Only 43.9% vote in referendum

December 13, 2013

Preliminary results of the referendum on the partial float of a few SOEs show:

2013 Citizens Initiated Referendum Preliminary Result

Votes

Number of Votes Received

Percentage of Total Valid Votes

For the response

Yes

432,950

32.5%

For the response

No

895,322

67.2%

Informal votes*

4068

0.31%

Total valid votes

1,332,340

100.0%

Voter turnout on the basis of the preliminary result is 43.9%.  Turnout is calculated by taking the total votes cast of 1,333,402 (being total valid and invalid votes) as a percentage of the total number of voters enrolled as at 21 November 2013 (3,037,405).

The number of invalid votes cast was 1,062 or 0.08% of total votes cast.  Invalid votes are excluded from the count and include, for example, voting papers that cannot be processed because the voter has made the QR Code unreadable, or voting papers cancelled as a result of replacement voting papers being issued.

The politicians who initiated the referendum will say they got nearly 67% support for opposing the partial sales.

But 67% of just 43.9% of eligible voters is no victory. It’s just an expensive exercise in futility.

All they’ve done is waste money and reinforce that citizens’ – or politicians’ – initiated referenda have had their day.

UPDATE:


Morrison replaces Miller on Alliance board

December 13, 2013

Alliance Group chair Murray Taggart has held his seat on the board but Jason Miller has lost his to Don Morrison who was on the Meat Industry excellence (MIA) Group.

. . . Approximately forty nine percent (48.83%) of eligible votes were exercised in the directors’ election.
Alliance Group Chairman Murray Taggart said that the forty-nine per cent turnout for the directors’ election was significantly improved over recent years and reflected the interest in the issue.
In 2012 the turnout for the directors election was 25% compared with 42% in 2011 and 30% in 2010. . .
Miller, who was active in the Meat Industry Action Group, was voted onto the board in 2007 when long-serving chair John Turner lost his seat.
That he’s been replaced by someone who was active in the MIA is not without irony.

Word of the day

December 13, 2013

Akrasia – the state of mind in which someone acts against their better judgement through weakness of will; acting in a way contrary to one’s sincerely held moral values.


Free rooms but ratepayers footed phone bill

December 13, 2013

The Ernst & Young report into Len Brown’s affair found:

Auckland mayor Len Brown used his council-funded phone to make more than 1000 personal calls and texts to mistress Bevan Chuang.

A report into the pair’s affair, released this afternoon, said Mr Brown used his council phone to make 1373 calls and texts to Ms Chuang between November 19, 2010 and October 21, 2013.

Ms Chuang said all of the calls and texts were of a personal nature.

The mayor also received nine free hotel rooms which he didn’t declare, valued at $6130.

He also failed to declare 54 hotel upgrades valued at $32,888.50. . .

The rooms didn’t cost ratepayers but the phone calls did.

And there’s the cost of the review:

But will anything happen?


Manners matter

December 13, 2013

A French cafe charges extra for people who forget their manners:

The cafe owner tells the Local that the tiered pricing structure started as a joke, a response to “very stressed” and “sometimes rude” lunch customers. “I know people say that French service can be rude,” he adds “but it’s also true that customers can be rude when they’re busy.” Apparently there has been an improvement in customer attitude. . .

Manners matter, courtesy counts and those little words please and thank you show people you aren’t taking them for granted.

The story doesn’t say if they follow through on the extra charge for those who don’t use them, but an improvement in attitude matters more than the money.


Rural round-up

December 13, 2013

How we manage incidents still needs fixing:

While it is good news that the inquiry into the whey protein incident concludes there was no failure with New Zealand’s dairy regulatory system it simply confirms what we already knew, said Michael Barnett, chairman of the NZ Infant Formula Exporters Association.

“We do have world best regulations. We are world leaders in whey production. Within the terms of reference of the inquiry to look into our dairy food safety system the report is a good outcome.”

However in our view the incident was never a failure of our dairy regulations. “It was a failure to manage the situation and the reputational damage it caused New Zealand. This report will not fix that failure,” said Mr Barnett. . .

