Word of the day

May 9, 2013

Qualmless – without qualms; doubtless.


Rural round-up

May 9, 2013

Conservation farming at work in NZ:

“Seek the power of narrative” was the parting plea of world-renowned American Landscape Architect, Thomas Woltz, when he recently spoke at the 50th International Federation of Landscape Architects World Congress in Auckland.

Woltz – principle of the esteemed Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, with offices in Manhattan, Virginia and California, and clients spanning nine nations – is no stranger to New Zealand farming, having worked on and off in the rural realm here for over a decade.

Most famously, it is Woltz’s ongoing, 11-year work at the 607ha Young Nick’s Head Station on coastal Hawkes Bay that is his firm’s Kiwi showcase and, as his inspirational talk demonstrated, it’s not hard to see why. . .

What is drought?:

What is a drought? The traditional sense is defined by a “long period of abnormally low rainfall,” but the amount of rainfall, or even irrigation, is arguably less than half the bigger picture; the remainder is capturing and retaining moisture in the soil.

A field not far from Cambridge is a good place to start. In the heart of one of the worst droughts in living memory, there grows plentiful pasture in a paddock surrounded by brown, crisp and short feed.

Father and daughter team, John and Janie Taylor, run this family sheep and beef farm in the heart of the Waikato. Three years ago, they found themselves disillusioned with the mainstream fertiliser approach and began to learn more about soil nutrition.

“We thought that’s got to be the approach we’ve got to take, in terms of feeding the plants to feed the animals, and get a better result around our animal fertility, lambing percentages and all the rest,” says Janie. . .

Life is sweet for organic farmer:

On the edge of Hororata township at the inland edge of the Canterbury Plains Kelvin Hicks grows some of the sweetest carrots around.

They are big, organically grown and in nice straight rows.

At 120ha, plus another 80ha leased, Willowmere, the Hicks’ certified organic, mixed livestock-cropping farm is one of the larger units of its type in the country.

Recently Kelvin collected the Harvest Award in the Ballance Farm Environment Awards for Canterbury where the judges said:

“You have proven the business’s sustainability: yours is an enduring business, your products are highly specialised, you are successfully working through succession arrangements and the business is well positioned to take future opportunities as they presents.” . . .

Students get dirt under their fingers – Jill Galloway:

Riding a quad bike, fencing, operating a chainsaw and dealing with animal health are just some of the things students of a UCOL and Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre course learn.

It is all about preparing students for life on a farm and they have to have skills in a number of rural fields.

Cam Nossiter works on a dairy farm in Marton fulltime, and uses his two days off a week for the practical learning associated with the general farm skills programme.

“It’s good for my CV. I’ve learnt a few new skills, and honed a few.”

Some people want the certificate, to show they completed the course.  . . .

DairyNZ welcomes strategy for animal welfare:

Industry body DairyNZ is welcoming the New Zealand Animal Welfare Strategy released by the Minister of Primary Industries, Nathan Guy.

DairyNZ’s Strategy and Investment Leader for Sustainability Dr Rick Pridmore, says New Zealand’s dairy farmers take animal welfare matters seriously and it is useful to have an overarching strategic framework for guiding how the country approaches the care of animals.

“Animal welfare is one of the dairy industry’s 10 objectives in the newly refreshed Strategy for Sustainable Dairy Farming. We’re committed to farming to high standards of animal health, welfare and well-being. As the Minister points out, New Zealand has a world-leading reputation for animal welfare and we need to recognise and protect that as it is a vital part of continuing our success as an export industry,” he says. . .

McDonald’s removes the lamb from Lambton:

While Federated Farmers is saddened it understands why McDonald’s has removed lamb as a permanent item from its local menu. Federated Farmers still has big hopes this breakthrough will eventually appear in other markets where lamb is widely consumed.

“McDonald’s may have removed the lamb from Lambton, but to us, the decision is more a speed hump,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre spokesperson.

“China has become our largest lamb market by volume and if we look to India, where free trade negotiations are underway, it has a 300-million strong middle class fast developing a taste for meat. .

“It looks promising if we put these together with the substantial intellectual property McDonald’s New Zealand has for how lamb works within the McDonald’s system. In ANZCO’s Taranaki plant it has the means of production while our farms provide the raw ingredients and an impressive back story. . .


Thursday’s quiz

May 9, 2013

It’s your turn to set the questions again.

Anyone who stumps everyone will win an electronic batch of citrus slice.


