Word of the day

February 18, 2014

Induratize – to make one’s own heart hardened or resistant to someone’s pleas or advances, or to the idea of love.


Rural round-up

February 18, 2014

Dairy farms set to beat compliance deadline – Tony Benny:

DairyNZ hopes to have all dairy farmers in the Amuri Basin signed up to its Sustainable Milk Plans by the end of the year, meaning they will comply with new Environment Canterbury environmental regulations well before the 2017 deadline.

The plans are based on a voluntary scheme in the Waikato, tweaked to comply with requirements of the Hurunui Waiau River Regional Plan, which came into force in December, under the Canterbury Water Management Strategy.

“The ultimate goal is this will tick all the boxes so at the moment, as I understand it, it does meet all the requirements of Schedule 2 of the Hurunui plan and Schedule 7 of the Land and Water Regional Plan which are both the farm environment plan schedules,” said DairyNZ catchment manager Canterbury Tony Fransen. . . .

For cows daughters mean more milk – Chris Cash:

The amount of milk a cow produces is affected by the sex of her fetus, a new study reports.

Cows that gave birth to a daughter produced considerably more milk than those that had sons. And back-to-back daughters led to a bonanza of milk from their mothers — over two 305-day lactation periods, nearly 1,000 pounds more milk than from cows that had given birth to sons, an increase of 3 percent.

The study, described in the journal PLoS ONE, could have implications for dairy farmers and for new discoveries about human breast milk. . .

NZ vs Aus – who wins at the farmgate? – Freshagenda:

As the current season has unfolded and payouts have heated up over the ditch, many farmers here  are asking the inevitable question – How do Australian farmgate prices compare to New Zealand’s? 
 
To address this question more fully, we really need to look beyond the current season and examine a long term comparison. Freshagenda’s analysis of payments made by Australian manufacturers compared to Fonterra’s over the past 13 years (including a forecast for 2013/14) show that Australian prices have been ahead by around A$0.19 kgMS on average. This is once adjustments have been made for protein – measured as “crude’ in New Zealand and “true” here, and converting NZ prices to Australian dollars. 
 

What the green and black bars on the chart  indicate (in US dollars this time) is that since 2009, Australian farmgate prices have been more resilient when there have been downturns in the international market, while New Zealand’s prices have responded more quickly and fully when commodity prices head upwards. . .

Increasing your slice of the economic pie:

As a commodity producer of primarily agricultural products, New Zealand is not in a favourable position to dictate what goes on in the global marketplace. However, Senior Lecturer in Supply Chain Management, Dr Mark M.J. Wilson , says by looking at the supply chain as a total system, there is the opportunity for businesses to compete through collaboration.

“New Zealand Inc tends to get buried as a supplier within the supply chain,” says Dr Wilson. “For example, our milk products get wrapped up as supply commodities to major confectionery brands that then capture the benefit of their branding to the consumers. So New Zealand gets paid as a commodity player, while the confectionery giant gets the profit from the brand ownership.

“No longer do businesses compete against businesses; rather we need to think about value chains competing against value chains.. .

Two charts about animal use in research – Thomas Lumley:

Prompted by Siouxsie Wiles’s report of talking to an anti-vivisectionist demonstrator, here are two charts from the annual report of the National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee. These are the people who monitor the use of animals in research, testing, and teaching in New Zealand.

The first chart shows what types of animals are used and what happens to them afterwards. . .

 

Triple investment property combines business opportunities with rural lifestyle:

A highly successful multi-purpose hospitality and commercial accommodation business being run as a “hobby” by its current owners has been placed on the market for sale.

The Dairy Flat property north of Auckland combines two business operations with a home on a 4.7 hectare lifestyle section, offering potential new owners the best of both professional and lifestyle worlds.

Located at 48 Young Access in the rural community 25 minutes north of Auckland, the property encompasses a boutique bed and breakfast business with a private residence, a purpose-built glass house function pavilion and a smaller dwelling used as commercial accommodation. . .


Uncommon thoughts on common things

February 18, 2014

Discussion with Jim Mora on Critical Mass today was sparked by:

* 50 Reasons We’re Living Through the Greatest Period in World History by Morgan Housel at The Motley Fool.

* Robert Fulghhum’s Journal – he’s the author of All I really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten at the start of which you’ll find the Story Teller’s Creed which he posts here.

and

* A working mother writes to a stay at home mother and a stay at home mother writes to a working one by Carolyn Ee at Healthy Doctor.


302!

February 18, 2014

Black Caps skipper Brendon McCullum is the first New Zealand batsman to score 300 runs in a test.

He got to 298, hit a four and in doing so broke Martin Crowe’s record of 299 runs.

That he was caught on the next ball doesn’t matter, but does indicate whatbit took to break the record.

