Word of the day

February 8, 2014

Lollygag – spend time doing things that are not useful or serious; idle; fool around; waste time in trifling or aimless activity.


Rural round-up

February 8, 2014

Waikato fast turning waste into wealth:

The Waikato is fast turning waste into wealth, thanks to New Zealand’s first and only independent product development spray dryer and a collection of the country’s world-class researchers.

Waikato Innovation Park is the first organisation in the region to receive funding from Bio-Resource Processing Alliance (BPA). The $28,000 is helping it develop a way to scale up commercial production of pure avocado powder – a project that was started on a small scale in 2013.

The BPA is a government funded initiative that helps New Zealand’s biological-based manufacturing businesses gain maximum value from waste and by-products, while reducing environmental impacts from primary production and manufacturing activities.

According to BPA general manager Trevor Stuthridge, the initiative has $2.5 million per year on offer to New Zealand companies and their research providers over the next five years. . .

Benefits tipped from Synlait takeover – Alan Williams:

New jobs and $6 million coming from overseas for farm development spending are among the benefits of the latest Shanghai Pengxin investment in New Zealand, Cabinet ministers say.

Chinese company Shanghai Pengxin’s majority shareholding in the company that is taking over Synlait Farms in Canterbury was approved by State Services Minister Jonathon Coleman and Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson.

In their decision released by the Overseas Investment Office (OIO), they also referred to the benefits to NZ of the Shanghai Pengxin investment in 16 former Crafar farms in the North Island and the advancement of New Zealand’s “China strategy”. . .

Controls on fruit and vegetable movement lifted:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) confirms that all restrictions on the movement of fruit and vegetables in Whangarei have been lifted as of yesterday evening, Friday 7 February.

MPI Deputy Director General, Compliance and Response, Andrew Coleman, says this marks the milestone where two weeks of trapping, fruit sampling and testing is completed.

“We have received our final results from trapping and fruit examination and I am delighted to say that our rigorous checks found no further sign of the Queensland fruit fly in the Whangarei area. New Zealand’s fruit fly-free status remains intact, as it has throughout this response. There is no longer any need for residents in the area to be restricted in their movements of produce.” . . .

Whangarei fruit fly operation comes to an end:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has thanked the people of Whangarei for their cooperation over the last two weeks in responding to the find of a single male Queensland fruit fly.



“It’s very pleasing that no other fruit fly has been found and that this appears to be a solitary insect.



“This detection is a very rare event and shows we have a high performing biosecurity system.



“I want to thank the people of Whangarei for their support and patience over the last two weeks.



“Locals have been very supportive of this operation. They realise how important it is to treat this response seriously, and their cooperation has been great,” says Mr Guy. . . .

Good news in seed export growth:

Federated Farmers is pleased to see exports of vegetable and herbage seeds still rising.

“To see total seed exports rise by 14 percent from 2012 levels shows arable farmers in New Zealand are doing their fair share for the economy,” says Ian Mackenzie, the Grain & Seed Chairman of Federated Farmers.

“What makes the $192 million contribution to the economy so good is that this contribution is heavily concentrated in mid and North Canterbury region, with almost all the production done between the Rakaia and Waimakariri Rivers.

“Dairy is not the only land use that is driving economic activity in Canterbury, and that deserves to be celebrated” . .

Rabobank Wine Quarterly Q4: Challenges remain for global industry:

• New Zealand harvest yet to commence, but favourable growing conditions indicate positive signs for the coming vintage.

• New Zealand wine exports are firmly back in growth given the higher supply available from the record 2013 vintage, and the share of bulk wine in the ‘product mix’ is rising.

• Australian harvest underway, expectations of a slightly smaller crop, with the recent severe heatwave potentially impacting yields. . . .

The full report is here.


Saturday’s smiles

February 8, 2014

A language teacher was explaining to her class that in Spanish nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine.
‘House’ for instance, is feminine: ‘la casa.’

‘Pencil,’ however, is masculine: ‘el lapiz.’

A student asked, ‘What gender is computer?’

Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups, male and female, and asked them to decide for themselves whether computer’ should be a masculine or a feminine noun. Each group was asked to give four reasons for its recommendation.

 
The men’s group decided that computer should definitely be of the feminine gender (‘la computadora’), because:

 

1. No one but their creator understands their internal logic;

2. The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else;

3. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for possible later retrieval; and

4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself needing to spend too much of your income on accessories for it.

The women’s group, however, concluded that computers should be masculine (‘el computador’), because:

1. In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on;

2. They have a lot of data but still can’t think for themselves;

3. They are supposed to help you solve problems,  but half the time they are the problem;

4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have got a better model.

