Word of the day

March 4, 2014

Quomodocunquize  – to make money in any way possible.


About trusts

March 4, 2014

It took a while but David Cunliffe has realised, or been persuaded, that he should come clean about the donations to a trust which funded his leadership campaign:

Labour leader David Cunliffe has come clean about the trust set up to handle his donations during the leadership contest last year, naming three donors but saying two others were not willing to be named so their donations would be returned.

Mr Cunliffe has also said that using the trust for the campaign was a lapse in judgement.

He said the three donors willing to be named were Selwyn Pellett, Perry Keenan and Tony Gibbs, who gave a combined total of $9,500. Mr Pellett, a businessman, is a longstanding Labour supporter who has donated to the party and Mr Cunliffe in the past. . .

He said other donors had given a total of $8,300 but were not willing to be named. “That is their legal right. I respect their decision and can’t control it. In their case, the trust will be returning their donations to them.” He said he did not know who those donors were, or whether they were individuals or corporates.

Mr Cunliffe said it was an error of judgement to use the trust. It had meant he did not have to disclose donations in the Register of Pecuniary Interests.

“I don’t think in hindsight that a trust structure fully represented the values I would like to bring to this leadership. Decisions that were made to set up the trust could have been better. I have learned form that and am now making sure I do whatever I can to ensure transparency.”

He said if returning those donations left any shortfall in his campaign funding, he would cover the amount out of his own pocket. He estimated his campaign cost about $20,000. . .

No Right Turn doesn’t buy this:

. . . Which is just sociopathic “sorry I got caught” bullshit. The thing about values is that you live them, and they’re instinctive. Cunliffe’s aren’t. When faced with a choice between transparency and corruption-enabling secrecy, he chose the latter, and then tried to cling to that choice when it was questioned. These are not the actions of an ethical man who believes in open politics – they are the actions of someone trying to get away with something they know is wrong. And actions like this are yet another example of why the New Zealand public thinks all politicians are liars, cheats and scoundrels. . .

The best of people make mistakes, but ethical people do live by their values and this is the third gaffe in three months:

The slip over the baby bonus, by failing to disclose in his speech that it would not be paid on top of parental leave, took much of the wind out of his January sails.

It also deflected attention from a $500 million spending pledge that Labour had hoped would set the agenda.

No sooner was the House back in February than the $2.5m property-owning man was attacking Prime Minister John Key for living in a leafy suburb and defining his own mansion as a doer-upper and his own situation as middle of the road.

The climb-down came at the weekend.

This morning he has admitted it had been wrong to set up a trust for donations to his leadership bid. (If the cost was about $20,000 for his leadership campaign, why seek donations at all?) . . .

Every election is about trust but Cunliffe has also made it about trusts.

He was foist upon the caucus by the unions and party and he’s surrounded by people whose will to return to government is in strong conflict with their wish for another leader.

With every slip he makes, that wish will intensify.

P.S. Liberation has top tweets on the trust which include:

Rob Hosking ‏@robhosking  

Meanwhile, in Matt McCarten’s office …..http://stream1.gifsoup.com/view5/2320932/blackadder-headdesk-

 Graeme Edgeler ‏@GraemeEdgeler  

How can you return the money if you don’t know who the donors were?

Vernon Small ‏@VernonSmall  

Respectfully suggest if your household income is north of $500,000 and a leadership contest costs $20,000 …. pay for it yourself.

Toby Manhire ‏@toby_etc  

Of Trusts Regretted and Accounts Forgotten: a short history of NZ Labour leadership since 2012.

 

Matthew Hooton ‏@MatthewHootonNZ  

Congrats to @GregPresland for getting Tony Gibbs,@SelwynPellett, Perry Keenan etc to donate to trust w/out @DavidCunliffeMP knowing about it

 

michael fletcher ‏@fletchermj  

@nzdodo You can have an election Trust or the electors’ trust – but not both

 

Jolisa Gracewood ‏@nzdodo  

And now we’re all saying “trust” like it’s a bad thing. #newspeak

Marcus Cook ‏@MarcusDCook  

Would Cunliffe be happy if the Rena’s owners paid the entire amount anonymously through a trust?

 

Michael Woodhouse MP ‏@WoodhouseMP  

Mr Cunliffe and the word trust in the same news article. Not in quite the way he was hoping…

Nick Cross ‏@NW_Cross  

“I didn’t know the money came from Dotcom – Cunliffe” – Predicted headline ~6 weeks from now

 

David Farrar ‏@dpfdpf  

Trying to decide who is happier over the Cunliffe secret trust for his donations story – @grantrobertson1 or @matuashane or @johnkeypm

 


Grammar no-nos and gadgets

March 4, 2014

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

These Famous Authors Made It Okay To Commit Grammar No-No’s among whom is one of my favourite poets, e.e. cummings.

and

What We Can Expect in Gadgets This Year  – I covet the solar rocking chair and the in-wall extension cord.