It was a wonderful feat for him and his supporting partner Jimmy Neesham who scored his maiden century.

Keeping Stock has more statistics.


Life’s drafting race

February 18, 2014

Quote of the day:

“The other analogy I have learned quite a lot is this idea that life’s like the drafting race because you learn quickly, farming, all the things that begin with D like drenching and drafting, docking and dagging, getting into debt and dealing with DOC. If you go up the drafting race, even for a ewe you have to look good: You mustn’t limp, head up, eyes forward don’t show your teeth if they aren’t terribly good, clean bum, good digestion, good tits – the whole way – because you want to go to the right, to the mixed age ewe mob, because [then] you get kind dogs and good food. Straight ahead is not much fun because you will end up a chop on the table.Christine Fernyhough


Living wage already up 40c

February 18, 2014

The ‘living wage’ has increased by 40 cents in just a few months:

The new figure for a living wage was also up from last year, with campaigners saying it now costs $18.80 an hour to feed two adults and two children in New Zealand.

The wage is based on a family with two children, where one adult is working full-time and the other half-time at the same wage.

The calculations come from the Anglican Family Centre research unit and are up 2.1 percent from last year’s estimate of $18.40 an hour. . .

The figures come from surveyed spending of the poorest half of Kiwi families with two adults and two children. Costs are figured on average New Zealand-wide rents for the cheapest quarter of three-bedroom houses and food costs for foods that meet Otago University’s nutritionists’ “basic” diet of nutritious food.

But the ‘living wage’ doesn’t just cover necessities like food and rent. The calculation was based on all sorts of other things the campaigners deem necessary  for a family with two children to participate in society, including overseas trips which most of us would regard as luxuries rather than necessities.
There is a need for an examination of why New Zealand wages aren’t higher and so many families have their incomes topped up by taxpayers.
But the ‘living wage’ which takes no account of the value of the work done is not the answer to that problem and would cost jobs:

. . . Labour Minister Simon Bridges said the figure seemed to be “much more what they feel rather than what good evidence suggests is right”.

He said raising the legal minimum wage to the original figure of $18.40 would cost employers $2.3 billion a year and wipe out 24,000 jobs. . .

A wage of $18.80 would be around $40,000 a year but a family with two children would get Working for Families on top of that.
Increasing the minimum wage to that figure would save taxpayers’ money but would not be affordable for all businesses, and would cover young, single and part-time workers without families.
If the figure has gone up by 40 cents in a few months,  it won’t stop at $18.80 and Labour has already raised the bar.
The party’s baby bribe would go to people earning up to $150,000 which is about $72 an hour.

If they think you need an extra $60 when you have a new baby who costs very little, how long before they think you need at least that when the baby is older?

By Labour’s reckoning the living wage isn’t around $40,000 but $150,00 and climbing.


Labour TV

February 18, 2014

Are Maori and Pacific programmes on television politically neutral?

Several times when I’ve watched the Maori news programme Te Karere, or Tangata Pacifica I’ve wondered if they were biased towards the left in general and Labour in particular. Revelations by TV3  add fuel to my suspicions:

3 News can reveal state broadcaster TVNZ is being used as a campaign base by Labour Party activists.

They’ve even held a meeting in TVNZ’s Maori and Pacific Unit aimed at fundraising for Labour.

The unit’s manager, Shane Taurima, has held ambitions to become a Labour MP and his staff have been arranging Labour Party business, using TVNZ facilities like email.

Mr Taurima has resigned following the revelation.

Mr Taurima’s a Labour Party activist. He could be standing as a Labour MP this election.

Documents obtained by 3 News show the state broadcaster is being used to help Labour’s cause.

Labour’s electorate committee for the Auckland Maori seat Tamaki Makarau has been using TVNZ as a base.

Last year, a meeting was held at the Maori and Pacific unit’s Hobson headquarters, next to TVNZ’s main building, with Labour Party activists swiped through security.

On the agenda was “fundraising” – making money for the Labour Party.

The unit produces news, current affairs and documentary programmes like Te Karere, Marae Investigates and Waka Huia. Mr Taurima has managerial and editorial control. . .

Using a workplace for political, or any other activity, without the employers’ permission is wrong but that would be between the employer and staff in a private business.

This employer isn’t a private business. It’s a publicly funded state broadcaster which is supposed to provide fair, balanced and politically neutral reporting.

Is it my bias which makes some of the Maori and Pacific programmes seem biased or has the political activism of some employees influenced what’s been broadcast?

The national in RadioNZ National has nothing to do with the party, it’s used in the sense of nationwide.

TVNZ’s board and management must ensure that anything to do with labour at the state broadcaster is in the sense of work, not the party or politics.


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