Word of the day

16/08/2013

 Esculent – fit or suitable to be eaten; edible.


Series of quakes rocks central NZ

16/08/2013

Geonet has recorded a series of earthquakes near Seddon.

The strongest measured 6.2.

Smaller ones rue recorded near Levin and Taihape.

NewsTalk ZB has live updates.


Rural round-up

16/08/2013

$65 million early windfall for Ballance farmers:

More than 18,000 New Zealand farmers are in for some good news this week, as Ballance Agri-Nutrients delivers support for cashflows at the start of the spring season with an early record rebate payment.

Ballance’s record rebate and dividend will start arriving in shareholders’ letterboxes this week as the co-operative pays out $65 million to shareholders six weeks ahead of schedule.

The co-operative announced a rebate and dividend averaging $65 a tonne last month and advised shareholders it would pay out earlier than usual to help shareholders with early season cashflows.

The rebate averaging $60.83 per tonne and a fully imputed dividend of 10 cents per share represents an average $6,500 return to a fully paid shareholder. It follows the record trading result of $92.6 million delivered by the co-operative. . .

Farmer development programme benefits sector:

Following a successful pilot during 2012, Beef + Lamb New Zealand is now rolling out a development programme for farmers on B+LNZ farmer councils and those involved in project farms.

Facilitated by the Agri-Women’s Development Trust (AWDT), the programme covers three broad topics: governance, communications and decision-making, and leadership. Each topic is covered in a two-day module in Wellington.

Wairarapa farmer George Tatham was one of 12 farmers from across New Zealand involved in the pilot. George, who has since become chair of the Eastern North Island farmer council, says the skills he picked up over the three modules have benefited his farm business, as well as his council work. . . .

Changes expected to have major impact on dairy farmers – Crowe Horwath,

The Inland Revenue Department (“IRD”) has announced that fundamental changes are going to be made to the National Standard Cost (NSC) valuation methodology for dairy cattle that will increase livestock values commencing from the 2014 income year.

While there are a variety of livestock valuation methods available to farmers, the valuation methods most commonly used are NSC and the Herd Scheme. As a result, the changes will have a wide ranging impact on dairy farmers.

You might be thinking, well why do I care about a change in valuation methodology? The reason why this change is important for dairy farmers using the NSC valuation method is that any increases in value arising under the NSC valuation method are taxable income to the farmer. This will see an increase in taxable income for all dairy farmers using the NSC valuation method. . .

Top ram producers recognised:

New Zealand’s top ram producers were toasted on Wednesday night at the Sheep Industry Awards in Invercargill.

About 300 farmers and industry people attended the awards run by Beef + Lamb.

George and Kathryn Smith from Tamlet stud, near Wyndham, won the Alliance Group Terminal Sire gold award.

They run 300 recorded Texel ewes, 500 recorded Coopworth and 500 Romney ewes.

The Blackdale Sheep Industry Supplier of the Year Award went to Hugh and Judy Akers of Broadlands Station, who supply ANZCO. . .

Grass alone won’t grow the economy:

The fruits of a literary collaboration on innovation between the late Sir Paul Callaghan and award-winning science communicator Professor Shaun Hendy will be unveiled at Victoria University tonight.

The two physicists are authors of Get off the Grass, which will be launched in Wellington tonight (Thursday 15 August) and follows on from Sir Paul’s earlier book, Wool to Weta, which was published in 2009.

Get off the Grass argues that innovation in high-tech niches is the key to increasing New Zealand’s prosperity and that New Zealand needs to export knowledge rather than nature. . .

Entries open for international wine competition:

Entries are now open for the 2013 Avenues International Aromatic Wine Competition. Hosted by the Canterbury A&P Association in conjunction with the Canterbury A&P Show, the competition has been running for eleven years and is supported by competition naming rights partner Avenues – the magazine Christchurch lives by.

“Avenues is delighted to again be a sponsor of the International Aromatic Wine Competition. Nearly three-quarters of Avenues readers enjoy wine as part of their lifestyle, so it is fitting for us to support an event that toasts the best aromatic wines and their producers,” says Avenues Sales Manager Craig du Plooy. . .

