Word of the day

November 21, 2013

Tatterdemalion  – ragged, tattered, dilapidated; a person wearing ragged or tattered clothing; a ragamuffin.


Rural round-up

November 21, 2013

Canterbury dairy farms under fire – Annabelle Tukia:

Canterbury dairy farmers are under fire after a new report found almost a third of farms in the region weren’t complying with consenting rules.

Environment Canterbury’s regional dairy report identified 68 farms with major issues – a discovery environmental group Fish and Game is calling a disgrace.

Canterbury farmer Vaughan Beazer runs one of the region’s 717 fully compliant dairy farms. He says he prides himself on having a farm that’s clean and green.

“We live on the land, we don’t just bypass it and go look at this pretty little paddock […] We look at and that is our livelihood, that is our environment, it’s our inheritance and what we’ll bequeath to our children… it is everything to us.”

But Environment Canterbury’s latest dairying report proves not every farmer shares Mr Beazer’s view.

It monitored almost 1,000 farms, and more than 70 percent were fully compliant. But one third of them didn’t meet the grade, and 68 farms had major non-compliance issues. . .

Lost in translation – Willy Leferink:

Being a Dutch-Kiwi I have come to accept that things don’t always come out as expected.  Some things can get lost in translation between what you say and what people think you said.

I put reports I got of a speech made to a business audience in Auckland by Fonterra CEO, Theo Spierings, into that category.  Being a compatriot of mine, I know Theo holds the Kiwi dairy industry in high esteem and not just for our productivity, but for the way we manage environmental matters inside the farm gate.

What has been lost in translation is the conversation relating to Fonterra’s environmental performance as a company and not the whole cooperative.  What was reported is that Fonterra isn’t doing anything about the environment when Theo said that Fonterra did not have the environment as an overall part of its strategy. Theo pointed out that our European competitors had upwards of a decade’s march on Fonterra.  What was lost in translation is that the European processors were forced to do this because of draconian regulation in order to help their shareholders out.  As companies, they have moved to get a lot closer to their consumers and we can learn from that. . . .

Vege growers concerned about co-op – Alan Wood,

Some shareholders in large vegetable distribution co-operative MG Marketing are upset the co-op has started to grow vegetables in competition with them.

The “producer in its own right” role taken on by MG Marketing could financially harm the growers it represents, growers representatives said.

MG Marketing is the trading name of Market Gardeners Ltd, one of New Zealand’s biggest co-operative companies specialising in growing and distributing fresh produce. It has run for more than 90 years and competes against the likes of Turners & Growers.

Max Lilley, former chairman and president of the NZ Vegetable and Produce Growers’ Federation and now retired, said the co-operative was making the wrong decision by apparently buying into some vegetable and produce operations. . .

Keep it clean to keep New Zealand clean:

Federated Farmers has joined with the National Pest Control Agencies to promote farmgate biosecurity with a hygiene guideline and logbook for farm machinery called “Keep it Clean.”

“Machinery movements pose a persistent high risk in pest spread,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Biosecurity spokesperson.

“Soil on a bulldozer in Canterbury was found to contain seeds from at least 73 different species and there are at least 80 pest species known to be typically moved by machinery.

“The pastoral sector is facing the spread of pest plants like Chilean needle grass while trying to contain pest insects, like the Great White Cabbage Butterfly. . .

Federated Farmers’ simplify hiring migrants:

Federated Farmers has produced a practical all in one electronic document to help dairy farmers to navigate and simplify the process for dairy farmers to hire migrant workers.

“While we would love to hire capable kiwi workers, there is a shortage of kiwis willing to do the work because there is a common misperception that agriculture is a low paid and low skilled career,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy Chairperson.

“To help farmers fill this gap with capable and available migrant workers, we have put together one simple document so that employers can follow the immigration process without the headache. . .

Hunters get voice with new Game Animal Council:

Hunters of deer, tahr, chamois and wild pigs will now have a say in their recreation with today’s passage by Parliament of the Game Animal Council Act 69 votes to 51.

“The establishment of the Game Animal Council Act is great news for tens of thousands of New Zealanders who hunt. It enables them to join mountaineers, trampers, game bird hunters, and trout and salmon fishers in having a statutory voice into the management of their recreation on public conservation land,” Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith says.

