Word of the day

June 10, 2013

Animadvert – comment critically or unfavourably;  express criticism; pass censure.

Rural round-up

June 10, 2013

Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries:

The primary industries are continuing to perform well in the face of significant challenges this year, according to the Ministry for Primary Industries, and the medium-term outlook is very positive.

The Ministry has released the annual Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries report, which includes production, trade and pricing statistics for the current season and for three or four years out.

“It’s been a season of two halves for the land-based industries, with many areas impacted by drought in the second half,” says Jarred Mair, Sector Policy director.

“The impacts of the severe drought continue and could continue for several seasons, for example many sheep and beef farms need to build breeding stock numbers back up.” . . .

Vintage year for Zespri Kiwifruit:

The 2013 New Zealand kiwifruit season has already set records for the best-tasting Zespri Kiwifruit ever.

With harvest nearly completed, on-orchard sampling has confirmed what Zespri consumers have been saying – that this year is a vintage taste year for Zespri Kiwifruit.

Carol Ward, Zespri General Manager Marketing, says every block of every Zespri-supplying orchard is tested for levels of dry matter before harvest, with dry matter corresponding to sweetness in ripe fruit. . . .

Synlait Milk Attracts Leading Infant Nutrition Quality Executive:

Michael Stein, a former Director of Quality for one the world’s leading companies in paediatric nutrition will join Synlait Milk as General Manager Quality later this month.

Synlait Milk Chief Executive Officer John Penno says he is delighted that a person of Michael’s experience and reputation will join the Company further reinforcing its reputation as a trusted supplier of ingredient and infant nutritional products.

“The integrity of our products is of paramount importance to us and our customers. It is a task that is constantly evolving to meet customer and regulatory requirements. That has encouraged our decision to seek a high calibre General Manager Quality with a depth of experience in international markets.” . . .

Manuka Health seeks to strengthen links with Japan:

Manuka Health was one of a select group of New Zealand functional food companies to be invited by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to a workshop in Japan to introduce leading-edge research to Japanese food and beverage companies.

The “New Zealand Innovation to Industry Workshop”, was held at the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology recently where Manuka Health was invited to speak on the topic of generating intellectual property for natural products and functional foods.

The workshop was the first of its kind organised by MBIE in Japan to help New Zealand’s research-based, innovation to form research and commercial partnerships with another country. . .

Yealands Estate recognised for leadership in sustainability at Green Ribbon Awards

Yealands Estate has won the ‘Large business leadership’ award at the Ministry for the Environment Green Ribbon Awards, at an awards ceremony at the Parliament Buildings, Wellington. The winery was one of 11 winners and the only wine producer to receive an award.

Environment Minister Amy Adams presented the award for the ‘Large business leadership’ category, which acknowledges businesses with over 100 employees who demonstrate an on-going commitment to environmental best practices. . .

Decanter Magazine selects Yealands Estate as best New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc:

Prestigious UK publication Decanter Magazine has recognised Yealands Estate Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2011 as “Outstanding” in a review of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Of the 91 wines tasted, Yealands Estate Reserve was the only wine to receive the top accolade, with an impressive score of 95 out of 100.

The article praises the overall quality of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with the Yealands Estate Reserve Sauvignon Blanc coming out on top. The wines were tasted and rated by three experts: Melanie Brown, Roger Jones and Peter McCombie MW. Peter McCombie MW commented ‘my highest scores were all Marlborough in origin, and half of those were from the cooler Awatere sub-zone. The Awatere style is more tomato stalk, rather than overtly tropical wines from the much more planted Wairau Valley, and the best have a degree of restraint that appeals to me.’ . . .

It’s not a fantasy: Seattle to build nation’s first food forest:

Forget meadows. The city’s new park will be filled with edible plants, and everything from pears to herbs will be free for the taking.

Seattle’s vision of an urban food oasis is going forward. A seven-acre plot of land in the city’s Beacon Hill neighborhood will be planted with hundreds of different kinds of edibles: walnut and chestnut trees; blueberry and raspberry bushes; fruit trees, including apples and pears; exotics like pineapple, yuzu citrus, guava, persimmons, honeyberries, and lingonberries; herbs; and more. All will be available for public plucking to anyone who wanders into the city’s first food forest. . .

McLay new minister

June 10, 2013

Rotorua MP Todd McLay will  be appointed as a new Minister outside Cabinet, becoming Revenue Minister and Associate Health Minister.

These are two of the portfolios held by Peter Dunne until he resigned on Friday.

