Quake cluster


Geonet records the earthquakes in central New Zealand in the last couple of days.



Word of the day


Gaberlunzie – a wandering ne’er-do-well; licensed beggar; mendicant.

Rural round-up


Lamb prices down but prospects positive – Tim Cronshaw:

Average lamb prices look as though they will be down 25 per cent nationally at $84 to $85 a lamb for the 2012-13 season ending next month.

Softer overseas markets in the northern hemisphere and smaller lamb weights from the drought drove prices down from $113.60 the previous season.

While it’s early days yet the Economic Service at Beef + Lamb New Zealand expects prices will be somewhere between $90 to $100 for the coming 2013-14 season. That will depend heavily on the state of the dollar with the latest analysis for it to weaken slightly. . .

Fonterra trialling RTVs as quad bike replacement – Sue O’Dowd:

FONTERRA’S year-long trial of rough terrain vehicles to replace quad bikes on its farms looks promising as it draws to a close.

Two vehicles are being tested at the 225ha Whareroa Research Farm near Hawera, where 640 cows are being milked this year.

The company is testing five RTVs on drystock farms in the South Island and four on dairy farms.

The trial, which began before the Government Taskforce on Health and Safety completed its report in April this year, will conclude in December. By then, it will have covered the entire farm season. . .

Dam ‘scary challenge’ to nature – Tony Benny:

Opponents of the planned 8.2 million cubic metre storage dam for the Waimakariri irrigation scheme have vowed to fight the proposal, saying it will put lives at risk if breached in a earthquake.

About 70 people attended a meeting in West Eyreton Hall last week to hear from the Eyre Community Environmental Safety Society (ECESS), the group set up to oppose the dam.

“ECESS believes WIL’s [Waimakariri Irrigation Ltd] solution of a 13-metre-high one kilometre square dam in a seismically active climate is wilfully placing lives at risk to keep shareholder company costs down,” said society chairperson Catherine Ballinger. . .

Why it’s time to get off the grass:

New Zealand can climb its way back up the international wealth tables, argue two scientists in a book* launched last night. But we won’t do it if we continue to rely so heavily on agriculture.

*From Get Off the Grass: Kickstarting New Zealand’s Innovation Economy, by Shaun Hendy and Paul Callaghan (Auckland University Press, $34.99)

Prosperity describes a state of flourishing or thriving. In New Zealand there is a sense that we have flourished less than we might, and especially less than many other countries we like to compare ourselves with. Through insufficient resources, our health system is unable to provide the treatments that are available for free in countries such as Australia or Canada. Our infrastructure is decrepit, our roads are poor, our passenger train systems are an embarrassment to us, and many of our houses are inadequate or, even when new, badly built. Our native forests are in decline because we cannot afford to address pest control in a comprehensive manner. . .

Spierings’ profile unstained by taint scare – Andrea Fox:

Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings’ job looks increasingly safe after the botulism contamination scare, with chairman John Wilson repeating the board’s support for the Dutchman’s handling of the incident.

In a letter to Fonterra’s 10,500 farmer-shareholders Wilson said he wanted to “reiterate” the board’s confidence in Spierings’ handling of the scare and the actions that have followed.

Wilson said he expected the board’s inquiry into the scare to be finished in six weeks.

The scare sparked panic in Asian and China consumer markets, and big recalls of baby formula made by one of Fonterra’s biggest customers, Danone. . .

Farmers sorry to see Romano go – Hugh Stringleman:

Farmers were quick to express sympathy for Gary Romano, who resigned last week as head of Fonterra processing after the botulism scare that happened on his watch.

Romano apparently felt responsible and resigned before results are known from four inquiries into the Hautapu plant dirty pipe and its aftermath.

“I presume he didn’t feel comfortable, felt his time was up and left on his own terms,” Federated Farmers dairy chairman Willy Leferink said.

“He was well liked and farmers will be very sorry to see him go.” . . .

The difference between a career and a job – Art 4 Agriculture:

Today’s guest blog comes from Cotton Young Farming Champion Liz Lobsey. You can read all about Liz here

Liz is an agronomist aka Plant Doctor and she loves her “career” and she loves to tell people why

This is what Liz has to say ………………….

I have recently had the pleasure of visiting 4 schools involved in the Archibull Prize for the Art4Agriculture program and I can honestly say that they all have been a different learning experience.

In the past week I can honestly say that I have spoken to children in kindergarten in Sydney who believe that all farmers have animals to children in cotton growing regions who weren’t quite sure what a cotton plant was. . .



All Blacks 47 – Wallabies 29.

Just wondering if Robbie Deans is experiencing schadenfreude and whether Wallabies fans want him back now?

