Word of the day

December 14, 2013

 Androcracy –  a social or political system dominated or ruled by men.


4/10

December 14, 2013

Only 4/10 in NBR’s Biz Quiz.


Rural roundup

December 14, 2013

Storm-hit farmers feel heat – Annette Scott:

Repairs to wind-battered irrigation systems are progressing but for many Canterbury farmers being back on tap will come too late.

Delayed irrigation has reached crisis point and the economic consequences could rival last year’s drought.

The picture is grim for farmers whose irrigators require complicated rebuilds.

Cropping farmers in particular are counting lost dollars by the day because crops desperately need water. . .

Cottingley and Bradford wool firm spins a successful yarn – Chris Holland:

It used to be said that for woolmen ‘every silver lining has a cloud’ but that’s certainly doesn’t apply to Martin Curtis and his team at Curtis Wools Direct, the Cottingley-based wool merchants he runs with his brother Simon and which owns Howarth Scouring and Combing in Bradford.

Wool may be as old as the hills – and the scale of the processing that produced much of Bradford’s wealth is miniscule compared with the industry’s heyday – but optimism and evangelism about the qualities of this natural fibre and its commercial future dominate their thinking. . .

Raw milk all the rage – Laird Harper:

A milk revolution is bubbling up in Taranaki.

Touted as being a “powerhouse food”, raw cow’s milk keeps many vitamins, enzymes and probiotics often considered lost in the processing plant.

But it’s not a concept lost on Dolly’s Milk owners Peter and Margaret Dalziel, and Cindy and Kevin Death.

Hunting for something new, the group stumbled across the idea while flicking through a magazine.

And as they researched the rules and ways to safely distribute the product, they knew they had to get out in front of this fledgling industry. . . .

Raw milk option expands into South Canterbury – Jacqui Webby:

South Canterbury consumers looking for a choice in the type of milk they use will soon have another option.

Early next year, Timaru dairy farmers Stu and Andrea Weir, and son Mitch, will open a raw-milk outlet at their property in Fairview Rd.

The couple, who milk a herd of about 200 mainly friesian cows, have long been interested in the concept of fresh raw milk and were quick to initiate franchise discussions to open a Timaru outlet with Nelson-based Village Milk. . . .

Bumper Fonterra pay-out boosts farm values at auctions:

Fonterra’s bumper payout for dairy milk solids has underpinned the multi-million dollar sale of two large scale dairy conversion farms in Northern Hawke’s Bay.

The two farms sold for a combined value of more than $12.5million after some hectic bidding in the auction room of Bayleys Napier last week – with multiple parties bidding on each of the properties. Some 58 farmers, stock managers, accountants and rural banking specialists from across the Hawke’s Bay were in the auction room to watch proceedings.

Bidding on the 351 hectare Ben Alpin farm opened at $3.9million. After 16 bids from four potential buyers, the property sold under the hammer for $5.020million. . .

Synlait Milk expects to outperform financial targets:

Synlait Milk expects to outperform financial targets on the basis of a favourable product mix.

Current international dairy commodity price differentials are larger than usual, and continue to favour Synlait’s milk powder and AMF dominant product mix. The company expects that ongoing demand, particularly from China, will mean that this will be maintained for much of the current season.

While it is still early in the season, recent announcements also make it clear that the current season’s milk price is likely to be less than the company was expecting.

John Penno said that Synlait’s policy is to pay our contract suppliers a fair market price.  . .

Strong finish for Young Farmer at Rural Ambassador competition:

New Zealand Young Farmers Vice-Chairman Cam Lewis finished runner up at the recent trans-Tasman Rural Ambassador competition in Feilding, 6-8 December.

The top honour and a $5000 travel grant were awarded to Prue Capp, an equine dentist from New South Wales, and in third place was Samantha Neumann from South Australia.

Mr Lewis, a dairy farmer from Levin, keeps the kiwi success in this competition going strong. The 2012 winner was another Young Farmer member and 2013 ANZ Young Farmer Contest Champion, Tim Van de Molen.

Mr Lewis won the Royal Agricultural Society’s Rural Young Achiever Award at the RAS Conference in Christchurch earlier this year and was the only representation from New Zealand in the Rural Ambassador competition. The other six competitors were the top Australian state finalists. . .

And from the Farming Show:

 The Farming Show's photo.

Divide and conquer

December 14, 2013


Chore

December 14, 2013

From Peterson Farm Bros:

 


Selected on merit?

December 14, 2013

The Labour Party is selecting candidates for several electorates this weekend.

