Word of the day

July 24, 2013

Yonderly – something located in the distance; mentally or emotionally distant; absent-minded; aloof; reserved; morose or gloomy.


Rural round-up

July 24, 2013

Farming shift surprises – Peter Watson:

A rapid move from sheep and beef farming into dairying in the Tasman District is revealed in the latest agricultural production figures released by Statistics New Zealand.

They show that sheep, beef and deer numbers each fell by more than 20 per cent in the five years to 2012, while dairy cows increased by almost 13 per cent.

Longtime Duke & Cooke rural valuer Dick Bennison said he was surprised by the size of the switch, but not by the trend, which was driven by poor sheep and beef returns compared with healthy milkfat payouts. . .

Water accord could backfire – Gerald Piddock:

A Waikato organic farmer fears parts of the new environmental code for dairy farming could be misinterpreted by farmers.

This could result in the Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord having the opposite effect of its intent, Waikato Organic Agricultural Group facilitator Bill Quinn said.

The accord was released earlier this month and sets out new environmental benchmarks for dairy farmers.
Quinn believed the critical part of the document was the glossary at the back. . . .

Public unaware of farming hardship says survey – Jonathan Riley:

The general public is overwhelmingly supportive of farmers, but is unaware of the “silent crisis” facing agriculture, a survey has revealed.

The survey was carried out by pollster YouGov for Prince Charles’ charity, the Prince’s Countryside Fund.

It showed less than one-quarter (22%) of the British public would describe the farming industry as in dire straits and facing the worst crisis since foot-and-mouth disease. Only 5% correctly estimated that more than 100,000 animals died as a result of the snow and other poor weather this year between January and April. . .

An age-old endeavour – Jill Galloway:

Sue Fielder loves her coloured sheep. She loves the fleeces, spinning, knitting and felting the wool.

She has about 25 ewes, and 14 younger sheep – hoggets. Most are grey, brown or black. There are a few white sheep, but they carry coloured genes. They are romneys and english leicesters.

She and her husband have about 5 hectares at Taonui near Feilding. They have a few dexter cattle, and although Fielder loves them, they will go to make more room for more sheep. . .

Call to protect genuine manuka honey:

A Maori consultancy firm is thinking of ways to protect manuka honey products after research has found properties of the honey can be chemically faked.

Genuine New Zealand manuka honey contains naturally occurring bioactive compounds and can fetch up to $250 a kilogram overseas.

Research by a consortium of universities and Crown Research Institutes, which has yet to be published, discovered those properties can be synthesised by adding chemicals to normal honey, such as regular clover or low grade manuka honey. . .

Ballance drops prices to make farm fertiliser budgets stretch:

With just six weeks until spring Ballance Agri-Nutrients has reduced the price on the majority of fertiliser nutrients.

This current round of price reductions follows the lead Ballance made to drop domestic prices in June, with Ballance Chief Executive Larry Bilodeau saying lower prices will help farmers plan ahead with confidence.  . .

Amisfield Wine Company Breaks into High-End Asian Market:

Amisfield Wine Company is expanding its Asian market presence after securing an exclusive distribution deal with high-end Chinese wine distributor Kerry Wines.

The Central Otago-based specialist wine producer of Pinot Noir and aromatic white wines has this month started selling its range of wines to the Greater China region, including Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

“This is an important step in our strategic goal of becoming a globally recognised brand and making our wines available to the broader international market,” said Amisfield Wine Company’s CEO Craig Erasmus. . .


If . . .

July 24, 2013

If you’d offered to host a dinner for six people as a lot in a charity auction what would you serve and/or if you’d made the winning bid what would you want to eat?

We made the offer for an auction at the local church fair last month.

The three couples who made the winning bid are coming on Saturday and I can’t decide what to serve.

They paid $400 and something in total.

Something better than ordinary is required and it would be preferable if most of the meal could be prepared before the guests arrived.


Aging population will affect local government

July 24, 2013

University of Waikato demographer, Professor Natalie Jackson, presented the inconvenient truth on demographics to Local Government New Zealand’s annual conference.

Professor Jackson said over the next two decades, all growth in 56 of New Zealand’s territorial authorities (84 per cent of the total 78) will be in the 65 years-plus age bracket.

By 2031, an estimated 91 per cent of territorial authorities (TA) will have more elderly than children. This figure currently stands at just 15 per cent. This will have a major impact on employment, housing and infrastructure in much of New Zealand.

