Win tickets to Otago Food Wine & Music Festival

October 28, 2013

The Otago Food Wine & Music Festival is being held at Forsyth Barr Stadium Dunedin on Saturday November 23.

If you like the Facebook page and share the post on the contest before midnight tomorrow you’ll be in to win a double pass:

Win a double pass to the Festival. LIKE our page AND SHARE this post to be in the draw to win a double pass to the Otago Food Wine and Music Festival. Closes midnight Monday 28th October.

Music – Jackie Thomas, Benny Tipene, Tom Batchelor, Jody Direen, The Chills, Matt Langley, Kylie Price and others.

Enjoy scrumptious Otago wines, and gourmet food, on the pitch at the Forsyth Barr Stadium. November 23rd from 12 noon.

Tickets – Adults $49, Secondary School Students $25 (Ticket Direct).


Word of the day

October 28, 2013

Logorrhea – a tendency to extreme loquacity; pathologically excessive and often incoherent wordiness;  repetitious speech; incessant or compulsive talkativeness; wearisome volubility.talkativeness; wearisome volubility; excessive use of words.


Rural round-up

October 28, 2013

Industry award like winning ‘ham Lotto’ – Sally Rae:

Sue Morton describes winning gold in the 100% New Zealand Bacon and Ham Competition as like winning ”ham Lotto”.

Mrs Morton and her husband Gus, from Waitaki Bacon and Ham, won the gold award for their Hampshire Champagne sliced ham in the recent competition.

Retail meat industry specialist Matt Grimes, who has been a judge since the competition’s inception in 2008, described the entry as a ”standout”. . . .

Otago couple among six in award finals – Sally Rae:

Otago farmers Trevor and Karen Peters are among the six finalists in the Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year competition.

The Peters family operates a sheep and beef hill country farming enterprise across six properties. Nominees noted their commitment to the farming industry and their focus on succession planning.

Farming was a very high-cost business to get into but one with a low cash return, Mr Peters said.

”We have focused on a process for succession planning to ensure that business decisions on the property can focus on the long term, knowing that there will be a continuity of investment,” he said. . . .

Synlait Farms had five offers – Alan Williams:

Synlait Farms chief executive Juliet Maclean will increase her investment in the company as part of the planned takeover joint venture with Shanghai Pengxin.

If the takeover proceeds Maclean will receive just over $15 million for her 17.55% stake in the corporate dairy farmer but is required to invest $17m directly into her new 16.1% shareholding in the takeover vehicle SFL Holdings (SFLH). She will remain as chief executive and director of Synlait Farms. . . .

Taking Jersey butter to the top – Richard Rennie:

A small dairy company has tipped the usual processing model on its head, aiming to produce crafted, niche butter from one breed of cow, for the top-end food and restaurant trade. Richard Rennie investigates.

A couple of years ago Lewis Road Creamery founder Peter Cullinane had an epiphany in the most ordinary of places.

While trawling the dairy aisle of his Auckland supermarket for Danish Lurpak butter he wondered why he had to buy butter that had travelled 20,000km to get a brand that tasted good? . . .

Fury over eartag ‘spying’:

FARMERS are outraged at proposals by Meat and Livestock Australia to covertly sell to banks and rural lending institutions private information.

The farmer’s private information has been about the income they derive from the sale of their cattle and sheep.

A consultant’s report commissioned by the MLA – and leaked to the Australian Beef Association – says 10 financial institutions are keen to pay to automatically receive emails informing them every time a farmer who has a mortgage or debt sells his stock through the saleyards or to an abattoir.

The scheme, which the ABA likens to “spying for profit”, is made possible by the tracking of electronic eartags, which are now mandatory from birth for all cattle in all states, from farm to meatworks, under a scheme administered by the MLA. . .  Hat tip: Interest.co.nz

Focus on heat on livestock  – Nicloa Bell:

HOW livestock will react to warming global temperatures is the focus of a new study.