The Gore Ensign reports the Clutha Southland candidate will be selected by a panel of senior labour Party representatives and some local members.

There is only one candidate for that position and while party secretary Tim Barnett wouldn’t confirm this, it is thought to be a health researcher Elizabeth Craig.

This is a very blue seat and even though incumbent MP Bill English isn’t standing again, odds heavily favour the National Party candidate, whoever s/he will be.

Because of that it’s unlikely there was much competition for the Labour candidacy.

Other seats will be more hotly contested and because of the party’s female quota there will be a question over any women selected – did they get there on merit?

Are they there because they will be the best candidates or because they are women?

That won’t always be the same thing.

Of course candidates – men and women – aren’t always the best people, but that’s not usually a result of a policy determined to select anyone but the best.

And the policy raises another question – does it comply with electoral law which requires candidates to be selected by democratic processes?


Delusion and hypocrisy

December 14, 2013

Mike Hosking’s award for for financial delusion using other people’s money goes to the Wellington City Council committee which voted for the living wage plan.

. . . Let’s just work through how this will unfold. Wellington City Council will pay their contractors their perception of this ‘living wage’. What then happens is two fold.

Firstly everyone else who does similar work will want the same pay rate, thus putting pressure on companies that can’t afford it given they don’t have the luxury of a fiscal well that can be drawn from at any given moment. Spending money is always easy when it isn’t your own.

After that happens, everyone will want more because you will have created a fiscal distortion in the workplace. And once everyone has stuck their hand up, all of a sudden it won’t be a living wage anymore. It will just be a wage that lots of people get. And given they’ve got it, they’ll spend it. And when they spend it, it will drive inflation up, which will lead to price increases, which will lead to the same clowns who started it saying “jeez, that wage isn’t going as far as it used to, so we’ll top it up again”. . .

 Anyway, the upshot is all this is going to do is add a cost to doing business. When you do that, the consumer ends up paying or people start losing their jobs. . .

If businesses want to adopt a living wage for their employees, that’s their business and their money.

Councils have very little of their own money. They might make a bit more from council owned companies and recover costs from some activities but most of what they have is what’s earned by and paid to them by ratepayers.

Some of them are businesses which might want to pay their own staff more but can’t afford to do so.

One of the businesses that doesn’t is owned by a councillor who voted for the policy:

It wasn’t within the rules, but new councillor Nicola Young attempted to make a point about the living wage with an amendment yesterday.

Before voting against the living wage plan, Ms Young tried to move “that all councillors who support implementation of the living wage assure us that they will pay the living wage to their employees – including cleaners, baby-sitters, gardeners – with the same implementation date as Wellington City Council”.

The move followed fellow fresh councillor Mark Peck – who supported the living wage – admitting that he did not pay all his hospitality staff $18.40 – “and I won’t”. . .

Jordan Williams of the Taxpayers Union responded:

“Some councillors supported charging ratepayers more to pay a living wage for council employees when they won’t do the same for their own staff.”
 
“In the case of Cr Mark Peck his reported comments suggest that he can afford to pay his hospitality staff a living wage but just ‘won’t’.”
 
“That is shameful. He is happy for Wellington ratepayers, including those living in poverty, to pay more for something he doesn’t see the value of.”
 
“It’s a case of hypocritical politicians spending other people’s money on something they won’t. So much for Cr Peck being a steward of ratepayers’ money.”

So there we have it the financially deluded and hypocritical are running the capital city.

Those of us who live there can only hope the delusion and hypocrisy is stopped at the full council meeting and the rest of us will hope it doesn’t spread any further.


Bring in the AG

December 14, 2013

Fran O’Sullivan is calling for the Auditor General to open a wider inquiry into Len Brown’s abuse of his position.

If he had any skerrick of honour left, Len Brown would by now have tendered his resignation as mayor to the people of Auckland.

It is absolutely clear that Brown has obtained multiple private benefits by virtue of his position as Mayor of Auckland.

It’s now time for Auditor-General Lyn Provost to open up a much wider inquiry to satisfy Aucklanders – and New Zealanders at large – just where Brown’s abuse of his position stopped.

Brown is hopelessly compromised by the Ernst & Young (EY) report, finally released after lengthy “negotiations” between the mayor’s office and Auckland Council chief executive Doug McKay on just what would be made public from the review into the possible use of council resources during the mayor’s two-year affair with Bevan Chuang.  . .