This, Prof Jackson says, is the inconvenient truth of population ageing, already well advanced across the developed world. . .

The government is not going to force amalgamations on councils but reorganisation was discussed.

. . . Ganesh Nana, Chief Economist at BERL said “Economies of scale make sense, where there is synergy and, importantly, where communities are comfortable with the change being proposed.”

The panel also recognised issues caused by changing demographics where some areas will have declining populations, whilst other grow.

LGNZ President, Lawrence Yule, said “This makes it more of a challenge for smaller councils. The inevitability of change means that councils will be finding innovative approaches to deliver their services.”

“The answer to “is Bigger Better?” will be very different depending on where you are and what challenges you are facing as a council – but one thing is certain – there will be changes ahead for local government in New Zealand.”

Some amalgamations are inevitable to get economies of scale but could a different approach to doing what they have to do also work?

For example, do councils in close proximity have to duplicate everything they do, or could one specialise in certain areas and its neighbour or neighbours tackle others?

This wouldn’t work where each council had different policies but could it where policies are set by central government rather than councils or would distancing staff from elected representatives cause more problems than it solved?


Do equal numbers of men and women want to be MPs?

July 24, 2013

In the debate about gender balance in parliament I haven’t come across any discussion on whether equal numbers of men and women want to be MPs.

If more women are seeking selection and failing while fewer men try and succeed, and there is no great difference in their suitability, there could be an issue of discrimination.

But if fewer women seek selection in the first place, fewer getting to parliament might not be the problem those wanting better balance between the genders think it is.

I’ve been involved in selections several times.

The first one had two men and one woman seeking the candidacy. One of the men won the selection but didn’t win the seat.

The second one had two men standing and the successful one won the seat.

The third time a couple of men stood but the winner didn’t take the seat.

The next time only one applicant passed the pre-selection process. She became the candidate and won the seat.

The fifth time a man and a woman sought the candidacy, she was selected and won the seat.

The sixth time two men stood for selection but the one who became the candidate didn’t make it in to parliament .

The last time, two women sought selection. The successful one didn’t win the seat but was on the cusp of being a list MP.

In all these selections, the successful people became candidates on their merits.

That’s nine men seeking selection, five winning but only one of whom became an MP while five women sought to be a candidate, three succeeded and two became MPs.

This is anecdote not science.

It would be interesting to know what proper statistical analysis  of the numbers standing, succeeding as candidates and then becoming MPs showed.


Maori seats to stay at 7?

July 24, 2013

Today is the last day for people to change between the Maori and general electoral rolls .

The number doing so will determine if there is a change in the number of Maori seats.

. . . The latest campaign opened in March – and preliminary results show 5200 people joined the Maori roll halfway through – most of them being new voters.

Nearly ten thousand more people would need to join it by Wednesday to be on par with the number of people who joined in the 2006 option – which saw no increase in Maori seats. . .

A report in June said:

The 6774 voters moving from the General Roll to the Maori Roll are essentially cancelled out by the 6727 leaving it to go on the General Roll.

Unless there’s been a large number of people opting for the Maori roll and very few for the general roll in the last month it is likely the status quo of seven Maori seats will remain.

The Maori seats are an anachronism which ought to have disappeared when MMP was introduced.

No new ones is good, fewer would be better and none at all would be best.

The seats were taken for granted by Labour for years and the area most of them cover make it much more difficult to service them and constituents to get access to their MPs.


July 24 in history

July 24, 2013

1132 Battle of Nocera between Ranulf II of Alife and Roger II of Sicily.

1148  Louis VII of France  laid siege to Damascus during the Second Crusade.

1411  Battle of Harlaw, one of the bloodiest battles in Scotland.

1487  Citizens of Leeuwarden, Netherlands struck against ban on foreign beer.

1534  French explorer Jacques Cartier planted a cross on the Gaspé Peninsula and took possession of the territory in the name of Francis I of France.

1567  Mary, Queen of Scots, was forced to abdicate and replaced by her 1-year-old son James VI.

1701  Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac founded the trading post at Fort Pontchartrain, which later became the city of Detroit, Michigan.

1715 A Spanish treasure fleet of 10 ships under Admiral Ubilla left Havana  for Spain.

1725 John Newton, English cleric and hymnist, was born (d. 1807).

1783 Simón Bolívar, South American liberator, was born (d. 1830).
1802 Alexandre Dumas, père, French writer, was born (d. 1870).