Johanneshof Cellars Top Honours and Three Trophies at Spiegelau International Wine Competition:

Four medals, 3 trophies including joint ‘Producer of the Show’; not a bad effort for only entering five wines. Johanneshof Cellars, a small boutique winery in Marlborough, New Zealand, has taken top honours in the 2013 Spiegelau International Wine Competition.

Not only did the winery’s haul of accolades capture a cross section of their handcrafted wines including sparkling and dessert wines, but the two Gold medal winning wines went on to receive the Trophy for Champion Wine in both categories. The rare success of winning two trophies in one Show culminated at the end of the evening in Johanneshof Cellars being awarded the joint Trophy for ‘Champion Producer of the Show’. . .


Friday’s answers

16/08/2013

Alwyn, Andrei, Gravedodger and PDM supplied Thursday’s questions.

All win an electronic bunch of daffodils for stumping us all and PDM gets a bonus for boggling the mind.

Your flowers can be collected by leaving the answers in the comments here.


Com Com gives Fonterra tick

16/08/2013

The Commerce Commission has given Fonterra  a tick for its raw milk price.

This is the second of two annual reviews the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act 2001 (DIRA) requires the Commission to undertake. The Commission completed the first review in December 2012 on Fonterra’s Milk Price Manual.

The base milk price review focusses on the Commission’s assessment of the extent to which Fonterra’s 2012/13 base milk price calculation is consistent with the purpose of the milk price monitoring regime set out in DIRA.

“The Commission specifically considered the extent to which the assumptions adopted, inputs and process used to calculate the base price provide an incentive to Fonterra to operate efficiently while providing for contestability in the market for the purchase of milk from farmers, “ said Sue Begg, Commerce Commission Deputy Chair.

“The Commission’s view is that these statutory tests are largely met,” said Ms Begg.

The Commission has identified one assumption that does not appear to be practically feasible.  This relates to the assumed energy usage rates, which rely on data generated during peak capacity utilisation and therefore do not take account of variable plant utilisation across the season.

There are also assumptions that the Commission is unable to come to a conclusion on, given the information available to it at this stage. However, having regard to the direction and potential size of the impact these assumptions might have on the base milk price calculation, the Commission does not consider them to have a significant impact on the overall conclusion.
This draft report is being provided to Fonterra for comment. In addition, the Commission welcomes feedback from other interested parties on the draft conclusions and supporting analysis in this draft report. Any comments must be provided by 5:00pm on Thursday 29 August 2013. . .

In plain English this means the Commission has found the milk price to be fair which is what Fonterra has always said.


Air NZ service with smile

16/08/2013

Labour list MP Andrew Little scored a SMOG – social media own goal – yesterday when he tweeted a complaint about service from Air New Zealand.

He did have the grace to later  admit he was wrong to send it and apologise.

Yesterday two colleagues and I were in a similar situation to Little.

We arrived at the airport at 4:15 for flights at 5:30 and 6:30.

We asked if we could change them for anything earlier and all three of us were given seats on a 5pm flight by a courteous, helpful and smiling Air New Zealand staff member.

That, in my experience, is how they always are.


Manufactured crisis torpedoed

16/08/2013

The manufacturing crisis the opposition has been trying to manufacture has been torpedoed by facts:

New Zealand manufacturing activity rose to its highest level on record for a July month, reflecting a broad expansion.

The BNZ-BusinessNZ performance of manufacturing index rose 4.3 points to 59.5 in July from June, the highest result for a July month since the survey began in 2002 and the third highest monthly result on record. A reading above 50 indicates the sector expanded, while a fall below 50 shows contraction.

New Zealand manufacturing is underpinned by domestic demand from the construction sector on the back of the rebuilding of earthquake damaged Christchurch and demand for housing in Auckland, the nation’s biggest city. Domestic demand is outweighing a weakness in our biggest export market of Australia, where an economic slowdown and the higher New Zealand dollar are crimping demand.

“Production and new orders continue to lead the charge, with signs that employment is starting to join in,” Doug Steel, an economist at Bank of New Zealand, said in a statement. “The strength is broad-based with expansion indicated by all major sub-indices across industries, regions and firm size.” . . .

Bad news for the opposition is good news for employment and the economy.

The ODT profiles a company which counters the gloom merchants:

Despite constant talk of recession and a so-called ”manufacturing crisis” people in rural Otago are still better placed now than at any time since the introduction of Rogernomics in the 1980s to set up in business, an Oamaru cheese manufacturer says.

