Word of the day

September 6, 2013

Sockdolager – something that settles a matter; a conclusive or decisive blow or answer; something outstanding or exceptional.


Rural round-up

September 6, 2013

Record number of Rural Women members step up as candidates in local elections 2013:

A record number of Rural Women NZ members are standing in this year’s local elections, motivated by the need for better understanding by councils and District Health Boards of the challenges facing rural communities.

At least 14 Rural Women NZ members are standing around the country, with three already certain of their seats, being unopposed.

Rural rates are a hot issue, particularly the disproportionate share of rates being shouldered by farmers, which is a top priority for many.

Sharyn Price, a Kauru Hill Rural Women member standing for the Corriedale Ward of Waitaki District Council, says, “Rates fairness and value for money are utterly essential. Rural ratepayers have seen much larger percentage increases in rates than council’s averages, thanks to farm development increasing capital values, while town values fail to keep pace. Paying ever more for a shrinking share of services is not reasonable.” . .

$25m invested in new forestry technologies:

The Government is investing $2.5 million over a maximum of five years to support research that will increase the productivity of the forestry industry, Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce announced today.

The funding will support the development of new technologies that can be used by pine tree breeders to reduce the time it takes to breed and plant new improved trees by 15 years.

The Radiata Pine Breeding Company, which has formed a partnership between 16 forestry organisations, Scion and the University of Canterbury, is researching and developing the new technologies. . .

RMA reform bill third reading ‘a reform entrée’:

 Federated Farmers is welcoming some parts of the Resource Management Reform Bill 2012, which recently passed its third reading in the Parliament. 

 “While some parts of the Bill relate to Auckland, other parts are an economic and environmental appetizer for farmers,” says Ian Mackenzie, Federated Farmers Environment Spokesperson.

 “There are some aspects we welcome, some we have reservations about and some we do not think go far enough.

 “A few environmental activists have irrationally fought tooth and nail against having a robust cost benefit analysis in the RMA.  Without one, however, the RMA was increasingly trending towards perfection as a benchmark and that is as unaffordable as it is unobtainable. . .

Hoorah for Rotorua lake water quality!:

Federated Farmers applauds a recent Bay of Plenty Regional Council report showing water quality improvement in the Rotorua Lakes catchment has improved significantly.

“This gives a good, accurate illustration on the state of water quality within Rotorua Lakes,” says Neil Heather, past provincial president Federated Farmers Rotorua-Taupo.

“It highlights all the good work done through collaborative partnerships with landowners and the community undertaken to improve the lakes’ water quality. Federated Farmers supports the regional council’s use of the Trophic Level Index (TLI), which has undoubtedly led to an overall increase in water quality of the lakes catchment.

“A major impact on these results was the decision to apply alum dosing, which is key for algal growth meaning there are now less favourable conditions for weed growth and algal blooms. . .

New Zealand Young Farmers Appoints New CEO, Terry Copeland:

New Zealand Young Farmers is pleased to announce the appointment of the new CEO, Terry Copeland. After twelve years of service to NZYF as CEO, Richard Fitzgerald is stepping down.

Mr Copeland, comes to Young Farmers with an arsenal of experience from management, sales and marketing and supply chain management to tertiary teaching, journalism and being a brand ambassador.

His latest post was with Treasury Wine Estates, the second largest wine company globally. He led the export strategy and the supply chain team for four years. . .

MPI To Work with Farmers On Blackgrass Biosecurity Response:

Federated Farmers is working with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), and other stakeholders to ensure that blackgrass is not established in New Zealand, following the news of a potential blackgrass incursion in mid-Canterbury.

“The seed was spilt between Ashburton and a seed dressing plant in the Methven area and is a serious threat to arable farming in New Zealand,” says David Clark, Federated Farmers mid-Canterbury Grains Chairperson.

“We have just one chance to get this right and we commend MPI for identifying and informing us of this restricted weeds presence.

“Federated Farmers is firmly committed to working collaboratively with MPI and the Foundation of Arable Research to mount a credible response. . .

Synlait joins the ‘Good News Club’

Federated Farmers is thrilled that Synlait has increased their forecast milk price of $8 per kilogram of milk solids.

“Synlait has joined the ‘Good News Club’ at a time when dairy farmers needed some reassurance in the strength of the market,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy Chair.

