Word of the day

05/02/2014

Wairangi – to be beside oneself, in a daze, infatuated, foolish, suffering from mental illness, demented, deranged, unbalanced, unhinged, crazy; demon, monster.

Hat tip: YourNZ


Rural round-up

05/02/2014

Addressing severe erosion on the East Coast:

Associate Primary Industries Minister Jo Goodhew has today announced that public consultation on proposed operational changes to the East Coast Forestry Project (ECFP) is now underway.

“The Gisborne region has a severe erosion problem. A quarter of the land is susceptible to severe erosion, compared with only 8 percent of all land in New Zealand,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“The ECFP funds the treatment of land to prevent soil erosion, through planting trees or indigenous regeneration.”

Since 1992 landowners have used the fund to treat soil erosion on 42,000 hectares. . .

MPI confirm neurological equine herpes – Corazon Miller:

The Ministry for Primary Industries has confirmed the country’s first case of the neurological form of the Equine Herpes Virus.

12 horses have been affected on a single stud farm, six of which have since died or been euthanised.

While the virus itself is common amongst New Zealand horses, MPI spokesman Andrew Coleman says the virus often sits dormant but can manifest into the neurological form when the animal is stressed.

He says stress is a key factor in transforming the common dormant form of the virus into one which attacks the brain. . .

David Ellis, Karaka’s biggest buyer, blames IRD for bleeding bloodstock sales –  Suze Metherell:

(BusinessDesk) – David Ellis, the biggest spender at New Zealand’s premiere Karaka horse sales this year, says the tax department is stifling new investment in the bloodstock industry with its interpretation of depreciation rules.

The value of yearling sales at Karaka in South Auckland have fallen in each of the past six years, reaching $69.7 million last month, down from $111.2 million in 2008. That’s below the average $83.9 million in the past seven sales. The number of catalogued horses has fallen 12 percent in that time and actual lots bought are down 18 percent.

Ellis, principle of Waikato-based Te Akau Racing stables, spent $6.8 million on 43 horses at Karaka last month, almost $3 million more than the second-largest buyer. . .

Plantain Proves Popular Alternative to Pasture:

A Hawke’s Bay on-farm trial shows lambs fatten faster on plantain and yield better than lambs grazed on pasture.

Awapai Station, which is a ram breeder for Focus Genetics recently carried out trials and then held an on farm field day for other farmers to find out more about plantain management.

The field day comes as more farmers turn to plantain as a popular, affordable alternative to pasture for fattening lambs and improving the condition of livestock for mating.

Many sheep and beef breeders and traders say plantain helps produce better growth rates.

Awapai farm manager, Shane Tilson says he has planted 80 hectares of mixed clover and tonic plantain in the last four years and is now seeing outstanding results. . .

NZ agribusiness get dedicated crowdfunding platform :

New Zealand agribusinesses looking for investors will be able to turn to crowdfunding once new legislation comes into effect in April.

The agribusiness-focused crowdfunding platform, Snowball Effect, is the first of its kind in New Zealand, and intends to give small to medium sized businesses access through their website to funding from investors looking for equity.

Snowball Effect’s launch coincides with the new regulations and is the brainchild of Fonterra Cooperative Group executives Richard Allen, Simeon Burnett and Francis Reid. They appointed 26-year-old Josh Daniell to be the company’s business development manager to oversee daily operations. . . .

Judges Choose First Regional Dairy Awards Finalists:

The first regional finalists in the 2014 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards should be known, following the start of preliminary judging last week.

National convenor Chris Keeping says the launch of regional preliminary judging signals the start of the process to whittle down the 572 entrants to 33 regional winners and then three national winners.

“It is a long process that involves a lot of planning and preparation by our entrants and considerable time by our teams of voluntary judges,” Mrs Keeping says.

“It is also a very satisfying time, as entrants gain insights and valuable feedback from the judges and judges gain satisfaction in assisting people to progress in their career and in the dairy industry. The judges generally learn a thing or two from the entrants too!” . . .

