Word of the day

March 18, 2014

Waulk – to cleanse cloth to eliminate oils, dirt, and other impurities, and make it thicker; to shrink, matt and thicken cloth, specifically woollen, by beating.


10 words to live by

March 18, 2014

Conversation with Jim Mora on Critical Mass this afternoon was sparked by:

Ten words everyone should live by at MindBodyGreen.com


Rural round-up

March 18, 2014

New staff to boost border security:

26 New Ministry for Primary Industries border staff begin training in Auckland today as part of a programme to beef up frontline resources, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.

“Close to 125 new quarantine inspectors have joined MPI in the last 18 months and this is another big boost in resources.

“The 26 new staff will graduate around the middle of this year and will be posted around New Zealand.

“While there is increasing use of technology and intelligence to protect our border, we still need people on the frontline.

“Biosecurity is my number one priority as Minister because it is so important in protecting our economy. We know that unwanted pests and diseases can have devastating effects on our farmers and growers. . .

Clover root weevil under attack in Southland – Sally Rae:

An industry-wide effort is under way in Southland to combat the damaging clover root weevil, whose economic damage has been measured in hundreds of millions of dollars nationwide.

Clover root weevil (CRW), identified by distinctive U-shaped notches on clover leaves, was discovered in the Waikato and Auckland in 1996 and has now spread as far as Southland.

A project, involving AgResearch, Beef and Lamb New Zealand, DairyNZ and Environment Southland, which has been releasing parasitised clover root weevils on Southland farms, is being accelerated. . .

Fonterra Chairman Visits New $126m UHT Milk Processing Site:

Fonterra Chairman John Wilson visited Fonterra’s new $126 million UHT milk processing site at Waitoa on the weekend.The site is in its final stages of testing before commissioning Anchor UHT milk and cream products at the end of this month.

Mr Wilson said he was impressed with how quickly it had taken the site to get to this stage with construction completed in 12 months.

“It was great to get the chance to visit and meet the team who have brought our Waitoa site to life. There is a real sense of pride from the team on the ground.  . . .

History repeats itself in Northland:

David Kidd is the fourth Grand Finalist to be named in the 2014 ANZ Young Farmer Contest.

The thirty year old sheep and beef farm manager of Shelley Beach took first place at the Northern Regional Final at the Kaikohe Showgrounds over the weekend, Saturday 15 March.

Thirty years after Mr Kidd’s father, Richard Kidd, became a Grand Finalist David is following in his footsteps. Richard placed third (on count back) in the 1984 Timaru Grand Final representing the Northern Region. “I don’t remember it, but I was at that Grand Final and it was my first Young Farmers experience,” said Mr Kidd. . .

Meet Dr Sunday – Alice Roberts:

A doctor living in rural Queensland says it’s the patients who have kept him in town for the past decade.

Dr Sunday Adebiyi has been a general practitioner in Dysart for 10 years.

He says it’s the friendships you strike up in regional areas that make the job worthwhile.

“I have some very, very good patients and I think about them and they think about me, they are concerned about my welfare and how I’m going,” he says.

“So with such people it would be very difficult to let them down. . .

Rabobank business alumni tour successful South Island farms:

More than 80 New Zealand and Australian farmers toured South Island farms last week as part of Rabobank’s Business Management Programme alumni tour.

They visited a deer operation, an intensive indoor robotic dairy operation and a mixed cropping and birdseed business, which was currently undertaking a dairy conversion.

They also visited North Otago dairy farmer Rogan Borrie’s four properties near Oamaru.

Borrie, a fifth-generation farmer, completed Rabobank’s Farm Managers Programme in 2007.

He said it was a rewarding experience to share the developments and technology introduced on-farm.

“We showed the tour our new computerised irrigation scheme with pivot and fixed grid sprinklers that we have recently installed in order to reduce labour time and energy and improve water efficiency,” he said . .


