Mad Hatters’ tea party

October 21, 2013

Quote of the day:

 . . . “You guys have spent your careers trying to analyse what he says and you’ve got more sense out of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. He talks in riddles, he doesn’t stick to what he says, it’s a waste of time having discussions that are about a bottom line.

“There are no bottom lines with Winston Peters. He will do a deal with who he feels like doing a deal with. . . ” John Key.

The USA has the Tea party. In Peters we’ve got the Mad Hatter.


Word of the day

October 21, 2013

Snudge – a miser; a sneaking fellow; to lie snug or close to; to be stingy and niggardly; to cheat especially in competition; to go about hunched over or as if in deep thought; to stride around as though you’re terribly busy, when in fact you are doing nothing.


Rural round-up

October 21, 2013

Merger on agenda – Alan Williams:

Meat co-operative merger is back on the agenda for the election of directors at Silver Fern Farms (SFF) in mid-December.

Meat Industry Excellence (MIE) group chairman Richard Young and executive member Dan Jex-Blake have stood down from their roles to contest the two seats up for grabs at the SFF annual meeting.

They will be campaigning for a merger of SFF with Alliance Group as a first step in meat-industry consolidation.

The MIE group is also expected to stand two candidates in the Alliance director election. . .

Changes to dairy welfare code

The National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) says it is addressing concerns about the long-term housing of dairy cattle.

NAWAC is seeking public consultation on proposed changes to the Animal Welfare (Dairy Cattle) Code of Welfare 2010.

NAWAC chair Dr John Hellström says that off-pasture management systems for dairy cattle, including purpose-built housing, are becoming increasingly common in New Zealand. . .

Visits part of celebrations – Ruth Grundy:

Angus cattle enthusiasts from around the globe began their month-long celebration of the breed in the South Island last week.

It is expected up to 500 will attend the four-day PGG Wrightson World Angus Forum and the celebration of 150 years of Angus cattle in New Zealand which began in Rotorua, on Sunday. It will be followed by a tour of prominent North Island studs and was preceded, last week, with visits to well-known South Island breeders. . . .

Study commissioned on renewable fuel for farms – Johann Tasker:

Scientists are looking at ways to increase the use of renewable fuels made from crops and agricultural waste in farm vehicles.

The Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE) has commissioned a new report to study the potential for innovative low carbon transport technologies and fuels in rural areas and on-farms.

The study is called Re-fuelling the Countryside: Sustainable Farm and Rural Transport.

It will investigate the potential and practicalities of farm-sourced renewable fuels and innovative transport technologies using a mixture of industrial applications, research and case-studies. . .

Company’s strategy set out for shareholders:

”Exciting opportunities” have been outlined to Wools of New Zealand shareholders at a roadshow criss-crossing the country.

Chairman Mark Shadbolt updated the company’s progress since it was capitalised in March, with more than 700 applications for shares worth just over $6 million.

”The important thing is you now own Wools of New Zealand and we’ve got a vehicle to go forward with,” Mr Shadbolt told the 14 people at the Oamaru roadshow meeting on October 1. . .

Wool becoming more interesting – Sally Brooker:

Wool has a vital role to play in the European textiles market, an English expert says.

Camira Fabrics development director Cheryl Kindness spoke at the Wools of New Zealand roadshow in Oamaru on October 1. Her company makes fabrics for upholstery used in public places, including buses and trains.

With a testing and manufacturing site in Huddersfield, a plant in Lithuania and a Nottingham facility that makes ”knit to fit” covers for chairs, it has more than 600 employees and a turnover last year of 455 million ($NZ875 million). . .

New milk provides closer-to-farm-gate taste experience:

Lewis Road Creamery is expanding its premium offering down the dairy aisle with the launch of a range of organic Jersey milks that are a first for New Zealand and provide a ‘from-the-farmgate’ taste experience.

Lewis Road Creamery Organic Jersey Milk is the first 100 percent Jersey milk to be available on supermarket shelves. Jersey milk is renowned for being richer and creamier in taste and texture, and combined with being organic, whole milk that is free from both permeate and palm kernel expeller, delivers a top quality product that surpasses standard milk.

“It’s milk the way it should be,” says Lewis Road Creamery founder Peter Cullinane. . .


Cat smuggles to cat burglar?

October 21, 2013

Prison guards discovered a cat was smuggling pot into a prison in Moldova.

The report doesn’t say if the feline was delivering the contraband to a cat burglar, nor if it was called Smokey.

 

 


Can sharpest town be Gigatown? #gigatown #oamaru

October 21, 2013

Oamaru, New Zealand’s sharpest town, is vying to be the fastest town, and not just in this country but in the southern hemisphere.

The town, and it’s people, are doing their best to win Chorus’s  competition to become the first in the southern hemisphere to receive one-gigabit per second broadband speeds.

‘Welcome to Gigatown’ will be a year-long competition led by ultra-fast broadband (UFB) infrastructure company Chorus. The competition aims to spark innovation and mobilise the potential of UFB to transform local economies and services to drive better outcomes for New Zealand communities.

