Word of the day

May 6, 2013

Idiopathic arising spontaneously or from an obscure or unknown cause; peculiar to the individual.


Rural round-up

May 6, 2013

Red meat industry change afoot – Sally Rae:

”Band-aid solutions” might be needed to avoid potential problems in the red meat sector next season, but a long-term view is essential to finding the right solutions, Meat Industry Excellence chairman Richard Young says.

More farmers have gathered to establish a mandate for industry change and further meetings are scheduled in the North Island.

At a recent meeting in Feilding, attended by about 700 farmers, Alliance Group chairman Owen Poole said the industry was developing an improved model and and a decision on whether it would go ahead could be expected within two months, Farmers Weekly reported. . .

Making a difference for dairy women – Sally Rae:

Sue Peoples wants to help make a difference to women involved in the dairy industry.

Dr Peoples, a social scientist based at AgResearch Invermay, is leading the first phase of Project Pathfinder, an initiative aiming to build the leadership capacity of New Zealand’s dairying women.

The project, which recently gained a Sustainable Farming Fund grant of $180,000 over three years, will get under way in July. . .

Adapting agriculture to a changing climate – Dr Gavin Kenny:

For more than 20 years I have worked professionally on the “what ifs” of climate change, focused mostly on what it might mean for agriculture. I’ve done this work in New Zealand, Europe, the Pacific Islands and Asia. During that time I have experienced the progression from the hypothetical to real-world responses. Climate change, particularly as experienced through more frequent drought and flood events, is increasingly influencing what farmers are doing in many countries. It is not clear whether this is yet the case in New Zealand, but I suspect so.

With a record summer drought just behind us, and with negative and positive effects that will continue to unfold for farmers, it is relevant to ask: What if we get more frequent and intense droughts in the future? How might farming change and how might those changes affect wider society? . . .

Real Mix in Farm Manager Finalists:

The 11 finalists competing for the 2013 New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year title are split between contract milkers and farm managers – as well as age, experience, and farm size.

Judging begins next week for the finalists comprising four males and seven couples, and involves a two-hour farm visit covering financial planning, human resource and farm management. The final component of the judging, an interview, will take place in Wellington prior to the winners being announced at the 2013 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards on May 24.

Winners in the 2013 New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year will also be announced and nearly $150,000 in prizes will be given away. . .

Fonterra Pilot Scheme to Give Farmers Milk Price Certainty:

Fonterra is piloting a new ‘Guaranteed Milk Price’ (GMP) scheme that will provide farmers with the opportunity to have more certainty in their milk price. The pilot will mean farmers can choose to lock in a milk price announced at the beginning of a season for up to 75 per cent of their milk supply.

Fonterra’s Managing Director of Group Optimisation and Supply Chain, Ian Palliser says the past few years have confirmed that volatility in commodity prices is here to stay.

“We recognise that every farming business is different. And while most farmers can live with the market volatility, there are times when some farmers would prefer more certainty as it would help them manage their own farming businesses,” Mr Palliser says. . .

Fonterra confirms supply offer dates:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited today confirmed that a Supply Offer enabling farmer shareholders to sell the economic rights of some of their shares will open on 2 May and close at 5pm on 23 May.

Farmer shareholders will have the opportunity to offer to sell the economic rights of up to 25 per cent of their minimum required shares (‘Wet Shares’) to the Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund.

The price farmers will receive for their economic rights (the “final price”) will be announced on 16 May. It will be calculated by reference to the average daily sales prices on the NZX for Fonterra Units for each trading day between 2 – 15 May inclusive.

Farmer shareholders will then have a further week after the final price has been announced to confirm if they wish to participate in the Supply Offer before it closes. . .


Economic diversity needed for jobs in regions

May 6, 2013

The report into economic development in 16 regions  released by Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce highlights significant differences between them.

. . . “The report is designed to encourage more debate about what it takes for a region to be successful, and to more clearly link the decisions that are made by local stakeholders about resource allocation and usage to the number of jobs available in a region,” Mr Joyce says.

“It is my expectation stakeholders will want to use it to compare and contrast the economic fortunes of different regions around the country, and ask themselves what lessons and opportunities there are for growth and jobs in their region.

“For businesses to succeed they need to be able to make the most of their local resources, both physical and human. They need public institutions that make sound infrastructure investment decisions, administer fit-for-purpose regulation and provide services that improve local circumstances.” . . .