Three reasons to toast the 2013 vintage:

It is said good things come in threes and the three newly released Sacred Hill Orange Label wines showcase all that was good about the 2013 vintage.

Sacred Hill Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2013, Marlborough Pinot Gris 2013 and Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013 are now available and winemaker Tony Bish says they are ready to drink and be enjoyed during the rest of summer and beyond.

“The superb 2013 vintage has been much talked about and will be for some time,” Mr Bish says. “These wines tell more of the story of just how good the fruit from the 2013 harvest was.” . . .

Wool merger exploratory talks:

Exploratory talks are underway on a possible merger between two farmer-owned wool bodies.

They are the Primary Wool Co-operative and the investment company Wool Equities. . . .


GDT price index up .5%

05/02/2014

GlobalDairyTrade’s Price Index increased .5% in this morning’s auction.

GDT Trade Weighted Index Changes

GDT 5.2.14

The price of anhydrous milk fat dropped 1.2%, butter increased 2.6%; butter milk powder was down by 1.2%, cheddar dropped 4.3%; lactose was down 2.7%, milk protein concentrate fell 3.3%; rennet casein dropped 3.7%,  and whole milk powder  increased by 1.4%.


Employment up, unemployment down

05/02/2014

Employment has lagged behind other encouraging announcements but the labour market is strengthening and unemployment has fallen to a three-year low:

The labour market continues to grow and unemployment has fallen to 6.0 percent, Statistics New Zealand said today. There were 24,000 more people employed in the December 2013 quarter, following an additional 28,000 in the September quarter.

Over the December 2013 year, the number of people employed rose 3.0 percent in the Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS). Demand for workers from established businesses rose 1.9 percent in the Quarterly Employment Survey (QES).

“We’re seeing strength across the labour market, particularly in the industries that provide services,” industry and labour statistics manager Diane Ramsay said. “The unemployment rate has been falling and employment rising for the last 18 months, with both now at levels last seen in early 2009.”

Annual wage inflation, as measured by the labour cost index (LCI) salary and ordinary time wage rates, remained steady at 1.6 percent in the December 2013 quarter. Average ordinary time hourly earnings, as measured by the QES, rose 2.9 percent over the year – up from 2.6 percent in the September quarter.

 

Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce says this is further evidence that the New Zealand economy is heading in the right direction.

“What is pleasing is the growth is right across the country and shows the Government’s responsible economic policies and comprehensive Business Growth Agenda is creating the opportunities for businesses to invest and employ more people.”
Highlights include:

  • The labour force participation rate increased 0.3 per cent to 68.9 per cent – the second highest since records began in 1986. Female participation rose 0.4 per cent to 63.4 per cent – the highest level since the HLFS began
  • The rate for youth not in employment, education or training (NEET) for 15-24 year olds fell 0.1 per cent to 11.3 per cent – the lowest rate since December 2008
  • Māori and Pasifika unemployment are both down. Māori unemployment rate was 12.8 per cent (from 14.8 per cent a year ago). Pasifika unemployment rate was 13.7 per cent (from 16.0 per cent a year ago)
  • Manufacturing jobs are up 6 per cent in the last year or 14,300 people.

New Zealand’s unemployment rate remains better than most OECD countries and is just behind Australia (5.8 per cent). New Zealand has a significantly higher employment rate than Australia because of our higher participation rate. The average unemployment rate across the OECD is 7.8 per cent. 

Wages continue to rise faster than inflation. Average weekly earnings rose 2.8 per cent in the last year, compared to inflation of 1.6 per cent.

“While steady progress is being made, as a country we need to remain focused on encouraging investment that will bring jobs, and higher incomes for New Zealanders and their families,” Mr Joyce says.

Six percent is still too high but the improvement is welcome and increased business confidence means it is likely to continue.