“It has been a tumultuous time for the dairy industry this past month, but it is clear from Fonterra, Westland and Synlait that the demand for New Zealand milk is stronger than ever. . .

Wool Prices Continue to Rise:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that the 9,400 bales of North Island wool on offer this week saw a 98 percent clearance and significant price lifts in some sectors compared to the last sale in the South Island on 29th August.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies lifted by 1.05 percent, however resurgence in wool prices in other markets coupled with limited supply locally, bypassed any currency impact with the market lifting between 3 and 10 percent.

Mr Dawson advises that Fine Crossbred Fleece and Shears were 3 to 6 percent dearer. Good Style Coarse Full Fleece were 5 to 6 percent stronger with poorer styles lifting by 7 to 10 percent. . .

Rural Equities annual profit slides 31% on property revaluations, drought; lifts dividend:

(BusinessDesk) – Rural Equities, the farming group controlled by the Cushing family, reported a 31 percent drop in annual profit as property revaluations lagged behind those from a year earlier, and as the North Island’s worst drought in seven years ate into operating earnings.

Net profit fell to $10.9 million in the 12 months ended June 30, from $15.8 million a year earlier, the Hastings-based company said in a statement. Profit included a gain in the 27-farm property portfolio of $4.9 million, smaller than the $14.3 million revaluation in 2012. Operating earnings declined to $2.1 million from $2.9 million as the drought increased the cost of feed, and the farms received lower prices for milk, sheep and wool. . .

 Eastpack Celebrates 30 Years of Packing Kiwifruit:

Leading kiwifruit post harvest supplier, EastPack has celebrated 30 seasons of packing kiwifruit. EastPack, which began in Edgecumbe and was originally called Rangitaiki Fruitpackers Co-operative, is now New Zealand’s largest post harvest kiwifruit operator, following its merger earlier this year with Satara.

Chief Executive Tony Hawken has led the company through 30 years of continuous growth.

“From day one, we have always had, and continue to have, a reputation for looking after our growers no matter how challenging the circumstances,” Mr Hawken said.

“As a grower-owned company, EastPack growers share in the company’s financial success. We consistently deliver industry-leading orchard gate returns (OGR) through our operational efficiencies, inventory management and our grower-owned structure.” . . .

Sacred Hill scores high in Gimblett Gravels Vintage Selection:

Hawkes Bay’s Gimblett Gravels has selected its top wines from an outstanding 2011 line up and Sacred Hill Vineyards is the only producer to have two wines make the grade in the prestigious Annual Vintage Selection (AVS), recording the highest scoring wines in two categories.

The selection of wines from the 2011 vintage was made this week following a tasting by one of the world’s most highly respected Masters of Wine, Andrew Caillard of Australia.

Gimblett Gravels producers were allowed to put forward no more than three wines each for the tasting with a maximum of two from any winery eligible for the final selection of 12 wines. Only wines scoring 93 points out of 100 or more were selected. . .


Friday’s answers

September 6, 2013

1. Who said: There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.?

2. By what name was the singer Yusuf Islam known before converting to Islam?

3. It’s chouchou in French, beniamino in Italian, mascota in Spanish and poti  in Maori, what is it in englishE

4. What is ailurophobe?

5. Cat, dog, other, no pet at all?

Points for answers:

Andrei got four (assuming that all the words in other languages translate back to terms or endearment as well as pet in the animal sense).

Wildninja also got four and a thanks for the link to the phobia website.

Alwyn got five again and wins an electronic bunch of daffodils.

Rob got four and a bonus for wit.

 

Read the rest of this entry »


Lamb drop 2m down because of drought

September 6, 2013

The impact of last season’s drought in the North Island has taken a siginifcant toll on stock numbers.

Last season’s North Island drought has dented New Zealand’s sheep and cattle numbers and this spring’s lamb crop is expected to be 2 million lambs less – down 7.7 per cent to 24.43 million head.

The Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) Economic Service annual stock number survey confirms what many predicted, following the recent prolonged and extensive drought. The survey provides the country’s sheep and beef sector with a prediction of the productive base of livestock for the 2013-14 season.

While both sheep and cattle numbers fell – 1 per cent and 1.3 per cent respectively – it is the lamb crop that reflects the drought’s impact most significantly.

The export lamb slaughter for 2013-14 is expected to be 18.6 million head, a decrease of 8.5 per cent and the export cattle slaughter is forecast to decrease 2.7 per cent to 2.2 million head in 2013-14.

