3 mistakes in 140 characters

August 2, 2013

From Twitter:

    1. @RusselNorman @DFisherJourno No, you are making it up Russell. Read the papers again. And stop deliberately conflating PM’s Office and DPMC

    2. @stevenljoyce You denying that Henry Inquiry had contents of Dunne/Vance emails?

    3. @RusselNorman just correcting the three deliberately incorrect statements in your tweet. 3 in 140 characters pretty impressive, even for u

    4. @stevenljoyce And that these email records were sent to DPMC from Parl Services after PM’s Chief of Staff intervened

    5. @RusselNorman Absolute rubbish. Go and take your tin foil hat off and have a lie down


Friday’s answers

August 2, 2013

Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said: There exists no politician in India daring enough to attempt to explain to the masses that cows can be eaten.?

2. What were Feckless, Aimless, Pointless, and Graceless, in which book did they appear and who was the author?

3. It’s vache in French, mucca in Italian and vaca in Spanish what is it in English and Maori?

4. Where would you find the sculpture “Charging Bull,”  by Arturo Di Modica?

5. What’s your favourite cheese/s and with what would you accompany it?

Points for answers:

Todd got 2 plus 2/3 for #2  (I know you knew they were cows but you didn’t say so) and 1/2 for #3.

Andrei got 2 and 1/3 for #2 and 1/2 for #3 and a obnus for being the only one to know the answer to #4.

Tracey got 1 – and a bonus for being the only one to know the Maori word for cow is kau.

Alwyn got 2 plus 1/3 and a bonus for wit for #2 and 1/2 for #3.

Answers: Read the rest of this entry »


Word of the day

August 2, 2013

Ranz-des-vaches – literally rows of cows;  simple, but often irregular, melodies played on the alpenhorn by Swiss herdsmen/women to call cattle in for milking or back to the pasture.


Spoilt for choice

August 2, 2013

 Colin James has been crystal ball gazing:

Political analyst Colin James has tipped environment minister Amy Adams as a potential ‘dark horse’ successor to John Key, in a speech to the New Zealand Contractors’ Federation’s annual conference.

National is in the fortunate position of having a leader who enjoys the confidence of his caucus, party and the wider public so the issue of succession is not a pressing one.

Should it need to find a successor, the party would be spoilt for choice with a talented caucus. Amy is one of many who would be up to the very tough task of following one of the country’s most popular leaders.

The contrast with Labour couldn’t be starker.

Its leader doesn’t have the confidence of his caucus, party or wider public.

Its caucus isn’t awash with talent and it’s so divided it can’t find a successor on whom they can agree to replace David Shearer in spite of his unpopularity.

Mr James also told delegates at the event in Queenstown that his gut feeling was that there would be a third term National government, but the civil construction industry should plan ahead for the “90 per cent probability of a Labour/Greens based government in 2017.” . . .

Winning a second term isn’t a given but it’s more common than not.

A third term is much more difficult, a fourth is rare and has yet to happen under MMP.

 


Rural round-up

August 2, 2013

Debt puts pressure on large companies to achieve solution – Allan Barber:

If there was ever a compelling reason for the meat companies to sort out the problems of procurement competition and excess capacity, the debt levels on the balance sheets of the big three at the end of last season provide one.

Between them they stacked up combined current and non-current borrowings of $710 million, 45% of these on Silver Fern Farms’ books, 28% on Alliance’s and 27% on ANZCO’s. No wonder they can’t afford another loss-making year like 2011/12 which makes this year so important for getting back into as healthy a condition as possible.

The forecast livestock volumes, especially sheep and lambs, for the next four years place a great deal of pressure on the companies to find a solution urgently before procurement competition breaks out yet again. MPI’s Situation and Outlook Report which came out in June predicts a gradual recovery in values, but livestock numbers and export tonnages are virtually static or declining, because of the effects of the drought, herd and flock rebuilding and the impact of dairy on land use. . .

