8/10 in today’s Money week Quiz.
Earthquake recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee wouldn’t need any reminders that today is the third anniversary of the first Canterbury earthquakes, but he got one anyway.
On Facebook he wrote:
Landed in Japan just in time for a 6.5 earthquake. While I do always take work with me on trips, this was a little unexpected
Fortunately since the 1980’s Japan has had very tight building codes and its citizens and media are well trained in reaction to quakes.
Sounds like a song: Taking the Shaking With You.
Justice Minister Judith Collins has announced restorative justice services will be expanded and rolled out to all courts in the country.
An additional 2,400 restorative justice conferences – totalling 3,600 in 2014/15 – follow the Government’s $4.4 million investment in adult pre-sentence restorative justice as part of Budget 2013.
Ms Collins says investing in pre-sentence restorative justice will help deliver results, give victims a voice in the justice system and make victims strong.
“We know participation in restorative justice can result in a reduction in the reoffending rate of up to 20 per cent when compared to offenders who did not participate,” Ms Collins says.
“As well as delivering more services in existing centres, restorative justice will now be in courts where it was not previously or readily available, such as Alexandra, Queenstown, Gore, Taihape, Dannevirke, Taumarunui, Huntly, Morrinsville, Whakatane and Wairoa.
“Expanding restorative justice services across New Zealand will help the justice sector meet the Government’s Better Public Services target of further reducing reoffending by 25 per cent by 2017 – already reoffending is down by over 9 per cent.”
Ms Collins says restorative justice is also particularly effective at reducing victimisation and repeat victimisation. The 2011 Victim Satisfaction Survey showed 74 per cent of victims who attended a conference felt better.
The roll-out of new services will start from October 1 following decisions made by the Ministry of Justice as part of an open tender process.
Helping victims and reducing reoffending make the extra money spent on this initiative well worth while.
Continuing high international commodity prices have seen Synlait Milk increase its forecast milk price for the FY2014 season from $7.00 per kgMS to $8.00 per kgMS.
The Company also lifted its advance rates for the season effective from August paid September from $4.50 per kgMS to $5.00 per kgMS.
Synlait Milk announced last week that it will process more milk than forecast this season following a decision to take a significant allocation of DIRA milk that will increase total production volumes of its ingredients products.
Synlait Milk Managing Director John Penno says the Company remains confident in achieving its forecast financial result for FY2014. . .
The lives of a qualified veterinarian and a computer science graduate from the Philippines took an unexpected turn when they arrived in New Zealand.
Unable to work in his chosen field in New Zealand unless he took a refresher course, Don Mananes, now lives with
wife Khristine and daughters Denisse (9) and Diane (4), on a dairy farm at Waiparu, near Riversdale, where he works as a farm manager and AI specialist. The family loves the lifestyle, which is different from the city lifestyle they had back home. . .
The Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand (RHAANZ) was established in March and ”brings together health, social and political agencies with a rural focus to provide a unified voice and resource to help find solutions for the health problems facing rural communities.”
Southern Rural Life invited chairman Dr Jo Scott-Jones to discuss GPs’ roles in mental health in rural communities.
The role of the rural GP has always been one which has had to provide a wider range of services than in urban centres where there is easier access to support from other providers. . .
Heard it on the grapevine – Kat Pickford:
Fairhall grape grower Stuart Smith has been recognised for services to the country’s wine industry.
New Zealand Winegrowers chairman Steve Green announced Mr Smith’s induction to the roll of fellows at the 29th annual Romeo Bragato conference yesterday.
More than 600 vintners, viticulturists, trades people and suppliers are at the three-day conference being held at the Marlborough Convention Centre this week.
The sell-out event was the industry’s largest, and included the Bragato dinner tonight, when the Moore Stephens Young Viticulturist of the year and the Bragato Wine Award trophy winners would be announced. . .
Land deals first inkling of the future – Kat Pickford:
Tomorrow marks the 40th anniversary of the beginning of Marlborough’s commercial wine industry.
The small group of farmers, lawyers, engineers and orchardists who pioneered viticulture practices to suit the region’s climate talk to reporter Kat Pickford about the journey that led to the phenomenal growth and international success of Marlborough wine.
Blenheim businessman John Marris had his feet up by the fire on a typical Marlborough winter evening in August 1973 when he took a phone call from his boss looking for 200 hectares of bare land on behalf of a mystery buyer.
The freshly minted real estate agent immediately sensed something was up. Rural property was not selling in Marlborough, and he wanted to talk to this guy to find out how serious he was.
In 1973, the value of bare land was about $550 a hectare, and there was not a lot of it on the market. . .
