Word of the day

17/08/2013

Circumbendibus – a roundabout route or process;  a roundabout, indirect, or confusing manner of speech or writing; circumlocution.


19 divas

17/08/2013

Christina Bianco sings one song in the voices of 19 different divas.


Rural round-up

17/08/2013

Chinese Kiwis defend NZ brand:

An analysis of social media in New Zealand and China has found an emerging group of Chinese residents in New Zealand and others with close ties to China, vigorously defending New Zealand’s brand in the wake of Fonterra’s whey protein contamination crisis.

The analysis was carried out by Dr Hongzhi Gao, a senior lecturer at Victoria Business School and senior research fellow of the New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre; Vallen Han, Asia marketing director of New Zealand Post; and Simon Young, chief executive of syENGAGE, a social media consulting firm. . .

Two Fonterra managers sent on leave in botulism probe:

Fonterra has placed two of its senior managers on leave as it continues its internal investigation into the whey protein botulism scare.

Fonterra chief executive officer Theo Spierings says the company is moving quickly and establishing key facts and as they emerge they are taking appropriate action.

He says placing two people on leave does not pre-empt the findings of the review and they will continue to be involved in the ongoing investigation.

The review will be finished by the end of the month. . .

Beware sleeping US dairy giant – expert – Hugh Stringleman:

The giant United States dairy industry is re-gearing for exporting and may rival soon the influence of New Zealand in world dairy trade.

Rabobank International global strategist dairy Tim Hunt gave that message to dairy audiences throughout NZ last week.

An Australian economist, Hunt is based in New York and has a special interest in the contrasts between Oceania and North American dairying.

His prepared notes were called “Arise the Hunter, the reorientation of the US dairy industry and implications for NZ”. . .

Economy-wide lessons as white gold loses its shine – Eye 2 the Long Run:

It is critical to understand that the issues for the NZ economy arising from the current Fonterra debacle  (as opposed to dairy farmers and Fonterra directors and managers) is assuredly not a “public relations” issue or one of “reputational management”. The best PR firm in the world cannot resolve such issues through spin – nor should it try.

Calling for better “PR” is simply a form of denial.

Key problems from an economy wide perspective are:

1. Nowhere else to turn

The choice for producers has been narrowed by statute to Fonterra for some 90% of the market. There is virtually no diversity, depth or spread of processing in the industry. The statute prevents it. Dissatisfied producers have nowhere else to turn. All eggs in one basket – then we drop the basket. . . .

Lustrous lambs wanted:

The hunt is on for lambs with unusually lustrous fleece. Crown Research Institute Agresearch says if you have any such lambs this spring, it wants to hear from you.

“We particularly want to understand what proteins or cellular structure may be special to their wool, and then whether these are the same as those in the lustre breeds,” says David Scobie, who is leading the lamb quest.

“Studying a naturally occurring mutation with such a dramatic effect on fibre characteristics provides a unique opportunity to understand the genetic and physiological mechanisms affecting fibre quality.” . . .

AgResearch overhaul tipped to boost research – Annette Scott:

A proposal to overhaul AgResearch’s campus and farm infrastructure will create a vital agricultural research institute for the next 50 years, AgResearch chief executive Tom Richardson says.

The restructuring proposal involves axing 180 jobs at Ruakura, near Hamilton, and 85 jobs from the Invermay site near Dunedin.

The $100 million proposal would result in large campuses at Grasslands in Palmerston North and at Lincoln in Canterbury.

A final decision is expected next month following a four-week consultation period. . .

Federations’ ‘www.ruraljobs.co.nz’ a success:

Federated Farmers is thrilled its ‘Rural Jobs’ service has hit 115 job advertisements since the beginning of the year, promising a bright future for agricultural careers.

“www.ruraljobs.co.nz is a fantastic service and it is picking up traction as one of the leading rural job advertisers,” says Conor English, Federated Farmers Chief Executive.

“Great staff are critical to any farming operation. Federated Farmers wants to ensure that our youth realise these opportunities are available to them and that employers have all the right documentation to know what the legal requirements are.

“Our www.ruraljobs.co.nz is not only the place to go to match people with jobs, but also where you can get up to date employment contracts reflecting the latest law changes, information on nationwide wages and salary packages, immigration ACC and OSH requirements and free legal advice for our members. It is a great one stop shop, tailored for the farming sector” . . .


Saturday’s smiles

17/08/2013

A man was walking along a beach when he came across a lamp partially buried in the sand.

He picked it up gave it a rub. A genie appeared and told him he has been granted one wish.

The man thought for a moment then said, “I want to live forever.”

“Sorry,” said the genie, “I’m not allowed to grant eternal life.”

“OK, then,” the man said, “I want to live until after a Labour government runs budget surpluses and eliminates the national debt.

“You crafty little bastard,” said the genie.


