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If you’re making New Year’s resolutions, this could provide some inspiration:
Wet weather almost certainly wasn’t what most people were wanting for Christmas, but bad rain for holiday makers was good rain for farmers:
In the past few days, 49mm of rain has fallen in Dunedin city, 26mm at Dunedin airport, 21mm in Balclutha, 19mm in Oamaru, 1mm in Alexandra, 5mm in Queenstown and 2mm in Wanaka. . .
Federated Farmers Otago president Stephen Korteweg said rain of a week ago was good, but the Christmas rain had been even better, and meant farmers could relax over the holiday period.
”It’s exactly what we needed as we were heading in the direction of getting a bit grim.”
Some farmers had been weaning lambs early but there was not the quality feed for them and Clydevale dairy farmers were starting to feed silage to stock and move to 16-hour milking.
”The rain is just what the doctor ordered. The ultimate Christmas present.”
Rain in the run up to Christmas allowed farmers in our area to turn irrigators off providing a very welcome break at just the right time.
That said, orchardists won’t be as happy as pastoral farmers because rain can split fruit.
Labour did it’s best to make the 2008 election about trust.
They thought they could convince voters they wouldn’t be able to trust John Key.
Their plan didn’t work.
Whatever the party tries to campaign on this year it can’t be about trust because one of David Cunliffe’s big weaknesses is a reputation for talking out both sides of his mouth.
Fran O’Sullivan points to the problems this causes:
. . . Cunliffe also uses an essential duality – which has been accurately pin-pointed as “talking out of both sides of his mouth” – to try to assuage middle-class and politically adept New Zealanders that he doesn’t really mean all the tosh he threw as bait to Labour’s bedrock base to garner voting support during his leadership campaign.
What fascinates and frustrates is that it is difficult to work out which side of Cunliffe’s mouth will triumph if he ends up this time next year as Prime Minister.
Will it be the crusading politician who wants to bring down bloated plutocrats, raise the underclass up and cut the ground out from under particular corporates through legislative intervention?
Or will it be the more considered politician – an experienced former cabinet minister who is prepared to take advice and feedback from affected players instead of ramming decisions down their throats with a damn the consequences mentality? . . .
If Cunliffe can’t give the same, straight message to different audiences, he’s going to have a very big job convincing voters he can be trusted.
The tosh he gave supporters while campaigning to be leader might work for the die-hard party faithful but it’s no substitute for trust.
And that tosh will be a much harder sell for the wider public when so many indicators are showing the policies Cunliffe and his party have fought tooth and nail against are turning the economy around.
If swinging or undecided voters ask themselves who they trust it’s unlikely to be Cunliffe.
If they ask which party is most likely to deliver better economic conditions, the answer isn’t going to be Labour, especially when it would be in coalition with the Green party whose economic credentials are even more questionable.
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.
1170 Thomas Becket: Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, was assassinated inside Canterbury Cathedral by followers of King Henry II; he subsequently becomes a saint and martyr in the Anglican Church and the Roman Catholic Church.
1508 – Portuguese forces under the command of Francisco de Almeida attacked Khambhat at the Battle of Dabul.
1721 Madame de Pompadour, mistress of King Louis XV of France, was born (d. 1764).
1800 Charles Goodyear, American inventor, was born (d. 1860).
1809 William Ewart Gladstone, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born (d. 1898).
1835 The Treaty of New Echota was signed, ceding all the lands of the Cherokee east of the Mississippi River to the United States.
1876 The Ashtabula River Railroad bridge disaster left 64 injured and 92 dead at Ashtabula, Ohio.
1880 Tuhiata, or Tuhi, was hanged in Wellington for the murder of the artist Mary Dobie at Te Namu Bay, Opunake. Tuhi wrote to the Governor days before his execution asking that ‘my bad companions, your children, beer, rum and other spirits die with me’.
1911 Sun Yat-sen became the provisional President of the Republic of China.
1911 Mongolia gained independence from the Qing dynasty.
1936 Mary Tyler Moore, American actress was born.
1939 First flight of the Consolidated B-24.
1975 A bomb exploded at La Guardia Airport in New York City, killing 11 people and injuring 74.
1989 Václav Havel was elected president of Czechoslovakia – the first non-Communist to attain the post in more than four decades.
1997 – Hong Kong began to kill all the nation’s 1.25 million chickens to stop the spread of a potentially deadly influenza strain.
