Word of the day


Claque – a group of fawning admirers; group of sycophantic followers; people hired to applaud at a performance.

Rural round-up


Bee keepers pay respects to visionary Claude Stratford:

Federated Farmers’ Bee Industry Group is paying its own respects to bee industry legend, Claude Stratford, who passed away yesterday aged 102.

“The Executive Committee of Federated Farmers Bee Industry Group, extends our sympathies to the family of Comvita co-founder, Claude Stratford,” says Barry Hantz, Federated Farmers Bee Industry Group Executive member.

“In an industry priding itself on its resourcefulness and innovation, Mr Stratford showed incredible foresight to market honey and other bee products as natural health products across a number of applications. . .

AgResearch says it has a role in new water accord:

AgResearch says it’s got a role to play in helping the dairy industry meet the targets it’s set itself in its new water accord.

The accord was launched this week and aims to lessen the sector’s impact on the environment – while allowing it to grow further and remain highly profitable.

Dairy NZ says in the last 10 years New Zealand’s milk supply has increased by 47% – to 1.7 billion kilo of milk solids in 2012. . .

Experiment to limit dairy pollution shows promise:

Agresearch says results of its trial of low cost techniques to limit dairy contaminants leaching into waterways are encouraging.

The state-owned research and development company is part way through a trial of different grazing methods on Telford Farm, near Dunedin.

It says those techniques can significantly reduce the flow of nutrients, faecal microbes and sediment into waterways. . . .

Nominations open for prestigious agribusiness leadership awards:

Nominations are now open for the prestigious annual Rabobank Leadership Award – a key recognition of achievement in, and contribution to, New Zealand and Australia’s food, beverage and agribusiness sectors.

The annual award – now in its eighth year in its current format – acknowledges excellence among the senior leaders of New Zealand and Australia’s agribusiness and agri-related industries. . .

Synlait Milk Limited Welcomes Future Shareholder FrieslandCampina:

Synlait Milk Limited (“Synlait Milk”) is pleased to announce that FrieslandCampina Investments Holding B.V., a subsidiary of Royal FrieslandCampina, will hold approximately 7.5% shareholding in Synlait Milk upon completion of the Initial Public Offering (“IPO”). FrieslandCampina is one of the largest dairy cooperatives in the world and an existing customer of Synlait Milk.

Synlait Milk Chairman Graeme Milne said this investment from FrieslandCampina, as part of the bookbuild to institutional investors and NZX Firms, is an endorsement of Synlait Milk’s operations and growth ambitions. . .

100% New Zealand Bacon & Ham Competition seeks the best of the best:

When it comes to bacon and ham, it simply doesn’t get any better than 100% New Zealand home, crafted by the country’s top butchers and cured meat artisans. 

This year the 100% NZ Bacon & Ham Competition has attracted 200 tasty entries from throughout the country. On 19 July, a 33 strong panel which includes leading chefs, food connoisseurs, and master butchers convenes in Wellington to determine which top bacon and ham maker is the best of the best, using only 100% New Zealand farmed pork. . .

In praise of Courier Post


We went to meet a young Dutch visitor at Christchurch Airport on Tuesday.

He was there but his case was still in Auckland.

When he’d checked in in Amsterdam they’d told him his bag was checked through to Christchurch.

They didn’t tell him he would still have to pick it up in Auckland and go through Customs.

We went to the baggage desk where a very helpful woman sorted out the paperwork and said she’d get the case to Christchurch next day.

When we explained where we live, she said she’d get it to Timaru instead.

I phoned the number I’d been given the following day and was told the case was in Christchurch but could be sent to Timaru, via Wellington.

Given we’re nearly an hour and a half from Timaru airport I figured it would be easier to courier from Christchurch.

How hard could that be?

The reason Wednesday’s word of the day was scream was that it turned out to be very hard.

I googled couriers and phoned the first one.  After a few recorded messages and a re-dial I got a real person who gold me they could pick up the case but it wouldn’t get to Oamaru until Friday.

Two days to travel 250 kilometres seemed a bit slow.

I tried another 0800 number, listened through the options, none of which applied, and then pushed the number to get me to the nearest office. That turned out to be  in Timaru.

