Desuetude – a state of disuse or inactivity; discontinuance from use or exercise.
Kim Dotcom has taken court action to gag a former body guard.
. . . Dotcom made a successful application for an interim injunction against Wayne Tempero in the High Court at Auckland yesterday. The action came soon after the Herald reported that Tempero was set to release “secret revelations” about Dotcom’s “mindset and megalomania”. . .
That hasn’t stopped other staff talking to Whaleoil who has a story of slave wages, bullying, intimidation and the sheer effrontery of a man spending literally millions on himself but short-changing his most loyal staff.
Labour, the Green and Mana parties like to think they’re the workers’ friends.
They and New Zealand First have all been courting, or courted by, Dotcom in the hope he can help them defeat National.
The enemy of their enemy could be their friend but do they want to be friends with someone who appears to be anything but the workers’ friend?
And will the media which have given Dotcom a pretty easy ride, start asking some harder questions now?
P.S. Former Labour president Mike Williams, just said on RadioNZ National’s panel that he’s on Dotcom’s side with the gagging order.
It’s the International Day of Happiness.
A profound shift in attitudes is underway all over the world. People are now recognising that ‘progress’ should be about increasing human happiness and wellbeing, not just growing the economy.
All 193 United Nations member states have adopted a resolution calling for happiness to be given greater priority and March 20 has been declared as the International Day of Happiness.
Would it be churlish to debate the politics in this premise?
Would it be churlish to point out that while money doesn’t buy happiness it takes economic growth to afford many of the things which contribute to happiness – like health care and education, clean water, decent housing . . . ?
Would it be churlish to ask how much money went into dreaming up and promoting the International Day of Happiness, from whence that money came and whether there would be better uses for it?
Would it be churlish to point out that if you’re happy and you know it, you don’t need the UN to facilitate that and if you’re not you’re more likely to be if the UN sticks to its core business?
I can feel a bah humbug coming on.
To forestall that I”ll share this:
Northland dairy farmer and Chartered Accountant Charmaine O’Shea was named the Dairy Woman of the Year last night at a gala dinner held by the Dairy Women’s Network in Hamilton.
With more than 20 years’ dairy farming and financial expertise, O’Shea has played an important role in improving the profitability of the New Zealand dairy industry through strong financial, environmental and people performance.
She is an equity partner in a Maungatapere dairy farm with brother Shayne. The sibling’s robust environmental stewardship and actions to demonstrate best farming practices were recognised last year when they were named the 2013 Northland Supreme Ballance Farm Environment Award winners. . .
Fonterra today announced the launch of the China-New Zealand Dairy Exchange Centre in Beijing. The Centre is a joint initiative between Fonterra and China’s National Dairy Industry and Technology System to support the sustainable development of the dairy industry in both countries.
“It is a key priority for Fonterra to contribute to the development of the Chinese dairy industry and we believe there is a lot to be gained by both New Zealand and China through the sharing of knowledge, research and dairy expertise,” said Kelvin Wickham, President of Fonterra Greater China and India.
“Both parties have world-class dairy research and know-how so we are very pleased to be playing a key role in bringing this initiative to life,” he said. . .
The local government sector is leading the way to provide New Zealanders with up to date information about fresh water, with the launch of a new website that makes water quality data public.
The Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA) website www.lawa.org.nz was created by 16 regional and unitary councils that are Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) members, together with the Ministry for Environment, Cawthron Institute and Massey University with support of the Tindall Foundation.
LAWA provides a rich source of data from more than 1100 freshwater sites local government monitors to give the public easy access to water quality monitoring information. It allows users to see levels of bacteria, acidity, water clarity and other parameters in rivers and catchments. . .
While the value of dairy exports has helped New Zealand record a current account deficit in the December 2013 quarter, $900 million less than in the September 2013 quarter, Federated Farmers knows trade agreements are a must to continue this positive trend.
“Our export performance continues to shine and while dairy is leading, it is a story of our superbly resilient primary industries,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.
“As Westpac Institutional Bank noted, “A sharp rebound in export volumes, after the severe drought in early 2013, led to the strongest seasonally-adjusted goods balance on record.” . .
Federated Farmers High Country farmers are keen to work with Environment Canterbury in making the industry sustainable, so that they can continue improving the land, and keeping the iconic landscape pest free.
“Federated Farmers High Country Field Day yesterday saw 140 industry stakeholders and supporters make a pilgrimage through five of the country’s iconic stations, now a far cry from the barren, rabbit filled desert they once were,” says Simon Williamson, Federated Farmers North Otago High Country Spokesperson.
“There has been an enormous amount of work done to transform some of this barren land into productive pastures. A fundamental part of this transformation has been irrigation, which has allowed this land to generate enough income to support 23 families over eight farms, as opposed to just seven families on six farms nine years ago. . .
Support Trust to highlight farmers’ plight – Hugh Stringleman:
Northland Rural Support Trust has called a meeting of central and local government officials and farmer representatives to help west coast farms gripped by drought.
Former tropical cyclone Lusi turned out to be a damp squib, delivering 20mm of rain at most in the western Kaipara regions of Pouto Peninsula and South Kaipara Head, considerably les than the 50-75mm that fell on Northland’s east coast.
Farmers who attended the Northland Agricultural Research Farm annual field day near Dargaville last week heard of the continuing extreme soil moisture deficit, which has been evident since before Christmas. . . .
A long-awaited turnaround in the wood processing sector has been signaled today by outdoor wood specialist Verda New Zealand Ltd, who announced they are forming a new entity after a successful capital raising exercise.
Local and international investors have come together to form Verda International Ltd (VIL). VIL has purchased all of Verda New Zealand’s assets, brands and IP, and has taken a 47 per cent stake in the company’s sawmill in Napier.
VIL CEO Grant Butterworth, says the deal is the culmination of 12 months of work to form the new entity, attract new investors and finalise the company structure. . .
Lies, damned lies and statistics (surveys) – Willy Leferink:
What would happen if Federated Farmers put out a survey asking respondents to agree or disagree with broad sweeping statements. I’m thinking along the lines of, ‘do you feel introduced fish species should enjoy significantly more legal protection over native fish?’ What about, ‘should the trout license fee ($121 for an adult) be abolished, with trout and salmon rules aligned with those for saltwater recreational fishing?’
Something tells me one organisation would cry blue murder before exploding in a rage of apoplexy. So guess what, I am not going down that line.
Instead, I am going to respond to what I heard Bernard Hickey and RadioLIVE’s Marcus Lush recently say on radio. Lush said, “we’re becoming more dairy intensive with these great irrigation projects in Canterbury and to a lesser extent Hawke’s Bay…they are all geared for more people going into dairy.”
Funny then that the sheep and beef guys in Central Hawke’s Bay are going to use Ruataniwha to part irrigate their farms, just like Federated Farmers’ Mid-Canterbury provincial president Chris Allen. . .
Federated Farmers welcomes the consultation process announced by NAWAC late last week, as it updates the Animal Welfare (Dairy Cattle) Code of Welfare.
“There has been a lot of media coverage recently of calves being slaughtered in Chile,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy Chairperson.
“Federated Farmers agrees with most New Zealanders that this sort of behaviour does not belong on New Zealand farms. . .
Remember all the time and money the Opposition wasted on manufacturing a manufacturing crisis?
They’ll be hoping we don’t as the good news continues:
Strong growth in manufacturing saw gross domestic product (GDP) rise 0.9 percent in the December 2013 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today.
Manufacturing activity grew 2.1 percent, driven by increases in food, beverage, and tobacco, and machinery and equipment manufacturing. Manufacturing activity is now at its highest level since March 2006.
Dairy farming and dairy product manufacturing both fell this quarter, after strong increases last quarter, when production rebounded from the drought earlier in 2013.
“While dairy activity fell this quarter, exports were up strongly, as production from last quarter was sold overseas,” national accounts manager Michele Lloyd said.
Wholesale trade, including machinery and equipment wholesaling, increased 3.2 percent this quarter. Strong machinery and equipment sales also led to a 7.5 percent increase in investment in these goods. Investment in plant, machinery, and equipment is now at its highest level since the series began.
The expenditure measure of GDP was up 0.6 percent in the December 2013 quarter, driven by exports (up 3.1 percent) and household spending on goods and services (up 1.3 percent).
The volume of spending by New Zealand households in the December 2013 year grew 3.4 percent, driven by a 7.4 percent increase in spending on durable goods. This is the largest annual increase in spending on durable goods since June 2005.
Businesses would not be making the highest investment in plant, machinery and equipment since the series began if they didn’t have a lot more confidence in manufacturing than the opposition.
It contributed to economic growth of 3.1% in 2013 and that figure is more good news.
1. Who said: Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.?
2. Where in the human body would you find the macula?
3. Whose compositions included Music for Royal Fireworks and the opera Xerxes?
4. The Strait of Gibraltar connects which two bodies of water?
5. If you could eat only one fruit which would it be?
The National Party has selected Lewis Holden as its candidate for Rimutaka.
A fifth generation New Zealander, Mr Holden (29) was educated at Hutt International Boys School in Trentham, Upper Hutt, before completing a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration at Victoria University in 2006.
He is a keen debater, participating in the Australasian Intervarsity Debating Championships, and New Zealand Universities Debating Championships in 2006 which his team won in that year.
Mr Holden’s candidacy follows a career in the information technology industry, working for IBM, New Zealand-owned solutions-provider Spectrum, Ingram Micro NZ, and most recently for Oracle New Zealand in Auckland.
He is married to Jennifer and will return to the electorate to contest the seat.
Mr Holden is also known for his work as Chairman of the New Zealand Republican Movement from 2006-2013.
National has selected another capable candidate who has experience in business and life.
He will be contesting the seat against sitting MP Chris Hipkins who gained a majority of 3126 in 2011.
However, National won the party vote which indicates the seat is more purple than red.
Greens like to think they’re friends of the earth.
They aren’t so keen on earthlings, and in their eyes some earthlings are even less equal than others as this exchange during question time yesterday shows:
4. Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Co-Leader—Green) to the Minister of Finance: Will the Government propose any measures to restrict the sale of New Zealand farmland or residential land to foreign companies or persons?
Hon BILL ENGLISH (Minister of Finance): We are certainly not going to restrict Australians from buying homes after they migrate to New Zealand. The Government has already restricted overseas investment in sensitive land and residential land. We made changes to the regulations in 2010, which were reflected in a directive letter to the Overseas Investment Office. We believe these changes struck the appropriate balance between ministerial flexibility to consider a wider range of issues when assessing overseas investment and, at the same time, providing clarity and certainty for potential investors. I would note that under this Government the amount of sensitive land approved for sale to overseas buyers has been less than half what it was in the last 5 years of the previous Labour-Greens Government. I would also note that the OECD assesses our overseas investment regime as now one of the more restrictive in the developed world.
Dr Russel Norman: Does he consider that China has any lessons to teach New Zealand regarding foreign ownership, given that China protects its economic interests through restricting land sales to foreign buyers?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: The member may be more familiar than I am with the tenets of communism, but in China private individuals did not own land until recently, only the Government did, so even the Chinese could not buy land in China. But I am a bit surprised to find that the Greens only ever get this excited about foreign ownership when it involves the Chinese, who happen to have a much lower number of consents than Australia, the UK, Germany, Switzerland, and, I think, Sweden.
Dr Russel Norman: Does he have any concern that more than one in 10 homes in Auckland is purchased offshore and that, according to BNZ economist Tony Alexander, this figure is set to only increase?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: I know that the member has been conducting his own investigation into these issues by visiting the home of Kim Dotcom, a well-known foreign investor in Auckland real estate. I cannot confirm the member’s one in 10 number. The BNZ survey that I saw said that about six houses in every 100 are foreign-purchased and about a quarter of those are being purchased by the Chinese, which means that 1.5 houses in every 100 might be being purchased by people whom real estate agents think are residents of China.
Might is the operative word.
If the property isn’t big enough to require Overseas Investment Office approval, the nationality of the purchaser isn’t recorded.
And the fact that some people doesn’t look either Maori or Pakeha doesn’t mean they aren’t New Zealanders.
Dr Russel Norman: When will he and his Government consider there is a problem—will it be when one in five homes is purchased by offshore buyers, or will it be when one in four homes is purchased by offshore buyers? At what point will he acknowledge that there is a problem?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: We do not have the same problem about buyers being foreign as the Greens do. What we have a problem with is the very high cost of housing in New Zealand for New Zealanders. And all the analysis shows that the fundamental driver of the high cost of housing is not the Greens’ friends from China; it is the Greens’ friends in the planning departments of our city councils who insist on blocking new development of new housing. So the Greens are a much bigger enemy of the affordability of housing in New Zealand than the Chinese have ever been.
Restrictions on the supply of housing is a far bigger enemy of affordability than foreign buyers.
Dr Russel Norman: Does he consider that an increase in interest from offshore buyers in purchasing residential property in Auckland is increasing the price of housing for New Zealand homebuyers, or does he think that this big increase in demand from offshore is having no effect— that it is a special kind of market where a big increase in demand has no effect on prices?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: It is not obvious that there is a big increase in demand from offshore buyers. There is some anecdotal evidence that that is the case, and I know that that is certainly believed by some people, but it is yet to be established. The fundamental driver of the increase in housing is restrictive planning policy, which means that when there is more demand—whether it is foreign or, in this case, New Zealanders who have stopped migrating and are staying home and more people who are arriving in New Zealand as migrants—and those factors of demand are rising, the supply cannot react to it. All around the world restrictive planning laws mean higher prices and more volatile prices, and the Greens back that kind of policy. They should be backing the Government on getting rid of that sort of policy if they are really concerned about locking low and middle income New Zealanders out of the housing market.
Dr Russel Norman: Does he agree with Auckland house auctioneer Adam Wang that our ambiguous laws around capital gains tax are assisting the boom in the foreign buy-up of our
housing stock, and does he have any plans to deal with the fact that the capital gains tax exemption in New Zealand is part of the problem driving up house prices?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: All of those issues have been looked at by various inquiries, by the Productivity Commission, and by policy advisers, and it is possible that any one of them has some influence on the price. This Government, though, has focused on the biggest influence, and the most pervasive one, and that is restriction of supply. It is hard to understand why the Greens support housing planning policies that have the effect of driving up the wealth of the leafy suburbs at the expense of middle-income and low-income New Zealanders. I think that if the Greens were really concerned about equity in New Zealand and affordability of housing, they would be supporting the Government’s policies, not the Labour Party’s policies.
Restrictions on supply help those already on the housing ladder.
Labour and Green policies for higher taxes, will not fix that and their policies which will lead to higher inflation and interest rates would reinforce them as enemies of affordability.
Labour leader David Cunliffe made an announcement of forestry yesterday which would take us back to the failed policies of the 70s:
The Labour Party’s desire to turn the clock back to the 1970s is once again highlighted with their grab-bag of ideas for the forestry industry, says Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce.
“Subsidised loans, expensive tax concessions, preferential treatment, and make-work schemes for young people are all a flashback to a time when governments decided which industries succeeded based solely on political whim rather than competitiveness,” Mr Joyce says.
“This is classic 70s ‘government knows best’ interventionism and we all know how badly that ended. What next, supplementary minimum prices for wood?
“Why should the forestry industry receive preferential treatment over the high tech manufacturing industry, ICT, the services industries, the construction industry or the farming industry? Or is it Labour’s plan to provide subsidies for everyone so we can subsidise our way to success?
“About the only thing they have got right is suggesting a focus on innovation. However it’s like they have been asleep since 2008 and now woken up ‘Rip van Winkle’ like to say we should do some innovation.
“While Labour has been asleep this Government has massively lifted its investment in innovation and helped grow private sector R & D across the economy by 23 per cent in just two years. Total government funding since 2010 for forestry-related science, research and product development alone amounts to over $160 million.
“The only sensible way to run a modern successful economy is to provide a strong macroeconomic base, supported by polices that lift the competitiveness of all firms. Our comprehensive Business Growth Agenda, which Labour has still not bothered itself to read, systematically improves access to markets, innovation, natural resources, capital, skills, and infrastructure.
“The results of our policies so far are reflected in strong growth, lowering unemployment, a much improved trade balance, stronger productivity growth, and real wages rising faster than the cost of living. Turning the clock back to the 70s is an amazingly out-of-touch response to some of the strongest economic data New Zealand has produced in many years.
“New Zealanders know they are just starting to see the positive results of five years of sensible modern economic policies and hard work by New Zealand companies. Turning the clock back 40 years would send New Zealand back to the bad old days of sluggish performance, high current account deficits, low productivity, and high inflation that the Labour Party knows so well.”
Acting Prime Minister Bill English highlighted the flaws in the policy too:
Hon David Cunliffe: In relation to the economics of forestry, is he comfortable that the rate of unprocessed log exports has grown at 10 times the rate of processed logs, given that the export of raw logs is really exporting jobs?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: I would need to check the member’s figures, but he may also be interested to know that around 60 percent of all forestry production is currently value-added. It may well be that in the light of a rise in prices for export logs there are more logs being exported, but anyone who has been in the industry knows that those prices can drop as fast as they rise. I am sure that there are many people in the forestry industry taking a longer view and keeping that in mind. . .
Hon Dr Nick Smith: My question is to the Prime Minister and it asks what reports has he received on the recent developments in forest processing in Tasmania, where its Labour-Green Government has fallen apart over the very issues of forest processing and where there has been a huge loss of jobs and confidence in that sector because the—
Mr SPEAKER: Order! You have made the point with your question.
Hon BILL ENGLISH: I have received the same—[Interruption]
Mr SPEAKER: The question was what reports has he received.
Hon BILL ENGLISH: The Deputy Prime Minister and the Prime Minister have received the same reports, obviously, which have been to the effect that the Government in Tasmania has overseen the destruction of the forestry industry by trying to get involved in it.
Hon David Cunliffe: Would the Prime Minister support an accelerated depreciation tax including for forestry processing?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: No, we are not entertaining that. Those kinds of policies were tried consistently, I think, from the 1970s when they were a bright idea, and they lead to unsustainable industries and unsustainable jobs as a whole lot of Australian workers are now finding out, where industries that were subsidised by the Government there are now closing down. . .
Hon David Cunliffe: Does the Prime Minister support a pro-wood Government procurement strategy to assist jobs and value added in New Zealand, including in those South Otago sawmills; if not, why not?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: No. The member should have more confidence in the forestry industry. It has evolved from the time in the late 1980s when sawmillers used to be able to get very cheap logs from Government-owned forests through to a modern processing industry that is internationally competitive and makes very sophisticated decisions about the balance of financial risk, different types of product, and exchange rate and price risk in export markets. The idea that Labour would do a better job of that is wrong, and it would end up destroying the forestry industry if it gets that involved in it. . .
Criticism of the policy isn’t confined to parliament:
Labour’s “pro-wood” government procurement strategy will create an inappropriate commercial advantage for one construction sector over another, according to the New Zealand cement and concrete industries.
Announced today by David Cunliffe at the ForestWood conference in Wellington, the policy would mandate that “all government-funded project proposals for new buildings up to four storeys high shall require a build-in-wood option at the initial concept / request-for-proposals stage (with indicative sketches and price estimates).”
Rob Gaimster, CEO of the Cement & Concrete Association of New Zealand (CCANZ), believes that policies which appear to be giving preferential treatment to one construction material are misguided.
“It is inappropriate to mandate that those designing new government buildings consider wood as a structural option, and then require an explanation if an alternative material is chosen,” says Mr Gaimster.
“Government should not be picking winners when it comes to the selection of construction materials, which should stand or fall on their own technical, cost, aesthetic and sustainability credentials.
“In addition, the policy does a huge dis-service to the hardworking men and women in the cement and concrete industries. Favouring a single construction material during the design phase of a new government building could seriously impact on their livelihoods and jobs.
“This policy does not create a level playing field for the use of construction materials in government buildings. In fact, materials other than wood will be considerably disadvantaged.
“We are concerned about the wide-reaching implications of this policy and believe it should in no circumstances be adopted.”
Labour’s policy is designed to help one sector but would hurt another.
Gravedodger illustrates other shortcomings in the policy.
43 BC Ovid, Roman poet, was born (d. 17 AD).
1600 – The Linköping Bloodbath.
1602 The Dutch East India Company was established.
1616 Sir Walter Raleigh was freed from the Tower of London after 13 years of imprisonment.
1737 Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke, King of Thailand, was born (d. 1809).
1760 The “Great Fire” of Boston, Massachusetts destroyed 349 buildings.
1815 After escaping from Elba, Napoleon entered Paris with a regular army of 140,000 and a volunteer force of around 200,000, beginning his “Hundred Days” rule.
1834 New Zealand’s first flag was chosen.
1848 Ludwig I of Bavaria abdicated.
1861 An earthquake completely destroyed Mendoza, Argentina.
1883 The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property was signed.
1888 The premiere of the first Romani language operetta was staged in Moscow.
1913 Sung Chiao-jen, a founder of the Chinese Nationalist Party, was wounded in an assassination attempt and died 2 days later.
1917 Vera Lynn, English actress and singer, was born.
1922 The USS Langley (CV-1) was commissioned as the first United States Navy aircraft carrier.
1937 Lois Lowry, American children’s author, was born.
1939 Brian Mulroney, former Prime Minister of Canada, was born.
1942 General Douglas MacArthur, at Terowie, South Australia, made his famous speech regarding the fall of the Philippines, in which he says: “I came out of Bataan and I shall return”.
1950 Carl Palmer, English drummer (Emerson, Lake & Palmer), was born.
1956 Tunisia gained independence from France.
1957 David Foster, Australian woodchopper, was born.
1958 Holly Hunter, American actress, was born.
1979 Keven Mealamu, New Zealand rugby player, was born.
1980 The Radio Caroline ship, Mi Amigo foundered in a gale off the English coast.
1987 The Food and Drug Administration approved the anti-AIDS drug, AZT.
1988 Eritrean War of Independence: The Eritrean People’s Liberation Front entered the town of Afabet, victoriously concluding the Battle of Afabet.
1990 Imelda Marcos, went on trial for bribery, embezzlement, and racketeering.
1993 An IRA bomb killed two children in Warrington, Northwest England.
1995 A sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway killed 12 and wounds 1,300 people.
1999 Legoland California, the only Legoland outside Europe, opened in Carlsbad.
2003 2003 invasion of Iraq: In the early hours of the morning, the United States and three other countries begin military operations in Iraq.
2004 – Stephen Harper won the leadership of the newly created Conservative Party of Canada, becoming the party’s first leader.
2005 A magnitude 6.6 earthquake hit Fukuoka, Japan, its first major quake in over 100 years. One person was killed, hundreds are injured and evacuated.
2006 Cyclone Larry made landfall in eastern Australia, destroying most of the country’s banana crop.
2006 More than 150 Chadian soldiers were killed in eastern Chad by members of the rebel UFDC seeking to overthrow Chad president Idriss Deby.
2006 Chris and Cru Kahui, New Zealand murder victims were born.