Not such a good idea

July 4, 2013

Stuff asks what people think of Labour’s idea of quotas for women candidates:

Yes, great idea

402 votes, 8.3%

Maybe, would have to see more

291 votes, 6.0%

No, it seems one-sided

3778 votes, 78.0%

Really don’t care

374 votes, 7.7%

Total 4845 votes

It’s not scientific but I’d be very surprised if a proper poll showed any more enthusiasm for the idea,


Word of the day

July 4, 2013

Hardscrabble – returning little in exchange for great effort; yielding a bare or meagre living with great labour or difficulty; earning a bare subsistence, as on the land; being or relating to a place of barren, marginal or barely arable soil; characterised by chronic poverty and hardship.


Rural round-up

July 4, 2013

To be or not to be questions for red meat: Speech by Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairperson, to the 2013 Meat & Fibre Annual General Meeting, Ashburton

In writing my address to you today, where we will be discussing the biggest change red meat has faced for a generation, the first four lines from Shakespeare’s Hamlet come to mind. Especially since there seems to be something rotten in the state of our red-meat industry.

“To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles…”

Right there I seem to have exhausted my knowledge of Shakespeare!

Suffice to say Hamlet was a tragedy, which is not what we want for New Zealand’s red meat sector. Yet those lines pretty much sum up the position we are in. Do we leave things to chance, or do we do something about it? . . .

New pastoral lease rent system bedding in:

Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson says 17 South Island High Country Crown pastoral leases are from this week on a new rent system.

There are 221 pastoral leases and each one has its rent reviewed every 11 years.

“The 17 leases were the first reviewed under new legislation (Crown Pastoral Land Amendment Act 2012) which bases rents on the earning capacity of the land and not on the value of the land exclusive of improvements. . .

Icebreaker Appoints Rob Fyfe as New Executive Chairman:

Rob Fyfe has stepped up his involvement in Icebreaker to become the Executive Chairman in September of this year.

Icebreaker founder and Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Moon says he is thrilled to have Rob Fyfe more involved in the business.

“The chairman’s role is critical and works very closely with the CEO to steer the ship and set the priorities and objectives of the business for the future. I can think of no one better than Rob to be able to do this, given his wealth of experience. . .

Winter storms sends farm feed prices soaring:

Winter storms which which dumped heavy snow through much of the South Island and left some areas under water have sent supplementary feed prices soaring.

Southern farmers have been warned that feed shortages could become an issue if they get hit with more wild winter weather.

Otago Federated Farmers president Stephen Korteweg says farmers in the south did not go into winter with big surpluses of hay or straw. . .

New research trial shows blueberries’ potential:

New research trial shows blueberries’ potential for reducing hyperglycemia, weight gain and cholesterol levels.

“The blueberry’s ability to intervene in conditions such as Type 2 diabetes and obesity is of critical importance,” says trial leader.

The results of a recently published research study highlight blueberries’ potential to play a significant role in helping to manage weight and prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes. . .


Quality or quota?

July 4, 2013

Whaleoil has a  final edited list of proposed rule changes for the Labour Party which includes this gem:

New Rule 289A.  For the 2014 election the Moderating Committee shall, in determining the list, ensure that for any percentage of party vote likely to be obtained, and taking into account the electorate MPs likely to be elected with that level of Labour support, the resultant Caucus will comprise at least 45% women.  For the 2017 and subsequent elections the percentage shall be at least 50%.

And this one:

New Rule 248A. An LEC may request that NZ Council determine that only women may nominate for the position of Labour candidate for their electorate. Such approval overrides the right granted in Rule 251 for any member to be eligible for nomination.

Don’t laws against discrimination by gender work both ways?

There are also proposals for the list:

Amendment (deletions and insertions) to existing Rule 287.  The Moderating Committee shall examine the Regional lists and consider the representation across all lists of tangata whenua, gender, ethnic groups, people with disabilities, age and youth, sexual orientations, and the geographical spread and range of skills.  …….

Amendment (deletions and insertions) to existing Rule 290.  The Moderating Committee shall be bound by the need to arrive at a list which:

a)          fairly represents tangata whenua, gender, ethnic groups, people with disabilities, sexual orientations, and age and youth.

Electoral law requires party have a democratic process for list ranking.

I’m not sure if this dictatorial approach would meet the requirement.

Even if it does, this is another lurch to the left which will do nothing to improve Labour’s chances of leading the next government.

When all else is equal there might be grounds to choose a candidate who adds balance to a caucus.

But quality should come well before any quota for the sake of good government.


Thursday’s quiz

July 4, 2013

1. What does He aha te mea nui? He tangata. He tangata. He tangata mean?

2. What is a tīwaiwaka?

3. Who were the earth mother and sky father?

4. What do katau and mauī mean?

5. Do you have a tūrangawaewae?


Right to fresh air and safety

July 4, 2013

The government’s ban on smoking in prisons has been ruled unlawful.

Someone with a better understanding of the law than I have might be able to explain why.

I’d have thought the right for other prisoners and staff to breathe fresh air trumped that of smokers’. The danger to prisoners and staff from fire would be another justification for the ban.

The legal ruling appears to be academic anyway.

Corrections chief Ray Smith says prisons will remain smoke-free.

Law changes that came into force in March make it clear that tobacco products are unauthorised items and therefore it is against the law to bring them into a prison. They also make it an offence to smoke tobacco or any other substance inside a prison.

These amendments also address the issue of prisoners challenging penalties handed out to them for possessing tobacco products ruling out compensation for them.

Implementing smokefree prisons was always going to be a serious challenge and it has gone incredibly well and without major incident. We are the first national prison service to achieve this.

Since the introduction of smokefree prisons on 1 July 2011 our prison staff report a better and healthier work environment for both themselves and prisoners. Independent research has confirmed that air quality in our prisons has improved, and there has been a significant drop in fires.

For many sentenced and remand prisoners giving up smoking has led to a positive improvement in their lives, with better health and savings in money spent on tobacco products.

The ban was preceded by an extensive 12 month campaign led by Corrections and supported by the Ministry of Health and the Quit Group to encourage smoking cessation for prisoners and staff. This gave prisoners and staff the opportunity, support and motivation to attempt to stop or reduce their smoking prior to 1 July 2011. Many took up this opportunity and gave up smoking early.

Since July 2011 prisoners have been able to spend more money on phone cards and increase their contact with family and friends. They have also been engaging more with staff and available activities.

We have been able to provide a healthier, safer environment for staff and prisoners.

Better work environment, improved air quality, fewer fires, more money to spend on phone cards and a healthier, safer environment are all very good reasons for the ban to continue.


Independence Day

July 4, 2013

It’s the fourth of July here which is Independence Day in the USA, except it’s only July the third there.

It’s still the third in Egypt where a full military coup has ousted President President Mohamed Mursi.

Egypt’s army deployed tanks and troops close to the presidential palace in Cairo on Wednesday after a military deadline for Islamist President Mohamed Mursi to yield to street protests passed without any agreement.

Mursi’s national security adviser said a military coup was under way as armed forces commander General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met political, religious and youth leaders.

Egypt’s state-run Al-Ahram newspaper reported on its website that the army told President Mohamed Mursi at 7 p.m. (1700 GMT) that he was no longer head of state. It quoted a presidential source.

Meanwhile the state news agency MENA said they would make a joint announcement of a roadmap for a new transitional period and new elections two years after the overthrow of autocratic ex-president Hosni Mubarak in a popular uprising. . .

Hopes were high that the Arab Spring would bring democracy, and prosperity, to Egypt.

Two years later those hopes have yet to be realised.

Happy Independence USA.

Good luck Egypt.


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