1998 Leaders of the Khmer Rouge apologised for the 1970s genocide in Cambodia that claimed over 1 million.
2003 The last known speaker of Akkala Sami – died, rendering the language that was spoken in the Sami villages of A´kkel and Ču´kksuâl, in the inland parts of the Kola Peninsula in Russia extinct.
2006 – UK settled its Anglo-American loan – post WWII loan debt.
Sourced from NZ HIstory Online & Wikipedia.
Eleutheromania – an intense or excessive desire for or obsession with freedom; a mania or frantic passion for freedom.
Huge solar power system to milk cows – Gerald Piddock:
Hugh and Sue Chisholm are turning to solar power to help run a more sustainable dairy business.
The Putaruru farmers are installing one of the country’s largest solar powered systems ever to be used on a dairy farm on their dairy shed near Putaruru.
The 28kW photovoltaic (PV) system has 112 solar panels on the roof of the Chisholm’s 64-bale rotary shed as well as two Fronius IG 150 V3 inverters.
Chisholm said the capital cost of the system was a smart investment, and part of an improvement plan for their farm. . .
Sharemilkers not bad people, just bad bosses – Jon Morgan:
Immigration adviser Lyn Sparks is blaming a rise in corporate-owned dairy farms for an increase in workers’ complaints about poor working conditions.
The Christchurch-based adviser says the biggest offenders are some corporate-owned farms run by sharemilkers.
However, he believes there are more good employers than bad in dairying.
“The bad ones are not bad people,” he says. “They just don’t know how to manage.”
But a contract milker says there are just as many bad employees in dairying as bad employers. . .
Sorry tale of swaps no one understood – Fiona Rotherham:
It has been a victory – of sorts – for farmers with the Commerce Commission last week saying it intended filing court action next March against the ANZ, ASB and Westpac banks for “misrepresenting” the sale of interest rate swap loans to rural customers.
I say a victory of sorts because there’s a lot of water under the bridge yet to get compensation for farmers, some of whom ended up more heavily indebted and losing their land.
Sold between 2005 and 2008, interest rate swaps were marketed to farmers as a way to beat rising interest rates. When the global financial crisis hit in 2008 farmers with swaps saw the interest they were paying rise when rates were falling rapidly elsewhere. The banks charged huge break fees for those wanting to exit the swaps. . . .
Bank claims farmer swaps compo call ‘too late’ – Rob Stock:
ANZ says the three-year limitation period has passed under the Fair Trading Act for the Commerce Commission to obtain compensation for farmers who were mis-sold interest rate swaps.
That, the bank warned, meant the commission “will now have to attempt a novel and uncharted method to obtain compensation if it takes the court route.”
The bank’s written statement comes in the wake of the news last week that the commission would launch legal action next March under the Act against ANZ, Westpac and ASB for the sale of the swaps between 2005 and 2008. It is also investigating another bank, not yet named, that also sold swaps and may be joined to the action. . .
Postie’s long run of deliveries nears an end – Lauren Hayes:
After 53 years, millions of kilometres, thousands of early mornings and an unthinkable amount of petrol, a Winton postie is calling it a day.
At 21, Ray Cosgrove used his savings to buy into a Central Southland rural delivery run, and began loading letters into a Hansa station wagon. The Hansa might be long gone and the delivery route altered but, more than half a century later, Mr Cosgrove and his wife, Debbie, are still delivering mail to rural Southlanders.
Mr Cosgrove bought the rural run in September 1960 and stepping into the role was not as easy as many people, including the urban posties, often thought, he said. . .
Year in review – March – Rebecca Harper:
The drought was really hurting rural communities and the bill started to mount for the primary sector with drought declarations coming thick and fast. The entire North Island was eventually declared as being in drought along with the West Coast of the South Island. Dairy production took a hit and the first talk about a merger between the two largest meat co-operatives, Alliance and Silver Fern Farms, started, as farmers looked for the causes of low lamb prices.
This was quickly followed by a call from the newly-formed Meat Industry Excellence Group, a group of lower South Island farmers, for meat-sector consolidation. A meeting in Gore to gauge support and discuss possible reform of the red meat industry attracted 1000 farmers and Alliance chairman Owen Poole put the cost of consolidation at $600 million. . .
A student was working in a bar during her holidays and sometimes struggled to hear the customers over the noise of the loud band.