While it is commonly known that livestock production can be affected by exposure to heat, researchers from the University of Western Australia’s Institute of Agriculture and India’s Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University are working to determine the physiological and genetic basis for adaptation in animals as a response to increasing global temperatures.

Physiology professor Shane Maloney from UWA’s School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology is leading the project and said they hoped the research might help in the selection of livestock to improve production. . .


Not how but who and why

October 28, 2013

Electronic voting is one of the suggestions for improving participation in local body elections.

Vaughan Davis cautions against that:

. . . There is a danger – and by this I mean both a danger to democracy and a danger that we will waste public money – of rushing to the electronic solution without really understanding what’s happening here. People vote when they understand the issues and the candidates, when there’s a close contest and when they believe their vote will make a difference. 

The Electoral Commission looked at this in detail in their post mortem of the 2011 general election. Low trust in politicians, one-sided electoral races and a general lack of interest in politics were the main factors in choosing not to vote and there’s no reason to suspect local body elections would be any different.

Process and technology didn’t rate as major barriers and chief electoral officer Robert Peden indicated at the time that overseas trials showed online voting had not improved turnout. 

It’s easy to see, though, why the idea of electronic voting has the support it does. For the voter (well, the woulda-shoulda-coulda-voter) it’s a convenient excuse. “Of course I would have voted online! Definitely!” It’s also far easier to live with than accepting they don’t care enough about their communities to have a say every three years in who runs them. And for local bodies (or central government) building a website is a far more tangible and tickable box than, well, motivating the electorate. . .

Electronic voting would be easier than postal voting. There’d be no danger of losing your ballot papers nor the trouble some people appear to have in finding a post box to return them.

But postal voting takes away the sense of community you get in going to a polling booth on polling day, or casting a special vote beforehand and that would be just as much an issue with electronic voting.

However, the nub of the problem isn’t how we vote but why we vote, or don’t.

Voting requires engagement and interest in local bodies and knowledge of the people and issues.

Too few of us have that with councils and councillors.

Electronic communication and social media could help address that.

But electronic voting without engagement won’t.

Councils should be working on a strategy now to connect with and engage the people whose rates they spend and whose votes they’ll want in three years time.

Without that engagement the method making voting easier won’t make it any more likely that people will do it.


#gigatownoam

October 28, 2013

Oamaru, New Zealand’s Sharpest town, is vying to become the southern hemisphere’s first gigatown.

Gigatown Oamaru set a goal of 1,000 Facebook likes by today – and it’s exceeded it.

There were 1030 likes when I checked this morning.

It also has instructions on how to support the campaign:

Here it is folks, the # tag you should use on all your social media sites to spread the word about wonderful Gigatown Oamaru – Simply add the word #gigatownoamaru or #gigatownoam to any post and it will be measured! Start by sharing this po…st, and leaving a comment with those tags, lets see how we get on at the Gigatown.co.nz leaderboard today! We also earn 10 points for everyone who registers with the Gigatown.co.nz website, thats 10,000 points already if we all join! Click on the ‘Join up’ link at the top of their page to register!
It’s not hard to add #gigatownoamaru or #gigatownoam tocomments here, to like and comment on the Facebook page, do your own posts with the #gigatownoamaru or #gigatownoam on Facebook, Twitter or blogs.
Oamaru Life shows the enthusiasm already generated for the campaign:

. . . @ChorusNZ, the company responsible for New Zealand’s telephonic and internet infrastructure, is planning to “light up” one town with 1Gbps (1 gigabit per second) internet, giving it in one go the fastest internet not just in New Zealand but in the entire Southern Hemisphere. And in true New Zealand fashion, they’re going to choose the lucky town democratically, by counting the number of people who support that town’s bid to be the winner. How will they do that? By counting the number of social media posts that include that town’s specific hashtag, along with the number of people who go to the Gigatown website to support it.