Above and below the line

May 9, 2013

How much of the West Coast is conservation land and how much is being mined?

Environment West Coast chairman Brent Oldham illustrates how much of the West Coast is actually being mined. The page represents the West Coast, which is 23,500sqkm in area. Above the black line is the area of West Coast land in conservation estate (19,000sq km). Below the line is the area of rateable land. The line itself – just 0.12mm thick – represents the 14sq km disturbed by mining. (Photo – Lee Scanlon Westport News 7-May-2013):

west coast


MRP shares to list at $2.50

May 9, 2013

The government has announced the listing price for Mighty River Power shares:

113,000 New Zealanders will become shareholders in Mighty River Power following a successful share offer, Finance Minister Bill English and State Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall say.

The final price will be $2.50 per share.

Of the shares issued, 86.5 per cent will be New Zealand owned: 26.9 per cent by New Zealand retail investors, 8.6 per cent by New Zealand institutions and with the Crown retaining a majority 51 per cent shareholding. That leaves 13.5 per cent for overseas institutions.

“This is an outstanding result and fulfils our commitment to ensuring at least 85-90 per cent New Zealand ownership of the company,” Mr English says.

“The share offer will raise $1.7 billion, which is a very good return for New Zealand taxpayers. Those proceeds will go into the Future Investment Fund, allowing the Government to control debt while continuing to invest in public assets. More details will be announced in next week’s Budget.

“The Government has achieved all of its objectives for the Mighty River Power share offer, so the company will list on Friday.

“Given the strong response to the share offer, and the price we have set, Mighty River Power will have a market capitalisation of $3.5 billion.

“And with over 110,000 New Zealand shareholders, it will have the largest share register – by some margin – of any New Zealand company on the exchange.”

Mr Ryall says that due to the strong level of demand, some scaling has been necessary.

“We have decided to apply progressive scaling, which means that larger applications are scaled more than smaller ones,” Mr Ryall says.

“That means that more than 80 per cent New Zealanders will get what they applied for.”

More details of the allocation and scaling decisions are attached.

“While most New Zealand investors will be able to work out from this announcement what their share allocation is, they will also be able to get confirmation of their individual allocation from Friday – by checking the website or calling 0800 90 30 90. We will also be emailing or writing to all applicants to confirm their allocation,” Mr Ryall says.

“The demand from institutional investors was strong, and bids from both New Zealand and offshore institutions were scaled considerably. Institutions will be advised of their allocations shortly, after which a settlement process commences.

“Mighty River Power will list on the NZX at 12.30pm this Friday.

“We are delighted to get to this stage, and look forward to a healthy aftermarket and a positive experience for New Zealand investors, particularly those who are investing in shares for the first time,” Mr Ryall says.

The price might well have been higher had it not been for the LabourGreen sabotage.

If they can cost the country millions in opposition they’ll do even more damage in government.

The NBR has the numbers:

Mighty River Power share offer – at a glance

Share Price:  $2.50
Proceeds of share offer: $1.7 billion
Total NZ ownership (incl 51% Crown):  86.5%

New Zealand retail investors
Individual New Zealand shareholders: 113,857 (provisional)
Retail investors: $943m
Proportion of shares: 26.9%
Average shareholding for New Zealand retail: $8,220
Applicants who pre-registered:  91%
Applicants without CSNs:  68%
Withdrawal after Labour/Green policy:  1,783 applicants ($25m)

New Zealand institutional investors

NZ institutions:  $300m
Proportion of shares: 8.6%

International institutions                                                                                                               
Offshore institutions: $472m
Proportion of shares: 13.5%

The 68% of applicants without a CSN are almost certainly first-time buyers. That indicates the partial float has succeeded in encouraging new investors.


What will it take?

May 9, 2013

Dear Aaron,

If you were at the Mainland Conference in Hanmer to the end you’d have heard West Coast Tasman based list MP Chris Auckinvole’s final words.

You might remember him talking about the importance of the two wings of the party, the MPs and the volunteers,  and the good that can be achieved when they’re working in unison.

That was before we knew you hadn’t been at the conference dinner as any MP who took his responsibility to the party seriously, and respected the volunteers, would have been.

The party understands the competing demands on MPs – parliamentary duties, electorate work, family commitments – but just one weekend a year we ask you all to come to your regional conferences.

It’s an opportunity for volunteers to discuss policy with you, air concerns, get to know you. The social functions are an important part of that.

