Word of the day

July 26, 2013

Saccharhinoceros – a lumbering person with an affectedly sentimental manner; a clumsy yet affable & well-loved individual.

Rural round-up

July 26, 2013

Report confirms drought worst in nearly 70 years:

A comparative study on the 2013 drought released today by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) confirms it was one of the most extreme on record for New Zealand and the worst since 1945-46. The 2013 drought was also one of the most widespread New Zealand has experienced with only the drought of 1972-73 that affected Wairarapa, Tasman, Otago and Southland coming close to its geographical spread.

The report states that the cause of the drought was not El Niño but in fact slow-moving or ‘blocking’ high pressure systems over the Tasman Sea and New Zealand over summer.

Commissioned by MPI and undertaken by NIWA, the study looked at two sets of data records – NIWA’s gridded Virtual Climate Station Network that goes back to 1972, and longer-term station records that go back to the early 1940s. . .

Animal cruelty has no place in the dairy industry:

Federated Farmers, DairyNZ and the New Zealand Veterinary Association, takes a strong stance against animal cruelty on-farms and breaking tails is unacceptable stockmanship.

“As a farmer it saddens me to hear these animal welfare charges because it goes against the very nature of a person working with animals.

“Mr Beaumont broke 40 tails out of the 200 cattle he harmed, goes against the very nature of a person who works with animals. It is indefensible, and he has let the industry down by letting his anger get the better of him,” says Chris Lewis, Waikato Dairy chairperson. . .

Drought takes its toll on Fonterra’s forecast:

Federated Farmers is not surprised Fonterra Cooperative Group has announced a decrease in its 2013 forecast earnings before interest and taxation. This is due to the impact of the drought and pressures in its Australian operations.

“I think farmers will be relieved Fonterra has reconfirmed the forecast cash payout will remain unchanged for the 2012/13 season at $6.12. However, the reality of this announcement is that everything has a flow on effect,” says Andrew Hoggard, Federated Farmers Dairy vice-chairperson.

“All those people who have looked at the increased prices on the Global Dairy Trade (GDT) platform and then decided to buy more Fonterra units on the stock exchange may not have understood how it all works. Increases in GDT prices actually mean tighter margins as the base commodities that Fonterra uses to make its own products also rise in price. . .

Livestock Improvement FY profit falls 3% as bull value gains slow – Tina Morrison:

 Livestock Improvement Corp., a farmer cooperative that sells bull semen and provides a dairy genetics database, posted a 3 percent drop in annual profit because its elite breeding bulls didn’t increase in value as much as the previous year.

Profit fell to $23.7 million in the year ended May 31, from $24.4 million a year earlier, the Hamilton-based company said in a statement. The value of its 866 elite breeding bulls rose $2.7 million compared with a $9.4 million gain on its 870 bulls the year earlier.

LIC, as the company is known, is farmer owned through cooperative control shares and investment shares that trade on the NZAX market. The company, which excludes changes in elite bull valuations when setting returns to shareholders, will pay a record dividend of 54.91 cents per investment share, and 8.4 cents per cooperative control share. . .

Stump to Pump programme receives PGP funding boost:

An innovation programme that will pave the way for generating more value from forestry waste by converting it to liquid biofuels is to receive government funding through the Primary Growth Partnership.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has approved co-funding of $6.75 million for the 14-month ‘Stump to Pump’ PGP programme.

Stump to Pump partners Norske Skog and Z Energy will match funding of $6.75 million, bringing the project’s total funding to $13.5 million.

This relatively short-term PGP programme will study the feasibility, including the cost-effectiveness, of making biofuel from forestry waste. It will determine the commercial viability of establishing a modular test plant to process New Zealand forest waste into sustainable transport fuel. . .

Precision Agriculture Association wins bid to host international conference:

The recently-formed Precision Agriculture Association of New Zealand (PAANZ) will host the International Asian Conference on Precision Agriculture in 2017.

The bid was submitted in South Korea and New Zealand beat three other countries – Malaysia, India and Indonesia – for hosting rights. The conference is one of three large international conferences on precision agriculture (PA) held around the world each year. The 2013 conference was held in South Korea and attracted more than 150 attendees.

PAANZ Chairman Peter Barrowclough said the successful bid to host the conference was an early demonstration of the value of now having a national precision agriculture organisation up and running in New Zealand. “And, with our changing export markets and increasingly strong linkages with South East Asia, this will be an excellent vehicle for New Zealand to improve its global networks,” he said. . .

Friday’s answers

July 26, 2013

Thursday’s questions were:

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?

Points for answers:

Andrei got three and a near-enough with a bonus for history for #3; Willdwan got three and a good guess for #3; and Gravedodger got three and a near-enough for #3 with a bonus for extra information.


Read the rest of this entry »

Victory for property rights

July 26, 2013

The Court of Appeal has upheld a High Court ruling that Church Property Trustees is entitled to demolish Christchurch Cathedral if it constructs a new cathedral on the same site.

Derek Golding  took photos of cathedral’s stained glass windows taken in 2007 which show how beautiful the building was before the earthquake.

But this is what it looked like in March.

cathedral march

New Zealand’s built heritage is young by world standards. Preservation of historic buildings for future generations should be taken seriously but not done at all costs.

The Cathedral has been regarded as public property but it isn’t.

It’s the property of the church and the decision on whether it is possible or preferable to attempt to preserve what’s left of the building is theirs.

By ruling in the trustees’ favour the court has upheld their property rights.

