It’s a draw!

January 25, 2014

Who said cricket was boring?

10.15pm – India draw to keep series alive

Ravindra Jadeja hits a single on the last ball to draw level with the Black Caps and keep the series alive with two matches left to play.

New Zealand had some bad luck in the final overs but India refused to lie down and fought back to achieve what seemed impossible.

Thrilling finish to a fantastic game. . .

Just wondering if any New Zealander thought it might have been cricket to bowl the last ball underarm?

Word of the day

January 25, 2014

Quass – a thin, sour beer-like beverage made by pouring warm water on rye or barley meal and letting it ferment, common in Russia and Eastern Europe; to drink copiously or in excess; to quaff.

Rural round-up

January 25, 2014

Farm sales up, confidence strong – Laura Walters:

The number of farm sales rose by more than 20 per cent last year, reflecting strong confidence in the rural sector, the Real Estate Institute says.

More than 1700 farms were sold in 2013, the largest number of sales a year since 2009.

Figures released by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) today showed 292 more farms were sold in the three months to December compared to the same period the previous year, an increase of 20.1 per cent.

Overall, there were 554 farm sales in the three months to the end of December 2013, compared to 414 farm sales for the three months ended November 2013, an increase of 33.8 per cent. . .

Good, not spectacular, arable harvest ahead – Annette Scott:

Crops are looking good but the harvest is not going to be a “bin buster”, industry leaders say.

As the combines roll out many farmers, particularly in Mid Canterbury, are counting the losses after wind and hail played havoc with crops in recent months.

All on top of a wet winter that has created more disease than usual.

“We are really just getting started with the harvest,” Mid Canterbury arable farmer and Federated Farmers South Island grain and seed vice-chairman David Clark said.

“So far the vining peas have been quite disappointing. Autumn cereals, having endured some very wet weather, are not expected to be too exciting. Some ryegrasses have been good and some, due to a variety of ills, quite disappointing. . .

Farmers act as water guardians

Farmers have been helping Environment Canterbury by providing practical onfarm knowledge and expertise on water quality.

They are members of the Guardians of Fork/Hakatere Stream.

The group was in the process of completing a funding application to help develop and restore an area of land adjacent to the stream.

This would include an educational amenity with green space and interpretive panels next to the stream on Braemar Road. . .

Apple exports a sweet success – Esther Ashby-Coventry:

The growing American demand for the honeycrisp apple has prompted Waipopo Orchards to encourage other local growers to join its export market.

Honeycrisp out-earns any other export apple grown in New Zealand. In the US it sells for about US$50 (NZ$61) a box, compared with other varieties, which are about US$20 a box.

Honeycrisp is the most popular apple in the US, with demand increasing 20 to 30 per cent each year since Waipopo’s first export of 50 tonnes in 2011.

Waipopo co-director Peter Bennett said that along with growers in Central Otago a total of 1300 tonnes, which was double the volume shipped in 2013, would be exported this year. Waipopo will produce about 1100 tonnes, which is 85 per cent of the market. . . .

Missing foal feared stolen – Nicole Mathewson:

A Central Otago couple are baffled after their foal disappeared. 

Horse trainers Bill and Rosanne Keeler were shocked to find their three-week striking black colt was missing from its paddock on January 15.

Bill Keeler said he believed the male foal went missing about two days earlier, because his mother’s milk had already dried up.

The paddock – located in Millers Flat, just south of Roxburgh – was surrounded by high fencing and there were no holes it could have escaped through. None of the other horses in the paddock had disappeared. 

”I find the chances of it being stolen are pretty minimal, but the chances are even more minimal of it disappearing by itself through two paddocks surrounded by deer fencing,” Keeler said. . . .

Hawke’s Bay iwi want Mayor’s resignation – Adam Ray:

A Hawke’s Bay Iwi says local Mayor Peter Butler should resign after suggesting their opposition to a proposed dam means they should be banned from any jobs it creates.

Mr Butler singled out the chair of Ngati Kahungunu for criticism in an email to other councillors.

He says parched pastures will be transformed with irrigation from the proposed Ruataniwha Dam.