Oamaru, our beloved home town, is in the running to be New Zealand’s first gigatown. To some, the idea of Oamaru becoming the gigatown may seem ludicrous. We are famed as being New Zealand’s best-preserved historic town, with 19th century architecture unmatched anywhere else in the country. But at the same time, we were recently picked as the “sharpest town” in New Zealand by our national television network, recognising the unparalleled civic pride that Oamaruvians show, along with the unique combination of characters who make Oamaru their home.

We firmly believe that Oamaru should not only be New Zealand’s “Steampunk Town”, as some know us, nor just its “Sharpest Town”, but also New Zealand’s “Fastest Town”, and therefore we are firmly supporting Oamaru’s bid to be New Zealand’s Gigatown. If you support us, please be sure to use our assigned hashtag, #gigatownoam, in your tweets, Facebook posts, YouTube videos, Tumblr posts, etc etc etc. We will be extremely grateful if you do! If you comment on this post, please include the hashtag (#gigatownoam) too, to give us an extra point! And if you would also express your support on the Gigatown homepage (click for the link here), we’d be thrilled! Thank you in advance for your support!

What are you waiting for?

Please leap over to the homepage and add your support.

I just did and Oamaru is leading with 1706 supporters, nearly twice as many as the second placed town which has 964 supporters.


Lou Reed 2.3.42 – 27.10.13

October 28, 2013

Lou Reed, musician and leader of the Velvet Underground, has died.

Not a Perfect Day for him and those who loved him, but this is one of the songs which will outlive him:


Happiness is enough loo paper

October 28, 2013

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s has set up a – Viceministerio Suprema Felicidad Social del Pueblo  – a Vice Ministry of Supreme Social Happiness of the village.

It’s supposed to co-ordinate all the mission programmes started to eliminate poverty by former President Hugo Chavez.

“I have decided to create this Vice ministry and I have given it this name to honour Chávez and Bolívar,” Mr Maduro announced on Thursday in a televised speech made from the presidential palace. He said that the Vice ministry aimed to take care of the most “sublime, vulnerable and delicate, to those who are most loved by anyone who calls themselves a revolutionary, a Christian and Chavista.” . . .

In downtown Caracas, fruit vendor Victor Rey said he is now waiting for Maduro to create a vice ministry of beer.

“That would make me, and all the drunks, happy,” he said. . .

Housewife Liliana Alfonzo, 31, said that instead of a Supreme Happiness agency she would prefer being able to get milk and toilet paper, which disappear off store shelves minutes after arriving at stores.

“It’s a Calvary getting the ingredients for any meal,” she said.

Vice would be the operative word under this regime.

High inflation and government price controls have created shortages of basic goods.

Happiness isn’t the socialism this regime imposes.

It’s enough loo paper and other essential items most of us are fortunate enough to be able to take for granted.


High dollar not all bad

October 28, 2013

The relatively high value of our dollar makes our exports more expensive but Trans Tasman points out it’s not all bad:

. . . The exchange rate is proving a tough obstacle for many exporters, yet the historically high prices for dairy commodities are a key catalyst for NZ’s improving terms of trade. The strong NZD is also keeping a brake on import costs.

ANZ Bank economists say the $64,000 question will be the extent to which the high NZD impacts on the RBNZ’s deliberations. Concerns regarding the currency are one of the motivating factors behind the RBNZ’s decision to broaden its tool-kit. The recent easing in mortgage approvals suggests the high LVR lending speed limits and subsequent lift in fixed mortgage interest rates for such lending are having an impact on borrowing, and hence the residential property market. But the elevated NZD is providing the RBNZ with more breathing space. It could potentially delay rate hikes.

Opposition parties keeping criticising the government for not doing “something” about the value of the dollar.

That their ideas of “something” wouldn’t work and would threaten the independence of the reserve bank doesn’t get in the way of their rhetoric.

They also conveniently overlook the upside of the higher dollar – imports are cheaper.

This doesn’t just apply just to electronic gadgets and trinkets, it also affects essentials like fuel, machinery, some food and medical supplies.