Straight talk in sits vac

05/02/2014

An advertisement on TradeMe:

Matt Ford Contracting Ltd are on the hunt for some decent staff!
In previous ads we seem to get plenty of people that can’t read properly or have grossly warped opinions of themselves (and or) their abilities. In an ad when we state things we want – that’s what we want. eg, if we say you need to be very fit, honest, reliable, and trustworthy we mean exactly that not unfit, dishonest, unreliable and untrustworthy Pretty Simple really! With this in mind read on or go read the woman’s weekly.
We are an agricultural spraying operation situated in North Canterbury and operate from Mid Canterbury to Marlborough.
Our business is based on getting the job done quickly, efficiently and completed to a very high standard i.e. Old School. The job is best suited to the classic “get down to business Kiwi bloke” not the “pot smoking, drop kick, wissy teenage Kiwi joke”. The following is a list of attributes that will go a long way to getting you a job with us ( and funnily enough surviving in life!):
Being Steve Gurney fit, Have a passion for the outdoors, Be happy and prepared to work long hours, Be happy and prepared to work away from home, Be honest, trustworthy and reliable, Be able to use, respect gear and not bring the company’s name into disrepute, Have a car and valid drivers licence (4WD experience useful), Be able to communicate clearly via speech (not text language), Be able to work and live with a team of like minded people – eg cook, clean, wash dishes, shower and keep your room tidy (all very basic potty training).
If you fit the bill with the things mentioned above you may very well be one of an endangered species – Ring quickly, we would love to chat to you.
DO NOT TEXT – I WILL NOT REPLY, use the phone for what Alexander Graham Bell designed it for! Have at least two references and phone numbers ready when you call please – BE WARNED, if you talk the talk, you need to be able to walk the talk!

Applicants for this position should have NZ residency or a valid NZ work visa.

A lot of employers will sympathise with this.


Battle of cheesemakers

05/02/2014

A media release from the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards:

With over 400 entries, a new milk type, three new international judges and five new cheese companies stepping into the ring, this year’s NZ Champions of Cheese Awards are set to be the most competitive yet.

Now in its eleventh year, the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards see our country’s finest speciality cheese come together under one roof, in the hope of winning one of 16 champion cheese titles.

New Zealand’s largest cheese exporters, our smallest artisan cheesemakers, and even home crafted cheeses, will be judged by an expert panel at The Langham in Auckland on Sunday 2nd March.

“The diversity in this year’s entries with five new companies, a new milk type and a record number of home crafted cheesemakers, are positive signs of a dynamic and vibrant New Zealand cheese industry that strengthens each year,” organiser of the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards, Vikki Lee Goode, said.

One of Australasia’s most experienced international cheese judges and renowned cheese educationalist, Russell Smith will be joined by three highly-regarded overseas cheese judges, adding another level of expertise and excitement to the awards.

Of particular note is Ueli Berger, the most awarded cheese maker in Australia and current head cheesemaker at beverage and food company, Lion.

“I regard Mr Berger as Australia’s most knowledgeable and skilled cheesemaker. He’s simply one of the best, and I personally am very excited to bring him to New Zealand to experience first-hand the top-rate cheese produced in this country,” Mr Smith said.

Master Judge Russell Smith will lead 28 expert assessors, including some of New Zealand’s most experienced cheese connoisseurs. Together they’ll consume and critique over 400 cheeses in search of the nation’s best.

Each cheese will be examined by a technical and an aesthetic judge as a duo, and strictly graded to pre-determined gold, silver and bronze standards.

Judges will also determine a champion cheese in 16 categories before selecting the two best overall cheeses to be named supreme winner of the Cuisine Champion Artisan Award for small artisan producers, and the Countdown Champion of Champions Award for larger producers.

 The international trend of mixed milk cheese varieties remains, as well as a strong number of home crafted cheesemakers – a category that’s increasing in popularity each year.

