Word of the day

February 9, 2014

Hebdomadal – taking place, coming together, or published once every seven days; weekly.


NZ’s GDP = South Carolina’s

February 9, 2014

The USA’s GDP was around $16 trillion in 2012.

Over at Carpe Diem, Mark J Perry has calculated each state’s contribution to the total and found a country whose GDP was similar.

New Zealand’s economy was $171,256, just a little more than South Carolina’s.gdp mapYou’ll find a bigger map and a table with the GDP of each state and the country with which it’s comparable by clicking on the link.


Rural round-up

February 9, 2014

Agribusiness project is a classified success :

When young couple Shane Carroll and Nicola Shadbolt wanted to find equity partners to help them realise their dream of managing a big farming operation they put an advertisement in the newspaper.

“If you’ve got the money, we’ve got the expertise – let’s get together,” they said.

It worked. And 27 years later they are equity partners and managers of a diverse agribusiness in Manawatu’s picturesque Pohangina Valley.

Westview Farm is a combination of agribusinesses shaped by equity partners, farmer-managers and employees on the ground.

Carroll and Shadbolt, his wife and business partner who is well known as a Massey University professor of farm management and a Fonterra director, are the managers and part-owners of an organisation that runs dairy, deer, beef and sheep units. . .

Concerns about over-reliance on China:

A WARNING on heavy reliance on the one market of China has been sounded by Beef + Lamb NZ chief economist Andrew Burtt.

China’s continued growth as a market for New Zealand meat is one of the main trends showing in Beef + Lamb’s export figures for the 2013-14 first quarter, Burtt told Rural News. 

Mutton exports to China doubled in the first three months compared to the same quarter last year. But the continuing growth of China as a market comes with the qualification “about extrapolating that will go forever,” Burtt says. 

The other message is “that New Zealand’s traditional markets are still important to us.

Politically stable, economically stable, and they are wealthy and remain important”. . .

Farmers must look beyond farm on sustainability:

THE DAIRY industry’s contribution to sustainability shouldn’t be confined within the farmgate, says Hauraki Plains farmer Conall Buchanan.

Apart from keeping their farms environmentally sound, involvement in local schools and community projects allows interaction and helps improve public perception of dairy farming and farmers.

Buchanan notes in Hauraki Plains a natural link between the farming sector and the community, high levels of interaction allowing community concerns to be passed to farmers. . .

Women make an impression in dog trialling:

A couple of female dog triallists gave their male counterparts something to think about at the Oxford Collie Club’s Dog Trials.

In a historically male-dominated sport, the top two places in the zig zag hunt, judged by Perry May, went to Nicky Thompson and runner-up Steph Tweed.

The trials have been held by the club for the past 94 years.

This year’s event was held in near-perfect conditions, barring some late southerly rain on day two, when most courses were nearing completion.

Club president Lionel Whitwell said the decline in sheep farming had affected many dog trial clubs, and the triallists were fortunate that good-quality sheep had been sourced from local farmers Alan and Wayne Feary. . .

4 weird things dairy farmers are obsessed with – Modern Milk Maid:

Fat

Nothing to do with their own weight or others. Dairy farmers in Canada are paid based on the “components” of milk-butterfat, protein, and other solids such as lactose. Butterfat is the moneymaker, and every farmer I know loves to compare their results. Fun fact-whole milk is only 3.25% fat! My herd is currently averaging 4.3%. Low butterfat can indicate illness. Diet, genetics, and cow comfort all contribute to how much fat a cow will produce.

Semen 

Bull semen, that is. Choosing a bull that fits with your herd goals-improving looks, milk yield, or health traits is a never ending task. . .

Top German chefs light fire under lamb promotion:

WHEN FARMERS raced Michelin four-star chefs to create the best barbecue lamb dish, the results were mouthwatering. 

The New Zealand Lamb BBQ Masterchef contest  was held at Rob Buddo’s farm, Poukawa, Hawke’s Bay on January 29.

Judges were Black Barn Bistro chef Terry Lowe, Progressive Meats managing director Craig Hickson, Beef + Lamb NZ chief executive Scott Champion and gourmet BBQ chef Raymond van Rijk.

The winning team was Angus Irvine and Sam Morrah, of Central Hawke’s Bay, guided by chef Markus Philippi prompting diners’ satisfaction. . .

 


From Janet Frame’s home

February 9, 2014

Once a year I am rostered for duty at Janet Frame’s home, 56 Eden Street, Oamaru.

Today has been very quiet – just one other volunteer dropping off a message and the neighbour’s cat, Violet, have popped in.

Here’s a glimpse of some of what the hordes who aren’t coming would see:

jf

jf2

jf1

jf3


Open heart

February 9, 2014

open heart

He told me one time he forgot himself & his heart opened up like a door with a loose latch & he tried for days to put it all back in proper order but finally he gave up & left it all jumbled up there in a pile & loved everything equally.

