Irrigation could have prevented this

July 8, 2013

The summer drought which was so tough for farmers and the people who service and supply them was also  fatal to river-dwelling fish.

A University of Canterbury study has revealed the worrying impact of the extreme drought conditions on the particularly hardy endangered native brown mudfish.

Up to 45 percent of the fish were killed off over the long hot summer, leaving scientists concerned about the effects on less resilient but much-loved breeds like trout and whitebait. . .

If there’d been irrigation schemes in the areas affected those deaths almost certainly wouldn’t have happened.

A condition of North Otago Irrigation Company’s resource consent was that the company has to maintain a minimum flow in the Waiareka creek.

That has turned what was little more than a series of stagnant ponds for much of the year into a flowing stream with healthy water life.
 
Irrigation schemes don’t just have economic and social benefits,  they can also enhance the environment.

If there’s a good time to lose power . . .

July 8, 2013

. . .it’s not when there’s three builders, a plumber, electrician and floor layer who all require it.

And when you have a bath full of sheets and pillow cases to be washed because there’s been mice in the linen cupboard.

And when you’re in the middle of baking for the Rotary auction tonight.

And when you have a media release to write which requires files on your computer.


Finlayson on Labour’s leadership history

July 8, 2013

Last week’s man-ban debacle has once again called into question Labour’s leadership, or lack of it.

Richard Harman gives an outline of how it happened:

Make no mistake this “Man Ban” furore has raised potentially fatal questions about David Shearer’s leadership of the Labour Party.

Here at “The Nation” last week we got a front row view of just how dysfunctional the Shearer leadership machine is.

First up, it is mind boggling that it was left to Cameron Slater and his “Whaleoil” blog to reveal that the party was proposing to allow women-only  candidate selections as part of a bid to evenly balance its gender representation by 2017.

This proposal is part of the party’s Organisational Review which began work last year.

Its proposals have already surfaced at a national conference; at local LECs and at regional conferences.

They then went to the party’s Policy Council.

Either Mr Shearer is so out of touch with what is happening inside his own party or alternatively — as one Labour source suggested to me over the weekend – he simply wasn’t listening.

But nor, apparently, were the rest of the caucus.

Or, and this is important, Mr Shearer’s media advisors.

On Friday, the chief press secretary was on a day off.

That about sums it up.

Such is the lack of urgency in the Leader of the Opposition’s office that his staff work appear to work public service hours. . .

He continues on the difficulty finding someone in labour to discuss the issue and concludes:

We now know that later on Friday an email went out to top Labour party officials advising them to shut up about the “Man Ban”.

Ms Moroney then appeared on “The Nation” with her compromise solution to the whole thing which she said she was going to put to the Caucus.

Surely the time for that was  at least a week ago before the original remit was sent out to the media.

But that would have required planning — and leadership.

We have not heard the last of this whole shambolic affair.

It’s yet another indication that Labour isn’t performing well in opposition and is therefore nowhere near ready to lead a government.

One solution to that is a leadership change and a couple of week’s ago Chris Finlayson helpfully provided a history lesson on that:

. . . One of the great questions of New Zealand history is: “Why is the Labour Party so disloyal to its leaders?”. Right through history, treachery has been the name of the game. Let us look at Arnold Nordmeyer, who provided sterling service to the Labour Party through the first and second Labour Governments. He was the MP for Ōāmaru, then the MP for Brooklyn, and then the MP for Island Bay. He was knifed by Norman Kirk. The rumblings against “Big Norm” started in the second year of his premiership, but he died before the conspirators could knife him.

Then there was my favourite Labour leader, Bill Rowling, a good and a decent man who, as Mr Mallard knows, used to live in Lohia Street, Khandallah. He was undermined by a less talented but more ruthless deputy. How often history doth repeat itself. David Lange was undermined by Mr Goff and his then ideological buddy Roger Douglas. Geoffrey Palmer was certainly an interesting person. He certainly was undermined by Helen Clark and by Mike Moore, but I have to admit that much of the undermining was done by Geoffrey just being Geoffrey.