For the first time in award history, cheese made from deer milk is being entered. Deer cheese was introduced last year as a collaboration between Whitestone Cheese alongside scientists at the University of Otago and Lincoln University, and drew interest of the feat of milking deer and the technical skill of turning deer milk into cheese.

Kiwi cheese lovers can also have their say with the New World Champion Favourite Cheese Award selected entirely by public votes through the New World website (www.newworldcheeseawards.co.nz). Voting is open now till 26th February.

The 2014 NZ Champions of Cheese Award winners will be announced at a gala dinner at The Langham in Auckland on Tuesday 4th March.

The following day (Wednesday 5th March) the public are invited to sample award-winning cheeses. Cuisine CheeseFest, billed as at the ultimate event for cheese lovers, takes place at The Langham from 5pm to 8:30pm. Tickets are available for $30 per person at www.eventfinder.co.nz or $35 at the door.

You can read more at Specialist Cheesemakers.

You can vote for the People’s Choice and go into a draw to win  two tickets to the Cuisine CheeseFest on Wednesday, 5 March at The Langham hotel in Auckland (flights provided if you reside outside of Auckland). Prize includes two night’s accommodation at The Langham, dinner at Langham’s Eight Restaurant, a Langham Tiffin Afternoon Tea and a $500 VISA Prezzy Card! More on that here.


Northland must embrace job opportunities

05/02/2014

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce is urging Northland iwi and community leaders to endorse and encourage resource opportunities that will create jobs and boost economic growth in the region.

It follows comments from a spokesperson for one Ngapuhi hapu on Radio New Zealand and in Mining Australia magazine that Ngapuhi miners working in Australia wouldn’t be welcome home if they return to work in mining exploration in Northland.

“While regions across New Zealand are leading New Zealand’s economic recovery, Northland has been struggling with high unemployment. The only way to change that is to encourage new investment in the region,” Mr Joyce says.

“Northland iwi and community leaders have been working well together to develop a number of economic opportunities. It’s important that Northland embraces all opportunities to grow jobs in the region while carefully managing the environmental impacts.

“There are many opportunities for investment and growth here. Accelerating treaty settlements, improving the development of Maori land, and exploration of mineral opportunities are all part of the story.

“We have to get past the point where people react with a black and white no to resource opportunities. We need to manage the process so that we can both have the jobs and protect our environment.

“It’s time to unambiguously endorse measures that will really lift the North and bring jobs, incomes, and above all a stronger future here in Northland for the young people of the region.”

Northland is one of the poorest regions.

Taranaki is booming with higher employment and higher wages because it has embraced resource extraction.

In doing so it’s got the economic benefits without any of the environmental problems those opposed to drilling and mining use to defend their position.


Fathers matter too

05/02/2014

Andrei left a comment on a post a couple of days ago which warrants further discussion.

He wrote:

A young man gets a young woman pregnant. In days of yore he would have most likely married her and taken financial responsibility directly for her and their child. If marriage wasn’t possible for whatever reason the child would have most likely been adopted – a sad situation.

But today the most likely outcome is for the young woman to go onto the DPB and if the young man is at the start of his working life and on low wages it is a financial no brainer for her to do this, she’ll get more money and retain “her independence” – well sort of, not really but it will appear that way.

But the young man – well he is in deep do dos. See he is wacked by the IRD for the upkeep of his child and the mother of said child cannot maintain a romantic style relationship with him without breaking the law and risking her benefit and therefore must distance herself and child from him.

And in a great many cases that young man is now better off not working because the reward for his labours is so low, and the money taken from him while in principle is for his child, his child who he might never see, is no better off no matter how hard he works or doesn’t.

And young men caught this way find themselves in a poverty trap with no way out except perhaps absconding to a place where the IRD can’t find them.

I know three young men in this position and there is no way forward for them – and no chance of ever starting a regular family.

If I understand the system correctly, if a couple goes through WINZ, the amount the liable parent pays is based on how much s/he earns but the custodial parent gets a set amount based on the number of children, not what her/his former partner pays.