Red Meat Profit Partnership underway:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand has welcomed the announcement that the Red Meat Profit Partnership is underway, acknowledging the significant opportunities it will provide farmers.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chairman, Mike Petersen says: “The significance of this collaboration cannot be underestimated as it draws together a big part of the red meat processing industry along with farmers and two banks, with the common goal of improving the profitability of sheep and beef farms. Profitability has been too variable and insufficient in recent years, but through this collaboration there is a significant opportunity to improve it.” . . .

Rabobank welcomes signing of Red Meat Profit Partnership:

Agricultural banking specialist Rabobank has welcomed the recent signing and successful contracting of the Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP).

The finalisation of the $64 million dollar partnership has been announced with the Crown officially contracting its support of the initiative.

Rabobank New Zealand CEO Ben Russell said the bank was pleased to confirm its support as a partner of the RMPP alongside the other co-investors. . . .

Week one in a revolutionary fortnight for red meat  – Jeanette Maxwell:

With red meat industry reform a big topic for farmers, Federated Farmers is welcoming the most comprehensive collaboration ever seen in the sector.  With the Federation going out to its members next week on meat industry reform options, this becomes the first week in a revolutionary fortnight for New Zealand’s number two export industry.

“It seems ironic that I am going to welcome 1.3 million fewer lambs being tailed in 2013 over 2012, but the second smallest lamb crop in nearly 60 years is a good outcome following the 2013 drought,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairperson.

“To be brutally honest, that 4.7 percent decline to a 2013/14 crop of 25.5 million lambs, underscores how vital this week’s announcement of the Red Meat Profit Partnership is. . .

Government Industry Agreements to strengthen biosecurity:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed Cabinet’s approval of the GIA (Government Industry Agreement) Deed as an important tool in strengthening New Zealand’s biosecurity.

“Under the GIA, industry organisations and the Ministry for Primary Industries can sign a Deed that formally establishes the biosecurity partnership. Partners will share decision making, costs, and responsibility in preparing for and responding to biosecurity incursions.

“The GIA is important because it will give industries a direct say in managing biosecurity risk. Joint decision making and co-investment will mean that everyone is working together on the most important priorities.

“Biosecurity is my number one priority as Minister because it is so important in protecting our economy. We know that unwanted pests and diseases can have devastating effects on our farmers and growers,” says Mr Guy . . .

Biosecurity Government Industry Agreements a major boost

Winning Cabinet approval for any policy initiative is never easy so the efforts of Primary Industries Minster, the Hon Nathan Guy with Government Industry Agreements (GIA), must be acknowledged for the way it will boost biosecurity readiness and response.

“GIA’s are a positive development for biosecurity,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers biosecurity spokesperson.

“Cabinet approval is the roadmap forward and follows Federated Farmers leadership last year, which successfully unblocked five years of stalled talks by bringing together key industry players.

“For the general public, GIA’s are about ‘Readiness and Response,’ which are the two key planks to our biosecurity system.  . .

Forest owners welcome biosecurity deed:

Cabinet approval of the deed that will govern how the government and primary industries respond to biosecurity threats has been welcomed by forest owners.

“The biological industries need secure borders, effective monitoring for possible incursions and a rapid response if an exotic pest arrives here. It is essential that we all know who does what and who picks up the tab,” says Forest Owners Association biosecurity chair Dave Cormack.

“The forest industry, through the FOA, has partnered with government in forest biosecurity surveillance for more than 50 years and has funded its own scheme for the last 25 of those years. We look forward to formalising this relationship in a Government Industry Agreement. . . .

Warwick Roberts elected President NZ National Fieldays Society:

The Annual General Meeting for the National Fieldays Society was held last Thursday night at Mystery Creek Events Centre.

Experienced dairy farmer and local resident, Warwick Roberts, was elected President of the NZ National Fieldays Society and starts his term immediately.

Mr Roberts had held the position of Vice President of the Society since 2012 and takes over the presidency from Lloyd Downing, whose term ran 2010-2013.

In speaking about his appointment, Mr Roberts said he was very proud to be leading such a prestigious organisation. . .

Start date for farm training scheme – Annette Scott:

The farm cadet training scheme proposed for the upper South Island has a start date.

Mendip Hills Station, in North Canterbury, will host the new farm cadet training scheme aimed at the sheep, beef, and deer industries.