King Country chook lays massive egg – Catley Edwards:
A King Country chook is the toast of the henhouse after laying an egg the size of a mini ostrich egg.
When cracked, the egg revealed its surprise contents – a yolk and another egg.
One of Taumarunui woman Sheryl Standfield’s 12 free-ranging brown highliner hens laid the monster, which weighed in at 165gm, had a girth of 12.7cm and height of 12cm. . .
An elderly couple were driving to Dunedin when they had an accident near Lawrence, about 80kms from the city.
The husband was very concerned that he’d be late for his hospital appointment and asked the policeman who attended the accident if he could call a taxi.
The officer said there was no need to do that, he’d take them to Dunedin.
That’s real public service and going many extra miles.
Local Government Minister Chris Tremain has announced that online voting will be trialled in the 2016 local authority elections.
“Online transactions are the way of the future and the Government is committed to rolling out digital services for New Zealanders,” says Mr Tremain.
“I have asked the Department of Internal Affairs to put together a working party from across government and local authorities and with information technology experts. They will consider the options, costs and security issues involved in online voting.
“Voter turnout in local body elections is traditionally low and we need to look at other ways to encourage people to become involved in the democratic process.
“Online voting will be more convenient and appeal to young voters. It will also make it easier for people with disabilities to vote. “
“There is a high level of interest from the sector in online voting with organisations like the Porirua City Council and the Manawatu District Council volunteering to take part in the trial.
“Robust regulations need to be in place so voters have trust and confidence in the system. The working party will be assessing the security and technology used in public elections overseas to mitigate risk.
“Once the working party reports its findings the next step will be to formulate a plan to implement online voting in local body elections.
“The Government RealMe service will be used to enable online voting. New Zealanders who have a RealMe logon can now update their electoral enrolment details online. The Electoral Amendment Bill recently introduced will enable electors with a RealMe verified identity to enrol online.”
Security will be the major concern.
But a RealMe logon is a lot more secure than postal voting and online voting might encourage better participation, especially among younger people.
The GlobalDairyTrade price index slipped 1.1% in this morning’s auction.
The price of anhydrous milk fat increased 3.1%; butter was up 2.7%; cheddar was down 3.2%; milk protein concentrate slipped 3.8%; rennet casein was down 2.1%; skim milk powder lost .8% and whole milk powder was down 1.7%.
The average winning price was $US4,891 per metric tonne.
Labour’s aspiring leaders’ expensive promises have provided the government with a golden opportunity to highlight the responsible position it has taken to economic management.
2. JAMI-LEE ROSS (National—Botany) to the Minister of Finance: What steps is the Government taking to responsibly manage its finances and deliver better public services, following fast-rising government spending of the mid-2000s?
Hon BILL ENGLISH (Minister of Finance): We have followed some fairly basic rules that any prudent household or organisation would follow. We make sure that spending commitments are costed and that there are funds available to pay for those spending commitments, at the same time as balancing the need to support New Zealand families through uncertain times. The Government is on track for surplus next year. We have been able to deliver better results in health, education, welfare, and justice at the same time as reducing a very large surplus due in part to the Christchurch earthquake but also due in part to the policies of the previous Government. We intend to continue to deliver better results, in many cases for less funding.
Jami-Lee Ross: What are the benefits for New Zealand families of the Government’s responsible economic and fiscal management?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: The main benefit for New Zealand families has been that they have had a degree of security about their income support and their jobs through some of the more difficult times that this economy has endured in the last 30 years. The cost of living is rising at less than 1 percent a year—a 14-year low. The export sector has been growing in the last 2 or 3 years, despite a high dollar. New Zealand’s 2.5 percent growth in the last year puts us among the faster-growing economies in the Western World. Business and consumer confidence is at, or near, a multi-year high. The Government’s disciplined spending is taking pressure off exchange rates and interest rates.
Jami-Lee Ross: How does New Zealand’s current economic performance compare with the position that the Government inherited in 2008?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: The Government inherited the triple problems of domestic recession, which began early in 2008; the global financial crisis; and the unfunded spending commitments of the previous Government, which saw public spending increase by 50 percent between 2003 and 2008. The New Zealand public is being treated to a display of all the attitudes that led to that, in listening to the Labour leadership contest—
Mr SPEAKER: Order! [Interruption] Order! . . .