Saturday’s smiles

17/08/2013

A woman was driving down the State Highway 1 at 130 kmh, when she noticed a motorcycle police officer following her.

Instead of slowing down, she picked up speed.

When she looked back again, there were two motorcycles following her. She shot up to 140 kmh.

The next time she looked around, there were three cops following her. Suddenly, she spotted a petrol station a few hundred metres ahead.

She raced to it, screeched to a stop and ran into the loo.

Five minutes later, she walked out. The three cops were standing their waiting for her.

She smiled at them and said, “I’ll bet none of you thought I’d make it.”


Precautionary recall

17/08/2013

An email yesterday to shareholders from Fonterra chair John Wilson talked about a precautionary recall.

If only last week’s announcements had used that term.

Had they done so there would have been much less concern.

If only last week’s announcements had also explained the science.

An agricultural scientist says Fonterra’s inability to ask the right questions and accurately communicate the risk during the botulism scare led to unnecessary global panic.

Professor of agribusiness at Waikato University, Jacqueline Rowarth, is a co-owner of a dairy farm which supplies Fonterra, and stood unsuccessfully for Fonterra’s board last year.

She says the dairy co-op told the public only on Friday that it had found spores in its testing – not bacteria nor toxin – and the difference is incredibly important.

“I think that had we known that at the beginning we would have been able to be quite clear that it wasn’t a botulism scare.

“When you have spore, they are just little dry dessicated whats-it things and they are not doing anything, they’re not growing. In order to make them grow which is what they have to do before they can express the toxin, you need specific conditions which are pretty rare … low sugar, etcetera.

“And had we known immediately that we were dealing with spore, nobody would have said this is a problem for our whole export economy because most of our exports are chilled or frozen.

“And then we say ‘yes but shock horror, it’s babies’. Babies … because they don’t have very acid stomachs, it is possible for the spore to get through into the intestine of a baby and grow. And what tends to happen if there is the toxin expressed, which is not always the case, we have what is termed ‘floppy baby syndrome’ with partial paralysis. And experts say that this is very rarely of long term significance. The baby gets constipated, it’s not pleasant at the time but it’s not a long term health issue.

“And so because none of this was explained and we didn’t know whether we were actually dealing with botulism as in ‘the toxin’, people got fairly concerned about it because people die of botulism, it’s about 4% fatality from hospitalised cases.”

An announcement of a precautionary recall because of the presence of botulism spores and a clear explanation of the implications of that would have made a huge difference in the levels of concern and impressions of Fonterra.

Because the explanation wasn’t full and clear there was confusion and panic which reflected poorly on Fonterra and put other exports and New Zealand’s reputation at risk.

The word precautionary with a simple, but full, explanation of what was being done and why it was being done would have prevented that.

The media is being blamed for making the situation worse with ill-informed stories.

But the major blame lies at Fonterra’s door for not giving the right information, fully and clearly.


By-election needed already

17/08/2013

The local body election process is just starting and we already need a by-election in the Waitaki District.

Nominations for October’s local elections closed yesterday, with nobody willing to put themselves forward for the Ahuriri ward seat on the Waitaki District Council. Council electoral officer David Blair said that would mean a by-election would be required.

”When the [October] election is over we will have to have a by-election, which will include the Ahuriri Community Board, because we only got three [nominations] and we need five, and we will also include the Oamaru Licensing Trust ward 1, because we need three and we only got two.”

However, a by-election would not be held until the end of January or early February, he said. . .

When Alex Familton won both the mayoralty and a council seat six years ago the cost of the subsequent by-election in the Waihemo ward was given as between $5400 and $16,000, depending on whether a vote was needed.

It’s unlikely it will cost any less now.

That’s not a huge amount in terms of the council’s overall budget but it’s a cost that could have been avoided.

Publicity a few days ago before nominations closed could have highlighted the urgent need to find someone.

The retiring councillor could have found a successor, or at least ensured that the people in the ward knew they were in danger of being unrepresented.

The people in the ward, knowing their councillor wasn’t standing again, could have found someone to represent them.

And at least one of the seven of mayoral aspirants could have used the opportunity to demonstrate leadership by ensuring their was a full complement of candidates for every vacancy.

It is possible that had any or all of these been done no-one would have been willing to stand which raises a question – what happens if there’s no nominations for the by-election?


Fit for the job

17/08/2013

What do you do when you’re the Minister of Civil Defence, on you way to the airport and traffic congestion makes returning to Civil Defence HQ difficult?

A Facebook post from the Minister, Nikki Kaye explains:

Big day, was heading to the airport to go to Auckland when 6.6 earthquake hit. Headed back to Wellington, due to traffic jogged back to beehive and bunker.
It’s not every Minister who would be able to jog to where she was needed but this one did complete the Coast to Coast earlier in the year.
She’s fit for the job, in every sense of the word.

