The world waits

22/07/2013

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

22/07/2013

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

22/07/2013

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

22/07/2013

‘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

22/07/2013

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

22/07/2013

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?

22/07/2013

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.


It’s the trend that matters

22/07/2013

One or two polls, be they good or bad, aren’t significant.

It’s the trend that matters and the trend is down for Labour.

This week’s Roy Morgan poll with a drop of 2% for Labour shouldn’t matter. This poll tends to fluctuate but it’s not the only poll with bad news for what is supposed to be the major opposition party.

Last night’s 3 News/Reid Research poll confirms the slide:

Labour’s so-called “man-ban” got leader David Shearer plenty of attention, for all the wrong reasons.

And it’s got Labour going the wrong way on this poll – down, a drop of 2.1 percent.

“It’s a wake up call for us,” says Mr Shearer. “People want us to be focussed on them and not on Labour Party internal matters.”

“The Labour Party is focussed on the Labour Party and National is focussed on the country,” says Mr Key.

David Shearer’s hold on the leadership just got weaker but a change of leader won’t change much.

A party which can’t run itself isn’t ready to run a government and people have far more pressing concerns than Labour’s instability.

The other aspect of the poll which is of interest is the continuing popularity of John Key and National.

The party is maintaining similar levels of support to its election night result.

People will disagree with individual policies but the stability of support in the polls indicate they’re supportive of the general direction the government is taking the country and trust it in the areas which really matter.

That’s health, education, welfare and security not internal wrangling.


Perspective

22/07/2013

Three years ago the news of a large earthquake in the top of the South and lower North Islands would have been even bigger news three years ago.

But the September 2010 and February 2011 and the thousands of others which followed them have changed our perspective.

Fortunately there have been no reported deaths or major injuries from last evening’s one and the smaller ones which preceded it.

Without in any way dismissing the fear and anguish of those who went through it and are still dealing with the aftershocks, especially people whose homes were damaged, and the hassles associated with trains not running and buildings which can’t be accessed, this was an upset, not a disaster.

Let’s hope it stays that way.


July 22 in history

22/07/2013

838 – Battle of Anzen: the Byzantine emperor Theophilos suffered a heavy defeat by the Abbasids.

1099 – First Crusade: Godfrey of Bouillon was elected the first Defender of the Holy Sepulchre of The Kingdom of Jerusalem.

1209 – Massacre at Béziers: the first major military action of the Albigensian Crusade.

1298 – Wars of Scottish Independence: Battle of Falkirk – King Edward I of England and his longbowmen defeated William Wallace and his Scottish schiltrons outside the town of Falkirk.

1456 – Ottoman Wars in Europe: Siege of Belgrade – John Hunyadi, Regent of the Kingdom of Hungary, defeats Mehmet II of the Ottoman Empire.

1484 – Battle of Lochmaben Fair – A 500-man raiding party led by Alexander Stewart, Duke of Albany and James Douglas, 9th Earl of Douglas were defeated by Scots forces loyal to Albany’s brother James III of Scotland; Douglas was captured.

1499 – Battle of Dornach – The Swiss decisively defeated the Imperial army of Emperor Maximilian I.

1510 Alessandro de’ Medici, Duke of Florence, was born  (d. 1537).

1587  Colony of Roanoke: a second group of English settlers arrived on Roanoke Island off North Carolina to re-establish the deserted colony.

1793 Alexander Mackenzie reached the Pacific Ocean becoming the first Euro-American to complete a transcontinental crossing of Canada.

1805  Napoleonic Wars: War of the Third Coalition – Battle of Cape Finisterre – an inconclusive naval action was fought between a combined French and Spanish fleets under Admiral Pierre-Charles Villeneuve of Spain and a British fleet under Admiral Robert Calder.

1812  Napoleonic Wars: Peninsular War – Battle of Salamanca – British forces led by Arthur Wellesley (later the Duke of Wellington) defeated French troops.

1844 William Archibald Spooner, English priest and scholar, was born  (d. 1930).

1849 Emma Lazarus, American poet, was born (d. 1887).

1864 – American Civil War:  Battle of Atlanta – Confederate General John Bell Hood led an unsuccessful attack on Union troops under General William T. Sherman on Bald Hill.

1890  Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, American Kennedy family matriarch, was born (d. 1995).

1894  First ever motorised racing event was held between the cities of Paris and Rouen – won by comte Jules-Albert de Dion.

1908 Amy Vanderbilt, American author, was born (d. 1974).

1916 A bomb exploded on Market Street, San Francisco during a Preparedness Day parade killing 10 and injuring 40.

1932 Oscar De la Renta, Dominican/American fashion designer, was born.

1933 Wiley Post became the first person to fly solo around the world traveling 15,596 miles in 7 days, 18 hours and 45 minutes.

1934 “Public Enemy No. 1″ John Dillinger was mortally wounded by FBI agents.

1936 Tom Robbins, American author, was born.

1942  The United States government began compulsory civilian gasoline rationing due to the wartime demands.

1942  Holocaust: the systematic deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto began.

1943  Bobby Sherman, American singer and actor, was born.

1944 Anand Satyanand, former Governor-General of New Zealand, was born.

1944 Estelle Bennett, American singer (Ronettes), was born (d. 2009).

1944  Rick Davies, British musician (Supertramp) , was born.

1944  The Polish Committee of National Liberation published its manifesto, starting the period of Communist rule.

1946  King David Hotel bombing: Irgun bombed King David Hotel in Jerusalem, headquarters of the British civil and military administration, killing 90.

1947  Don Henley, American musician (Eagles), was born.

1951 Dezik (Дезик) and Tsygan (Цыган, “Gypsy”) were the first dogs to make a sub-orbital flight.

1962 Mariner programme: Mariner 1 spacecraft flew erratically several minutes after launch and had to be destroyed.

1970 Craig Baird, New Zealander racing driver, was born.

1976  Japan completed its last reparation to the Philippines for war crimes committed in Japan’s imperial conquest of the country in the Second World War

1977  Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping was restored to power.

1980 Scott Dixon, New Zealand racing driver, was born.

1983 Martial law in Poland was officially revoked.

1987 Lotto went on sale for the first time with a first division prize of $360,000.

Lotto goes on sale for first time

1992   Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar escaped from his luxury prison.

1993  Great Flood of 1993: Levees near Kaskaskia, Illinois ruptured, forcing the entire town to evacuate by barges operated by the Army Corps of Engineers.

1997 The second Blue Water Bridge opened between Port Huron, Michigan and Sarnia, Ontario.

2002 Israel killed terrorist Salah Shahade, the Commander-in-Chief of Hamas’s military arm, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades.

2003 Members of 101st Airborne of the United States, aided by Special Forces, attacked a compound in Iraq, killing Saddam Hussein’s sons Uday and Qusay, plus Mustapha Hussein, Qusay’s 14-year old son, and a bodyguard.

2005  Jean Charles de Menezes was killed by police as the hunt started for the London Bombers responsible for the 7 July 2005 London bombings and the 21 July 2005 London bombings.

2011 – Twin terror attacks in Norway:  the first being a bomb blast which targeted government buildings in central Oslo, the second being a massacre at a youth camp on the island of Utøya.

2012 – Bradley Wiggins became the first Briton to win the Tour de France.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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