Mike Moore was undermined by Helen Clark, who knifed him straight after the 1993 election, when Mike had gained an additional 16 seats for his party—that is loyalty for you. Helen Clark knew her history. She kept her enemies at bay, and I am not referring to just the Green Party. She saw off Annette King and Phil Goff in 1996, when they tried to knife her, and she went in 2008, before the daggers went in. Then from 2008 to 2011 we had that very angry Phil Goff, undermined from the very start by Mr Cunliffe—no wonder he is so foul-mouthed and cannot control his tongue.

I recognise that many of the names I have referred to—and I see Mr Robertson looking confused and bewildered—will be unknown to people like Mr Robertson, who have no knowledge of their party’s history, and so are doomed to relive it. It is like some kind of macabre Byzantine dance of killers. People cooperate to get rid of one leader, so that they can turn on the next one.

Then we have David Shearer, who, I think, is a very nice guy, a good and a decent man, a person who has done a lot of good overseas. But none of his dealings with central African dictatorships or Balkan civil wars could have prepared him for the leadership of the Labour Party. Poor David Shearer. He has run out of options. He has nowhere to turn. He cannot rely on his deputy and he cannot turn to his allies. I bet this morning he was reading the New Zealand Herald, looking longingly at seat 17A from Moscow to Havana.

Then we have David Shearer, who, I think, is a very nice guy, a good and a decent man, a person who has done a lot of good overseas. But none of his dealings with central African dictatorships or Balkan civil wars could have prepared him for the leadership of the Labour Party. Poor David Shearer. He has run out of options. He has nowhere to turn. He cannot rely on his deputy and he cannot turn to his allies. I bet this morning he was reading the New Zealand Herald, looking longingly at seat 17A from Moscow to Havana.

Mr Shearer has been quoted as saying that he was surprised by today’s results, but the trouble for Mr Shearer is he is simply too trusting. He is too trusting and too quick to trust people like Mr Robertson to recruit his staff to look after him. He is too quick to trust parties that are out to steal his vote. I imagine that Mr Shearer was delighted when Mr Peters shone that trademark smile and offered to work with Labour to attack the Government. I imagine he was delighted when Dr Russel Norman said: “Let me work with you to design a Stalinist energy policy, and maybe it would be a good idea if we both had a podium in the legislative chamber when we announce the speech, because it would give you more gravitas.” And now Mr Shearer is surprised that Mr Peters and Mr Norman are laughing all the way to the polling booth. In fact, he is so trusting that I have to say I really worry that the hundreds of thousands of dollars in his New York bank account are ripe for picking if a Nigerian scammer ever sends him an email. He would probably be really surprised and delighted to receive it. So what is the moral of the story? There is always a moral. I say this to the Labour Party, with the greatest of respect and affection: loyalty is what binds a party together. If you can’t trust your leader, you’re done.

And if the public can’t trust a party to run itself, we certainly can’t trust it to run the country.

If you prefer to watch and listen to the speech, the video is at the link above.


Flexibility increases employment

July 8, 2013

Unions and others on the political left greet any move to make labour laws more flexible with howls of outrage.

They either don’t realise, or won’t accept that it increases employment:

Using 1981–2009 data for the 50 states, this article examines the relationship between economic freedom and the unemployment rate, the labor force participation rate, and the employment-population ratio. After controlling for a variety of state-level characteristics, the results from most specifications indicate that economic freedom is associated with lower unemployment and with higher labor force participation and employment-population ratios.

Why don’t people believe this?

Tim Worstall thinks it’s because people really don’t understand the job churn in the economy:

If you think that a rise in unemployment of 100,000 means that 100,000 people have been fired then you might well think that making it harder to fire people will lead to a reduction in the number of people in unemployment. But the truth is that this isn’t what causes a rise in unemployment at all. There are always 100,000 people getting fired. More than that actually: some 3 million jobs, or 10% of the total, are destroyed in the UK economy each year. That’s that destruction part of capitalism. This rate doesn’t, particularly, rise in recessions nor fall in booms either. That’s a reasonably constant rate at which the economy destroys the things that people do for a living.

