Word of the day

November 11, 2013
Bupkis – of little or no value; absolutely nothing; completely worthless.

Young Nats first in NZ with Smartphone App

November 11, 2013

The Young Nats are the first youth wing in New Zealand to launch a smartphone App for iPhone and Android.

“We are changing how New Zealanders can connect with politics,” says Young Nats President, Sean Topham.

“Roughly one in every two New Zealanders own a smartphone, and that number is on the rise. It’s the Young Nats who are stepping up and leading the way when it comes to connecting young Kiwis with National,” says Topham.

“Members and supporters up and down the country now have another way of connecting with the latest news and events, as well as taking on an active a role to sign up their friends so that we can build the best grassroots campaign heading into next year’s election.,”

The Young Nats worked with the team at Marker Studio to develop the App.

“We’re pretty sure that no political party in New Zealand has done this yet, and for us it’s just the start,” says Topham.

Download the Young Nats App here:

iOS (iPhone/iPad/iPod): http://nzyn.at/17nDtEb

Android: http://nzyn.at/HJmXm8

One of the privileges of being a regional chair for National is working with the youth wing.

They’re a great bunch of intelligent, energetic, passionate and innovative young people and this App is an example of what they’re accomplishing in and for the party.

Their website is here.

Rural round-up

November 11, 2013

Treatment for mastitis could boost dairy profit – Sally Rae:

A mastitis product, developed through the nationally collaborative Mastitis Research Centre, involving researchers at the University of Otago, could result in significant savings to New Zealand’s dairy industry.

Mastitis, which is inflammation of the udder, is a major financial burden to the dairy industry, both in New Zealand and globally.

X-imm24 has been developed by the Mastitis Research Centre which involves expertise from Bayer Animal Health, the University of Otago, Massey University and the University of Auckland. . .

Organic Texel wool on display at A&P show – Sally Rae:

Southland sheep and beef farmers Grant and Alison Kingsbury have no regrets about switching to organic farming.

Mr and Mrs Kingsbury, who farm near Mataura, are displaying some of their Texel wool at this week’s Canterbury A&P Show in Christchurch.

It is the first time organically grown and scoured wool has been on display at the show, as part of the Wool Advancement Group’s (WAG) stand. . .

Low expectations of Bali summit – Nigel Stirling:

Farming leaders say a small package of half-measures and trade-offs is the best that can be expected from a summit that is hoped to keep alive talks vital to freeing up international trade in agricultural products.

Trade ministers from the 159 countries of the World Trade Organisation, including New Zealand’s Tim Groser, will meet in Bali early next month for what is being billed as a last chance for the Doha round of trade talks.

Named after the Qatari capital where it started in 2001, the Doha round of global trade talks was set up to tackle unfinished business from the Uruguay round, which left in place many barriers to trade in manufacturing and agricultural products. . .

Ballance re-jig reflects farming changes – Tim Fulton:

Ballance overhauled its customer and extension team partly in response to the more multi-layered nature of corporate farming, the company says.

One of the more noticeable changes at the company since July has been the disappearance of Altum, once known as Summit Quinphos, after Ballance took outright ownership.

But that was just part of an internal re-fit for the sales and extension staff.

Ballance general manager of sales Andrew Reid said the Altum integration produced some superficial changes, like changes to business cards, but was also part of a broader goal to give farmers and merchants better access to products and services. . .

Focus on Fonterra risk assessment – Hugh Stringleman:

Three board members of Fonterra’s audit, finance and risk committee (AFRC) are up for re-election this year.

Some shareholders have suggested coincidence puts the spotlight on the risk assessment performance and policies of the board following the recent botulism scare.

Farmer-directors Malcolm Bailey and Ian Farrelly are standing for re-election by shareholders and AFRC committee chairman David Jackson, an independent director, is seeking appointment approval at the annual meeting. . . .

Workshops foster irrigation skills:

IrrigationNZ is aiming to improve the skills of people at the forefront of the irrigation industry with a series of irrigation manager workshops in Central and North Otago this month.

The workshops, in Omakau on November 18, Cromwell on November 19 and Oamaru on November 20, would outline core knowledge needed for ”high performing” irrigation, chief executive Andrew Curtis said. . .

Business confidence at record high – BNZ

November 11, 2013

Business confidence is at a record high in the BNZ’s monthly survey.

Confidence amongst BNZ Weekly Overview readers regarding where the NZ economy will be in a year’s time has surged to a record high. A net 65.7% of the 469 respondents are optimistic compared with a net 45% in October and 57% in September. Sentiment has been broadly trending upward since the middle of last year and this month only 27 people in fact felt that the economy would be in worse state in a year’s time. . . 

This isn’t a scientific survey, it’s self-selecting, but it is showing a positive trend.