But she was doing well until one ordered seven young blondes.
She decided it must be a cocktail and asked one of the more experienced staff how to make it.
He said he’d never heard of it and suggested she ask the customer to list the ingredients.
She did this and he said, “Grapes.”
“Just grapes?” she asked.
“Yes, just grapes,” he replied.
Deciding honesty was the best policy she said, “I’m sorry I’ve never heard of a cocktail called seven young blondes and I don’t know any made with just grapes.”
The customer looked puzzled and said, “I don’t want a cocktail, I ordered wine. Then slowly and carefully he said, “Sauvignon blanc.”
Sam Judd writes on 10 top natural holiday destinations in the South Island.
I’m not going to argue that any don’t deserve to be there. The problem is, 10 isn’t enough.
I didn’t even have to think to come up with three more:
* North Otago for the little blue penguins, Moeraki, Vanished World fossil trail – included on which are the wonderful Elephant Rocks – Dansey’s Pass . . .
* The Mackenzie Country including the starlight park at Tekapo.
* Wanaka – the lake, river, bush, hills, mountains, Mt Aspiring National Park . . .
Ten definitely isn’t enough.
There will be an election next year.
Barring unexpected events it’s likely to be towards the end of the year.
2008 2011 Prime Minister John Key announced the election date in February which removed one of the uncertainties.
However, even if he makes an early announcement on the date again next year, other uncertainties remain aren’t good for business.
The general election in New Zealand next year is starting to weigh on the nation’s equity market and is also likely to weaken business confidence and the exchange rate, brokerage First NZ Capital said.
The election, to be held between September and November 2014, is expected to be an extremely close result between a National-led government and a Labour/Green coalition, First NZ said in a note, citing recent political poll results.
“The potential formation of a Labour/Green coalition government is likely to weigh on the performance of the New Zealand equity market and is already starting to impact performance,” the brokerage said. “The re-election of the incumbent National-led government would likely be greeted positively by investors and give rise to a rebound in the market.”
Stocks most likely to be negatively affected by a change of government are in the energy utilities sector such as Contact Energy, Meridian Energy, MightyRiverPower and TrustPower as well as those with regulatory risk including SkyCity Entertainment Group and Chorus, First NZ said.
Those most likely to benefit from a change include exporters such as Fisher & Paykel Healthcare and Sanford which would receive an earnings boost from a lower exchange rate, while Fletcher Building and Methven would benefit from Labour/Greens housing initiatives, the brokerage said.
That’s a very shallow analysis.
A lower dollar would help give higher export returns but it also pushes up costs of imports including fuel, machinery and raw materials.
It would also make the cost of repaying foreign debt higher and put pressure on wages.
Another very big risk from a change in government is more and higher taxes and less flexible employment law.
All of that would feed inflation which and push up interest rates which would add to the cost of doing business and impact on competitiveness.
It’s not just business which faces uncertainty next year.
The CEO of a charity which receives contracts from a ministry said that election year always makes life difficult as there is growing reluctance from government departments to make decisions when a change in government could result in significant policy changes.
This election year uncertainty is a strong argument for a four-year parliamentary term.
There would still be the costs and constraints of elections, but there would be one more year in each election cycle without them.
Friday’s ODT had an interesting advertisement:
The New Zealand Labour Party wishes to advise all Electorate, Branch and Affiliated members that nominations for the Dunedin South constituency remain open. The closing date has been amended and is now February 28 2014.
Does this mean that sitting MP Clare Curran isn’t standing or that she’s standing but not wanted and the party’s hoping for other nominations?
Or does it just mean there’s been a muck-up and no-one’s been nominated at all?
Whatever the answer this is most unusual in what was once a dark red seat.
However, at the last election it was more purple – National won the party vote and its candidate Jo Hayes, who will enter parliament on the list when Katrina Shanks retires next month, made a serious dent in Curran’s majority.
Hat tip: Pete George
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.
457– Majorian was crowned emperor of the Western Roman Empire and recognised by Pope Leo I.
1065 Westminster Abbey was consecrated.
1635 Princess Elizabeth of England was born (d. 1650).
1768 King Taksin‘s coronation achieved through conquest as a king of Thailand and established Thonburi as a capital.
1795 Construction of Yonge Street, the longest street in the world, began in York, Upper Canada (present-day Toronto.
1836 – Spain recognised the independence of Mexico.