Scheme co-ordinator Sarah Barr signed a statement of intent agreement last week with Lincoln University, incorporating the Telford division of the tertiary institution, for the scheme to start in 2015. . .

Amendments to layer hens code of welfare:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced amendments to the Layer Hens Code of Welfare 2012, in a move to avoid a large increase in the price of eggs.

“The final date of 2022 for all layer hens to be out of battery cages remains unchanged. However, the amendment alters the transition dates by two years:
• Cages installed before 31 December 1999 must now be replaced by 31 December 2018 (previously 2016);
• Cages installed before 31 December 2001 must now be replaced by 31 December 2020 (previously 2018).

The amendments have been made after advice from the independent National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC). . . .

The long and the short of it is  . . . – Mad Bush Farm:

I got what I always wanted. I can wake up each morning, have breakfast and get a friendly greeting at the door. He got my toast,  I got my coffee and the company of an equine friend. Animals can do so much for healing a hurt, and helping us forget our troubles. And in turn we can help them get through their troubles. Most of the horses I have on the farm have had sad backgrounds. Ed too had a hard life before he came to me nearly ten years ago. His days are coming slowly to an end. Soon I’ll have to make a decision about his future. . .

New Zealand Young Farmers raises over $1400 for men’s health:

New Zealand Young Farmers was a proud participant in this year’s Movember campaign – and it was a wild and hairy 30 days.

For the month of November the Young Farmers Movember ambassadors Terry Copeland NZYF CEO, Ashley Cassin ANZ Young Farmer Contest Events Leader, and Nigel Woodhead Pendarves Young Farmers Club member, cultivated impressive moustaches all in the name of men’s health.

A charity quiz night was held on the last Friday (29th) of November at the Blue Pub in Methven as a final drive for donations. It was well attended with 13 teams and over 60 people participating. There were top prizes from Silver Fern Farms, Husqvarna and a sell-out raffle for a Vodafone Samsung Galaxy mobile phone.   . .  .


Friday’s answers

December 13, 2013

Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said:If you want peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.?

2. Who said: Hatred paralyses life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.?

3. It’s haine in French, odio in Italian and Spanish and mauāhara in Maori, what is it in English.

4. This is known as whose prayer?

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy. . . .

5. Can you forgive and forget?

Points for answers:

Andrei wins an electronic bunch of Christmas lillies (like these grown by Graevdodger)  a bonus for the video and four answers right (but not the reason for the questions – they were prompted by ruminations on Nelson Mandela who had plenty of motivation to hate but preached – and modelled – forgiveness).

Alwyn got three.

Answers follow the break.

Read the rest of this entry »


Revolutionising the wheel

December 13, 2013

It’s not reinventing the wheel but it is revolutionising it:

Hat tip: CoNZervative


It might be protein . . .

December 13, 2013

I’m not sure if it’s food or medicine.

It might be protein but I don’t want to eat rooster testicles:


Two yes votes

December 13, 2013

Voting papers for the politicians’ initiated referendum with the misleading question had to be in the post by yesterday to count.

“To have your say in the referendum you need to get your voting papers in the post by this Thursday 12 December,” says Robert Peden, Chief Electoral Officer. . .

As of Friday 6 December 1,126,448 voting papers had been received by the Returning Officer.

Ours weren’t among those received last week.

The waste of money involved and the subversion of what’s supposed to be a citizen’s initiated process by Green and Labour politicians who said the last election was a referendum on the issue was putting us off.

But the feeling that the right to vote come with the responsibility to do so spurred us on and two yes votes went back.

Preliminary results will be announced this evening.

nov 13 007


I had a Black Dog . . .

December 13, 2013

. . .  his name was Depression.

The video is based on the book I had a Black Dog by Matthew Johnstone.

This post has nothing to do with the previous one on Black Friday.

I came across the video on Facebook, shared it, realised it was appreciated and thought it deserved a wider audience.


It’s Black Friday . . .

December 13, 2013

are you worried?

The BBC has 10 things you didn’t know about it.

 


Marlborough Sounds ‘paradise for fish farming’

December 13, 2013

Legal action over fish farming in the Marlborough Sounds is wasting millions a Scottish fish-farming expert who is advising New Zealand King Salmon and its opponents says.

His advice is to put conflict behind them and work together towards industry guidelines.