What does change in a recession is how many new jobs are being created: thus the balance, between those fired and those hired, changes. The actual unemployment numbers that we see are the end result of this complex process. If unemployment rises by 100,000 in one month it’s not the result of 100,000 more people being fired. It’s the result of 100,000 of that (roughly) 250,000 who get fired every month not finding a new job. Unemployment isn’t best thought of as a result of people being fired therefore: it’s a result of people not getting hired.

At which point the economic freedom argument begins to make intuitive sense. The more economic freedom, the less regulation stopping you from doing things, the more things will get tried and done.The less the cost of firing an undesired worker the more of them will be hired: demand curves do indeed work that way. So far so true: my speculation is that those who don’t get this point are those who don’t really understand why unemployment occurs. It simply isn’t because people get fired because people get fired all the time. It’s that they don’t get rehired at times which is what causes unemployment.

The usual suspects warned of dire consequences if the 90-day trial period for new staff was introduced.

They said it employers would keep staff for 89 days then lay them off.

They have a very jaundiced view of employers and don’t understand the cost and work involved in recruiting and training staff, even for jobs requiring little skill, would put almost all off churning through employees like that.

There hasn’t been a long list of people losing their jobs within the 90 day period but there have been more jobs created and unemployment is edging down.

That will be due to several reasons, one of which is that the 90 day trial period, like other initiatives which liberalise labour law, reduces the risk of taking on a new employee.


Andy’s the mon

July 8, 2013

Andy Murray has won Wimbolden – the first British man to do so for 77 years.

The 26-year-old Scot beat Novak Djokovic in straight sets on Centre Court, 6-4 7-5 6-4, to become the first British champion since Fred Perry won for the third time in 1936. . .

He’s not just British, he’s Scottish and this post on Facebook ticked my tartan genes.
Say something about #proudtobeascot…

Scottish Banter
After 77 years. A Scot did what the English couldn’t!

He's done it!! #proudtobeascot


Nerw rules for meat exports to China

July 8, 2013

New rules for meat exports to China start today.

Ministers of Primary Industry and Food Safety, Nathan Guy and Nikki Kaye found out about the changes last week and officials negotiated their implementation.

“I am currently in China and we have a warm and professional relationship which has enabled us to quickly resolve this,” Mr Guy says.

“We have a very successful trading relationship underpinned by the free trade agreement. No other country is ahead of us in terms of meat access into China.”

“The new rules mean that veterinarians must be directly linked to the last site the meat was at before export,” Ms Kaye says.

The new requirements became clear when industry advised the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) that one shipment of meat was being delayed at the northern China port of Dalian.

Since then New Zealand government officials both in New Zealand and China have been working to clarify the new requirements and negotiate rules to enable a smooth transition.

After a positive meeting last night in China, we have agreed to a new process of certification that addresses consignments en-route to China and new overseas market access requirements (OMAR).

“I am working with officials over the weekend to make sure quick and effective implementation of the documentation for the current consignments. We have worked on a pragmatic solution to enable current consignments to be cleared and trade to continue,” Ms Kaye says.

Chinese meat officials will be in New Zealand next week to progress the comprehensive new meat access arrangements for the future.

The Government has been speaking to the meat industry and from Monday there will be new processes in place that meet the new Chinese requirements.

MPI  will be able to process the new documentation for the 1323 consignments by Wednesday and it will take at least a couple of days for China to distribute that information to ports.

The practical effect of this will be minimal.

It might seem ironic that New Zealand which has such high standards of animal welfare and food safety is having new rules imposed by a country which doesn’t enjoy such a positive reputation.

But there’s nothing new in that.

My farmer visited Smithfield meat market in London in 1982 when strict hygiene rules had been imposed on our exports by Britain.

He was appalled to see how little regard was placed on hygiene in the market, including birds flying round and staff smoking while handling carcases.


July 8 in history

July 8, 2013

1099 First Crusade: 15,000 starving Christian soldiers marched in a religious procession around Jerusalem as its Muslim defenders looked on.