Whitestone Cheese was set up in a defunct Oamaru garage at the height of government deregulation and a severe rural economic downturn in 1987.

The company, now exports to eight countries and employs about 40 full-time and 20 part-time staff at its Oamaru factory and up and down the country.

Managing director Bob Berry said today’s rural economy was still a ”much more positive environment” for business than it was 30 years ago.

”In our rural communities it was very difficult in the ’80s, but out of adversity often come opportunities. . . .

Whitestone Cheese began in adversity and has succeeded.

It is proof that opportunities are there for those with the courage to seize them, and that some of those opportunities are in manufacturing.


Science needed in media

16/08/2013

A man claiming to be a vet has come up with a theory on how Fonterra’s whey protein concentrate was contaminated.

The story headlined vet links botulism to feed not pipes says:

A veterinarian and farm consultant doubts the recent Fonterra botulism scare was caused by a dirty pipe, and says he is sitting on material that will embarrass the dairy giant further.

Matamata veterinarian and farm performance consultant Frank Rowson says Fonterra should be tracing the source of the Clostridium botulinum bacterium back to farms or their own water supply.

He doubts Clostridium botulinum was caused by an old pipe at Fonterra’s Hautapu plant and said it had to get in there in the first place. . . .

Rowson said: “This disease originates in contaminated feed and animal manure, and research all over the world of which I am part, shows that GM feeds and the use of increased amounts of glyphosate herbicides increases the prevalence of this disease in pigs, poultry and dairy cattle, and the neuro toxin that causes the disease will pass through the food chain into milk.” . . .

At Sciblogs, Siouxsie Wiles asks could the botulism be linked to herbicide use and GM crops

Firstly, Fonterra and MPI have made it clear that it was not the toxin but the bacterial spores that contaminated the whey powder. . .

. . . According to the Irish Department Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the C. botulinum toxin types that cause disease in cattle are C and D, which do not cause disease in humans. Fonterra still haven’t released information on the type of C. botulinum which contaminated their whey powder, but given the recall, we can assume it was either A, B, E or F, the types which cause botulism in humans. From this, it would seem that Rowson’s claim that the source of the Clostridial contamination is linked to glyphosate usage and cattle is highly questionable.

The Veterinary Association also sides with science:

 The New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) believes that unproven theories published in the media do little to clarify the situation in regard to the investigation that is currently underway to determine the cause of the botulism contamination of some Fonterra dairy products.

 The NZVA is liaising closely with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and Fonterra in their investigation of this incident and supports a robust scientific process to establish the cause.

 “Claims made by Mr Frank Rowson recently reported in the media about the cause of the contamination are speculation and not helpful in assisting the investigation,” NZVA President Dr Steve Merchant said.

 Mr Rowson, described as a veterinarian and farm consultant in the media, is not a registered veterinarian and is also not a member of the NZVA.  He does not represent the views of the veterinary profession or that of the NZVA,” said Dr Merchant. “We are dealing with a complex scientific issue and we need to bring together the relevant scientific expertise in New Zealand to ensure the investigation leads to a successful resolution.” . . .

There is more than enough emotion and misinformation on the issue without the media adding to it with stories not supported by science.


August 16 in history

16/08/2013

1513  Battle of Guinegate (Battle of the Spurs) – King Henry VIII of England defeated French Forces.

1777  American Revolutionary War: The Americans led by General John Stark routed British and Brunswick troops under Friedrich Baum at the Battle of Bennington.

1780 American Revolutionary War: Battle of Camden – The British defeated the Americans.

1792  Maximilien Robespierre presented the petition of the Commune of Paris to the Legislative Assembly, which demanded the formation of a revolutionary tribunal.

1819  Seventeen people died and more than 600 were injured by cavalry charges at the Peterloo Massacre at a public meeting at St. Peter’s Field, Manchester.

1841  U.S. President John Tyler vetoed a bill which called for the re-establishment of the Second Bank of the United States. Enraged Whig Party members riot outside the White House in the most violent demonstration on White House grounds in U.S. history.

1858 U.S. President James Buchanan inaugurated the new transatlantic telegraph cable by exchanging greetings with Queen Victoria.

