The world waits

July 22, 2013

The Duchess of Cambridge is in the early stages of labour.

Having any baby is a momentous enough occasion without he or she being third in line to the throne and knowing that the world is waiting too.

Valerie Davies tells a story of the wait for a royal birth  and paints a very sympathetic picture of the maternal grandmother to-be, Carole Middelton.


Word of the day

July 22, 2013

Enantiodromia – the principle whereby the superabundance of one force inevitably produces its opposite, as with physical equilibrium; the changing of something into its opposite.


Some chances should go by

July 22, 2013

The song says never let a chance go by . . .  and the Green Party obviously follows that advice.

Keeping Stock has a graphic over the name of Green Party MP Gareth Hughes making political capital out of the Cook Strait earthquakes.

If the  party eschewed all forms of transport fuelled by fossil fuels the message would have some credence.

But they’re prepared to use fuel from all sorts of places, many of which will have far lower safety and environmental standards than New Zealand so this is just a particularly opportunistic form of NIMBYism.
They’ll use fuel from someone else’s backyard but do their best to stop the economic growth and jobs which would come from extraction in ours.
There are some chances which should go by and this opportunity for a cheap political shot was one of them.

Rural round-up

July 22, 2013

‘Real people’ contact informs policy – Sally Rae:

Representing the farming community has been a ”privilege” for Matt Harcombe.

Mr Harcombe is leaving Federated Farmers, after 12 years working for the rural lobby organisation, to join the Ministry for Primary Industries in a Dunedin-based policy role.

The main highlights of his time with Federated Farmers had been the relationships established with farmers and working closely with the organisation’s provincial presidents and national board, he said. . .

Rise of the machines – robotics meet farming – Dr William Rolleston:

In the very near future ‘drones’ could well take the place of workers in forestry and a host of different industries.  It may be a case of not wishing too hard for what the CTU wants because an obvious solution to “carnage,” as CTU President Helen Kelly graphically described forestry, is to completely remove the person from the risk equation.  No person, no accident.

The CTU has demanded to know how forestry will stop the “carnage” and we know agriculture is also in the CTU’s crosshairs.  In 2010, the Forest Owners Association was one of the first to enter into a Primary Growth Partnership with the Government.  This has flown under the CTU and media radar but the PGP’s vision is “no worker on the slope, no hand on the chainsaw”.

The outcome will likely be drone logging machines reflecting an increasing use of robotics on-farm and in our farm system. . . 

Fleeces ‘absolutely fabulous actually’ – Sally Rae:

Ask Marnie Kelly what she likes about Matakanui Station’s fine-wool fleeces and the answer is simple – ”they’re absolutely fabulous, actually”.

Mrs Kelly is the general manager of Central Otago-based Touch Yarns, which produces mostly hand-dyed wool yarns which are exported to Europe and the United States, as well as sold in shops throughout New Zealand and Australia, online and through a retail shop in Clyde. . .

MIE seeking farmer registrations – Sally Rae:

Meat Industry Excellence is seeking registrations from farmers to ensure they are up to date with what the organisation is doing in its bid to drive reform in the meat industry.

While the group had been ”a bit slow off the eight-ball” communicating with farmers, a website had now been launched, chairman Richard Young, of Tapanui, said.

Farmers were encouraged to register on www.mienz.com and also provide details on their farming operations, including what meat companies they supplied. . .

Maori farmers launch a new network – Murray Robertson:

A GROUND -breaking new collaborative initiative to develop Maori farming in Tairawhiti sprang out of the major Maori agri-business hui in Gisborne on Thursday.

More than 160 people attended the day-long event at Shed 3 at the Gisborne port and heard a range of impressive presentations.

The word “collaboration” was the common theme and a challenge was issued to Maori agri-business leaders to work together to capture more value for their owners. . .

Milder flavours in latest olive harvest

Customers of Nelson olive oils can expect milder, better balanced products from this year’s harvest, say growers.

After a tough, wet growing season last year, which made it difficult to produce top oils, the long, dry summer has been much kinder, although rain before and during picking caused some disruption.

