Word of the day

November 16, 2013

Shemomedjamo (Georgian) – I accidentally ate the whole thing; to eat past the point of being full just because the food tastes good; to continue eating food even though you’re already full, just because you like the taste so much.


#gigatownoamaru extends lead

November 16, 2013

The gigatown score board is back up.

It shows #gigatownoamaru in front – still – with 245736 points.

That’s a very satisfying 64,736 ahead of the town in second place.

gigatownoam


Giga gaming?

November 16, 2013

Anyone who’s been checking the gigatown website over the last day or so has been finding something’s up with the scoring.

Instead of going up, as they have been, the tallies for several towns has been going down.

What’s going on?

Chris Keall writes:

Chorus’ Gigatown competition began with a noble aim: to showcase the benefits of Ultrafast Broadband fibre. . .

But now the Gigatown competition has opened it’s home page is … a riot. At first glance, it’s hard to work out what the hell’s going on. . .

A communications professional involved in one town’s bid tells NBR ONLINE, “I know there has been cheating. $200,000 is  at stake and councils are paying people to coordinate the campaigns. Someone in both Oamuru and Porirua set up bots to rack up tweets.”

Chorus did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but it seems from social media chatter that both Oamuru and Porirua have had had their totals trimmed. . . .
Oamaru has led from the start and these accusations of giga gaming are refuted on the #gigatownoamaru Facebook page:
. . . Absolutely disgusted with the comment that Oamaru set up bots to automate tweets. I started the competition here in Oamaru as the previous council declined to partake in a meeting with Chorus. The new Council and Mayor, Gary Kircher, are 100% behind their town in this competition.
From the start we have worked with Chorus to define the rules of the competition along with the other competing towns….
At my request, Chorus set up a facebook closed group for the managers to discuss the rules and events. I could see early on the potential for abuse and the social media frenzy that would be created that would become extremely hard for Chorus to manage.
There has been a change in the rules, and Chorus is working at removing points that do not fit within these parameters across the board. Their facebook page clearly states the definition of “spam” which is definitely not what one would expect from a flippant use of the word.
Your comments show little insight into the vigor that the residents of the participating towns are displaying and their enthusiasm at promoting their communities. Yes, a monster is in the process of being created, yet the outcome, whether a town wins or not, will be increased social networking between education, business, local government and the greater community.
The Gigatown Oamaru team has stated from the start that we will play fair, and win a clean fight.
I am incredibly proud of Oamaru, given that little effort with no funding that has taken us to the top of the leaderboard from day 1. This shows a town with huge potential.

The competition has gripped the town and wider district. It’s the number one talking point. Even people who know and care little for social media have got involved  to support their community because they can see the benefits to be gained from becoming the southern hemisphere’s first gigatown.

So… what does Spam looks like?

To help keep #Gigatown fair, fun and relevant we are regularly sweeping for spam.

No-one likes spam, and the social media platforms we’re using have spam rules of their own that we all need to follow.

So, just to be clear, here is a list of spam-like activity that won’t be counted. . . .

Chorus has a tiger by the tail. It’s important for the company and the integrity of the competition that rules are clear and abided by.

They must be trying to sort it out now because the scoreboard reads:

Time for a regular check under the hood.

We will be back online soon.
But don’t worry your points are still being scored.

 

 


Rural round-up

November 16, 2013

NZ & China work to improve rural water quality in China:

A joint New Zealand-China environmental science project investigating ways to improve water quality has started a series of field trials on a New Zealand owned farm.

New Zealand Minister of Science and Innovation Steven Joyce, who is currently in China, says the joint project is an important step in reducing nutrient discharges into waterways.

“Managing nutrient discharge is an important environmental issue for both New Zealand and China. It’s encouraging that our scientists are sharing their expertise and working together to reduce pollution in rural waterways in China,” Mr Joyce says. . . .

Meat exports steady, but no silver bullet in sight – Allan Barber:

Meat industry exports for 2012/13 were virtually the same as the year before at $4.4 billion, but there were some significant differences in how the total was made up. Notably within two years China has grown from 1% to 10% of total red meat volumes. Sheepmeat sales were slightly higher in value than beef at $2.3 billion compared with $2.1 billion.

China surged to become the biggest single destination by volume for sheepmeat, taking 33% of all sheepmeat exports, 28% of lamb and 52% of mutton. The EU as a whole remains the largest market for lamb and commands a much higher proportion of revenue at nearly twice the Chinese figure of $4800 per tonne. The USA is the highest paying market at $11500 per tonne followed by EU at $9000. . .

Red meat farmers seek 4.4 million cheerleaders;

Federated Farmers believes the New Zealand consumer needs to become central to New Zealand’s multi-billion dollar red meat industry.

“Farmers know we have 4.4 million cheerleaders and each one is called a New Zealander,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairperson.

“We may be export orientated but if we cannot tempt our fellow New Zealanders taste buds, then what hope is there to win in overseas markets? . . .