1856 Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States, Nobel laureate, was born (d. 1924).
1867 United States claimed Midway Atoll, the first territory annexed outside Continental limits.
1879 The Tay Bridge Disaster: The central part of the Tay Rail Bridge in Dundee, Scotland collapsed as a train passed over it, killing 75.
1879 Billy Mitchell, American military aviation pioneer was born (d. 1936).
1908 An earthquake rocked Messina, Sicily killing over 75,000.
1934 Dame Maggie Smith, British actress, was born.
1945 The United States Congress officially recognised the Pledge of Allegiance.
1950 The Peak District became the United Kingdom’s first National Park.
1953 Richard Clayderman, French pianist, was born.
1954 Denzel Washington, American actor, was born.
1956 Nigel Kennedy, British violinist, was born.
1989 A magnitude 5.6 earthquake hit Newcastle, New South Wales, killing 13 people.
1999 Saparmurat Niyazov was proclaimed President for Life in Turkmenistan.
2009 43 people died in a suicide bombing in Karachi, Pakistan, where Shia Muslims were observing the Day of Ashura.
2010 – Arab Spring: Popular protests began in Algeria against the government.
2011 – Uludere airstrike: Turkish warplanes bombed 34 Kurds of Turkish nationality in the district of Uludere.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.
Alexithymia – difficulty identifying feelings and distinguishing between feelings and the bodily sensations of emotional arousal; difficulty in experiencing, expressing, and describing emotional responses; a personality construct characterised by the sub-clinical inability to identify and describe emotions.
Sustainably supplying native beech – Simon Hartley:
New Zealand’s largest supplier of Southland beech for the residential and commercial construction market is seeing increasing acceptance of the use of the native timber by architects.
While architects and homeowners may have been showing reluctance in using some native species, Southland beech is harvested by Lindsay and Dixon under a Ministry of Primary Industries sustainable management plan and carries independent certification from the Forestry Stewardship Council.
The fine-grained medium-density hardwood has featured recently in finishings in the Supreme Court building in Wellington, Air New Zealand’s Koru lounge in Christchurch and Auckland’s Novotel Hotel.
Tuatapere-based sawmiller Lindsay and Dixon, in western Southland, is a Southland beech supplier certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. . .
Hooked on meat: there’s no easy way to end the global habit – Michael Parker,
Raising livestock accounts for the largest single land-use on Earth. Cattle, sheep and goats, pigs and poultry occupy around 30% of the planet’s land area not covered in ice, generate 40% of the world’s agricultural GDP, provide livelihoods for 1.3 billion people, and nourishment for 800m people who would otherwise go without.
Despite this massive environmental, economic and social impact on the world, it is not a thoroughly studied industry. The results of a four-year livestock study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences compiles worldwide data that reveal the important role of livestock. While the study lays out the industry’s considerable greenhouse gas emissions, it also shows that demands to reduce numbers and meat consumption will come with unwanted consequences. . .
Venture Southland considers oat push – Allison Rudd:
Economic development organisation Venture Southland hopes to know soon whether it has been able to attract external funding for an ambitious project to develop a high-value oat production and food processing industry in the province.
The project could eventually include establishment of an oat milk plant. . .
Would you pay A$9 for six mushrooms in inner-city Melbourne? Or A$4.50 for one small piece of broccoli or cauliflower in Sydney?
Probably not – but this is what rural Australians are being asked to fork out for their fresh produce.
Farmer confidence up; still gulf: survey – Sally Rae:
New Zealand farmer confidence has continued to edge higher, but the gulf between dairy farmers and sheep and beef farmers in terms of self-assessed viability continues, the latest Rabobank rural confidence survey shows.
The final survey for the year showed confidence slightly up on the already high levels of last quarter.
The most significant gain was among horticultural producers, encouraged by an increase in prices, underpinned by strong global demand in key export markets.
Only 5% of farmers had a negative outlook for the year ahead, down 1% on the last quarter. . . .
Year in review – February – Rebecca Harper:
The dung beetle debate started with scientists and health experts raising concerns about health risks if the beetles were released in the country. Cue spirited debate about the merits of dung beetles, whether they posed a risk to human health and whether they had already been released years ago anyway.
The headline “Parched paddocks and pitiful prices” pretty well summed up the sentiment among sheep farmers with little rain, a depressed store lamb market, devalued breeding ewes and the prime lamb schedule plummeting. . .
