Word of the day

27/11/2013

Mundungus -refuse;  offal; waste animal product; organic matter unfit for consumption; poor-quality tobacco with a foul, rancid, or putrid smell.


Only in #gigatownoamaru

27/11/2013

Where else in New Zealand, and maybe the world, do you get a daily penguin report?

If only those penguins could vote to make #gigatownoamaru the first gigatown in the southern hemisphere.


All I want for Christmas

27/11/2013

This photo begs a caption.

Wit is preferable, politics is fine, personal abuse is not.


Rural round-up

27/11/2013

Moment of truth for MIE and its board candidates – Allan Barber:

In the seven months since MIE’s first farmer meeting in Gore, there have been more meetings, discussions with meat companies and, most recently, nominations for the boards of Silver Fern Farms and Alliance Group. Meat companies have tried and failed to find an acceptable solution to the problems raised by MIE.

Previous MIE executive members Richard Young and Dan Jex-Blake are standing for election to Silver Fern Farms’ board. Don Morrison has been nominated for the Alliance board as a farmer director, while a shareholder, Mark Paterson, has proposed a resolution to nominate Fonterra director John Monaghan for the independent directorship vacated by Owen Poole. This will be voted on by those members present at the AGM, but the result of that vote is not binding on the board.

Alliance Group’s AGM takes place on the 13th December and SFF’s on 18th. Therefore we will know before Christmas how many of these candidates have actually made it onto one or other of the cooperative’s boards. . .

Northland trust goes dairy with Te Tumu Paeroa:

A Northland Maori trust has entered into a partnership with land administrator Te Tumu Paeroa to turn a sheep and beef farm into a money-making dairy operation.

The Omapere Rangihamama Trust runs a farm near Kaikohe, which is currently used for forestry and maize, as well as sheep and beef.

But chair Sonny Tau says the Rangihamama Farm will soon be converted into a dairy farming operation, with 500 cows over 278 hectares. He says it will mean a better financial return on the land. . .

New x-rays and staff to strengthen border biosecurity:

New x-ray technology and more frontline staff will help to beef up New Zealand’s biosecurity defences at the border, says Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.

Mr Guy today unveiled a new x-ray machine at Auckland Airport, one of 12 machines that have been installed around the country.

“The new machines will be more reliable than the Ministry for Primary Industries’ older x-ray units and will provide better image quality,” says Mr Guy.

“MPI will be able to screen baggage with greater accuracy and image quality. This means border staff will be better equipped to spot biosecurity risk items before they enter New Zealand. . .

Labour Inspectorate extending dairy farm visits to regions:

The Labour Inspectorate is extending its dairy farm visits to regions across New Zealand to check compliance with minimum employment rights.

Labour Inspectors began visiting dairy farms in Southland in August, with the work now being replicated in the Waikato, Hawkes Bay and Taranaki.

The visits are part of a long-term operation to identify breaches of employment law, with particular focus on a practice called seasonal averaging and the failure to keep accurate time and wage records. . .

AgResearch, Invermay and Genetics – Peter K. Dearden:

The opinions below are my own, and not necessarily those of the University of Otago, my employer.

You may be aware that AgResearch has decided to move its genetics/genomics team from Invermay near Dunedin, to Lincoln. This move has excited a great deal of attention in the Otago press, and some consternation around here. Genetics Otago  has been drawn into this as a centre of research excellence and hub for genetics and genomics that AgResearch is linked into, that they will lose the benefit of if they move. This has led to some unfortunate exchanges in the media, so I thought I would write something from my point of view.

AgResearch has had a long-term and excellent genetic/ genomics group at Invermay. Many of that group are members of Genetics Otago. Genetics Otago has over 200 members across the University of Otago, AgResearch, AbacusBio, and others (both companies and individuals) across Otago. AgResearch is a small, but important, part of that collaboration. . .

Herd TB status changes encourage testing:

Farmers and lifestylers are being encouraged to get their cattle and deer tested for bovine tuberculosis (TB) as soon as they have been registered with the TBfree New Zealand programme.

To ensure the programme’s testing requirements are as accurate as possible for all animals, some changes have been made to the TB status of herds.

The changes directly affect newly-registered breeding herds and non-breeding (dry stock) herds. All new herds now start off on a Suspended (S) herd TB status until they have passed their first whole herd test. . .

New Zealand’s Favourite Honey: Manuka Trumps Clover in 2013 National Honey Week Survey:

The popularity of Manuka honey has been confirmed in a recent national survey, which places it above Clover and other floral varieties. In the New Zealand-wide survey launched by Airborne Honey this month to celebrate the country’s first National Honey Week, 40% of Kiwis named Manuka as their favourite and 29% choose Clover. A number of other floral honeys featured further down the scale, including Vipers Bugloss (3%) and Rewarewa (2.26%).