 


Rural round-up

March 4, 2014

India world’s largest beef exporter – Allan Barber:

For a country where the cow is sacred to adherents of the majority Hindu religion, it seems surprising that India has overtaken Brazil as the largest exporter of beef in the world. A recent article in the New Indian Express reports that a prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, recently referred to the ‘pink revolution’ as the only revolution happening in India, signifying the growing importance of the country’s meat industry.

It was intended primarily as a dig at the inactivity of India’s ruling United Progressive Alliance party which has been in power since 2004. But it underlines the point that beef exports have grown by 50% in the past five years to 1.89 million tonnes with main markets being USA, Europe, the Gulf States and South East Asia.

Poultry exports have also grown substantially, reaching 3.5 million tonnes in the latest year for which figures are available, which puts it after USA and Brazil as the world’s third largest exporter. . .

China’s meat imports surge, while live cattle trade slows – Allan Barber:

An article in Global Meat News.com highlights significant changes in China’s live animal and meat trade with the rest of the world.

China’s imports of live cattle dropped back in 2013, although there was a surge in cattle for beef breeding and finishing. According to China Customs data, China imported 102,245 cattle (cows, bulls and weaners) in 2013 which was down 26,000 on the previous year, but the figures included 9,370 Angus cattle from Australia and New Zealand destined for the beef sector. A batch of 3,000 Angus, classed as ‘beef cattle’, were imported from Australia in November alone.

A listing of major feed lots, published by China’s agricultural ministry, shows the bulk of China’s cattle feed lots are concentrated in Hebei, Liaoning and Shandong provinces. Yet cows and cattle are also being farmed in increasing numbers in the less populous northwesterly regions of Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Gansu and Xinjiang – all of which also have large Muslim populations and a traditional demand for halal-compliant beef products. . .

Bluff oysters are back – Michael Daly:

Succulent Bluff oysters are starting to appear on shop shelves after the season opened at midnight today, but the delicacies are not expected to be widely available in most supermarkets until early next week.

“There will be a little bit getting around the country today,” Bluff Oyster Management Company spokesman and Barnes Oysters manager Graeme Wright said.

Some of the 11 boats in the fleet had gone out last night to be ready to start harvesting as soon as the season opened, and the first boat had been back in port before 8am. . .

Dairy dominates rise in export volumes:

In the December 2013 quarter, seasonally adjusted dairy export values rose 27 percent, Statistics New Zealand said today. Dairy volumes, after adjusting for seasonal effects, rose 23 percent while actual prices fell 1.1 percent.

Total export volumes rose 9.7 percent in the December 2013 quarter while total export prices fell 0.5 percent. Both movements were strongly influenced by dairy, which accounted for 39 percent of the value of goods exported in the December quarter – twice as much as meat and forestry combined.

“Export volumes are at their highest level since the series began in 1990, reflecting higher dairy volumes in the December quarter, after adjusting for seasonal effects,” prices manager Chris Pike said. “Dairy export prices fell slightly, reflecting a stronger New Zealand dollar.” . . .

DairyNZ’s research head retires:

DairyNZ chief scientist Dr Eric Hillerton has announced he will leave his post at the industry body later this year, having decided to semi-retire.

Dr Hillerton says one of the most rewarding parts of being a scientist with DairyNZ is the direct involvement with dairy farmers, understanding the real problems on farms and helping develop solutions and new technologies.

“Much of the value of that science lies in taking research and knowledge directly to farmers, and testing how to apply and transfer innovative technologies and solutions,” says Dr Hillerton. . .

Two New Zealand multinationals partner for Fieldays Premier Feature:

NZ National Fieldays Society is pleased to announce Fieldays 2014 Joint Premier Feature Partners: PGG Wrightson Ltd and Xero Ltd.

Fieldays, the Southern Hemisphere’s largest Agribusiness Expo, will be held 11 to 14 June at Mystery Creek Events Centre, Hamilton. Each year the Fieldays Premier Feature theme provides a compelling showcase for what’s happening throughout New Zealand’s agricultural industry; promotes adoption of current knowledge and technologies; and offers solutions for upcoming challenges.

The Fieldays 2014 Premier Feature theme, Managing Resources for a Competitive Advantage, will highlight areas in which New Zealand’s agricultural sector can optimise, maximise and develop systems and processes to help manage resources effectively and maintain our place among the world’s best. . .


Too soon, too late, too long

March 4, 2014

Last summer was one of the ones I remember from childhood – day after day of blue skies and sunshine.

