Word of the day

September 26, 2013

Riant – smiling, laughing; showing or feeling mirth, pleasure or happiness; cheerful; gay (in the old sense of the word).


All of govt savings

September 26, 2013

An all-of-government procurement programme will enable hospitals to save $18 million on power bills over the next three years.

The new contracts are part of a public sector-wide Government Procurement Reform Programme aimed at making government buying as efficient as possible and reducing costs. It includes all public sector agencies, councils and up to 2500 schools.

An electricity tender on behalf of 17 District Health Boards (DHBs) has been awarded to Contact Energy and Genesis Energy following a market process.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says the majority of the new contracts have commenced and the estimated savings of $18 million over the next three years is based on a comparison of the new tender rates against the previous year’s contract rates.

“The lower contracted rate shows the benefits to the taxpayer of government organisations like DHBs working together to align their service needs,” Mr Joyce says.

Health Minister Tony Ryall says these significant savings are part of a programme of procurement and administrative savings being carried out by the 20 district health boards.

“This includes moving to one bank nationally for DHBs, resulting in saving more than $4 million a year from lower fees and higher interest payments,” Mr Ryall says. “All savings made by the DHBs go back into frontline health services for patients.”

In addition, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has been working on an All-of Government reticulated gas supply for agencies. This contract has recently been agreed with Genesis Energy and is forecast to realise an additional $4.1 million in savings over the next three years.

All-of-Government contracts let to date are tracking to deliver $330 million in savings over the contract lifetimes. The All-of-Government contract for reticulated gas is the 12th All-of-Government contract signed since 2009 which includes external legal services, computers, mobile voice and data, air travel, and advertising.

Those are significant savings and one of the reasons the government has been able to reduce costs while maintaining services.

Bigger buyers can usually negotiate better prices and the government is one of the biggest buyers in the country.

Using that buying power to get better prices is such a good idea, why has no-one thought of it before?


Rural round-up

September 26, 2013

Dairy prices double-edged sword for NZ – Tony Field:

Rising global dairy prices are proving a double-edged sword for New Zealand; it’s great for farmers and the economy, but it also means prices are going up in the shops.

The autumn drought dented Fonterra’s milk production and means this year’s payout is slightly down on a year ago.

But farmers like Peter Schouten are cheered by predictions of a record payout for the season that’s just begun.

“I am absolutely over the moon with it,” says Mr Schouten. “It gives us a really good chance to play catch-up, with a lot of the farm maintenance, the replacement of gear, tractors, ATVs – you name it.”

The economy could be $5 billion better off too. . .

Fonterra farmers cheer payouts as dividends held unchanged, headwinds loom –  Jonathan Underhill:

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group is promising a record payout to its farmers next year, while keeping dividends unchanged, underlining the competing needs of its suppliers and the investors in its exchange-traded units.

Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund units ended the day up 0.4 percent to $7.10, having initially sold off after the world’s biggest dairy exporter posted its full-year results. Normalised earnings before interest and tax fell 3 percent to $1 billion, meeting the guidance it gave in July and missing its prospectus forecast.

Sales fell 6 percent to $18.6 billion in the 12 months ended July 31 and net profit rose 18 percent to $736 million, or 44 cents a share. The company paid a dividend of 32 cents a share, the same as it is forecasting for next year and as it paid in 2012. . .

Satisfactory return for Farmers, implemented changes to ANZ business welcome:

The Fonterra Shareholders’ Council, which safeguards the interests of the dairy Co-operative’s 10,500 Shareholders, said the final payout of $6.16 ($5.84 farmgate Milk Price and $0.32 dividend) for a fully shared-up Farmer announced today was an accurate reflection of the season.

Council Chairman, Ian Brown: “Given the pressure placed on Fonterra by this year’s drought and the unpredictability experienced in international markets the Co-operative has delivered a satisfactory return for Farmers.”
Mr Brown said the success of the integrated ANZ (Australia/New Zealand) business, which has encountered tough market conditions of late, is vital for Fonterra.
“The ANZ business has been working hard to adapt to the changing Australian business environment.
“Accordingly, changes have been made to the ANZ business, there’s a cost associated with these and the Council will continue to monitor the situation.” . .