The survey also revealed that the favoured way to eat honey in New Zealand is on toast (57%), followed by a sweetener in hot drinks (9%) and straight off the spoon for medicinal purposes (9%). Most New Zealanders eat honey once or twice a week with only 2% never eating honey at all. . . .

Brancott Estate Heritage Centre wins International Wine Tourism Award:

A New Zealand cellar door has won a 2014 International Best of Wine Tourism award with the Brancott Estate Heritage Centre in Marlborough being the only New Zealand cellar door to win this prestigious award.

The Brancott Estate Heritage Centre, home of Brancott Estate wines, is located at Brancott Vineyard, the site of the original Sauvignon Blanc plantings in Marlborough.

The Great Wine Capitals Global Network recently announced the winners of the 2014 International Best of Wine Tourism awards at a ceremony held at the Culinary Institute of America’s Greystone campus in St. Helena, California. The nine international winners were chosen from 53 local ‘Best Of‘ winners from nine Great Wine Capitals. In all, 350 applications were received this year. . .


A good reason to vote yes

27/11/2013

The comments in yesterday’s post about the referendum provide several good reasons to vote and vote yes in the referendum.

The best of which was from Poneke:

November 26, 2013 at 2:31 pm
 

Quantcast

Already voted. Yes. Anything the Greens oppose must be good.


Taxpayers’ Union hits nerve

27/11/2013

The Taxpayers’ union has only been operating for a few weeks but it’s already hit a nerve:

The Taxpayers’ Union appears to have hit a raw nerve in Auckland Mayor Len Brown’s office.

Further to the startling admission that despite responses to the contrary, the Mayor did travel to China in January 2013, now the Mayor’s Chief of Staff is cautioning the Taxpayers’ Union for asking legitimate questions about spending on the trip.

In an email to the Taxpayers’ Union’s Executive Director Jordan Williams, Phil Wilson writes, “The person you claim to have provided the Taxpayers Union [sic] with information about the mayor travelling with someone and/or about that (nonexistent) person using a credit card inappropriately is either seriously mistaken or outright lying. As such, related statements are being monitored and reviewed through legal channels.” . . .

“Unfortunately Mr Wilson has failed to answer the key question,” says Williams. “Why did the Council mislead us about the existence of the trip?”

“The very reason we asked for the information via the official process was so that we could verify the information we had received from a member of the public. To threaten us for asking more questions, when we know that the previous response from Council officials was misleading, is disturbing.”

Two weeks ago, the Taxpayers’ Union went to the Ombudsman with evidence that suggests Council officials breached official information laws possibly under instruction from the Mayor’s office.

“This sort of bullying behaviour makes us more suspicious that there is a culture of dishonesty in Auckland Council that would alarm all ratepayers. The Ombudsman must step in to ensure that official information laws are complied with and ratepayers have transparency.”

There’s more on this and the full text of the email at the Taxpayers’ Union.


Labour’s seat to lose

27/11/2013

Labour leader David Cunliffe reckons the Christchurch East seat is National’s to lose.

So despite Dalziel’s solid 5334 majority in 2011, Cunliffe has been talking up National’s equally emphatic victory in the party vote in 2011, by 13,252 (46 per cent) to 9100 for Labour (31.65 per cent).

Labour’s “key message” is that the seat is National’s to lose.

For Cunliffe “any old win would do”, he said yesterday.

“I would say 50 per cent would be great.”

He is adamant the party vote is the best measure of “underlying party allegiance” available.

But this isn’t a general election where people get two votes. It’s a by-election for a seat Labour has held for decades.

No-one would expect a new candidate to get the support Dalziel built up over several terms as the local MP,even though, contrary to her assertion she would be an independent mayor, she is helping Poto Williams.

But it would be a serious blow to Labour, its candidate and its leader if National’s Matthew Doocey won the seat.

People in Christchurch East have had more than enough of living with the aftermath of earthquakes, dealing with insurance companies and all the other challenges which make day to day life more difficult. There’s little more the government can do about most of these than it’s already doing but even so, people at the end of their tethers can use their votes to send a message about their frustration.

This all makes the seat Labour’s to lose and it’s Cunliffe’s to lose too.

He hasn’t made much progress in the polls since becoming leader and anything but an emphatic win for his candidate, chosen over those supported by the locals, will be a big blow for him.


More instability on left

27/11/2013

A majority of Labour’s caucus didn’t give David Cunliffe their first preferences in the leadership vote.

The difference in views on mineral exploration isn’t the only one in the party and now there’s another sign of instability on the left:

Green Party member David Hay is challenging Russel Norman for the co-leadership of the party.

Mr Hay, 52, ran as the Green Party candidate for Epsom in the 2011 general election and is currently ranked number 16 on the party list.

While he thinks Dr Norman has been doing a “great job”, Mr Hay says he wants to put the current leadership team “to the test”.

“At this stage, I’m testing to see whether there is support within the party for change,” he said. . . 

“I want to put Russel’s leadership to the test: if he wins out, then he will lead the party into government with a renewed mandate.

Not necessarily, recent history of the Labour party here and Labor in Australia shows winning the leadership isn’t necessarily the end of dissent.

. . . Green Party leadership positions are decided by a vote of the delegates at the Annual General Meeting.

This will be held on Queens Birthday weekend in Wellington next year.

Hay’s chances of winning the challenge aren’t great when he’s not even in parliament, although Norman became co-leader before he was an MP.
But the challenge does raise a question over the leadership.
That question will be there for the next six months and the media will take a greater interest in the party’s internal machinations than it has in the past, if only to establish if Hay is a lone voice.
The Green Party prides itself on its internal democracy and it has also maintained a pretty united front in public until now.
This is the first crack in that facade, albeit a very small one.
But if there’s one more could follow and if there’s one thing the public don’t like it’s a party which is fighting fires its members have lit in their own nest rather than concentrating on what really matters for the country.

 


If question is wrong how can any answer be valid?

27/11/2013

The question on the politicians’ initiated referendum asks: do you support the Government selling up to 49% of Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, Genesis Power, Solid Energy and Air New Zealand.

Several people have pointed out that those who want more than 49% sold could vote no.

That would be taken as opposition to any sale when that’s the opposite of their view which favours total sales.

Then there’s the name of one of the companies – if Google is to be believed Genesis Energy is an SOE but I couldn’t find a Genesis Power.

There is another even more fundamental flaw in the question – the Government hasn’t sold and isn’t planning to sell up to 49% of Air New Zealand.

It didn’t own 100% of the shares in the first place and sold only 20% of the total, retaining 53%.

If the question is wrong, how can any answer be valid?


Employment growing

27/11/2013

Employment rates are growing as the economy grows:

Growing confidence in New Zealand’s economy is boosting employment with 46 per cent of employers expecting permanent staff levels to increase, according to a survey of more than 1,600 employers carried out as part of the annual Hays Salary Guide.

Employment in New Zealand increased 1.2 per cent, or by 27,000 jobs, in the third quarter of 2013, the most since early 2007, the statistics bureau said earlier this month. The jobless rate fell to 6.2 per cent from 6.4 per cent.

The IMF predicts New Zealand’s economy will expand at a rate of 2.5 per cent in 2013 led by consumer spending, house construction and rebuilding in earthquake-damaged Christchurch. This level compares well with the average growth rate of just 1.2 per cent among other advanced economies in 2013.

Growth is expected to pick up to 2.9 per cent in 2014, compared to a rate of 2.8 per cent in Australia,
as New Zealand’s business and consumer confidence continues to rise.

According to the recruiter’s Hays Salary Guide, permanent employment opportunities will continue to grow, and similarly there will be an increase in openness from employers towards temporary/contract employment.

“We are seeing some employers become more confident in recruiting permanent staff initially rather than bringing someone on board in a temporary capacity first,” says Jason Walker, Managing Director of Hays in New Zealand.

“Overall the availability of candidates is decreasing and the need for strong, experienced and skilled professionals is increasing.

“The construction on civil and commercial projects has increased and is on the brink of significantly increasing further based on forward planning. This will continue to fuel a very active candidate market.”

Employment has lagged behind other positive economic indicators so this is very welcome news.


Hypocrisy or NIMBYism

27/11/2013

Question of the day:

Call it hypocrisy or NIMBYism (Not In My BackYard) – it’s not only Maori who are guilty of happily using minerals and products made from them from other countries while vehemently opposing as much as exploration to see whether there is anything worth mining or drilling here.

One Maori who is supportive of mineral exploration and drilling is Labour MP Shane Jones, but it’s an issue which could split his caucus.

The standoff over deep sea drilling off the Raglan coast is threatening a split in Labour.

Labour MP Shane Jones has backed oil drilling giant Anadarko in a move which puts him at odds with other members of the caucus, including environment spokeswoman Moana Mackey who today called for a slow down in the mineral exploration programme.

Jones has made no secret of his pro-mining stance and has taken potshots at the Green Party over its anti-mining stance.  But he could also find himself increasingly at odds with many in grassroots Labour as well. . . .

These are the people who say they’re for the workers but oppose the industry which could provide jobs and well-paying ones at that.

Taranaki’s growth shows that and these jobs have come without destroying the environment.

That there have been no accidents there doesn’t mean there couldn’t be. There are risks, but they are risks which can be managed.


November 27 in history

27/11/2013

176 – Emperor Marcus Aurelius granted his son Commodus the rank of Imperator and made him Supreme Commander of the Roman legions.

1095 – Pope Urban II declared the First Crusade at the Council of Clermont.

