Word of the day

April 19, 2014

Antapology – a reply or response to an apology.


Rural round-up

April 19, 2014

Dairy NZ says won’t be water ‘whipping boy’ any more –   Lynn Grieveson:

Dairy NZ says the dairy industry is no longer willing to be the “whipping boy” for any decreasing water quality of New Zealand’s streams and rivers, while Fish and Game has called for a public inquiry into the water quality issue.

Both groups appeared before Parliament’s Local Government and Environment Select Committee on Thursday to discuss the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s report on water quality, which described the problem of nitrogen leaching into waterways.

Chairman of DairyNZ John Luxton, standing in for Rick Pridmore, Dairy NZ’s Strategy and Investment Leader for Sustainability, said some of our most polluted streams and rivers were in urban areas. . . .

 

China, food and NZInc – Ketih Woodford:

The latest statistics show that New Zealand exports to China continue to surge. In the 12 months to February 2014, milk powder and beef exports each more than doubled, sheep meat sales increased by 80%, and log sales increased by 65%. Overall, exports to China increased from $7.1 billion to 10.9 billion, comprising 22% of total exports.

This overall percentage figure is not in itself a record. Both before and during the 1960s we were much more dependent than this on Britain, and in 1989 our exports to Japan reached 18% of total exports, before declining to the current figure of less than 6%. Nevertheless, the sheer speed of the increase in exports to China is causing concern both to commentators and the industries themselves.

I see no point in worrying about increasing reliance on China as a market destination. It is a simple reality that trade with China is going to increase a lot further yet. As long as the Chinese continue to pay more than other markets, then that is where the products will go. . .

 Good turn-out of forestry conference – Joanna Grigg:

Gray skies did not dampen the enthusiasm of 280 foresters and tree enthusiasts at the recent New Zealand Farm Forestry Association conference in Marlborough.

Field trips were a big part of the four-day programme, organised by the Marlborough Tree Growers Association.

An eclectic group of farmers, corporate foresters, scientists, and plant people had the chance to see radiata pine forests in the Marlborough Sounds, eucalyptus for durable post-production, amenity plantings for farms, and machinery to harvest trees safely on steep land. . .

Lorneville rendering plant commissioned:

LEADING MEAT processor and exporter Alliance Group has completed commissioning the second stage of its $25 million new rendering plant at Lorneville near Invercargill.

The plant produces high quality meat meal sought by pet food manufacturers and for animal feeds, as well as tallow for use in a range of applications from cosmetics to biofuels. The products are exported to international markets such as China, North America, Europe and Asia.

It incorporates the latest technology including a Press Dewatering System, which uses less energy and produces high quality products. The process, is virtually “zero waste”, resulting in high product yields and low wastewater output. . .

Food safety professional development:

AN INCREASINGLY sophisticated food industry stemming from the globalised nature of food production also means more complex issues around food safety and security.

With New Zealand’s heavy reliance on exporting primary produce, this demands robust knowledge and constant up-skilling in the processes and requirements of food safety and security by industry professionals.

Lincoln University, through its Centre for Food Research and Innovation, is now running a series of ongoing professional development courses for those in the food industry. . .

New DairyNZ director appointed:

A new independent director has been appointed to the board of dairy farming industry body, DairyNZ.

DairyNZ board chairman John Luxton says Peter Schuyt has been appointed to replace independent director John Spencer who has stepped down after his term on the board. “I thank John for his excellent contribution to both DairyNZ and to the New Zealand dairy industry over many years.”

John says Peter will be a valuable addition to the board.

“We have three independent directors as well as five farmer-elected members. Peter will bring some broad experience to the table as he is an independent director for a broad range of New Zealand businesses,” he says. . .

Aquaculture New Zealand welcomes Supreme Court decision:

Aquaculture New Zealand has welcomed the long awaited Supreme Court decision clearing the way for three new salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds.

“It has been a long, expensive and uncertain process to get to this point,” said Aquaculture New Zealand Chairman Bruce Hearn.

“Hopefully we are now at a point where New Zealand King Salmon can proceed with their growth plans and get on with what they do best – sustainably producing the world’s best salmon. . .


Saturday’s smiles

April 19, 2014

Charley,  a new retiree-greeter at a shopping mall, just couldn’t seem to get  to work on time.

Every day he was 5, 10, 15 minutes late.  But he was a good worker, really tidy, clean-shaven, sharp-minded and a real credit to the company and obviously demonstrating their “Older Person Friendly” policies.

One day the boss called him into the office  for a talk.  “Charley, I have to tell you, I like your work ethic, you do a bang-up job when you finally get here;  but your being late so often is quite bothersome.”

“Yes, I know boss, and I am working on it.”

“Well good.  You are a team player.  That’s what I like to hear.”

“Yes sir, I understand your concern and I will try harder.“

Seeming puzzled, the manager went on to comment,  “I know you’re retired from the Armed Forces.  What did they say to you there if you showed up in the morning late so often?”

The old man looked down at the floor, then smiled.  He chuckled quietly, then said with a grin, “They usually saluted and said, Good morning Admiral.  Can I get your coffee, sir?


Greens want 2 deputy PMs

April 19, 2014

Green co-leader Metiria Turei wants to be c0-deputy Prime Minister too.

The Greens could share the deputy Prime Minster role in a coalition with Labour, Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says.

Greens co-leader Russel Norman last month said he was keen on the role.

Ms Turei said she would like to be deputy Prime Minister along with Dr Norman.

“There’s no rules that stop there from being more than one deputy Prime Minister,” she told told The Nation.