Ngāti Kahungunu harvesting our future:

Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi is developing an Export Strategy. As part of the wider Māori Economic Development Strategy, we are increasing the export capacity of Māori farmers into the market, in other words from the ‘Nuku to the Puku’.

Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated and Wairoa Taiwhenua are hosting a Kahungunu Farming Conference at Takitimu Marae in Wairoa on Thursday 10th October 2013. The purpose of this Farming Conference is to bring together Māori Farmers, Land owners, people who utilise primary resources and anyone else who might be interested in connecting, exploring, sharing ideas and being a part of the Ngāti Kahungunu Export Strategy.

Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated is proposing that Ngāti Kahungunu Farmers and all Māori Farmers would be better off by supplying directly to the market and retaining all the earnings in the supply chain rather than waving goodbye to the animals and the profits at the farm gate. . .

Precision Seafood Harvesting’ to be unveiled at the 2013 NZ Seafood Industry Conference

It is less than a week to go until the2013 NZ Seafood Industry Conference, where, in a world first for the fishing industry, the first underwater pictures of the New Zealand developed ‘Precision Seafood Harvesting’  technology will be shown to reveal the revolutionary new fishing method . . .


Thursday’s quiz

September 26, 2013

1. Who said: Laughter is the shortest distance between two people?”

2. . . . these lyrics are from which song:

So if you chance to meet him
While walking 'round the town.  
Shake him by his fat old hand
And give him half a crown.  

His eyes will beam and sparkle
He'll gurgle with delight.
And then you'll start him laughing
With all his blessed might!

3. It’s rire in French ridere in Italian, reír in Spanish and kata in Maori, what is it in English?

4. Gelotology is the study of what?

5. What’s the funniest book you’ve read or your favourite funny book?


Farming for the future

September 26, 2013

Federated farmers provincial president Will Foley writes that the Ruataniwha water Storage Project  will provide a future for our children and our children’s children.

He concludes:

If we focus on what we are good at, producing high quality food and beverages, then our future is strong because the global demand for quality primary goods is strong. Our climate and landscape makes the Hawke’s Bay a brilliant destination for tourists for the same reasons I live here. I farm on the plains, I tramp in the Ruahines and I fish out at sea. I have a vested interest in enhancing all aspects of the Hawke’s Bay economy and its environment; we can have the best of both worlds.

But we now stand at a cross-road. Shutting down farming won’t get us a pristine environment because we humans have been modifying it for over a thousand years. How bad things would get without the jobs, wealth and infrastructure the primary industries brings in, is as clear as the nose on my face. Those left would be bombarded by more burglaries, more home invasions and a worse environment. Alternatively, we can have farming taken to a new level where farms are highly productive, adaptive to new technologies and a changing climate, as well as being environmentally responsible stewards of the land. That’s the progressive Hawke’s Bay I want for my children and my children’s children.

Everything we do impacts on the environment.

Leaving it all to nature doesn’t necessarily help as successive droughts have shown and all the impacts from human endeavour aren’t negative.

The solution to those that are isn’t to stop progress but to encourage it in a sustainable way,

That will provide economic development, create more jobs and do so in a way that protects and enhances the environment.


Let’s keep positive

September 26, 2013

Oracle Team USA has won the America’s Cup.

The final score was 9-8 – though they won two more races before they got on the scoreboard.

But let’s not go into national mourning.

Emirates Team New Zealand sailed well, with a New Zealand crew, New Zealand boat design, New Zealand technology and New Zealand expertise.

Oracle Team New Zealand sailed better, with an international crew which included New Zealanders, New Zealand boat design, New Zealand expertise.

They also had a New Zealand manager – Russell Coutts – who hasn’t lost an America’s Cup.

They also had more money and the lack of challengers showed that was a significant factor.

This was an amazing spectacle and one of the great sporting comebacks.

But it was only sport.

So let’s keep positive, congratulate the victors, thank Dean Barker and the team for the effort they put in and the entertainment they provided us, get on with our lives and smile – it’s contagious.


