Blue’s better

11/02/2014

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Word of the day

11/02/2014

Nocent – having a tendency to cause harm; injurious.


Rural round-up

11/02/2014

Australian milk war becomes the NZ product war:

Federated Farmers of New Zealand believes Australian consumers will ultimately decide it’s not fair dinkum to remove New Zealand products from the shelves of Coles and Woolworth supermarkets in Australia.

“It seems like the Australian milk wars, which so badly affected the viability of many Australian dairy farmers, is fast becoming the New Zealand product war,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President and its trade spokesperson.

“My take on this is that Australian consumers will see a lessening of choice and quality as being not fair dinkum.

“Australia is New Zealand’s second largest export market behind China so what goes on there does matter.

“This seems less a reaction to consumer demand and more a new chapter in Australia’s supermarket war.  Coles and Woolworths are cynically trying to proclaim themselves truer than blue Aussie companies. . .

 

A tale of two spills – Willy Leferink:

What would you say if a dairy farmer took full responsibility for the actions of his relief milker and copped a $45,000 fine in the process?  All the while, human and industrial effluent leaks almost daily into our major rivers and harbours with very little mention. 

Wairarapa dairy farmer Selwyn Donald accepted that as the farm owner, the buck stopped with him. There’s something wrong with a picture where a farmer or business gets pinged but council sewerage spills are either covered by “emergency discharge consents” or a slap by the wettest of wet bus tickets.

Last July, Hamilton City Council was “sentenced” after it released about the same volume of human effluent into the Waikato River as happened on Mr Donald’s farm.  Did Hamilton cop the $600,000 fine the media talked about?  Did the guy at Hamilton responsible get charged just like Mr Donald did?  No way.  That was all traded down to stream restoration, planting and fencing near to where the council spill took place.  Restorative justice.  The guy fingered saw all charges “dropped” against him because Hamilton pleaded guilty. . .

Vehicle tracking programme taking off – Sally Rae:

It was while driving a tractor in Australia that Andrew Humphries came up with the idea of a software system to track farm vehicles.

After growing up on a sheep and beef farm near Gore, he headed to the University of Canterbury where he spent a year studying computer engineering.

He then returned to the farm for four years, flying to Western Australia each year to drive seeding rigs during the April-June seeding season. . .

We don’t’ like seeing animals suffer – James Houghton:

In light of the recent story around the footage of a farmer in Chile euthanizing some calves, there has been a lot of uproar and emotion. To me it is understandable because I know just how awful it feels to have to euthanise an animal and how bad things look with limited information.

It is no fun shooting an animal, and anyone who has done it can tell you that it is not an easy job either in the practical or emotional sense. But if you are to work with animals you need to have the strength to take responsibility for that animal and be there for them when they need you. Recently, I found a cow in the paddock with a broken leg and I had to put her down. It was horrible, but what would have been worse is if I had left her and waited for a vet to come, which could have been the following day. On some properties the farmer can be over an hour’s round trip from parts of the farm. So when you encounter an animal in pain and distress, such as a botched attempt at poaching, then you need to have a means to end their suffering. Banning emergency measures would be wrong but neither should it be the first measure.

We have rules and guidelines around what we can and cannot do, for this very reason, so that farmers do not have to let an animal suffer. These rules have to be realistic and practical otherwise farmers won’t be able to do what is right and help put the animal out of its misery. . .

NZITO and Primary ITO join forces:

On Saturday, 1 February 2014 the New Zealand Industry Training Organisation (NZITO), the industry training provider for the meat processing, dairy manufacturing and seafood sectors, officially merged with the Primary Industry Training Organisation (Primary ITO) as the Government’s strategy to amalgamate ITOs continues. Primary ITO provides industry training across the agriculture, horticulture, equine, water and sports turf industries.

The two organisations share a natural synergy and the move will help to strengthen and enhance the links between the producer and processor sectors. The merger also means Primary ITO is now officially the largest ITO in the country.

As well as training the workforce involved in the production and processing elements of the food chain, Primary ITO also provides qualifications for people working in the service sectors connected to the primary industry. While these sectors are not export focused, they still have an important role to play.

