Word of the day

January 22, 2014

Pococurante – indifferent; apathetic; nonchelant; caring little; one who doesn’t care.


Rural round-up

January 22, 2014

Rural contracting nears a billion-dollar-a-year industry:

New Zealand’s rural contracting industry contributed almost a billion dollars to the country’s economy last year, according to recently published research.

Rural Contractors New Zealand (RCNZ) says a report, prepared for it by research company Infometrics, shows that the rural contracting sector contributed some $947 million to New Zealand’s GDP in 2013.

“This research shows that the rural contracting industry is not only a major contributor to our all-important agri-sector, but also a strong and vital part of New Zealand’s over all economy,” says RCNZ chief executive Roger Parton.
This contribution to the national economy came from some 5255 registered rural contracting businesses. . . .

Hastings apple orchard attacked:

A Hastings fruit and vegetable grower is picking up the pieces after vandals destroyed 5,500 apple trees on one of his orchards.

Kulwant Singh says he arrived at the orchard one morning in November to find his 10 hectare apple block had been destroyed.

He says it was a deliberate attack by people who knew what they were doing.

He says 100 rows of trees had been cut or snapped in such a way as to destroy them. . .

Queenstown chef wins accolade – Hamish McLeod:

A Queenstown chef has been named one of New Zealand’s “culinary rockstars”.

Ben Batterbury, head chef at the True South Dining Room at the Rees Hotel in Queenstown, was one of five chefs awarded the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Ambassador Chef title, and was the only one from the south.

Beef + Lamb NZ communications manager Kim Doran said 2014 was the second year Mr Batterbury had received the title.

The five ambassadors were chosen from 164 recipients of the 2014 Beef and Lamb Excellence Award. . .

Gates speaks at ag innovation forum:

BILL GATES will call on participants to help create another agricultural revolution in our lifetime to support a world where most of the poorest are farmers.

He will speak upcoming Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA), which claims to be world’s largest showcase of game-changing agricultural innovations and technology.

The solutions-driven event and will run from February 3-5 at Abu Dhabi’s National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC). . .

 

 NSW mine licence cancellation emotional news for farmer – Lisa Herbert:

A Hunter Valley farmer who’s been fighting a nearby mine proposal for the past five years says the NSW Government’s decision to rip up the mining licence caught him by surprise.

Late yesterday afternoon Premier Barry O’Farrell announced the Government will introduce legislation to cancel the exploration licences for Doyles Creek, Mount Penny and Glendon Brook; mines that were at the centre of two high-profile corruption inquiries.

In December, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) recommended the cancellation. . .

Campaign touts benefits of wool:

An international wool industry leader is crediting the ongoing Campaign for Wool for raising awareness of the environmental benefits of the fibre.

Peter Ackroyd, chief operating officer of the campaign and president of the International Wool and Textile Organisation (IWTO), is in New Zealand to meet wool industry representatives.

He said the four-year-old campaign, under the patronage of Prince Charles, had focused on promoting the natural and sustainable attributes of wool over competing artificial fibres. . . .

Fonterra Issues Renminbi Bond to Support China Growth:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited announced today it has raised 1.25 billion Chinese renminbi (approximately NZD250 million) through a 5 year “dim sum” bond issue (Chinese renminbi raised offshore) as part of its ongoing commitment to developing its China business.

Fonterra Chief Financial Officer, Lukas Paravicini, said the funds raised from the dim sum bond issue will be used to further strengthen and support the growth of Fonterra’s businesses in China.

“Along with refinancing some of our existing China operations, we will also be using funds to support further growth in this market. This will include the further expansion of our consumer, foodservice and farming operations,” he said. . .

Mt Difficulty Wines
Six seeds in a berry – meant to be impossible! Going to be large berries and bunches this season… #‎pinotcentral‬ ‪#‎nzwine‬
Six seeds in a berry - meant to be impossible! Going to be large berries and bunches this season... #pinotcentral #nzwine

New marketing collaboration to grow Hawke’s Bay wine sales in China

Funding has been confirmed for a $500,000 three-year programme to increase awareness and sales of Hawke’s Bay wine into China.

Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers’ Inc., the regional organisation representing local grape growers and winemakers, has secured a dollar for dollar grant from the Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust (AGMARDT), an agribusiness trust, to get a collaborative China marketing project underway.

The programme includes up to nine education and tasting events per year in addition to PR and social media campaigns. . . .

#MondayMotivation Even in the cold and on holidays, our #Farmers & #Ranchers keep working!


International incident

January 22, 2014

As international incidents go, it’s pretty minor but this email exchange between an Australian immigrant and his North American (I think) neighbour did make me smile.

Be warned, as it escalates, the language deteriorates and might be considered NSFW.


