Living document

October 16, 2013

Tweet of the day:

“his CV…is a living document!
Like the Treaty, only without the principles!” – Bill English on David Cunliffe “

@robhosking on Twitter


Banks resigns

October 16, 2013

John Banks has resigned as a Minister.

Prime Minister John Key today announced that he has accepted John Banks’ offer to resign as a Minister.

“I have spoken to Mr Banks this afternoon following the Auckland District Court’s decision that he should stand trial for alleged fraud over his electoral returns following a private prosecution,” Mr Key says.

. “Mr Banks indicated to my Chief of Staff late last week that in the event the Judge ruled against him, he would tender his resignation as a Minister,” Mr Key says. “

“It is with regret that I announce today that I have accepted that resignation, and will be advising the Governor-General accordingly.

“Mr Banks maintains his innocence but realises this is a distraction for the Government and has offered to resign as a Minister.

“Mr Banks has a number of legal avenues to explore, including whether to appeal the District Court Judge’s decision or to plead not guilty at the trial.

“Without prejudging the outcome of these legal avenues, if Mr Banks is successful on appeal or proved to be not guilty at trial, it is my intention to reinstate him as a Minister.

“Since the 2011 election, Mr Banks has been an able, competent and reliable Minister. “Mr Banks has advised me that he intends to continue to meet the terms of the Act Party’s confidence and supply agreement with the National Party.

“I will be reallocating Mr Banks’ portfolios to existing Ministers and will announce this in the next few days,” Mr Key says.

This is the right action to take in view of the serious charges.

The law has been changed since the alleged fraud to make links between donors and candidates more transparent.


Word of the day

October 16, 2013
Quisquilious – rubbishy, trashy; worthless.

Rural round-up

October 16, 2013

West Coast cops blame for cattle’s TB – Matthew Littlewood:

A case of bovine tuberculosis in South Canterbury appears to have come from cattle brought in from the West Coast.

TBFree New Zealand has sent out letters to more than 85 farms in South Canterbury after the reports of incidents at two farms in May.

TBFree’s Owen Churchman said the Rangitata area had been historically free of the disease, but recent DNA-testing indicated “with almost total certainty” the two farms had been infected with a West Coast strain. . .

Record $114,000 Waikato dirty dairying fine – Aaron Leaman:

A Waiuku-based company has been hit with a record $114,000 fine for dirty dairying after deliberately pumping effluent into a stream.

Fenwick Farms pleaded guilty to seven charges of unlawfully discharging dairy effluent into water and onto land between August and September last year.

The $114,000 fine, imposed by Judge Melanie Harland in the Auckland District Court, is the largest fine dished out in the Waikato region for dairy pollution. . .

Honey trademark bid declined – Laura Walters:

An attempt to trademark six labels relating to the antibacterial properties of honey has been rejected by the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) on the basis some could have potentially misled consumers.

Henry Soo Lee’s application to register six trademarks was also opposed by the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) Honey Association.

Lee was ordered by the office to pay $6890 in costs to UMF after all six label applications were turned down. . .

Benefits of Investing In Kawerau Confirmed:

An analysis undertaken by the Crown Research Institute SCION to compare investment returns from wood processing based in Kawerau with those from other parts of New Zealand show Kawerau offers significant benefits in comparison to other wood processing centres.

These benefits are gained by locational, logistics and resource synergies and are measured by improved financial performance of businesses, better regional/national GDP impacts, employment resourcing opportunities and more effective use of co-located resources such as geothermal energy. . .

Milk processing transferred south:

Fonterra is shipping some North Island milk across Cook Strait for processing in Canterbury, as northern dairy farms hit their peak production.

Fonterra operations and logistics director Robert Spurway says the co-operative sends milk in both directions from time to time.

He says the North Island always hits it peak milk flow earlier than the south, and the surge in production from the excellent spring means processing plants in the north are already running at full capacity. . .

Commerce Commission releases draft report on statutory review of Fonterra’s 2013/14 Milk Price Manual:

The Commerce Commission has today released a draft report on its statutory review of Fonterra’s Milk Price Manual (Manual) for the 2013/14 dairy season. The Manual sets out the methodology for calculating the farm gate (base) milk price, which is the price paid by Fonterra to dairy farmers for raw milk they supply to Fonterra.

This is the first of two statutory reviews that the Commission is required to undertake each dairy season under the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act 2001 (DIRA). . .

Deer farmers head to hills but profit up – Tony Benny:

While deer farming has been pushed off most of Canterbury Plain and into the hills by dairy farming, it is now the most profitable form of dry stock farming, says Deer Industry New Zealand chairman Andy Macfarlane.

