For Children’s Day

March 2, 2014

Photo: Celebrating Children's Day 2014. Like or share if you agree with Paula.  #childrensday

 

The Minister of Social Development has a role in ensuring those in need get help.

But giving children the best possible start and ensuring they thrive and achieve requires more than benefits and is first and foremost the responsibility and duty of their families.


Word of the day

March 2, 2014

Uitwaaien (Dutch) – to take a brief break in the country side to clear one’s head; to walk in the wind.


Rural round-up

March 2, 2014

CPW shocked by ECan’s mistakes on nitrate loads – Tim Fulton:

Environment Canterbury (ECan) has admitted critical mistakes in calculating the nitrate loads for newly irrigated land in the Central Plains Water scheme.

Central Plains Water (CPW) has been stunned by a recommendation to halve its nitrate allowance under a land and water plan for the Selwyn-Waihora catchment.

The allocation was adjusted three times as CPW sought commitment from farmers to its scheme. Even though irrigators had been advised the calculations were subject to change, the nitrate allocation has bounced from 520 tonnes to 850t and back to 434t. . . .

The Heilala Vanilla story – Caitlin Sykes:

John Ross got a whole lot more than he was expecting for his 60th birthday.

 

A retired dairy farmer, Ross’ birthday wish was to sail to Tonga on a boat he’d built himself, have a family holiday and indulge his passion for spearfishing.

 

But he fell in love with the place. So much so that when a cyclone ravaged the Vava’u island group the year after he’d stayed there, Ross rallied a group of Rotary club friends to travel back to Tonga to help with the clean-up.

 

In thanks, a local family gifted him a plot of land, in exchange for him using it to provide employment for those living there.

 

The gift sent Ross on a journey of discovery, travelling around the globe to learn all he could about vanilla – a crop that only grows naturally 20 degrees either side of the equator and is perfectly suited to growing conditions in Tonga. . . .

Preparing a winner beats milking cows – Mike Dillon:

John Morell is one of a rapidly dying breed – rural owners who train their own racehorse from a farm.

 

Not only is that a rare group these days but farming owners who send their horses to professional trainers to be prepared are also becoming as rare as Len Brown supporters.

 

When Hall of Fame champion trainer Dave O’Sullivan was a year or so from putting his feet up he declared he had just one horse in his stable who was owned by a farmer.

 

“A few years ago half my team was owned by farmers,” he declared at the time. . .

Countdown to the NZ Product Wars – Bruce Wills:

What Shane Jones told Parliament regarding Countdown will probably not be news to thousands of current and former Australian dairy farmers.  You see they’re the ones who have footed the real cost of Australia’s A$1 a litre supermarket milk war.

Last May, the head of Coles warned its suppliers Australians were paying too much for groceries at the same time a A$1.5 billion full-year profit was announced.  Several months later Woolworths, its arch rival, revealed a A$2.3 billion net profit.  Combined, the two groups were making a net profit of A$7,229 every minute.  I do not begrudge successful businesses given many pension funds rely upon success like this.  What I do begrudge is if high profits come from breaking smaller businesses through predatory, anti-competitive practices.  Something I see in the Australian dairy industry.

If the 2011 Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) investigation into the supermarket milk war is anything to go by, it may leave some people on this side of the Tasman feeling deflated with our Commerce Commission about to look into things.  . .

 

McNee to ring changes at LIC – Andrea Fox:

Big job changes and expansion are planned at LIC as Wayne McNee, the new chief executive of the genetics and information heavyweight, starts flexing his muscle.

McNee, formerly chief executive of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), is proposing structural change that could affect 56 jobs – many of them executive positions – and create 17 new roles.

His plan is expand LIC in the South Island, target international markets and focus the business on farmer needs for the future, instead of head office decisions. . .

$15 billion bonanza – Hugh Stringleman:

Record dairy prices and milk payout forecasts have a strong tail wind, which should carry them through the rest of the season.

Competing countries have their own weather woes and are unable to increase supply in response to the favourable worldwide demand.

Most New Zealand dairy farmers are seeing a double benefit – more production and the record prices– although some are contemplating a premature end to milking because of drought. . . .

Good turn-out at field days – Hugh Stringleman:

Northland Field Days filled all exhibitor spaces for the first time on its new home site as the regional economy recovers strongly.

Early last week Northland was reported by ANZ Bank to have the best economic activity numbers among 14 regions nationwide.

The activity index was up 2.4% in the fourth quarter of last year, following a similar-sized rise in the third quarter.

The six-monthly surge was the biggest since 2004. . . .

 

 

The Heilala Vanilla story


General Confusion

March 2, 2014

confusion

©2014 Brian Andreas Brian Andreas

You’ll find how to sign up for a daily dose of email whimsy like this from the fine folk at Story People by clicking on the link.

