Word of the day

March 6, 2014

Jeremiad – a long, mournful complaint or lamentation; a list of woes; a tale of sorrow or disappointment, an angry tirade; a cautionary or angry harangue; a literary work or speech expressing a bitter lament or a righteous prophecy of doom.


Rural round-up

March 6, 2014

MIE seek funds from Beef + Lamb – Allan Barber:

MIE Chairman John McCarthy put out a press release on Tuesday pressing Beef + Lamb NZ to put its weight behind the remit to the AGM in March which asks “that Beef + Lamb New Zealand provide funding support to the Meat Industry Excellence Group to secure red meat sector reform.”

This maintains the pressure of a campaign waged by MIE for some months now, but I get the impression the sector reform group is no closer to stating how it intends to achieve the reform it wants. The press release says an estimated $200,000 is needed next year to “meet expenses for travel, meetings and other activities associated with driving the reform process.”

The stated justification is B+LNZ has no mandate beyond the farm gate, whereas MIE has ‘runs on the board’ with the successful election of directors to the boards of Alliance and Silver Fern Farms. MIE’s focus is now on processing and marketing issues in the sector.  . .

Sheep farmers pushing for retention of Invermay – Allan Barber:

A group of southern sheep breeders and sheep and deer farmers is strongly lobbying the government to attend a meeting in Gore to be held next Wednesday 12th March. The meeting, to be chaired by past chairman of Beef + Lamb NZ Jeff Grant, will be the first time AgResearch has fronted up to breeders and farmers to talk to them about the planned transfer of research scientists from Invermay to Lincoln.

The purpose of the meeting with AgResearch Board and Management is to hear them outline the proposed shift to Lincoln and the residual science to be retained at Invermay, and for AgResearch to hear the views of their stakeholders. . .

Brown fat ‘key’ to lamb survival:

AgResearch scientists are investigating a special type of fat that new-born lambs use to generate heat and which has a bearing on survival rates.

A research physiologist at the Grasslands campus in Palmerston North, Sue McCoard, says they’ve found that giving nutritional supplements to ewes during pregnancy can boost the amount of brown fat in lambs.

She says that could hold the key to whether lambs, especially twins or triplets, survive cold weather. . .

Waikato farmers desperate for rain

Waikato farmers are praying for rain amid fears of another drought.

Some rivers and streams are running at near record lows for this time of the year and soil is drying out.

Waikato Regional Council’s Chris McLay says the problem is widespread. . . .

Ballance invests in future science talent:

Five university students studying towards a degree in New Zealand’s vibrant primary industry have been awarded Ballance Agri-Nutrients scholarships.

Each scholarship is worth $4000 a year and can be held for a maximum of three years. Scholarships are open to family members of Ballance shareholders or shareholders of an entity (and beneficiaries of that shareholding) with shares in Ballance, as well as family members of company employees.

Warwick Catto, Research and Development Manager at Ballance Agri-Nutrients, says the calibre of this year’s applicants were again of a very high standard and shows that the industry’s future is in safe hands. . .

Farmers Mill Leading the Way With 100% NZ Flour and Innovative Baking Supplies:

A state-of-the-art, brand new mill is the reason Farmers Mill Flour is providing bakers throughout the country with uniquely customised, fully traceable flour and baking supplies.

Farmers Mill, based in Timaru, boasts new milling equipment which has been designed to mill New Zealand wheat to an exceptionally high standard and produces premium biscuit, all-purpose baking, cake, pastry and bread flours to unique, high end specifications.

Since its opening in June last year, the business has grown substantially to become a leading producer for the New Zealand baking industry supplying to iconic brands such as Griffins Foods, Couplands Bakeries, French Bakery and Baker Boys. Examples of key retail outlets using Farmers Mill flour for artisan breads and pastry based products include Little and Friday in Auckland and Rangiora Bakery in Canterbury. . . .

Local Baby Formula Maker NuZtri joins Infant Nutrition Council:

Locally owned Best Health Products Limited producers of NuZtri Premium Formula and fortified Milk Powder products announced today it has been accepted into the Infant Nutrition Council of Australia and New Zealand (INC). On the 20th February this year, Jan Carey, CEO of the Infant Nutrition Council visited the Best Health Limited’s Head Office and RMP facility (Risk Management Program) in Christchurch to view the operation and sign the agreement.