The women won.

P.S. The women might have won in the joke, but in fact while it’s more commonly el ordenador  in Spain, it’s usually either el computador or la computadora in Latin America.


Treaty settlements working for all

February 8, 2014

The Crown signed a Deed of Settlement for all outstanding historical Treaty claims with Ngāti Kuri yesterday.

Ngāti Kuri’s claims are based on the Crown’s actions and omissions which left Ngāti Kuri marginalised on their ancestral lands with few economic opportunities. Many had to leave the rohe altogether, resulting in a loss of social cohesion and difficulty in passing on Ngāti Kuri’s tikanga, traditional knowledge and language to younger generations.

“Signing the Deed at Cape Reinga/Te Rerenga Wairua recognises Ngāti Kuri’s role as kaitiaki over this area,” Mr Finlayson said. “This settlement will enable the people of Ngāti Kuri to focus on developing a strong cultural and economic base for the future.”

The settlement includes financial and commercial redress of $21 million. It also includes cultural redress providing recognition of the traditional, historical, cultural and spiritual associations of Ngāti Kuri with several key sites.   

As part of the settlement, Ngāti Kuri will receive a cultural endowment fund of $2.230 million for the enhancement of the historical and cultural identity of Ngāti Kuri.

“Signing this Deed of Settlement with Ngāti Kuri is an important step towards settling all historical grievances in the Far North and New Zealand as a whole. It signifies a new relationship between Ngāti Kuri and the Crown,” Mr Finlayson said. . .

Settling claims has obvious benefits for those directly involved but the Minister says the gains are spread much wider:

Some people say they want an end to historical settlements. Most people agree. I do. Maori want them resolved as well.

For a while it seemed as if this might never happen. The process, which had started with fanfare in the 1990s, was crawling along at a snail’s pace for much of the 2000s.

One briefing to the previous government optimistically predicted all settlements could be completed by the year 2060.

That has changed. The completion of all settlements is now an achievable goal. It can happen, with the goodwill of all parties, in the next few years.

The settlements will end not because Maori and the public have tired of them, but because they are finished.

The Ngati Kuri will bring to 42 the number of settlements this Government has signed with iwi. That brings the total to 68.

National’s policy since the 1990s has been to address real grievances by reaching full and final settlements with genuine claimants in a timely fashion. Are there non-genuine claims? Certainly, just as there are vexatious cases in the common law courts. They are easy to spot. We are not interested in claims about the ownership of wind, for example.

Outrageous claims like this get a lot of attention in the media but that doesn’t mean they carry any weight in negotiations.

We are determined, however, to put right the thoroughly and accurately documented cases of hurt caused by the Crown’s wrongful actions in the past. This is what Treaty settlements are about.

The faster we settle these claims, the sooner there is an end. The sooner we settle, the sooner iwi can see the benefits of their settlements, and the sooner all New Zealanders benefit from moving on from grievance. Justice delayed is justice denied.

The success of Iwi who have moved from grievance is proof that we all benefit.

And the good news is that the completion of settlements is closer than many people think.

The number of remaining settlements is fewer than 50. Many of the remaining claimants have signed agreements in principle setting out the broad parameters of their settlements, and the Crown is engaged with almost all groups.

We are well on the way to the end. And the sky has not fallen. Despite dire predictions from a small minority at the beginning of this process, the quality of life of most New Zealanders has not been affected in any way. Beaches, national parks, rivers and mountain ranges are still enjoyed by everyone in exactly the same way they were before.

What has happened is that iwi have invested in their people and their regions.

Rather than blowing the proceeds of Treaty settlements, as was again predicted by a vocal few, most have acted wisely and developed the capacity of their people.

That’s another fact that may have surprised some people at the start of this process: Treaty settlements have brought iwi closer to their local communities, not further away.

The result is less division, less fear of the unknown, and more unity.

I think there is also more respect and greater understanding, all of which is better for us all.

 


Majority of NZers appreciate irrigation

February 8, 2014

An independent phone poll, commissioned by Irrigation New Zealand, reveals that New Zealanders – regardless of political leaning – see irrigation as good.

The poll also confirms that New Zealanders recognise the link between irrigation and their ability to access cheap and plentiful produce in their supermarkets.

The survey canvassed 1,000 respondents from Auckland, Canterbury, Wellington, Wairarapa and Hawkes Bay to better understand public perceptions of irrigation.

The only one of the areas surveyed  – Auckland, Canterbury, Wellington, Wairarapa and Hawkes Bay – which has significant areas of irrigation is, I think Canterbury.

Irrigation CEO, Andrew Curtis, says he didn’t expect such a positive response to irrigation from the New Zealand public and is encouraged by the results.