Chorus Head of Marketing and Sales, Victoria Crone says the one-gigabit fibre broadband will be deployed to the New Zealand town that shows New Zealand it has the most desire to be Gigatown.

“Over the course of a year we’re going to ask New Zealand communities to get creative, get online and tell New Zealand why their town should receive this gigabit connection,” says Crone.

“Over the next couple of months we will work with local communities and councils, as well as the rest of the telecommunications industry, to make sure we deliver a great competition that gives the widest possible range of communities the chance to be New Zealand’s Gigatown.”

All communities covered by Chorus’ Ultra-fast Fibre build plans will be eligible to enter the competition. Welcome to Gigatown is expected to launch on Labour Day 2013, with the winning town announced in early 2015.

Crone says that Welcome to Gigatown aims to encourage New Zealanders to start thinking about UFB as a huge opportunity to transform our country’s economy and also deliver great social outcomes.

Two international UFB experts are in New Zealand to support the announcement of Welcome to Gigatown and provide commentary on the potential of New Zealand’s unique fibre model.

According to Sheldon Grizzle, an innovation lead at CO.LAB in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the power of Gigabit fibre to transform a town’s economy has been clearly demonstrated as Chattanooga transformed from the most polluted city in the USA to one of its most innovative digital economies.

“The Chattanooga story can happen in New Zealand because it is one of the few countries around the world that is on track to provide fibre connectivity to the majority of its country’s homes, schools and businesses,” says Grizzle.

“It is absolutely possible that the Gigatown project will enable one New Zealand town to transform itself into a leading digital innovation hub for New Zealand and beyond,” he says.

Joining Grizzle in New Zealand is Benoit Felten, an international fibre specialist and founder of the French research and consultancy firm, Diffraction Analysis.

Felten has an incredible breadth and depth of expertise on fibre, from the technology through to industry dynamics, propositions, business models and applications. . .

Chatanooga shows the benefits of ultra fast broadband.

Previously shamed as one of the most polluted and unliveable cities in America, Chattanooga was one of the first cities in the world to roll out a fibre to the premise (FTTP) network offering gigabit connection speeds to homes and businesses. This has been credited with playing a role in attracting a swell of economic investment into Chattanooga, including the expansion of Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant and the establishment of Amazon.com facilities. Chattanooga has also become a digital innovation centre that is driving development of next generation fibre applications.

Chattanooga’s fibre optic network has been emulated by a handful of other cities in the US and it is studied internationally as a model of how to build the smart cities of the future. . .

The competition requires towns to rally their communities to vote.

Winning Chorus’ gigatown competition is at the top of the agenda for a group of Oamaru people who are behind the local campaign.

It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the town to access a one gigabit per second internet connection.

Lance Streeter, Derek Golding and Nicolas Erdody held a meeting on Wednesday night to discuss strategy plans on how to ensure Oamaru wins the competition.

The competition requires communities to rally together to vote for their town.

For a vote to be counted, Oamaru residents will have to take to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and use #gigatown and #oamaru together in a post.

Entries will be evaluated on the size of the town’s population to allow for a fair competition.

Facebook page was set up on October 10 and when I checked a few minutes ago already had 779 likes.

Then there’s twitter #gigatown#oamaru

The internet provides opportunities for people to work away from main population centres. An engineer lives not far from us and works on projects all around the world from his home through the internet.

Faster connections are better connections and becoming a Gigatown would make work like this even easier.


State of emergency declared in NSW

October 21, 2013

We spent a couple of days in rural Victoria last week.

A strong, not wind was blowing, it felt like a nor wester at home, but the fire danger was low. Pastures were green and lush with spring growth and dams were full.

victoria

 

But blackened trees showed where bush fires had raged and our hosts told us of days spent fire fighting as their farms and homes were threatened.

They were counting their blessings as they listened to news of fires further north.

A week later New South Wales premier Barry O’Farrell has declared a state of emergency across the whole state as bush fires worsen.

Mass forced evacuations affecting tens of thousands of people are possible as hotter and drier than expected conditions combine with huge fire fronts already burning.

”This is not out of the realms of possibility,” NSW Rural Fire Services Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said. ”We are expecting the potential for the series of these fires to come together, to extend right down Bells Line of Road.

”They have the very real potential to go right out to the eastern end of the Hawkesbury, right down into the north-west area of Sydney including Richmond. . .

The Sydney Morning Herald has live updates.


Exhibiton Express

October 21, 2013

Kiwirail is celebrating 150 years of rail in New Zealand with a tour of the country by its Exhibition express.

A powerful KiwiRail engine is pulling new scenic carriages and four themed containers, each packed with fascinating displays about rail in New Zealand. Stopping at 12 locations across the country, there will be family fun, prizes and giveaways. Entry is free and everyone is welcome.

The schedule is at the link above.

The train will be in Oamaru today from 10 – 4.


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