Nigel Davenport 23.5. 28 – 25.10.13

October 30, 2013

British actor Nigel Davenport has died:

Nigel Davenport, the actor, who has died aged 85, will be best remembered for playing dark, strong, rakish toffs, aggressive heroes, scowling villains – and for what he himself called his “dodgy” eyes.

Whether in films, plays or on television, Davenport’s power largely derived, some thought, from his expressive gaze. It could be even more striking in close-up. Amiable or disturbing, it caused tough guys to wilt and pretty girls to sigh. . .

He appeared in more than 40 feature films, ranging from a detective in Peeping Tom, via a tough guy among conscripts in The Virgin Soldiers, to a resourceful psychopath who (in Play Dirty) wipes out a whole army encampment on the grounds that “I didn’t like the tea”. He was also the game warden in Living Free who resigns in order to capture lion cubs and transport them to a distant game reserve, and Lord Birkenhead in Chariots of Fire. . . .


Voice of an angel

October 30, 2013

The list of talents I don’t have is long.

At the top of it, and the one I’d choose were I given the opportunity to pick just one, is the ability to sing in tune.

I love music, I enjoy singing but alas neither passion nor enthusiasm are enough to help me make a joyful noise.

We can’t all and some of us don’t sing tunefully, but some can and do – like the nine year old Dutch girl, Amira Willighagen who has been blessed with the voice of an angel.

The Huffington Post explains:

When 9-year-old Amira Willighagen from Nijmegen stepped onto the “Holland’s Got Talent” stage, no one was expecting such a big voice to come out of such a very little girl.

Her incredible rendition of Gianni Schicchi’s “O Mio Babbino Caro” earned her a Golden Ticket from the judges that would take her straight to the live show.

It’s hard to believe how young Amira is, but even more surprising to learn that she is completely self-taught, and used only YouTube tutorials to learn how to sing. . .

A longer video, with an introductory interview with Amira (in Dutch) is here.


#gigatownoam still in the lead for #gigatown

October 30, 2013

Oamaru’s campaign to be the country’s first #gigatown is continuing to go well.

#gigatownoamaru is in the lead:gigatownYou can help by putting  #gigatownoamaru or #gigatownoam in the comments; registering your Facebook page and/or Twitter account and blog at #gigatown  then writing posts with the hastags  #gigatownoamaru or #gigatownoam – whether or not the hashtags are relevant to the posts!


Word of the day

October 30, 2013

Tax – a compulsory contribution to state revenue, levied by the government on workers’ income and business profits, or added to the cost of some goods, services, and transactions; an involuntary fee levied on corporations or individuals that is enforced by a level of government in order to finance government activities; fee charged (levied) by a government on a product, income, or activity; a burdensome charge, obligation, duty or demand; a strain or heavy demand; to impose a tax, lay a burden or make heavy demand on someone or something; to demand a tax in consideration of the possession or occurrence of (income, goods, sales, etc.), usually in proportion to the value of money involved; to take to task; censure; reprove; accuse.


Rural round-up

October 30, 2013

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Puts Case to Washington:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and representatives from other Five Nations Beef Alliance partners have called on Washington’s Capitol Hill to promote a unified view of how trade in agricultural products – and especially beef – should be treated under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

The TPP, which is currently being negotiated and of which New Zealand is a participant, aims to open up trade in goods and services. Progress towards an outcome was most recently reviewed in Bali, where Prime Minister John Key chaired the meeting of the 12 TPP negotiating countries.

The Five Nations Beef Alliance is made up of the national organisations that represent beef cattle producers in Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and the United States. Collectively, the five countries account for one third of global beef production and approximately half of global beef exports. . .

New Zealand food and beverage producers need to be bulletproof:

New Zealand food and beverage producers need to ensure their operations are “bulletproof” if they want to compete in an increasingly aggressive global marketplace, an industry expert says.

Grant Thornton New Zealand Partner and National Leader, Food and Beverage, Simon Hunter, is describing the firm’s latest International Food and Beverage sector report, ‘Hunger for growth: Food and Beverage looks to the future’, as a wake-up call for the local industry.

The report, based on interviews with 248 senior executives in seven countries (including New Zealand), says 90% expect revenues to increase in the next 12 months but only half expect to employ more people. . .

Gigatown competition will change the future for one town:

Federated Farmers is excited by Chorus’s year-long competition to bring the fastest broadband speed to one New Zealand town.

“This competition is a great opportunity for rural towns,” says Conor English, Federated Farmers Chief Executive.