I asked if they could pick up a case from Christchurch airport and deliver it anywhere in Oamaru. The woman who answered explained she was new and would have to ask someone else.

I waited through several recorded messages about how good their service was and eventually the woman came back with an answer which bore no relation to the question I’d asked.

I explained again, all I was wanting was someone to pick up a case from Christchurch airport and get it to Oamaru.

She said she’d have to ask someone else, again.

I waited through some more recorded messages about how good their services were and another woman came back on.

She said they couldn’t help but gave me a number of someone in Christchurch who could.

I rang the number and explained what I wanted. The woman said she could do pick up the case and deliver it to a courier, took the reference number, details and number we’d been given to ring and said she’d call back.

Nearly 30 minutes later she called back to say no-one was answering the phone but she’d left a message.

I rang the airport number, got the woman I’d first spoken to and told her what was happening. She said this wasn’t unusual and she’d recommend we took the option of sending the case to Timaru via Wellington because the bloke in Timaru would sort it.

I’d had enough of couriers by then and agreed that would be the best option.

She gave me the number to call in Timaru, I got through to the bloke who said the case would get in at 7:30 but couriers weren’t keen on coming to the airport and the one he knew would, would be expensive.

I said I didn’t care. He said it would be $1 a kilometre return. I decided I did care. He said he’d find a better option, text back tomorrow by which time the case would be there.

I texted back yesterday, the case was there and the bloke had a number for me to phone for a courier.

I called it and explained what I wanted. The woman who answered said that wasn’t a problem, they could deliver it anywhere in Oamaru and it would cost me $12 and be in Oamaru by 3pm

I thanked her, profusely.

This was Courier Post and if ever I need a courier again that is the company I will call first.

Political stability boosts business confidence


Business confidence is higher in New Zealand than Australia.

New Zealanders looking across the Tasman at the “lucky country” and thinking their futures lie there might have second thoughts following the recent Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR).

Not only does it show New Zealand business confidence levels are nearly five times higher than Australia, but in other key areas such as employment, profitability and exports our Tasman neighbours lag well behind.

Paul Kane, partner, Privately Held Business, Grant Thornton New Zealand Ltd, said the second quarter figures for New Zealand remained strong against the rest of the world, but with some softening in two key areas – employment and profitability.

“Of the 44 countries surveyed New Zealand ranks seventh in confidence at 60%, behind Chile 88%, Peru 86%, United Arab Emirates 86%, Philippines 84%, India 75% and Mexico 62%.

“Australia on the other hand is ranked 31st on 13%, having dropped 10% since the first quarter of 2013. New Zealand dropped only 1% in that time.

“That’s a substantial drop for Australia and reflects the impact of the slow down of China on their economy, especially mining, and the tense local political scene with their impending general elections,” he said. . .

The impact of political instability shouldn’t be underestimated.

The ruling Labor Party has been focussed on its internal leadership shenanigans while the economy has been slowing.

The country needs good policies which encourage businesses to invest and grow, instead of which it’s had back stabbing and navel gazing.

Contrast that with New Zealand where National, and its leader, have maintained popularity ratings similar to that gained in the last election.

Party unity, focus on what really matters and policies which give business confidence play a big part in that.

There are lessons in this for the Labour Party. Until it sorts out its internal problems the public in general and businesses in particular, won’t have confidence it could be a government in waiting.


On-line retailers get tax advantage


New Zealand retailers have a justifiable gripe about their international on-line competitors.

Purchases made here attract GST, those worth less than $400 purchased overseas, don’t.

That does give on-line retailers an advantage.

However, Customs Minister Maurice Williamson, points out that it would be virtually impossible to charge GST on purchases made on-line.

Some countries have a lower threshold before GST is levied on on-line purchases from overseas and lots of little bits of tax lost add up to a big amount over a year.

However, the hassle and cost of collecting all those little bits would almost certainly mean it simply isn’t worth trying.

Strong rural voices needed


Waitaki mayor Alex Familton’s decision to not seek re-election after earlier saying he would seek a thrid term.

This has opened up the District’s mayoral race.

Until now only one serious contender, former deputy mayor Gary Kircher, had announced he would contest the mayoralty.

But now the sitting mayor is standing down people who weren’t prepared to challenge him, including the current deputy, Jim Hopkins might stand.