“We’re sick of the negativity of the people trying to stop the dam,” he says.  

Among those in his sights are local iwi Ngati Kahungunu and its chair Ngahiwi Tomoana. . .


Saturday’s smiles

January 25, 2014

A woman couldn’t find her wallet at the check out so started pulling everything out of her handbag.

The shop assistant watched without comment as a packet of tissues, keys, comb, lipstick, notebook, pens and other bits and pieces piled up on the counter.

Then the shopper pulled out a television remote control.

“Why did you bring that to the supermarket? the shop assistant asked.

“My husband keeps saying he’ll take a turn at cleaning up the living room but never does. I figured this was the best way to motivate him to do it,” the shopper said.

Pre-loading’s the problem

January 25, 2014

Pubs have known this for a long time – people are drinking, and often drinking a lot, before they get to them.

It’s called pre-loading.

Bars can lose their licences and staff face stiff fines if they serve drunks.

It must be hard enough to keep track of what customers drink when you’re serving them, bar staff can have no idea what people might have drunk at home if they aren’t showing signs of being drunk.

If they do suspect they’re drunk they can refuse to serve them and ask them to leave.

Hospitals can’t do that even though dealing with drunks costs them a lot of time and resources and pre-loading is a big part of the problem:

“We knew there was a problem with people turning up to our department with alcohol-related problems; this has confirmed that and it’s even shown that we’re underestimating it,” says professor of emergency medicine at Otago University Dr Mike Ardagh.

The study found alcohol contributed to almost one in three attendances at the hospital’s emergency department between 11pm on Saturday nights and 8am Sunday.

The median number of drinks consumed across alcohol-affected patients was 14 standard units -that’s about two bottles of wine or more than a dozen cans of beer.

The study also found that just 30 percent of that alcohol had been purchased at bars and clubs, with the overwhelming majority – 70 percent – bought at off-license premises such as supermarkets and bottle stores. . .
Dr Scott Pearson has worked in Christchurch Hospital’s emergency department for 15 years. He says alcohol related admissions place an enormous strain on the department – particularly on Saturday nights. . .

“We’d like to see a real public effort to try and reduce the number that are coming here because we’d like to spend that money on other things – things that can contribute to the public’s health in general.”

Increasing prices for at off-licence outlets is one suggestion but that imposes costs on the majority of people who drink moderately.

One problem with existing liquor laws is that people who serve drunks can be charged but the drunks don’t usually face the same risk.

Making drunks who cause problems and costs face the responsibility and be liable for their actions would be a better place to start than increasing taxes.

Frame this

January 25, 2014

This was the announcement:

The next step in our plan to raise achievement.

And this is the response:
Photo: Great support for our education policy to get even better teachers in front of our kids:

The support of the STA isn’t surprising – they support good policy without political bias.

But the Principals’ Federation, Secondary Principals’ Association and Post Primary Teachers’ Association aren’t usually enthusiastic about anything National proposes.

It was a good idea to frame the comments, such support is rare.

Time to take focus off mavericks

January 25, 2014

The media has a propensity for getting side tracked by mavericks.

Kim Dotcom is losing some of his gloss but the fascination with Winston Peters continues.

Prime Minister John Key carefully explained his preferences for coalition partners after this year’s election making it very clear New Zealand First would only be considered if the alternative was a Labour?Green government.

That, only-as-a-last-resort statement has prompted lots of interviews with Peters who continues his bizarre insistence that it’s better to keep the voters in the dark until after the election.

Equally bizarre is John Armstrong’s column this morning headlined Peters for Prime Minister? Don’t bet against it.

It is based on the assumption that the PM would resign from politics sometime in the third term, if he got it for which there is no evidence at all.

Political tragics from the left and the media (which is sometimes but not always the same people) have raised this as a possibility but he has always made it quite clear he is in politics to get a job done and isn’t planning to give up part way through.

But even if there was a vacancy for PM in a National-led government Peters wouldn’t ever be considered when there’s a list of able and trustworthy successors within National.

The media needs to take the focus off the mavericks and help voters focus on what matters and what might happen.

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