Real Life



real life










Of course I want to save the world, she said, but I was hoping to do it from the comfort of my regular life.

From Story People by Brian Andreas.

You can sign up for a daily gift of email whimsy like this at the link above.



5/9 in NBR’s Biz Quiz.

Are you busy?


One of the biggest gripes in the workplace is interruptions. They cause stress, disruption, unnecessarily long working hours and can lead to significant job dissatisfaction.

There are occasions when interruptions are welcome, but if you’re trying to get something done and have limited time to do it, they are a nuisance.

That’s one of the frustrating things about working from home, you get interruptions you probably wouldn’t get if you were at work.

If they think to ask are you busy? it’s a rhetorical question, the answer to which is expected to be no.

When our children were young I was offered a couple of weeks work relieving at the radio station where I’d been working before I had the first baby.

A friend saw me there and asked me if I was pregnant because I looked so relaxed and happy.

I told her no. It was just the pleasant change of not having to do more than two or three things at a time and knowing I could do them without constant interruptions from little people – and some big enough to look after themselves but who thought since I “wasn’t working”, whatever I was doing could wait while their more urgent requirements were attended to.

Let’s get positive


What’s the government done for Otago?

This was the question put to Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce.

He responded that the government is supporting Otago in many ways:

The development of all of New Zealand’s regions is hugely important to the Government, as it is to New Zealand as a whole.

The New Zealand economy is, of course, the sum of its regional economies and that is why the Government is placing huge emphasis on assisting each region to maximise the opportunities they have to encourage businesses to invest in their region and employ more people.

The reality is nothing creates jobs for New Zealanders and their families better than competitive, growing businesses.

As part of our Business Growth Agenda, the Government is involved in a broad range of economic development initiatives in the Otago region and throughout New Zealand to encourage new investment, jobs and growth. . .

It’s not just direct funding which helps regions. Policy changes such as the RMA reforms make doing business easier, and less expensive.

Our big increases in science and innovation expenditure are designed to encourage businesses to develop more world-leading products and services; our skills policies are designed to provide more of the skills that industry needs, in areas like engineering, ICT, and construction trades; and our capital market reforms are designed to encourage more people to invest in productive businesses.

There are more than 360 initiatives across our business growth agenda, and a large number of them relate generally and specifically to Otago.

He then provided a list of government initiatives which are helping Otago:

• Providing $9 million in R&D grants to companies in Dunedin over the last three years through the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and now Callaghan Innovation.
• Supporting 200 Dunedin and Otago companies with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise services.
• Directly investing in 10 fast-growing Dunedin companies through the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund Ltd (NZVIF) and the Seed Co-investment Fund (SCIF).
• Funding and supporting the Upstart Incubator in Dunedin.
• Providing Capability Development Vouchers for Dunedin businesses through the Otago Chamber of Commerce.
• Building the ultra-fast broadband upgrade in Dunedin, Queenstown and Oamaru.
• Building the rural broadband initiative throughout Otago.
• Otago projects on the National Cycle Trail.
• Dunedin cycle projects.
• Completing the Caversham State Highway 1 upgrade.
• State Highway 88 bypass
• Supporting the development and investment plans of the University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic.
• We’re providing $277 million in funding to the university this year and $33 million to the Otago Polytechnic and this is helping to fund some $400 million of capital investment by the two institutions.
• Assisting with the international marketing of both the university and the polytechnic through Education New Zealand.
$15 million for Forsyth Barr Stadium.
• Encouraging petroleum exploration around the region.
• Supporting a number of Primary Growth Partnership programmes a number of regional companies are involved in.
• Encouraging the development of irrigation projects in the region.

Then there’s the many millions of dollars put into tertiary education in Dunedin.

. . . The University of Otago is a crucial part of the Dunedin landscape. Because of its standing and success, more taxpayer university funding flows to Dunedin than any other centre in New Zealand, except Auckland. . .

He added that Otago has weathered tough financial times relatively well.

It grew 16% in the four years from 2007 to 2010. Its GDP is higher per person than Nelson-Tasman, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay, Manawatu-Wanganui, Gisborne, and Northland; and is just behind Canterbury and Marlborough.

Finance Minister Bill English also accentuated the positive.

Deputy Prime Minister Bill English says he is concerned the ”Stand Up Otago” campaign is ”a bit too negative about the South” when it has been performing better economically than the North.

The Finance Minister and Clutha-Southland MP told the Otago Daily Times in Queenstown yesterday if there is a two-speed economy, then Dunedin is on the fast track, not the slow track.

”Employment growth is faster than all of the North Island, except Taranaki,” Mr English said.

