Word of the day

30/08/2013

Bodacious -excellent, admirable, or attractive; remarkable; prodigious; audacious; gutsy;  bold or brazen; sexy; voluptuous.


Pen-y-bryn Qualmark Luxury Lodge

30/08/2013

Oamaru’s historic Pen-y-bryn Lodge has been named Qualmark’s second ‘New Zealand Luxury Lodge’ in a new quality assurance category launched earlier this year in conjunction with Luxury Lodges of New Zealand.

Pen-y-bryn has joined the ranks of lodges that have earned this distinction through membership of a handful of international luxury hotel groups.

To achieve its latest distinction, Pen-y-bryn Lodge was visited by two Qualmark assessors who spent a night at the property, enjoying the full lodge experience including a gourmet dinner and guest activities.

Built in 1889 for Oamaru businessman John Bulleid, who gave the building its Welsh name meaning ‘On Top of the Hill’, the exclusive property features five ensuite guest rooms overlooking historic Oamaru and the coast.

Co-owner and Pen-y-bryn Lodge host James Glucksman said he and co-owner James Boussy were “delighted” to receive the New Zealand Luxury Lodge Qualmark rating, rewarding them for their commitment to the historic Victorian mansion and the service they offer.

“We’re proud and honoured to have won this distinction, which we feel not only acknowledges the ongoing efforts we’ve made to upgrade the lodge since we took it over in 2010, but also the unique charms of our historic property and of the surrounding township of Oamaru.”

The Qualmark assessors enjoyed the full lodge experience, including a gourmet dinner, a croissant baking class led by James Glucksman, a Chinese tea degustation and a visit to the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony.

The two ‘Jameses’ said they made a point to have the assessors experience activities in and out of the lodge.

“That reflects the fact that we actively encourage all our guests to make the most of their time in Oamaru, which has so many things for visitors to do, while also recognising that many of our guests arrive at Pen-y-bryn and don’t want to leave,” said Mr Boussy.

“We ensured they experienced the comfort and exclusivity of our hilltop location, sampled our excellent menu, and enjoyed activities out of the lodge,” he said.

“When we moved here we immersed ourselves in this community and fell in love with everything it has to offer, and with this in mind we encourage our guests to experience the tranquil charm of the township. Combined with a stay in our historic, warm and welcoming lodge, we feel this is a captivating combination.” . . .

 Oamaru used to be just another town people drove through to get somewhere else.

Gradually, recognition and restoration of its historic buildings, the tourist potential of the little blue penguins, its artists and artisans and other attractions have turned it into a destination in its own right.

Some people come to visit, others like the Jameses have made it their home and made a major contribution to the economic, cultural, culinary and social fabric of the town.

You can find out more about Pen-y-bryn  here.

 

 


Rural round-up

30/08/2013

Land use pressure for farmers – Tony Benny:

Farmer predicts proposed new land use rules will jam the brakes on agricultural development in Canterbury.

Federated Farmers’ South Island Grain and Seed vice-chairman David Clark claims that the proposals for rules limiting changes of land use recommended for inclusion in the proposed Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan will put more pressure on arable farmers and stop further expansion of dairy farming.

“The proposals that have been put forward would make it extremely hard to change land use with any degree of intensification.

“The big issue and the big concern is around nutrient management rules that are coming in, that would severely constrict land use modification.” . .

Key holds fire on botulism blame – Hannah Lynch:

Prime Minister John Key is refusing to point the finger of blame at who is responsible for the Fonterra botulism fiasco until all inquires in to what turned out to be a false alarm are completed.

In a shock announcement yesterday, the Primary Industries Ministry said there was no contamination linked to botulism in Fonterra whey protein product at the centre of an international food safety alert. 

The ministry’s independent testing contradicted the results of tests done by Fonterra or on its behalf by state owned AgResearch. 

The alert earlier this month caused product recalls, a trade backlash and tarnished New Zealand’s “clean green” brand. . .