Another benefit of the higher dollar is that it helps keep interest rates down.

Does the Opposition want to explain to the poor people they purport to represent why they want the cost of living and interest rates to increase?


Opposition rhetoric on regions wrong

October 28, 2013

The Opposition has decided there’s rich political pickings in saying the regions are in decline.

But once more their rhetoric isn’t supported by the facts:

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce has told TV One’s Q+A programme that the regions are not in decline despite what Labour is saying.
 
Mr Joyce told deputy political editor Michael Parkin: “With the greatest respect to my dear friends in the Labour Party, they’re trying to talk this up. The reality is the regions are lifting NZ out of the GFC (Global Financial Crisis). So, regions like Taranaki, Waikato, West Coast and Southland. The West Coast has the highest average income after the housing costs of any region in the country. That’s the reality of the situation.”
 
He says the government’s move to promote oil and gas exploration, and the Ruataniwha dam project, which is before a board of inquiry at present, would have a “massively positive impact on Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay if they proceeded”.
 
“In Northland, the opportunities are similar there. There’s minerals opportunities, there’s opportunities, frankly, with the Treaty settlements that Chris Finlayson has been working very hard on, opportunities to maximise the productivity of Maori land in Northland, which is being closely worked on with the Ministry of Primary Industries and various Maori landowners in the region,” he says.
 
Mr Joyce says providing good infrastructure to support this regional economic investment is also vital.

Labour has only a couple of electorate MPs outside the main centres, none of the other parties have any.

If they had MPs who lived in, and served, the regions they’re talking down, they might have a different, and more positive, view than the one they get by cherry-picking bad news stories as they pop in and out for photo opportunities.

Some other points from the interview:

. . . 15 out of the 16 regions grew in the population census that’s just happened. The incomes of those regions is going up. There’s lower unemployment in just about every region bar three than there is in Auckland, and Auckland gets a lower share of government spend on per head of population basis than the rest of the country. . .

MICHAEL       You’ve got unemployment. The reality is that the unemployment levels in Gisborne, Manawatu, Northland are increasing at an incredible rate.

All three of these regions were hard hit by last summer’s drought yet the Opposition isn’t supportive of irrigation which would provide significant protection from dry weather.

 
STEVEN         Yeah, you’ve picked the three regions I agree with you, and we can talk about those regions, but, actually, most of the rest of the country, including the whole of the South Island and the lower North Island and Waikato and Taranaki have all got lower unemployment rates than Auckland. And also the average income across NZ is one of the lowest differences between regions as it is in anywhere in the OECD. Now, this doesn’t mean to say there isn’t work to do, so let’s come to those regions. So, in the Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay area, for example, the government is focused on a couple of things that I think would really move the dial, if they were successful, in terms of opportunities for those regions. One is the oil and gas exploration and the other is the Ruataniwha dam project which, of course, is going in front of a board of inquiry at the moment. Now, those things undoubtedly would have a massively positive impact on Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay if they proceeded, and that’s the sort of things I think we have to look at in those resource-heavy regional economies. In Northland, the opportunities are similar there. There’s minerals opportunities, there’s opportunities, frankly, with the Treaty settlements that Chris Finlayson has been working very hard on, opportunities to maximise the productivity of Maori land in Northland, which is being closely worked on with the Ministry of Primary Industries and various Maori landowners in the region. And, of course, there are other opportunities in the primary sector as well and agricultural opportunities. So all the things the government is doing-
 
MICHAEL       You mentioned Hawke’s Bay and Taranaki there. Like, I mean, are we too focused on this resourcing, this petroleum, the mining? Are we putting all our eggs in one basket?
 