Jami-Lee Ross: I will try this one, Mr Speaker. What alternative policies has he seen, and what are the differences between those alternatives and the approach being taken by this Government?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: The Government has set out on a plan to protect the most vulnerable through difficult times, to return to surplus, and to build a more competitive economy. Our policies have been directed at enabling businesses, in particular, to make the decision to invest another dollar, employ another person, and pay a better wage. There are alternative approaches that involve reckless spending promises with no credible plan to fund them, and policy proposals where the Government uses its regulatory powers as well as its cheque book to buy votes. That is the approach we saw through the mid-2000s. But to give credit where it is due, the Labour leadership candidates are promising to spend—
Mr SPEAKER: Order! [Interruption] Order! The Minister has no responsibility for that.
Hon David Parker: After Labour ran nine Budget surpluses and reduced net Government debt from 18 percent of GDP to zero, did he say in 2008, when the global financial crisis and recession hit: “This is the rainy day that Government has been saving up for.”?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: I did say that because we were presented with a pre-election update showing 10 years of deficits ahead of us and ever-rising public debt—that is, public debt that never stopped increasing—in those forecasts. I am pleased to say that we have turned it round, but I am worried to think that the Labour leadership candidates think that they could do it all again.
Mr SPEAKER: Order!
Hon David Parker: Why does he repeatedly blame the global financial crisis and the Canterbury earthquakes for his record borrowing of more than $50 billion in the last 5 years, and if the Government’s spending track was left in such bad shape, how was it that he could responsibly cut taxes?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: Well, it is just hard to know where to start there. The fact is that the tax packages were revenue-neutral—
Hon David Parker: 40 percent to the top 10 percent.
Hon BILL ENGLISH: No, they were revenue-neutral, and I am proud to say that we are the only developed country that has been table to increase GST and cut income taxes. No one else has actually been able to pull that off. In respect of the Government finances, well, as I said to the member, we were presented with 10 years of ever-growing deficits and ever-growing debt and with public services that were a complete shambles. We are proud to have been able to fix up that mess and do better.
Hon David Parker: Why is it that he finds corporate welfare so easy to justify, yet the idea of supporting the working New Zealanders, who keep this country going, through decent labour laws and fair wages seems to get him into a cold sweat and in need of a lie-down?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: The member is simply wrong. This Government has ensured, with regard to the people whom he is referring to—the people who go to work every day, work hard, and pay their taxes—first, that they get taxed at a fair rate, not a ridiculously high rate; secondly, that when they pay their tax, they actually get public services that work; and, thirdly, that they get an economy managed in a way that they can have some security that when they go back to work the next day, they will still have a job. We are very proud of our record in supporting working people in New Zealand through tough times.
The leadership circus has shown that Labour hasn’t learned from its mistakes and highlights the contrast with National which has focussed on spending less and delivering more.
Kiwiblog has a useful guide to which aspiring Labour leader is promising what.
But how much are these promises worth?
When Jamie Mackay said on the Farming Show yesterday, that the leadership race was turning into a lolly scramble, Labour MP Damien O’Connor said:
“There’s no kind of lolly scramble because we don’t have the lollies to give away unfortunately. . .
Then Mackay mentioned the living wage and O’Connor said:
“That’s one of the proposals from one of the candidates. . . well, maybe two . . . I’m sure caucus when we appoint the new leader will go through, look at all the ideas that were thrown out through this process and make sure we have a credible bunch of policies in the lead up to the next election. . . “
So these are merely ideas that are being thrown out, and expensive ideas that even one of their backbench colleagues recognises as being unaffordable.
They’re not real promises about real policy.
They’re empty exercises in vote-buying.
They’re hollow promises from hollow men.
At the mayoral forum on Monday evening candidates were asked about listening to the public.
Gary Kircher gave one of the best answers of the night when he asked how many people in the audience thought the Opera House shouldn’t have been restored.
Not a single hand was raised.
He then said had he asked who’d been against the restoration at the time, at least some hands would have gone up because there was strong opposition to the project.
He accepted some responsibility for that, saying the council of the day, of which he was a member, didn’t take the public with it.
But he also said that the popular option isn’t always right and leaders have to lead and sometimes that means taking the unpopular option.
Listening to the people who elect you is very important, but having listened and given due consideration to all the views expressed, good leaders should do the right thing, whether or not it is popular.
The petition on the partial sale of a few state assets could be delayed until the general election if a super majority of parliament agreed to it.
That would save at least $9 million dollars for which there are far more pressing needs.
Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove offered Labour’s support for that move, but it came with a condition.
Will his Government accept the Labour Party’s offer to hold the asset sales referendum alongside the next general election, thereby substantially reducing the cost, with one condition: that he immediately halt the asset sales programme?
Clayton’s was the drink you’re having when you’re not having a drink.
