June 8, 2013

7/10 in the Herald’s politics quiz.

Word of the day

June 8, 2013

Decorticate – remove the bark, rind, or husk from; remove the surface layer, membrane, or fibrous cover of an organ or structure; the position of a comatose patient in which the upper extremities are rigidly flexed at the elbows and at the wrists.

Rural round-up

June 8, 2013

Rules more of a worry – Marty Sharpe:

Farmers are more concerned about the economic and regulatory impacts from climate change than its physical and climatic effects, a study has found.

The study, by University of California PhD candidate Meredith Niles, involved 313 farmers in Hawke’s Bay and 177 in Marlborough.

Niles found that:

– When it came to concerns for the future, farmers were “very concerned” about more economic and policy matters such as regulation, higher fuel and energy prices, new pests and diseases and more volatile markets. . .

Meat consolidation is happening already – Tim Fulton:

The number of New Zealand sheep meat exporters using European lamb and beef quota in the past decade has fallen on the back of mergers, financial failures and new tactics. Tim Fulton reports.

A shake-up of meat processing has been churning away for years with barely a farmer involved, New Zealand Meat Board figures indicate.

The evidence for this, if not the explanation, is in the annual record of companies granted access to European sheep and goat meat quota – and also in the pattern for quota-linked United States beef and veal.

In 2003 the tally of our sheep and goat meat merchants in Europe could fill a sheet of A4 paper, listed alphabetically from Abco Meats to Wrightson. . .

Farming through future eyes – Sue O’Dowd:

Taranaki farmers planning the transition of their farms to the next generation can get help at a forum later this month.

A scheme that provides training for farmers in areas like governance, transition planning, financial systems and establishing health and safety programmes will be explained at a seminar in Hawera on June 20.

It is being hosted by the Taranaki branch of the Institute of Directors, and speakers will include 2012 Dairy Woman of the Year Barbara Kuriger, of New Plymouth, and Bay of Plenty corporate farmer Trevor Hamilton. . .

No deal likely for Feds, Transpower – Richard Rennie:

Despite Horticulture NZ reaching an agreement with Transpower over power line buffer zones on growers’ properties, Federated Farmers is not intending to follow the same path.

The grower group has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Transpower agreeing to work with it on issues of access and land use under lines and pylons.

The memorandum follows long-running conflict between growers, farmers and Transpower as it seeks to adjust council district plans to ensure buffer zones exist around transmission infrastructure.

The conflict has been most intense in Western Bay of Plenty, with the issue about to be heard by the Environment Court. . .

Appointment of CEO At Deer Industry NZ:

Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dan Coup as its new chief executive.

DINZ Chairman, Andy Macfarlane, noted that Coup, currently Trade and Economic Manager at the Meat Industry Association (MIA), has a unique background, combining an honours degree in genetics and molecular biology with an MBA. Together with his experience at MIA dealing with trade and market access issues, he is well-positioned to leverage off the outstanding work completed by outgoing chief executive, Mark O’Connor. O’Connor departs after 13 years to run his family-owned investment business. . . .

‘Mantis’ and ‘Shrimp’ the new farming robots in Oz:

Moving carefully along a row of apple trees, two of Australia’s newest agricultural workers check if the fruit is ripe or the soil needs water or fertilizer.

Meet “Mantis” and “Shrimp”, agricultural robots being tested to do these tasks and more in a bid to cut costs and improve productivity in Australia’s economically vital farm sector, which exported the U.S. equivalent of $38.8 billion of produce in 2012.

Australia is one of the leaders in the field and, with a minimum wage of about $15 U.S. an hour and a limited workforce, has a big incentive to use robots and other technology such as unmanned aircraft to improve efficiency. . .

Saturday smiles

June 8, 2013

Mourners were standing round a grave when one pulled a $20 bill out of his pocket and threw it in.

The woman standing next to him reached into her handbag, found her wallet, extracted a $20 note and threw it in the grave.

The man standing next to her pulled a $20 note out of his pocket, looked at it and said, “This has the Queen’s face on it, it would be disrespectful to bury it.”

He thenpulled a cheque book out of his jacket pocket, wrote a cheque and threw it in the grave.

* This was told to me by a friend who saw it happen.

CCC ‘incompetent’ – Bazley

June 8, 2013

Environment Canterbury head Dame Margaret Bazley says Christchurch City Council is a “totally incompetent organisation”.

