Word of the day

March 13, 2014

Baldric – a belt for a sword or other piece of equipment, worn over one shoulder and reaching down to the opposite hip; belt, usually of ornamented leather, worn across the chest to support a sword or bugle.


Inflation hurts

March 13, 2014

Question of the day:

It was prompted by Labour’s threat to meddle with the Reserve Bank.

Inflation effectively cuts wages by reducing buying power and it erodes the value of savings.

Some Labour MPs were in government in the 1980s when inflation was nearly ten times higher than it is now and interest rates were in the mid to high 20s.

Have they forgotten, have they no influence on their caucus or do they just not care?


Rural round-up

March 13, 2014

Will Lincoln survive? – Tony Chaston:

Lincoln University is awash in rumour as it undergoes a major restructure of it’s workforce in a bid to survive.

There are reports it is financially stretched.

Earthquake payments have yet to be assigned even though Canterbury University has received theirs and it was recently revealed Lincoln has lost its bid for major funding for its Centre of Research Excellence group.

Voluntary redundancies are being proposed and many long-term staff fear the next step will be forced redundancies.

Staff morale is said to be low and the discord between the academics and management is growing as the University searches for a new direction. . .

Succession a key focus of young farmers’ business management program in Year of the Family Farm:

With 2014 the International Year of the Family Farm, the pressing issue of farm succession will be a key focus of this year’s Rabobank Farm Managers Program.

The program – which is designed to strengthen the operational and strategic skills of tomorrow’s farm leaders – will cover succession planning for farm businesses, along with a range of topics including leadership, business planning and financial and economic management.

Applications are now open for the 2014 Farm Managers Program, which will be held in Victoria in June. . .

Pakeha farmer doing it for whanau:

A Pakeha farmer who manages two Maori-owned farms with his Maori whanau near Whakatane is encouraging other farmers to form partnerships with Maori Land Trusts.

Peter Livingston is the farm advisor for both the Putauaki Trust’s Himiona Farm and Ngati Awa Farm Limited’s Ngakauroa Farm.

The two farms are finalists in this year’s Ahuwhenua Awards celebrating Maori farming excellence. . .

Drones Could Revolutionize Agriculture, Farmers Say – Gosia Wozniacka:

Idaho farmer Robert Blair isn’t waiting around for federal aviation officials to work out rules for drones. He and a friend built their own, outfitting it with cameras and using it to monitor his 1,500 acres.

Under 10 pounds and 5 feet long nose to tail, the aircraft is the size of a turkey and Blair uses it to get a birds-eye view of his cows and fields of wheat, peas, barley and alfalfa.

“It’s a great tool to collect information to make better decisions, and we’re just scratching the surface of what it can do for farmers,” said Blair, who lives in Kendrick, Idaho, roughly 275 miles north of Boise.

While Americans are abuzz about Amazon’s plans to use self-guided drones to deliver packages, most future unmanned aircraft may operate far from the nation’s large population centers.

Experts point to agriculture as the most promising commercial market for drones because the technology is a perfect fit for large-scale farms and vast rural areas where privacy and safety issues are less of a concern. . . .

Investment opportunity in Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme;

Qualified Hawke’s Bay investors are being given the opportunity to express their interest in investing in the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company Ltd (HBRIC Ltd) has released a Preliminary Information Memorandum (PIM) calling for expressions of interest from qualified locals interested in a potential investment in the water storage scheme.

Interested parties are not being asked for money now. They have until the end of April to indicate their interest in the proposal, and will then be given detailed information on the investment opportunity via an Information Memorandum which will include modeled cashflows and further specific information that is currently commercially sensitive. The Information Memorandum is due for release in May 2014. . . .

NZ develops world-first solution to improve ATV use:

Trial underway at Landcorp with Blue Wing Honda and Blackhawk Tracking Systems

Blue Wing Honda have engaged Blackhawk Tracking Systems to develop a world-first solution to help improve ATV safety with a focus on driver behaviour and communication.

Called Farm Angel, the Blackhawk technology is being trialled by Landcorp Farming Ltd, which is committed to improving safety on farms. Landcorp will trial the equipment on around 60 ATV and Side by Side vehicles.

“This is a unique solution which will enable rider/driver behaviour to be monitored, modified and improved” says Blue Wing Honda General Manager Alan Petrie. “The aim is to save lives before they need to be saved, but should an accident unfortunately occur, Farm Angel will also assist in the recovery of seriously injured or trapped riders.

“We have been working with Blackhawk for some time to create the right system that not only helps the ATV rider get out of trouble quickly by sending an immediate automated alert to a first response Call Centre, but also improves on-farm communication while giving peace of mind to farmers, their employees and their families.” . . .

New Zealand wine Trust funds valuable research:

The Cresswell Jackson New Zealand Wine Trust has awarded its first research grant.

Under the broad objective of enhancing the success of the New Zealand wine industry, the Trust awarded the grant to scientist Dr Wendy Parr of Lincoln University. The study is in collaboration with Adelaide-based Phil Reedman MW, the University of Burgundy in France as well as London University and Oxford University in the UK.

