Word of the day

September 29, 2013

Nycthemeron – The whole natural day and night; 24 hours consisting of day and night.

Rural round-up

September 29, 2013

Renewed attack on AgResearch move – Annette Scott:

A move by AgResearch to push on with its restructuring plans has been labelled short-sighted and flawed by southern leaders, with jobs set to go in their regions.

The Crown research institute (CRI) proposed in July the relocation of hundreds of science and support roles from its centres at Ruakura, near Hamilton, and Invermay, near Dunedin, to bigger research hubs in Palmerston North and Lincoln.

This was in line with a planned $100 million investment in its campus infrastructure. . .

Relief over Invermay assurances support, uni link to be retained – Sally Rae:

Federated Farmers Otago president Stephen Korteweg says he is heartened by an assurance that dry stock farm system capability to support deer, sheep and beef farming will be retained at Invermay, and that AgResearch’s linkage with the University of Otago’s genetics team will be maintained.

In a statement this week, after AgResearch’s announcement it still intended to slash jobs at Invermay, Federated Farmers national vice-president William Rolleston said the rural lobby organisation supported the reconfiguration of AgResearch because of the need for ”modern progressive agricultural research centres of excellence”. . .

Purchaser found for Australian Business – Annette Scott:

Ravensdown has signed a conditional sale and purchase agreement for its failed Western Australia business.

The co-operative announced last week it was selling to Louis Dreyfus Group, which has been involved in the Australian market for many years.

Detail of the agreement is yet to be finalised.

Louis Dreyfus is a French company involved globally in agriculture, oil, energy and commodities, global processing, trading and merchandising, as well as international shipping. . .

“First Steps” – the best gift I’ve ever given myself – Eloise Neely:

I attended the Agri-Women’s Development Trust course in Whangarei with two goals, to make new friends and connections and seek guidance to reinvent myself after 20 years farming in the South Island.

First Steps is exactly what the name suggests, a group of rural women meeting to examine their feelings, values and visions to discover the first steps of the rest of their lives.

Who is a First Steps woman? She may be a farmer by choice or an “accidental” farmer, single or partnered and age is not a factor. A First Steps woman may be a rural professional or anyone with a connection to the land. She is often the unseen farming partner quietly raising the next generation and keeping small communities together. . .

Deer industry tipped to become ‘red hot‘ –

The deer industry will be ”red hot” next year, Stanfield’s European Red Deer Stud owner and ”Motivate” group chairman Clive Jermy, of Darfield, says.

Mr Jermy, Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ) production manager Tony Pearse and New Zealand Deer Farmers Association (NZDFA) chairman Kris Orange , of Geraldine, are members of Motivate, a group putting together recommendations to encourage more people to enter the industry or to remain in it, to improve training and availability and to raise the industry’s profile.

Mr Jermy said the deer industry was an exciting one to be in. . .

Cow drowns in effluent on hellish road trip:

Two South Westland dairy farmers, a stock agent, a trucking company and two of its middle management have been prosecuted over a road trip suffered by 25 cows on the way to the slaughterhouse.

It is the first prosecution by the Ministry for Primary Industries under the Animal Welfare Transport Code.

At the heart of the case, which was part heard in the Greymouth District Court yesterday, was a cattle shipment from Whataroa and Hari Hari to the Silver Fern Farms meatworks in Hokitika on October 25 last year, which was then diverted to a freezing works at Belfast, in Christchurch. . .

Innovative wastewater system for wheatbelt:

Western Australia Water Minister Terry Redman has announced work had begun to connect Hyden residents to an innovative wastewater scheme, the first of its kind in WA.

The $3.6 million trial was supported by 90 per cent of the town during a community poll in 2011 and is part of the State Government’s infill sewerage program.

“Hyden’s STED system will take wastewater that has already been treated in household septic tanks through a pipeline system and to a disposal pond located outside of town,” Mr Redman said. . .

Defending democracy no stunt

September 29, 2013

Local Government NZ president Lawrence Yule says a reward for information about mistakes in election booklets is just a stunt.

. . . Lawrence Yule says that while voters do use the booklets to make their choice, they also get information about candidates from other sources, such as advertisements.. .

Where else they get information from is irrelevant.

If mistakes have been made which could influence the way people vote then the elections are compromised.

The offer of rewards by Franks & Ogilvie is an attempt to find out how serious the problem is in response to the lack of any official investigation.

It’s a defence of democracy not a stunt.

Morning person

September 29, 2013




I wouldn’t mind being grown up, she told me, if I didn’t have to get up & be grumpy right away every morning.


Story People by Brian Andreas.

The lovely folk at Story People will email you a daily dose of whimsy like this if you sign up on the page you get to by clicking the link above.


September 29, 2013

6/10 in NBR’s Biz Quiz.

