ABC calls election for Abbott

September 7, 2013

The polls haven’t long closed in Australia and already the ABC is calling the election for the Liberal National Coalition:

An hour into the vote count, respected ABC analyst Antony Green has called the federal election for the Coalition, ending Labor’s tumultuous six years in power.

Early poll numbers suggest the Government is facing strong swings against it in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania, with a number of high-profile MPs fighting for their political survival.

“I think we can say the Government has been defeated. What we’re having fun and games with is trying to figure out the size of the swing,” Green said. . .

Tony Abbott will be Australia’s 28th Prime Minister.

Kevin Rudd will lose the election but the Sydney Morning Herald reports he will probably keep his seat:

7:33pm: In Mr Rudd’s Brisbane seat of Griffith the much discussed possibility of an upset now looks unlikely.

With 12 per cent of the vote counted Mr Rudd has 55.3 per cent of the vote compared with 44.7 per cent for the Liberal Party’s candidate Bill Glasson. . .


Exit polls indicate Liberals’ landslide win

September 7, 2013

A Sky News exit poll points to a landslide win for the Liberal Coalition.

Exit polls, like any others, can and do differ from the final vote count but it would be a very foolish gambler who put any money on a Labor win tonight.


Word of the day

September 7, 2013

Sobremesa (Spanish) –  postprandial table talk; after-dinner conversation.


Rural round-up

September 7, 2013

Fonterra crisis: could have done better – Hugh Stringleman:

Fonterra’s operational review of the botulinum food-safety scare has identified opportunities when the mess might have been avoided.

Group director of strategy Maury Leyland and her in-house team have also come up with several ways of preventing something like this happening again.

Fonterra said its world-class manufacturing facilities, quality systems, and robust testing regimes were all stress-tested by the incident.

“Overall our systems worked well, while some aspects showed room for further improvement,” Leyland said. . .

Government inquiry critical for New Zealand:

Federated Farmers welcomes the Government’s confirmation of an independent inquiry into the handling of Fonterra’s contamination incident.

“It is critical this inquiry is held to the highest standard and that it remains independent, robust and comes up with meaningful recommendations,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy Chairperson.

“New Zealand’s reputation as a credible and trusted supplier of food both domestically and internationally, demands this if we are to move forward. It is crucial that we repair any damage to our well deserved reputation as world leader in food safety and trade. . .

Lamb supply model based on dairy industry – Alan Williams:

A new supply offer to lamb producers is a bid to replicate the payment system in the dairy industry, South Canterbury livestock agent Peter Walsh says.

His company, Peter Walsh & Associates (PWA), is offering farmers advance payments of $8 a lamb a month, from the start of lambing through weaning and for a maximum four months.

The total $32 a lamb payment would help farmers with much-needed cash flow, the company said in a note to clients.

The Meat Industry Excellence (MIE) farmer group had concerns about the third-party involvement between farmer and processor, chairman Richard Young said. . .

Canterbury irrigation project wins $2.4m Govt grant:

Canterbury’s vast Hurunui irrigation project has received a shot in the arm with a $2.4 million grant from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ irrigation acceleration fund.

The money will go towards feasibility work on the Waitohi irrigation and hydro scheme, a crucial part of the project that will irrigate the plains and valleys in the Hurunui and Waipara Rivers through four storage reservoirs.

The project is the first to emerge from the Canterbury Water Management Strategy and if the initial study shows the dams can be built. further investment will be required to take the scheme to full feasibility stages. . .

Genomics can fast track tree breeding:

The forest industry is investigating new tree breeding techniques that could more than halve the time it takes to develop new varieties of pine.

The Government is contributing half the cost of a $5 million research programme by the Radiata Pine Breeding Company.

Chief executive John Butcher said using established selective breeding techniques can take up to 30 years to reach the stage of planting new tree varieties. . .

Stratford farmer in breach of Minimum Wage Act:

A Stratford farmer is to pay a former worker wage arrears after the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Labour Inspectorate identified breaches of minimum employment rights.

The case follows Labour Inspectorate action in the dairy sector focussing on employer maintenance of accurate time and wage records.

The Labour Inspectorate found the worker’s pay was averaged across seasons and didn’t meet the minimum wage rate. . .