Labour productivity improving

March 18, 2014

The good news continues:

Labour productivity increased 2.1 percent in the March 2013 year, Statistics New Zealand said today. This is higher than the average annual rate of 1.6 percent for the 17-year period since 1996, when the series began.

“The 2.1 percent increase in labour productivity was driven by both an increase of 1.2 percent in multifactor productivity and a 0.9 percent growth in the amount of capital available per worker,” national accounts manager Michele Lloyd said.

Labour productivity measures the quantity of goods and services (output) produced for each hour of labour. The latest figures show that 100 products could have been produced in one hour of labour in 1996, compared with 132 in one hour of labour in 2013.

In the March 2013 year, multifactor productivity, which measures how efficiently goods and services are produced in the economy, grew 1.2 percent. This was because outputs (goods and services) grew faster than the inputs (hours of labour, and capital, like land and buildings) used to produce them. Growth in this area shows more efficient production and is often associated with technological change, organisational change, or economies of scale. 

From 1996 to 2013, labour productivity grew more in Australia than in New Zealand, up by an average of 2.1 percent and 1.6 percent per year, respectively. Over the same period, Australia’s annual average output growth was also higher, at 3.5 percent compared with 2.6 percent in New Zealand. 

Productivity is regarded as key to increasing New Zealand’s standard of living and is a major driver of gross domestic product – the main indicator of economic activity. Productivity statistics cover approximately 80 percent of the economy and exclude government administration and defence, health, and education.

Productivity  is one of the positive indicators which has been lagging.

The improvement means production is more efficient and that an important ingredient in economic growth.


How not to write a media release

March 18, 2014

A good media release should answer all the appropriate ws – who, what, where, when, why and how.

Labour’s announcement of its candidate for Tukituki tells us the basic who,  Anna Lorck, for where and when she was selected.

It also tries to say how:

She was selected today from a field of three strong candidates to represent Labour.

Moira Coatsworth said today:

“A great crowd of Labour members attended today’s selection meeting. . .

That is trying to put a positive spin on Labour’s undemocratic selection process which gives more power to unions and head office than local members.

But the glaring omission from the release is answering anything about what the candidate’s background and credentials are.

The party has had a run of SMOGs – social media own goals – and now it’s failing to get an old-fashioned media release right.

A selection announcement is a golden opportunity to promote a new candidate but all this release did is put paint-by-number platitudes in her mouth.


How foreign investment works

March 18, 2014

Act leader Jamie White explains how foreign investment works:

. . . The value of a business depends on its expected future profits. The seller of a company is in effect swapping the profits she would have got over future years for a lump sum she gets today. The lump sum (the purchase price) represents the present value of the future profits.
When a foreigner buys a New Zealand business, all the expected future profits of the business come into the country in the purchase price. When the actual future profits then go out to the new owner overseas, there is no net loss.
In fact, the transaction must involve a net gain for New Zealand. This is because, if the purchase price were exactly equal to the present value of the expected future profits, the Kiwi owner would have gained nothing from the transaction and would not have sold. The Kiwi seller must have valued the purchase price higher than the future earnings. So the transaction creates a net gain to New Zealand. . .
His comment was prompted by a speech from Labour leader David Cunliffe.
If Mr Cunliffe does not understand this, then he learnt little from his days at the Boston Consulting Group. If he does understand it but still peddles the popular myth of profits lost overseas, well, that is even worse. 
The worse option is the most likely one. Cunliffe should understand economics.
In ignoring what he knows he’s just pandering to prejudice in the hope it will win some votes.

Farmers angry with AgResearch

March 18, 2014

AgResearch Chief Executive Dr Tom Richardson said last week’s meeting with farmers in Gore was constructive over plans to move scientists from Invermay to Lincoln was constructive.

The meeting was initiated by the Southern Texel Breeders and hosted by Beef + Lamb New Zealand.
Eighty seven people attended the meeting, of which about 50 were farmers.