NZITO Chairman, Graeme Sutton, says “we’ve created an organisation that offers the complete primary industry training package. There’s enormous capacity for training and education to raise global and national awareness of New Zealand’s primary industry.” . . .

And a media release:

Ambitious young Māori dairy farmers urged to enter Ahuwhenua competition:

This is the final call for all candidates to submit their entries for this year’s Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer of the Year competition. Entries close on Friday 14 February 2014.

Sponsored by Primary ITO, Te Tumu Paeroa and Allflex, the competition alternates between dairy and sheep and beef farming and will for the second time recognise the skill and proficiency of young Māori employed in the dairy farming sector.  It is free to enter and open to those aged 16-25 who are currently enrolled in or have completed a National Certificate in Agriculture Level 3 or higher in the last year.

“The judges will be looking for ambitious young Māori with initiative and industry knowledge,” says Fred Hardy, General Manager of Strategic Business Development at Primary ITO. 

Fred, who acts in an advisory capacity, says those who enter the competition will be rewarded with ample opportunities to build their profile within the industry.

“The competition gives you access to a network of industry professionals and expert feedback, so it is necessary for entrants to have clear goals in mind.” He continues, “It’s also important that they demonstrate a commitment to Māoritanga.”

The finalists will be announced in April and are invited to attend the Ahuwhenua awards ceremony in Tauranga in June, where the winner will be announced and awarded a cash sum of $3000. 1st and 2nd runners up will each receive $1000.

Previous winners, dairy farmer Tangaroa Walker and sheep and beef farmer Jordan Smith, have both embarked on successful farming careers and look back at the competition as a key stepping stone in their journey to success.

For detailed information about the Young Māori Farmer of the Year competition click here.

Entry form here.


Will Dotcom support Labour/Greens?

11/02/2014

David Cunliffe and Russel Norman said a Labour-Greens government might block Kim Dotcom from being extradicted to the US.

“I’ve always said I didn’t support the extradition process,” Mr Norman told 3News last night. “In a number of respects, I just don’t think it’s fair.”

Mr Cunliffe offered more qualified support for the accused pirate, saying, telling the broadcaster, “Prima face, the current government’s operation against Mr Dotcom appears to have been outside the law in a number of respects.”

In 3News’ report, the Labour leader doesn’t voice support for blocking extradition but later, when challenged on social media, 3News political editor Patrick Gower later said Mr Cunliffe said he was open to considering the option.

Prime Minister John Key said while the government could block and extradition, it would jeopardise the US-NZ extradition treaty. He noted that the treaty had been used to repatriate several “abhorrent” criminals from the US to NZ.

That’s the customary yeah-nah from Cunliffe and common sense from the Prime Minister.

Extradition treaties work both ways and we can’t expect the US to support our requests if we don’t support theirs.

A 3News Reid-Research poll found 21% or just over one in five voters would consider voting for Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party.

However, Mr Gower said of 1000 people surveyed, zero supported the Internet Party today.

But while a Labour-Greens government could “save Dotcom’s bacon” as Mr Gower puts it, the irony is that his political push could potentially strip away 1% or 2% support from the two parties – potentially enough to deny them power in a tight race for the MMP list vote. . .

The logical response to this is for Dotcom to forget forming his own party and back Labour and/or the Greens.

He’s already thinking of that.

The reds and greens are sure to swallow their animosity towards rich pricks and accept that offer.


Sabotaged before they start

11/02/2014

Labour’s plan to reopen nominations for its Invercargill candidate when sitting MP Eric Roy announced he won’t be contesting the seat again has several flaws.

The grapevine tells me they had someone in mind when they reopened the selection but he wasn’t willing.

In the end they got Mike Gibson to contest the selection against former MP and several-times candidate Lesely Soper but the party’s process has sabotaged which ever of the two becomes the candidate:

. . . Though technically a candidate is not decided until Labour’s selection committee says so, and that hadn’t happened, there’s no getting around the fact that this was a tough, even humiliating, position in which to put Ms Soper.

