Word of the day

20/09/2013

 Aboulomania – pathological indecisiveness; paralysis of the will;mental derangement accompanied by greatly weakened or abolished will power.


Cup conspiracy theories

20/09/2013

New Zealand’s  loss in the first America’s Cup race this morning and the postponement, again, of the second is:

1) a deliberate act on behalf of sponsors to maximise the exposure they get.

2) as Scrubone said, a Cantabrian conspiracy to secretly get the entire country dressed in red and black.

3) a government plot to keep the country focussed on the same thing.

4) a Labour Party plot to keep Trevor Mallard out of the country.

5) ?


Rural round-up

20/09/2013

Beef + Lamb New Zealand appoints Chair-Elect:

Northland farmer and Northern North Island Director for Beef + Lamb New Zealand, James Parsons was appointed Chair-Elect for Beef + Lamb New Zealand at the organisation’s board meeting today.

The position of Chair–Elect has been made to allow an orderly transition of leadership for Beef + Lamb New Zealand, following the announcement from current Chairman, Mike Petersen that he will not seek re-election when his term ends in March 2014.

“This appointment is a very important part of the governance process,” Petersen said.

“Beef + Lamb New Zealand puts strong emphasis on the development of all directors, and there has been a real focus on growing the leadership ability of the board for the benefit of the wider sector. . .

Wattie’s Starts Precision – Planting This Season’s Beetroot:

– Day One of 20 weeks of planting

– Resurgence of consumer interest in beetroot

Wattie’s has started precision-planting this season’s beetroot crop, and will continue over the next 20 weeks until a total of 350 hectares have been planted.

The first seed has been planted in the Paki Paki area of Hawke’s Bay for what will be a 20,000 tonne crop, Wattie’s second biggest annual crop behind tomatoes.

Harvesting of the first baby beets is scheduled for the second week in December. . .

Irrigators urged to check for lightning strike damage:

IrrigationNZ says farmers should exercise caution when starting irrigation systems – even if storm damage isn’t obvious – as lightening strike has emerged as a secondary cause of problems following last week’s storm.

“Just because your centre pivot didn’t blow over in the wind doesn’t mean your system is ok. We are now hearing reports of irrigation control systems fried by lightning strike, especially along the Canterbury foothills. Farmers need to check their infrastructure carefully before the season begins. Don’t start your irrigator before you’ve undertaken the appropriate safety checks,” says IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis.

“Irrigation system pre-season checks will be even more important this year as parts and labour will be in short supply due to the storm. Irrigators can not afford for their irrigator to break down due to negligence as it will result in downtime. Basic checks like ensuring the pivot tracks are free from obstructions, tyre pressures are correct and so forth are a no-brainer,” says Mr Curtis. . .

Invermay Delegation Meeting Minister of Economic Development:

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull is leading a delegation to meet with Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce to discuss alternatives to the proposed downsizing of Invermay in Wellington at 5pm today.

The group includes Environment Southland chair Ali Timms, former Dunedin MPs Katherine Rich and Pete Hodgson, Otago Regional Council chair Stephen Woodhead and its CEO Peter Bodeker.

Dave Cull says any reduction in roles at Invermay will have a serious economic and strategic impact.

“From Dunedin’s perspective, there is potential for smart businesses and jobs to come out of there. From a regional point of view, the expertise at Invermay is crucial to ensure the continuation of leading environmental research related to farming and other industries which contribute significantly to the Otago and Southland economies. We believe the proposal would also have serious economic implications at a national level.” . . .

Double Gold for Rapaura Springs 2013 Sauvignon Blanc:

Rapaura Springs is continuing to strike gold with its Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, with a double win at the New Zealand International Wine Show 2013.

The Rapaura Springs 2013 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and Rapaura Springs 2013 Reserve Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc both won gold medals at the country’s largest wine competition.

Owner Brendan Neylon said Sauvignon Blanc was Marlborough’s flagship wine, and it was imperative that the region worked hard to continue to produce the world’s best. . .

Rockburn Wines Win At the Biggest and Most Prestigious Wine and Spirits Competition In China:

Rockburn Wines has been awarded a prestigious Double Gold medal in the 2013 China Wine and Spirits Awards for their 2009 Rockburn Chardonnay, while the 2011 Pinot Noir took out its own Gold award.

The Central Otago winery has a history of winning gold medals, particularly for its Pinot Noir, and this month alone has also collected a Gold Medal at the Bragato Wines Awards for their 2012 Pinot Noir and a Gold Medal at the New Zealand International Wine Show for their 2012 Tigermoth Riesling. . .

Marisco Vineyards wins NZ Wine Producer of the Year in China:

Marisco Vineyards has been awarded the Trophy for New Zealand Wine Producer of the Year at the China Wine and Spirits Awards. The company’s wines also won four double-gold, six gold and two silver medals in the prestigious annual competition, continuing their golden run in the rapidly growing Chinese wine market.

