Word of the day

December 8, 2013

Ventifact – a stone  abraded, pitted, etched, grooved, polished or shaped by wind-driven sand or ice crystals.


McKenzie to succeed Turia

December 8, 2013

Chris McKenzie has been selected to succeed Tariana Turia as the Maori party candidate for Te Tai Hauauru.

His work history includes being the lead Treaty of Waitangi settlement negotiator for Ngati Raukawa, a self-employed consultant, education manager at Raukawa Trust Board and teacher at Tokoroa High School.

He is a member of the Te Ohu Kaimoana electoral college and was the previous chair of the Raukawa Settlement Trust. . .

Turia formed the Maori Party when she left Labour over the Seabed and foreshore debacle.

His challenges is to transfer personal support from her to votes for him and the party.


Rural round-up

December 8, 2013

Another 385ha to be irrigated by scheme – David Bruce:

The North Otago Irrigation Company is expanding again, and will next week add another 385ha to a scheme that started with a 10,000ha first stage.

That initial investment of $67 million commissioned in 2006 to ultimately bring irrigation to 26,000ha on the North Otago Downlands, Waiareka Valley and eventually the Kakanui Valley has now grown to an asset of $75 million.

The new expansion, worth $3.5 million, has been financed by a combination of shareholder equity and company borrowings. . . .

Perfect country for sheep, paradise for rabbits too… – Timothy Brown:

The story of Earnscleugh Station was told at a field day at the property last month. Reporter Timothy Brown went along to hear how a rabbit-plagued desert was transformed into an award-winning showcase of farm management.

Earnscleugh Station stretches across 21,000ha of rugged Central Otago landscape. 

The station rises from 170m above sea level to 1850m, and has bitterly cold winters and hot dry summers – perfect sheep country.

Unfortunately for the Campbells – the owners of the station – it is also perfect rabbit country. . .

Fruit research aims for yield boost – Yvonne OHara:

A new research programme for pipfruit, kiwifruit and summer fruit is expected to see potential yield increases of between 50% and 150% by 2025.

Plant and Food Research (PFR) was given $8.3 million over six years by the Government, along with a 20% industry buy-in, in August, to redesign orchards from the ground up.

PFR business manager Declan Graham said the programme, Future Orchard Planting Systems (FOPS), was designed to increase the productivity and efficiency of the industry and that included expanding the kiwifruit and pipfruit sectors to $4 billion, up from the present $1.5 billion, by 2025. . .

Lack of pasture persistence a recurring theme:

IN THE 2007/08 drought Wayne Reynolds’ cows chewed covers down to four clicks and average cover across his 154ha effective farm was just 1190kgDM/ha.

Production that season dropped from 1200kgMS/ha to 1000kgMS/ha and despite immediately reseeding nearly half the farm, and a quarter of the farm annually after that, it didn’t recover.

“Milksolids were static despite our best efforts, bringing feed in and renewing the pasture of the farm,” he told the New Zealand Grassland Association’s conference in Tauranga earlier this month. . .

Attempt at shearing record:

WAIKARETU SHEARING record-holding husband and wife Sam and Emily Welch are rewarding the loyalty of their workers by helping them also get their names into the books with a five-stand lamb shearing record near Auckland this month.

The two and shearing contracting partner Tony Clayton-Greene are organising The Cavalier Woolscourers Ltd eight-hour, five-stand World Lamb Shearing Record attempt for the unclaimed eight-hour tally record at Cashmore Farms in Kawakawa Bay, between Clevedon and the Firth of Thames, on December 10. This is the closest to Auckland an event like this has ever been held. . .

Foaly Moley! – Jillaroo Jess:

This year, we only have had 3 Australian Stock Horse foals born on the property. It’s definitely quality over quantity though, they are beautiful. First born was a flashy chestnut colt with a big baldy face (lots of white) and 3 white socks who we named Coolrdige Kidman – after a famous Australian cattle baron. Next, a lovely little bay filly with a bucket load of attitude named Coolridge Karijini – a beautiful desert in Western Australia. Finally, a leggy black filly called Coolridge Khaleesi – I’m a big fan of Game of Thrones!

In case anyone is interested in Australian Stock Horses, and follows their breeding, all three are by Kooloombah Confidence, a very handsome red dun stallion. Confidence, and all of the mares are bred to Campdraft, which is an Australian horse sport with cattle, where you must first cut out a beast in the ‘camp’, then take it out into the arena and bend it around two posts and through a gate. These foals all have great breeding and we are looking forward to seeing their natural ability under saddle. I’m currently in the process of building a website for our horses and will have it finished in the coming months. Once breeding season is over I’ll have more time to get things happening. . .

Thousands attend official opening of world’s largest drier:

Thousands of Cantabrians joined Fonterra today to celebrate the official opening of the world’s largest milk powder drier at the Co-operative’s Darfield site.

The milk powder drier, which has already produced more than 50,000 metric tonnes of whole milk powder since it kicked into gear, was officially opened by Selwyn Member of Parliament and Minister for the Environment, Amy Adams as part of a public open day.

