Word of the day

September 3, 2013

Ahenny –  the way people stand when examining other people’s bookshelves; the awkward, head-tilted, sideways position adopted when reading the spines of books on a bookcase.

(From The Meaning of Liff).


6/10

September 3, 2013

Only 6/10 in 1:34 in today’s  Money week quiz.

Once more my guesses for the entertainment questions were wrong.


Liff and breakfast

September 3, 2013

Discussion with Jim Mora on Critical Mass today was sparked by:

* The Meaning of Liff  which was compiled by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd who decided:

there are many hundreds of common experiences, feelings, situations and even objects which we all know and recognize, but for which no words exist.
On the other hand, the world is littered with thousands of spare words which spend their time doing nothing but loafing about on signposts pointing at places.

Our job, as we see it, is to get these words down off the signposts and into the mouths of babes and sucklings and so on, where they can start earning their keep in everyday conversation and make a more positive contribution to society.

Liff,  a hamlet near Dundee (,y father’s birth place) in Angus, Scotland, is defined by Adams and Lloyd as:

A book, the contents of which are totally belied by its cover. For instance, any book the dust jacket of which ears the words, ‘This book will change your life’.

* What should I eat for breakfast today?

This inspirational celebration of the most important meal of the day by food writer and blogger Marta Greber, has wonderful photos, recipes and anecdotes.


Rural round-up

September 3, 2013

Fitch affirms Fonterra AA credit rating:

(BusinessDesk) – Fitch Ratings has affirmed Fonterra Cooperative Group’s credit rating, saying its dominance in export markets and fully-integrated business model underpin the dairy company.

Fonterra’s long and short term default ratings were affirmed at AA- and F1+ with a stable outlook, and ratings on its senior unsecured notes, subordinated notes and commercial paper were also left untouched at AA-, A+ and F1+, Fitch said in a statement. The rating agency cited Fonterra’s ability to sell its entire annual production despite price volatility and its market dominance as key rating drivers.

“Volumes and prices at GlobalDairyTrade auctions which comprise mainly New Zealand products rose over the last month despite the August colostridium botulinum scare,” Fitch said. “Fonterra does not take a material amount of price risk as it is able to pass this risk on to Fonterra’s farmer supplier/shareholder base.” . . .

World’s largest drier kicks into gear at Darfield:

The world’s largest milk powder drier at Fonterra’s Darfield site kicked into gear last week producing its first batches of whole milk powder which will be exported to more than 20 markets worldwide including the Middle East, China and Southeast Asia.

Fonterra’s Director Logistics Network, Robert Spurway, said at the peak of the season, the drier will run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It will produce more than 700 metric tonnes – the equivalent of 45 shipping containers – each day.

“The demand for dairy nutrition around the world, especially for whole milk powder, is still strong. Drier Two will ensure that Fonterra has the capacity to meet this demand and to process ongoing milk growth in Canterbury, the fastest growing dairy region in New Zealand. . .

There’s more to whitebaiting than catching fish Julia Bradshaw at Waiology:

Unlike the rest of New Zealand, on the West Coast the season for catching whitebait starts on 1 September and the build-up has been noticeable during the last week. Distinctive huts have appeared along the sides of rivers, motor-homes are noticeably more common and there are more strollers than usual along the river-banks. They are keeping an eye out for shoals of whitebait, a sign that the season will be a good one.

Catching whitebait has always been an important part of West Coast life. Tangata whenua had sophisticated and clever ways of catching mata (whitebait), all of which were copied by early Pakeha. Scoop nets, pot nets and trenches (stands) in use today can be easily traced back to the ingenious methods used by Maori. . .

Four vying for DairyNZ directorships

Four candidates are vying for two DairyNZ director positions this year, with the results of the election set to be announced at DairyNZ’s annual meeting in Taranaki on Thursday October 17.

Two directors are retiring by rotation and standing for re-election, along with two other new candidates. 

Candidates for the director positions are: 

  • Alister Body (Ashburton) 
  • Kevin Ferris (Te Awamutu) 
  • Barbara Kuriger (New Plymouth) 
  • Tom Walters (Te Puke) . . .

Port staff taken on inspection duties – Tim Fulton:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) classes the empty shipping containers at Port Chalmers as either Pacific or rest of the world.

The hygiene of the Pacific containers kept everyone on guard but shipments from elsewhere were generally less risky, border clearance regional manager Andrew Simon said.

There would always be times when port workers wanted to inspect a container so it could be moved somewhere else, and it was often then MPI inspectors were busy elsewhere.

“Sometimes the port companies are screaming out for us to come and inspect these things, over weekends and things, and we don’t have staff operating 24/7 at port sides around the country,” Simon said. . .

Akarua Pinot Noir named Champion Wine of Show:

Bannockburn vineyard Akarua has won the Bragato Trophy for Champion Wine of Show and three other trophies at the Romeo Bragato Awards in Blenheim.

Apart from the competition’s top award, Akarua Pinot Noir 2011 also won the Mike Wolter Memorial Trophy Champion Pinot Noir and the Sustainability Trophy.

On top of Akarua’s success with Pinot Noir, a recent addition to their portfolio, Akarua Rosé Brut NV, also won the Sparkling Trophy. . .


Govt funding Pike river re-entry plan

September 3, 2013

Families of the men who died in the Pyke River mine have been given some hope that the bodies will be recovered.

The Government has approved conditional funding of a staged plan to re-enter and explore the main tunnel leading up to the rock fall at the Pike River Coal Mine, Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges has announced.

The decision follows approval in principle of the re-entry plan risk assessment by the Solid Energy Board.

Mr Bridges said the Government will fund the estimated cost of the plan, at $7.2 million.

“Our criteria are that any re-entry into the tunnel up to the rock fall is safe, technically feasible and financially credible. Safety is paramount, and the High Hazards Unit of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has reviewed the plan and is comfortable with it,” said Mr Bridges.

“This is a highly complex and technical operation and it will be carefully managed in stages, with a risk assessment undertaken at each stage. Ensuring the safety of workers is an absolute bottom line for the Government and Solid Energy.”

Mr Bridges said the scope of the operation did not include entry into the main mine workings which is blocked by the rock fall. 

“The Government cannot comment or speculate about re-entering the main mine until the tunnel re-entry has been successfully achieved,” Mr Bridges said. 

Some of the families might have accepted that body recovery is unlikely, others haven’t and that will be an obstacle in the grieving process.

This is a first step which will give families hope but it gives no certainty.

Awful as the waiting and wondering must be for the relatives and friends of the men who died, the safety and lives of rescuers must take precedence over the recovery of bodies.


Meeting the candidates

September 3, 2013

Extra seats had to be brought in to the Opera House’s Ink Box to cope with the crowd at the forum for the seven candidates seeking the Waitaki mayoralty organised by the Otago Chmaber of Comemrce and Otago Daily times last week.

Last night’s forum, organised by the Oamaru Mail, was in the Opera House’s main auditorium and attracted about 200 people. That’s a good crowd in a small town for such an event.

The meeting started promptly at the advertised time of 7pm. Chair Phil Hope said it would finish on the dot of 9pm and it did.

Each candidate was given a couple of minutes to introduce themselves and their vision for the District then had a minute each to answer questions which had been sent in by Mail readers.

Most of the focus was on generalities.

Federated Farmers is organising a forum with a rural focus later in the month.

The seven candidates are Fliss Butcher, Jim Hopkins, Gary Kircher, Greg Smith, Eric Spittal, Helen Stead and David Wilson.

No-one disgraced themselves but I think three showed they didn’t have the knowledge and ability required for the job.

If you were just going on performance last night, I don’t think there was a lot between the other four.

But if the grapevine is reliable there are two front runners – Hopkins, who is the current deputy, and Kircher, a former deputy who stood against the current mayor, Alex Familton,  three years ago.

He made it an all or nothing bid, wasn’t successful and is again standing only for mayor while Hopkins is also standing for council.

Both have different strengths, both have different weaknesses.

One question asked was about economic development.

I regard local government’s role in that as similar to central government’s – it should have policies which make it easy for people to do business, within whatever boundaries are necessary, and leave them to do it.

I don’t think local body politicians and bureaucrats are any better at picking winners than central ones and I don’t want them trying with ratepayers’ money.

At local level, a how-can-we-help council culture rather than a you-have-to-do-this one would be a good start.

Another question asked them what they’d do with their day jobs if they were successful.

All said being mayor would be their day jobs which highlights an issue.

The position of mayor of a geographically large district with a small population (about 20,000 people) and therefore small rating base doesn’t pay much.

Those who hark back to the days when being mayor was part-time and unpaid might say it pays too much.

But if the role has to be a full time one, a lot of people who aren’t retired, don’t have businesses which can run without them, or who have no other income, would think it doesn’t pay enough.


Who’s best at getting votes?

September 3, 2013

On Q & A on Sunday Richard Prebble pointed out that none of Labour’s three leadership contenders had a good record for getting votes. (Transcript here).

In 2008 they were:

David Cunliffe, New Lynn, a dark red electorate: electorate vote 17,331, majority 4,025, party vote 14,165.

Grant Robertson, Wellington Central, a swinging electorate, electorate vote 17,046, majority 1,904, party vote 14,244.

Shane Jones, Northland, a National electorate, electorate vote 9,835, loss by 10,054, party vote 8,573.

In 2011 they were:

David Cunliffe, New Lynn – 16,999, majority 5,190, party vote 12,462.

Grant Robertson, Wellington Central: electorate vote 18,836, majority 6,376, party vote 10,459.

Shane Jones, Tamaki Makarau, a former Labour seat now held by the Maori Party: electorate vote  6,184,  a loss by 936, party vote 7,739.

In 2008 and 2011 Cunliffe’s electorate votes was higher than the party one but both were lower in 2011.

Robertson’s vote was higher than the party vote in both elections, his personal vote went up in 2011, the party vote went down.

In 2008 Jones’s electorate vote was higher than Labour’s party vote, in 2011 it was lower.

Looking at the colour of the seats, Robertson in the marginal Wellington Central did best but none of them was particularly good at getting votes.

Compare them with the National leader and deputy.

John Key got 26,771 electorate votes, won with a majority of 20,547  and attracted 23,559 party votes in 2008 and in 2011 got 26,011 electorate votes, a majority of 21,066 and 23,558 party votes.

In 2008, Bill English won Clutha Southland with   22,631 electorate votes, a majority of 15,475 and 20,235 party votes. In 2011 he won with 21,375 electorate votes, a majority of 16,168 and a party vote of 20,020.

These are very blue electorates, but New Lynn ought to be a red one.

The question those voting for Labour new leader should be asking Cunliffe, Jones and Robertson is, what are there chances of getting the sort of voter support Key and English do and how will they do it?


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