That wasn’t good news for those for whom it mean drought, but it was great for the rest of us.

This year some areas are facing drought again even though most of the country hasn’t really had good summer weather.

In North Otago we’ve had the odd day or two of temperatures in the mid 20s but we’ve also had far too many when they barely reach the late teens.

And now it’s autumn and feeling like it – we woke to fresh snow on the Kakanui Range yesterday morning.

It’s not just autumnal temperatures, it’s also dark in the mornings as dawn creeps later.

It’s going to keep getting worse for the next month because we have to wait until the first weekend in April for the clocks to go back.

Yet another reminder that daylight savings starts too soon, finishes too late and lasts too long.


What’s he offering?

March 4, 2014

Liam Dann asks a very good question:

What is David Cunliffe offering? A dramatic experiment with a winning formula? A worrying fix for something that isn’t broken?

He’s referring to Labour’s determination to follow Green Party policy to meddle with the Reserve Bank.

Labour’s embrace of Green Party policy to reform the Reserve Bank Act is a big stumbling block for the party if it wants mainstream acceptance from the business community.

It surely gains the party few fresh votes from the wide pool of mainstream voters who find monetary policy debate arcane.

Yet it makes Labour almost impossible to endorse for many of the nation’s most powerful and influential business leaders.

The monetary policy reformists are full of ideas about the magic a broader definition of the Reserve Bank Act might achieve. But they ignore the extent to which having one target – inflation – has worked. And just how fundamental controlling inflation is to creating a stable economy on which growth can be built.

Why, when the Act has just seen us through such an enormous global downturn so efficiently, would you change it. In the hope it might bring the dollar down?

Well, if you damage the economy the dollar will certainly fall. But it seems a brutal path to take.

And why, if you were going to make changes, would you loosen the shackles during the growth phase of the economic cycle – just when inflation starts to become a serious risk.

We should be grateful we don’t have to make radical changes to our economy. We’ve come through the downturn well, and while National can take some credit for steering the ship, so too can the last Labour Government for the healthy growth it oversaw.

Radical change is for those nations that have run out of options. Let’s leave it to the Greeks.

National has generally trod a cautious path, some would say too cautious. But it’s getting results.

The economy is growing, and other economic indicators like business confidence, investment intentions and employment are positive.

All of this would be at risk if inflation is let loose with the inevitable steep increase in interest rates that would follow.

In 2008, when Labour was last in power interest rates were about 11%.

Now they’re about half that and while they’re expected to rise providing inflation is kept under control, they shouldn’t get back to double figures.

But if a Labour/Green government starts meddling with the RBA, inflation will surge and interest rates will  too with the high cost that imposes on business and households.

If people are concerned about the affordability of houses and farms now, how much worse will it be when interest rates are twice the current rate, or higher?

That’s what Cunliffe is offering.


Jobs go, jobs come

March 4, 2014

Dunedin had some good news yesterday:

Dunedin’s Wall Street mall is to be redeveloped to cater for an expansion of Fisher & Paykel’s operation in the city, which is expected to provide about 70 jobs.

The whiteware company wants to extend its existing lease of office and laboratory space in the Dunedin City Council-owned Wall Street complex in George Street.

This is to provide the design and call centre with capacity for a total of 230 staff, enabling the continuation of a growth plan that will see a 40% increase in design staff numbers by 2018. . .

Another good news story:

Dunedin-based cancer diagnostic company Pacific Edge is to receive $4.5 million in government grants towards research and development over the next three years.

Pacific Edge’s bladder diagnostic tool Cx-bladder is marketed in New Zealand, Australia, the US and soon Europe, and the listed Dunedin company holds patents for diagnostic and prognostic tests across a range of cancers, including colorectal, gastric and melanoma.

Pacific Edge chief operations officer Jimmy Suttie said the Government’s Callaghan Innovation Fund recognised the ability of Pacific Edge to turn scientific discovery into products which brought real benefits. . . .

It also had some bad news:

A sawmill company with about 400 employees and about $100 million in annual sales has been placed in receivership.

Brendan Gibson and Michael Stiassny, of KordaMentha, were this afternoon appointed as receivers of Dunedin-headquartered Southern Cross Forest Products.

The company has four sites in Mosgiel, Milton, Balclutha and Milburn around Dunedin and another site in Thames. In 2012, the last figures available, the company generated revenue of just under $95m. . .

There’s no good time to be worried about job security but it’s not as bad if job growth is strong.

Businesses come and go and so do jobs, and at the moment there’s more coming than going.

 

Photo: More jobs, more opportunities. Under National, New Zealand is going in the right direction. http://www.national.org.nz/bga.aspx


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