1283  War of the Sicilian Vespers: Battle of Malta

1497  Vasco da Gama set sail on first direct European voyage to India.

1579 Our Lady of Kazan, a holy icon of the Russian Orthodox Church, was discovered underground in the city of Kazan.

1663  Charles II of England granted John Clarke a Royal Charter to Rhode Island.

1680 The first confirmed tornado in America killed a servant at Cambridge, Massachusetts.

1709  Great Northern War: Battle of Poltava: Peter I of Russia defeated Charles XII of Sweden at Poltava, effectively ending Sweden’s role as a major power in Europe.

1716  Great Northern War: Battle of Dynekilen.

1758  French forces held Fort Carillon against the British at Ticonderoga, New York.

1760 French and Indian War: Battle of Restigouche – British defeated French forces in last naval battle in New France.

1775  The Olive Branch Petition signed by the Continental Congress of the Thirteen Colonies.

1776  The Declaration of Independence was read aloud in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the Liberty Bell was rung.

1822 Chippewas turned over huge tract of land in Ontario to the United Kingdom.

1838 Ferdinand von Zeppelin, German inventor, was born (d. 1917).

1839 John D. Rockefeller, American industrialist and philanthropist, was born (d. 1937).

1853 Commodore Perry sailed into Tokyo Bay.

1859  King Charles XV/Carl IV acceded to the throne of Sweden-Norway.

1864 Ikedaya Jiken: the Shinsengumi sabotaged the Choshu-han shishi’s planned attack on Kyoto, Japan at Ikedaya.

1874  The Mounties began their March West.

1876  White supremacists killed five Black Republicans in Hamburg, SC.

1882 Percy Grainger, Australian composer, was born (d. 1961).

1889  The first issue of the Wall Street Journal was published.

1892  St. John’s, Newfoundland was devastated in the Great Fire of 1892.

1893 The New Zealand Racing Conference was formed to control the thoroughbred horseracing industry.

NZ Racing Conference established

1898 The shooting death of crime boss Soapy Smith released Skagway, Alaska from his iron grip.

1908 Nelson A. Rockefeller, 41st Vice President of the United States, was born (d. 1979).

1920 Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, Danish industrialist (Lego Group), was born (d. 1995).

1926 Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, Swiss-born psychiatrist, was born (d. 2004).

1932  The Dow Jones Industrial Average reached its lowest level of the Great Depression, bottoming out at 41.22.

1933 Marty Feldman, English comedian and actor, was born (d. 1982).

1948 The United States Air Force accepted its first female recruits into a programme called Women in the Air Force (WAF).

1960 Mal Meninga, Australian rugby league footballer, was born.

1960  Francis Gary Powers was charged with espionage resulting from his flight over the Soviet Union.

1961 Andrew Fletcher, English musician (Depeche Mode), was born.

1962 Ne Win besieged and dynamited the Ragoon University Student Union building to crash the Student Movement.

1965  Train robber Ronald Biggs escaped from Wandsworth Prison, London.

1966 King Mwambutsa IV Bangiriceng of Burundi was deposed by his son Prince Charles Ndizi.

1928 Shane Howarth, New Zealand/Wales rugby player, was born.

1969 IBM CICS was made generally available for the 360 mainframe computer.

1970  Richard Nixon delivered a special congressional message enunciating Native American Self-Determination as official US Indian policy, leading to the Indian Self-Determination Act.

1977  The ashes of Ahn Eak-tai, a Korean conductor and the composer of the national anthem Aegukga, were transferred from the island of Majorca to the Korean National Cemetery.

1982 Assassination attempt against former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein in Dujail.

1982 – Senegalese Trotskyist political party LCT was legally recognised.

1992 Conference for Security and Co-operation in Europe created the office of High Commissioner on National Minorities.

1996 A man armed with a machete wounded three children and four adults at a primary school in Wolverhampton. Teacher Lisa Potts received the George medal for protecting her pupils, despite being severely injured.

1997 NATO invited the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland to join the alliance in 1999.

1999  Allen Lee Davis was executed by electric chair by the state of Florida, that state’s last use of the electric chair for capital punishment.

2003  Sudan Airways Flight 39, with 116 people on board, crashed in Sudan; the only survivor was a two-year-old boy who subsequently died as a result of his injuries.

2011 – Space Shuttle Atlantis was launched in the final mission of the U.S. Space Shuttle programme.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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