That you chose not to grace the conference dinner with your presence might have been overlooked. Your behaviour at the dinner you did attend can’t be and everything that’s happened since has made it worse.

I was part of the committee which met in 2011 to rank the party’s list.

Our deliberations are confidential but the rankings are not.

You were the lowest ranked sitting MP and anyone with any humility would have worked out why.

Once a list is ranked and put before the public at an election the party can’t change it. But someone can, as Paul Quinn did, turn down the opportunity to take up a place with his dignity intact and get on with his life.

You didn’t take the hint from your list placing and claimed the vacant seat. Why?

You’ve been reported as saying that you have enough money to live  on without needing to work so it can’t be the salary.

I don’t know if you did any good in the few weeks you’ve been back as an MP but in the last few days you’ve done immeasurable harm.

John Key and National have retained a fairly high and reasonably constant level of popularity in polls for several reasons. One of those is party discipline.

Both the wings Chris talked about have been strong and flying in unison.

Your antics are threatening that.

The Prime Minister has lost confidence in you and the president says the party is disappointed.

That is putting it very, very mildly.

If there’s one thing that gets volunteers riled  it’s an MP who doesn’t understand the importance of discipline and unity, doesn’t uphold the standard of behaviour expected and puts himself before the party.

What on earth are you thinking?

If your words and actions are anything to go by it’s not what’s best for the government, the party, parliament or the country.

What will it take to make you understand what you’ve done wrong and what’s the only thing you can now do to make it right?

Yours in disappointment,

Ele


May 9 in history

May 9, 2013

1457 BC – Battle of Megiddo between Thutmose III and a large Canaanite coalition under the King of Kadesh – the first battle to have been recorded in what is accepted as relatively reliable detail.

1012 BC – Solar Eclipse seen at Ugarit, 6:09–6:39 PM.

328  Athanasius was elected Patriarch bishop of Alexandria.

1092  Lincoln Cathedral was consecrated.

1450  ‘Abd al-Latif (Timurid monarch) was assassinated.

1502 Christopher Columbus left Spain for his fourth and final journey to the New World.

1671  Thomas Blood, disguised as a clergyman, attempted to steal England’s Crown Jewels from the Tower of London.

1726  Five men arrested during a raid on Mother Clap‘s molly house in London were executed at Tyburn.

1800 John Brown, American abolitionist was born (d. 1859).

1837 Adam Opel, German engineer and industrialist was born (d. 1895).

1860 – J. M. Barrie, Scottish author, was born (d. 1937).

1868 The city of Reno, Nevada, was founded.

1873 Der Krach: Vienna stock market crash heralded the Long Depression.

1874  The first horse-drawn bus made its début in the city of Mumbai, traveling two routes.

1877 Mihail Kogălniceanu read, in the Chamber of Deputies, the Declaration of Independence of Romania. This day became the Independence Day of Romania.

1887  Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show opened in London.

1893 William Moulton Marston, American psychologist, writer, was born (co-creator, Wonder Woman) (d. 1947).

1901 Australia opened its first parliament in Melbourne.

1904 The steam locomotive City of Truro became the first steam engine in Europe to exceed 100mph.

1907 The first School Journal was published.

First School Journal published

1911 The works of Gabriele D’Annunzio placed by the Vatican in the Index of Forbidden Books.

1914 Hank Snow, American country music singer and songwriter, was born (d. 1999).

1915 – Anthony Wilding, New Zealand Wimbledon champion, was killed in battle.

Kiwi Wimbledon champ killed in battle

1915 World War I: Second Battle of Artois between German and French forces.

1919  Arthur English, English actor and comedian, was born (d. 1995).

1920 Richard Adams, English author, was born.

1920 Polish-Soviet War: The Polish army under General Edward Rydz-Śmigły celebrated its capture of Kiev with a victory parade on Khreschatyk.

1926 Admiral Richard E. Byrd and Floyd Bennett claimed to have flown over the North Pole (later discovery of Byrd’s diary seemed to indicate that this did not happen).

1927  The Australian Parliament first convened in Canberra.

1929 Kay Dotrice, British actress, was born (d. 2007)

1930  Joan Sims, British actress, was born (d. 2001)

1932  Geraldine McEwan, English actress, was born.

1933  About 25,000 books were burned by the Nazis in Germany.

1933  Jessica Steele, English romance novelist, was born,

1934 – Alan Bennett, British author, was born.