The Game Animal Council Act establishes an independent statutory body to give greater representation to the interests of recreational hunters. Key functions of the council include advising and making recommendations to the Minister on hunting issues, providing information and education to the sector, promoting safety initiatives, conducting game animal research, and undertaking management functions for designated herds of special interest.  . . .

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Calls For Director Nominations:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Ltd (B+LNZ) is calling for nominations to fill two farmer-elected director positions on its board.

They are for the Eastern North Island and Southern South Island, where both positions will be vacant due to the current directors not seeking re-election.

B+LNZ Chairman and Eastern North Island Director, Mike Petersen has served on the B+LNZ board since 2004. Southern South Island Director, Leon Black is also standing down, having served on the board since 2008.

Nominations to fill these vacancies need to be made to the B+LNZ Returning Officer, Warwick Lampp by 5pm on Friday 20 December. Farmers can call him on 0508 666 336 to get information on how to make a nomination. . .

North Island rural consultants win Farmax Consultant of the Year Awards:

A “rock star” of farm consulting who shares his success with his clients has taken one of two top prizes at the inaugural Farmax Consultant of the Year Awards.

John Cannon, of Hastings, won the Farmax Consultant of the Year for the North Island. While AgFirst Hawkes Bay consultant Ben Harker was named Farmax Emerging Consultant of the Year for all of New Zealand.

They each were awarded their titles at the Farmax Consultants’ Conference in Rotorua on November 19. . .


Just another day in Middle-earth #airnzhobbit

November 21, 2013

The Lord of the Rings  and Hobbit films are gifts which keep on giving for New Zealand tourism.

They also provide inspiration for Air New Zealand’s advertising:


Thursday’s quiz

November 21, 2013

Dinner preparations are taking precedence over question setting so I’m inviting you to pose them.

Anyone who stumps us all will win an electronic batch of meringues (third batch of real ones has just gone into the oven).

Anyone who manages to inset #gigatownoamaru into a question or answer will get a bonus batch.


Land use changes put pressure on water quality – Environment Commissioner

November 21, 2013

New Zealand is undergoing huge changes to land use and decision makers need to be aware of the consequences for the future, says the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright.

The conclusion comes in her latest report, Water quality in New Zealand: Land use and nutrient pollution, which examines how New Zealanders are changing the way they use land and the pressure this puts on water quality.

“The report is focused on the two nutrient pollutants – nitrogen and phosphorus. On land they are valuable nutrients, helping plants to grow. But when there is too much of them in water, they become pollutants, and can lead to excessive growth of weeds, slime and algae.

“Over recent years, hundreds of thousands of hectares used for sheep and beef farming have been converted to dairy farming on the one hand, and forestry on the other.

“Conversion to dairying increases nutrient loads on water; conversion to forestry does the opposite.

Dr Wright added: “I applaud the effort that is being put into environmental mitigation on dairy farms. Unfortunately, it is particularly difficult to control nitrogen. Nitrogen – in the form of nitrate – is so soluble that I think of it as the ‘elusive’ pollutant.

“I am pleased that fresh water policy is very much on the Government’s agenda with the recent release of a discussion paper on setting ‘bottom lines’ for water quality. I hope that this report will better inform both the general public and those who make decisions on their behalf.”

The full report is here.

Dr Wright was interviewed by Kathryn Ryan on Nine to Noon this morning.

We’ve got 20 people coming for dinner tonight and preparing for that is taking priority over reading and discussing the report.

However, given its importance I wanted to give readers the chance to discuss it.


We’re the foreigners there

November 21, 2013

There’s more than enough xenophobes here opposed to immigration and foreign ownership of land and businesses.

But that sentiment isn’t confined to this side of the Tasman.

We’re the foreigners there and it’s not just dairy companies that some locals object to New Zealanders buying.

Qantas is opposing Air New Zealand’s plan to increase its investment in Virgin Australia.


NZ’s best university city

November 21, 2013

Dunedin is New Zealand’s best university city for several reasons.

