Word of the day

March 26, 2014

Coccydynia – pain in the coccyx, tailbone or butt.


Rural round-up

March 26, 2014

Environment and the economy are one in the same thing – Lynda Murchison:

“It’s a classic case of environment versus economics”, commented Parliamentary Commissioner Jan Wright in her report into water quality.

Economics certainly plays a part in addressing water quality issues but as a geographer, environmental planner and farmer I cannot look at fresh water as a choice between economics and the environment. The notion that environmental protection and economic development are potentially conflicting goals is not, in my view, a recipe for success. It removes any expectation that businesses should take responsibility for protecting the environment; or that environmentalists need to consider social or economic costs of environmental outcomes.

In my world, economic and environmental considerations are two sides of the same coin. It is hard to be green if you are in the red; but you cannot have long-term social or economic prosperity if you undermine the natural capital you rely on to create it. This link between economics and the environment is recognised in the purpose of the Resource Management Act 1991, the main statute that manages natural and physical resources in New Zealand. The purpose of the Act is not about economic development, nor environmental protection. It is to promote the sustainable management of natural and physical resources – a concept that encompasses environmental, economic, cultural and social well-being. . .

PGP Forestry programme takes big step forward:

Primary Industries Ministers Nathan Guy and Jo Goodhew are welcoming commercialisation of new forestry technology this week as a big step forward in improving both productivity and safety.

“The Steepland Harvesting Programme is a very exciting Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) project, with $6 million in joint funding from the industry and the Government and a vision of ‘No worker on the slope, no hand on the chainsaw’,” says Mr Guy.

The new technology involves harvesting on steep slopes using new mechanised technology, rather than exposing forestry workers to risk.

The project was demonstrated to around 55 forestry contractors and company representatives at a Future Forest Research field day in Maungataniwha forest near Napier this week.

“These are the first products from the Steepland Harvesting Programme to be put into commercial use, which is an outstanding accomplishment,” says Mr Guy. . .

Federated Farmers looks beyond China exports:

The Prime Minister has focused on pushing trade with China this week, but sheep and beef farmers are trying to push their products to as many markets as possible.

The industry has faced a number of hurdles in recent years, including drought, a high Kiwi dollar and problems with Chinese border controls.

Federated Farmers meat and fibre chair Jeanette Maxwell says while much of the talk is about more trade with China, her industry believes it is important to get into multiple markets. . .

Fonterra food scare good for Irish milk industry:

Ireland’s Agriculture & Food Minister says Irish dairy companies gained new business off New Zealand during Fonterra’s food scare crisis last year.

Simon Coveney has been in New Zealand to learn how Ireland could also become a global dairy giant.

Mr Coveney told TVNZ’s Q+A programme, that at the time of the food crisis, customers were worried about relying on New Zealand suppliers:

“At the time of that difficulty I had a number of trade missions at the time. One was to the Middle East, and people were starting to say to me, look we source a lot from New Zealand, we like New Zealand we like Fonterra, we think they give us very good product, but we think we’re overly reliant on one supplier. And so a lot of countries are now looking at Ireland as a second supplier in case something goes wrong with their primary supply source.” . . .

Poor rail threatens food boom – Julie-Anne Sprague:

THE disgraceful state of rural railways means grain growers could become uncompetitive and miss out on big profits from the Asian food boom, warns GrainCorp chairman Don Taylor.

The chairman of eastern Australia’s biggest grains handler says urgent spending is needed on the railways.

“We don’t have any right to benefit from the food boom; we have to earn it,” Taylor tells The Australian Financial Review.

“The Canadians want to participate in [the Asian food boom]. The Ukranians are investing and doing things to participate in it. . .

How much would you pay for socks? – James Griffin:

How much would you pay for socks? Socks, actual socks that go on your feet, one per foot, not socks as a euphemism for a word that sounds a lot like “socks”.

Think about it a moment. Then settle on the absolute highest amount of dosh you would be willing to lay out for one pair of socks.

If that number is $1744.88 (or thereabouts, depending on what the exchange rate today is for £895) then, boy, have I got the socks for you. . . .

 


Vending machine replaces village store

March 26, 2014

Villagers across the UK  which have lost their village stores, no longer have to drive miles for basics:

Milk, bread, toilet roll and even eggs are being sold from a large vending machine in a Derbyshire village after its only store closed 13 years ago.

The Speedy Shop, in a pub car park in Clifton, near Ashbourne, sells more than 80 products.

Peter Fox, who has submitted a patent application for his invention, said it was “not just a business”, but an idea that could serve the community.

The automatic village shop sends an email when stock is running low.

Mr Fox, 50, said the design was “completely different” to a standard vending machine.