Published with permission.

You’ll find a place to sign up for a daily dose of whimsy like this by clicking on the link.

TPP not plaything of corporates

February 9, 2014

Pattrick Smellie writes on the TPP:

. . . The way the story’s told here, the TPP is a plaything of US corporate interests hell-bent on imposing the very worst of American imperialist views on such important principles as the ownership of patents and copyright, at the expense of supposedly “weak” negotiators like New Zealand.

The implication is that the US political-industrial machine is driving this outcome not just inexorably, but inevitably to a conclusion that will only benefit existing corporate power.

Well, maybe.

But if that’s really the case, why is it that hardly a day passes without coverage in the US media of the mounting trouble that US President Barack Obama faces in getting the permission he needs from Congress and the Senate to agree to a TPP-style deal?

If anything, the political dynamic in the US indicates that vast economy is becoming more instinctively protectionist and unwilling to grant the “fast-track” legislation required to allow the US to be a nimble participant in the TPP negotiations. They now involve 13 trading nations around the Pacific Rim, and perhaps a 14th if South Korea is allowed to join too.

In the last fortnight, Obama has lost support for fast-track legislation from the Democrat Leader of the Senate Majority, Harry Reid, but a swathe of other leading Democrats. On the Republican side, where liberal sentiment towards global trade might have been expected to reign, hard-right Tea Party-ites have further eroded support for free trade.

Indeed, no US President has managed to secure fast-track legislation since 2002. Efforts since 2007 by both the George W Bush and Obama administrations to renew fast-track authority have foundered to date.

So if TPP’s most ardent critic in New Zealand, University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey, is right and the Pacific Rim trade deal is a stitch-up between evil US corporate interests and its puppets on Capitol Hill, then clearly the puppet-masters are doing a pretty crappy job.

The recent Wiki-Leaked documents from TPP negotiations suggest much the same thing. They show the US on the backfoot on many of the most contentious intellectual property and environmental issues.

Recent US media reporting suggests the US is facing opposition to proposed environmental safeguards that developing economies regard as trade barriers dressed up as principle.

If anyone is succeeding on Capitol Hill at present, it would seem to be American trade unions, who would much rather kick TPP negotiations beyond the 2014 mid-term US elections later this year because they fear trade liberalisation will cost the Democrats votes. . .

New Zealand has much to gain and little to lose from the TPP thanks to already being an open economy with few restrictions on trade.

Heavily protected sectors in other countries will have to undergo the adjustment to a more liberal trading environment. But any short-term pain will be worth the long term gains for producers, consumers and taxpayers who pay a high price for tariffs and other trade barriers.


Spare partnership schools – Labour chair

February 9, 2014

New Zealand’s second partnership, or charter, school was opened last week:

The Rise Up Trust is a not-for-profit community organisation which provides education services for Pacific and Maori whanau. It currently provides after-school mentoring to South Auckland families.

It grew from a home school started in her garage by ’Auntie‘ Sita Selupe, a teacher on parental leave from Mangere primary school in 2006, using examples from the children’s own lives as the basis for teaching.

Pacific Island Affairs Minister, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, spoke at the opening ceremony and commended all those involved in getting Rise Up to where it is today and looks forward to its students’ success.

“This Government is committed to raising educational achievement amongst Pacific students at all levels. Improved achievement at school will carry these young people into further education, better jobs and ultimately better lives” says Mr Lotu-Iiga.

“We have already started seeing improved results in Pacific achievement in all areas but we are relentless in our pursuit to see all Pacific children succeeding in their educational achievement. Partnership Schools allow our Pacific parents a greater choice in education that better suits their children’s needs.”

The school’s programmes have been designed by teachers who have grown up and worked in South Auckland schools for many years.

The programmes are tailored to the students, their families and the wider Mangere East community where 64% of the population is Pacific.

The academy will follow the New Zealand curriculum and employ registered teachers. 

“I congratulate Rise Up Trust for their commitment to raise achievement for all our Pacific children. I look forward to our communities supporting them as we all work to see our children succeed in all things,” says Mr Lotu-Iiga. . .

Among those supporting the school is Sally Ikinofo, Labour’s electorate chair in Mangere, who is asking the party to spare partnership schools if they win the election:

. . .Rise Up is the first Pasifika charter school, offering a Christian-based education involving the whole family and teaching the national curriculum to 50 children up to Year 6. Forty-seven children have been enrolled.

Ms Ikinofo, who also chairs the school’s board, says it is a scary time for them because of Labour’s promise to repeal the partnership schools legislation.

She is lobbying Labour MPs to keep the school open, because she says it can make a difference to the education of Pasifika children.

If Labour does repeal the legislation, the Rise Up Academy and others like it should be allowed to continue as special character schools, she says.

The Opposition has been stridently opposed to partnership schools.

This plea shows that they are out of touch with their own people who understand the potential gains for children most in need of them.


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