It is the site of the country’s first and best university – Otago. *

The city itself has only about 120,000 residents so the 20,000 or so students plus staff make a significant, and largely positive, impact on it.

The majority of students come from outside Dunedin and most live on or near the campus creating a student-friendly environment not found anywhere else in the country.

It didn’t however, feature in London-based Quacquarelli Symonds’  annual Best Student Cities ranking because the qualifying criteria include being a city of at least 250,000, and having at least two world ranked universities in the city. So Dunedin – like some other small university cities, including Oxford and Cambridge in the UK, Princeton in the US, and St Andrews in Scotland, wasn’t considered.

The Herald has picked up the story and is running a poll to determine the country’s best university city.

The only one to pick is of course Dunedin.

* in my totally biased and subjective opinion.

 


NZ one of strongest economies – OECD

November 21, 2013

The OECD has added to the list of favourable reports on New Zealand’s economy:

New Zealand will be among the strongest developed economies in the world over the next few years, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s latest annual Economic Outlook published overnight.

The OECD is forecasting annual economic growth in New Zealand of 2.4 per cent and 3.6 per cent over the next two calendar years, and for the current account deficit to narrow to less than 4 per cent of gross domestic product.

“This is the latest in a series of encouraging reports on the New Zealand economy, which confirms that we are well placed compared to most other countries,” Mr English says.

“The OECD’s growth forecast of 3.6 per cent in calendar 2014 puts New Zealand in the top six developed economy growth rates. It’s above the OECD average of 2.4 per cent and better than Australia at 2.7 per cent.

“As the OECD notes, although the severe drought earlier this year depressed agricultural production and exports in the second quarter, underlying growth in the New Zealand economy has been strong.

“And it describes the Government’s fiscal prudence in setting a path back to surplus in 2014/15 as appropriate.”

This is a significant achievement given the forecast for a decade of deficits by Labour before National entered government and the financial and natural disasters which have happened since.

The OECD is also forecasting an improvement in the current account deficit.

“Although this longstanding imbalance remains a vulnerability for New Zealand, the OECD expects some improvement over the next three years,” Mr English says. “It forecasts the deficit will narrow from 4.3 per cent of GDP to 3.6 per cent of GDP in 2014.

“We still have more work to do, but this is significantly better than the current account deficits of more than 8 per cent of GDP five years ago and shows that we are making progress towards paying our way in the world.

“Overall, the OECD forecasts confirm the Government’s economic programme is taking New Zealand’s economy in the right direction and that we are well placed compared to many other countries,” Mr English says.

“This is the best way to support jobs and raise New Zealanders living standards.

It’s not just the economy that’s improving, we’re getting better public services too:
Our public health service is performing around 40,000 more elective operations a year than when National came into office five years ago.

 
The OECD report is here.


November 21 in history

November 21, 2013

164 BC – Judas Maccabaeus restored the Temple in Jerusalem, an event commemorated each year by the festival of Hanukkah.

235 – Pope Anterus succeeded Pontian as the nineteenth pope.

1272 – Prince Edward became King of England.

1620 – Plymouth Colony settlers signed the Mayflower Compact.

1694 Voltaire, French philosopher, was born (d. 1778).

1783 – Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent, Marquis d’Arlandes, made the first untethered hot air balloon flight.

1787 Samuel Cunard, Canadian-born shipping magnate, was born (d. 1865).

1789 – North Carolina ratified the United States Constitution and is admitted as the 12th U.S. state.

1791 – Colonel Napoléon Bonaparte was promoted to full general and appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Armies of the French Republic.

1863 Maori surrendered at Rangiriri.

 Maori surrender at Rangiriri

1877 – Thomas Edison announced his invention of the phonograph, a machine that can record and play sound.

1894 – Port Arthur massacre: Port Arthur, Manchuria fell to the Japanese, a decisive victory of the First Sino-Japanese War.

1905 – Albert Einstein’s paper, Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?, was published in the journal “Annalen der Physik”. This paper revealed the relationship between energy and mass which led to the mass–energy equivalence formula E = mc².

1910 – Sailors onboard Brazil’s most powerful military units, including the brand-new warships Minas Geraes, São Paulo, and Bahia, violently rebelled in what is now known as the Revolta da Chibata (Revolt of the Whip).