Deer farmers urged to fight for Invermay – Annette Scott:

The Invermay deer programme has led the development of the New Zealand deer industry for the past 35 years and is recognised as world leading, former Invermay Agricultural Centre director Dr Jock Allison says.

Allison opposes AgResearch’s proposal to focus South Island agricultural research on a single hub in Lincoln, describing it as schizophrenic behaviour.   

In a letter to deer farmers Allison, Dr Ken Drew, a leader of Invermay deer research for 25 years, and Otago University Professor Frank Griffin urged the industry to voice its concern.

“It is our view that only through concerted industry efforts will the deer research programme be retained at Invermay,” Allison said. . .

European manufacturer commits to New Zealand:

The current strength and strong outlook for the future of New Zealand agriculture has led Europe’s major tractor manufacturer, SAME Deutz-Fahr, to commit itself to our market.

The Vice Chairman of the company, Francesco Carozza, (pictured) who was in New Zealand recently, says the future of world agriculture is very strong, and New Zealand is well positioned to capitalise on that potential.

“Globally speaking, food demand is going to double over the next 40 years, so the market is going to increase big time – and so are the opportunities for New Zealand agriculture,” he says. . .

Primary Industry Training Organisation cements first successful year with fresh new brand:

On 1 October 2012, Agriculture ITO and Horticulture ITO merged to form the Primary Industry Training Organisation (Primary ITO). Primary ITO is also responsible for Water Industry Training, Equine Industry Training and NZ Sports Turf ITO, making it one of the largest ITOs in New Zealand.

“Agriculture ITO and Horticulture ITO made the proactive move to join together because we shared a natural affinity and a common vision. We recognised that we could deliver better outcomes for our industries by having an organisation with a larger critical mass and shared resources,” says Primary ITO Chief Executive Kevin Bryant.

Since the launch of Primary ITO, the organisation has continued to operate under the five existing brands. . .

Conservation and management of NZ whitebait speciesJane Goodman:

New Zealand’s whitebait fishery consists of the young of five migratory galaxiid species – inanga (Galaxias maculatus), koaro (Galaxias brevipinnis), banded kokopu (Galaxias fasciatus), giant kokopu (Galaxias argenteus) and shortjaw kokopu (Galaxias postvectis). Smelt (Retropinna retropinna) are also present in catches from some rivers along with the young of other fish species such as eels and bullies. (See Amber McEwan’s earlier blog.)

Four of the five galaxiid whitebait species (inanga, koaro, giant kokopu and shortjaw kokopu are ranked in the New Zealand Threat Classification System (Townsend et al. 2008) as ‘at risk – declining’; banded kokopu are listed as not threatened (Allibone et al. 2010).

A2 shares record-high as investors buy into growth story:

(BusinessDesk) – A2 Corp shares touched a record high 77 cents in trading today after the company boosted sales 51 percent and improved its underlying earnings.

The Sydney-based company, which markets milk products with a protein variant claimed to have health benefits, lifted sales to $94.3 million in the 12 months ended June 30 from $62.5 million, and more than doubled operating earnings before interest, tax depreciation and amortisation to $10.6 million.

Net profit slipped 6.5 percent to $4.12 million, as the company wore losses associated with setting up its British joint venture and year earlier gains from a tax asset and legal settlement rolled off. . .


Pretending to be unified

30/08/2013

One of the reasons I subscribe to The Listener is for a weekly dose of Jane Clifton’s wit.

This week she’s turned her attention to Labour’s leadership selection:

. . . Robertson’s support base is mostly drawn from the caucus A-team: the MPs who are either talented and appealing and on their way up, or who have at least built themselves a reasonably useful profile through diligence or longevity. Cunliffe’s are mostly from the B-team: MPs who have failed to distinguish themselves, but who, all too humanly, believe they have been unjustifiably passed over, and who trust Cunliffe to recognise their true worth in return for their support. There is also, as in any workplace, a fair amount of deeply personal enmity flowing from various individuals to various others . 

These are long and deeply forged ley lines, and can’t just be overridden with a public chorus of Kumbaya. . .