Labour to stick with tax and spend prescription

January 22, 2014

Labour leader David Cunliffe has ditched the party policy to remove GST from fresh fruit and vegetables and exempt the first $5,000 of income from tax.

The GST proposal was never going to have a significant influence on the price of fresh produce and it would have complicated what is an enviably simple tax.

Cunliffe’s predecessor David Shearer had made this decision when he was leader.

Exempting the first $5000 of income from tax would have reduced churn for poorer people who get it back through programmes like Working for Families but it would also have helped the rich as well as the poor which would be anathema to Labour.

The one redeeming feature of both policies was that they were reducing taxes which would have been a pleasant change for that party.

The reason for the policy change shows Labour hasn’t changed:

The Labour Party is ditching two of its flagship tax initiatives from the last election, giving itself an extra $1.5 billion for alternative policy promises.

That’s our money and shows Labour is sticking to its old focus on tax and spend policies.


It’s not Tourism Bits of NZ

January 22, 2014

When you live in the country you get used to categories in forms not being specific enough.

Many ask for a city or, at best a town.

Facebook, for instance, keeps asking me to put my home city and gives me no option for living in the country.

That doesn’t particularly worry me as anyone close enough already knows where I live and those not so close don’t need to.

However, being able to tick the right box for your location matters a lot more for businesses, especially one in the tourism industry.

Oamaru tourist lodge owner James Glucksman is concerned that Tourism New Zealand is omitting Oamaru/Waitaki from its list of destinations.

Mr Glucksman who is owner/host of Pen-y-bryn Luxury Lodge with James Boussy in Oamaru, said the matter came to a head when Tourism NZ invited him to Luxperience, an annual trade show in Sydney to promote luxury travel around the world.

The forms he was sent to fill in specified destinations such as Nelson/Marlborough, and excluded Waitaki, mentioning only Dunedin and Southern Lakes. . . .

I checked the Tourism NZ website and on the page aimed at people bringing tourists to New Zealand found only Dunedin and Coastal Otago which, did lead me to Oamaru and the Waitaki District but all it said was:

Oamaru, well known for its white stone architecture.

Back on the homepage I clicked on Planning a holiday go to NZ.com and there found that Waitaki is listed as a destination:

The Waitaki is a place of scenic contrast. Journey along the Waitaki Valley and the landscape changes from green pasture to the dryness of Central Otago.

Snow-capped peaks and beautiful lakes contrast with the bare brown hills that rise up from the valley floor.

Driving towards the mountains, stop and see the Earthquakes, an impressive formation of limestone cliffs. Nearby you’ll find Maori rock drawings made from red ochre, charcoal and animal fat.

Further along the highway, you come to Kurow, a farming town with many historically important limestone buildings. If you like fishing or hunting, this is a good place to stop. Kurow’s also a great place for a spin in a jet boat. 

All of which is good and true – but it’s tells only a very little of Waitaki’s story.

There’s more to the Waitaki Valley than is covered and a lot more to the Waitaki District – including Oamaru with its historic buildings, the Victorian precinct, little blue penguin colony, Steampunk HQ, Janet Frame’s family home . . . . and further afield you have Moeraki,  the Vanished World fossil trail, Alps to Ocean Cycle trail, and many other activities and attractions.

Tourism NZ is:

an international marketing agency responsible for marketing ‘destination New Zealand’ offshore. We market in 12 countries around the world, through more than 100 staff in 16 offices. . . .

It’s not Tourism just bits of New Zealand and destination New Zealand should include all tourist destinations.

Oamaru and the wider Waitaki District are now destinations in their own right. They should be recognised as such not a cursory add-on to Dunedin.

Mine is of course a parochial view but others from further afield share it.

We’ve had friends from all over the world who rave over what they discover in Oamaru and a young Auckland who spent a couple of days with us recently was fascinated and enthralled by what she discovered there.

I had an hour to kill while waiting for a try alignment on Monday and spent it in the historic precinct which was bustling with tourists so people are discovering it.

A little more help from Tourism NZ might direct more people this way.

Google is a traveller’s friend and will lead you to the Visit Oamaru website which would be far more helpful than the Toruism NZ website.

How hard would it be to have Oamaru and Waitaki as a destination on that website with a link to Visit Oamaru and to include them on forms used for trade shows?


GDT up 1.4% butter, cheese soar

January 22, 2014

The GDT Price Index increased 1.4 in the second GlobalDairyTrade auction of the year boosted by steep rises in the prices paid for butter and cheese.

GDT Trade Weighted Index Changes

 

 

gdt 22.1

The price of anhydrous milk fat increased 2.2%; butter soared 10.8%; butter milk was up by 3%; cheddar increased 10.4%; milk protein concentrate rose 7.2% rennet casein increased 4.2%; skim milk powder dropped .5% and whole milk powder eased up .1%.