The region’s biggest grower, Roger Armstrong, of Tasman Bay Olives, is pressing about two-thirds of a record crop of about 280 tonnes – 40 tonnes more than in 2011 – and he’s happy with what he’s seen. . .

Hemp growers ready for success – Sandie Finnie:

Waikato couple Dave and Anne Jordan are prepared for a cropping venture which slots into the new “greenwave” of products in demand around the world.

For the last four years the Jordans have trialled growing industrial hemp and are now building up their seed stocks so they can do large plantings.

Meanwhile they sell hemp oil for skin care and related products at their local farmers’ market and can barely keep up with demand. . . .


$NZ under-valued

July 22, 2013

Concern about the relatively high value of the New Zealand dollar is widespread.

But the Big Mac Index reckons it’s under-valued.

THE Big Mac index was invented by The Economist in 1986 as a lighthearted guide to whether currencies are at their “correct” level. It is based on the theory of purchasing-power parity (PPP), the notion that in the long run exchange rates should move towards the rate that would equalise the prices of an identical basket of goods and services (in this case, a burger) in any two countries. For example, the average price of a Big Mac in America in July 2013 was $4.56; in China it was only $2.61 at market exchange rates. So the “raw” Big Mac index says that the yuan was undervalued by 43% at that time. . .

Burgernomics was never intended as a precise gauge of currency misalignment, merely a tool to make exchange-rate theory more digestible. Yet the Big Mac index has become a global standard, included in several economic textbooks and the subject of at least 20 academic studies. For those who take their fast food more seriously, we have also calculated a gourmet version of the index.
 
This adjusted index addresses the criticism that you would expect average burger prices to be cheaper in poor countries than in rich ones because labour costs are lower. PPP signals where exchange rates should be heading in the long run, as a country like China gets richer, but it says little about today’s equilibrium rate. The relationship between prices and GDP per person may be a better guide to the current fair value of a currency. The adjusted index uses the “line of best fit” between Big Mac prices and GDP per person for 48 countries (plus the euro area). The difference between the price predicted by the red line for each country, given its income per person, and its actual price gives a supersized measure of currency under- and over-valuation.

Hat tip: Anti-Dismal who says by this measure the New Zealand dollar is over-valued by 5.7%.

 


Labour fog-bound

July 22, 2013

Labour’s caucus retreat has been cancelled because too many MPs were on flights that are fog-bound.

Leader David Shearer could be forgiven for wondering if even the weather is conspiring against him, but then again perhaps he’s relieved because this might give him a reprieve.

Given the internal focus of the party and its poll ratings, fog-bound is an appropriate description of Labour in both the figurative and literal sense.


Australia, NZ – what’s the difference?

July 22, 2013

Where were those earthquake yesterday?

Over at Keeping Stock there’s a report from the Las Vegas-based Guardian Express:

A severe earthquake with a magnitude of 6.2 has erupted in an area 20 kilometers east of Seddon.

Seddon is a suburb 7 km west of Melbourne, Australia, with a population of about 4,851 people. It is located in the state of Victoria on the southeast tip of Australia.  The shock effects of the quake have been felt as far away as Napier, in Western Australia, 3,302 kilometers (2,066 miles) from Melbourne. . . .

Whoops.

KiwiinCanberra has the update:

Our publisher and editors deeply apologize for the errors in this article. To preserve our journalistic integrity, we have decided not to change one word of Tom Ukinski’s article. However, our team of reporters are working as fast as possible to provide you with the most accurate news and information covering the recent New Zealand earthquake. We expect to provide you with an update shortly, right here on this page.

Thanks for your patience. . . .

The original report gets a not-achieved for both geography and journalism, the apology gets a pass.

Foreigners often have trouble differentiating between the Australian and New Zealand accents.

Some think we’re connected to each other by the Sydney Harbour Bridge and others also don’t realise we’re separate countries.

Journalists and sub-editors are supposed to have a better grasp of geography than that though.


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