Word of the day

July 25, 2013

Quillet – trivial  or banal objection; a subtlety; a quibble; small tract of land.


Rural round-up

July 25, 2013

Korean visit to address fears about trade direction – Marie

Prime Minister John Key heads for South Korea on Thursday for an official visit warning that New Zealand’s fifth biggest trading partner will slip down the rankings without a free trade agreement.

War commemorations will be a central feature of the visit, with 30 New Zealand veterans joining Key’s entourage to mark the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice. 

Key said outside those events, the priority was to make progress on reaching an FTA. . .

Farmer Confidence Rebounds, New Survey Finds:

Federated Farmers’ New-Season Farm Confidence Survey, undertaken at the start of the 2013/14 season, has shown a major turnaround in farmer confidence.  This result is in keeping with other recent farm and business confidence surveys.

“Farmers are showing a lot more optimism in both the wider economy and individual farm prospects,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.

“You could say farmers are in recovery mode but this bounce back comes off a low base.  There is still a large gap in the sentiment of dairy farmers when compared to the other farming sectors.

“Six months ago, farmers were fairly negative about the wider economy and were very pessimistic about their own profitability.   This was particularly the case for sheep and beef farmers. In contrast, dairy farmers were feeling more optimistic than they had been at this point last year [July 2012], thanks mainly to better dairy commodity prices and growing conditions. . .

Alliance lamb in Oliver’s Russian eatery – Alan Williams:

Alliance Group lamb from New Zealand will be on the menu at the new Jamie Oliver restaurant due to open in Russian city St Petersburg.

The contract was a good boost to the business Alliance had built with Russian food service companies and restaurants over the past 12 years, marketing general manager Murray Brown said.

It highlighted the growing status of the group’s Pure South brand as a leading red-meat export, he said. . .

Eliminating wool’s dirty secret:

With New Zealand’s main-shear approaching, Federated Farmers and the NZ Shearing Contractors Association are backing moves to cut the woolshed contamination of wool. If successful, it could boost farmgate returns by a couple of million dollars each year.

“When you are dealing with a $700 million export, cutting wool contamination translates into a big opportunity for fibre farmers,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre spokesperson.

“As a farmer, the easiest way for us to increase our returns is to focus on what we can control. Woolshed contamination is a perfect example of this. . .

Head in a bucket – he does that every morning – Mad Bush Farm:

 He’s old, muddy, grumpy and he wasn’t making it any secret he wasn’t going to be sharing his breakfast with Ranger and the other little horses. As for me well the black eye has at last waned to a faded reminder of Muphy’s visit last week to the farm. The cows and naughty little Tempest, are finding out the hard way that an electrified wire is now on the road fence. We’ve had a few fine days, it’s still a bog hole here. My complaints are going unheeded by Mr Winter. He won’t be leaving until the end of August – darn. I’m going back to the mud now to complain some more or mayube I’ll just go and have a coffee instead

Talking of horses I found this beautiful tribute to the Arabian horse done with clips from the Black Stallion and other films. . .

Jousting for poll position – Milk Maid Marian:

Scuffles broke out right across the paddock as the weak winter sun lit the stage for a bovine pugilism festival. The cows were feeling magnificent and, unable to contain their energy, were ready to take on all comers.

The kids and I love watching the cows “do butter-heads” and the cows seem to love it, too. For every pair or trio engaged in warfare, there will be a group of curious onlookers and one scuffle seems to inspire more outbreaks.

Does butter-heads have a serious purpose though? Yes, it does. The herd has a very structured pecking order. Cows come into the dairy in roughly the same order every milking and the smallest and most timid are inevitably last. Mess them up by splitting the herd into seemingly random groups for a large-scale vet procedure like preg testing and you can expect trouble. . .


Thursday’s quiz

July 25, 2013

1. Who said: It is a pleasant thing to reflect upon, and furnishes a complete answer to those who contend for the gradual degeneration of the human species, that every baby born into the world is a finer one than the last.?

2.  Who was the founder of Plunket and why was to society named that?

3. It’s naissance in French, nascita in Italian, nacimiento in Spanish and wherereitanga in Maori, what is it in English?