“Instead of having a machine which is a certain design and therefore things have to fit in it… we’ve designed the machine around the product,” he said. . .

When there’s a gap in the market, someone with ingenuity will find a way to fill it.

It’s happened in New Zealand where self-service fuel stops where you can pay by card which have sprung up where petrol stations closed in rural towns.

There’s an opportunity for Speedy Shops here too.

 


Letting down candidates from start

March 26, 2014

Labour is letting down its candidates from the start by getting media releases about their selection wrong.

Take this one announcing the candidates for Botany and Pakuranga for example.

The first four paragraphs talk about the process and only then does it get to the candidate, Tofik Mamedov, but still expends more words on the process than him.

It then talks about his nationality and that he’s been campaigning but it doesn’t give any of the biographical details you’d expect, would-be voters would want to know and which might have a chance of being published.

The omission is emphasised because the release carries on to talk about the selection of the party’s candidate for Pakuranga, Barry Kirker, about whom it does give some details.

That release was bad enough, but it compounded its mistake with an even worse one which listed the  two candidates covered in the first release with those for three other electorates – Papakura, Taranaki-King Country and Whangarei.

The party might have no hope of winning these seats but it should be able to give the candidates the dignity of a separate, and comprehensive, media release.


EU-NZ free trade deal on table

March 26, 2014

Prime Minister John Key has more good news for trade:

New Zealand and the European Union are to pursue a free trade pact – but don’t expect any action until at least 2015.

Prime Minister John Key made the announcement in The Hague after meeting European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council president Herman Van Rompuy. He described it as “quite an important” meeting

Two-way trade between New Zealand and the 28 members of the EU totals $16 billion a year.

Key said the EU has, for the first time, agreed to consider a free trade agreement.

But he admitted an ambitious EU-US trade deal, as well as a pact with Canada, will take priority for the Europeans. 

Further progress is also not possible until after European Parliament elections this year, but officials will undertake a scoping study.

“We are actually seeing progress and a breakthrough that historically hasn’t been a option available to us,” Key said.

The deal has the support of both the British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who he met on the sidelines of the major international summit. . .

Some of the credit for this must go to the good relationship between them and Key.

Two-way trade between New Zealand and the EU is worth about $16bn a year and has the potential to rise to $20bn by 2020. 

But exporters are hamstrung by hefty tariffs – including 8.2 per cent on kiwifruit. By comparison, Chile pays nothing because it is already signed up to an FTA with the 28-country bloc.

“It is easy to look at Europe and think Greece and Spain and some of the well pronounced debt problems,” Key said. “But sitting in amongst that are hundreds of millions of very wealthy consumers who earn a lot, spend a lot and fundamentally are the target market for what we sell.” . . .

A free trade deal with the EU won’t happen quickly but it would bring benefits for producers and their consumers who are paying far more than they need to for our produce because of tariffs.

The EU is our third biggest trading partner in spite of the handicaps we face from duties imposed on our products.

Spain is our biggest market for kiwifruit, even with that 8.2% tariff. The only other New Zealand produce I’ve seen there was apples.

It’s not hard to find New Zealand lamb in the UK and our venison in Germany.

A free trade deal would make it easier for our produce to compete on price and give people their more choice at a lower cost.

It would allow us to put our trading eggs in more baskets which would give better security and bargaining power.


Mana’s anitpathy to National saves it from dotbomb

March 26, 2014

The Mana Party has, somewhat  belatedly, discovered its principles:

. . . Mr Harawira said liasing with Mr Dotcom’s party – to be launched on Thursday – would not be in Mana’s best interests.

“Dotcom would have to commit to getting rid of National and changing the Government before Mana would consider any deal with his Internet Party,” he said.

“That’s a bottom line for Mana. I resigned from the Maori Party because their relationship with National was – and continues to be – destructive to Maori. We won’t be going back there for anyone.” . .

He’s right to stick to his principles, even if they’re based on the wrong premise that National is destructive to Maori.

The Herald opines that a Mana-Internet marriage of convenience would be a cynical step too far:

. . . Two parties with little in common aside from an antipathy to John Key and covert surveillance would be guilty of a new level of cynicism based solely on mutual benefit. For Mana, there would be the prospect of boosted funding and a higher profile during the election campaign; for the Internet Party, a representation in Parliament that it could never achieve on its own. . .

Some within the Mana Party may believe that current polling shows they have nothing to lose. Any perception that they were selling out ideologically would be more than offset by the prospect of more seats in Parliament if the construct with Mr Dotcom’s party increased their combined party vote to anything more than about 2 per cent.