The third, associate conservation, will be discontinued and the responsibilities will be picked up by Conservation Minister  Nick Smith.

Dunne had an interest in that area from the hunting,s hooting, fishing perspective of the Outdoor Recreation Party which is one of the many wee parties which have been absorbed into United Future.

Fairfax must protect source

June 10, 2013

Peter Dunne wants Fairfax to say he wasn’t the source of the leak about the GCSB but it won’t.

If a media outlet says one person didn’t do something it could turn in to a guessing game.

It will be asked if someone else did it. If it said yes other names will be proffered and if the outlet refuses to say s/he didn’t it will imply that s/he did.

Labour leader David Shearer wants Fairfax to release the emails between its journalist Andrea Vance and Dunne but it is refusing to do that too.

Fairfax Group executive editor Paul Thompson said politicians should tread carefully before embarking on a witch hunt. That could have a chilling effect on how journalists covered politicians.

Fairfax would protect the communications between its journalists and any contacts, regardless of whether they were the source of sensitive information or not.

“The protection of our sources is paramount,” Thompson said.

“We will resist any attempt to force us to release that sort of information.

“It’s the most fundamental commitment we make to our sources. We will go as far as we need to to protect that information.”

The protection of sources is a fundamental plank of journalistic freedom.

Fairfax is right to protect its sources.

Dunne could have shown the emails in confidence to David Henry who was investigating the leak. Having chosen not to, he can’t expect Fairfax to dig him out of the hole in which he’s found himself.

He used the importance of communication with an MP being able to remain confidential. That’s precisely the same argument which justifies Fairfax’s stance.

Less bureaucracy more trade

June 10, 2013

Quote of the day:

. . . the findings that apply to foreign trade will also obviously apply to the inland trade as well. The more bureaucracy there is then the less trade will get done: the simpler (or less of it) the bureaucracy there more trade will get done. And as it is indeed trade that produces economic wealth this would make us all richer.

What’s really interesting about the less bureaucracy on foreign trade results is that small firms gain as well as large. Thus we’re not seeing the small guy being trampled when the big boys are let off the regulatory leash.

So, there really seems to be no reason at all why we should not reduce bureaucracy in order to make us all richer. And those bureaucrats will now have to go and do something useful for a living: shame, isn’t it? Tim Worstall

He was opining on Anti Dismal’s post Making trade easier and less bureaucratic actually helps trade.


Greens grassroots debate stifled

June 10, 2013

The Green party has always prided itself on its grassroots participation but a change of rules is going to make that much harder:

The Green Party has been accused of silencing its grassroots members by making it more difficult for local branches to have a say at the party’s annual meeting.

Members voted at the Greens’ annual conference in Christchurch last weekend to limit which remits or issues would be able to reach the floor at annual meetings.

Under previous rules, any proposal could be debated at a meeting if it had 12 signatures from financial members.

Local branches must now get approval from two other branches, one of them from another region, if it wants to debate issues relating to the party or its executive.

One party source said the effect of the rule change would be to wipe out any debate on grassroots-sponsored remits at the Greens’ conferences. . . .

I wouldn’t have thought remits were the best way to debate matters relating to the party or executive anyway. That would be a last resort pointing to dysfunction and poor communication in the ranks..

Remits at the best of times tend to be pretty blunt instruments and aren’t necessarily the best way to advance good policy, but they do enable members to participate at conferences.

The trouble with grassroots participation is that it doesn’t always follow the party line.

It can also create a distraction which the media enjoy but party chiefs, keen to keep to a script, don’t.

The new rule is a sign the Green Party is sick of opposition and a signal to its membership that some of its ideals about grassroots participation might have to be abandoned if it’s part of a governing coalition.

The invisible party

June 10, 2013

Labour leader David Shearer appears to be auditioning  for the role of  the invisible man.

He’s the leader of the opposition but Russel Norman and Winston Peters do a lot more visible, and audible, opposing than he does.

It’s easier for them, of course, they know they’ll never have to lead a government.

This gives them the freedom to make outrageous promises with the knowledge they can claim that being a minor partner requires concessions to excuse their inability to deliver on them..

Labour doesn’t have that luxury.

It is aiming to lead a coalition government and therefore needs to be more circumspect in its policy and practice.

That shouldn’t stop it formulating policy and taking action but in the last week it’s looked like the minor party playing catch-up and me-too in attacks on Peter Dunne, not the major one.

In this saga, Labour and its leader have been followers not leaders.

If it doesn’t start taking a more proactive stance, it won’t just be the invisible man, it will be the invisible party.

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