For the foreseeable future, Labour MPs will only be pretending to be unified. That goes also for the party at large, as evidenced by the hand grenades of hostility from the delegates at the last conference, all directed toward the MPs. . .

Winning the selection will be relatively easy – there are only two other candidates to beat.

Uniting the caucus and the party with their multiple and competing factions will be much harder.


Friday’s answers

30/08/2013

Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said, Literature is my Utopia. Here I am not disenfranchised. No barrier of the senses shuts me out from the sweet, gracious discourses of my book friends. They talk to me without embarrassment or awkwardness.?

2. Which book by which author won the 2013 New Zealand Post Book Awards which was announced last night?

3. It’s bibliothèque in French, biblioteca in Italian and Spanish,  and whare pukapuka in Maori, what is it in English?

4. Benjamin Franklin, Mao Zedong, Lewis Carroll, Philip Larkin and Golda  Meir shared a common job, what was it?

5. Which is the last book you read and which is the last New Zealand book you read?

Points for answers:

Willdwan gets four.

Alwyn gets three and a bonus for correcting my spelling and provoking a grin at the answer about the NZ book.

Answers:

1. Helen Keller.

2. The Big Music by Kirsty Gunn.

3. Library.

4. Librarian.

5. There was no correct answer for this, but the last book I read was Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots by Jessica Soffer and the last NZ books was The Writing Class by Stephanie Johnson.


Loyal or hopeful?

30/08/2013

Labour’s giving up on Invercargill but there’s still the odd loyalist down there who’s not giving up on the party:

soper

This is former MP and candidate, Lesley Soper,  who’s saying since there’s no leadership meeting scheduled for Invercargill she’s hoping to have a video of the candidates’ speeches from one of the meetings elsewhere at a local meeting.

Is she being loyal to the party which has shown no loyalty to her, or is she hopeful a change of leader will bring a change for the better in her list ranking?


The Green retreat begins

30/08/2013

Green Party  co-leader, Russel Norman, has been very keen to be Finance Minister and just this week he was also suggesting that he and the party’s other co-leader could share the position of Deputy Prime Minister.

But now he’s saying policy gains are more important than positions.

“What we really want most of all are policy gains – that’s why we got into the business,” says Dr Norman.

“We want a smarter, greener, more compassionate New Zealand, and a smarter, greener, more compassionate government. If we can get those policy gains, that’s the key thing for us.”

But he concedes that those gains will be easier to come by if they can get their MPs appointed to high-ranking positions, such as Minister of Finance or even Deputy Prime Minister.

“Having ministerial positions gives you influence and the ability to get the policy changes that you want, so they’re both on the table,” says Dr Norman. . .

This is the beginning of the Green retreat.

The party has made hay while Labour’s been in the shadows under David Shearer.

But whichever of the three amigos, David Cunliffe, Shane Jones or Grant Robertson,  wins the leadership selection, he will be stronger, more articulate and determined to win back the party’s left flank.

The biggest loser from that will be the Green Party and this softening stance from Norman suggests he knows it.


More praise for Bill

30/08/2013

Scott Sumner at the Money Illusion on a recent trip to Australia:

. . .  I was particularly impressed with the talk given by the representative from the New Zealand government (Bill English) but will admit to knowing little about that place, other than that their people live in Hobbit-style dwellings. . .

About which, Matt Nolan opines:

. . . Whether you agree with the policies of the National party, or the specific things that Bill English has pushed through as Finance Minister, you have to admit that he has done an incredibly good job over the past five years – during an incredibly difficult time.

 This is not the first time I’ve heard people overseas sing Bill English’s praises (it is probably in double-digits now) – over here we have a Finance Minister who understands the issues, and tries to communicate them clearly.

Sure it makes it easier for me to say good things about Bill English since he doesn’t seem to be directly involved with any of National’s policies I’ve strongly disagreed with (this has been more the social welfare area) – but even if my prior beliefs were different, the fact that English has been transparent and straight up when discussing issues, and the fact he seems to strongly work to understand and work with broad expert advice about fiscal issues from around the world, tells me he has done an excellent job.