1859  The Tuscan National Assembly formally deposed the House of Habsburg-Lorraine.

1865  Restoration Day in the Dominican Republic which regained its independence after 4 years of fighting against Spanish Annexation.

1868  Arica, Peru (now Chile) was devastated by a tsunami which followed a magnitude 8.5 earthquake in the Peru-Chile Trench off the coast. An estimated 25,000 people in Arica and perhaps 70,000 people in all were killed.

1869  Battle of Acosta Ñu: A Paraguay battalion made up of children was massacred by the Brazilian Army during the War of the Triple Alliance.

1870  Franco-Prussian War: The Battle of Mars-La-Tour reulted in a Prussian victory.

1888 T. E. Lawrence, English writer and soldier, was born (d. 1935).

1896 Skookum Jim Mason, George Carmackn and Dawson Charlie discovered gold in a tributary of the Klondike River in Canada, setting off the Klondike Gold Rush.

1902 Georgette Heyer, English novelist, was born (d. 1974).

1913  Tōhoku Imperial University of Japan (modern day Tōhoku University) admitted its first female students.

1913 Menachem Begin, 6th Prime Minister of Israel, Nobel laureate, was born (d. 1992).

1913 – Completion of the Royal Navy battlecruiser HMS Queen Mary.

1914  World War I: Battle of Cer began.

1920  Ray Chapman of the Cleveland Indians was hit in the head by a fastball thrown by Carl Mays of the New York Yankees, and dies early the next day.

1920 – The congress of the Communist Party of Bukhara opened.

1929  The 1929 Palestine riots in the British Mandate of Palestine between Arabs and Jews.

1930 The first colour sound cartoon, Fiddlesticks, was made by Ub Iwerks.

1940 Bruce Beresford, Australian film director, was born.

1940  World War II: The Communist Party was banned in German-occupied Norway.

1941  HMS Mercury, Royal Navy Signals School and Combined Signals School opened at Leydene, near Petersfield, Hampshire, England.

1942  World War II: The two-person crew of the U.S. naval blimp L-8 disappeared on a routine anti-submarine patrol over the Pacific Ocean.

1944 Council of Organisations for Relief Service Overseas (CORSO) was formed.

CORSO formed

1944  First flight of the Junkers Ju 287.

1945  An assassination attempt on Japan’s prime minister, Kantaro Suzuki.

1945 – Puyi, the last Chinese emperor and ruler of Manchukuo, was captured by Soviet troops.

1954  The first edition of Sports Illustrated was published.

1957 Tim Farriss, Australian musician (INXS), was born.

1960  Cyprus gained its independence from the United Kingdom.

1960  Joseph Kittinger parachuted from a balloon over New Mexico at 102,800 feet (31,330 m), setting three record: High-altitude jump, free-fall, and highest speed by a human without an aircraft.

1962 Pete Best was replaced by Ringo Starr (Richard Starkey) as drummer for The Beatles.

1964  Vietnam War: A coup d’état replaced Duong Van Minh with General Nguyen Khanh as President of South Vietnam.

1966 Vietnam War: The House Un-American Activities Committee began investigations of Americans who aided the Viet Cong.

1972 Emily Robison, American country singer (Dixie Chicks), was born.

1972 The Royal Moroccan Air Force fired on, Hassan II of Morocco‘s plane.

1987 A McDonnell Douglas MD-82 carrying Northwest Airlines Flight 255 crashed on take-off from Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus, Michigan, killing 155 passengers and crew. The sole survivor was four-year-old Cecelia Cichan.

1989  A solar flare created a geomagnetic storm that affected micro chips, leading to a halt of all trading on Toronto’s stock market.

1992  In response to an appeal by President Fernando Collor de Mello to wear green and yellow as a way to show support for him, thousands of Brazilians took to the streets dressed in black.

2005  West Caribbean Airways Flight 708 crashed near Machiques, Venezuela, killing the 160 aboard.

2008 – Caroline and Georgina Evers-Swindell defended Olympic rowing title at Beijing – winning gold by 1/100th of a second

2008 – The Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago was topped off at 1,389 feet (423 m), at the time becoming the world’s highest residence above ground-level.

2010 – China Overtook Japan as World’s Second-Biggest Economy

2012 – South African police fatally shot 34 miners and wounded 78 more during an industrial dispute near Rustenburg.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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