If the earner gets a pay rise, s/he pays more but the payment to his/her family doesn’t change.

That’s the bind the young men Andrei writes of are in.

But there are ways out.

When friends’ marriage broke up they were advised to settle payments for their children between themselves.

That way the mother, who in this case was the major breadwinner, paid less, and the father received more than if they had gone through WINZ.

This will only work if the working parent has a better than average income and the care giving parent can trust him or her to pay the agreed amount when it is due.

If the earning parent is on low wages or can’t be trusted, it would be safer for the caregiver to go through official channels.

The young men in  Andrei’s comment obviously aren’t earning much.

However, there is a way out for them too.

If the children’s mother starts working, as they are being encouraged and assisted to do, the benefit abates and so, presumably, does the amount the liable parent has to pay towards it.

The focus for assistance has been on the caregiver, but non-custodial parents, in this case the fathers, matter too.

Andrei’s young men are at least as much in need of encouragement and help to find work as the mothers.

If they are on what were called unemployment benefits, they should be getting assistance to find a job and possibly up skill so they can get a better one which will pay more and ensure they can start getting ahead.

Not only they, but their children, will be better off for having parents in work, and not just in financial terms.

The answer to the difficult situation Andrei describes isn’t a handout.

It’s a hand up so both parents can help themselves and their children and neither will have to worry about any agency concerning itself about their romantic arrangements.


Recognition, healing and recompence

05/02/2014

Another Waitangi Day approaches and protesters are out again and as usual they’ve got their blinkers on:

While anti-mining protesters are planning a torrid welcome for John Key at Waitangi tomorrow, the Prime Minister was close to receiving the cold shoulder from Te Tii Marae this year, Ngapuhi kaumatua Kingi Taurua says. . .

Mr Taurua today confirmed the decision to allow Mr Key and other politicians to speak this year was only narrowly agreed.

Those opposed to Mr Key speaking believed the Treaty was not being honoured, he told the Herald.

“They only pick pieces of the Treaty when they want to and they don’t consult, they don’t talk to us about it and they just go ahead and make the process, for example the asset sales.”

Not honouring the treaty?

If he’d take off his blinkers and look at what has been achieved he’d no that’s not the reality as Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson shows:

Treaty settlements are as much about recognition and healing as they are about recompense. Settlements address our past and invest in a common future.

This work has been my responsibility as Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations since 2008. Good progress has been made to resolve historical grievances in that time.

After three years of steady acceleration, the government has now reached an unprecedented pace in the settlement of historic Treaty claims. This is a result of the government’s goal of reaching full and final settlements in a timely fashion, and a recognition that New Zealanders want to see these historical grievances settled so we can move on – as one country.

Take a look at our progress, as at December 12, 2013, below.

treatyprogress

 

National has admitted it won’t reach its goal of all settlements completed this year, but it has made significant progress and will continue to do so.

It is determined to complete all the settlements so iwi can move from grievance to growth.

Ngai Tahu provides a wonderful example of what can be achieved in economic, social and environmental terms when they get a settlement and turn their attention to more positive endeavours than those the protesters at Waitangi waste their energy on.

 

 


Pushed will have nothing to lose

05/02/2014

A party working towards a third term in government often looks stale and in need of refreshment.

National doesn’t have that problem.

It gained new MPs in both 2008 and 2011 and with resignations and retirements can expect a good number of new members after this year’s election.

Labour by contrast is in opposition and looking stale.

Only one of their MPs, Ross Robertson, has announced his retirement. Since no-one else is jumping they’re going to get a push:

. . . Mr Cunliffe also said he and deputy leader David Parker will meet with each of the MPs individually over the next fortnight and were already in discussions with some about their political futures within Labour. “There are one or two conversations with one or two colleagues that go to their long-term planning, but that is a private matter between them and the leadership team.” He would not say if they had approached him or he had shoulder tapped them. “We’ve got processes in place where we are setting goals for all our colleagues.” . . .

