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.

remember

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.


The trend is tight

November 11, 2013

Last night’s TV3 Reid Poll showed:

National is on 46.8 percent. It is still on top, but has taken a big drop of 3.5 percent.

Labour are up 1.2 percent on 32.2 percent. That gain comes from the Greens, who are down to 10.2 percent.

And Winston Peters is on 4.2 percent; not quite at the five percent needed to get back into parliament, but still extremely dangerous.

Among the minor parties, Colin Craig’s Conservatives are at 2.8 percent, well over double the last poll. It’s the highest ever result for the party, and crucially, it is taking votes off National.

Hone Harawira gets a decent bump too, scoring the numbers to bring a second MP to parliament.

But as for Act, it appears they won’t win Epsom and will be out of parliament altogether. . .

The significant movement is the rise of the Conservatives, seemingly taking support from National.
But there’s little comfort for Labour when its gain comes at the expense of the Green Party.
Most movement is within the right and left blocks rather than between them and confirms the trend of most polls which have been showing it’s a very tight race.
As Mike Hosking opined:

Any government with a mid-40s support base in a system with so many parties to split the vote really couldn’t ask for more. They’re as popular today as they were the day they won the house five years ago. That’s impressive. But in a game where you’re not the only team, the other teams have let them down so they have real trouble.

So in another time, in another system, a third term would be a given. But under MMP in 2014, I wouldn’t bet the bank.

However, there’s little comfort for the left either.
The results for preferred Prime Minister show John Key at 40.9%, compared with 10.8% for Labour’s leader, David Cunliffe.
Cunliffe is lower than David Shearer was when the last poll was carried out in July.
The increase in Labour’s vote is within the margin of error although the poll was taken while the party conference was on and it and it was getting lots of publicity.
That will be cause for concern for Labour and strengthen the resolve of the ABC – anyone but Cunliffe – block in caucus.

November 11 in history

November 11, 2013

1215 – The Fourth Lateran Council met, defining the doctrine of transubstantiation, the process by which bread and wine are, by that doctrine, said to transform into the body and blood of Christ.

1500 – Treaty of Granada – Louis XII of France and Ferdinand II of Aragon agree to divide the Kingdom of Naples between them.

1620 – The Mayflower Compact was signed in what is now Provincetown Harbor near Cape Cod.

1634 – Following pressure from Anglican bishop John Atherton, the Irish House of Commons passed An Act for the Punishment for the Vice of Buggery.

1673 – Second Battle of Khotyn in Ukraine: Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth forces under the command of Jan Sobieski defeated the Ottoman army. In this battle, rockets made by Kazimierz Siemienowicz were successfully used.

1675 – Gottfried Leibniz demonstrated integral calculus for the first time to find the area under the graph of y = ƒ(x).

1724 – Joseph Blake, alias Blueskin, a highwayman was hanged.

1748 – Charles IV of Spain was born (d. 1819)

1778 – Cherry Valley Massacre: Loyalists and Seneca Indian forces attacked a fort and village in eastern New York killing more than forty civilians and soldiers.

1805 – Napoleonic Wars: Battle of Dürenstein – 8000 French troops attempted to slow the retreat of a vastly superior Russian and Austrian force.

1813 – War of 1812: Battle of Crysler’s Farm – British and Canadian forces defeated a larger American force, causing the Americans to abandon their Saint Lawrence campaign.

1839 – The Virginia Military Institute was founded in Lexington.

1854 – The Ballarat Reform League Charter adopted “At a Meeting held on Bakery Hill in the presence of about ten thousand men”

1864 – American Civil War: Sherman’s March to the Sea – Union General William Tecumseh Sherman began burning Atlanta, Georgia to the ground in preparation for his march south.

1865 – Treaty of Sinchula was signed: Bhutan ceded areas east of the Teesta River to the British East India Company.

1869 – The Victorian Aboriginal Protection Act was enacted, giving the government control of indigenous people’s wages, their terms of employment, where they could live, and of their children, effectively leading to the Stolen Generations.

1880 – Australian bushranger Ned Kelly was hanged at Melbourne Gaol.

1885 – George S. Patton, American general, was born (d. 1945)

1887 – Anarchist Haymarket Martyrs August Spies, Albert Parsons, Adolph Fischer and George Engel were executed.