Should she again emerge as the Labour candidate, attempts to cast her as the victor in a more vigorous, and therefore superior, process will be subverted by the lingering impression that it was more like a fruitless “geeze is this the best we can do” approach once Mr Roy was out of the picture.

Whereas if the late-showing-up contender for the Labour candidacy, Michael Gibson, gains the nomination he faces taunts that he wasn’t up for the harder fight. . .

A new candidate wants the best possible start to his or her campaign but whoever wins the nomination for Labour in Invercargill will be handicapped by the baggage of the selection process.

Meanwhile, the retiring MP thanks his constituents for allowing him to serve them:

. . . I have had many memorable experiences during my time in Parliament, but the most satisfaction has come from acting as an advocate for our wonderful city and the province as a whole.

A lot of what MPs do goes unseen.

Sometimes this is because of confidentiality requirements, such as when I was involved in the negotiations between Tiwai and the Government in 2013.

Sometimes it is because people are coming to see you for deeply personal reasons – such as their immigration application, or problems they have faced with a government agency.

Sometimes, it’s just not newsworthy.

All of it, however, makes a difference to someone’s life, and I have always been committed to doing the best job I can for my constituents, rather than being focused on headlines. . .

The unedifying process Labour is going through to select its candidate fuels the negative view that many have of politics and politicians.

These words from a Eric are a counterpoint to that and a reminder that good MPs do really serve the people who elect them, and those who don’t, and make a positive difference to people’s lives.

 


More migrants better for all

11/02/2014

Increasing the number of migrants would increase incomes for all New Zealanders.

A new Insight from the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) shows that increasing net migration would lift incomes not just for immigrants but for the native population.

An additional 40,000 people a year for 10 years increases GDP per capita by a chunky $410 a year.

“A more ambitious population policy is needed to increase New Zealand’s population.” said Dr Kirdan Lees, Senior Economist at NZIER. “New Zealand’s point-based immigration framework gets the mix of migrants required about right. But we need to do more to keep lifting the number of migrants that come.”

Almost one-in-four New Zealanders are born overseas but the current policy of 45,000 to 50,000 migrants a year is too low and very arbitrary – bringing in more migrants would lift incomes.

Immigrants provide firms with new skillsets, allowing firms to access new markets, new ideas and new products. A deeper population base also helps firms to get big and offset initial start-up or fixed costs that can be high. But our work shows that the impact on incomes outweighs the inflationary impacts of migration.

International studies also point to positive effects of immigration.

“So let’s grow for it and plan to entice more migrants.”

Migrants are often willing to work in jobs which New Zealanders are less keen to do. They are usually very welcome in the dairy industry.

But the benefits migrants bring to their host country aren’t just economic, they can be social too, introducing a different culture and opening the eyes of locals to different customs.

The paper is here.


No residential requirement for representation

11/02/2014

A new political party has been formed to represent ex-pat New Zealanders.

. . . The Expatriate Party of New Zealand (the Expats) say they’ve gained the minimum 500 paid members required to register their party over the weekend in Perth, Western Australia.

The membership forms collected in Perth by 10 volunteers, with a take-up rate above 90 percent, will be submitted to the Electoral Commission over the next 48 hours for review. . .

Perth-based party spokesman Nick Teulon, originally from Christchurch, said in a statement that the Expats believed it was the New Zealand government’s responsibility to represent all New Zealand citizens, irrespective of where they live and that the Expats would not be lobbying overseas governments.

“Kiwis love Australia and are not looking to the Australian government for the right to vote in Australia or for unemployment benefits as has been widely reported,” he said.

“New Zealanders in Australia are however deeply concerned that successive New Zealand governments have failed to actively and effectively advocate overseas for core residency, health and education rights and they expect the New Zealand government to do so.”
I can understand why people feel aggrieved they don’t get the same rights in Australia as Australians do here, but when Australia is facing years of huge deficits, this isn’t going to be a priority for public spending.
If the ex-pats are so enamoured of Australia, and living and working there for years and want the rights of Australian citizens, why don’t they apply for citizenship?