The more confident businesses are the more likely they are to invest more, that includes in wages through pay increases and/or employing more people.

#gigatownoamaru is confident about the business opportunities that would flow from being the southern hemisphere’s first gigatown.

Lest we forget

November 11, 2013

In acknowledgement of Armistice Day, in memory of those who served and with gratitude for peace:

In Flanders Fields by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


The New Zealand War Memorial in London.

Shark infested waters

November 11, 2013

When politics is likened to playing in shark infested waters it’s not meant to be taken literally, but that’s what Minister for Conservation Nick Smith and Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy are doing in this photo:

Photo op of the year as Nathan Guy and Nick Smith announce ban on shark finning

They were posing for a photo after announcing a proposal to ban the removal of shark fins and the dumping of the shark carcass at sea.

The Ministers made the announcement at the Island Bay Marine Education Centre in Wellington, while releasing the National Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks for public consultation.

“The practise of finning sharks is inconsistent with New Zealand’s reputation as one of the best managed and conserved fisheries in the world. We need to ensure New Zealand’s 113 species of sharks are sustainably managed and that we use as much of the resource as possible,” Mr Guy says.

“Sharks may not be as cuddly as kiwi or as cute as dolphins but they are an important part of New Zealand’s marine biodiversity. Our attitude to sharks has come a long way since the ‘Jaws’ days of the only good shark being a dead shark. This ban on finning is an important step towards improving shark conservation,” Dr Smith says.

Seven species of shark are absolutely protected under the Wildlife Act: great whites, basking shark, deep water nurse shark, spine-tailed devil ray, manta ray, whale shark, and oceanic whitetip shark.

It is already an offence under the Animal Welfare Act to fin a shark and return it to sea alive. However, it is quite lawful to catch a shark, kill it, remove its fins and dump the carcass at sea. The shark fins are valuable for making shark fin soup which is a delicacy in Asia, and for the production of many traditional Asian medicines.

“Banning shark finning in a practical and enforceable way requires that we develop fishery-by-fishery strategies. In some fisheries the ban will be able to be implemented on 1 October 2014. Others will require the development of guidelines for shark handling to maximise the survival of released sharks. The proposal is that all fishing be covered by the ban by October 2016,” Mr Guy says.

“Globally 30 per cent of shark species are threatened or near threatened with extinction. Sharks are vulnerable because they grow slowly, mature late and have few young over their lifetimes. For the bulk of our shark fisheries we use catch limits to ensure sustainability. These additional proposals are consistent with the International Plan of Action for Sharks which encourages nations to make full use of sharks taken in their fisheries. This is about New Zealand doing its share to ensure these dramatic creatures of the sea survive,” Dr Smith says.

The draft National Plan of Action on Sharks also contains a range of objectives to ensure the biodiversity and long-term viability of shark populations including communication and education, non-fishing threats, international engagement, and research and information.

Submissions on the plan close on 8 December 2013.

The draft plan is here.

Making a fuss or making a difference

November 11, 2013

Making a fuss gets headlines and that’s what Green MP Jan Logie and Australian senator Lee Rhiannon have done in Sri Lanka.

. . . Ms Logie and Australian Green Party Senator Lee Rhiannon had their passports confiscated by immigration officials before a planned press conference this afternoon.

The pair were on a fact-finding trip ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit this week.

Ms Logie and Ms Rhiannon were being held in a hotel room, but are now on their way to the airport to fly out of the country. . .

But have they made a difference?

Of course not.

The Green Party is now pressuring Prime Minister John Key not to go there for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting.

But he will be accompanied by media who will have opportunities to highlight issues.

He’ll also have an opportunity to speak to leaders face to face. Sir Don Mckinnon explains:

Sir Donald McKinnon says it is difficult for the Commonwealth to be tougher on Sri Lanka because it is difficult to get full agreement on how to address the issues.
“There are those who will say, ‘You’ve got to hit them harder,’ those who will say, ‘You’ve got to help them out of this hole they’ve dug for themselves.’
He says Prime Minister John Key is most likely to raise concerns about how the country is progressing on human rights at the leader’s retreat.
“And, you know, as one who sat through many of those where you just have the leaders on their own, plus the Secretary-General, they are extraordinarily candid with each other because they all believe that one can pull down the others.”
When asked what New Zealand could hope to gain from this meeting, Sir Donald McKinnon said New Zealand would want to see progress occurring in Fiji “which I think probably will occur”.
“This is the chance for any one leader, John Key included, to sometimes resolve issues that become irresolvable.  If the officials and the foreign minister, the diplomats can’t, sometimes a face to face with a leader can resolve it. . .

Not going would make a fuss, going could make a difference.

It won’t be a big one, but any progress will be better than none.

#gigatownoamaru is working to make a positive difference as the southern hemisphere’s first gigatown.

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