Real Journeys purchases Cardrona Alpine Resort:

Key New Zealand tourism player Real Journeys has purchased Cardrona Alpine Resort from Australian based Vealls Ltd for an undisclosed sum.

Real Journeys is a family owned South Island business that operates the 101-year-old steamship the TSS Earnslaw and Walter Peak High Country Farm in Queenstown, world renowned cruises in Milford and Doubtful Sounds, the Te Anau Glowworm Caves, day walks on the Milford Track and Stewart Island ferry and tour services. The company also has stakes in Black Cat Cruises, Queenstown Rafting and Milford Sound Flights.

Real Journeys Chief Executive Richard Lauder says they are excited to be bringing Cardrona back into Kiwi hands and indeed into the Real Journeys family. . .

Horticulture winner promotes therapeutic gardening:

A passion for plants is the driving force behind the winner of this year’s Young Horticulturist of the Year competition.

Kelly Jean Kerr, a Whanganui garden centre assistant, was one of six finalists from different horticultre sectors who competed in two full-on days of challenges in Auckland this week.

She says more people are getting into gardening and discovering there are therapeutic as well as economic benefits.. .

Department of General Practice and Rural Health celebrates 30 years:

Thirty years may not seem much when put in the context of the nearly 150-year history of the University of Otago, but for the University’s General Practice and Rural Health department, the milestone was well worth commemorating.

The milestone was marked by nearly 100 students, staff, alumni, and local general practitioners at a celebration held on Friday at the University Staff Club.

Associate Professor Chrys Jaye who currently heads the Department, says the event was a huge success. . .

Golden month for Sacred Hill HALO Chardonnay:

Sacred Hill HALO Chardonnay 2012 has won Pure Gold at the 2013 Air New Zealand Wine Awards.

The prestigious accolade comes less than a month after the same wine was one of only six Chardonnays to win gold at the 2013 Hawke’s Bay A & P Show Bayleys Wine Awards.

Sacred Hill winemaker Tony Bish is delighted with the double gold success for HALO Chardonnay, one of a range of wines which he describes as “crafted to bring premium wines back into people’s everyday enjoyment”.

“Our aim was to create a Chardonnay with real texture and depth and we are pleased to see the judges in both awards have recognised those qualities.” . . .


9/10

November 16, 2013

9/10 in the Herald’s politics quiz.


A tale of two Cunliffes

November 16, 2013

John Armstrong says there are two Cunliffes but only one’s a winner:

Allies and enemies of David Cunliffe are quickly discovering that Labour’s leader of two months is something of a two-headed hydra.

It seems at times as if there are two David Cunliffes – the one who speaks from the heart, and the one who speaks out of both sides of his mouth.

The first Cunliffe is supremely confident, assertive, decisive, and a straight talker. He leaves those listening in absolutely no doubt that he will do what he is says he is going to do.

Most people respect people like that, even if they don’t agree with what they say and do.

Then there is the other Cunliffe. This is the slightly too brash, but still decisive-sounding version who – when his statements are subject to scrutiny – leaves the listener none the wiser as to what he really thinks and where he stands.

This is Cunliffe the professional politician who either refuses to or cannot give a straight answer. Instead, the listener is served up rhetoric and bluster.

The straight-shooter persona could be Cunliffe’s making as a leader of real stature. That persona must prevail if he is to have any show of beating John Key next year.

The duck-and-dodge persona threatens to be his undoing, leaving the impression that, beneath the surface gloss, he is just another politician, albeit a very clever one. . .

But if that’s the real Cunliffe he’s a bit too clever to be trusted.

In 2008 Labour tried to tell voters it was about trust to put them off John Key.

It didn’t work. Voters trusted him and still do, even his detractors have to admit he says what he’s going to do and does it and he doesn’t do things he hasn’t said he will do.

Whether or not people like what he does and doesn’t do, most trust him to do, or not do, what he says.

Cunliffe has been leader for only a few weeks but already we’ve got tales of two Cunliffes. One’s a straight talker the other equivocates and examples of his saying one thing to one audience and another to another are mounting up.

Asking people to vote for you is asking for their trust and someone who speaks out of both sides of his mouth isn’t someone you can trust.


LVRs are working

November 16, 2013

Christian Hawkesby analyses the impact of the Reserve Bank’s tougher Loan to Value Ratios and concludes:

In conclusion, in the short-term mortgage approvals and housing sales should provide the best reading on the impact of the LVR restrictions.  There are early signs that the LVR restrictions are beginning to bite.  We believe this will continue.  Furthermore, over the long-term we expect housing affordability to provide another restraint on house price inflation.

House prices are a function of the relationship of between supply and demand.

Requiring more people to have a bigger deposit before they can borrow will dampen demand, at least in the short term.

A longer term solution requires increasing the supply, or shifting demand from places like the more attractive areas of Auckland to other places where there’s fewer people competing to buy and prices are lower.


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