Often Finance Ministers are judged solely on the luck they faced given their time in change, so lets be honest here and admit that during a tough time Bill English and his team have done a good job.  I know this post will be particularly unpopular with a section of the readers here, but it has to be said!

I’m completely apolitical – but having a Finance Minister that doesn’t make the role about themselves, and who gives an honest appraisal of the trade-offs faced from the broad thrust of government fiscal policy, is exactly the sort of person you want. . .

It’s good to know it’s not just those of us with a blue bias who admire Bill and what he’s managed to do in very trying times.


Absent with leave

30/08/2013

Trevor Mallard scored an own-goal when trying to distract attention from Labour’s leadership contenders using taxpayers’ money to fly round the country campaigning.

It provided Gerry Brownlee with the opportunity to ask whether David Shearer should be collecting the leader’s pay while taking three weeks leave to lick his wounds.

But Shearer isn’t the only Labour MP who’s going to be on full pay while absent from parliament:

Next week all three contenders will be absent from the House as they go on a roadshow as part of the leadership contest which winds up with an election on September 15.

That means we’re not only paying for David Cunliffe, Shane Jones and Grant Robertson to fly around the country, we’re paying them to campaign instead of attending to their duties as MPs in the House.

They might have leave from their whip to be absent but in what other job could they take off to further their own ambitions on full pay?


Leaving their people behind

30/08/2013

The Labour caucus has a reputation for being progressive and very supportive of diversity.

But comments from protesting union members in Auckland show the party hasn’t taken all of  its members with it.

Labour leader hopeful Grant Robertson was dealt a blow in south Auckland today, when members of the religious and socially conservative faction of the party came out in force to make it clear they don’t like that he is gay and won’t be voting for him.

The unions will play a big part in deciding the next Labour leader, but many in south Auckland have another union – with God. And that wasn’t working well for Mr Robertson. 

“I don’t like gay people. I don’t like him,” said one person 3 News spoke to.

“I don’t like gay people. I don’t want to see him as the Prime Minister,” said another. . .

No party has total unity on every issue but this illustrates the gulf between Labour’s  liberals and a group of its core supporters.

The party depends on unions for money and people-power.

If it’s leaving a sizeable number of what it would consider its people behind it’s got yet another problem to face in rebuilding.


How do minnows manage Fonterra fallout?

30/08/2013

Fonterra’s precautionary recall of products containing potentially contaminated whey concentrate protein has been proved to be just that – precautionary.

Exhaustive tests have found nothing to cause any concern about food safety.

That Fonterra raised a red flag, traced the product and recalled it is reassuring.

However, there are still questions over the way it handled the problem and its communications strategy, and the fallout isn’t confined to Fonterra.

Radio NZ reports that up to 20 infant formula exporters have lost up to $1 million each as a result of the botulism scare.

I know of four other companies which have also been caught in the fallout and there will be many more directly or indirectly affected.

Large companies will be better able to cope with any loss of business, but how do the minnows manage?

Those which had to recall product should be covered by insurance but others which weren’t directly affected but which have lost business won’t be.

In an address to the Wellington Chamber of Commerce this week, Trade Minister Tim Groser said:

. . . In the market place, some damage has been done, and we are not in clear and calm water yet. Some companies, particularly those without heavyweight balance sheets, are unquestionably feeling the pressure. The Government is very conscious of that and we are developing with the smaller commercial players – many of whom would be considered significant NZ companies but for the comparison with Fonterra, the only Fortune 500 company we have – a strategy to deal with their very real problems. There is a whole range of discussions underway – technical, political and commercial – addressing related but often quite distinct aspects of the problem, some of which (the administrative mistakes over meat certification to China for example) have absolutely nothing to do with food safety but which are part of the mix.

I have said on many an occasion that the least we can expect, metaphorically speaking, is a bloody nose. But frankly, while I know it will take a lot of further hard work and some re-calibration here and there, I am optimistic we will indeed recover from this and fully. As the Prime Minister has said, we have over 100 years of an unmatchable international record of putting high quality, safe food on the tables of families around the world. That did not disappear overnight. . .