August 17 in history

17/08/2013

986  A Byzantine army was destroyed in the Battle of Gates of Trajan by the Bulgarians under the Comitopuli Samuel and Aron.

1786 – Davy Crockett, American frontiersman and soldier, was born (d. 1836).

1807  Robert Fulton‘s first American steamboat left New York City for Albany, New York on the Hudson River, inaugurating the first commercial steamboat service in the world.

1839 The NZ Company’s sailing ship Tory dropped anchor in Queen Charlotte Sound to pick up fresh water, food and wood before proceeding to Port Nicholson (Wellington Harbour).

NZ Company ship Tory arrives

1862  Indian Wars: The Lakota (Sioux) Dakota War of 1862 began as Lakota warriors attacked white settlements along the Minnesota River.

1864  American Civil War: Battle of Gainesville – Confederate forces defeated Union troops.

1883  The first public performance of the Dominican Republic’s national anthem, Himno Nacional.

1893  Mae West, American actress, was born (d. 1980).

1904 Mary Cain, American newspaper editor and politician, was born  (d. 1984).

1907  Pike Place Market, the longest continuously-running public farmers market in the US, opened in Seattle.

1908  Fantasmagorie, the first animated cartoon, realized by Émile Cohl, was shown in Paris.

1914  Battle of Stalluponen – The German army of General Hermann von François defeated the Russian force commanded by Pavel Rennenkampf near modern-day Nesterov, Russia.

1915  Jewish American Leo Frank was lynched for the alleged murder of a 13-year-old girl in Marietta, Georgia.

1918  Bolshevik revolutionary leader Moisei Uritsky was assassinated.

1920  Maureen O’Hara, Irish actress, was born.

1942 – A total of 118 New Zealand prisoners of war died when the Italian transport ship Nino Bixio was torpedoed by a British submarine in the Mediterranean.

1943 Robert De Niro, American actor, was born.

1943  The U.S. Eighth Air Force suffered the loss of 60 bombers on the Schweinfurt-Regensburg mission.

1943 : The U.S. Seventh Army under General George S. Patton arrived in Messina, Italy, followed several hours later by the British 8th Army under Field Marshal Bernard L. Montgomery, completing the Allied conquest of Sicily.

1943 First Québec Conference of Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and William Lyon Mackenzie King began.

1944 Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle Corporation, billionaire, was born.

1945  Indonesian Declaration of Independence.

1946 Martha Coolidge, American film director, was born.

1947 The Radcliffe Line, the border between Union of India and Dominion of Pakistan was revealed.

1953   First meeting of Narcotics Anonymous in Southern California.

1959  Quake Lake was formed by the magnitude 7.5 1959 Yellowstone earthquake near Hebgen Lake in Montana.

1959  Kind of Blue by Miles Davis the much acclaimed and highly influential best selling jazz recording of all time, was released.

1960  Gabon gained independence from France.

1960 Sean Penn, American actor and director, was born.

1962  Gilby Clarke, American musician (Guns N’ Roses), was born.

1962  East German border guards killed 18-year-old Peter Fechter as he attempted to cross the Berlin Wall into West Berlin becoming one of the first victims of the wall.

1969  Category 5 Hurricane Camille hit the Mississippi coast, killing 248 people and causing $1.5 billion in damage.

1970  Venera 7 launched.

1978  Double Eagle II became first balloon to cross the Atlantic Ocean when it landed in Miserey near Paris, 137 hours after leaving Presque Isle, Maine.

1979 Two Soviet Aeroflot jetliners collide in mid-air over Ukraine, killing 156

1980  Azaria Chamberlain disappeared, taken by a dingo.

1982  The first Compact Discs (CDs) were released to the public in Germany.

1988  Pakistani President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq and U.S. Ambassador Arnold Raphel are killed in a plane crash.

1998  Monica Lewinsky scandal: US President Bill Clinton admitted in taped testimony that he had an “improper physical relationship” with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. On the same day he admitted before the nation that he “misled people” about his relationship.

1999 A 7.4-magnitude earthquake struck İzmit, Turkey, killing more than 17,000 and injuring 44,000.

2004  The National Assembly of Serbia unanimously adopted new state symbols: Boze Pravde becomes the new anthem and the coat of arms was adopted for the whole country.

2005 The first forced evacuation of settlers, as part of the Israel unilateral disengagement plan, starts.

2005  Over 500 bombs were set off by terrorists at 300 locations in 63 out of the 64 districts of Bangladesh.

2008  By winning the Men’s 4x100m medley relay, Michael Phelps became the first Olympian to win eight gold medals in the same Olympics.

2009 – An accident at the Sayano–Shushenskaya Dam in Khakassia, Russia, killed 75 and shut down the hydroelectric power station, leading to widespread power failure in the local area.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


%d bloggers like this: