Word of the day

December 3, 2013

Snollygoster – unprincipled but shrewd person, especially a politician; one who is guided by personal advantage rather than by consistent, respectable principles; a clever, unscrupulous person; carpetbagger; somebody who will go to any lengths to achieve public office, regardless of party affiliation or platform.

Not Judge Judy

December 3, 2013

Tweet of the day:


Grammar test, Food Switch & buy-nothing Christmas

December 3, 2013

Discussion with Jim Mora on Critical Mass today was sparked by:

You can’t write proper English under pressure – which tests your grammar, spelling and reactions.

Food Switch – an app for your mobile phone which scans bar codes of food products, gives you their nutritional value and suggests healthier alternatives for those higher in fat and sugar.

Buy Nothing Christmas – suggestions for gifts using your hands, heart and imagination rather than money.

Rural round-up

December 3, 2013

Environmental analysis role exciting  – Sally Rae:

Mark Crawford is excited about his new role as a Ravensdown environmental consultant.

The fertiliser company has launched an environmental analysis and planning service, in the wake of increasing demands on farmers to meet environmental standards and regional regulatory requirements.

The adoption of stricter nutrient management regulations was being led by the Horizons Regional Council in the lower North Island, with Otago and Canterbury also nearing completion of recent plan changes. . .

Top of the south for Farmax consultancy – Sally Rae:

Simon Glennie reckons he does his farming vicariously through his clients.

Mr Glennie, a consultant at Dunedin-based AbacusBio, has been named South Island Farmax consultant of the year.

The inaugural awards honoured the top North and South Island consultants who used the farm support software. . .

Dairying women learn to ‘dig deep’ through good and bad at annual conference:

Hundreds of women who work in the dairy industry will be tackling some of the big issues that affect today’s farmers including how to reach and sustain a level of performance that matches medal winning athletics and world champion sports teams when they get together at the Dairy Women’s Network annual conference in March 2014.

The line-up of high calibre keynote speakers includes Hamilton sports psychologist David Galbraith who has worked with the Chiefs rugby team, Magic netball team and Olympic silver medal winner Sarah Walker.

The two-day conference at Hamilton’s Claudelands Event Centre, starting on 19 March 2014, is themed ‘Keeping your finger on the pulse’. . .

Otago link highlighted in Fonterra book – Sally Rae:

Think Park Beede and basketball immediately springs to mind.

Dr Beede was heavily involved with the sport in Otago and coached the Otago Nuggets.

What is not so well known is that he was tasked with coming up with a name for the new dairy company that was to become Fonterra.

The story of the creation of the name – and the Otago connection – is highlighted in the new book Till the Cows Came Home by Wellington journalist and former Southland Times editor Clive Lind. . .

Farmers urged to plan ahead to prevent game bird crop damage

With the start of summer, farmers are starting to see large groups of paradise shelducks moving into their newly-planted crops or onto their irrigation lakes.

Fish & Game Northland says if farmers plan ahead, they can reduce the damage done by these flocks of ‘parries.’

“We encourage farmers to place bird-scaring equipment out before their grasses or crops emerge,” Fish & Game officer Nathan Burkepile says.

“And farmers with paradise shelduck problems on irrigation lakes should start scaring the birds off these lakes before the birds start moulting in January.” . . .

At least one dairy farmer won’t mind the summer heat – Milk Maid Marian:

Wayne has a reputation for getting stuck and he’s outdone himself this year by bogging a quad bike on the first day of summer. Worse, he left his helmet at the scene of the crime and by the time the kids and I came to the rescue, his gear had been given a beating by the local hoons.

Cows may be vegetarians but don’t for a minute think that this in itself bestows innocence. They are merciless with unattended vehicles. This time the helmet, fuel breather line and rubber boot for the brake assembly were squelched deep into the quagmire but I’ve seen much worse. . . .

Shane Ardern to retire

December 3, 2013

Taranaki-King Country MP Shane Ardern has announced he won’t seek re-election next year.

“I have decided to stand down at the next election. I know that I leave with the country in safe hands, under the excellent leadership of John Key as Prime Minister,” Mr Ardern said.

“It is a privilege to serve the electorate of Taranaki-King Country, which is a large rural electorate stretching from Stratford to Hamilton International Airport.

I entered politics because, as a farmer, I am passionate about representing and standing up for rural New Zealanders, and ensuring they have a voice in Wellington. “But at next year’s election it will be sixteen years since I was first elected. Now it is time to spend more time with my family and return to farming full-time. Family and farming is where my heart lies.”

Mr Ardern was first elected in a by-election in 1998. Despite boundary changes he has increased his majority, receiving nearly 70 per cent of the vote in 2011.

“As Chair of the Primary Production Select Committee, Chair of National’s agriculture caucus, and through my work on a number of other select committees, I have worked on policies that have helped drive New Zealand’s economic recovery. These have assisted our farming communities and the towns and businesses that rely so heavily on the success of our primary industries.

“It has given me great satisfaction to see policies I have worked on – particularly in the dairy industry, biosecurity, forestry, and rural New Zealand – passed into law. “Between now and the election, I will continue to work hard for the people of Taranaki-King Country and continue my focus on agriculture and our rural communities.

“I am immensely proud to represent the people in Taranaki-King Country. Thank you for your support. As an electorate MP, it is your vote and your belief in me that is the opinion I value the most. This is the best electorate in New Zealand.”

Shane is probably best known as the MP who drove a tractor up the steps of parliament during protests against the fart tax.

As an electorate MP he will have helped countless people in many ways which never make the headlines but make a difference to them.

Taranaki- King Country is the biggest North Island general electorate and solidly blue.

If you keep on doing what you’ve always done . . .

December 3, 2013

Education Minister Hekia Parata has announced a review of the Ministry of Education’s Professional Learning and Development (PLD) expenditure in schools.

“The Government invests more than $70 million each year in PLD to improve the skills of our teachers and education leaders. However, the long-term level of underachievement in our education system will not be shifted by doing what we have always done,” Ms Parata says.

If you keep on doing what you’ve always done you keep on getting what you’ve always got and in New Zealand that is too many children who fail at school.

That isn’t always the fault of teachers – a large part of the problem is what happens at home. But that isn’t an excuse for not ensuring teachers are better equipped to help all their pupils.

“The quality of teaching and education leadership has a direct impact on the educational success of our young people. If we can improve the professional learning and development provided to our teachers, then we will see a system-wide lift in student achievement.

“We are determined to raise achievement for 5 out of 5 young New Zealanders and to do that we must ensure that the PLD resource is targeted to back our teachers.

“This review provides the opportunity to ensure that our teachers are getting the right level of support for their development needs and are being challenged to raise the achievement of all students. . . 

This is a very sensible approach to ensure that teachers are as well equipped as possible to help all their pupils.

Cathedral isn’t public property

December 3, 2013

The group trying to stop the demolition of Christchurch cathedral has lot its bid to appeal to the Supreme Court.


The Supreme Court (Justices John McGrath, Susan Glazebrook and Terence Arnold) considered four Court of Appeal findings in dispute.

First, the Court of Appeal found public funds donated to the cathedral were irrelevant in determining the church’s powers.

Second, the church is free to demolish the existing structure.

Third, the church has no obligation at all to maintain or repair the existing structure.

Fourth, the church is required to have “a” cathedral, not maintain or repair the existing one.

The Supreme Court found the issues raised were that of interpretation of the law, not legal errors in the Court of Appeal findings.

“We are accordingly satisfied that no legal question of general or public importance arises from the application for leave to appeal,” the judgement says. . .

Christchurch lost a lot of beautiful buildings in the earthquakes and there is a sentimental link to the cathedral for many people, whether or not they are members of the congregation.

But while the cathedral is regarded as a public building it’s not public property.

It’s the church’s property and it’s up to them to decide on whether they should try to reconstruct what’s left of the existing cathedral or build a new one.

They’ve opted for a new one and should be left to spend their money on that rather than fighting for their property rights in court.

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