Word of the day

July 13, 2013

Celerity – rapidity of motion or action; quickness; swiftness of movement.


9/10

July 13, 2013

9/10 in the Herald’s politics quiz.


Rural round-up

July 13, 2013

Rule Change Great News For Pastoral Farmers:

New Zealand farmers will gain faster access to innovative new pastures thanks to new clearance procedures announced this week by the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Plant breeders have welcomed the move, which they say will make it much easier to tap into the country’s biggest collection of pasture genetics, the Margot Forde Germplasm Centre at Palmerston North.

Comprising tens of thousands of seed samples, the centre holds more than 2000 different species of forage grasses, herbs and legumes from throughout the world. . .

Move planned to end China meat hold-ups – Alan Williams:

Clear protocols will be put in place and communication improved to try to stop a repeat of two regulatory incidents that have held up New Zealand meat on Chinese wharves, Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye says.

The Government was putting systems in place to make sure this country could react nimbly and quickly to problems holding up food exports into complex markets, she said.

NZ was exporting large and increasing amounts of food into markets that operated differently to ours and there would never be a system where things couldn’t go wrong, she said. . . .

Game-changing company ready for kiwi blood – Stephen Bell:

American blood serum processing giant Proliant Health and Biologicals’ $24 million Feilding plant will attract a procession of the world’s top firms to New Zealand and will have access to some of the world’s biggest markets that won’t accept products from the United States.

Proliant president and chief executive Stephen Welch and chief operating officer Randal Fitzgerald told a public meeting at the Feilding Rotary Club the firm had bought 4ha in the town to allow for expansion.

It already had Government permission to import bovine blood from Australia to meet expected growth in demand, though NZ could supply more than enough blood for double the initial 6000 m2 plant it was opening, they said. . . .

New Zealand’s horticulture industry set to grow:

One of New Zealand’s horticultural heavyweights has set its long-term sights on growing the industry into a multibillion-dollar business.

United Fresh New Zealand Incorporated is celebrating 22 years in the industry. It is now the country’s only pan-produce organisation – with 84 members from across the fresh produce value chain.

United Fresh president, David Smith, says horticulture, which is currently a $3.5 billion industry, is an important export earner for the country. And turning it into a $10 billion industry by 2020 needs vision, co-operation and collaboration.” . . .

Latest honey bee research – Raymond Huber:

  • Beebuzz: Flowers have small electric fields that bees can detect and use to distinguish the flowers with the best nectar.
  • Beespresso: Several types of flower have traces of caffeine in their nectar which bees are more attracted to than flowers without. . . 

Stonecroft Purchases Vineyard in Prime Hawke’s Bay Location:

Boutique winery Stonecroft has purchased a new vineyard in the renowned Gimblet Gravels Growing District in Hawke’s Bay.

The acquisition of this vineyard compliments Stonecroft’s existing holdings in the region. It is conveniently located between Stonecroft’s other two vineyards, on the corner of Mere Road and State Highway 50. The vineyard was previously owned by the Mills Reef Trust. . .


Saturday’s smiles

July 13, 2013
The farmer had been taken in so many times by the local car dealer that when the dealer wanted to buy a cow, the farmer priced it to him like this:
Basic cow, $200; two-tone exterior, $45; extra stomach $75; product storage compartment, $60;
dispensing device, four spigots at $10 each, $40;genuine cowhide upholstery, $125; dual horns, $15; automatic fly swatter, $35. Total = $595.

60 years of pineapple chunks

July 13, 2013

Pineapple chunks were first made in Oamaru 60 years ago.

They were made by Regina which was bought by Nestle. It has been operating as Rainbow Confectionery since Nestle pulled out.

 . . New Zealand investors Ray White, Patrick Betty and Rod Thornton bought the factory and breathed new life into the business, adding new technologies and investing in new plant, including machines capable of producing jellybeans, the only manufacturer in New Zealand to have that facility.

It has now brought back the Regina name, celebrating sixty years since Regina employee Charles Diver first made pineapple chunks at the Oamaru factory. They are believed to be the first oblong-shaped, pineapple-flavoured, chocolate-covered marshmallow lollies in New Zealand.

They came from finding a use for pineapple marshmallow left over after making chocolate fish.

”Diver’s recipe has been tinkered with a little bit for the 2013 pineapple chunks to contain 15% pineapple juice and no artificial flavours or colour,” Regina sales and marketing manager Simon Williams said. . . .

Some of Regina’s success was due to a chance conversation at a Rotary meeting.

The company manager happened to mention he had trouble sourcing moulds to make the sweets. A fellow Rotarian was a dental technician who made moulds for false teeth and could easily make them for sweets.

Regina was an institution and Rainbow has been operating in the same building on Thames Highway at the northern end of Oamaru which is part of State Highway 1.

Seven Sharp paid the factory a visit this week.  the reporter pronounces Regina with a long e sound to rhyme with cortina, locals have always pronounced it with an i sound to rhyme with miner.


Super age doesn’t have to increase

July 13, 2013

I’m not opposed to the idea of increasing the age of eligibility for superannuation.

When it was introduced it wasn’t universal and life expectancy was quite a bit lower than it is now.

However, increasing the age of eligibility isn’t necessarily the best way to afford to maintain superannuation as it is.

Jacqui Dean: What does the report say about the costs of meeting superannuation, and how does this compare with the benefits of sound fiscal management?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: The report shows that increasing the age of eligibility from 65 to 67 for national superannuation makes a difference of around 0.7 percent of GDP by 2030. The report also shows that maintaining the Government’s fiscal strategy of returning to surplus with moderate increases in spending and investment and better public services through to 2020—just 7 years from now—will reduce net Government debt from around 50 percent of GDP to under 10 percent of GDP. So, clearly, managing Government expenditure well has a much bigger impact on our future debt loading than small adjustments to national superannuation.

This strategy isn’t without risks, however.

Jacqui Dean: What alternative strategies for fiscal management would put the Government’s progress in reducing debt at risk?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: Well, of course, we get to reduce debt once we get to surplus, and once we get to surplus we need to make sure that we do not spend those surpluses on ineffective public services but that we do spend them on reducing debt. Alternative strategies that would make it harder would be those that we inherited as a Government from when Government debt was forecast to reach 50 or 60 percent of GDP simply on the basis of loose and wasteful spending by the previous Government.

If we want first world services and support we need first world incomes and that requires policies and management that foster an environment for growth.

Those disenchanted with the government like to say there’s no difference between National and Labour.

But the National-led government is doing a far better job of managing public money, while maintaining services, in difficult financial times than Labour managed when the rest of the world was booming.

A surplus is in sight and once it’s achieved we have some choices over what to do with it.

LabourGreen want to spend more, National wants to reduce debt to ensure the economy is on a much stronger foundation to weather future storms than we were for this one.

Even if Labour can sort itself out, does anyone seriously think they’d want, let alone be able, to reduce the burden of government while maintaining services as National has?


Fair? True?

July 13, 2013

Colin Espiner explains the anatomy of a coup and says of Labour leader David Shearer:

. . . Most people have no idea who he is, and those who do know think he’s a shambolic, equivocal, spineless ditherer with the political nous of a first-term MP. 

Shearer is a lovely man. I’d let him babysit my kids without hesitation. But to date he has revealed neither the fortitude nor the authority to lead a political party – let alone be a prime minister. . . .

Barry Soper is equally derisive:

Every time the hapless, Dithering David Shearer stood up in Parliament’s bear pit . . .

Is that fair? Is it true?


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