“Close to two-thirds overall agree that irrigation is good for New Zealand. This appears to be the case across the political spectrum which reinforces our belief in the need for a bi-partisan approach to irrigation,” he says.

“In an election year our plea is for politicians to come together to develop a strong vision to continue modernising irrigation infrastructure and practice which would drive sustainable development and achieve benefits for all.”

The poll also identified food production, water management and economic growth as major benefits of irrigation. Environmental impact was identified as a concern and there was a call from respondents for irrigation to be used responsibly – for irrigators to limit losses from nutrients as a result of irrigation; for water use to continue to be monitored and for water wastage to be limited.

This can easily be managed through the resource consent process. North Otago Irrigation Company’s requirement for all shareholders to have environment farm plans which are independently audited each year is a good model.

Andrew Curtis says that irrigation is not just a rural issue and that all New Zealanders need to use water efficiently. The focus now needs to turn to urban and rural water storage development. Providing more information about irrigation to the public is also essential he says.

“The survey shows us New Zealand recognise irrigation’s role in producing affordable and diverse food, but they want to know more about how irrigation works, who is responsible and how it impacts the environment,” he comments.

“We are working with agencies, organisations and individuals to minimise the impact of irrigation on our rivers and river flow and water quality limits are being set so that irrigators sustainably manage the water we all value.” . . .

It is disappointing that few recognise the environmental benefits or irrigation. But it’s not surprising when it’s far more often in the news when there are problems than for good reasons such as its ability to improve water quality and protect fragile soils.

There is no mention of the recreational benefits either, such as this one on the Lower Waitaki.

Imagine having key access to a private waterway with a suite of yachts, kayaks and paddleboards available for year-round use.

It’s not the lifestyles of the rich and famous, but an exciting new initiative by a group of Oamaru dairy farmers who have made sailing and kayaking accessible to anyone in their North Otago community.

The farmers, all shareholders of the Lower Waitaki Irrigation Company, saw an opportunity for recreational use of a 5 hectare irrigation buffer pond developed just over a year ago. With the support of the irrigation company, they created the Lower Waitaki Water Sports Trust to progress the concept.

While the pond was built for irrigation storage, Trust Chairman Richard Willans says its proximity to Oamaru, easy access and un-impeded views make it ideal for anyone wanting to learn how to sail or paddle. “It’s the safest place to get out and learn on. You can see the whole pond from any point as it’s just so flat.” Local farmers supported the project as a way to encourage greater interaction between townies and farmers. “We want to get people from the town out into the country,” he says.

Ironically, Mr Willans admits none of the trust’s committee had sailing or paddling experience before getting involved, but local boaties and kayakers have been happy to provide advice. He says they’re enthusiastic about the new water asset on their back door-step which compares favorably to the next closest waterways, the Waitaki Lakes, which take another 40 minutes to reach.

The project to date has cost more than $150,000 with the trust sourcing funding from the irrigation company, local businesses, Meridian Trust, Waitaki District Council and the Otago Community Trust. An A4 bay shed for storage, fencing of the area and a car park were completed just before Christmas and the project’s jewel in the crown is a floating jetty.

For only $50 a year, key holders gain access to the pond as well as the use of 10 yachts, 15 kayaks and two paddleboards stored at the lake. Water safety measures including lifejackets and a fully inflatable motorized rescue boat are also available on-site.  

The Lower Waitaki Irrigation Company granted the trust a long term peppercorn rent for the site as Chairman Chris Dennison says the company sees the project as worthy.

“In constructing the pond we aimed to design structures and controls so they posed no harm to the public and the risk to users would be minimal. Working with the community on this joint venture has produced a great outcome and all this happened very quickly. The pond was only built in late 2012 and the trust’s facilities were finished last month,” he says.

Originally the pond was going to embrace day visitors such as anglers, but advice from a health and safety consultant suggested compulsory membership would safeguard its farmer-backers. You have to be a member of the trust to use the pond; however membership is open to anyone who is happy to abide by a comprehensive list of rules in place to ensure the safety of all users. 

An official opening of the pond will take place in the next couple of months and the trust hopes to bring un-named Olympians to town to launch the project.

The ODT has more on the waters sports park here.


Saturday soapbox

February 8, 2014

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, amuse or bemuse.

>Positivity's photo.


February 8 in history

February 8, 2014

421 – Constantius III became co-Emperor of the Western Roman Empire.

1238 – The Mongols burned the Russian city of Vladimir.

1250 – Seventh Crusade: Crusaders engaged Ayyubid forces in the Battle of Al Mansurah.