Self employment key to wealth

July 26, 2013

NBR editor in chief Nevil Gibson notes the characteristics of many on the Rich List:

. . . High incomes are not necessarily the main factor, either, as often this is accompanied by lavish spending habits.

Indeed, a key feature of these ordinary millionaires is their rejection of flashy cars.

Another is that most are economically self-sufficient: from the start of their adult lives they have had to support themselves.

But most critical is the way they earn their living.

Self-employment gives you a four-times greater chance of becoming rich.

The type of business does not matter, so long as it is successful. Many of them are mundane, providing everyday goods and services.

You will find all of these characteristics in the profiles of the Rich List 2013. Businesses that are built up over a lifetime, or those continued successfully through several generations, are the foundations for fortunes.

A focus on business success, careful investment decisions and identifying entrepreneurial opportunities complete the picture.

The value of property, shares and bonds may rise and fall – but first you have to acquire it.

Very few get rich through wages and salaries alone.

Self-employed or not, the wealthy invest in assets which provide yields which enable their capital to grow.

Few if any will have got it right all the time.

Most, if not all will have lost considerable sums at some time because they got it wrong. But the successful ones learn from their mistakes, pick themselves up, work hard and succeed again.

The usual suspects from the left have greeted the publication of the rich list with cries of inequality.

But Gibson points out:

The past year has been a good one financially and this has benefited the majority as well as the select few.  . .

Another feature of many of the people on the list is their willingness to help others either through charitable donations or other means. this includes giving people opportunities in their businesses.

It’s called the rich list but it’s not so much a celebration of wealth as of success through hard work, risk taking and shrewd investment.

I doubt if any of the people on the list will say that money doesn’t matter. But if my experience of wealthy people is anything to go by, they will say it’s not important in itself but for the choices and opportunities it provides for them and for others.

The full list is here.

Those who like to sneer at Prime Minister John Key and his success might take some satisfaction in the knowledge that running the country hasn’t made him wealthier, in fact, if the NBR’s calculations are accurate it has cost him.

People crucial in ag success

July 26, 2013

The importance of people and their knowledge is being recognised by new award for the Lincoln University Foundation’s South Island Farmer of the Year competition.

Chairman Ben Todhunter says the foundation is pleased to introduce, with the support of the Bank of New Zealand, a $5000 cash prize to the competition for best use of human resources.

“The BNZ Human Resources Award is one of four new categories we have introduced to the competition, in addition to the main prize of a $20,000 travel/study fund,” Todhunter says. “Each of these categories recognise how multi-skilled agricultural business has become to maintain New Zealand’s leading edge as a world class producer.

Todhunter says the award was created to recognise the importance of human resource management in a farm business, including the crucial role people play as innovators and creators and passers on of knowledge; and the contribution to business success that is achieved through strong and effective relationships, internally and externally.

The stereotypical farmer is a man alone. But even one man, or woman, businesses depend on good relationships with the people who service and supply the farm and bigger operations can’t succeed without good relationships with staff.

BNZ head of Agribusiness, Richard Bowman, says an award highlighting the importance of recognising and sharing the skills that sit behind New Zealand’s agribusiness sector is an important addition to the competition.

“The value of the products produced here is well understood, but just as important is the knowledge, techniques and skill that produces those products.

“New Zealand leads the world in farming methodology and process, but the commercial value of those skills is often undervalued, both within the sector and across the wider economy,” says Mr Bowman.

Mr Bowman says that passing on that intellectual property is a critical part of industry succession planning.

“Developing human resource management processes designed to pass knowledge to young farmers and identify talent will ensure New Zealand’s agribusinesses continue to thrive and lead our country’s export growth.”

Mr Bowman also commented that the skills represented in the competition are themselves a latent export opportunity.

“There is real commercial value in our methodology and knowledge in international markets, which represents a significant export opportunity for the sector.

“An on-farm attitude recognising and fostering skills and IP will allow this opportunity to be more fully enjoyed.”

Todhunter says the Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year competition creates a process where others in the industry can learn from the experiences of the finalists and eventual winner, supporting the spread of knowledge for the betterment of the industry as a whole.

“Farmers who win the BNZ award,” Todhunter says, “will have demonstrated real skills in maximising their people resource to promote business success and grow industry knowledge.”. . .

The overall winner will have demonstrated that they are in the top echelon of agricultural producers, that the farm business is sustainable and that they have developed, or are in the process of developing, a new approach or approaches, either inside or beyond the farm gate, that will enhance their farming activity.

Other new prizes are the Lincoln University award for technology and innovation; the Silver Fern Farms ‘Plate to Pasture’ award for consumer focus and the Resource Use Efficiency award for excellence in sustainable resource management.

Nominations and/or entries for this year’s competition have opened and close on August 1.

There’s more information on the competition, including how to nominate someone for, or enter, it here.

From protester to MP

July 26, 2013

Hone Harawira has been found guilty of failing to comply with police instructions during a protest over state housing last year.

There are similarities between his actions at the protest and those of Green MP Russel Norman in his infamous give me back my flag scuffle in his one-man protest against then Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping at the entrance of parliament.

The actions of both men showed they were guilty of not making the transition from protester to MP.

MPs have rights, privileges, means and ways to make their points not available to other citizens.

Norman abused his privilege as an MP in making his protest where he made it.

Harawira apparently forgot he was an MP with the responsibility to uphold the law, or simply didn’t care, in taking his protest to the extent of failing to comply with police instructions.

Both were guilty of making a fuss rather than making a difference as those who make the successful transition from protester to MP can and do.

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