One reason for National’s renewal is that its MPs have other options and plenty of other things to do with their lives.

Many sacrificed income to go into parliament and can expect to earn more out of it.

The reluctance of Labour MPs to go graciously suggests they don’t have those options.

The caucus is already unstable, having to work under a leader a majority of them didn’t regard as their first choice.

Disgruntled MPs who feel they’re being pushed out will have nothing to lose if they let their disloyalty get in the way of caucus unity and their party’s best interests.


February 5 in history

05/02/2014

1649 The claimant King Charles II of England and Scotland was declared King of Scotland.

1725 James Otis, American lawyer and patriot, was born (d. 1783).

1778  South Carolina was the first state to ratify the Articles of Confederation.

1782 Spanish defeat British forces and capture Minorca.

1783 In Calabria, Italy, a sequence of strong earthquakes started.

1788 Robert Peel, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born (d. 1850).

1818 Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte ascended to the thrones of Sweden and Norway.

1840 John Boyd Dunlop, Scottish inventor, was born (d. 1921).

1840 Hiram Stevens Maxim, American inventor (Maxim gun), was born (d. 1916).

1859 – Wallachia and Moldavia were united under Alexander John Cuza as the United Principalities.

1878 André Citroën, French automobile pioneer, was born  (d. 1935).

1885 – King Léopold II of Belgium established the Congo as a personal possession.

1867 New Zealand’s third public railway, the 27-kilometre line between Invercargill and the port at Bluff, built by the Southland Provincial Council, opened.

Opening of railway from Invercargill to Bluff

1900 The United States and the United Kingdom signed a treaty for the Panama Canal.

1908 – Daisy and Violet Hilton, British conjoined twins, were born  (d. 1969).

1911 – Pioneering aviator Vivian Walsh made the first controlled powered flight in New Zealand.

First controlled powered flight in New Zealand

1917 The current constitution of Mexico was adopted, establishing a federal republic with powers separated into independent executive, legislative, and judicial branches.

1917 – The Congress of the United States passed the Immigration Act of 1917 over President Woodrow Wilson‘s veto. Also known as the Asiatic Barred Zone Act, it forbade immigration from nearly all of south and southeast Asia.

1918 Stephen W. Thompson shot down a German airplane, the first aerial victory by the U.S. military.

1919 Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and D.W. Griffith launched United Artists.

1920  Frank Muir, British comedian, was born (d. 1998).

1924 The Royal Greenwich Observatory begins broadcasting the hourly time signals known as the Greenwich Time Signal or the “BBC pips”.

1942 Cory Wells, American singer (Three Dog Night), was born.

1946 The Chondoist Chongu Party was founded in North Korea.

1958 Gamel Abdel Nasser was nominated to be the first president of the United Arab Republic.

1958 – A hydrogen bomb known as the Tybee Bomb was lost by the US Air Force off the coast of Savannah, Georgia, never to be recovered.

1962 President Charles De Gaulle called for Algeria to be granted independence.

1964 Duff McKagan, American musician (Guns N’ Roses), was born.

1972 Bob Douglas became the first African American elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

1972 Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark, was born.

1994  More than 60 people were killed and some 200 wounded when a mortar shell hit a downtown marketplace in Sarajevo.

1997 – The “Big Three”  banks in Switzerland announced the creation of a $71 million fund to aid Holocaust survivors and their families.

2004 Twenty-three Chinese people drowned when a group of 35 cockle-pickers was trapped by rising tides in Morecambe Bay, England. .

2004 – Rebels from the Revolutionary Artibonite Resistance Front captured the city of Gonaïves, starting the 2004 Haiti rebellion.

2008 – A major tornado outbreak across the Southern United States left 57 dead.

2009 The United States Navy guided missile cruiser Port Royal ran aground off Oahu, Hawaii, damaging the ship and a coral reef.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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