 

 

 


Doing better environmentally and economically

January 22, 2014

The old adage that if you give a dog a bad name it will stick is unfortunately true.

Farming, and dairying in particular, has got a bad name for poor environmental performance even though most are doing all that’s required of them, or more.

Despite 5.7 dairy cattle for every man, woman and child in Southland, the region now boasts some of most environmentally compliant farmers in New Zealand. 

“The compliance monitoring results from Environment Southland, which came out before Christmas, was a real boost for our guys,” says Russell MacPherson, Federated Farmers Southland provincial president.

“It is not just us in the far south but this is a trend throughout New Zealand.  After catching talkback radio recently, the shame is that some people have been suckered in by a clever but increasingly redundant slogan. 

“I mean the Ministry for the Environment’s “River condition indicator Summary and key findings” must be the most non-reported study of 2013.  A 10-year review of water quality found, “of the parameters we [the MfE] monitor, all are either stable or improving at most monitored sites. Four of our parameters show stable or improving trends in 90% of sites”.

“Take the Mataura River, which received the regional award for the most improved river at the first New Zealand River Awards.  There are physical results proving that it is working and it goes to show how Southland’s farmers are hitting their straps environmentally.

“The majority of Southland’s 887 farming effluent discharge consent holders inspected by Environment Southland were fully compliant with their consent conditions.

“While we farm in what seemingly feels like a glass house, the fact is we are doing better each year environmentally and economically.

“In terms of ground and surface water, the vast majority of our farms are doing pretty well here as well. 

“Federated Farmers believes a new attitude shown by Environment Southland, to actively work alongside farmers like in Taranaki, is starting to pay off.  Farmers previously felt like they’d be belted for anything but we’re now seeing partnership and greater understanding.

Councils and farmers working together will achieve better results than if there’s an antagonistic attitude between them.

“The way town and country are coming together is also evidenced by the way the New River Estuary has galvanised Invercargill residents around storm and wastewater. 

“It will upset those who have made a career out of grievance but truth eventually cuts through spin.

“Perhaps that’s the nub of the issue we face as it’s all about perception, much like that Lincoln University survey from last year.  There’s what some people think we do and what we actually do.  Trying to connect the two is going to take time.

“That could start by having the same scrutiny our farms are put under extended to our local councils. 

“. . . there’s been three human sewerage spills within a month into Lake Wakatipu and the latest one closed a 200 metre stretch of beach right where our family, like many, swim and boat when on holiday.

“If town and country had the same level of scrutiny then the national conversation, I feel, would be much better,” Mr MacPherson concluded.

Poor environmental practices in one area doesn’t excuse it anywhere else and there’s no room for complacency about water quality in urban or rural areas.

Some farmers have been far too slow to get the message about their responsibility for water quality and act on it. But the majority are compliant and are working hard to ensure they stay that way.


Partners by choice better than necessity

January 22, 2014

Prime Minister John Key has made his preferences for coalition partners clear.

He also stresses the importance of the party vote:

. . . “First and foremost, National will be campaigning hard for every party vote it can win, because that puts us in the best position to continue the positive policy direction New Zealand is on.

“Put simply, the higher National’s party vote, the more options we have. . .

National didn’t need to invite the Maori Party into coalition in 2008, it chose to do so.

A higher party vote gives more options for a major party because it would be able to approach potential coalition parties by choice rather than through necessity.

It was difficult to win an outright majority under first past the post, no party has managed it under MMP.

The PM’s first preference for coalition partners is those he has worked with successfully already – Act, the Maori Party and United Future.

“I know that post the 2014 election, National will almost certainly need to work constructively with other political parties to form a stable Government.

“Since November 2008, we have shown that we can lead a stable Government with other political parties involved, even when those parties have different outlooks and policies.

“Looking ahead, it is most likely that the nature of these working relationships will be via Confidence and Supply Agreements, as these have worked well in the past two Parliamentary terms.

“In the end it is the public who largely determine the make-up of the Government by voting in parties to Parliament,” says Mr Key.

Mr Key says that given the right electoral circumstances, his preference would be to continue working with the current three partners to the Government, which are ACT, the Māori Party and United Future. . .

By making this clear voters have a better idea of what they might be getting.

“I believe there is also a scenario where it would be possible to add the Conservative Party to this group.

“While National has of course had differences with ACT, the Māori Party and United Future, together our four parties have formed a stable and successful Government since late 2008,” Mr Key says.

“We also have policy differences with the Conservative Party, however it is likely that there would be enough common ground to work with them in Government.”

Voters also know what they won’t be getting if National is able to form a government:

In terms of other parliamentary parties, Mr Key ruled out working with Labour, the Greens and Mana on the basis that there is insufficient common ground to achieve a stable and successful working relationship.