STEVEN         No, I don’t believe so, Mike. The reality- No, with the greatest respect, you just need to look at the numbers. The Taranaki is the most successful region in the country over the last few years and there’s a reason for that, and if you don’t want to learn the lessons of that, then you just stick your head in the sand and forget about it. But the reality is it’s about exploring all our opportunities. Now, not every region has similar opportunities to Taranaki; they have different ones. But the government’s priority is to open up those opportunities. You mention Shannon, for example, and I think it’s very sad what’s happened to those people in Shannon. So, what’s the opportunity there? Well, Shannon is in a place called the Horowhenua, which is not far north of Wellington, and Wellington is one of our largest cities-
 
MICHAEL       So move to Wellington. Is that what you’re saying, Minister?
 
STEVEN         No, no, not at all, and don’t get me wrong. But we have a lousy transport link between Wellington and the Horowhenua. You open that up, just like we’re doing with the Waikato Expressway south of Auckland, and suddenly businesses can develop along that highway in those towns leading to the capital city. The National Party’s very focused on that. We have actually got a number of projects underway – the Kapiti Expressway, Transmission Gully – but there’s a whole lot of people on the left who have got their heads in the sand about this, and I think it’s actually very sad, because they’re focussing on the area closer to Wellington, but I want to focus on those regions in Horowhenua and the Manawatu who would have great economic benefits out of that one piece of infrastructure. That’s very important. . .

Another point is that jobs are lost and gained all the time:

STEVEN         Well, it is difficult. There’s no doubt about it. But, actually, we lose a quarter of a million jobs in the NZ economy every year, and we create a quarter of a million jobs in the NZ economy every year, and there are industries that are having struggles for various reasons. So, if you take the meat and beef industry and the fellmongery which is associated with that, there’s a long-term over capacity because of a decline in numbers because the dairy industry’s growing. The dairy industry in the Manawatu, you just have to look around, is a much more successful industry currently. So those industries are rationalising. Now, you can’t stop that, and Mr Cunliffe wandering around saying you can is actually dead wrong, and most of the public know that. It’s the same with the postal industry. The reality is we’re not all offering to go out and post more letters to keep NZ Post afloat, so it actually does have to change. The opportunity there is to attract more investment and do more things that attract more investment, and the difficulty that those on the left have, particularly the Greens but also the Labour Party, is they sit there and try and pretend that’s not what’s necessary-

What’s needed is to make business easier:

STEVEN    . . .. What you have to do to make a difference is let people explore the economic opportunities in each region, and that means freeing up the RMA so that people can make calls. You took the West Coast there, Tony Kokshoorn on the West Coast. It’s a travesty the time it’s taken for Bathurst Resources to actually get the ability to open an open-cast mine on the West Coast right next to the Stockton Mine that would employ 225 people, and that’s why we’re making the RMA changes that we’re making so that doesn’t happen again, so those people would have jobs to go to on the West Coast. Now, that is a very significant economic opportunity. It’s finally got the go-ahead, and Labour and the Greens have been opposing it the whole way through, and that’s where there’s a real lack of understanding of what’s really required for regional development.

The Opposition appear to think more of the things which make business difficult – regulation, tax, inflexible employment law – will help.

They won’t and any policies they’ve announced so far will make business growth and the jobs which flow from that, more difficult in cities and the regions.


October 28 in history

October 28, 2013

306  Maxentius was proclaimed Roman Emperor.

312  Battle of Milvian Bridge: Constantine I defeated Maxentius, becoming the sole Roman Emperor.

1466 Desiderius Erasmus, Dutch humanist and theologian, was born (d. 1536).

1510  Francis Borgia, Spanish duke and Jesuit priest, was born (d. 1572).

1516  Battle of Yaunis Khan: Turkish forces under the Grand Vizier Sinan Pasha defeated the Mameluks near Gaza.

1531  Battle of Amba Sel: Imam Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi again defeated the army of Lebna Dengel, Emperor of Ethiopia.

1538  The first university in the New World, the Universidad Santo Tomás de Aquino, was established.

1628  The 14-month Siege of La Rochelle  ended with the surrender of the Huguenots.

1636  A vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony established the first college in what became the United States, today known as Harvard University.