Just one more race

September 26, 2013

It’s Emirates Team New Zealand 8 – Oracle Team USA 8.

Oracle has made an amazing come-back.

The pressure on both teams is immense – both need just one more race, both have only one more race.

Kia kaha Team New Zealand – we’re still leaning with you.
Sending the boys on their way to the race of their lives with a classic kiwi send off. Let's do this.


More CV questions

September 26, 2013

The first question over David Cunliffe’s CV was about  voluntary work. The reference has now been removed.

The second was about claims he’d done consultancy on the formation of Fonterra.

He’s produced a time sheet to confirm that he did work for the company between October 1997 and January 1999.

But Keeping Stock raises a question over that:

. . .  we can’t help but wonder; how could Mr Cunliffe’s work in that period be being billed to an entity which didn’t come into existence until October 2001 after legislation was passed by Parliament, and an entity that was only given the name Fonterra on 27 August 2001?

It is possible the name was used long before the company was formed but a name isn’t usually used that early in case a leak spoils the eventual launch.

Even if it was, Matthew Hooton who raised the issue said:

. . . He doesn’t want to get into a prolonged argument with Cunliffe, but said: “I just don’t think that doing a paper on research and development in the dairy industry can be described as helping with the formation of Fonterra.

“He obviously thinks that the paper he wrote … was in some way crucial to the creation of the company but I don’t think it would be a view shared by the industry leaders who lead the creation of Fonterra in 2000/2001.” . . .

It does seem to be gilding the lilly.

But whether or not the claim is justified, Andrea Vance has raised more questions over Cunliffe’s CV, this time about his academic record.

He’s often been credited with a degree from Havard, but that’s not right:

. . . A biography posted on the Labour party website until recently said: “He was a Fulbright Scholar at Harvard University’s John F Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Business School, where he graduated with a Master of Public Administration.”

The implication from that is that the MPA was from both but:

On Monday the website was refreshed. The biography now reads: “He held a Fulbright Scholarship at Harvard University’s John F Kennedy School of Government in 1994-1995, earning a Master of Public Administration.”

His Wikipedia entry still says:

He was a Fulbright Scholar and Kennedy Memorial Fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Business School in 1994 and 1995, earning a Master of Public Administration.

A Google search came up with several more references which confirmed the belief he graduated from Havard Business School including:

. . . Outside politics, the Harvard business graduate is intensely private, living in a Herne Bay mansion. . .  at TV3

And at Facebook:

https://m.facebook.com/david.cunliffe.labour?v=info&expand=1

To connect with David Cunliffe, join Facebook today. Join Log In. David Cunliffe …. School of Government and Harvard Business School, where I graduated with 

And the Vancouver Sun:

Cunliffe is a former diplomat and health minister who has a master’s degree from Harvard Business School.

And GayNZ:
He has tertiary qualifications in social science and a Masters of Public Administration from Harvard Business School.
And the Labour archive:
He was a Fulbright Scholar at Harvard University’s John F Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Business School, where he graduated with a Master of Public Administration.
All of which confirm the impression he’s not, until now, bothered to correct, that he is a graduate of Harvard Business School.
He isn’t responsible for what other publications say about him, but he must have been responsible for the original entry from which the others were taken.

A CV shouldn’t be ambiguous and whether it was deliberate or intentional Cunliffe’s was.

It’s been corrected but it still leaves a question over why he felt the need to embellish his  record.

An employee who did as much would be at risk of losing their job.

If we can’t trust him to tell the truth about himself, can we trust him at all?


Our team

September 26, 2013

Why do we care about a race in a sport most of us know little about?

Sandysview gives the answer in an open letter to Team New Zealand From Team New Zealand:

G’day Deano and the crew.

This is from us back home. You’ll be having some strategy meeting. Knocking around a few ideas. Hell, you might even be asleep. Us at home? We’re doing that too. You’ll have your eye on the big picture, the San Francisco bay weather, the clouds, the rules, what the Americans (or is it Aussies?) are doing to their boat over night. Probably giving the big outboard motor a polish, if the last few days are anything to go by.