 


A tale of two standards

March 2, 2014

First we have a farmer:

A Southland farmer has been sentenced to community work for discharging dairy farm effluent to land.

Damon Shane Buckingham appeared before Judge Craig Thompson in the Environment Court in Invercargill yesterday after admitting discharging the effluent to land in circumstances where it may have entered a waterway.

He was sentenced to 40 hours of community work. . .

Then we have this:

. . . Invercargill City Council environmental health services manager John Youngson said a high level of sewerage-system failure had resulted in surface and ground water being contaminated with human faeces and pollution in the nearby Waihopai River.

Sanitary survey dye tests revealed effluent on 20 properties, direct discharge from septic tanks into waterways on 15 properties and indirect discharge into waterways from 16 properties via soakholes or filed tiles. . .

Why do we have one standard for animal effluent discharges and another for those from people?

It seems especially unfair when the farmer was charged for animal effluent which could reach a waterway and no-one was charged for human effluent which did reach a river.


Getting results

March 2, 2014

Quote of the week:

Families want to know that we are not throwing their tax dollars around, but that we are targeting their money to achieve real results that make a meaningful difference to their lives.John Key.

He continues:

That is why it is very important to me, as Prime Minister, to lead a Government that delivers better public services. This is one of the National-led Government’s four main priorities for this term in office.

The Better Public Services programme sets specific targets that we expect the public service to achieve over the next four to five years.

Some of the targets are very challenging and we have deliberately set the bar high.

Some of those tougher challenges include reducing long-term welfare dependency, reducing crime, and increasing infant immunisation.

Last week we delivered the second progress report on the Better Public Services programme.

I’m pleased to say that we are making progress in a lot of areas and, in some areas, we are ahead of where we need to be to meet targets.

More children are now protected from preventable diseases. The latest results show 91 per cent of eight-month-olds are fully immunised – ahead of the June 2014 target of 90 per cent.

Crime is at a 33-year low. Since June 2011, total crime has fallen 13 per cent, and violent crime has fallen 9 per cent, the youth crime rate is down 22 per cent, and the reoffending rate down 11.4 per cent.

This means we are well on-track to meet the targets of reducing crime by June 2017 and, more importantly, families can feel safer in their own homes.

In terms of welfare, there are fewer people on benefits, with the number of beneficiaries having dropped from 78,154 to 74,559 in the year to June 2013.

More 18-year-olds are achieving NCEA Level 2 and more children are participating in early childhood education.

Visit the National website for more information on our Better Public Services programme, or watch my latest video “

National set goals against which its progress can be measured and it’s achieving them.

In doing so it’s making a positive difference to New Zealanders and New Zealand.


Cunliffe caught out again

March 2, 2014

When Environment Minister Amy Adams announced an improvement to the EEZ Act, Labour leader David Cunliffe leapt in to say:

The Government has today revealed its true contempt for democratic rights by ploughing on with plans to override Parliamentary majority and gag local communities, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. . .

“Kiwis also lose their rights to have a say on exploratory drilling off their local beaches under new rules coming into effect today.

But the Minister points out the new legislation is an improvement on what happened under Labour:

David Cunliffe latest attempt to rewrite history on oil and gas exploration highlights an on-going, casual relationship with the truth, Environment Minister Amy Adams says.

“As a minister in the previous Labour Government, David Cunliffe knows there was no environment oversight and certainly no public involvement in the exploratory drilling process under his watch,” Ms Adams says.

“Once again he has been caught out being tricky with the truth. He is trying to create a distraction from Labour’s woeful environmental credentials.

“Under his government, 36 wells were drilled in the EEZ between 1999 and 2008 with no legislation in place to protect the environment.

“In fact, the Labour regime only required the Minister for Energy and Resources to sign a permit and required no formal environmental assessment at all. That’s it – no public comment, no submissions, no consideration of environmental effects.

“The ridiculous thing about David Cunliffe’s argument is that the EEZ Act introduced by this Government actually replaces a non-existent environmental regulatory regime for drilling in the EEZ, where the public had no say.

“Under this Government, the public will for the first time get a chance to have a say. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can call for submissions from the public prior to granting a consent for exploratory drilling, if the EPA feels it is required. And before any production drilling can take place, a full public process must be held.

“This means before an oil company can make a single dollar of profit, they have to go in front of the people of New Zealand and make sure everyone has a say in the full process.”

Oh dear, Cunliffe has been caught out again.

The new measure gives the public more say than they had before.

Perhaps Cunliffe’s new chief of staff will have a better grasp of what happened when Labour was last in government and be able to stop him leaping into an argument without the facts to back up his assertion.

 

 


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