Ballance pays record rebate after record performance:

 Ballance Agri-Nutrients shareholders are in line for a record rebate and dividend of $65/tonne, along with a recommended 60 cent increase in the value of their co-operative’s shares to $8.10.

The rebate averaging $60.83 per tonne and a fully imputed dividend of 10 cents per share will be paid out nearly six weeks earlier during mid-August, with Ballance Chairman David Graham saying the payment has been brought forward to reward shareholders and assist them with cash flows at the start of the season.

“The drought may be over but the financial impacts are not, so we are fast-tracking the payment for shareholders in recognition of that so they can gain the full benefits of a good year for their co-operative as quickly as possible.” . . .

AgResearch creating the ‘Silicon Valley of Food’

 With food being to New Zealand what ‘Silicon Valley’ is to the United States’ technology sector, Federated Farmers is backing AgResearch’s strategic move to create two major research campuses supplemented by two smaller ones.

“Federated Farmers is backing AgResearch in what is an important strategic move for it and New Zealand,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Vice-President.

“Its masterplan is about supporting primary exports to reach $64 billion by 2025.

“We cannot deny there is a human element to this change and while 40 positions are slated to go, the actual number will be low given this is a four- year transition. That said, it will require a number of staff and their families to consider where their long-term futures lie.

“Federated Farmers is encouraged to see that no staff will be required to relocate until 2016. . .

Reduce nitrate leaching with mobile milking system – Milking on the Moove:

Unconventional ways to reduce nitrate leaching

Part 1 
A few weeks ago I explained how agroforestry is a farming system that is able to reduce nitrate leaching.

Part 2
Today I will talk about how a dairy farming system based around a mobile cowshed is able to reduce the level of nitrate leaching.

A traditional cowshed is in a fixed location. The cows have to be within walking distance of the cowshed because they need to get milked twice a day.

The main cause of nitrate leaching on dairy farms in the cows urine patch.

For this reason, the cows are always grazed on the same block of land surrounding the cowshed. . .

Honouring the unsung young heroes of the Hawke’s Bay wine industry:

Moore Stephens Markhams Young Viticulturist of the Year Competition Friday 2 August 2013.

Hawke’s Bay is internationally renowned for its wine. The local wineries and winemakers are household names, with exceptional reputations in New Zealand and further afield.

Less well known, but just as crucial to the crafting of world-beating wine, are the viticulturists. They are intimately involved in all aspects of vineyard management; their extraordinary knowledge ensuring winemakers have the best possible grapes to work with after each harvest.

The region’s best up-and-coming viticulturists are being honoured on Friday 2 August at the Moore Stephens Markhams Young Viticulturist of the Year Competition. This is being held at Mission Estate – their viticulturist Caine Thompson took out the Hawke’s Bay competition in 2009. He went on to win the national awards, before being named New Zealand Young Horticulturist of the Year. . .

Technology could be future boon for kiwifruit growers:

A new online system is being developed that might one day help kiwifruit growers make decisions on when to spray orchards for pests and diseases. The system is in the early stages of development in a joint project between the University of Waikato and Plant & Food Research (PFR).

The web-based tool is should help reduce time and costs associated with pest monitoring in kiwifruit orchards and spray application.

The current process of physically monitoring pest levels is time consuming, says University of Waikato summer research scholarship student Michael Fowke.

“Spraying is a necessary exercise for growers and a lot of time is spent trying to identify when or whether spraying is needed,” he says. “It will need a lot more testing in the field but potentially this system could cut that time down considerably.” . .

Iwi Suggests To Pull Plug on Dam:

At a Hui an Iwi held at Matahiwi marae last night, Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated was asked by several Heretaunga hapū to oppose the Ruataniwha Dam project on their behalf.

The main reasons given were inadequate consultation, selective information release, and the failure by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council to recognize and acknowledge the Tino Rangatiratanga that hapū had exercised over rivers and water bodies from time immemorial. . .

Keen-To-Learn Farmer Turns to Ballance Farm Environment Awards for Information and Inspiration:

Returning to the family farm five years ago was an in-the-deep-end experience for Waikato farmer James Bailey and his wife Ella.