It isn’t always people in the regions who are loathe to make use of natural resources.

West Coast people were very keen to continue sustainable logging of native timber. It was pressure from elsewhere, mostly urban areas, that put a stop to that.

. . . “Nothing creates jobs and boosts incomes better than business growth. For New Zealand to build a more productive and competitive economy, we need all of our regions to achieve to their potential.

“Each region needs to assess its performance and decide whether it is willing to take the opportunities that exist for jobs and economic growth.” . . .

The report shows economic diversity is important.

. . . Steven Joyce says while oil and gas will play a role in regional economic growth, diversity and developing new industries will be vital to economic success across New Zealand. . .

 “If Taranaki was just the dairy sector it would be another struggling region, even though it’s an important dairy sector part of the country, but it’s got oil and gas, has had that for a significant period of time,” says Mr Joyce.

No longer can regions afford to ignore unpopular industries, like mining, intensive farming or aquaculture, says Mr Joyce, because this will be what brings the region economic growth.

“But what is a struggle is that some regions because of the discussion and the way it flows in a region basically don’t even want to look, and that’s a bit exasperating because many of the same people in the same regions would say we need more jobs for our people, but they just don’t want to explore the opportunities.” . . .

Instead of saying a blanket no to new industries, regions need to look at how to diversify using their resources while minimising or mitigating any negative impact.

Economic diversity brings growth and also offers protection from inevitable ups and downs in demand and performance which happens in every sector.

More than 100 jobs were lost at Summit Wools Spinners in Oamaru earlier this year but unemployment went down in that quarter in spite of that because there was work available in other sectors.

Irrigation and dairying have provided a lot more work in North Otago, but tourism which has grown on attractions like the little blue penguin colony, historic precinct and steam punk is also providing work.


People behind politics

May 6, 2013

When politics gets personal it’s usually not for good reason.

The genuine goodwill towards Parekura Horomia and genuine sorrow over his death has been a pleasant exception to this rule.

People from across the political spectrum have paid tribute to him and in doing so have provided a far better picture and understanding of him in death than most of us would have had of him in life.

The biographies of political leaders are generally well canvassed but other MPs come, serve and go with the public who put them in parliament knowing little about the people behind the politics.

Even in these days of instant news, there’s room for more in-depth profiles which would tell us more about the people we pay to run the country.

It might help improve the public perception of most politicians and show up the few who should find another job.


Good evaluation crucial to protect vulnerable

May 6, 2013

I used to evaluate residential services of intellectually disabled people.

We worked in teams of three and each team had at least one person who had a family member with a  disability.

We never worked in our home areas but we still had a personal interest in high standards of care and would evaluate homes with the idea of how we’d feel about a family member living there.

We talked to managers, staff, residents and their families and built up a comprehensive picture of the services provided and people providing them.

We were there not just to give services a warrant of fitness but to ensure the people receiving them were enjoying the ride. We weren’t just looking at safety but at comfort and quality of life.

We gave a verbal report before we left. the team leader then did a comprehensive written report and also worked with staff to implement recommendations for improvements.

Reports went to the Ministry of Health and any service which didn’t meet acceptable standards would lose its funding.

If that system of evaluation was operating properly there would have been no question of a horror house like this one staying open.

 A mute teenager was left alone in a paddock to eat grass like an animal – one of a catalogue of horrors from an investigation into a home for the intellectually disabled.

Clients at Parklands, a residential facility in Pukekawa, south of Auckland, were forced to live in crowded, dirty conditions surrounded by more than 35 small dogs, fed inadequate food, neglected by untrained staff, provided with no meaningful activities and denied access to their own money, according to the Ministry of Health. . .

The residents have been let down not just by the people who were supposed to be looking after them but by the system that checks up on the provision of services.

It’s not enough to provide funding for services. A high standard of evaluation is crucial to ensure the protection of vulnerable people who receive them.


Unlazy Monday

May 6, 2013

“Lazy Sunday’s, don’t ya Love them?” she said.

“Oh yes,” he said. “But they’d be even better if they weren’t followed by unlazy Mondays.”


May 6 in history

May 6, 2013

1527  Spanish and German troops sacked Rome;  147 Swiss Guards, including their commander, died fighting the forces of Charles V in order to allow Pope Clement VII to escape into Castel Sant’Angelo.