This is a Clayton’s offer from Clayton, the sort you make when you’re not really making it.
He would know that there is no way the government would delay the partial float of any more assets until next year.
Not all the people who voted for National in the last election supported the partial floats, but enough didn’t oppose them sufficiently strongly to vote for any of the other parties which made opposing them their major platform.
Bill English explained that in response Cosgrove:
The Government’s moral authority to move on with the asset sales hinged on the fact that even the Opposition said that the 2011 election was a referendum on asset sales. We outlined our policies in detail and campaigned on them transparently. It was the dominant issue of that election campaign, and we have proceeded with the sales. At the end of the sales process, tens of thousands of New Zealanders will have had the opportunity to invest in quality assets, the Government will have billions of dollars less debt, and we will have better-performing companies as a result of it.
National campaigned on the policy, it won, it’s factored the sales into spending plans and referendum or not, it has the right to carry on with the partial floats and it won’t be stopped by any Clayton’s offers.
476 Romulus Augustus, last emperor of the Western Roman Empire, was deposed when Odoacer proclaimed himself King of Italy.
626 Li Shimin, posthumously known as Emperor Taizong of Tang, assumed the throne of the Tang Dynasty of China.
1666 In London, the worst damage from the Great Fire occurred.
1781 Los Angeles, California, was founded as El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora La Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula (The Village of Our Lady, the Queen of the Angels of Porziuncola) by 44 Spanish settlers.
1812 War of 1812: The Siege of Fort Harrison began when the fort was set on fire.
1862 Civil War Maryland Campaign: General Robert E. Lee took the Army of Northern Virginia, and the war, into the North.
1863 Soon after leaving Nelson for Napier, the newly built brig Delaware was wrecked. Accounts of the incident often focus on the heroism of Huria Matenga, the only woman in a party of five local Maori who assisted the crew to shore.
1870 Emperor Napoleon III of France was deposed and the Third Republic declared.
1884 The United Kingdom ended its policy of penal transportation to Australia.
1886 Indian Wars: after almost 30 years of fighting, Apache leader Geronimo, with his remaining warriors, surrendered to General Nelson Miles.
1894 In New York City, 12,000 tailors struck against sweatshop working conditions.
1901 William Lyons, British industrialist (Jaguar cars), was born (d. 1985).
1917 Henry Ford II, American industrialist, was born (d. 1987).
1919 – Mustafa Kemal Atatürk gathered a congress in Sivas to make decisions as to the future of Anatolia and Thrace.
1937 Dawn Fraser, Australian swimmer, was born.
1941 World War II: a German submarine mades the first attack against a United States ship, the USS Greer.
1944 World War II: the British 11th Armoured Division liberated the Belgian city of Antwerp.
1948 Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands abdicated for health reasons.
1949 Maiden flight of the Bristol Brabazon.
1949 The Peekskill Riots erupted after a Paul Robeson concert in Peekskill, New York.
1950 First appearance of the “Beetle Bailey” comic strip.
1950 Darlington Raceway was the site of the inaugural Southern 500, the first 500-mile NASCAR race.
1951 Martin Chambers, English drummer (The Pretenders), was born.
1951 The first live transcontinental television broadcast took place in San Francisco, California, from the Japanese Peace Treaty Conference.
1956 The IBM RAMAC 305 was introduced, the first commercial computer to use magnetic disk storage.
1957 American Civil Rights Movement: Little Rock Crisis – Orval Faubus, governor of Arkansas, called out the National Guard to prevent African American students from enrolling in Central High School.
1957 The Ford Motor Company introduced the Edsel.
1963 Swissair Flight 306 crashed near Dürrenäsch, Switzerland, killing all 80 people on board.
1964 Scotland’s Forth Road Bridge near Edinburgh officially opened.
1967 Vietnam War: Operation Swift began: U.S. Marines engaged the North Vietnamese in battle in the Que Son Valley.
1971 A Boeing 727 Alaska Airlines Flight 1866 crashed near Juneau, Alaska, killing all 111 people on board.
1972 Mark Spitz became the first competitor to win seven medals at a single Olympic Games.
1975 The Sinai Interim Agreement relating to the Arab-Israeli conflict was signed.
1977 The Golden Dragon Massacre in San Francisco, California.
1995 The Fourth World Conference on Women opened in Beijing with morethan 4,750 delegates from 181 countries in attendance.
1996 War on Drugs: Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) attacked a military base in Guaviare, starting three weeks of guerrilla warfare in which at least 130 Colombians were killed.
1998 Google was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, students at Stanford University.
2010 – Magnitude 7.1 earthquake rocked Canterbury.