‘Momona’, a 440ha (effective) Tirau sheep and beef farm, had been in the Bailey family for five generations, so James was eager to start off on the right foot. While he was mindful of the work performed by past generations, he was also keen to improve the environmental sustainability of the business.

James, a keen surfer, is co-founder of Sustainable Coastlines – an award-winning registered charity that organises coastal clean-ups, educational programmes and riparian plantings. . .


Holcim switching from production to imports

August 2, 2013

Holcim’s focus in New Zealand is switching from producing cement to importing it:

Holcim (New Zealand) Ltd will spend more than NZD 100M over the next three years constructing an import terminal and related infrastructure that will allow it to import and distribute bulk cement for supply to the New Zealand market. The terminal, which is expected to be operational in 2 – 3 years time, will be based on similar Holcim operations throughout the world. . .

Once operational, cement imported through the new terminal will replace local production at the company’s Westport cement plant. Holcim New Zealand has signaled for some years that the Westport plant was not sustainable long term. The decision also means that the proposal for a new cement plant at Weston, near Oamaru, is on hold for the foreseeable future but Holcim will continue to maintain ownership of their land assets.

“We recognise that this decision has an impact for our staff, customers and for the Westport and Weston communities. It’s one we’ve arrived at after extensively investigating a range of cement supply options and we will be working through the implications with those who will be impacted by the move,” Jeremy Smith said. “For the current economic environment, constructing an import terminal and importing cement is simply the most appropriate decision.”

This decision will be greeted with sadness in Westport and mixed feelings in North Otago.

A vocal group opposed the proposal to build a new cement plant near Weston and they will be delighted with the decision to put the plans on hold.

But the plant would have created 120 full time, permanent jobs directly and many people were welcoming that.


MPI accepts blame for China meat muddle

August 2, 2013

The Ministry of Primary Industries has accepted the blame for the muddle which left New Zealand meat stuck on the wharves in China.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) will develop an MPI China strategy, and invest in more staff and more training to strengthen relationships between MPI and key Chinese regulators, acting Director-General Scott Gallacher said today.

His comments follow the release of a review of MPI’s handling of changes to export certification to China, which left significant quantities of New Zealand meat delayed at the Chinese border.

“The review clearly shows MPI made mistakes when changing the templates used for certifying meat exports to China. These mistakes resulted in delayed acceptance of these exports,” Mr Gallacher said.

“The mistakes were compounded by a failure to appropriately escalate an emerging issue internally, or to Ministers, once delays to exports began. The review identifies a series of learnings for MPI, which we are immediately acting on.”

Mr Gallacher said it was clear MPI needed to lift its game with China.

“Trade with China has tripled in the past five years.  It is a market growing in size and importance to New Zealand. It is also a market we are still getting to know.  The review makes it clear we need an improved approach to how MPI works with China, and we are committed to achieving that.

“We are also focussed on improving our internal resourcing, culture, systems and processes to prevent mistakes like those identified by the review recurring in future, and when things do go wrong, to ensure the smooth flow of information to the right levels, and integrated ‘whole of organisation’ and ‘whole of government’ responses to them.”

Following the review, MPI is implementing 25 management actions, which will be completed by July 2014. These include:

  • Developing an MPI China strategy, investing in more staff and more training to strengthen relationships and understanding between MPI and key Chinese regulators
  • Renewing efforts to double the resourcing for MPI’s market access team in Wellington from 8 to 16
  • Developing a new issues management system in partnership with the meat industry
  • Improving processes for the identification and management of risks to trade issues, and the escalation of emerging risks internally and to Ministers.

“MPI handles more than 120,000 export certificates each year to more than 100 countries. We are absolutely determined not to make the same mistakes twice. Our trade system is too important,” Mr Gallacher said.

The delays were serious. Around $100m worth of meat was stuck at the Chinese border as a result of MPI’s mistakes.

The Ministry accepts it was to blame but it’s learned from it’s mistakes and doing everything to ensure it will get it right in future.

The full report is here.


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