Fonterra’s Director of New Zealand Operations, Robert Spurway, said the completion of Darfield’s second stage was great for the local community and means that Fonterra can make the most of the Co-operative’s milk produced in the South Island. . .


Gift from hands and heart

December 8, 2013

Our new parilla, (wood-fired barbeque modelled on those we’ve seen in Argentina)works well and has already been well used.

But when my farmer was cooking for some of our staff the other night he mentioned he needed a set of long handled tools – a shovel to get the embers from under the fire to under the grill, a poker and a fork.

The husband of one of our staff who is a farrier heard him and turned up today with a set he’d made and making it extra special are the antler handles which came from deer shot on one of our properties.

This is a very special gift from hands and heart.

parilla tools


Invention

December 8, 2013

Open large picture

From Story People by Brian Andreas.

You can get a daily dose of email whimsy like this by clicking on the link.

 


Let’s put farming first

December 8, 2013

The title has a capital G for green – that’s because that’s how you write titles, it doesn’t mean the political party/ies.


Subsidies bad for environment

December 8, 2013

New Zealand is calling for action on fisheries subsidies.

Trade Minister Tim Groser has led a call at the WTO’s 9th Ministerial Conference in Bali for urgent action to protect global fish stocks. New Zealand has been coordinating a group of countries that includes Argentina, Australia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Iceland, Norway, Pakistan, Peru and the United States.

The purpose of the meeting, which included a wider range of Government representatives, international media and international environmental NGOs, was to issue a joint statement drawing political attention to how subsidies contribute to the destruction of wild fisheries and to reiterate the group’s commitment to negotiate ambitious and effective disciplines on fisheries subsidies.

In presenting the statement today on behalf of the group, Mr Groser emphasized that that over 85% of the world’s fish stocks were fully exploited, over exploited, depleted or in recovery.

“The depletion of the world’s fish stocks is the clearest example today of what is called ‘the tragedy of the global commons’. Obviously, no country individually seeks the destruction of the wild fisheries of the world, but this is exactly the danger facing certain critical fish stocks in parts of the world unless there is more effective international cooperation to deal with the problem.

“We need action on a variety of fronts, but reduction of harmful subsidies which contribute to over-fishing is a central part of any solution,” Mr Groser said.

“This is a trade issue – fish products are one of the most highly traded commodities in world trade, and subsidies contribute to distorting this trade – but it is about far more than just trade. This is a pressing issue for the entire international community due to its environmental, economic and development consequences.”

“As a development issue, it is of particular importance to developing countries in the Pacific – the source of about half the global wild catch. Fish is part of these countries’ food security. Beyond that, it is also one of their great economic assets, offering Pacific countries significant economic development opportunities.”

The scale of subsidization is huge – around US $25-30 billion per annum.

“The countries which have signed this statement represent a diverse group of developing and developed countries. We have come together to reaffirm the pledge we made within the UN Rio+20 conference in 2012 to not introduce or increase harmful fisheries subsidies, and we will work within the WTO and other fora to improve fisheries subsidies reform and transparency.”

It’s not hard to explain the economic perils of subsidies.

This illustrates the environmental harm they can do too.


WTO delivers

December 8, 2013

The World Trade Organisation has delivered:

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has agreed on its first-ever global deal aimed at boosting commerce. Analysts say it could add $1 trillion to the global economy.

The agreement – reached in Bali after marathon negotiations between trade ministers from 159 nations – simplifies trade procedures and also makes it easier for the poorest countries to sell their goods by reducing export barriers and allowing such nations more scope to use subsidies to safeguard food supplies.

It is seen as an important step for the WTO, which has struggled to make new trade agreements since being founded in 1995, the BBC’s economics correspondent reports.

“For the first time in our history, the WTO has truly delivered,” says WTO chief Roberto Azevedo. “This time the entire membership came together. We have put the ‘world’ back in World Trade Organisation.”. . .

The core of the deal is trade facilitation:

. . . This is about reducing the costs and delays involved in international trade. It is often described as “cutting red tape”.

Some analysts suggest the benefits could be large. An influential Washington think tank has put the potential gains to the world economy at close to $1tn and 20m million jobs.

It also estimates the cost of administrative barrier as double the cost of tariffs.

The rich countries have agreed to help the poorer WTO members with implementing this agreement.

Another important aspect of the Bali package is about enabling poor countries to sell their goods more easily. This part is about tariffs, and also quota limits on imports.

Rich countries and the more advanced developing countries have agreed to cut tariffs on products from the poorest nations.

The head of New Zealand’s International Business Forum says a new global trade deal agreed by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) will mean cheaper and faster exports.

International Business Forum executive director Stephen Jacobi says exporters’ goods will be fast-tracked through international customs as the facilitation part of the deal cuts down on red tape for traders.

“The main benefit of this agreement is that it will become easier and faster and cheaper to move goods around supply chains, to export our goods around the world, and indeed to import our goods from other countries.”