1295 – The first elected representatives from Lancashire were called to Westminster by King Edward I to attend  “The Model Parliament“.

1703 – The first Eddystone Lighthouse was destroyed in the Great Storm of 1703.

1815 – Adoption of Constitution of the Kingdom of Poland.

1830 – St. Catherine Laboure experienced a vision of the Blessed Virgin standing on a globe, crushing a serpent with her feet, and emanating rays of light from her hands.

1839 – The American Statistical Association was founded.

1849 – Te Rauparaha, the formidable Ngāti Toa leader who had dominated Te Moana-o-Raukawa – the Cook Strait region – from his base at Kapiti Island for nearly 20 years, died.

1856 – The Coup of 1856 led to Luxembourg’s unilateral adoption of a new, reactionary constitution.

1868 – Indian Wars: Battle of Washita River – United States Army Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer led an attack on Cheyenne living on reservation land.

1874 Chaim Weizmann, 1st President of Israel, was born.

1886 – German judge Emil Hartwich sustainsedfatal injuries in a duel, which became the background for “Effi Briest“, a classic work of German literature.

1895 – Alfred Nobel signed his last will and testament, setting aside his estate to establish the Nobel Prize.

1901 – The U.S. Army War College was established.

1912 – Spain declared a protectorate over the north shore of Morocco.

1924 – In New York City, the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was held.

1925 Ernie Wise, British comedian, was born (d. 1999).

1934 – Bank robber Baby Face Nelson died in a shoot-out with the FBI.

1940 – The 16,712-ton New Zealand Shipping Company liner MV Rangitane was sunk by two German ‘auxiliary cruisers’ (armed merchant raiders), the Orion and Komet, 300 nautical miles off East Cape.

Liner sunk by German raiders off East Cape

1940 – Romania’s ruling party Iron Guard arrested and executed over 60 of exiled King Carol II of Romania‘s aides, including former minister Nicolae Iorga.

1940 – World War II: At the Battle of Cape Spartivento, the Royal Navy engaged the Regia Marina.

1940  Bruce Lee, American actor and martial artist, was born.

1942  Jimi Hendrix, American guitarist, was born (d. 1970).

1942 – World War II: At Toulon, the French navy scuttled its ships and submarines to keep them out of Nazi hands.

1944 – World War II: An explosion at a Royal Air Force ammunition dump at Fauld, Staffordshire killed seventy people.

1963 – The Convention on the Unification of Certain Points of Substantive Law on Patents for Invention iwa signed at Strasbourg.

1964 – Cold War Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru appealed to the United States and the Soviet Union to end nuclear testing and to start nuclear disarmament, stating that such an action would “save humanity from the ultimate disaster”.

1971 – The Soviet space programme’s Mars 2 orbiter released a descent module which malfunctioned and crashed, but was the first man-made object to reach the surface of Mars.

1973 – The Twenty-fifth Amendment: The United States Senate voted92 to 3 to confirm Gerald Ford as Vice President of the United States.

1975 – The Provisional IRA assassinated Ross McWhirter, after a press conference in which McWhirter had announced a reward for the capture of those responsible for multiple bombings and shootings across England.

1978 –  San Francisco, mayor George Moscone and openly gay city supervisor Harvey Milk were assassinated by former supervisor Dan White.

1978 – The Kurdish party PKK was founded in the city of Riha (Urfa) in Turkey.

1983 – Avianca Flight 011, a Boeing 747 crashed near Madrid’s Barajas Airport, killing 181.

1984 – Under the Brussels Agreement signed between the governments of the United Kingdom and Spain, the former agreed to enter into discussions with Spain over Gibraltar, including sovereignty.

1989 – Avianca Flight 203, a Boeing 727, exploded in mid-air over Colombia, killing all 107 people on board and three people on the ground. The Medellín Cartel claimed responsibility for the attack.

1991 – The United Nations Security Council adopted Security Council Resolution 721, leading the way to the establishment of peacekeeping operations in Yugoslavia.

1992 – For the second time in a year, military forces tried to overthrow president Carlos Andres Perez in Venezuela.

1997 – Twenty-five were killed in the second Souhane massacre in Algeria.

1999 – The Labour Party took control of the New Zealand government with leader Helen Clark, the country’s second female PM.

2001 – A hydrogen atmosphere was discovered on the extrasolar planet Osiris by the Hubble Space Telescope, the first atmosphere detected on an extrasolar planet.

2004 – Pope John Paul II returned the relics of Saint John Chrysostom to the Eastern Orthodox Church.

2005 – The first partial human face transplant was completed in Amiens.

2006 – The Canadian House of Commons endorsed Prime Minister Stephen Harper‘s motion to declare Quebec a nation within a unified Canada.

2009 – A bomb exploded on the Nevsky Express train between Moscow and Saint Petersburg, derailing it and causing 28 deaths and 96 injuries.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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