Word of the day

October 22, 2013

Omphalopsychite – one who stares fixedly at or contemplates her/his navel to induce a mystical trance.

Bizarre literary landmarks & chocolate

October 22, 2013

Discussion with Jim Mora on Critical Mass today was sparked by:

* 10 bizarre literary landmarks everyone should visit. (It would help to be familiar with the literature first. I was woefully ignorant of most of them).

* Chocablog is devoted to all things chocolatey including recipes. Apple and white chocolate crumble  and artistically  dipped strawberries caught my eye.

Rural round-up

October 22, 2013

SFO confirms preliminary Zespri investigation:

 (BusinessDesk) – The Serious Fraud Office has confirmed it’s looking at legislated export marketing monopolist Zespri International, though is being tight-lipped on any further details.

The white-collar crime investigator has opened a preliminary investigation, but won’t say what it’s looking at or indicating what powers the SFO has to compel Zespri to release information.

“Zespri has not been contacted by the Serious Fraud Office and has no details of the scope or substance of an investigation,” it said in an emailed statement. “Zespri will cooperate with any investigation the Serious Fraud Office may undertake.”

Kiwi Kids Lap Up Fonterra Milk for Schools:

The numbers are in – more than 1000 schools around New Zealand are now enjoying the taste of dairy every school day thanks to Fonterra’s Milk for Schools.

From Southland to Northland, the programme has moved full steam ahead rolling out in eleven regions and reached Auckland today.

Fonterra Chief Executive Officer, Theo Spierings, said over the past five months there has been significant community support for the national rollout.

“Milk is one of the most nutritious foods there is and we want to do what we can to make sure Kiwi kids grow up drinking it every day,” said Mr Spierings. . .

Fonterra investigated over creating lake of buttermilk

The Waikato Regional Council is looking into the dumping of a milk by-product near Taupo by dairy giant Fonterra.

An unknown quantity of buttermilk has been disposed into a lake for storage at an Atiamuri farm, as the dairy giant struggles to keep up with record milk production.

Waikato Regional Council spokesman Rob Dragten says the council is looking into issues around authorisation, but says there’s no immediate threat to the environment. . .

New kids on the block take out Rural Women NZ Journalism Award:

The joint winners of this year’s Rural Women NZ Journalism award are Sarah Perriam and Tony Glynn of Rural Media.

The Rural Women award was one of twelve awards for rural journalism and photography presented at the Guild of Agricultural Journalists’ annual dinner in Wellington on Friday evening.

“Our award sets out to encourage journalism that recognises the important contribution women make either to the farming sector or to rural communities,” says Rural Women NZ national president, Liz Evans. “We congratulate Sarah and Tony, who are offering a fresh approach to producing and sharing stories about rural life, through video as well as broadcast TV.”

Sarah Perriam works on the production side, while Tony Glynn directs, acts and presents programmes for Rural Media, under its Rural TV banner. Their aim is to make rural folk ‘way more famous’. . .

Farmax offers farmers the power of bespoke pasture growth forecasts:

Farmax is the first company to offer sheep, beef and dairy farmers the ability to harness the power of the industry’s newly launched Pasture Growth Forecaster database at a more detailed level.

Farmax has launched a service called My Forecast where farmers provide the address of their property to get customised short-, medium- and long-term pasture growth forecasts specific to their own farming operation.

Farmax General Manager, Gavin McEwen said “To maximise pasture usage, farmers not only require accurate measures of current pasture cover, they also need accurate forecasts. Farmax’s My Forecast service is a powerful tool for assisting with feed planning and budgeting decisions.” . . .

 Farming for the Future….NZ is not supporting Innovation by Leading Farmers – Pasture to Profit:

 Craige & Roz MacKenzie, are the Canterbury Farm Environment Award winners 2013. Very deserving winners….Congratulations.
The MacKenzie family (including daughter Jemma) are one of the most innovative, creative, Push-The-Boundaries, Farm & Research businesses I’ve ever seen. 
GreenvalePastures Ltd Facebook page
Andy MacFarlane (MacFarlane Rural Business) last week chaired a very successful Ballance Farm Environment Award fieldday at Greenvale Pastures farm near Methven in Canterbury, New Zealand.
 Ballance Farm Environment Awards. The Regional Winners . . .
Rotorua to host International Forest Safety Summit on 26 & 27th November:

The past 12 months has seen forestry in the media spotlight to two main reasons – both good and bad. Since the global financial crisis hit, forest products exports, led by log exports, have proven once again to be counter-cyclical. While other industries have suffered, forest production has soared to record levels. With the record high log out-turn, from both the small and large forests up and down the country, has come a tragic toll in worker deaths. Heightened awareness driven by the Pike River mine disaster has brought a change in public attitudes to workplace risks. Safety improvement is now top-of-mind for everyone in the forest industry. While serious harm accident numbers and deaths remain much higher in farming than forestry, it is the public perception of workplace risk, underpinned by an well-funded union media campaign of self-interest, that has changed a lot of attitudes towards people working in the bush.