1916 – World War I: A mine exploded and sank HMHS Britannic in the Aegean Sea, killing 30 people.

1918 – Flag of Estonia, previously used by pro-independence activists, is formally adopted as national flag of the Republic of Estonia.

1920 – Irish War of Independence: In Dublin, 31 people were killed in what became known as “Bloody Sunday“.

1922 – Rebecca Latimer Felton of Georgia took the oath of office, becoming the first female United States Senator.

1927 – Columbine Mine Massacre: Striking coal miners were allegedly attacked with machine guns by a detachment of state police dressed in civilian clothes.

1936 Victor Chang, Australian physician, was born.

1941 Juliet Mills, British actress, was born.

1942 – The completion of the Alaska Highway (also known as the Alcan Highway) was celebrated (however, it was not usable by general vehicles until 1943).

1945 Goldie Hawn, American actress, was born.

1948 George Zimmer, American entrepreneur, was born.

1953 – The British Natural History Museum announced that the “Piltdown Manskull, initially believed to be one of the most important fossilized hominid skulls ever found, is a hoax.

1962 – The Chinese People’s Liberation Army declares a unilateral cease-fire in the Sino-Indian War.

1964 – The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge opened to traffic.

1964 – Second Vatican Council: The third session of the Roman Catholic Church’s ecumenical council closed.

1969 – U.S. President Richard Nixon and Japanese Premier Eisaku Sato agreed on the return of Okinawa to Japanese control in 1972.

1969 – The first permanent ARPANET link is established between UCLA and SRI.

1970 – Vietnam War: Operation Ivory Coast – A joint Air Force and Army team raided the Son Tay prison camp in an attempt to free American prisoners of war thought to be held there.

1971 – Indian troops, partly aided by Mukti Bahini (Bengali guerrillas), defeat the Pakistan army in the Battle of Garibpur.

1974 – The Birmingham Pub Bombings killed 21 people.

1977 – Minister of Internal Affairs Allan Highet announced that ‘the national anthems of New Zealand would be the traditional anthem “God Save the Queen” and the poem “God Defend New Zealand“, written by Thomas Bracken, as set to music by John Joseph Woods, both being of equal status as national anthems appropriate to the occasion.

God Defend New Zealand manuscript cropped.jpg

1979 – The United States Embassy in Islamabad, was attacked by a mob and set on fire, killing four.

1980 – A fire broke out at the MGM Grand Hotel in Paradise, Nevada (now Bally’s Las Vegas). 87 people were killed and more than 650 injured in the worst disaster in Nevada history.

1980 – Lake Peigneur drained into an underlying salt deposit. A misplaced Texaco oil probe had been drilled into the Diamond Crystal Salt Mine, causing water to flow down into the mine, eroding the edges of the hole. The resulting whirlpool sucked the drilling platform, several barges, houses and trees thousands of feet down to the bottom of the dissolving salt deposit.

1985 – United States Navy intelligence analyst Jonathan Pollard was arrested for spying after being caught giving Israel classified information on Arab nations.

1986 – Iran-Contra Affair: National Security Council member Oliver North and his secretary start to shred documents implicating them in the sale of weapons to Iran and channelling the proceeds to help fund the Contra rebels in Nicaragua.

1990 – The Charter of Paris for a New Europe refocused the efforts of the Conference for Security and Co-operation in European post-Cold War issues.

1995 – The Dayton Peace Agreement was initialed ending three and a half years of war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

1996 – A propane explosion at the Humberto Vidal shoe store and office building in San Juan, Puerto Rico killed 33.

2002 – NATO invited Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia to become members.

2004 – The second round of the Ukrainian presidential election led to massive protests and controversy over the its integrity.

2004 – The island of Dominica was hit by the most destructive earthquake in its history.

2004 – The Paris Club agreed to write off 80% (up to $100 billion) of Iraq’s external debt.

2006 – Anti-Syrian Lebanese Minister and MP Pierre Gemayel was assassinated in suburban Beirut.
2009 – A mine explosion in Heilongjiang province, northeastern China, killed 108.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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