Alex was a farmer and the council is losing another rural voice.

Corriedale ward councillor Kevin Malcolm has also announced he’s not standing again.

Our ward has two councillors but the other one, Geoff Keeling stood down earlier this year, and the council opted not to replace him.

It had the right to do that given the proximity of elections but it has left the council one rural voice short.

Property based rates impose much higher costs on farms.

We pay a greater proportion of rates but there are fewer of us which makes it even more important to have strong rural voices on councils.

But Keeling’s resignation and Malcolm’s decision not to seek re-election were both largely due to the difficulty of balancing council commitments with work and family.

Those pressures will be on the minds of others who might seek to stand and no-one could blame them if that puts them off.



July 12 in history


1191  Saladin’s garrison surrendered to Conrad of Montferrat, ending the two-year siege of Acre.

1543 King Henry VIII married his sixth and last wife, Catherine Parr at Hampton Court Palace.

1562 Fray Diego de Landa, acting Bishop of Yucatan, burned the sacred books of the Maya.

1580 Ostrog Bible, the first printed Bible in a Slavic language, was published.

1690  Battle of the Boyne (Gregorian calendar) – The armies of William III defeated those of the former James II.

1691  Battle of Aughrim (Julian calendar) – The decisive victory of William’s forces in Ireland.

1730 Josiah Wedgwood, English potter, was born  (d. 1795).

1790  The Civil Constitution of the Clergy was passed in France by the National Constituent Assembly.

1804  Former United States Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton died after being shot in a duel.

1806  Sixteen German imperial states left the Holy Roman Empire and formed the Confederation of the Rhine.

1812  War of 1812: The United States invaded Canada at Windsor, Ontario.

1817 Henry David Thoreau, American writer and philosopher, was bron (d. 1862).

1854 George Eastman, American inventor, was born  (d. 1932).

1862 The Medal of Honor iwa authorised by the United States Congress.

1863 – Lieutenant-General Cameron’s force crossed the Mangatawhiri stream in the first act of war in the Waikato campaign,

1895 Buckminster Fuller, American architect, was born  (d. 1983).

1895 Oscar Hammerstein II, American lyricist, was born (d. 1960).

1917 Andrew Wyeth, American artist, was born (d. 2009).

1917  The Bisbee Deportation –  vigilantes kidnapped and deported nearly 1,300 striking miners and others from Bisbee, Arizona.

1918  The Japanese Imperial Navy battle ship Kawachi blew up at Shunan, killing at least 621.

1920   The Soviet–Lithuanian Peace Treaty was signed. Soviet Russia recognized independent Lithuania.

1932  Hedley Verity established a first-class record by taking all ten wickets for only ten runs against Nottinghamshire on a pitch affected by a storm.

1933 Donald E. Westlake, American author, was born (d. 2008).

1943   World War II: Battle of Prokhorovka – German and Soviet  forces engaged in largest tank engagement of all time.

1937 Bill Cosby, American comedian and actor, was born.

1943 Christine McVie, British singer, musician, and songwriter (Fleetwood Mac), was born.

1947 Gareth Edwards, Welsh rugby union footballer, was born.

1950 Eric Carr, American drummer (Kiss), was born  (d. 1991).

1951 Cheryl Ladd, American actress, was born.

1960  Orlyonok, the main Young Pioneer camp of the Russian SFSR, was founded.

1961  Pune floodseddue to failure of Khadakvasala and Panshet dams. Half of Pune was submerged. More than 100,000 families dislocated and death tally exceeded 2000.

1962  The Rolling Stones performed their first ever concert, at the Marquee Club in London.

1967 The Newark riots began in Newark, New Jersey.

1975 São Tomé and Príncipe declared independence from Portugal.

1979  The island nation of Kiribati became independent from Great Britain.

1979  Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park Chicago.

2006  Hezbollah initiated Operation True Promise.

2007 – U.S. Army Apache helicopters performed airstrikes in Baghdad, Iraq; footage from the cockpit was later leaked to the Internet.

2012 – A tank truck explosion kills more than 100 people in Okobie, Nigeria.

2012 – The Turaymisah massacre kills 250 people during a Syrian military operation in a village within the Hama Governorate.

Sourced from Wikipedia & NZ History Online

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