”Per capita GDP is up there ahead of most parts of New Zealand, so they just need to be careful they’re not talking the South down.

”It’s actually been doing pretty well. There’s job creation going on, unemployment is significantly lower than it is up North, which tells you that even if there’s been job losses, there’s also been new jobs and they need to take account of the new jobs.

”If you want to attract business, investment and jobs, then you want to be telling a positive story, not a negative one.” . . .

The South has a lot going for it and is doing well.

Those behind the Stand Up Otago campaign should be focussing on the positives.

That includes many innovative and successful businesses which have weathered the recession, are providing jobs and making a significant contribution to the regional and national economies.

Sunday soapbox


Sunday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation.

You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, to muse or amuse.

August 18 in history


293 BC  The oldest known Roman temple to Venus was founded, starting the institution of Vinalia Rustica.

1572 Marriage in Paris of the future Huguenot King Henry IV of Navarre to Marguerite de Valois, in a supposed attempt to reconcile Protestants and Catholics.

1587 Virginia Dare, granddaughter of governor John White of the Colony of Roanoke, became the first English child born in the Americas (d.?).

1634  Urbain Grandier, accused and convicted of sorcery, was burned alive in Loudun France.

1848  Camila O’Gorman and Ladislao Gutierrez were executed on the orders of Argentine dictator Juan Manuel de Rosas.

1864 American Civil War: Battle of Globe Tavern – Union forces tried to cut a vital Confederate supply-line into Petersburg, Virginia, by attacking the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad.

1868 – French astronomer Pierre Jules César Janssen discovered helium.

1870  Franco-Prussian War: Battle of Gravelotte .

1877  Asaph Hall discovered Martian moon Phobos.

1885 Nettie Palmer, Australian poet and essayist, was born  (d. 1964).

1891 Major hurricane struck Martinique, leaving 700 dead.

1903 German engineer Karl Jatho allegedly flew his self-made, motored gliding aeroplane four months before the first flight of the Wright Brothers.

1904 – Max Factor, Polish-born cosmetics entrepreneur, was born  (d. 1996).

1909 Mayor of Tokyo Yukio Ozaki presented Washington, D.C. with 2,000 cherry trees.

1917  A Great Fire in Thessaloniki, Greece destroyed 32% of the city leaving 70,000 individuals homeless.

1920 Shelley Winters, American actress, was born  (d. 2006).

1920 The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, guaranteeing women’s suffrage.

1935 Sir Howard Morrison, New Zealand entertainer, was born (d 2009).

1935 Robert Redford, American actor, was born.

1938  The Thousand Islands Bridge, connecting New York State, United States with Ontario, Canada over the St. Lawrence River, was dedicated by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

1941 Adolf Hitler ordered a temporary halt to Nazi Germany’s systematic euthanasia of the mentally ill and the handicapped due to protests.

1950  Julien Lahaut, the chairman of the Communist Party of Belgium was assassinated by far-right elements.

1952 Patrick Swayze, American actor, was born  (d. 2009).

1955 – 20 year-old Edward Te Whiu was hanged for murder.

1958  Vladimir Nabokov’s controversial novel Lolita was published in the United States.

1963 American civil rights movement: James Meredith became the first black person to graduate from the University of Mississippi.

1965 Vietnam War: Operation Starlite began – United States Marines destroyed a Viet Cong stronghold on the Van Tuong peninsula in the first major American ground battle of the war.

1966 Vietnam War: the Battle of Long Tan – a patrol of 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment encountered the Viet Cong.

1969  Jimi Hendrix played the unofficial last day of the Woodstock festival.

1971 Prime Minister Keith Holyoake announced to Parliament the decision to withdraw New Zealand’s combat force from Vietnam before the end of the year.

Deadline for Vietnam pull-out announced

1976 In the Korean Demilitarized Zone at Panmunjeom, the Axe Murder Incident resulted in the death of two US soldiers.

1977  Steve Biko was arrested at a police roadblock under the Terrorism Act No 83 of 1967 in King William’s Town, South Africa. He later died of the injuries sustained during this arrest.

1982  Japanese election law was amended to allow for proportional representation.

1983  Hurricane Alicia hit the Texas coast, killing 22 people and causing over USD $1 billion in damage (1983 dollars).

1989  Leading presidential hopeful Luis Carlos Galán was assassinated near Bogotá in Colombia.

2000 A Federal jury finds the US EPA  guilty of discrimination against Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, later inspiring passage of the No FEAR Act.

2005 Massive power blackout in  Java, affecting almost 100 million people.

2008 President Of Pakistan Pervez Musharaf resigned due to pressure from opposition.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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