1935 – Roger Hargreaves, English children’s author (Mr. Men) was born (d. 1988)

1936  Albert Finney, British actor was born.

1936 – Glenda Jackson, English actress and politician was born.

1936 Italy formally annexed Ethiopia.

1937 – Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy took to the airwaves becoming an overnight radio sensation.

1940  World War II: The German submarineU-9 sank the French coastal submarine Doris near Den Helder.

1941  World War II: The German submarine U-110 was captured by the Royal Navy. On board was the latest Enigma cryptography machine which Allied cryptographers later used to break coded German messages.

1942 Holocaust: The SS murdered 588 Jewish residents of the Podolian town of Zinkiv (Khmelnytska oblast, Ukraine). The Zoludek Ghetto was destroyed and all its inhabitants murdered or deported.

1945  World War II: Ratification in Berlin-Karlshorst of the German unconditional surrender of May 8 in Rheims, France, with the signatures of Marshal Georgy Zhukov for the Soviet Union, and for the Western Headquarters Sir Arthur Tedder, British Air Marshal and Eisenhower’s deputy, and for the German side of Colonel-General Hans-Jürgen Stumpff as the representative of the Luftwaffe, Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel as the Chief of Staff of OKW, and Admiral Hans-Georg von Friedeburg as Commander-in-Chief of the Kriegsmarine.

1945 New Zealand celebrated victory in Europe.

NZ celebrates Victory in Europe

1945 – Steve Katz, American musician (Blood, Sweat & Tears), was born.

1946 – King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy abdicated and was succeeded by Humbert II.

1946 –  Candice Bergen, American actress, was born.

1949 Rainier III became Prince of Monaco.

1949 Billy Joel, American musician, was born.

1950  Robert Schuman presented his proposal on the creation of an organized Europe, indispensable to the maintenance of peaceful relations.

1950 – L. Ron Hubbard‘s Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health was released.

1955 Cold War: West Germany joined NATO.

1955 Sam and Friends debuted on a local United States television channel, marking the first television appearance of both Jim Henson and what would become Kermit the Frog and The Muppets.

1960  The FDA announced it would approve birth control as an additional indication for Searle’s Enovid, making Enovid the world’s first approved oral contraceptive pill.

1961  Jim Gentile of the Baltimore Orioles became the first player in baseball history to hit grand slams in consecutive innings.

1962 David Gahan, English singer (Depeche Mode), was born.

1964 Ngo Dinh Can, de facto ruler of central Vietnam under his brother President Ngo Dinh Diem before the family’s toppling, was executed.

1969 – Carlos Lamarca led the first urban guerrilla action against the military dictatorship of Brazil in São Paulo, by robbing two banks.

1970 Vietnam War: In Washington, D.C., 75,000 to 100,000 war protesters demonstrated in front of the White House.

1971 – Paul McGuigan, English bassist (Oasis), was born.

1974  Watergate Scandal: The United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee opened formal and public impeachment hearings against President Richard Nixon.

1980 Liberian freighter MV Summit Venture collided with the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay, making a 1,400-ft. section of the southbound span collapse. 35 people in six cars and a Greyhound bus fell 150 ft. into the water.

1980 – In Norco, California, five masked gunman hold up a Security Pacific bank, leading to a violent shoot-out and one of the largest pursuits in California history. Two of the gunmen and one police officer were killed and thirty-three police and civilian vehicles destroyed in the chase.

1987 A Polish LOT Ilyushin IL-62M “Tadeusz Kościuszko” (SP-LBG) crashed after takeoff in Warsaw killing 183 people.

1988 The new Australian Parliament House opened in Canberra.

1992 Armenian forces captured Shusha, marking a major turning point in the Karabakh War.

2001   Accra Sports Stadium Disaster: 129 football fans died in a stampede (caused by the firing of teargas by police personnel at the stadium)that followed a controversial decision by the referee handling a crucial match between arch-rivals Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko.

2002  The 38-day stand-off in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem ended when the Palestinians inside agree to have 13 suspected militants among them deported to several different countries.

2002 – In Kaspiysk, Russia, a remote-controlled bomb exploded during a holiday parade killing 43 and injuring at least 130.

2004 Chechen president Akhmad Kadyrov was killed in a land mine bomb blast under a VIP stage during a World War II memorial victory parade in Grozny.

2006 Estonia ratified the European Constitution.

2012 – A Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft crashed into Mount Salak in West Java, killing 45 people.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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