“If a rural town wins it will become the first town in the southern hemisphere to receive one-gigabit per second broadband speeds – up to 100 times faster than most cities around the globe.

“New Zealand’s farmers are desperate for new ways to get onto the internet and this competition has the potential, for one fortunate town, to spark innovation and mobilise and transform their local economy and society. . . .

(This is why we’re supporting #gigatownoam and the #gigatown campaign).

Fonterra board to set up separate risk committee after food scare review – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – The board of Fonterra Cooperative Group will establish a separate committee to oversee risks facing the dairy group in the wake of the false alarm food scare that prompted a precautionary recall in August.

The company’s board will carve out the risk elements from its audit, finance and risk committee into its own separate committee, which chairman John Wilson said will cover “food safety, food quality and other risks Fonterra in today’s environment faces.”

The measure was one of a raft of recommendations from the board-ordered inquiry, led by Jack Hodder QC, after recall of three batches of whey protein concentrate, which were thought to have been contaminated.

Fonterra’s handling of the fall-out was “inadequate” for the kind and size of the crisis and the company’s lack of responsiveness to external stakeholders was seen as a “fortress” mentality, the report said. . . .

Shareholders’ Council welcomes report, inquiry recommendations:

The Fonterra Shareholders’ Council, which safeguards the interests of the dairy Co-operative’s 10,500 Shareholders, said it welcomed the completion of the Fonterra Board commissioned independent report of the WPC80 issue.

Council Chairman, Ian Brown: “The Council has received the report and we commend the Oversight Committee and the Independent Inquiry Team on the comprehensive nature of the report.

“We also commend the Board on their openness and support their decision to make the report public. . .

New health & safety regulations will increase potential penalties for employers:

The potential for higher penalties for non-compliance as a result of upcoming changes to Health and Safety regulations means employers in the high-risk agricultural sector need to be more aware than ever of their obligations, says Melissa Vining, AGRI Consultant for human resources specialists Progressive Consulting – the HR division of Crowe Horwath.

The government will establish new Crown Agent WorkSafe New Zealand by December 2013, when it also plans to introduce to parliament a new Health and Safety at Work Act, which is expected to come into force by December 2014. . . .

Xero releases farming blueprint:

Xero has released its Farming Integration Guide, a blueprint that helps rural solution providers connect to Xero and deliver integrated farm management and accounting solutions. 

Xero CEO Rod Drury says this is a great example of technology bringing an industry together. “This guide is the key step towards full integration between farmers, rural accountants, rural suppliers, banks and software providers. The innovation we’re experiencing in the tech sector is being applied directly now to the rural economy, the backbone of the NZ economy.” . . .


Same for all beats all for all

October 30, 2013

Labour has changed the messenger and hardened its message.

That’s helped shore up its core support but the polls indicate it hasn’t done much to change the total vote for the left.

There are two reasons for this – the message and the messenger.

The hard left message resonates with the left but it repels those in the centre who have to be won over to gain enough votes to govern.

Then there’s the messenger.

National’s leader John Key is consistent, he doesn’t change his message to suit what he thinks will appeal to his audience.

He talks about what he believes in and what a government led by him will do.

He is the same man for all people.

What you see and hear is what you get and you know what he stands for.

Labour’s new leader David Cunliffe has already got a reputation for trying to be all things for all people, changing his message to suit the audience.

It isn’t working and it won’t because all it does is send mixed messages and raises big questions about what he really believes in and what he really stands for.

Most voters aren’t stupid.

They want sincerity, honesty and consistency.

They get that from John Key, they’re not getting it from David Cunliffe.


Better roads, better business

October 30, 2013

I’d left plenty of time for a trip to Dunedin on Monday in case the road was busy.

I needn’t have worried.

Traffic heading north was only intermittent and I drove more than 40 kilometres before I needed to pass another car travelling south.

There were more vehicles as I got closer to Dunedin but not enough to cause problems.

Reports from further north told a very different story, including an 8km queue of traffic near Otaki.

Holiday traffic exacerbates traffic problems but better roads aren’t just required to help people get in and out of cities  more easily at long weekends.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce points out, they’re better for business:

. . . 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. . .

The Opposition criticise money spent improving the road north of Auckland  and labelled it the holiday highway.

It does provide access to and from some of the country’s most beautiful beaches. But it’s also the arterial route between Northland businesses and markets in the city, further south and, via the port, further afield.

If we want the country moving forward, literally and economically, we need better roads.


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