4. What is the significance of the new Prince’s names: George  Alexander Louis?

5. If you’d been able to choose your own name, would you have the one you’ve got?


Boardrooms back Bill

July 25, 2013

Finance Minister Bill English has won well-deserved praise in the Herald’s annual Mood of the Boardroom  CEO’s survey.

Finance Minister Bill English has emerged as the hidden “star” of the Key Government pole-vaulting boss John Key for the second year in a row to emerge as the highest rated Cabinet Minister by leading chief executives.

“Bill English has really been an exceptional Minister of Finance,” said BusinessNZ CEO Phil O’Reilly. “He has been sober, boring and sensible but the macro settings have been just right. He deserves more credit for that.”

English’s “Southland determination” to get the country’s books back into order and “dour, no-nonsense personality” are cited by chief executives as making him the perfect foil for a populist prime minister. “He can just get on with the business,” said a financial markets chief.

The Herald’s 2013 Mood of the Boardroom CEOs Survey, in association with BusinessNZ, found widespread support for English’s management of the economy. . .

This matters.

Businesses which have confidence in the government and the direction in which it is taking the country are more likely to make the investments which boost economic growth and crate jobs.

The Finance Minister’s ability to deliver on his aim to post a Budget surplus in 2014/2015 has been buoyed by growing taxation returns off the back of stronger corporate profits; the proceeds of the partial privatisation programme and a determination to keep government spending under control.

In his post-Budget speech to the Trans Tasman Business Circle John Key spelt out how he would like New Zealanders to remember his government. Key said if the Government can achieve a step change in New Zealand, “in years to come they will say ‘I think that it held its nerve and fundamentally guided us through the global financial crisis and the Christchurch earthquakes and it set the country up to grow during a period of dramatic change in Asia’ and that is going to be a far bigger gift.

“New Zealanders will have jobs and families will have independence.”

That is a legacy every government should aspire to leave.

Seventy-two per cent of chief executives responding to the CEOs survey agreed that the Key-led Government has achieved that positive legacy; 9 per cent said No and 19 per cent were unsure. . .

“Most New Zealanders will not realise until much later what a great job Messrs Key, English and others have done steering New Zealand through the challenges of the last few years,” added First NZ Capital’s Scott St John.

“The way they have protected NZ households by maintaining fiscal discipline and keeping interest rates low has been very important.

“Amazing that we have come through the Global Financial Crisis with a short recession, low unemployment, Government debt at under 30 per cent, credit ratings OK and earthquakes,” added a wholesale trade CEO. “Overall it is impressive stuff. . .

It needs at least one more term to bed in the progress and achieve more.


Civics in schools to boost election turn-out?

July 25, 2013

The government has responded to the Justice and Electoral Select Committee’s report on the 2011 election.

One recommendation, is to ask the Electoral Commission to liaise with the Ministry of Education on the feasibility of ongoing comprehensive civics education in schools.

While I’m loathe to add anything to an already very full curriculum, and whether or not it boosts voter turn out, I think this is a good idea.

We all ought to understand the process and institutions of government and our rights and duties as citizens.

Greater knowledge could lead to greater interest which could increase voter turn out and participation in other areas such as submissions to select committees.

 


United by good news

July 25, 2013

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have named their son George Alexander Louis.

He’ll be known as Prince George of Cambridge.

Their website has photos here.

With the exception of a few curmudgeonly remarks and some opportunistic rants from rabid anti-monarchists, the news of the Prince’s birth has been greeted with pleasure.

Every child should be as welcome and loved as this one and it’s good for us to be united now and then by good news.

 

 


Tripe or starvation

July 25, 2013

The majority of National Party supporters would like Prime Minister John Key to work with New Zealand First after the 2014 election, a new poll indicates.

This puts me firmly in the minority.

Then we see the reason behind the response:

Mr Key says National supporters want him to do a U-turn on previous promises and work with Mr Peters, if it means stopping a Labour-Greens government, and a 3 News/Reid research poll backs this up. . .

“I think partly it reflects that the country doesn’t want to see Labour and the Greens in office,” says Mr Key, “and so if it means having to deal with New Zealand First, a lot of our supporters would prefer to see that situation.”

If it makes National supporters prefer Peters the thought of the LabourGreen alternative must make them feel very, very bad.

It would be a bit like preferring tripe and liver to starvation.

 

 


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