“It was good to be able to speak to concerned farmers directly about our plans to deliver them better science and higher returns. It was a good wide-ranging discussion, and wasn’t solely focused on our reinvestment plans for AgResearch campuses,” says Dr Richardson.

“There was also discussion on government investment in science, industry support for science and how to take research forward.

“Regards our campus reinvestment plans, we understand the concerns of Southland and Otago farmers, and it was an opportunity to reinforce the fact we are not closing Invermay – in fact we’d like to increase the numbers of staff there who are dealing with on farm and regional environment issues.”

AgResearch’s Future Footprint plan will position the organisation for the long-term to deliver better science, more effectively, to New Zealand farmers, the pastoral sector and the New Zealand economy.

The Southern Texel Breeders passed a motion requesting an independent review of the plan, which will involve the co-location of scientists into science innovation hubs, allowing for a more effective collaborative approach to tackle national science ‘big issues’.

Dr Richardson says the plan will see $100 million reinvested to create modern facilities that are functional, adaptable and fit for modern science.

“Future Footprint will see us maximising the use of our facilities and specialist infrastructure to achieve better returns for AgResearch, our clients and the pastoral sector,” says Dr Richardson.

“We remain committed to find the best solution to continue to deliver the science all New Zealand farmers rely on to stay ahead of their international counterparts.”

Farmers aren’t convinced and they’re angry.

They pay levies which provide a good part of AgResearch’s funds and they want scientists to stay based where the bulk of sheep and beef farming takes place – in Otago and Southland.

Immigration Minister and Dunedin-based MP Michael Woodhouse isn’t convinced AgResearch has yet made its case for shifting scientists from Invermay to Lincoln.

As the debate about the merits of an AgResearch hub being established at Lincoln, Mr Woodhouse confirmed to the Otago Daily Times yesterday he had visited Invermay and talked to the staff.

There had been a fear that leaving just 20 scientists at Invermay to deal with farming services and animal services was a ”death spiral” number. But Mr Woodhouse had been ”assured” by AgResearch 20 was the absolute minimum number of scientists and it was hoped to lift the number to 50 scientists at Invermay in the future.

”We need to test that plan and make sure it is the right thing to do for New Zealand Inc and New Zealand agriculture. Can we be confident moving 50 scientists out of 80 from Invermay is better than moving the 30 from Christchurch to Invermay? I am not convinced AgResearch has met the test set them by Minister [Steven] Joyce.” . . .

The plan hasn’t met the farmers’ test.

Dr Andrew West tried to merge AgResearch and Lincoln when he headed AgResearch and failed. Farmers think he’s trying to achieve the same thing by another route now he’s vice chancellor of the university.

They wonder if the plan has more to do with shoring up Lincoln than what’s best for the industry.

AgResearch gets a lot of their money and they are worried that much-needed research will suffer from the loss of institutional knowledge and distance from the main concentration of sheep and beef production.

Whether or not the move goes ahead, one option for any spare buildings no-one has mentioned is as the headquarters for the Otago Regional Council.

The ORC has been looking for a new home and had expensive plans for one in the city. That was torpedoed but they still need a bigger base.

Invermay, with or without the current AgResearch staff, could be an option.


Another poll confirms the trend

March 18, 2014

Support for he Labour Party is below 30% in the latest Herald DigiPoll survey:

Labour’s support has sunk nearly six points and it is polling only 29.5 per cent in the Herald-DigiPoll survey.

The popularity of leader David Cunliffe has fallen by almost the same amount, to 11.1 per cent. That is worse than the 12.4 per cent worst rating of former leader David Shearer.

National could govern alone with 50.8 per cent if the poll were translated to an election result.

The popularity of John Key as Prime Minister has climbed by 4.6 points to 66.5 per cent. That is his best rating since the election but not as high as he reached in his first term when he often rated more than 70 against Phil Goff.

The increases in support for National and the Greens since December put them at their highest ratings since the 2011 election.

The Greens are up 2.3 points to 13.1 per cent and with Labour would muster a combined 42.6 per cent.

New Zealand First is down slightly to 3.6 per cent but leader Winston Peters’ ratings as preferred Prime Minister at 6.5 per cent suggest the party could still top the 5 per cent threshold required to get MPs under MMP without requiring an electorate seat.

Other polls have shown a decline in Labour’s fortunes this year but today’s is the first to have Labour in the 20s since Mr Cunliffe took over the leadership from Mr Shearer in September last year. . .

Polling began on March 6, in the midst of the fallout over his use of trusts for donations.

But it continued through last week when Mr Key condemned minister Judith Collins for her failure to declare a dinner in Beijing with her husband’s business associates. . . .

The last fortnight was dire for Labour and last week wasn’t good for National, but maybe it’s only political tragics who are really interested in these issues.

Mr Key said the poll was a confirmation that a majority of New Zealanders believe the country is heading in the right direction “but clearly there is a lot more work to be done if we are to create the jobs and increase the living standards that New Zealanders want to see”. . . 

Asked if the issue of Mr Cunliffe’s of Ms Collins non-declarations would have affected the poll, he said: “Voters weigh up a great many factors when considering who to support but I continue to believe the strongest motivation is when a political party is focused on the issues that really matter to voters.” . . .

Individual polls bounce around but this one confirms the trend which shows National and its leader are popular, Labour and its leader aren’t.

There’s just six months until the election.

That’s time enough for National to slip a few points and make it difficult to form a coalition.

But it’s not a lot of time for Labour to climb out of the doldrums and convince voters it could offer good governance and stability with the collection of support parties it would need.


Is Labour breaking the rules again?

March 18, 2014

Matthew Beveridge is providing a comprehensive commentary on politicians’ use of social media and he’s noticed a possible breach of parliamentary guidelines:

In my recent post about Brand Consistency I talked about Labour and a lack of brand consistency in the emails listed on their candidate contact details page. I noticed one other thing, that I thought was worth its own blog post. . .

If you look closely at that screen grab, there are four Labour Party candidates on there whose contact details include an @parliament.govt.nz email address.

The Parliamentary Service has very strict rules on the use of Parliamentary Service resources for explicit electioneering. This is expanded on by the Parliamentary Service in their Publicity Guidelines:

“The prohibition on explicit electioneering extends to any use of Parliamentary Service funds. This includes phone services, postage, email, and staff time. “

So the question has to be asked, have the Labour Party and their MPs breached the rules by using Parliamentary Service resources? . . .

The candidates in question are sitting MPs who have a right to use the @parliament.govt.nz email address for their parliamentary duties.

But is it breaching Parliamentary Service rules to use it for campaigning?


March 18 in history

March 18, 2014

37 The Roman Senate annulled Tiberius‘ will and proclaimed Caligula emperor.

1229 Frederick II,  Holy Roman Emperor declared himself King of Jerusalem during the Sixth Crusade.

1241 Kraków was ravaged by Mongols.

1314 Jacques de Molay, the 23rd and the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, was burned at the stake.

1438 Albert II of Habsburg became King of Germany.

1608 Susenyos was formally crowned Emperor of Ethiopia.

1766 The British Parliament repealed the Stamp Act, which had been very unpopular in the British colonies.

1781 Charles Messier rediscovered global cluster M92.

1834  Six farm labourers from Tolpuddle were sentenced to be transported to Australia for forming a trade union.

1837 Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th President of the United States, was born (d. 1908).

1850 American Express was founded by Henry Wells and William Fargo.

1858 Rudolf Diesel, German inventor, was born  (d. 1913).

1865 The Congress of the Confederate States of America adjourned for the last time.

1869 Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born  (d. 1940).