Chief Winemaker and Proprietor Brent Marris says the trophy and medal haul will consolidate The King’s Series and The Ned’s position as market leading New Zealand wine brands in China.

“The Chinese market is very complex. One of the challenges is that it is culturally a very status driven market so old world wines have tended to dominate. But awards like this endow enormous status on our brands, new world wines generally, and New Zealand wines specifically, and this win will build our brand profile, and help increase distribution and cement our foothold in the Chinese market,” Marris says. . .

Organics: The Future of New Zealand Wine?

Major three-year project aims to see a fifth of all Kiwi vineyards certified organic by 2020.

The oldest winery in the country, Mission Estate, is also one of the most technologically advanced and sustainable. Now, in a move that could have implications for the New Zealand wine industry as a whole, Mission Estate is into its final year of a major study on organic grape-growing – a trial that may potentially see this influential winery make a significant commitment to increasing its organics production.

The Organic Focus Vineyard Project is New Zealand’s first public trial of organic grapes grown side by side with conventional grapes. The pioneering participants are Gibbston Valley in Central Otago, Wither Hills in Marlborough, and Mission Estate in Hawke’s Bay, where the project was piloted during the 2010-11 season. Mission viticulturist Caine Thompson is monitoring 16 hectares of Gimblett Gravels vines, with half being grown in the conventional manner and half under strict organic controls. . .


Friday’s answers

20/09/2013

Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said: If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favourable.?

2.  These lines come from which song and are about whom? :

Loud the winds howl, loud the waves roar,
Thunderclouds rend the air;
Baffled, our foes stand by the shore,
Follow they will not dare.

3. It’s marin in French, marinaio in Italian, marinaro in Spanish and hēramana in Maori, what is it in English?

4. Who skippered New Zealand to 16 America’s Cup wins and no losses?

5. America’s Cup – sport, a rich man’s pursuit or  . . . ?

Points for answers:

Andrei got four.

Alwyn remains the reigning champion and wins an electronic bunch of freesias for a clean sweep.

Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »


100th auction proves GDT’s worth

20/09/2013

Fonterra’s GlobalDairyTrade passed a significant milestone on Tuesday with its 100th auction.

Global Dairy Trade Director Paul Grave says the 100th successful auction marks a coming of age for the platform which is now in its fifth year of trading and surpassed US$10 billion in aggregate sales earlier this year (July 2013).

“Achieving our 100th trading event proves the success of the online model.  It shows that Global Dairy Trade has matured to become an essential feature of the global dairy industry.  GDT now provides price transparency and highly efficient purchasing for more than 850 registered bidders from 90 countries,” Mr Grave said.

“The strong support for the platform shows we are meeting a real market need to find a robust reference price that reflects true levels of supply and demand in the market,” Mr Grave says.

The platform is now used by six global companies supplying product for sale.  This includes Fonterra (New Zealand), Dairy America (USA), Amul (India), Arla (Denmark), Murray Goulburn (Australia) and Euroserum (France). A typical auction event lasting around two hours will sell enough product to completely fill a container ship; amounting to around  2,500 standard twenty-foot containers, valued at between US$100 and $250 million.

Global Dairy Trade operates at arm’s length from its owner Fonterra.  Fortnightly auctions are conducted on behalf of GDT by Boston-based, NASDAQ-listed CRA International in accordance with market rules monitored by an independent advisory board of sellers and buyers. 

“We are delighted that Global Dairy Trade is today centre-stage of a vibrant global dairy industry which is experiencing annual demand growth of well over 2.5%.  We will be seeking to continuously improve our service as technology evolves over the years ahead,” Mr Grave says.

There was concern and scepticism from within New Zealand and abroad about the on-line auction system when it was first launched but this milestone proves it’s working and shows its worth to Fonterra, its shareholders and suppliers and customers.

The company trades only a small proportion of its product through the auction but it is a useful indicator of demand and price.

It’s also used as a benchmark by other companies here and overseas.

When we were in Holland last year the latest GDT auction results featured on the front page of a farming paper.


Still growing despite drought

20/09/2013

The impact of last summer’s drought wasn’t confined to farmers and those who service and supply them.

It hit the wider economy but in spite of that annual growth still compares well with that in other OECD countries.

New Zealand’s economy continues to grow steadily, maintaining one of the higher annual growth rates in the OECD, Finance Minister Bill English says.

As expected, the severe drought earlier this year slowed economic growth in the June quarter, with statistics out today showing gross domestic product grew 0.2 per cent in the three months to June 30.