“After successfully completing INC’s assessment we are truly delighted to be approved as an associated member of this prestigious Infant Nutrition Organisation”, said Craig Calder General Manager of NuZtri. . .

 


Thursday’s quiz

March 6, 2014

Preparing dinner of 50ish people tonight is taking priority over blogging so I’m leaving the questions up to you.

You don’t have to follow the 5 question format I use.

Anyone who stumps everyone will win an electronic jar or raspberry jam.


Waging war on success

March 6, 2014

Why would anyone oppose schools which are proven to be successful?

. . . All four Harlem Success Academy charters serve primarily minority student populations (all are 93.5 to 97.1% black and Hispanic) and low-income households (75 to 80% of students qualify for free or reduced lunch), and yet all are ranked academically higher than about 97% of all schools in New York state based on standardized test assessments in math and reading.

What a truly amazing academic success story!

Q: With those kinds of impressive results for some of the city’s most at-risk student populations in Harlem, couldn’t that proven record of academic success be replicated in all public schools? Wouldn’t you think that these Harlem charter schools would be recognized as academic models for the rest of the city and the state?

A: In a more sane world where students and learning are the No. 1 priority, the educational establishment would be “falling all over itself” to copy the proven educational success of charter schools like the ones in Harlem profiled above. But in the insane world of New York City, the liberal mayor and liberal teacher unions are waging a war on the city’s successful charter schools like the ones operated by Success Academy Charter Schools. Preservation of the status quo and a continuation of the current failed public school model, and preserving its power, are the primary concerns of the teachers unions and their administrative enablers, which now includes the new New York mayor. . .

This sounds familiar.

New Zealand’s first partnership schools have only recently been established but unions and opposition MPs aren’t giving them a chance.

Opposition parties and unions have already damned charter schools here.

Conventional schools work well for most pupils but they don’t work well for all..

Those young people who for a myriad of reasons fail in, or are failed by, conventional schools should be given a chance to succeed in partnership schools.

Damning them before they’ve had a chance to show what they can do is playing politics with pupils most in need of something more than business as usual in conventional schools is offering.


Where the living wage will lead

March 6, 2014

One of the criticisms of the living wage is that it takes no account of the relationship between the cost of an employee and the value of his or her work.

If the cost gets out of kilter with the value the employer is going to look for alternatives like this:

. . . In the new concept video, Pizza Hut swaps out the tables at its dine-in restaurants for massive touch-screen displays. Once you sit down, the first thing you’ll do is place your smartphone on the electronic table, activating the display and automatically signing into your own personalized account. Then you’ll design your pizza using the interactive screen before finalizing your order and paying through your device. Finally, the display lets you and your friends play popular mobile games while you wait. . .

This is only a concept, it will be a long time before it is implemented, if it ever is.

People will still be needed to cook the pizzas, bring them to the table and clean up after the diners but technology like this could reduce the number of waiting staff needed.

The more expensive staff become, the greater the cost of employing people in relationship to the value they provide, the more attractive technology to replace them becomes.

Hat tip: AEIdeas

 

 


About trust and judgement

March 6, 2014

Labour leader David Cunliffe is in trouble for the second time in a week over a trust:

3 News can reveal Labour Party leader David Cunliffe failed to declare a financial trust, as MPs are required to do with investments.

He initially tried to keep the trust off the official record – but was forced to make a late change.

“I’m the beneficiary of the Bozzie Family Trust and a bare trust called ICSL which does savings and investments,” he says.

A check of the latest register of MP’s Pecuniary Interests shows only one of these two was actually declared on time – The Bozzie Trust, which owns his house.

He left out the ICSL trust and was forced to correct the register by making a late declaration posted on the website. . .

Mr Cunliffe refused to front to media on the issue, instead releasing a statement through his office saying it was initially left out because “legal advice” was it didn’t need to be disclosed.

Mr Cunliffe got further advice from the registrar, who said “if in doubt – declare it”. . .

He shouldn’t have needed to seek legal advice, he should have known that if he was in doubt he should declare it.
That he did seek legal advice and didn’t make a full declaration shows at best a serious lack of judgement.

. . . The register covers February 1, 2012 to January 31 last year and Mr Cunliffe joined the trust in March, 2012.

The deadline to declare was almost a year later on February 28, 2013, but he declared four months late on July 16. . .