1871 Declaration of the Paris Commune; President of the French Republic, Adolphe Thiers, ordered evacuation of Paris.

1893 – Former Governor General Lord Stanley pledged to donate a silver challenge cup, later named after him, as an award for the best hockey team in Canada – the Stanley Cup.

1893 Wilfred Owen, British poet, was born (d 1918).

1906 Traian Vuia flew the first self-propelled heavier-than-air aircraft in Europe.

1913  King George I of Greece was assassinated in the recently liberated city of Thessaloniki.

1915 Richard Condon, American novelist, was born (d. 1996).

1915 Three battleships were sunk during a failed British and French naval attack on the Dardanelles.

1921  The second Peace of Riga between Poland and Soviet Union.

1922 Mohandas Gandhi was sentenced to six years in prison for civil disobedience. He would serve only 2 years.

1922 – The first public celebration of Bat mitzvah, for the daughter of Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, was held in New York City.

1923 Mathrubhumi one of the largest Malayalam daily started to publish from Kozhikode in Kerala.

1925 The Tri-State Tornado hit the Midwestern states of Missouri, Illinois and Indiana, killing 695 people.

1928 Fidel V. Ramos, 12th President of the Philippines, was born.

1932 John Updike, American author, was born (d. 2009).

1936 Frederik Willem de Klerk, President of South Africa, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, was born.

1937 The New London School explosion killed three hundred, mostly children.

1937 –  Spanish Republican forces defeated the Italians at the Battle of Guadalajara.

1937 – The human-powered aircraft, Pedaliante, flew1 kilometre (0.62 mi) outside Milan.

1938 Charley Pride, American musician, was born.

1938  Mexico nationalised all foreign-owned oil properties within its borders.

1940 Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini met at the Brenner Pass and agreed to form an alliance against France and the United Kingdom.

1941 New Zealand troops arrived in Greece to bolster Allied defences.

NZ troops arrive in Greece

1944 – Dick Smith, Australian Adventurer and Businessman, was born.

1944 The eruption of Mount Vesuvius  killed 26 and causes thousands to flee their homes.

1945 Joy Fielding, Canadian novelist and actress, was born.

1945 World War II: 1,250 American bombers attacked Berlin.

1947 Patrick Barlow, English actor, comedian and playwright, was born.

1949 Alex Higgins, Northern Irish snooker player, was born  (d. 2010).

1950 John Hartman, American drummer (Doobie Brothers), was born.

1951 Ben Cohen, American co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, was born.

1953 An earthquake hit western Turkey, killing 250.

1959 President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill into law allowing for Hawaiian statehood.

1960 James MacPherson, Scottish actor, was born.

1962 The Evian Accords put an end to the Algerian War of Independence.

1965 Cosmonaut Aleksei Leonovleft his spacecraft Voskhod 2 for 12 minutes to become the first person to walk in space.

1967 The supertanker Torrey Canyon ran aground off the Cornish coast.

1968  Gold standard: The U.S. Congress repeals the requirement for a gold reserve to back US currency.

1970 Lon Nol ousted Prince Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia.

1971 A landslide at Chungar, Peru crashed into Lake Yanahuani killing 200.

1974 Oil embargo crisis: Most OPEC nations ended a five-month oil embargo against the United States, Europe and Japan.

1980 At Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia, 50 people were killed by an explosion of a Vostok-2M rocket on its launch pad during a fueling operation.

1989 A 4,400-year-old mummy was found near the Pyramid of Cheops.

1990  In the largest art theft in US history, 12 paintings, collectively worth around $300 million, were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts.

1996 A nightclub fire in Quezon City, Philippines killed 162.

1997  The tail of a Russian Antonov An-24 charter plane breaks off while en-route to Turkey causing the plane to crash and killing all 50 on board and leading to the grounding of all An-24s.

2003 – British Sign Language was recognised as an official British language.

2006 – Mike Rann secured the first Labor majority government in South Australia since 1985 by winning the state election.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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