The overall goal of the project is to provide sound, scientifically-based information concerning specific aspects of wine tasting and wine judging.

The study aims to investigate the influence of contextual variables on qualitative and quantitative aspects of sensory evaluations by testing whether wines are perceived as tasting ‘different’ under particular conditions. . .

Rockburn Wines Shine in China’s Biggest and Most Prestigious Wine and Spirits Competition:

Rockburn Wines has just been awarded an impressive four Double Gold CWSA Best Value medals at the China Wine and Spirits Awards Best Value 2014.

Double Gold Medals were handed out to Rockburn’s 2012 Pinot Noir, 2013 Pinot Gris, 2010 Chardonnay and 2013 Devil’s Staircase Pinot Gris in the blind tasting alongside the most famous brands in the world including 4,350 wines and spirits from 35 countries. The Rockburn 2009 Riesling also received a Gold Medal.

Having won a Double Gold for their 2009 Chardonnay in last year’s competition, Rockburn are once again honoured to add these latest accolades from a competition which is “the ultimate authority for wines and spirits in Hong Kong and China.” . . .


What would they do differently?

March 13, 2014

Labour is threatening to tinker with the Reserve Bank Act to keep interest rates down.

They are conveniently forgetting that interest rates have been at an historic low for three years and interest rates were far higher when they were last in government.

The OCR increased by 5.00 in November 1999, went up and got to 6.50 in May 2000, stayed there until March 2001, went down to 6.25 and continued to drop until it got to 4.75 in November that year.

It was all up from there reaching 5.75 in August 2002 before going down again and getting to 5 in July 2003.

The reserve Bank increased it to 5.25 in January 2004 and it climbed from there, reaching 8.25 in July 2007 and staying there until it went down to 8 and was at 6.5 by October 2008.

National won the election in November and the OCR went down from then, getting to 2.5 in April 2009, increasing to 2.75 in June 2009 and 3 in July. It stayed there until March 2011 when it went down to 2.50 where it’s stayed until today.

OCR 2007-2009

Several factors have influenced the low rate, including the global financial crisis.

The government had no influence over that but it has had influence over its own spending which is another big influence on the OCR because of its impact on inflation.

National has been very prudent with its spending and intends to continue that as the economy grows.

Labour and its potential coalition partners appear to have no familiarity of the concept of fiscal prudence and should they get into government, their high-tax, high-spending policies would fuel inflation and drive up interest rates.

Labour couldn’t keep interest rates down last time it was in government.

What would it do differently if it was in power again?

It’s not going to rein in its own spending and tinkering with the Reserve Bank Act would do more harm than good.

It would lead to higher inflation which would do far more harm than the small increase in interest rates we got this morning.

Hat tip for chart: Keeping Stock.


Thursday’s quiz

March 13, 2014

1. Who said: Somewhere out in this audience may even be someone who will one day follow in my footsteps, and preside over the White House as the President’s spouse. I wish him well.?

2.  Who was New Zealand’s last Premier and who was our first Prime Minister?

3. Who was the first NZ labour Prime Minister and who was our first national Prime Minister?

4. What does a  psephologist study (and I’m seeking a better explanation than psephology).

5. What influences your vote?


Fonterra accepts MPI charges

March 13, 2014

The Ministry of Primary Industries has filed charges against Fonterra over last year’s whey protein concentrate incident.

Charging documents have been filed for the following four charges:

  • Processing dairy product not in accordance with its Risk Management Programme
  • Exporting dairy product that failed to meet relevant animal product standards
  • Failing to notify its verifier of significant concerns that dairy product had not been processed in accordance with its Risk Management Programme
  • Failing to notify the Director General as soon as possible that exported dairy product was not fit for intended purpose.

MPI cannot make further comment as the matter is before the courts.

In a newsletter to shareholders, Fonterra chair John Wilson says the company accepts the charges:

  • We have announced that we have accepted all four charges, which are consistent with the findings of our Operational Review, and the Independent Board Inquiry.  A copy of our media release will be on fonterra.com.
  • The business is implementing the recommendations of the Operational Review and Independent Board Inquiry.

I’m pleased the company accepts the charges and that it is already implementing the recommendations resulting from the review and inquiry.

Fonterra let consumers, shareholders, the country and itself down over its handling of this incident.

Accepting the charges shows it accepts that.

Even more important is that it has already implemented very necessary changes to its processes and procedures.


Lowest crime rate since ’79

March 13, 2014

Good news from the Justice Ministry:

The crime rate is the lowest since 1979 and in the last five years it has dropped 16%.

The actual number of crimes has also reduced. In 2008 when the population was 4,251,200, the number of recorded crimes was 426,690. In 2013 when the population was 4,452,600, it was 365,185. With 201,ooo more people, there were 61, 505 fewer crimes.

 These figures will bring no joy to the thousands who were affected by crime.

But fewer crimes means fewer victims.

It means less time and money spent solving crimes and trying and punishing the perpetrators.

It means we are safer and therefore that we are freer.
Photo: Crime is falling. Violent crime is falling. Youth crime is falling. What do you think of our progress? Read more here: www.justice.govt.nz/justice-sector/documents/justice-sector-report-2013-2


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