“There was one farm I worked at, this is the 2012-13 results, last week the deer returned $125 per stock unit, the sheep $100 and the cattle returned $75,” Macfarlane said.

“Generally they are well ahead but I think it would be fair to say, like all dry stock classes at the moment, farmers are looking for a confidence booster because clearly the milk price has responded to the world demand for protein quicker than the meat price.” . .

Worms key to soil health:

The anatomy of an earthworm is hardly exciting stuff.

But, Dr Tim Jenkins, a director at the Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Technologies, has a way of making the bodily functions of an earthworm sound kind of interesting.

He told about 80 farmers at a biological farming seminar in Gore recently that earthworms were a key driver of soil fertility.

A good number was 2000 worms per square metre or about 40 worms per spade, but he often found worm populations around 600 to 1000 per square metre because of poor quality soils. . .


NZer youngest Man Booker winner

October 16, 2013

New Zealand author Eleanor Catton is the youngest ever winner of the Man Booker prize.

Prime Minister John Key has congratulated New Zealand author Eleanor Catton on winning the Man Booker Prize for her novel The Luminaries, announced in London.

“This is a hugely significant achievement on the world stage for a New Zealander,” Mr Key says.

“It is made even more extraordinary by the fact that Eleanor Catton, at 28 years of age, is the youngest ever author to receive the prize, and The Luminaries is only her second novel. “This will be a tremendous boost for young New Zealanders in the arts and is a testament to the obvious talent and hard work of Eleanor Catton,” Mr Key says. Ms Catton is the first New Zealander to win the Man Booker Prize since Keri Hulme in 1985 for The Bone People

. The Listener interviewed her. Last week and links to coverage of the win here.


GDT price index down 1.9%

October 16, 2013

The GlboalDairyTrade Price Index dropped 1.9% in this morning’s auction.

GDT Trade Weighted Index Changes

The price of anydrous milk fat was down 1.2%, butter dropped 3.5%, butter milk powder dropped 5.2%, cheddar was down 1.7%, lactose was up 1.7%, rennet casein increased 1.5%, skim milk powder was up 0.7% and wholemilk powder was down 2.9%.

 


Cunliffe’s gloom not supported by stats

October 16, 2013

Labour leader David Cunliffe dashed out a media release on Monday saying the census would show a regional exodus under National.

Census data being released tomorrow will depict a widespread exodus from the regions as provincial New Zealanders flee small towns forgotten by the National Government, Labour Leader and Regional Development spokesperson David Cunliffe says.

“Labour understands data being released tomorrow will show Kiwis are leaving towns that have been gutted by the hands off approach of this National Government.. .

But his understanding was wrong and his gloom is not supported by the statistics.

Results from the 2013 Census shows Labour and its leader have been caught making stuff up with population growth spread right across the country, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says.

“Population growth occurred in 15 of the country’s 16 regions between 2006 and 2013 – hardly the widespread exodus from the regions as claimed by the Leader of the Opposition,” Mr Joyce says.

“Mr Cunliffe claimed people were leaving regions such as Taranaki in droves. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Taranaki grew by 5.3 per cent between 2006 and 2013 and has 5484 extra people now living in the region.

“He is also way off beam with his claims that incomes in the regions have fallen.

“Mr Cunliffe stated that real median weekly incomes have dropped by $24 in Taranaki. Wrong again. Since the 2006 income survey, real after tax weekly incomes in Taranaki have increased by $85. And the other examples he used for Southland and Waikato are also totally incorrect.

“This is a stunt that has backfired. There will be red faces all round in Labour following David Cunliffe’s embarrassing exaggerations and made up statistics.

“Labour will clearly stop at nothing to talk down the good progress being made across our regional economies.

“It confirms a bad start in the integrity stakes for the new Labour leader. He’ll have to do a lot better than this if he wants the public to trust him.”

The media release from Statistics NZ says Auckland grew fastest and South Island Districts grew most.

. . . “After Auckland, Nelson was the next-fastest-growing region, followed by Waikato. Southland turned around a declining population, growing by over 2,000 people in the seven years since the last census,” Ms MacPherson said. . .

The three fastest rates of population growth in district or city council areas were:

  • Selwyn district, up nearly a third to 44,595 people
  • Queenstown-Lakes district, up 23 percent to 28,224 people
  • Waimakariri district, up 17 percent to 49,989 people.

These three areas were also the fastest-growing between 2001 and 2006.

Earthquake refugees will have boosted population numbers in all three of these Districts but that’s not the only factor as they were growing before the quakes.

There is a case for slower growth in Auckland and faster growth in the regions.

But contrary to Cunliffe’s gloomy forecast, the regions are growing and National’s policies have done far more to help that than Labour’s high tax, high spending agenda would.


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