These combined issues have resulted in a focus by the key players in the New Zealand forest industry to drive an in-depth review of forest workplace safety. . .

Leisure and adventure tourism growth spurs backpacker lodge sale:

Capitalising on the growth of tourists’ passion for eco’ tourism, the Tailor-Made-Tekapo Backpackers is on the market for sale

The opening of two major new tourist attractions and the growing popularity of deep space star-gazing are being seen by a long-time South Island tourism operator as the ideal catalyst to retire from the business.

The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail which opened earlier this year in the Central South Island; the Tekapo Springs thermal resort, ice skating rink and snow park which opened in 2012; and Earth and Sky tours at Mt John Observatory, are jointly forecast to substantially increase visitor numbers to the Central South Island region.

The cycle trail is a 300 kilometre four-six day ride from Aoraki Mount Cook to Oamaru via the townships of Twizel, Omarama, Kurow and Lake Pukaki. . .

MPs pay better set triennially

October 22, 2013

Patrick Gower thinks MPs’ pay should be subject to annual taxpayer review.

That might be popular but it would also be difficult to do without bias when not paying them at all would probably find favour with many.

Most MPs I know more than earn their pay, some would be underpaid at twice the current rate and a few would be overpaid at half.

While MPs’ remuneration is an easy target there are a lot more expensive ones that taxpayer review could address.

Neither review is going to happen and even though Prime Minister John Key thinks MPs don’t need a pay rise the annual review by the remuneration Authority is almost certain to recommend one.

Whenever it’s announced and whatever it is will be criticised.

David Farrar has suggested a better way of doing it – setting the pay rate triennially, with any changes taking place after an election.

MPs and the public would know where they were before the election, it would save the cost of annual reviews and would put an end to the annual cheap shots about pay rates which hit all MPs, whether they’re over paid or not.

Right or left?

October 22, 2013

This isn’t a political question but one about your brain – are you right of left brained?

I scored 69% right brained and 31% left meaning chaos, creativity, intuition, fantasy, images and curiosity dominate over language, details, rationality, rules. strategy and logic.


Success limits options

October 22, 2013

National is a victim of its own success.

It had the most potential coalition partners when it didn’t have enough support to form a government.

Now it still has the most support in all reliable polls but it’s coalition options are limited.

Prime Minister John Key ruminated on this yesterday:

Speaking at his post-Cabinet press conference, Key signalled that United Future party leader and sole Member of Parliament, Peter Dunne, could return as a Minister outside Cabinet after being forced to resign in June when he refused to cooperate with an investigation into leaked government documents.

That would depend partly on the imminent report of Parliament’s Privileges Committee, but a return to the ministry was a possibility in the current parliamentary term, Key said.

He also indicated he could work with the Conservative Party, led by fundamental Christian businessman Colin Craig.

“Might do. Might do,” said Key in response to questions about whether he could work with Craig. Asked whether such a tie-up could alienate liberal National Party voters, Key said it was the nature of MMP politics that junior coalition partners “will have pluses and minuses.”

“In the end, all I know is that MMP is a coalition-driven system.” . .

You can usually choose your friends but under MMP you have to pick from those the voters foist on you.

Since we’ve had that system the party with the strongest support has formed a government.

To do that next year National has to maintain, and preferably increase, the percentage of votes it gained in 2011 and also have enough MPs on the centre, centre right and right to get a majority.

That won’t be easy but winning rarely is and at least economic indicators are showing that National will be able to campaign on sound economic management which will provide a stark contrast with the opposition parties which are doing their best to out-left each other.

Top Drawer Tales

October 22, 2013

Prime Minister John Key has a top drawer full of tales:

John Key says “plenty of people” call him with information about misbehaving Labour MPs but he doesn’t do anything with it.

“I’ve always done the same thing – written it down and put it in my top drawer,” he told reporters.

“Maybe I’ll write a book one day, it’ll be fascinating.” . . .

He could call it Top Drawer Tales – what the Prime Minister knew.

Except of course he’ll know that what you hear isn’t necessarily true and even if it is a lot of it can’t be told.

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