decrete of the 4th of May, returning Spain to absolutism.

1855  William Walker departed from San Francisco with about 60 men to conquer Nicaragua.

1859  The Cornwall Railway opened across the Royal Albert Bridge linking the counties of Devon and Cornwall.

1863  American Civil War: The Battle of Chancellorsville ended with a Union retreat.

1869 – The Naval Battle of Hakodate took place in Japan.

1886 Haymarket Square Riot: A bomb was thrown at policemen trying to break up a labor rally in Chicago, killing eight and wounding 60.

1904  The United States began construction of the Panama Canal.

1904  Charles Stewart Rolls met Frederick Henry Royce at the Midland Hotel in Manchester.

1910 The Royal Canadian Navy was created.

1912  Italy occupied the Greek island of Rhodes.

1919  May Fourth Movement: Student demonstrations in Tiananmen Squarein Beijing protesting the Treaty of Versailles, which transferred Chinese territory to Japan.

1932  Mobster Al Capone began serving an eleven-year prison sentence for tax evasion.

1937 – D.P. Hulse and T.W. Smith were both killed in the second avalanche to hit the Homer tunnel project in less than 12 months.

1942 World War II: The Battle of the Coral Sea began with an attack by aircraft from the United States aircraft carrier USS Yorktown on Japanese naval forces at Tulagi Island in the Solomon Islands.

1945 World War II: British forces liberated Neuengamme concentration camp near Hamburg.

1945 – World War II: The North Germany Army surrendered to Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery.

1946  U.S. Marines stopped a two-day riot which killed five people at Alcatraz federal prison .

1949 The  Torino football team (except for one player who did not take the trip due to an injury) was killed in a plane crash at the Superga hill at the edge of Turin, Italy.

1950 – Darryl Hunt, English musician (The Pogues)

1953  Ernest Hemingway was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for The Old Man and the Sea.

1961 American civil rights movement: The “Freedom Riders” begin a bus trip through the South.

1970 Vietnam War:  Kent State shootings: the Ohio National Guard, sent to Kent State University after disturbances in the city of Kent the weekend before, opened fire killing four students and wounding nine others.

1972 The Don’t Make A Wave Committee, a fledgling environmental organisation founded in Canada in 1971, officially changed its name to “Greenpeace Foundation“.

1974 An all-female Japanese team reached the summit of Manaslu, becoming the first women to climb an 8,000-meter peak.

1979 Margaret Thatcher became the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

1980  President Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia died in Ljubljana at the age of 87.

1982  Twenty sailors were killed when the British Type 42 destroyer HMS Sheffield was hit by an Argentinian Exocet missile during the Falklands War.

1987 United States Supreme Court building was designated a National Historic Landmark.

1988 The PEPCON disaster rocked  Henderson, Nevada, as tons of space shuttle fuel detonates during a fire.

1989  Iran-Contra Affair: Former White House aide Oliver North was convicted of three crimes and acquitted of nine other charges. The convictions are, however, later overturned on appeal.

1990  Latvia proclaimed the renewal of its independence after the Soviet occupation.

1994  Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO leader Yasser Arafat signed the Oslo accords regarding Palestinian self-rule in the Gaza Strip and Jericho.

1996 José María Aznar was elected Prime Minister of Spain, ending 13 years of Socialist rule.

1998 Unabomber” Theodore Kaczynski  ws given four life sentences plus 30 years after Kaczynski accepted a plea agreement sparing him from the death penalty.

2000  Ken Livingstone became the first Mayor of London.

2001 – The Milwaukee Art Museum addition, the first Santiago Calatrava-designed structure in the United States, opened to the public.

2002  An EAS Airlines BAC 1-11-500 crashed in a suburb of Kano, Nigeria shortly after takeoff killing more than 148 people.

2007  Greensburg, Kansas was almost completely destroyed by a 1.7mi wide EF-5 tornado.

2007 –The Scottish National Party won the Scottish general election and became the largest party in the Scottish Parliament for the first time ever.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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