Cunliffe’s predecessor David Shearer was in trouble for forgetting to declare a large sum of money in a USA bank account at around this time.
That should have alerted Cunliffe to the importance of admitting his error of judgement when he realised he’d made it.
This is another example of behaviour which suggests he doesn’t instinctively know what’s right.
It is not the behaviour the country would expect of any of its MPs, let alone one who thinks he could be Prime Minister.

March 6 in history

March 6, 2014

1454 Thirteen Years’ War: Delegates of the Prussian Confederation pledged allegiance to King Casimir IV of Poland who agreed to commit his forces in aiding the Confederation’s struggle for independence from the Teutonic Knights.

1475 Michelangelo, Italian artist, was born (d. 1564).

1521 Ferdinand Magellan arrived at Guam.

1788 The First Fleet arrived at Norfolk Island in order to found a convict settlement.

1806 Elizabeth Barrett Browning, was born (d. 1861).

1820 The Missouri Compromise was signed into law by President James Monroe  allowing Missouri to enter the Union as a slave state, but made the rest of the northern part of the Louisiana Purchase territory slavery-free.

1836 Battle of the Alamo – After a thirteen day siege by an army of 3,000 Mexican troops, the 187 Texas volunteers defending the Alamo were defeated and the fort was captured.

1853 Giuseppe Verdi‘s opera La Traviata receives its premiere performance in Venice.

1857 – Supreme Court of the United States ruled in the Dred Scott v. Sandford case that people of African descent imported into the United States and held as slaves, or their descendants—whether or not they were slaves—were not protected by the Constitution and could never be citizens of the United States..

1869 Dmitri Mendeleev presented the first periodic table to the Russian Chemical Society.

1899 Bayer registered aspirin as a trademark.

1917 Frankie Howerd, English comedian, was born (d. 1992).

1921 Portuguese Communist Party was founded as the Portuguese Section of the Communist International.

1926 Alan Greenspan, American economist, 13th Chairman of the Federal Reserve, was born.

1927 Gabriel García Márquez, Colombian writer, Nobel Prize laureate, was born.

1944  Kiri Te Kanawa, New Zealander singer, was born.

1944  Mary Wilson, American singer (The Supremes), was born.

1946 David Gilmour, British musician (Pink Floyd), was born.

1947  Kiki Dee, British singer, was born.

1947 Dick Fosbury, American athlete, was born.

1945 Communist-dominated government under Petru Groza assumed power in Romania.

1945 Cologne was captured by American Troops.

1946  Ho Chi Minh signed an agreement with France which recognizes Vietnam as an autonomous state in the Indochinese Federation and the French Union.

1947 The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra made its debut performance – opening the concert in Wellington’s Town Hall with God Save The King the performing selections from Dvorak, Brahms, Butterworth, Enesco, Wagner and Richard Strauss.

Debut performance of NZ Symphony Orchestra

1951 – The trial of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg for conspiracy to commit espionage in the USA began.

1953 Georgy Maksimilianovich Malenkov succeeded Joseph Stalin as Premier of the Soviet Union and First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

1957 British colonies Gold Coast and British Togoland became the independent Republic of Ghana.

1964 Nation of Islam’s Elijah Muhammad officially gave boxing champion Cassius Clay the name Muhammad Ali.

1964 Constantine II became King of Greece.

1967  Joseph Stalin’s daughter Svetlana Alliluyeva defected to the United States.

1975 For the first time, ever, the Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination was shown in motion to a national TV audience by Robert J. Groden and Dick Gregory.

1975 – Algiers Accord: Iran and Iraq announce a settlement of their border dispute.

1981 After 19 years of presenting the CBS Evening News, Walter Cronkite signed off for the last time.

1983 The first United States Football League game was played.

1987 The British ferry MS Herald of Free Enterprise capsized in about 90 seconds killing 193. 

1988 Three Provisional Irish Republican Army terrorists are killed by Special Air Service in  Gibraltar in the conclusion of Operation Flavius.

1992 Michelangelo computer virus began to affect computers.

2006 South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds signed legislation banning most abortions in the state.

2008 A Palestinian gunman shot and killed 8 students and critically injured 11 in the library of the Mercaz HaRav yeshiva, in Jerusalem.

2009 – US stock markets made an historic “generational low”, with the S&P 500 index reaching an intraday low of 666.79, a level not seen in over 12 years.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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