1536  King Henry VIII ordered English language Bibles be placed in every church.

1542  Francis Xavier reached Old Goa, the capital of Portuguese India at the time.

1682  Louis XIV moved his court to Versailles.

1757  Battle of Prague – A Prussian army fought an Austrian army in Prague during the Seven Years’ War.

1758 Maximilien Robespierre, French Revolutionary was born (d. 1794).

1816  The American Bible Society was founded.

1835 James Gordon Bennett, Sr. published the first issue of the New York Herald.

1840  The Penny Black postage stamp beccame valid for use in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

1856 Sigmund Freud, Austrian psychiatrist, was born (d. 1939).

1856 Robert Peary, American explorer, was born  (d. 1920).

1857  The British East India Company disbanded the 34th Regiment of Bengal Native Infantry whose sepoy Mangal Pandey had earlier revolted against the British and is considered to be the First Martyr in the War of India’s Independence.

1860  Giuseppe Garibaldi’s Mille expedition sets sail from Genoa to the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.

1861  Motilal Nehru, Indian freedom fighter, was born (d. 1931).

1861  American Civil War: Richmond, Virginia was declared the new capital of the Confederate States of America.

1863 American Civil War: The Battle of Chancellorsville ended with the defeat of the Army of the Potomac by Confederate troops.

1877 Chief Crazy Horse of the Oglala Sioux surrendered to United States troops in Nebraska.

1882 Thomas Henry Burke and Lord Frederick Cavendish were stabbed and killed during the Phoenix Park Murders in Dublin.

1882  The United States Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act.

1889  The Eiffel Tower was officially opened to the public at the Universal Exposition.

1895 Rudolph Valentino, Italian actor, was born (d. 1926).

1904 Moshe Feldenkrais, Ukrainian-born founder of the Feldenkrais method, was born (d. 1984).

1910  George V beccame  King of the United Kingdom upon the death of his father, Edward VII.

1915  Orson Welles, American film director and actor, was born (d. 1985).

1920 Kamisese Mara, 1st Prime Minister of Fiji and President of Fiji, was born (d. 2004).

1935  New Deal: Executive Order 7034 created the Works Progress Administration.

1935  The first flight of the Curtiss P-36 Hawk.

1937  Hindenburg disaster:  Thirty six people were killed when the German zeppelin Hindenburg caught fire and was destroyed within a minute while attempting to dock at Lakehurst, New Jersey.

1940  John Steinbeck was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Grapes of Wrath.

1941   Bob Hope performed his first USO show.

1941  The first flight of the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt.

1942  World War II:  On Corregidor, the last American forces in the Philippines surrendered to the Japanese.

1945  World War II: Axis Sally  delivered her last propaganda broadcast to Allied troops.

1945 Bob Seger, American singer/songwriter, was born.

1945 – World War II: The Prague Offensive, the last major battle of the Eastern Front, began.

1947 –Alan Dale, New Zealand actor, was born.

A head shot of a man wearing a suit; he is turned away from the camera.

1953 Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister, was born.

1954 Roger Bannister became the first person to run the mile in under four minutes.

1960 More than 20 million viewers watch the first televised royal wedding when Princess Margaret married Anthony Armstrong-Jones at Westminster Abbey.

1962  St. Martín de Porres was canonized by Pope John XXIII.

1966 Myra Hindley and Ian Brady were sentenced to life imprisonment for the Moors Murders in England.

1976  An earthquake struck Friuli, causing 989 deaths and the destruction of entire villages.

1981  A jury of architects and sculptors unanimously selected Maya Ying Lin’s design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial from 1,421 other entries.

1983  The Hitler diaries were revealed as a hoax after examination by experts.

1984  – 103 Korean Martyrs were canonized by Pope John Paul II in Seoul.

1989 Cedar Point opened Magnum XL-200, the first roller coaster to break the 200 ft height barrier.

1994  Queen Elizabeth II and French President François Mitterrand officiated at the opening of the Channel Tunnel.

1994 – Former Arkansas state worker Paula Jones filed suit against President Bill Clinton, alleging that he had sexually harassed her in 1991.

1996 A totally New Zealand  Royal Honours system was established.

New royal honours established

1997 The Bank of England was given independence from political control, the most significant change in the bank’s 300-year history..

1999  First elections to the devolved Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly were held.

2001  During a trip to Syria, Pope John Paul II became the first pope to enter a mosque.

2002  Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn was assassinated by an animal rights activist.

2008 Chaiten Volcano erupted in Chile, forcing the evacuation of more than 4,500 people.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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