1347 – The Byzantine civil war of 1341–1347 ended with a power-sharing agreement between John VI Kantakouzenos and John V Palaiologos.

1575  Universiteit Leiden was founded and given the motto “Praesidium Libertatis”.

1587  Mary, Queen of Scots was executed at suspicion of having been involved in the Babington Plot to murder her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I of England.

1612 Samuel Butler, English poet, was born (d. 1680).

1622 King James I disbanded the English Parliament.

1692 – A doctor in Salem Village suggeseds that two girls in the family of the village minister may be suffering from bewitchment, leading to the Salem witch trials.

1693  The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia was granted a charter by King William III and Queen Mary II.

1726 The Supreme Privy Council was established in Russia.

1807 Battle of Eylau – Napoleon defeated Russians under General Benigssen.

1817  Juan Gregorio de las Heras crossed the Andes with an army to join San Martín and liberate Chile from Spain.

1828  Jules Verne, French author, was born (d. 1905).

1837 Richard Johnson became the first Vice President of the United States chosen by the United States Senate.

1849 New Roman Republic established.

1855  The Devil’s Footprints mysteriously appeared in southern Devon.

1856  Barbu Dimitrie Ştirbei abolished slavery in Wallachia.

1865 Delaware voters rejected the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and voted to continue the practice of slavery.

1867 The Ausgleich resulted in the establishment of the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary.

1879 Sandford Fleming first proposed adoption of Universal Standard Time at a meeting of the Royal Canadian Institute.

1882 Thomas Selfridge, first person to die in an aeroplane crash, was born (d. 1908).

1887 The Dawes Act authorised the President of the United States to survey Native American tribal land and divided it into individual allotments.

1900 British troops were defeated by Boers at Ladysmith.

1904 Battle of Port Arthur: A surprise torpedo attack by the Japanese at Port Arthur, China started the Russo-Japanese War.

1910 The Boy Scouts of America was incorporated by William D. Boyce.

1915 D.W. Griffith’s controversial film The Birth of a Nation premiered in Los Angeles.

1922 President Warren G. Harding introduced the first radio in the White House.

1924 The first state execution using gas in the United States took place in Nevada.

1931 James Dean, American actor, was born (d. 1955).

1931 All three people on board  a Dominion Airline DeSoutter were killed in a crash near Wairoa. This was the first fatal air service accident in New Zealand.

 First fatalities on a scheduled air service in NZ
1932  John Williams, American composer and conductor, was born.
1941  Nick Nolte, American actor, was born.
1948  Ron Tyson, American singer (The Temptations), was born.

1952 Elizabeth II was proclaimed Queen of the UK.

1955 John Grisham, American writer, was born.

1955  The Government of Sindh abolished the Jagirdari system in the province. One million acres (4000 km²) of land thus acquired was to be distributed among the landless peasants.

1960 – Queen Elizabeth II issued an Order-in-Council, stating that she and her family would be known as the House of Windsor, and that her descendants would take the name “Mountbatten-Windsor“.

1962 Charonne massacre: 9 trade unionists were killed by French police at the instigation of Nazi collaborator Maurice Papon, then chief of the Paris Prefecture of Police.

1963 Mohammad Azharuddin, Indian cricketer, was born.

1963 Travel, financial and commercial transactions by United States citizens to Cuba were made illegal by the John F. Kennedy administration.

1968  The Orangeburg massacre, a mass killing in Orangeburg, South Carolina of black students from South Carolina State University who were protesting racial segregation at the town’s only bowling alley.

1969 Allende meteorite fell near Pueblito de Allende, Chihuahua, Mexico.

1971 The NASDAQ stock market index debuted.

1974 The crew of the first American space station Skylab returned to Earth after 84 days in space.

1974 – Military coup in Upper Volta.

1978  Proceedings of the United States Senate were broadcast on radio for the first time.

1979 Denis Sassou-Nguesso became the President of the Republic of the Congo.

1983  The Melbourne dust storm .The result of the worst drought on record and a day of severe weather conditions, the 320m deep dust cloud enveloped the city, turning day to night.

1989 An Independent Air Boeing 707 crashed into Santa Maria mountain in Azores Islands killing 144.

1996 The U.S. Congress passes the Communications Decency Act.

1996 – The massive Internet collaboration “24 Hours in Cyberspace” took place.

2010 – A freak storm in the Hindukush mountains of Afghanistan triggered a series of at least 36 avalanches, burying over two miles of road, killing at least 172 people and trapping over 2,000 travelers.

2013 – A blizzard disrupted transportation and leaves hundreds of thousands of people without electricity in the Northeastern United States and parts of Canada.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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