The Expats would lobby for the repeal of the section of the New Zealand Electoral Act which disqualifies New Zealand citizens from voting if they have not visited New Zealand in the last three years.

Mr Teulon said the apparent justification for the law was that Kiwis who had left New Zealand were no longer in touch with New Zealand issues. However, the internet and proliferation of online news sources had changed that.

The same law also makes such expats ineligible to stand for parliament.

We don’t have a residential requirement for representation. But it’s not unreasonable to expect a little more commitment to your  country than following the news on-line if you want the right to vote.

You don’t have to live here permanently and it’s not a particularly onerous requirement to turn up here once every three years.

The 500 members requirement is a very low hurdle but would-be parties do have to do more than that to register.

Even if it does get registered, a quick look at the results for all the other fringe parties in past elections show what’s likely to happen to the Expats –  they will get a tiny percentage of the votes then disappear.


LabGreen power plan would be worse

11/02/2014

The LabourGreen power plan would be worse for consumers than the current system.

The electricity market in New Zealand is extremely competitive, with consumers able to switch retailers to gain lower prices, and more consumers using metering and home energy management systems to save more. But the electricity proposals of the Labour and Greens parties would be less able than the current market to meet consumer needs.

These are among the key findings of an analysis of the electricity market commissioned by BusinessNZ and undertaken by Sapere Research Group.

BusinessNZ Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly says it is valuable to get rigorous analysis on a sector that is complex and sometimes poorly understood.

“The electricity market was established in 1996 and has operated under changing rules since then. The research makes it clear that under the current 2010 rules, the electricity market is developing towards a highly competitive, well-functioning market.

“The electricity market’s greatest problem has been a lack of transparency around prices. Energy companies have not explained price changes clearly enough, and this has led to doubts about whether prices have been unnecessarily high in the past. BusinessNZ is recommending that energy companies ensure that the reasons for future price changes are meticulously itemised. We also recommend investigating whether we should have rules for information disclosure around price setting.

“The Sapere research also notes that a segment of the market may be experiencing energy hardship in having to spend too great a proportion of their income on house heating. BusinessNZ recommends investigating options for policies within the market and the social welfare system to help alleviate this,” Mr O’Reilly said.

Sapere found the electricity market is achieving positive outcomes against five key criteria:
1. Secure supply of electricity
2. Efficient operation and market transactions
3. Efficient investment in assets
4. Social requirements
5. Environmental requirements

Sapere also analysed NZ Power proposals (Labour and Greens policies) against the same criteria. Sapere concluded that these policies would be less able than the current market to meet the five criteria, and would not resolve transparency or energy hardship problems. . .

The Labour Green power plan would make the electricity supply less secure, lead to less efficiency in operation and market transactions, less efficiency in investment, poorer social requirements and poorer environmental requirements.

Rather than fixing any problems, real or perceived, it would exacerbate them and the people who would be most disadvantaged by the added costs and poorer efficiency would be those least able to afford them.

That isn’t unusual when ideology comes before practical considerations.

Key findings of the report are:

• Outcomes under all of the public policy goals are for the most part positive but there are some areas where more effort should be applied
• Security of supply has improved under the market, and investment in generation, transmission, and distribution assets is keeping ahead of demand without government subsidy or direction
• Retail electricity price increases have not been transparent enough
• There appears to be insufficient action to address energy hardship experienced by some consumers who live in houses that are too cold and damp
• The NZ Power proposal would be less able than the current market to deliver against the five goals, and would not resolve transparency or energy hardship problems

BusinessNZ recommendations:
• Retain current electricity market framework as superior to the alternatives across a range of desirable policy objectives

• Aggressively pursue net-benefit positive improvements to the efficiency of the current market arrangements by improving price transparency:
i. Investigate rules for information disclosure around price setting
ii. Fast-track Electricity Authority and MBIE workstreams on price transparency

• Confirm the nature and size of the issue of energy hardship, acknowledging that efforts by the electricity market will benefit those affected only marginally

• Implement options to aid those experiencing energy hardship, in a systematic, whole of-government way (including the appointment of a lead agency), such as:
i. Requiring landlords who receive state money to make their houses available for social housing to submit their houses to a ‘warrant of fitness’
ii. Replacing the poorly targeted Low Fixed User Charge with a better initiative
iii. Reviewing initiatives in health and welfare that can help address energy hardship

The full report is here.