The Marlborough Sounds were a paradise for fish farming with no salmon pests and diseases, said Kenny Black on a visit to King Salmon farms in Queen Charlotte Sound and Tory Channel yesterday.

This week Professor Black will help the Marlborough District Council work out best practices for salmon farming and guidelines for monitoring, with input from the Ministry for Primary Industries, scientists monitoring farm compliance, the Sounds Advisory Group and Catriona Macleod, of the University of Tasmania.

Millions of dollars had been wasted as King Salmon applied for space to build new farms, Prof Black said. In a legal setting, parties were obliged to take a certain stand and avoid compromise.

Now they could take the more-mature approach of working together towards protocols that regulated the environment while being fair to all parties, he said.

The Scottish fish-farming industry had moved on from friction in the 1990s, since working together on a ministerial working group of all stakeholders. King Salmon’s Te Pangu and Clay Point farms in Tory Channel were “the way of the future with no big waves and a cracking current”, Prof Black said.

The company might offer to relinquish consents for less productive farms, in return for Tory Channel becoming a fin-fish farming area, he suggested. . .

Communication almost always leads to better outcomes than conflict and legal action.

Both parties need to set emotion and animosity aside and use a scientific approach.

That should allow some expansion of fish farming without degrading water quality.

 


Rogue candidates

December 13, 2013

A Labour candidate in the first Auckland super city election has been found guilty of two of the 18 electoral fraud charges he faced.

Daljit Singh has been on trial in the High Court at Auckland on 20 charges of using forged documents to increase his chances of winning a seat on his local board. . . .

A former Green candidate was in the news this week for malicious tweets:

. . . Max Coyle, a former Green Party candidate, responded to Justice Minister Collins, saying: “Go kill yourself you despicable human”.

The tweet has since been deleted, but other similar remarks remain on his page. . .

All parties run the risk of rogue candidates.

They can’t control or be held responsible for everything a candidate does.

They have no responsibility for and even less control over former ones.

But they do have a responsibility to vet prospective candidates carefully, school them properly in the what they can and can’t do and, while they are standing on their ticket, monitor what they do.

The vetting and schooling are the most important steps because monitoring isn’t easy when most party workers and candidates are volunteers and a lot of what they do has to be taken on trust.

 

 


Reparation but no revenge

December 13, 2013

It’s easy to understand why the families of the men who perished in the Pike River mine are angry.

Anger is part of grief and it must be particularly difficult to deal with when they know the deaths should have been avoidable.

Their anger has been refuelled by the announcement that 12 health and safety charges laid against Pike River mine boss Peter Whittall were have been dropped.

The two survivors and families of those who died will share $3.4 million in reparation.

They were asking for that from the government but now they’re angry that it’s coming from an insurance company.

They’re also angry that they’re not getting justice.

It’s understandable they can’t see through their grief to the logic of not pursuing a case which had little chance of success.

Crown lawyer Mark Zarifeh told Christchurch District Court on Thursday that much of the evidence gathered by the department would have been inadmissible, due to many witnesses being overseas and not making themselves available to be cross-examined. Because they are overseas, it would not have been possible to require them to attend the trial.

Mr Zarifeh said a trial lasting 16 to 20 weeks in Wellington would also be very expensive and not the best use of limited resources.

Mr Whittall and other directors and officers of Pike River Coal have offered to make a voluntary compensation payment of $3.4 million to the families of the victims and two men who survived the blast, about $110,000 each. It is money from the directors’ own insurance that would have been spent on a defence.

The lawyer representing Pike River families told Radio New Zealand’s Checkpoint programme the chances of getting the decision not to prosecute Mr Whittall reversed are next to zero. Nick Davidson says he finds it appalling that no-one has been found responsible and the case has disintegrated over the passage of time. . . .

Its’ understandable that the families feel this is unjust and unfair.

They wanted someone to be held responsible and feel that the findings of the Royal Commission, which laid blame at several doors, was not enough.

But wasting millions of dollars and several months on court action that was likely to fail wouldn’t result in justice or fairness either.

There’s talk of further litigation which would simply waste more time and money.

The families have got the reparation they sought. They haven’t got revenge but there’s no guarantee a court would deliver that anyway.

They haven’t got what they wanted but they have got some money.