The twerking was bad enough, but Miley Cyrus has come up with something worse:
Follow the link if you want to. It’s on TV3’s news site but it’s not the sort of thing I’d expect to see in news while children were watching.
No doubt it’s designed to get publicity as it has – and I thought long and hard about posting on it because I realised I was giving it more.
I decided to do so because I’m increasingly concerned about the lyrics in popular music and the videos which promote them which are normalising lower and lower standards of behaviour.
Things which used to be considered private are becoming acceptable in public; illegal or immoral acts are no longer considered aberrant and if you raise so much as an eyebrow at them you’re considered a prude.
That being the case I’ll accept the label and be grateful there are still some singers like Sol3 Mio who sell records simply by singing and some parents who know teenagers need boundaries:
. . . THE REAL LORDE: My name is Ella, that’s who I am at school, hanging out with friends, while I’m doing homework. But when I’m up on stage, Lorde is a character. . .
FINDING TIME FOR HIGH SCHOOL: My parents are really onto it; they know what young people need. My mum takes my iPhone off me at night, because I need to do homework and sleep, otherwise I’d spend all night on Facebook and Instagram. . . .
The driver of this car was heading east.
He said he went to sleep.
The driver of a vehicle going in the opposite direction saw the car swerve into the gravel, hit a bank, fly into the air, cross the road, go over the fence without breaking a wire and come to rest on its side facing west.
If the other vehicle had been a second closer, if this car had hit a post or if the driver hadn’t been wearing a seat belt, at least one person would have been severely injured or dead.
As it is the driver had no serious injuries and no-one else was hurt.
Sometimes your number’s up, sometimes it isn’t.
Questions are being raised over Len Brown continuing to be a JP.
But Alan Hart from the registrar for the Royal Association of JPs says it’s not that simple.
. . . “Whilst individually we find difficulty in how they reconcile that behaviour with being a JP, it’s not wrong,” he says. “It’s not legally wrong, it’s not morally wrong, it’s just people behaving as people do.” . . .
Len Brown’s actions may not have been legally wrong but I beg to differ with Mr Hart over whether they’re morally wrong and while it might be what some people do, that doesn’t make it acceptable.
That ought to matter when a JP:
. . . should be of good standing in the community (which is not to be identified with material prosperity), and should be respected as persons of good sense, character and integrity.
The problem is that Brown is a JP because he is mayor.
. . . Mr Hart said that JPs appointed as a result of their roles were not covered by the federation’s rules, including its code of conduct.
He can’t be sacked as mayor and as long as he’s a mayor he’s a JP even though he’s clearly demonstrated his standards aren’t those not just expected but required of other people holding the office.
537 The Hagia Sophia was completed.
1571 Johannes Kepler, German astronomer, was born (d. 1630).
1773 George Cayley, English scientist, inventor, and politician, was born (d. 1857).
1822 Louis Pasteur, French scientist, was born (d. 1895).
1836 The worst ever avalanche in England occured at Lewes, Sussex, killing 8 people.
1901 Marlene Dietrich, German actress and singer, was born (d. 1992).
1915 William Masters, American gynecologist, was born (d. 2001).
1918 The Great Poland Uprising against the Germans began.
1922 Japanese aircraft carrier Hōshō became the first purpose built aircraft carrier to be commissioned in the world.
1932 Radio City Music Hall opened in New York City.
1941 Michael Pinder, British musician (Moody Blues), was born .
1943 Joan Manuel Serrat, Spanish musician, was born.
1945 The World Bank was created with the signing of an agreement by 28 nations.
1948 Gérard Depardieu, French actor, was born.
1949 Indonesian National Revolution: The Netherlands officially recognised Indonesian independence.
1968 Apollo Program: Apollo 8 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, ending the first orbital manned mission to the Moon.
1951 Ernesto Zedillo, President of Mexico, was born.
1955 Brad Murphey, Australian racing driver, was born.
1978 Spain became a democracy after 40 years of dictatorship.
1979 Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan.
1987 Rewi Alley, friend of China, died of heart failure and cerebral thrombosis at his Beijing residence.
2001 The People’s Republic of China was granted permanent normal trade relations with the United States.
2007 – Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated by a suicide bomber.
2008 – Israel launched 3-week operation on Gaza – Operation Cast Lead.
2009 – On the Day of Ashura in Tehran, government security forces fired upon demonstrators.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.