Welfare facts and figures

September 29, 2013

The latest actuarial valuation of the welfare system contains some big figures and sobering facts:

* the current lifetime liability1 is $86.8 billion.

* sole parents spend an average 15.8 years on benefit with a lifetime cost2 of $234,000.

* Youth spend an average 18.9 years on benefit, costing $239,000.

* The average young beneficiary has a 43 per cent chance of being on benefit in 15 years’ time.

* 25 per cent of youth are expected to be on a benefit 40 years after the valuation date.

 The total liability for benefit types includes:

*$21 billion for Sole Parent Support

* $20.5 billion for Jobseeker Support

* $18 billion for Supported Living Payment

*$705 million for youth and $18 billion for non-beneficiary support.

The figures support the government’s determination to get those who can work into work.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennet said:

“. . . The valuation includes the future lifetime costs of those on a benefit at any time in the twelve months up to June 2012.

This detailed valuation says, 30-34 year olds first going on benefit aged 16-19 will cost four times as much as those who first go on benefit aged 30-34.”

Sixty per cent of those now aged 30-39, came onto benefit aged 16-19 and contribute 77 per cent to the liability for the current 30-39 year old age group.”

“That’s deeply concerning but totally justifies our focus on youth.”

It’s difficult to argue with that.

Helping young people get work-ready and then getting them into jobs offers them a much brighter future than benefit dependency would and means they are contributing tax rather than consuming it.

In Budget 2011 an extra $287 million was targeted to young people on benefits, including childcare assistance for teen parents.

Budget 2012 included another $188m for reforms providing more support.

The investment approach has changed the entire focus of the welfare system so that support is invested where it will make the biggest difference.”

“Welfare reforms actively target support to those who can work, but are at risk of becoming long-term welfare dependent without help,” says Mrs Bennett.

An investment approach takes a long-term view of each individual given their needs, challenges and prospects of a quick return to work.

“This approach and the detailed valuations allow the Government to spend taxpayers’ money where it will have the biggest impact,” says Mrs Bennett.

Until National was in government nobody took responsibility for reducing benefit dependency. Most money went to those it was easiest to help and the difficult cases were left to linger on benefits at a huge cost to them and us.

The positive impacts from helping young people stay off benefits and get into work are both financial and social.

Young people in work not only earn more than those on benefits, they are less likely to commit crimes and abuse alcohol and drugs.

1Lifetime liability: All future lifetime costs of benefit payments and associated expenses for those receiving benefits in the 12 months up to and including the effective date of the valuation.

2Lifetime cost: All expected future benefit payments to age 65 discounted to the valuation date.

3The Discount Rate: The time value of money. In other words – in today’s money – how much money we would need to put aside now to pay that liability, assuming that amount would earn interest. e.g. $10 in today’s money is worth more now, than $10 five years later.

Neutralising Norman

September 29, 2013

One of the problems with MMP is that potential coalition partners are competing for the same votes.

Swapping votes with potential partners doesn’t change the likely strength of a coalition but it does make a difference to the strength of each party.

The Green Party has benefited from Labour’s weakness since 2008. Now David Cunliffe has to win that support back:

. . . The Greens, who don’t have any leadership problems, made strong gains during Shearer’s reign and they’ve been grabbing Labour votes.

It isn’t something that’s openly talked about because those two parties are allies and will almost certainly form a coalition government if they win, but one of Cunliffe’s priorities is to neutralise Russel Norman.

“We need the Greens to be strong, but not too strong,” a caucus source told NZ Newswire.

“We don’t intend going into the election bleeding votes on the left.” . . .

Neutralising Norman is necessary for Labour and Rodney Hide explains why it is essential  for New Zealand:

He rejects more than 200 years of economic thought, he ignores the lessons of history and he dismisses everyday experience.

His views are neither reasoned nor consistent and he holds to them vehemently and angrily. He can’t argue his position. He can only denounce those who don’t share it. He doesn’t defend his views but rather shouts about them, which is politely regarded as passion.

For Mr Norman, you and I don’t earn income. We take it. It’s us who are the burden. For that reason he despises us. He double despises us because we don’t agree with him. He believes it is our greed that stops us seeing the world his way.

For Mr Norman, government tax simply recovers a little of what we have taken. Rather than a burden, Normanomics would declare tax a recovery. . .

Years of political rhetoric have blinded him to entrepreneurship and the intricacy and subtlety of the social cooperation that markets make possible.

His rhetoric has become his mantra. His politics are his substitute for thought and observation. But, of course, Mr Norman doesn’t need to be right. All he needs is power.

The radical left policies of Norman and his party are unpalatable to moderates in the centre.

If Labour moves left to neutralise Norman he also risks alienating the centre so votes gained on his left flank could be lost from his right.

But then the best way to neutralise Norman and deprive him of power is to stick with a National-led government.

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