It won’t bring their men back nor compensate for their loss.

But it will make their lives a little easier and if they can get over their anger, they will come to understand that they’ll only compound the tragedy of their men’s deaths if they don’t make the most of the lives and opportunities, denied to those who died, but there ahead of those who remain.

This might be a little less difficult if unions and politicians would stop pouring petrol on the fire for their own, political ends.

Opposition MPs have condemned the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s decision to drop charges against former Pike River boss Peter Whittall.

They say a decision in the case should have been decided in court not be left up to some “back-room deal between lawyers” to decide whether someone was guilty or not. . .

Whittall’s lawyer Stacey Shortall said said any suggestion the payment offer from the Pike directors was in return for the charges being dropped was “absolutely wrong”.

In court, Judge Jane Farish stressed to media there had been no back-room deal.

But Opposition MPs and the Council of Trade Unions (CTU) argue otherwise . . .

The families’ anger is the normal and natural reaction to their loss.

The unions’ and politicians’ anger is merely fuelling the flames for their own ends.


December 13 in history

December 13, 2013

558 – King Chlothar I reunited the Frankish Kingdom after his brother Childebert I has died. He became sole ruler of the Franks.

1294 – Saint Celestine V resigned the papacy after only five months; Celestine hoped to return to his previous life as an ascetic hermit.

1545 – Council of Trent began.

1577 Sir Francis Drake set out from Plymouth, on his round-the-world voyage.

1642  Towards noon the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman sighted ‘a large land, uplifted high’. This was the first recorded sighting of New Zealand by a European.

First recorded European sighting of NZ

1643 – English Civil War: The Battle of Alton.

1769 Dartmouth College was founded by the Rev. Eleazar Wheelock, with a Royal Charter from King George III.

1816 Ernst Werner von Siemens, German engineer, inventor, and industrialist, was born (d. 1892).

1903 Carlos Montoya, Spanish guitarist, was born (d. 1993).

1906 Sir Laurens van der Post, South African author, was born  (d. 1996).

1925 Dick Van Dyke, American actor and comedian was born.

1929 Christopher Plummer, Canadian actor, was born.

1936 Prince Karim Aga Khan (Aga Khan IV), Imam (leader) of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims, was born.

1939 Eric Flynn, British actor and singer, was born (d. 2002).

1939 Battle of the River Plate : At 6.21 a.m. on 13 December 1939, the cruiser HMS Achilles opened fire on the German ‘pocket battleship’ Admiral Graf Spee in the South Atlantic. It became the first New Zealand unit to strike a blow at the enemy in the Second World War.

Battle of the River Plate

1948 Jeff Baxter, American guitarist (Steely Dan, The Doobie Brothers) was born.

1949 Paula Wilcox, English actress, was born.

1954 Tamora Pierce, American author, was born.

1959 Archbishop Makarios became the first President of Cyprus.

1960 – While Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia visited Brazil, his Imperial Bodyguard seized the capital and proclaimed him deposed and his son, Crown Prince Asfa Wossen, Emperor.

1961 Irene Saez, Miss Universe 1981 and Venezuelan politician, was born.

1967 – Constantine II of Greece attempted an unsuccessful counter-coup against the Regime of the Colonels.

1974 Malta became a republic.

1979 – The Canadian Government of Prime Minister Joe Clark was defeated in the House of Commons, prompting the 1980 Canadian election.

1981 General Wojciech Jaruzelski declared martial law in Poland to prevent dismantling of the communist system by Solidarity.

1989 – Attack on Derryard checkpoint: The Provisional Irish Republican Army launched an attack on a British Army permanent vehicle checkpoint near Rosslea. Two British soldiers were killed and one badly wounded.

1996 Kofi Annan was elected as Secretary-General of the United Nations.

2002 –  The European Union announced that Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia would become members from May 1, 2004.

2003  Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was captured near his home town of Tikrit.

2004 Former Chilean dictator, General Augusto Pinochet was put under house arrest, after being sued under accusations over 9 kidnapping actions and manslaughter. The house arrest was lifted the same day on appeal.

2006 – The Baiji, or Chinese River Dolphin, was pronounced extinct.

2011 – Murder-suicide in the city of Liège (Belgium), killing 6 and wounding 125 people at a Christmas market.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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