February 11 in history

11/02/2014

660 BC – Traditional date for the foundation of Japan by Emperor Jimmu.

1531 Henry VIII was recognised as supreme head of the Church of England.

1752  Pennsylvania Hospital, the first hospital in the United States, opened.

1790 Religious Society of Friends, also known as Quakers, petitioned U.S. Congress for abolition of slavery.

1794 First session of United States Senate open to the public.

1808 Anthracite coal was first burned as a fuel, experimentally.

1809 Robert Fulton filed a patent for improvements to steamboat navigation.

1812 Massachusetts governor Elbridge Gerrygerrymandered” for the first time.

1814 Norway‘s independence was proclaimed, marking the ultimate end of the Kalmar Union.

1826 University College London was founded under the name University of London.

1826 Swaminarayan wrote the Shikshapatri, an important test within the Swaminarayan faith.

1840 Gaetano Donizetti‘s opera La Fille du Régiment received its first performance in Paris.

1843 Giuseppe Verdi‘s opera I Lombardi received its first performance in Milan.

1847 Thomas Alva Edison, American inventor, was born (d. 1931).

1855 Kassa Hailu was crowned Tewodros II, Emperor of Ethiopia, by Abuna Salama III.

1861 United States House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution guaranteeing noninterference with slavery in any state.

1864 Charles Heaphy was recommended for a VC for rescuing a soldier while under fire.

Charles Heaphy recommended for VC

1873 King Amadeus I of Spain abdicated.

1904 Sir Keith Holyoake, Prime Minister and Governor General of New Zealand, was born  (d. 1983).

1905 Pope Pius X published the encyclical Vehementer nos.

1916 Emma Goldman was arrested for lecturing on birth control.

1917 Sidney Sheldon, American author, was born  (d. 2007).

1919 Eva Gabor, Hungarian-born actress, was born (d. 1995).

1919 Friedrich Ebert (SPD), was elected President of Germany.

1920 King Farouk I of Egypt, was born  (d. 1965).

1929 Italy and the Vatican signed the Lateran Treaty.

1934 Mary Quant, English fashion designer, was born.

1936 Burt Reynolds, American actor, was born.

1938 BBC Television produced the world’s first ever science fiction television program, an adaptation of a section of  the Karel Capek play R.U.R., which coined the term “robot“.

1938 Bevan Congdon, New Zealand cricketer, was born.

1939 A Lockheed XP-38 flew from California to New York in 7 hours 2 minutes.

1941 The first gold record was presented to Glenn Miller for “Chattanooga Choo Choo“.

1943 General Dwight Eisenhower was selected to command the allied armies in Europe.

1948 John Costello succeeded Éamon de Valera as Taoiseach of Ireland.

1963 Julia Child‘s show The French Chef premiered.

1964 Sarah Palin, 11th Governor of Alaska, was born.

1969 Jennifer Aniston, American actress, was born.

1971 Eighty-seven countries signed the Seabed Treaty outlawing nuclear weapons in international waters.

1973 First release of American prisoners of war from Vietnam took place.

1978  China lifted a ban on works by Aristotle, Shakespeare and Dickens.

1979 Islamic revolution of Iran achieved victory under the leadership of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

1987 Philippines constitution went into effect.

1990 Nelson Mandela, a political prisoner for 27 years, was released from Victor Verster Prison.

1991 UNPO, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, formed in The Hague.

1997 Space Shuttle Discovery was launched on a mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope.

2006 Vice President of the United States Dick Cheney accidentally shot Harry Whittington in the face, neck, and upper torso while hunting quail.

2008 – Rebel East Timorese soldiers seriously wounded President José Ramos-Horta. Rebel leader Alfredo Reinado was killed in the attack.

2011 – The first wave of the Egyptian revolution culminated in the resignation of Hosni Mubarak and the transfer of power to the Supreme Military Council after 18 days of protests.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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