Word of the day

September 2, 2013

Gobemouche – a highly gullible person; someone who believes everything s/he hears; a fly swallower;  one who keeps his/her mouth open; a boor; a silly and credulous person.

Rural round-up

September 2, 2013

NZ/Sri Lanka agree way forward on dairy issues:

The New Zealand and Sri Lankan governments have agreed to work toward a Dairy Sector Cooperation Agreement following a one day visit to Colombo by Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully.

The visit followed the serious difficulties Fonterra has experienced in that market over recent weeks and the temporary closure of its Sri Lankan operations.

Mr McCully and Fonterra Chairman John Wilson met Sri Lankan Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa to discuss progress in resolving the difficulties and future opportunities to expand cooperation in the dairy sector.

“Sri Lanka is keen to substantially build its domestic capacity in the dairy sector. Mr Rajapaksa clearly understands the world-class expertise and experience that Fonterra can bring to that. He was very interested in hearing how Fonterra might be able to assist. We took the opportunity to underline the greater certainty that Fonterra will need in the Sri Lankan market,” Mr McCully says. . .

Fundamentals still right: farm leader – Sally Rae:

It may have been a ”hellishly tough month” for Fonterra but the co-operative’s forecast milk price underlines that the fundamentals of the New Zealand dairy industry remain strong, Federated Farmers dairy chairman Willy Leferink says.

Last week, the co-operative revised its 2013-14 season forecast to $7.80, up 30c from the previous forecast late last month.

New Zealanders should ”rejoice” that the immediate financial damage from the recall and market access issues would not dent the economy, Mr Leferink said.

”With an eye to the future, we’ve got to accept that we cannot afford a repeat of this month’s problems, but right now, this confidence in the dairy industry is a huge relief. . . .

Rural folk urged to change drinking ways:

Rural communities need to change the present culture of binge-drinking and drink-driving, those in the emergency services say.

Otago rural area acting commander Inspector Andrew Burns, of Dunedin, said alcohol was a factor in the ”vast majority” of crimes in rural areas.

People were consuming alcohol differently in rural communities and the problem was not as ”visible” as it was in cities, but it was still a problem, he said.

”In the rural community it’s no different [to urban settings],” Insp Burns said.

”With a lot of domestic violence, alcohol is a factor and in violent crime it’s usually a factor.” . . .

Time to face up to rural mental health needs:

Federated Farmers is joining the Rural General Practice Network in calling for specific funding for rural mental health. This follows the latest annual release of suicide statistics by the Chief Coroner.

“When there are more suicides in New Zealand than road deaths, drownings and workplace accidents combined, there is a serious need to change tack,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Health & Safety spokesperson.

“Last year, 541 New Zealanders took their own lives and we know the cost of suicide painfully well in rural New Zealand.

“As the Chief Coroner, Judge Neil McLean recently told 3 News, “Farming is tough. You’re at the whims of nature and markets and you have no control over this and it’s hard and demanding work in isolation. . .

Soaring milk prices boost for farmers – Hugh Stringleman:

Milk prices have taken off in a way not seen since the commodity boom of 2007-08, promising total farmgate returns of about $8/kg milksolids in a season that has only just begun. 

The country’s 12,000 dairy farm owners, their sharemilkers and staff members can whistle their way to work in the pre-dawn darkness.

Widespread rain, warm temperatures, steep pasture-growth curves, and good prospects for supplementary feeding should work to boost national milk production and turbo-charge the economy.

Federated Farmers dairy section chairman Willy Leferink said last week’s forecast increases by Fonterra and Westland co-operatives were almost too good to be true. . .

Aussie breakthrough for NZ deer velvet – Rod O’Neill:

New Zealand’s deer velvet industry is claiming a big win, with producer and processor Mountain Red poised to begin exporting into Australia after having its product licensed by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration.

It’s been a long hard battle to access the Australian market, said Mountain Red director Karen Morley.

The licence means Nelson-based Mountain Red’s range of therapeutic products can be distributed in Australia and even be prescribed by general practitioners practising integrated medicine.

“We’ve spent a hell of a long time trying to get into Australia,” Morley said. “The regulations are so hard.” . . .


September 2, 2013

9/10 in 1:07 in Money Week’s quiz.

Money Week is designed to help people manage their personal finances better.

I don’t see the relevance to that of the cost of an American celebrity’s wedding (the question I got wrong).

Sir David Frost 7.4.39 – 31.8.13

September 2, 2013

British broadcaster Sir David Frost has died.

He began his career at the cutting edge of television satire and went on to interview some of the most famous people of his generation, becoming friends with many of them on the way. . .

. . . He was the only journalist to have interviewed all seven British prime ministers who held office between 1964 and 2010 and every US president who had occupied the White House between 1969 and 2008.

“John Smith said to me, ‘You have a way of asking beguiling questions with potentially lethal consequences.’

“I would be content to have that on my tombstone.”

In this clip he is interviewed about interviewing.

Inaccurate and out of date

September 2, 2013

Enough signatures have been gathered to force a politicians’ initiated referendum on asset sales.

The question we’ll be asked is:

“Do you support the Government selling up to 49% of Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, Genesis Power, Solid Energy and Air New Zealand?”

That is inaccurate and out of date.

MRP has already been partially floated, Meridian Energy is about to be, Solid Energy has been taken off the list and there is no plan to reduce the government’s share in Air New Zealand.

The law states:

The Governor-General sets a date for the referendum within one month from the date of presentation. The referendum must be held within a year of the date of presentation unless 75% of all members of the House vote to defer it.

The left made the partial sale of assets the main policy of the last election.

They could do so again next year without wasting public money on this referendum which will have no impact on the policy.

Which PM would they emulate?

September 2, 2013

Sean Plunket, interviewing Labour’s three leadership contenders on The Nation  yesterday, asked them which leader they would emulate.

David Cunliffe opted for Michael Joseph Savage, Shane Jones and Grant Robertson both chose Norman Kirk.

Interesting that Helen Clark wasn’t chosen, and in fact was criticised by Jones:

“Now the thing about Helen, she was into social provision and anti-discrimination, Labour can no longer have that as its dominating brand,” said Mr Jones.

The other two didn’t comment on this, but their enthusiasm for a 50/50 gender split in caucus suggests they don’t agree.

Mega hurdle for mega wannabe MP

September 2, 2013

Another man with an over-inflated view of his own importance is considering standing for parliament.

Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom appears poised to run for parliament.  

The German millionaire, who is fighting extradition to the United States where he faces copyright charges, took to Twitter today to acknowledge his plans to enter politics. 

“My embryonic NZ political plans leaked by whistleblower. Still looking for partners. Not ready yet,” Dotcom tweeted. . .

But Keeping Stock points out there is a mega hurdle for the mega wannabe MP – he’s not a citizen.

Residents can vote but only citizens can stand for parliament.

1.2          Candidate eligibility

To be a candidate you must:

  • be enrolled as a voter,
  • be a New Zealand citizen, and
  • not be disqualified from enrolling.

There’s another hurdle too:

The main grounds of disqualification for enrolment that could affect eligibility to be a candidate are:

  • the person is a New Zealand citizen who is outside New Zealand and has not been in New Zealand within the last three years,
  • the person has been sentenced to imprisonment.

Dotcom received a suspended prison sentence.

The very capable PR people Dotcom employs probably wouldn’t be bothered by electoral law in their quest for publicity but you’d think a journalist might do some basic cheques checks on eligibility before publishing the story.

Update – A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Graeme Edgeler has corrected me – overseas convictions don’t count and NZ ones only count while the sentence is being served.

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