“These parties represent a far left wing agenda that we do not believe is good for New Zealand,” says Mr Key.

Labour is a bit confused about how left it is, not helped by a leader who sways further left with some audiences than with others.

With regard to New Zealand First, Mr Key said that he believed a post-election working relationship was very unlikely; however he would not rule the possibility out ahead of the election.

“In 2008 we ruled them out because we were unable to reconcile some of their statements on the Glenn donation matter. Six years has passed and, should New Zealand First be returned to Parliament, we would not rule out a discussion after the election.”

This has excited the media but it is clear New Zealand First would be a last resort.

Whether or not National is in a position to form a government and which parties it will need, or be able to choose, to invite into coalition is up to voters who now know which parties are preferred, which could be considered and which would be ruled out.

The more votes National has, the more options it has and the the more stable the government will be.

On current polling it would certainly be a lot more stable than a Labour/Green government with other parties in tow through necessity and therefore able to exert a much stronger influence than if they were in government by the bigger party’s choice.


January 22 in history

January 22, 2014

1506 The first contingent of 150 Swiss Guards arrived at the Vatican.

1521 Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, opened the Diet of Worms.

1561 Sir Francis Bacon, English philosopher, was born (d. 1626).

1771 – Spain ceded Port Egmont in the Falkland Islands to England.
1788 George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron (Lord Byron), English poet, was born (d. 1824).

1824 – Ashantis defeated British forces in the Gold Coast.

1840 The New Zealand Company’s first settler ship, the Aurora, arrived at Petone, marking the official commencement of the settlement that would eventually become Wellington.

First European settlers arrive in Wellington

1889 Columbia Phonograph was formed in Washington, D.C.

1899 Leaders of six Australian colonies met in Melbourne to discuss confederation.

1901 Edward VII was proclaimed King after the death of his mother, Queen Victoria.

1905 Bloody Sunday in St. Petersburg, beginning of the 1905 revolution.

1906 SS Valencia ran aground on rocks on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, killing more than 130.

1919 Act Zluky was signed, unifying the Ukrainian People’s Republic and the West Ukrainian National Republic.

1924 Ramsay MacDonald became the first Labour Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

1927 First live radio commentary of a football match anywhere in the world, between Arsenal F.C. and Sheffield United at Highbury.

1931 Sir Isaac Isaacs was sworn in as the first Australian-born Governor-General of Australia.

1934 Graham Kerr, British-born, New Zealand chef, was born.

1940 John Hurt, English actor, was born.

1941 British and Commonwealth troops captured Tobruk from Italian forces during Operation Compass.

1946 Iran: Qazi Muhammad declared the independent people’s Republic of Mahabad at Chuwarchira Square in the Kurdish city of Mahabad. He was the new president; Hadschi Baba Scheich was the prime minister.

1946 – Creation of the Central Intelligence Group, forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency.

1952 The first Jet airliner, the de Havilland Comet, entered service for BOAC.

1957  Israel withdrew from the Sinai Peninsula.

1957 The New York City “Mad Bomber”, George P. Metesky, was arrested and charged with planting more than 30 bombs.

1959 Knox Mine Disaster: Water breaches the River Slope Mine near Pittston City, Pennsylvania in Port Griffith; 12 miners are killed.

1960 Michael Hutchence, Australian singer (INXS), was born (d. 1997).

1962 Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin of Terengganu, Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia, was born.

1963 The Elysée treaty of co-operation between France and Germany was signed by Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer.

1965 Steven Adler, American drummer (Guns N’ Roses), was born.

1968 Apollo 5 lifted off carrying the first Lunar module into space.

1973  The Supreme Court of the United States delivered its decision in Roe v. Wade, legalizing elective abortion in all fifty states.

1984  The Apple Macintosh, the first consumer computer to popularize the computer mouse and the graphical user interface, was introduced during Super Bowl XVIII with its famous “1984″ television commercial.

1987  Pennsylvania politician R. Budd Dwyer shot and killed himself at a press conference on live national television, leading to debates on boundaries in journalism.

1990 Robert Tappan Morris, Jr. was convicted of releasing the 1988 Internet Computer worm.

1992 Space Shuttle programme: STS-42 Mission – Dr. Roberta Bondar became the first Canadian woman in space.

1999 Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons were burned alive by radical Hindus while sleeping in their car in Eastern India.

2002 Kmart Corp became the largest retailer in United States history to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

2006 Evo Morales was inaugurated as President of Bolivia, becoming the country’s first indigenous president.

2007 – At least 88 people were killed when two car bombs explode in the Bab Al-Sharqi market in central Baghdad, Iraq.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


%d bloggers like this: