August 31, 2013

Oh dear, only 10/20 in the bad science quiz designed to test if you know the difference between real science and gobbledygook.

Word of the day

August 31, 2013

Fissiparous – tending to break up into parts or break away from a main body; tending to break into factions; factious; divisive tendencies in a political party; inclined to cause or undergo division into separate parts or groups; reproducing by biological fission.

Hat tip: Rob Hosking in dissection of the Labour Party and its three leadership aspirants in the print edition of the NBR.

Labour like Labor

August 31, 2013

Kevin Rudd’s opinion of himself as Labor’s, and Australia’s, great hope is not shared by voters.

With just a week to go until election day in Australia, Labor is almost certainly heading for a landslide defeat.

Sydney Morning Herald columnist Gay Alcorn writes:

. . . I have been around too long to predict election outcomes, but it is looking as though September 7 will be a day of reckoning for a party that has come close to destroying itself. Labor seems so hollowed out that perhaps it had no choice but to grasp onto an American-style campaign centred around one man, Kevin Rudd, the man who more than any other contributed to the party’s predicament.

Perhaps Rudd’s elevation will mean that Labor will avoid the ”catastrophic defeat” it faced under Gillard, and it will console itself with that. But there is so much heaviness in Labor’s campaign, weighed down as it is by bad memories and bad blood. . .

Put a u in Labor, change the leader’s name and this could have been written about the Labour Party here.

It too is hollowed out, weighed down by bad memories and bad blood.

It will have a new leader in a couple of weeks but it won’t have a new culture.

Hat tip: Keeping Stock

Rural round-up

August 31, 2013

Fonterra Leadership to Visit China Next Week:

Fonterra Chairman John Wilson and CEO Theo Spierings will lead a Board of Directors visit to China next week to meet with Fonterra management and key stakeholders.

Mr Wilson said the Co-operative’s Board had already planned to visit China in early September for Directors to meet with Fonterra staff and stakeholders, and view progress on Fonterra’s farming hub in Yutian.

“Now that it has been confirmed that there was no Clostridium botulinum in our whey protein concentrate, we need to address any remaining concerns our stakeholders in China might have. . .

Fonterra’s false alarm shows danger of ‘crying wolf’:

Victoria and Otago Marketing academics provide expert comment on the Fonterra crisis:

Although it is good news that Fonterra received the ‘all clear’ from the Ministry for Primary Industries yesterday, a lot more needs to be done to restore New Zealand’s reputation, say academics from Victoria University of Wellington and the University of Otago.

Dr Hongzhi Gao, Senior Lecturer in Marketing at Victoria Business School and Senior Research Fellow of the New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre, says the New Zealand government and business communities still have a big job ahead to ensure the official findings filter through to the global market.

“Negativity was so widely spread overseas that a proper public relations campaign needs to be planned and implemented in key dairy export markets, including China. If it is done well, the crisis may be turned into an opportunity for New Zealand’s brand,” says Dr Gao. . .

PGG Wrightson sells Heartland stake for $11.3 million to reduce debt – Tina Morrison

(BusinessDesk) – PGG Wrightson, the rural services company controlled by China’s Agria Corp, sold its stake in Heartland New Zealand for $11.3 million to reduce debt.

Christchurch-based Wrightson sold 13.18 million shares in Heartland, the parent of the country’s newest bank, through a brokerage yesterday at 84 cents a share, a 3.4 percent discount to the 87 cent share price Heartland was trading at immediately prior to the sale. Wrightson acquired the stake as part of the sale of its finance arm to Heartland.

“It wasn’t a strategic holding for us, it’s not our core business,” said company secretary Julian Daly. The stock price “was at a level that we were satisfied with.” . . .

Yashili Granted Consent for Infant Forumla Plant in Pokeno:

Independent commissioner Michael Savage has granted land use consent to Chinese company Yashili NZ Dairy Co Ltd to construct and run a $220 million infant formula plant in Pokeno.

This follows a three day hearing which took place on Wednesday 31 July – Friday 2 August at the Waikato District Council Chambers in Ngaruawahia.