1814  War of 1812: General Phineas Riall advanced toward the Niagara River to halt Jacob Brown’s American invaders.

1823  Slavery was abolished in Chile.

1832  Benjamin Bonneville led  the first wagon train across the Rocky Mountains by using Wyoming’s South Pass.

1847  After 17 months of travel, Brigham Young led 148 Mormon pioneers into Salt Lake Valley, resulting in the establishment of Salt Lake City.

1864  American Civil War: Battle of Kernstown – Confederate General Jubal Anderson Early defeated Union troops led by General George Crook in an effort to keep them out of the Shenandoah Valley.

1866  Reconstruction: Tennessee became the first U.S. State to be readmitted to the Union following the American Civil War.

1874 Oswald Chambers, Scottish minister and writer, was born (d. 1917).

1895  Robert Graves, English author, was born  (d. 1985).

1897 Amelia Earhart, American aviator, was born (disappeared 1937).

1901  O. Henry was released from prison after serving three years for embezzlement from a bank.

1911  Hiram Bingham III re-discovered Machu Picchu, “the Lost City of the Incas”.

1915  The passenger ship S.S. Eastland capsised in central Chicago, with the loss of 845 lives.

1923  The Treaty of Lausanne, settling the boundaries of modern Turkey, was signed.

1927  The Menin Gate war memorial is unveiled at Ypres.

1929  The Kellogg-Briand Pact, renouncing war as an instrument of foreign policy went  into effect.

1931  A fire at a home for the elderly in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania killed 48 people.

1935  The world’s first children’s railway opened in Tbilisi, USSR.

1935   The dust bowl heat wave reached its peak, sending temperatures to 109°F (44°C) in Chicago and 104°F (40°C) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

1937 Alabama dropped rape charges against the so-called “Scottsboro Boys“.

1938 First ascent of the Eiger north face.

1943 World War II: Operation Gomorrah began: British and Canadian aeroplanes bombed Hamburg by night, those of the Americans by day.

1950 Cape Canaveral Air Force Station began operations with the launch of a Bumper rocket.

1959  At the opening of the American National Exhibition in Moscow, U.S. Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev have a “Kitchen Debate“.

1966 Michael Pelkey and Brian Schubert made the first BASE jump from El Capitan. Both came out with broken bones.

1967  During an official state visit to Canada, French President Charles de Gaulle declared to a crowd of over 100,000 in Montreal: Vive le Québec libre! (“Long live free Quebec!”). The statement, interpreted as support for Quebec independence, delighted many Quebecers but angered the Canadian government and many English Canadians.

1969 Jennifer Lopez, American actress and singer, was born.

1969  Apollo 11 splashed down safely in the Pacific Ocean.

1972 Bugojno group was caught by Yugoslav security forces.

1974 Watergate scandal: the United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled that President Richard Nixon did not have the authority to withhold subpoenaed White House tapes and they order him to surrender the tapes to the Watergate special prosecutor.

1974 After the Turkish invasion of Cyprus the Greek military junta collapsed and democracy was restored.

1977  End of a four day Libyan-Egyptian War.

1982 Anna Paquin, Canadian-born New Zealand actress, was born.

1982  Heavy rain caused a mudslide that destroyed  a bridge at Nagasaki, Japan, killing 299.

1990  Iraqi forces started massing on the Kuwait-Iraq border.

1998  Russell Eugene Weston Jr. burst into the United States Capitol and opened fire killing two police officers.

2000 Private Leonard Manning became New Zealand’s first combat death since the Vietnam War when he was killed in Timor-Leste.

New Zealand soldier killed  in Timor-Leste

2001 – Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, the last Tsar of Bulgaria when he was a child, was sworn in as Prime Minister of Bulgaria, becoming the first monarch in history to regain political power through democratic election to a different office.

2001 Bandaranaike Airport attack was carried out by 14 Tamil Tiger commandos, all died in this attack. They destroyed 11 Aircrafts (mostly military) and damaged 15, there are no civilian casualties.

2005 Lance Armstrong won his seventh consecutive Tour de France.

2007  Libya freed all six of the Medics in the HIV trial in Libya.

2009 – The MV Arctic Sea, reportedly carrying a cargo of timber, was allegedly hijacked in the North Sea by pirates, but much speculation remains as to the actual cargo and events.

2011 – Digital switchover was completed in 44 of the 47 prefectures of Japan, with Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima television stations terminating analog broadcasting operations later as a result of the Tohoku earthquake.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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