This will have a big impact on the meat industry and also on other businesses which service and supply farms including shearers and stock firms.

B+LNZ Economic Service Chief Economist, Andrew Burtt says the drought conditions affected ewe condition at mating and, consequently, scanning results were variable across the North Island.

“We’re expecting lambing percentages to be down by up to 20 percentage points in the regions worst hit by drought in the north. The South Island fared better and scanning results were down only a few percentage points – and that’s against last season, which was favourable in the south.”

Overall, sheep numbers were down 1 per cent to 30.94 million head at 30 June 2013, compared to 31.26 million a year earlier.

Mr Burtt says breeding ewe numbers were also down 1 per cent overall, but the numbers in each island moved in opposite directions. “Ewe numbers in the North Island decreased by 2.7 per cent to 9.52 million, while South Island ewe numbers were almost static (+0.5%) at 10.69 million.

“Hogget numbers reflected a similar pattern – back 1.3 per cent overall, but down 3.5 per cent in the north and up 1 per cent in the south.”

Meanwhile, cattle numbers fell 1.3 per cent to 3.69 million head at 30 June 2013, from 3.73 million in 2012. “Again, the North Island figures tell the drought story, with numbers back 2.5 per cent – with particularly large decreases in East Coast and Taranaki-Manawatu – while the South Island’s cattle numbers rose 1.8 per cent.”

The full report is at Beef + Lamb’s website.


Could Jones do it?

September 6, 2013

Shane Jones is regarded as the underdog in Labour’s leadership race.

Perhaps because of that he feels he has nothing to lose. He certainly isn’t holding back:

. . . He wrote off a large portion of the membership as out-of-touch intellectuals who were putting off the genuine working class.

In doing so, Jones has focused on the destination rather than the journey. He has pointed out the real aim of the contest is not to be Leader of the Opposition, but to be Prime Minister in a Labour Government. He has also given a brutally honest depiction of Labour’s current ability to do that. While the other two pussyfoot around talking about the need for unity and harmony, Jones is talking about the only thing that can secure that unity. That is not personality. It is the polls and power. He wants the party to be polling in the mid-40s by 2014. In doing so, he has pointed out the obvious: that the winner will have to be able to attract more votes than Labour’s current core can deliver. So, he says, the members should be careful not to pick a leader who will only appeal to the already converted.

His approach might seem counter-productive at first glance. But Jones’ candidacy is not simply the unnecessary, irrelevant distraction some have claimed. He has shown them what Labour needs to do on that election campaign and made them confront something nobody wanted to mention: that it is Labour, not the voters, which needs to change to get back into a strong position. . .

David Cunliffe and Grant Robertson are appealing to hard core Labour.

But they’re the 18% of the voting population who opted for the party in 2011 and are likely to do so again, regardless of who’s leader.

Jones is doing his best to appeal to enough of the other 82% to get the party back into power.

Could he do it?

First he’d have to be leader.

That seems unlikely, although Roarprawn who has her ear to the kumera vine, gives him a reasonable chance:

Labour is such a broad church  encompassing vast differences in the religion of  lefty politics that this race  could well see all three candidates get close to  30 percent of the vote each . And as the factions bow to such very different political idols  – it is unthinkable that either Robertson or Cunliffe will bow out at the 11th hour if it  looks like Jones is gaining too much support. Dogged by Dogma they are.

Jones is the dark war hardened  stallion and knows it. He makes the other two look like braying mules. Hooton says as much today in NBR.

Jones , the people’s prince may yet get his money shot.

I wouldn’t put money on that, but he has shown more sense in attempting to appeal to a wider audience than the other two who have aimed at the far left and unions.

They might help them become leader but they’ll hinder them from becoming Prime Minister.


What will they do and how will they pay for it?

September 6, 2013

The Opposition has vigorously opposed the partial sale of a few state assets.

They made it the major focus of the 2011 election, the Green Party has wasted public money gathering signatures to force a referendum and the issue has come up in the Labour leadership circus.

So far none of the three aspiring leaders has definitely promised to buy any of the shares back but David Cunliffe is leaving his options open.

All the other opposition parties have, at one time or another, talked about buying back the shares too.

That would cost $5 to $7 billion.

How wiould they pay for that?