Brown has clearly flouted Auckland Council disclosure guidelines and general standards. This is symptomatic of a politician who believes he is above the rules. The fact that he was a “no show” at yesterday’s press conference indicates Brown has no answers outside the carefully crafted but ridiculous spin that his bevy of well-paid mayoral office press people have been churning out in recent days to try to deflect attention from the damaging findings in the review. . . .

This isn’t just about Auckland.

The rest of the country might love to hate our biggest city but we understand its importance to the rest of the country.

A mayor whose mind – and morals – are elsewhere is not giving the job the concentration and dedication it requires.

This is not a man citizens can look up to. He is not a role model for children. His standards are not those of the leader the city deserves.

His infidelity is a matter for him and his wife. His acceptance of gifts he didn’t declare and failure to reimburse the extensive use of his work phone for private calls and texts, and other matters the Ernst & Young report didn’t cover, are public concerns.

New Zealand’s reputation for lack of corruption relies on proper investigation of any misuse of public resources and the Auditor General is the one who should do that.


9/10

December 14, 2013

9/10 in the Herald’s politics quiz (though question 9 repeats the answers to question 8, but I did know the name of the sportsman).


Saturday soapbox

December 14, 2013

Saturday’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.

I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death. – Nelson Mandela.


December 14 in history

December 14, 2013

557 – Constantinople was severely damaged by an earthquake.

835 – Sweet Dew Incident: Emperor Wenzong of the Tang Dynasty conspired to kill the powerful eunuchs of the Tang court, but the plot is foiled.

1287 St. Lucia’s flood: The Zuider Zee sea wall in the Netherlands collapsed, killing more than 50,000 people.

1503 Nostradamus, French astrologer, was born (d. 1566).

1542 Princess Mary Stuart became Queen Mary I of Scotland.

1751 The Theresian Military Academy was founded as the first Military Academy in the world.

1782  The Montgolfier brothers’ first balloon lifts on its first test flight.

1843 The first Auckland A&P Show was held.

First Auckland A and P Show

1895  King George VI was born (d. 1952).

1896 The Glasgow Underground Railway was opened by the Glasgow District Subway Company.

1900  Max Planck presented a theoretical derivation of his black-body radiation law.

1902 The Commercial Pacific Cable Company laid the first Pacific telegraph cable, from Ocean Beach, San Francisco to Honolulu, Hawaii.

1903 The Wright Brothers made their first attempt to fly with the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

1911  Roald Amundsen‘s team, Olav Bjaaland, Helmer Hanssen, Sverre Hassel, and Oscar Wisting and Amundsen, became the first to reach the South Pole.

1918 Friedrich Karl von Hessen, a German prince elected by the Parliament of Finland to become King Väinö I, renounces the Finnish throne.

1922 Don Hewitt, American creator of 60 Minutes, was born (d. 2009).

1932  Charlie Rich, American musician, was born (d. 1995).

1946 Patty Duke, American actress, was born.

1948  Kim Beazley, Australian politician, was born.

1949 Cliff Williams, English bassist (AC/DC), was born.

1951 – Lindsay Perigo, New Zealand broadcaster, first leader of Libertarianz Party, was born.

1958  The 3rd Soviet Antarctic Expedition became the first expedition to reach The Pole of Relative Inaccessibility in the Antarctic.

1958   Scottish singer-songwriter Mike Scott, (The Waterboys), was born.

1958 Spider Stacy, English musician (The Pogues), was born.

1960 – Ian Meckiff of Australia was run out by the West Indies, causing the first Tied Test in the history of cricket.

1962  NASA‘s Mariner 2 became the first spacecraft to fly by Venus.

1963 – Baldwin Hills Reservoir wall burst, killing five people and damaging hundreds of homes in Los Angeles.

1964  Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States – The United States Supreme Court rules that the U.S. Congress can use its Commerce Clause power to fight discrimination.

1972 Apollo programme: Eugene Cernan was the last person to walk on the moon, after he and Harrison Schmitt completed the third and final Extra-vehicular activity (EVA) of Apollo 17. This was the last manned mission to the moon of the 20th century.

1981  Israel‘s Knesset passes The Golan Heights Law, extending Israeli law to the area of the Golan Heights.

1994 Construction began on the Three Gorges Dam in the Yangtze River.

2004 The Millau viaduct, the highest bridge in the world, near Millau, France was officially opened.

2008 President George W. Bush made his fourth and final (planned) trip to Iraq as president and almost got struck by two shoes thrown at him by Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi during a farewell conference in Baghdad.

2012 – 28 people, including the gunman, were killed in a mass shooting in Sandy Hook village, Newtown, Connecticut.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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