1887 – Construction of the Manchester Ship Canal began at Eastham.

1889 – Washington was admitted as the 42nd U.S. state.

1911 – Many cities in the Midwestern United States broke their record highs and lows on the same day as a strong cold front rolled through.

1918 – The signing of the Armistice between the Allies and Germany was celebrated in many cities and towns around New Zealand. Enthusiasm was dampened, though, by the ongoing impact of the influenza pandemic then ravaging the country. Germany signed an armistice agreement with the Allies in a railroad car outside Compiègne in France. The war officially ended at 11:00 (The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month).

Armistice Day

1918 – Józef Piłsudski came to Warsaw and assumed supreme military power in Poland. Poland regained its independence.

1918 – Emperor Charles I of Austria relinquished power.

1919 – The Centralia Massacre resulted in the deaths of four members of the American Legion and the lynching of a local leader of the Industrial Workers of the World.

1919 – Lāčplēša day – Latvian forces defeated the Freikorps at Riga in the Latvian War of Independence.

1921 – The Tomb of the Unknowns was dedicated by US President Warren G. Harding at Arlington National Cemetery.

1922 Kurt Vonnegut, American novelist, was born (d. 2007).

1924 – Prime Minister Alexandros Papanastasiou proclaimed the first recognized Greek Republic.

1926 – U.S. Route 66 was established.

1928 Carlos Fuentes, Mexican writer, was born.

1930 – Patent number US1781541 was awarded to Albert Einstein and Leó Szilárd for their invention, the Einstein refrigerator.

1934 – The Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne was opened.

1940 – Battle of Taranto – The Royal Navy launched the first aircraft carrier strike in history, on the Italian fleet at Taranto.

1940 – The German cruiser Atlantis captured top secret British mail, and sent it to Japan.

1940 – Armistice Day Blizzard: An unexpected blizzard killed 144 in the U.S. Midwest.

1942 Trans tasman liner Awatea was attacked by swarms of German and Italian bombers. Although its gunners shot down several planes, the Awatea was set on fire and holed by torpedoes. Remarkably, everyone on board got off safely (except for the ship’s cat, which was apparently killed by a bomb blast).

Troop ship <em>Awatea</em> goes down fighting

1944 – Dr. jur. Erich Göstl, a member of the Waffen SS, was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross, to recognise extreme battlefield bravery, after losing his face and eyes during the Battle of Normandy.

1945 Daniel Ortega, President of Nicaragua, was born.

1945 –  Chris Dreja, British musician (The Yardbirds), was born.

1960 – A military coup against President Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam was crushed.

1962 – Kuwait’s National Assembly ratified the Constitution of Kuwait.

1962 – Demi Moore, American actress, was born.

1965 – In Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), the white-minority government of Ian Smith unilaterally declared independence.

1966 – NASA launched Gemini 12.

1968 – Vietnam War: Operation Commando Hunt initiated.

1968 – A second republic was declared in the Maldives.

1974 Leonardo DiCaprio, American actor, was born.

1975 – Australian constitutional crisis of 1975: Australian Governor-General Sir John Kerr dismissed the government of Gough Whitlam, appointed Malcolm Fraser as caretaker Prime Minister and announced a general election to be held in early December.

1992 – The General Synod of the Church of England voted to allow women to become priests.

1999 – The House of Lords Act was given Royal Assent, restricting membership of the British House of Lords by virtue of a hereditary peerage.

2000 – In Kaprun, Austria, 155 skiers and snowboarders died when a cable car caught fire in an alpine tunnel.

2001 – Journalists Pierre Billaud, Johanne Sutton and Volker Handloik were killed in Afghanistan during an attack on the convoy they are traveling in.

2004 – New Zealand Tomb of the Unknown Warrior was dedicated at the National War Memorial, Wellington.

2004 – The Palestine Liberation Organization confirmed the death of Yasser Arafat from unidentified causes. Mahmoud Abbas was elected chairman of the PLO minutes later.

2006 – Queen Elizabeth II unveiled the New Zealand War Memorial in London, commemorating the loss of soldiers from the New Zealand and British Armies.

2008 – The RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2) set sail on her final voyage to Dubai.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

#gigatownoamaru is working to make history as the southern hemisphere’s first gigatown.


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