1664  The Duke of York and Albany’s Maritime Regiment of Foot, later to be known as the Royal Marines, was established.

1707  The 1707 Hōei earthquake caused more than 5,000 deaths in Honshu, Shikoku and Kyūshū.

1776  American Revolutionary War: Battle of White Plains – British Army forces arrived at White Plains, attacked and captured Chatterton Hill from the Americans.

1834  The Battle of Pinjarra  in the Swan River Colony – between 14 and 40 Aborigines were killed by British colonists.

1848  The first railway in Spain – between Barcelona and Mataró – was opened.

1885 Thomas Twyford built the first porcelain toilet.

1886  President Grover Cleveland dedicated the Statue of Liberty.

1890 – New Zealand’s first Labour Day celebrations were held.

First Labour Day celebrations

 

1891  The Mino-Owari Earthquake, the largest earthquake in Japan’s history, struck Gifu Prefecture.

1893 Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Pathétique, received its première performance in St. Petersburg, only nine days before the composer’s death.

1903  Evelyn Waugh, English writer, was born (d. 1966)

1918 Czechoslovakia was granted independence from Austria-Hungary marking the beginning of independent Czechoslovak state, after 300 years.

1918 – New Polish government in Western Galicia was established.

1919  The U.S. Congress passed the Volstead Act over President Woodrow Wilson’s veto, paving the way for Prohibition to begin the following January.

1922  March on Rome: Italian fascists led by Benito Mussolini marched on Rome and take over the Italian government.

1927 Dame Cleo Laine, British singer, was born.

1929  Black Monday, major stock market upheaval during the Wall Street Crash of 1929.

1936 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt rededicated the Statue of Liberty on its 50th anniversary.

1940  World War II: Greece rejected Italy’s ultimatum. Italy invaded Greece through Albania, marking Greece’s entry into World War II.

1941 Hank Marvin, English guitarist (The Shadows) was born.

1942  The Alaska Highway (Alcan Highway) is completed through Canada to Fairbanks.

1948  Swiss chemist Paul Müller was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of the insecticidal properties of DDT.

1954  The modern Kingdom of the Netherlands is re-founded as a federal monarchy.

1955   Bill Gates, American software executive, was born.

1960  Landon Curt Noll, Astronomer, Cryptographer and Mathematician: youngest to hold the world record for the largest known prime 3 times, was born.

1962  Cuban Missile Crisis: Soviet Union leader Nikita Khrushchev announced he had ordered the removal of Soviet missile bases in Cuba.

1965 Nostra Aetate, the “Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions” of the Second Vatican Council, was promulgated by Pope Paul VI; it absolved the Jews of responsibility for the death of Jesus, reversing Innocent III’s 760 year-old declaration.

1965 – Construction on the St. Louis Arch was completed.

1967  Julia Roberts, American actress, was born.

1970   Gary Gabelich set a land speed record in a rocket-powered automobile called the Blue Flame, fueled with natural gas.

1971  Britain launched its first satellite, Prospero, into low Earth orbit atop a Black Arrow carrier rocket.

1982 Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party won elections, leading to first Socialist government in Spain after death of Franco. Felipe Gonzalez became Prime Minister-elect.

1985  Sandinista Daniel Ortega became president of Nicaragua.

1995  289 people were killed and 265 injured in Baku Metro fire.

1998  An Air China jetliner was hijacked by disgruntled pilot Yuan Bin and flown to Taiwan.

2006  Funeral service  for those executed at Bykivnia forest, outside Kiev, Ukraine. 817 Ukrainian civilians (out of some 100,000) executed by Bolsheviks at Bykivnia in 1930s – early 1940s were reburied.

2007  Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner became the first woman elected President of Argentina.

2009 The 28 October 2009 Peshawar bombing killed 117 and wounds 213.

2009 – NASA successfully launched the Ares I-X mission, the only rocket launch for its later-cancelled Constellation programme.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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