Business New Zealand chief executive Phil O’Reilly says the WTO deal will boost the confidence of trade ministers meeting in Singapore to try to reach agreement on the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

The deal marks the WTO’s first global trade agreement since it was created in 1995 and follows years of failed attempts to secure the required unanimous approval from all its members. . . .

British Prime Minister David Cameron says the deal could be worth more than £1 billion a year to British businesses and £70 billion globally.

“. . . By slashing barriers to trade, this deal will also provide a lifeline to the world’s poorest people. Helping developing countries to grow is not only the right thing to do, but it also increases potential markets for us all. So this really is win-win and the World Trade Organisation is to be commended for this historic deal.”

Trade restrictions mean people get less for what they produce and pay more for what they consume and this hurts poorer people and poorer countries hardest.

Freer trade is fairer trade and poorer people and countries have the most to gain from it.


Sunday soapbox

December 8, 2013

Sunday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation. You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, to muse or amuse – and to support #gigatownoamaru .

The individual is the smallest minority. #Gandhi #truth


December 8 in history

December 8, 2013

65 BC Horace, Roman poet, was born (d. 8 BC).

1432 – The first battle between the forces of Švitrigaila and Sigismund Kęstutaitis was fought near the town of Oszmiana (Ashmyany), launching the most active phase of the civil war in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

1542  Mary Queen of Scots, was born (d. 1587).

1609  The Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan opened its reading room, the second public library in Europe.

1660 Margaret Hughes became the first actress to appear on an English public stage, playing the role of Desdemona in a production of Shakespeare’s play Othello.

1765 – Eli Whitney, American inventor of the cotton gin, was born  (d. 1825).
1854 –  In his Apostolic constitution Ineffabilis Deus, Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogmatic definition of Immaculate Conception, which holds that the Virgin Mary was born free of original sin.

1864 The Clifton Suspension Bridge over the River Avon was officially opened.

1865 Jean Sibelius, Finnish composer, was born (d. 1957).

1886 Diego Rivera, Mexican painter, was born (d. 1957).

1894 E.C. Segar, American cartoonist (Popeye), was born  (d. 1938).

1894 James Thurber, American humorist and cartoonist, was born  (d. 1961).

1904 Konservativ Ungdom (Young Conservatives)  was founded by Carl F. Herman von Rosen. It is the oldest political youth organization in Denmark and believed to be one of the oldest in the world.

1925  Sammy Davis Jr., American actor and singer, was born (d. 1990).

1933  Flip Wilson, American comedian, was born (d. 1998).

1939 Sir James Galway, Northern Irish flautist, was born.

1941 New Zealand declared war on Japan.

New Zealand declares war on Japan
1941 – United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared December 7 to be “a day which will live in infamy“, after which the U.S. and the Republic of China declared war against Japan.

1942 A fire at Seacliff Hospital killed 37 people.

Fire at Seacliff Mental Hospital kills 37

1951 – Bill Bryson, American author, was born.

1953 Kim Basinger, American actress, was born.

1953 – United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivered his Atoms for Peace speech, and the U.S. launched its “Atoms for Peace” programme that supplied equipment and information to schools, hospitals, and research institutions around the world.

1963 – Pan Am Flight 214, a Boeing 707, was struck by positive lightning and crashed near Elkton, Maryland, killing all 81 people on board.

1966 Sinéad O’Connor, Irish musician, was born.

1966 –  The Greek ship SS Heraklion sank in a storm in the Aegean Sea, killing over 200.

1972 – United Airlines Flight 553 crashed after aborting its landing attempt at Chicago Midway International Airport, killing 45.

1974 A plebiscite resulted in the abolition of monarchy in Greece.

1980 John Lennon was shot and killed by Mark David Chapman in front of The Dakota apartment building in New York.

1987 – Croat Frank Vitkovic shotsand killed eight people at the offices of the Australia Post in Melbourne, before being killed himself.

1987 – The Alianza Lima air disaster –  a Peruvian Navy Fokker F27-400M chartered by Peruvian football club Alianza Lima plunged into the Pacific Ocean six miles short of its destination, killing 43 of the 44 people on board.

1991 The leaders of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine signed an agreement dissolving the Soviet Union and establishing the Commonwealth of Independent States.

1993 The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed into law by US President Bill Clinton.

1997  Jenny Shipley became New Zealand’s first female Prime Minister.

Jenny Shipley

199 – The Australian Cricket Board’s cover-up of Shane Warne and Mark Waugh’s involvement with bookmakers was revealed.

2004 The Cuzco Declaration was signed in Cuzco, Peru, establishing the South American Community of Nations.

2005 – Ante Gotovina, a Croatian army general accused of war crimes, was captured in the Playa de las Américas, Tenerife by the Spanish police.

2008  Kirsty Williams was elected as Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats. The first female leader of a political party in Wales.

2009 Bombings in Baghdad, killed 127 and injured 448.

2010 – With the second launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 and the first launch of the SpaceX Dragon, SpaceX became the first privately held company to successfully launch, orbit and recover a spacecraft.

2010 – The Japanese solar-sail spacecraft IKAROS passed the planet Venus at a distance of about 80,800 km.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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