Seeka first-half profit plunges 92 percent on Psa impact:

Seeka Kiwifruit Industries, the fruit grower and coolstore and packhouse operator, reported a 92 percent dive in first-half profit as the outbreak of Psa-V vine bacteria takes its heaviest toll on certain kiwifruit varieties.

Net profit sank to $672,000, or 5 cents per share, in the six months ended June 30, from $8.5 million, or 59 cents, a year earlier, the Te Puke-based company said in a statement. Revenue dropped 16 percent to $67 million on declining kiwifruit volumes. The most dramatic was the slump in Zespri Hot16A gold to production of just 155,000 trays, compared with 1.2 million trays a year earlier. . .


Saturday’s smiles

September 7, 2013

A Texan rancher went to Australia for a holiday.

He met an Aussie farmer in a pub and they got talking.

The Aussie offered to show him round the district.

The first stop was his wheat field.

The Texan nodded and said, “We have wheat fields that are at least twice as big as that”.

Then they walked around the farm, and they came to a herd of cattle.

The Texan wasn’t impressed. ” We have longhorns that are at least twice as big as your cattle”, he said.

The Aussie bit his tongue until the Texan saw a herd of kangaroos hopping through the field.

He asked, “What the heck are those”?

The Aussie replied, “Don’t you have grasshoppers in Texas”?


Wrongeds’ rights should trump wrong doer’s

September 7, 2013

Protecting victims and keeping their identities secret is often used as the reason for suppressing the names of criminals.

But what happens if the victims don’t want the name suppressed, even if it means disclosing who they are?

Two Christchurch women who were sexually abused as children will next week go to court and fight to have their name suppression lifted.

The sisters believe their abuser is using suppression orders to protect himself.

Nearly two decades after he was convicted and four decades after the abuse the women – now grandmothers at 48 and 52 – are going back to court to try and have their own name suppression lifted in the hope it’ll help expose him.

They believe he’s using the suppression to protect himself and want to warn parents.

“I could basically be arrested if I was to speak my name out, that’s how dumb it is,” one of the women says.

Both were shocked when news broke he was taking the Sensible Sentencing Trust to court for naming and shaming him on its offender website.

The director of human rights proceedings is now taking action in the Human Rights Review Tribunal on the man’s behalf, funded by the taxpayer, for the alleged privacy breach. . .

I don’t know what the law says but if it doesn’t allow the victims to be identified when they want to be, it should be changed.

Suppression in this case appears to be adding insult to the injury they received.

They are the wronged not the wrong-doers and if there is a conflict between their rights and those of the offender, theirs should trump his.


Beyond stupid

September 7, 2013

PGG Wrightson has admitted a biosecurity breech after carrying prohibited seed in an open bins on a truck through Canterbury’s cropping belt.

PGG Wrightson says it is disappointed in itself for making the mistakes that caused a roadside spill of seeds from an invasive weed.

The seed is from black grass or meadow fox tail, an invader of winter crops in Britain and Europe. It was found in a 16.3 tonne consignment of red fescue grass seed imported from Denmark and was being taken to a containment centre at Methven, Mid-Canterbury.

PGG Wrightson seeds manager John McKenzie said it appeared seed was sucked by air pressure from steel bins on a truck.

A manager had not followed Primary Industries Ministry instructions to enclose the bins.

“We’re disappointed in ourselves for this breakdown in procedures,” he said. . .

Croppping farmers are more than disappointed, they’re furious.

They’re describing this as like someone driving a herd of animals with foot and mouth disease down the road and letting some escape.

MPI response manager David Yard said the seeds were “fairly immature”. “There might be three or four germinate in the first year and one or two in the second year.”

He estimated 28 kilograms of red fescue had spilled during the trip. Included in that would have been about 2100 black grass seeds – enough to fill an eggcup. . .

Black grass is resistant to many herbicides and is  difficult to control in several crops. It competes for nutrients, light, water and space, out-competing crops and reducing yields.

Yard said MPI would also be taking up the matter of the contaminated cargo with Danish authorities. The red fescue consignment had been rejected and would shortly be shipped back to Denmark. . .

Even if only a small amount of seed escaped it  is beyond stupid to carry contaminated seed in open bins.

No matter how strong our biosecurity regulations are, they could be breached by stupidity.

 


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