Our reputation for high quality, safe food isn’t quite as shiny as it was but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Perhaps we were too complacent.

This scare has given the food industry a warning about the importance of high standards and good communication.

That will be good in the long run if it results in improved practices which ensure our reputation is based on the highest possible standards.


August 30 in history

30/08/2013

1363 Beginning date of the Battle of Lake Poyang; the forces of two Chinese rebel leaders— Chen Youliang and Zhu Yuanzhang—were pitted against each other in what is one of the largest naval battles in history, during the last decade of the ailing, Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty.

1574  Guru Ram Das became the Fourth Sikh Guru/Master.

1590  Tokugawa Ieyasu entered Edo Castle.

1720 Samuel Whitbread, English brewer, was born (d. 1796).

1791 HMS Pandora sank after running aground on a reef the previous day.

1797 Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, English writer, was born (d. 1851).

1799 Capture of the entire Dutch fleet by British forces under the command of Sir Ralph Abercromby and Admiral Sir Charles Mitchell during the Second Coalition of the French Revolutionary Wars.

1800 Gabriel Prosser led a slave rebellion in Richmond, Virginia.

1813  Battle of Kulm: French forces defeated by Austrian-Prussian-Russian alliance.

1813  Creek War: Creek Red Sticks carried out the Fort Mims Massacre.

1835 Melbourne was founded.

1836 The city of Houston was founded by Augustus Chapman Allen and John Kirby Allen.

1862  American Civil War: Battle of Richmond: Confederates under Edmund Kirby Smith routed a Union army under General Horatio Wright.

1862 – American Civil War: Union forces were defeated in Second Battle of Bull Run.

1871 Ernest Rutherford,  Nobel Prize in Chemistry laureate, was born (d. 1937).

1873 – Austrian explorers Julius von Payer and Karl Weyprecht discovered the archipelago of Franz Joseph Land in the Arctic Sea.

1903 Guide Joseph Warbrick and three tourists were killed instantly when Roturua’s Waimangu geyser erupted unexpectedly.

Four killed by Rotorua geyser

1908 Fred MacMurray, American actor, was born (d. 1991).

1909  Burgess Shale fossils discovered by Charles Doolittle Walcott.

1912 Nancy Wake AC GM, New Zealand-born World War II secret agent, was born (d. 2011).

1914  Battle of Tannenberg.

1918 Fanny Kaplan shot and seriously injured Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin.

1922 Battle of Dumlupinar, final battle in Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922).

1926 – Kawarau Falls dam became operational.

next

1930 Warren Buffett, American entrepreneur, was born.

1935 John Phillips, American singer/songwriter (The Mamas & the Papas), was born (d. 2001).

1942  World War II: Battle of Alam Halfa began.

1943 Jean-Claude Killy, French skier, was born.

1945 Hong Kong was liberated from Japan by British Armed Forces.

1945 – Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, General Douglas MacArthur landed at Atsugi Air Force Base.

1946 Peggy Lipton, American actress, was born.

1951 Dana, Irish singer and politician, was born.

1956 Lake Pontchartrain Causeway opened.

1962  Japan conducted a test of the NAMC YS-11, its first aircraft since the war and its only successful commercial aircraft.

1963 Hotline between the leaders of the U.S.A. and the Soviet Union went into operation.

1967  Thurgood Marshall was confirmed as the first African American Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

1972  Cameron Diaz, American actress, was born.

1974  A BelgradeDortmund express train derailed at the main train station in Zagreb killing 153 passengers.

1974 – A powerful bomb exploded at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries headquarters in Marunouchi, Tokyo – 8 killed, 378 injured.

1984   The Space Shuttle Discovery took off on its maiden voyage.

1995 – NATO launches Operation Deliberate Force against Bosnian Serb forces.

1999 – East Timor voted for independence from Indonesia in a referendum.

2003 – While being towed across the Barents Sea, the de-commissioned Russian submarine K-159 sank, taking 9 of her crew and 800 kg of spent nuclear fuel with her.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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