The Council’s Regulatory Committee appointed Michael Savage as the independent Commissioner to hear the application, which received 27 submissions with five submitters heard at the hearing. . .

Synlait Milk will process more milk than forecast in FY14:

Synlait Milk will process more milk than forecast following a decision to take a significant allocation of milk under the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act in the financial year to 31 July 2014.

The decision was made after further planning and a small investment in plant and equipment resulted in an opportunity to increase production capacity of its ingredient products without impacting the forecast infant formula and nutritional products business.

The extra milk will result in an increase to the forecast milk supply and production volumes of its ingredient products as stated in the prospective financial information (“PFI”) of its prospectus issued in June 2013. While early in the season the additional total production provides the Company with increased confidence in achieving its forecast financial result for FY2014. . .

Westland Milk Products joins the ‘good news club’:

Federated Farmers West Coast says New Zealand’s second largest dairy cooperative, Westland Milk Products, has now joined the ‘good news club.’ The cooperative has revised its 2013/14 forecast payout to a range of $7.60-8.00 per kilogram of milk solids (kg/MS), with a new advance rate of $5 kg/MS.

“It has been one hell of an August. I even saw someone at Federated Farmers head office tag it as dairying’s ‘mensis horribilis’,” says Richard Reynolds, Federated Farmers West Coast Dairy chairperson.

“Frankly, West Coast farmers like me are counting down to 20 September when we get the advance. After the rare West Coast drought this year, we’ve got more than an overdraft to start clearing. . .

Saturday’s smiles

August 31, 2013

A doctor was giving a woman a check-up and asked her about her physical activity level.

The woman said she spent three days a week, every week, exercising outside.

When asked for a description of what she did on those days, she replied, “Well, yesterday afternoon was typical; I took a five-hour walk, about seven miles, through some pretty rough terrain. I waded along the edge of a lake. I pushed my way through two miles of gorse and broom. I ran away from an irate ram, and then ran away from an angry dog.

“I was shattered at the end of it.”

Amazed by the story, the doctor said, “You must be a very enthusiastic tramper.”

“No,” the woman replied, “I’m just a really, really bad golfer.”

What do the members think?

August 31, 2013

Labour’s three leadership aspirants have a spending limit of $30,000 for their campaigns.

It seems a lot of money as one of the contenders, Shane Jones, says:

“If any bugger can raise $30,000 for a 15-friggin’-day contest then the 30-odd members of the bloody Labour caucus can go out there and raise a million to fight John Key, for God’s sake.”

When Labour came to its members to help repay the taxpayers’ money it illegally spent on its pledge card, they weren’t impressed.

One said few members were wealthy and most worked hard to raise money for the party by doing a lot of small fundraisers – raffles, catering . . .

The members had had no say in spending the money and were not impressed they were being asked to help pay it back when those who had the say were in a much better position to do so.

I am sure that members won’t be impressed with the thought that up to $90,000 could be spent on this campaign when the party is short of money and they will be working so hard for the one that matters – next year’s election.

Jones is regarded as the underdog but his comment shows he’s in tune with what members think.

Can’t run itself, can’t run country

August 31, 2013

Quote of the day:

If Labour cannot run itself, it must be assumed it cannot run the country. ODT

The ODT is not alone in this opinion. John Armstrong writes:

. . . Regardless, the new rules have been symptomatic of an increasingly toxic relationship between the bulk of the caucus and factions within the wider party. . .

In Parliament, with the outgoing leader on leave, his deputy consumed with getting the top job and the rest of the caucus viewing the race with trepidation, Labour drifts leaderless and rudderless for two weeks. Labour is the Mary Celeste of Parliament.

Labour’s new rules make it even less stable than it was.

On top of that the party has failed to learn from the mistakes National made after its 1999 election loss and the necessary changes it made after the 2002 defeat.

Losing parties have to get rid of the dead wood.

They also have to demonstrate they are able to run themselves properly with unity in and between the caucus and wider membership if they’re to convince voters they’re fit to run the country.

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