However, annual growth – from the June quarter 2012 to the June quarter 2013 – remained relatively strong at 2.5 per cent. This compares with growth over the same period of 2.6 per cent in Australia, 1.6 per cent in the US, 1.4 per cent in Canada, 1.3 per cent in Japan, 1.5 per cent in the UK and -0.5 per cent in the Euro area.

“It’s pleasing that despite the worst drought in 70 years, New Zealand still achieved one of the higher annual growth rates in the OECD,” Mr English says.

“While the June quarter was affected by a fall in agricultural production – down 6.4 per cent – growing conditions since then have been good, business and consumer confidence have been high and the Canterbury rebuild continues apace.

“All these factors mean that we can anticipate relatively strong growth resuming in the September quarter. As the Reserve Bank Governor has noted, New Zealand is one of the fastest growing economies in the developed world and that growth is expected to be maintained, and become more broadly based over the next couple of years.

“However, real risks and challenges remain in the global economy, especially for our most important trading partners. Today’s GDP result demonstrates the importance of the Government sticking with its proven policies aimed at keeping tight control of its spending, reducing the need for borrowing, and encouraging the job growth that in turn supports New Zealand families.”

Growth depends on both luck and management.

The drought was bad luck, that its impact wasn’t even worse was due to good management, including irrigation development.

The continuing uncertainty on the global financial scene is beyond our control, but good management by the government is having a positive impact on things it can control.

Much of the credit for that goes to the Finance Minister who is getting recognition for what he’s achieving.

. . . widespread respect for English, following his steady, careful performance as minister of finance through the worst financial crisis of the past 80 years, has been growing.

A complimentary remark by a respected American economist on English’s performance at a conference in Sydney recently, was not untypical and it prompted a highly regarded New Zealand economist, Matt Nolan, to comment: “This is not the first time I’ve heard people overseas sing Bill English’s praises [it is probably in double-digits now] . . . we have a finance minister who understands the issues and tries to communicate them clearly.”

English came to office with an economy that had already been in recession for almost a year, when the global financial crisis hit. He had a measure of luck – there was no housing bust and although there were nervous moments, the New Zealand banking system did not buckle.

But English responded to the crisis pragmatically and skilfully, avoiding severe retrenchment but focusing determinedly on reducing government debt and balancing the budget. Contrary to opposition propaganda, the government did not bring with it any dogma or hidden agenda.

A shock could, of course, upset things. The balance of payments deficit and overseas debt continue to be relatively high and to cause concern. But English’s overarching goal of getting the Government’s books in order, which looked hopelessly remote five years ago, now seems achievable, if only by a whisker, next year.

He has also made it a habit to lucidly explain not just the benefits, but also the trade-offs his policies involve. There may be much in the economy to criticise, but it has not been possible to persuasively do so with cheap populism and glib sound-bites. . .

In spite of criticism from the left, the government’s policies haven’t been slash-and-burn ones.

They’ve been a careful mix designed to reduce the burden of government, maintain public services and encourage export-led growth.

Some policies have required an increase in funding but that’s been done with the knowledge that more spent now in some areas will pay-off with reduced costs in the future. Helping people from welfare to work is an example of this.

National is on track to surplus next year in spite of the financial and natural disasters it’s faced.

Labour was forecasting a decade of deficits before the global financial crisis struck and promises made by its new leader David Cunliffe during his campaign show growth we’d be going backwards again if they were in power.


Match point

20/09/2013

Emirates Team New Zealand 8 – Oracle 1, just one more win to go.

I prefer blue, but am prepared to go red for the race:

Photo

TVNZ has live streaming here.


Electoral Amendment Bill good idea

20/09/2013

UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne has introduced an Electoral Amendment Bill with three main provisions:

•         Making on-line party memberships permissible for party registration purposes;
•        Permitting previously registered Parliamentary parties that are deregistered to submit a new registration application within 90 days, without being treated as a new political party;
•         Introducing a mandatory three yearly audit by the Electoral Commission of all registered parties’ memberships to ensure that they comply with the minimum 500 member requirement.

Mr Dunne says the way the Electoral Commission chose to deal with UnitedFuture’s situation has highlighted the need for legislative change.

“My amendments are essentially modern electoral common sense that any reasonable body could have been expected to follow.

“The Electoral Commission had the capacity to address UnitedFuture’s situation pragmatically within its existing internal rules, but a combination of pig-headed legal obduracy and plain executive stupidity meant it failed to do so.

“Therefore, the law has to be changed around them,” he says.

“The new provision for a triennial membership audit is also a sensible one – at the moment the Electoral Commission has no power to check a party’s membership numbers, and has to rely on a party’s word that it has a minimum of 500 current financial members.

“Had, for example, UnitedFuture falsely signed a declaration in April that we had 500 financial members the Commission would have been none the wiser,  and the subsequent course of events where we were punished for our honesty would not have arisen, which is completely absurd,” he says.