. . . Documents obtained by The Press under the Official Information Act show the tension between the two councils over the delivery of transport infrastructure, particularly the city council’s delay in building a bus “superstop” at Northlands mall.

ECan chief executive Bill Bayfield wrote to his city council counterpart Tony Marryatt on December 10 last year saying it was “extremely disappointing” the superstop was not ready for a December 3 deadline.

The city council’s “inadequate provision of infrastructure” was undoing his staff’s work, Bayfield said.

A council staff member replied, accepting responsibility for the Northlands problems, saying: “Rather than offer excuses, I can confirm that the new infrastructure will be in place in Northlands by the end of February 2013.”

When this deadline was also missed, Dame Margaret weighed into the debate: “I have monitored the performance of the Christchurch City Council on the provision of these facilities… and have built up a picture of staff who tell lies, and of a totally incompetent organisation,” she wrote to Parker on April 16.

“Our staff have at all times worked collaboratively with your officers and have been given assurances that everything was in order, and progress was on track, when this was obviously not true.”

It was a “sad reflection on our supposed partnership” that even building a bus stop on time seemed beyond the city council, she said, and asked Parker to intervene. . .

Friends who are, or have been, trying to do business and rebuild homes in Christchurch tell stories of delays and frustrations which suggest that problems with the council aren’t restricted to this project.

The city has been devastated and faces a huge task in rebuilding.

The council plays a big part in ensuring the rebuild goes as smoothly as possible.

That requires people and systems designed to respond quickly and competently to minimise problems and maximise service.

The council needs a how can we help attitude backed by action for the good of the city and its people.

They and the country need the South Island’s biggest city rebuilt and back to its best as soon as possible.

Saturday soapbox

June 8, 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.

If Dunne didn’t who did?

June 8, 2013

Peter Dunne has resigned as a minister but says he didn’t leak the Kitteridge Report on the GCSB inquiry.

“While I did not leak the report, and challenge Fairfax to confirm that, some of my actions after I received an advance copy of the report were extremely unwise and lacked the judgement reasonably expected of a Minister in such circumstances.

“I accept full responsibility for that.

He also justifies not releasing all the relevant emails:

“The sole reason why I did not disclose the full content of my emails was because of my strong belief that citizens, be they constituents, members of the public or journalists, ought to be able to communicate with their elected representatives in confidence if they wish, and we tamper with that right at our collective peril. . . “

I have a great deal of sympathy for the right to communicate with any MP in confidence, but I thought any communication with a minister was subject to the Official Information Act.

The Henry report which precipitated Dunne’s resignation identified three people who had access to the leaked report and contact with the reporter, Andrea Vance, who wrote the story on the leaks.

10. In relation to the two public S9I’\/BUYS I have obtained all the information I required, including the content of emails exchanged with the reporter over the period 22 March to 9 April (inclusive). I have established those contacts were entirely commensurate with their official duties.

11.The third person identified was the leader of the United Future political party- the Hon Peter Dune MP. Mr Dunne had a copy of the Kitteridge report from 27 March 2013 onwards. He is a minister outside cabinet.

12.l have not obtained all the information I required from Mr Dunne. I advised him that I considered it necessary for the purpose of this inquiry to have access to the full text of 86 email exchanges between him and the reporter during the period 27 March to 9 April. Mr Dunne has declined to allow me to read those emails. . . 

The case against Dunne is unproven, but if he didn’t leak the report who did?

The reporter could clear up the question but journalists will usually fight for the right to keep their sources private.

Two other questions as yet unanswered are: who leaked the information that Dunne was a suspect to Winston Peters and why, if he was so sure of the information, wouldn’t he repeat the allegations outside parliament?

He had a lot to gain from Dunne’s downfall, but who had anything to gain from leaking the information to him?

Dunne has said he will continue to support National for supply and confidence so this government is no less stable than it was.

But if Dunne doesn’t stand again it could make forming the next government more difficult.

Labour might well be delighted that a Minister has resigned, but it could make it more difficult for the party to form a government without Dunne’s support.

If he doesn’t stand again it will make it more difficult for National to form a coalition.

Dunne could stand again of course, but if he did, the voters Ohariu might be a lot less keen to split their votes than they have in the past.

%d bloggers like this: