Word of the day

March 20, 2014

Desuetude – a state of disuse or inactivity; discontinuance from use or exercise.


Not the workers’ friend

March 20, 2014

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.


If you’re happy and you know it . . .

March 20, 2014

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:


Rural round-up

March 20, 2014

Charmaine O’Shea takes 2014 Dairy Woman of the Year title:

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 Launches China-New Zealand Dairy Exchange Centre:

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. . .

Local Government-Backed Website for Water Quality:

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. . .

The incredible shrinking current account deficit:

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.” . .

High Country innovative leaders:

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. . . .

Verda Deal Gives New Hope To NZ’s Wood Processing Industry:

 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. . .

Updated dairy cattle code of welfare to include calf management:

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. . .


Manufacturing at highest level since 2006

March 20, 2014

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.
Photo: Just announced: 3.1% economic growth in 2013 - National is building a stronger economy.


Thursday’s quiz

March 20, 2014

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?


Nats select Lewis Holden for Rimutaka

March 20, 2014

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.


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