Mr Dunne says he will be submitting the Bill to the next Member’s Ballot, and he will be talking with Justice Minister Judith Collins about including its provisions in the Government’s own Electoral Amendment Bill introduced this week, in the event his bill is not drawn from the Member’s Ballot.

The Bill was prompted by UnitedFuture’s deregistration after it reported it had fewer than the 500 members required.

That motivation doesn’t in anyway detract from the common sense of the suggested provisions.

On-line registration is normal practice for many now and should be recognised for registration purposes.

An existing party shouldn’t be treated as a new one when it applies for re-registration.

It is possible that UnitedFuture was a victim of its own honesty and that other parties might have fewer than 500 members but omitted to report that to the Electoral Commission.

Five hundred members is a very low hurdle and a three-yearly audit would ensure that parties do in deed meet the minimum requirement.


September 20 in history

20/09/2013

451  The Battle of Chalons: Flavius Aetius‘s victory over Attila the Hun in a day of combat, is considered to be the largest battle in the ancient world.

524 Kan B’alam I, ruler of Maya state of Palenque, was born (d. 583).

1187  Saladin began the Siege of Jerusalem.

1378  Cardinal Robert of Geneva, known as the Butcher of Cesena, was elected as Avignon Pope Clement VII, beginning the Papal schism.

1519 Ferdinand Magellan set sail from Sanlúcar de Barrameda with about 270 men on his expedition to circumnavigate the globe.

1633  Galileo Galilei was tried before the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for teaching that the Earth orbits the Sun.

1697 The Treaty of Rijswijk was signed by France, England, Spain, the Holy Roman Empire and the Dutch Republic ending the Nine Years’ War (1688–97)

1737  The finish of the Walking Purchase which forced the cession of 1.2 million acres (4,860 km²) of Lenape-Delaware tribal land to the Pennsylvania Colony.

1835  Farroupilha’s Revolution began in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.

1842  James Dewar, Scottish chemist, was born (d. 1923).

1848  The American Association for the Advancement of Science was created.

1854 Battle of Alma: British and French troops defeated Russians in the Crimea.

1857 The Indian Rebellion of 1857 ended with the recapture of Delhi by troops loyal to the East India Company.

1860  The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) visited the United States.

1863  American Civil War: The Battle of Chickamauga ended.

1870  Bersaglieri corps entered Rome through the Porta Pia and completed the unification of Italy.

1871  Bishop John Coleridge Patteson, the first bishop of Melanesia, was martyred on the island of Nukapu.

1881  Chester A. Arthur was inaugurated as the 21st President of the United States following the assassination of James Garfield.

1891  The first gasoline-powered car debuted in Springfield, Massachusetts.

1906  Cunard Line’s RMS Mauretania was launched at the Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson shipyard in Newcastle upon Tyne.

1914 Kenneth More, English actor, was born (d. 1982).

1920  Foundation of the Spanish Legion.

1930 Syro-Malankara Catholic Church was formed by Archbishop Mar Ivanios.

1934 Sophia Loren, Italian actress, was born.

1942 Holocaust in Letychiv, Ukraine. In the course of two days German SS murdered at least 3,000 Jews.

1946  The first Cannes Film Festival was held.

1954  The Mazengarb inquiry into ‘juvenile delinquency’  was released. It blamed the perceived promiscuity of the nation’s youth on the absence from home of working mothers, the easy availability of contraceptives, and on young women who enticed men into having sex.

Mazengarb report released

1957   Alannah Currie, New Zealander musician (Thompson Twins), was born.

1957  Michael Hurst, New Zealand actor, was born.

1962 James Meredith, an African-American, was temporarily barred from entering the University of Mississippi.

1967  The RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 was launched at John Brown & Company, Clydebank, Scotland.

1970  Syrian tanks entered Jordan in response to continued fighting between Jordan and the fedayeen.

1971 – Todd Blackadder, New Zealand rugby player, was born.

1973  Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in The Battle of the Sexes tennis match at the Houston Astrodome.

1979  Lee Iacocca was elected president of the Chrysler Corporation.

1979  A coup d’état in the Central African Empire overthrew Emperor Bokasa I.

1984  A suicide bomber in a car attacked the U.S. embassy in Beirut killing 22 people.

1990 South Ossetia declared its independence from Georgia.

2000  The British MI6 Secret Intelligence Service building was attacked by a Russian-built Mark 22 anti-tank missile.

2001 In an address to a joint session of Congress and the American people, U.S. President George W. Bush declared a “war on terror”.

2002  The Kolka-Karmadon rock/ice slide started.

2003 Maldives civil unrest: the death of prisoner Hassan Evan Naseem sparked a day of rioting in Malé.

2011 – The United States ended its “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, allowing gay men and women to serve openly for the first time.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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