But it’s not just the money for the buy-back they’d have to find, they’d also have to find money to do the things that will be funded from the Future Investment Fund, into which the proceeds of the partial sales is going.

Labour’s aspiring leaders should be asked exactly what they’re going to do and how they’re going to fund it and that question should also be put to the other opposition parties long before next year’s election.


September 6 in history

September 6, 2013

394  Battle of the Frigidus: The Christian Roman Emperor Theodosiu I defeated and killed the pagan usurper Eugenius and his Frankish magister militum Arbogast.

1522 The Victoria, the only surviving ship of Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition, returned to Sanlúcar de Barrameda in Spain, becoming the first ship to circumnavigate the world.

1620  The Pilgrims sailed from Plymouth on the Mayflower to settle in North America.

1628 Puritans settled Salem.

1634 Thirty Years’ War: In the Battle of Nördlingen the Catholic Imperial army defeated Protestant armies of Sweden and Germany.

1669 The siege of Candia ended with the Venetian fortress surrendering to the Ottomans.

1729 Moses Mendelssohn, German philosopher, was born (d. 1786).

1757 Marquis de Lafayette, French soldier and statesman, was born (d. 1834).

1781 The Battle of Groton Heights resulted a British victory.

1800 Catharine Beecher, American educator, was born (d. 1878).

1847  Henry David Thoreau left Walden Pond and moved in with Ralph Waldo Emerson and his family.

1860 Jane Addams, American social worker, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, was born (d. 1935).

1870  Louisa Ann Swain of Laramie, Wyoming became the first woman in the United States to cast a vote legally.

1885 Eastern Rumelia declared its union with Bulgaria.

1888  Charles Turner became the first bowler to take 250 wickets in an English season.

1901 Anarchist Leon Czolgosz shot and fatally wounded US President William McKinley.

1919 Wilson Greatbatch, American inventor (cardiac pacemaker), was born (d. 2011).

1930 Argentine president Hipólito Yrigoyen was deposed in a military coup.

1937  Spanish Civil War: The start of the Battle of El Mazuco.

1939 World War II: The Battle of Barking Creek.

1940 King Carol II of Romania abdicated and was succeeded by his son Michael.

1943 Roger Waters, British musician (Pink Floyd), was born.

1943 The Monterrey Institute of Technology, was founded in Monterrey, Mexico.

1948 New Zealand citizenship was established.

New Zealand citizenship established

1948  Juliana became Queen of the Netherlands.

1949 Allied military authorities relinquished control of former Nazi Germany assets back to German control.

1955 Istanbul Pogrom: Istanbul’s Greek and Armenian minority were the target of a government-sponsored pogrom.

1957 José Sócrates, Prime Minister of Portugal, was born.

1963 Alice Sebold, American novelist, was born.

1965  India retaliated following Pakistan’s failed Operation Grand Slam which resulted in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965.

1966 The architect of Apartheid, Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd, was stabbed to death during a parliamentary meeting.

1968  Swaziland became independent.

1970 Two passenger jets bound from Europe to New York were simultaneously hijacked by Palestinian terrorist members of PFLP and taken to Dawson’s Field in Jordan.

1972  Munich Massacre: 9 Israeli athletes and a German policeman taken hostage at the Munich Olympic Games by the Palestinian “Black September” terrorist group died  at the hands of the kidnappers during a failed rescue attempt.

1976   Soviet air force pilot Lt. Viktor Belenko landed a MiG-25 jet fighter on the island of Hokkaidō and requests political asylum in the United States.

1985  Midwest Express Airlines Flight 105, a Douglas DC-9 crashed just after takeoff from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, killing 31.

1986 In Istanbul, two terrorists from Abu Nidal’s organisation killed 22 and wounded six inside the Neve Shalom synagogue during Shabbat services.

1991 – The name Saint Petersburg was restored to Russia’s second largest city, which had been renamed Leningrad in 1924.

1997 Funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales which was watched by a television audience of more than 2.5 billion.

2008 – Turkish President Abdullah Gül attended an association football match in Armenia after an invitation by Armenian President Serzh Sarkisyan; he is the first Turkish head of state to visit the country.

2009 – The ro-ro ferry SuperFerry 9 sank off the Zamboanga Peninsula in the Philippines with 971 persons aboard; all but ten were rescued.

Sourced from NZ History & Wikipedia


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