But nothing is more important to a political party than its credibility. Mana would pay a heavy price on two counts. First, potential supporters would see a party willing, in its desperation, to compromise its beliefs. Second, they would be alienated by its readiness to take advantage of a much-maligned aspect of MMP as never before. By any yardstick, this marriage of convenience would be a sorry step too far.

That Harawira and some in the party even contemplated a union with someone with whom they have so little in common doesn’t reflect well on them and their readiness to be swayed by money.

That Kim Dotcom was willing to manipulate our electoral system, in a way not dissimilar to the way he’s using a back door entrance to the stock market, just seems like business as normal for him.

However, that even Mana has cold feet makes it even more likely that the Internet Party will be another  dotbomb.

 


March 26 in history

March 26, 2014

1026 Pope John XIX crowned Conrad II as Holy Roman Emperor.

1484 William Caxton printed his translation of Aesop’s Fables.

1516 Conrad Gessner, Swiss naturalist, was born  (d. 1565).

1552c Guru Amar Das became the Third Sikh Guru.

1636 Utrecht University was founded in the Netherlands.

1808  Charles IV of Spain abdicated in favor of his son, Ferdinand VII.

1812  An earthquake destroyed Caracas, Venezuela.

1830 The Book of Mormon was published in Palmyra, New York.

1839  The first Henley Royal Regatta was held.

1859 Alfred Edward Housman, English poet, was born (d. 1936).

1874 Robert Frost, American poet, was born  (d. 1963).

1881 Thessaly was freed and becomes part of Greece again.

1896 Rudolf Dassler, Founder of PUMA AG, was born (d. 1974).

1896 The Brunner Mine Disaster killed 65 men.

Brunner mine disaster kills 65

1905 Viktor Frankl, Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, was born (d. 1997).

1911 Tennessee Williams, American dramatist, was born  (d. 1983).

1913 Balkan War: Bulgarian forces took Adrianople.

1917 First Battle of Gaza – British troops were halted after 17,000 Turks blocked their advance.

1931 Leonard Nimoy, American actor and director, was born.

1934  The driving test was introduced in the United Kingdom.

1942   Auschwitz received its first female prisoners.

1942  Erica Jong, American author, was born.

1943 Bob Woodward, American journalist, was born.

1944 Diana Ross, American singer (Supremes), was born.

1945  World War II: In Iwo Jima, US forces declared Iwo Jima secure.

1948  Richard Tandy, British keyboardist (Electric Light Orchestra), was born.

1948 Steven Tyler, American singer (Aerosmith), was born.

1953  Jonas Salk announced his polio vaccine.

1954 Curtis Sliwa, American founder of the Guardian Angels, anit-crime activist, was born.

1958  The United States Army launched Explorer 3.

1958  The African Regroupment Party (PRA) is launched at a meeting in Paris.

1967  Ten thousand people gathered for one of many Central Park Be-Ins in New York City.

1968 James Iha, American musician (The Smashing Pumpkins and A Perfect Circle), was born.

1971  East Pakistan declared its independence from Pakistan to form People’s Republic of Bangladesh and Bangladesh Liberation War began.

1973 Lawrence E. Page, American search engine pioneer, was born.

1974  Gaura Devi leads a group of 27 women of Laata village, Henwalghati, Garhwal Himalayas, to form circles around trees to stop them being felled, thus sparking the Chipko Movement in India.

1975  The Biological Weapons Convention entered into force.

1976  Queen Elizabeth II sent out the first royal email, from the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment.

1979  Anwar al-Sadat, Menachem Begin and Jimmy Carter signed the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty in Washington, D.C.

1982  A groundbreaking ceremony for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was held in Washington, D.C..

1991  Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay signed the Treaty of Asunción, establishing South Common Market (Mercosur its acronym in Spanish)

1995  The Schengen Treaty went into effect.

1996  The International Monetary Fund approved a $10.2 billion loan for Russia.

1997  Thirty-nine bodies found in the Heaven’s Gate cult suicides.

1998  Oued Bouaicha massacre in Algeria: 52 people killed with axes and knives, 32 of them babies under the age of 2.

1999 The “Melissa worm” infected Microsoft word processing and e-mail systems around the world.

2005 The Taiwanese government called on 1 million Taiwanese to demonstrate in Taipei, in opposition to the Anti-Secession Law of the People’s Republic of China. Around 200,000 to 300,000 attended the walk.

2006 In Scotland, the prohibition of smoking in all substantially enclosed public places went into force.

2006 The military junta ruling Burma officially named Naypyidaw, a new city in Mandalay Division, as the new capital. Yangon had formerly been the nation’s capital.

2010 – 46 died as a South Korean warship sank, allegedly after an attack by North Korea.

2011 – At least 250,000 people attend the 2011 London anti-cuts protest.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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