We don’t know about any of that stuff. We know bugger all about sailing. I don’t mean that lot by the sea up North with their flash boats sitting around the yacht club yelling at the television in some nautical language we don’t speak, they know about sailing. I mean us. The rest of us out in New Zealand.

We are getting up every morning to watch you and the boys taking on the Billionaire at a sport none of us know about. We want you to win it for us. You’ve got Team New Zealand written on the boat. That’s our boat. We are Team New Zealand. . .

It’s worth reading in full.


September 26 in history

September 26, 2013

46 BC  Julius Caesar dedicated a temple to his mythical ancestor Venus Genetrix in accordance with a vow he made at the battle of Pharsalus.

715  Ragenfrid defeated Theudoald at the Battle of Compiègne.

1212  Golden Bull of Sicily was certified as an hereditary royal title in Bohemia for the Přemyslid dynasty.

1580  Sir Francis Drake completed his circumnavigation of the world.

1687  The Parthenon in Athens was partially destroyed by an explosion caused by the bombing from Venetian forces led by Morosini.

168  – The city council of Amsterdam voted to support William of Orange‘s invasion of England.

1783  The first battle of Shays’ Rebellion began.

1810  A new Act of Succession was adopted by the Riksdag of the Estates and Jean Baptiste Bernadotte becomes heir to the Swedish throne.

1820  Colonel Robert Gibbon Johnson proved tomatoes weren’t poisonous by eating several on the steps of the courthouse in Salem, New Jersey.

1865 The Natives Rights Act declared Maori British citizens.

Native Rights Act declares Maori British subjects

1872  The first Shriners Temple (called Mecca) was established in New York City.

1888  US poet & playwright T.S. (Thomas Stearns) Eliot was born (d. 1965).

1898 Composer George Gershwin was born (d. 1937).

1907 Prime Minister Sir Joseph Ward proclaimed New Zealand a dominion. Parliament Bildings were lit up in celebration.

Joseph Ward proclaims dominion status

1907  Newfoundland  became a dominion within the British Empire.

1907 English art historian & Soviet spy Anthony Blunt was born (d. 1983).

1918  World War I: The Meuse-Argonne Offensive, the bloodiest single battle in American history, began.

1932 Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was born.

1934  Steamship RMS Queen Mary was launched.

1936 South African activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was born.

1943 – Ian Chappell, Australian cricketer and broadcaster, was born.

1945 English singer Bryan Ferry was born.

1947 US country singer Lynn Anderson was born.

1948 English-born Australian singer Olivia Newton John was born.

1949 US novelist Jane Smiley was born.

1949 English crime writer Minette Walters was born.

1950  United Nations troops recaptured Seoul from the North Koreans.

1954  Japanese rail ferry Toya Maru sank during a typhoon in the Tsugaru Strait, killing 1,172.

1960 The first televised debate took place between presidential candidates Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy.

1962  The Yemen Arab Republic was proclaimed.

1964 English singer Nicki French was born.

1970  The Laguna Fire started in San Diego County, burning 175,425 acres (710 km²).

1973  Concorde made its first non-stop crossing of the Atlantic in record-breaking time.

1981 US tennis player Serena Williams was born.

1983  Soviet military officer Stanislav Petrov averted a likely worldwide nuclear war by correctly identifying a report of an incoming nuclear missile as a computer error and not an American first strike.

1997  A Garuda Indonesia Airbus A-300 crashed near Medan, Indonesia, airport, killing 234.

1997  An earthquake struck  Umbria and the Marche, causing part of the Basilica of St. Francis at Assisi to collapse.

2000  Anti-globalization protests in Prague (some 20,000 protesters) turned violent during the IMF and World Bank summits.

2000  The MS Express Samina sank off Paros in the Agean sea killing 80 passengers.

2002  The overcrowded Senegalese ferry MV Joola capsised off the coast of Gambia killing more than 1,000.

2008  Swiss pilot and inventor Yves Rossy became the  first person to fly a jet engine-powered wing across the English Channel.

2009 Typhoon Ketsana (2009) hit the Philippines, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand, causing 700 fatalities.

Sourced from NZ History Online and Wikipedia


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