“Russel and I have had a co-leadership role in the Greens that’s worked very well for the Green Party. I think something similar would work very well for the country as well.” . . .

That is very much a matter of opinion.

From the outside the co-leadership looks very much like tokenism with Norman being the leader in all but name.

He appears to do far more speaking on the party’s behalf than she does.

In spite of National’s popularity and the distrust and disarray on the left, it is possible the left could still be in government.

But when Labour has spurned the Green Party its won’t be keen on one Green deputy let alone two.

And what would happen when the Prime Minister was overseas – would there then be two acting PMs?

 

 

 


Jam weather

April 19, 2014

Wild weekend weather has brought out my inner domestic:

jam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The jam was made to Alison Holst’s recipe:

Equal weights of fruit and sugar.

Bring fruit to the boil.

Add sugar and stir.

Boil 3 minutes, stirring off and on.

Pour into heated jars.

The biscuits are what my mother called Bo Peeps and her grandchildren call Grandma’s Jam Biscuits:

25og (8oz) butter                     160g (6oz) sugar

1 egg                                       360g (14oz) flour

4 tsp baking powder               1 tsp golden syrup or 1 tsp vanilla

Cream butter & sugar, add egg & syrup or vanilla if using and beat well.

Add flour & baking powder & beat until mixed.

Roll teaspoons of mixture into balls, place on baking tray leaving enough room for them to spread a wee bit.

Make thumb print in centre and fill dent with jam.

Cook moderate oven (180ish?) for about 15 minutes until lightly golden.


Welfare numbers back to pre-rescession levels

April 19, 2014

The number of people receiving welfare has dropped back to pre-recession levels.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says the latest benefit figures showing a five year low confirm New Zealand welfare numbers are back to where they were pre-global recession.

Benefit numbers have dropped five percent or nearly 15,000 to 295,320 in the past year (March 2013 – March 2014).  This has resulted in 17,700 fewer children living in beneficiary households compared to March last year and a whopping 29,500 children fewer than two years ago.

“Beneficiary numbers have fallen to the lowest level since March 2009.  When the Government took office in late 2008, the global financial crisis was already beginning to bite with benefit numbers increasing in the three quarters prior to and including the election,” says Mrs Bennett.

“The big success is the 10 per cent drop in sole parents and their children coming off Sole Parent Support. 

“More than 8,600 sole parents have come off Sole Parent Support in the past 12 months, making up almost 60 per cent of the total reduction.

“Particularly pleasing is the 13.4 per cent decrease in young parents aged 18 on Young Parent Payments.  We know that going on a benefit as teenager with children puts that person and their kids at huge risk of becoming trapped in welfare dependency. 

“In fact 70 per cent of the country’s future liability welfare bill can be attributed to people who first went on benefit in their teens.

“The reductions we’re now seeing will mean fewer people on benefit in the years to come.  We have more young people getting education and training through our Youth Service support which means we’re going to see healthier, more prosperous households,” says Mrs Bennett.

“Post peak recession in March 2010, beneficiaries made up 12 per cent of the working age population.  This has dropped to 10.6 per cent as at the end of March. 

“This Government is putting more money than ever before into the welfare system.  We are supporting people earlier, being clearer in our job expectations and putting more focus on at-risk teens.  All of this is making a significant difference.

“Only a few weeks ago New Zealand was judged the best country in the world to live in – our latest welfare figures show things are just getting better,” says Mrs Bennett.

Full benefit data is available at: http://www.msd.govt.nz

There are obvious financial benefits for the individuals on welfare and the country from having fewer beneficiaries and their children.

Just as important are the social outcomes which go with work rather than welfare – better health and education outcomes, less crime . . .

The decrease has been achieved by improving economic conditions and active engagement with beneficiaries to help and encourage those who could work to do so.

Photo: Welfare numbers are now back to pre-recessions levels.

 

 


Digger rescue

April 19, 2014

Yesterday’s flooding in North Otago closed state highway 1 at Maheno and stranded scores of motorists, many of whom spent the night in school hostels.

The flood almost claimed the life of a woman who had to be rescued by digger.

A submerged fence appears to have been all that saved Roda Davidson from being swept away by the Kakanui River yesterday.

Mrs Davidson (61) spent two hours huddled on the roof of her car in the river before being rescued with the help of a 14-tonne digger.

The Fuchsia Creek woman was trying to get to work at the Oamaru KFC when she was caught in floodwater about 11am after the river burst its banks at the Five Forks bridge.

She misjudged the depth and speed of the water crossing the road north of the bridge. Her car was then dragged downstream by the swollen river before being caught in a fence. . .

Next, farmer Robert Borst tested the waters in his digger, before picking up Oamaru police Sergeant Peter Muldrew.

They carefully avoided power lines above the car which, although shut down, could not be guaranteed to be safe.

Mr Borst said the digger reached almost its maximum safe depth and he managed to get the bucket out to the car with the boom almost fully extended.

Sgt Muldrew said Mrs Davidson attempted to stand on the roof, but he told her to crawl over.

After sitting in heavy rain and a strong, cold wind for about two hours, she had difficulty getting into the bucket.

”I told her to lean over as far as possible and then I helped her to roll in,” he said.

Just as she got in the bucket, the helicopter arrived as back-up, but was not needed.

Mrs Davidson was helped to a St John ambulance, where she was treated for hypothermia.

If you click on the link to the ODT above you’ll see several  photos of the rescue, including this one.

Roda Davidson being  rescued on  top of her car after the flooded Kakanui River washed it downstream. Photos by Peter McIntosh and ORC Rescue Helicopter.

 


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