Word of the day

May 17, 2014

Behoof – advantage, benefit, use.


How posh are you?

May 17, 2014

How posh are you?

I scored 49/100:

You’re pretty posh. You know which cutlery to use at the dinner table, and you wouldn’t dream of letting your guests sleep on the sofa. But you’re still pretty grounded too. You’ve got the best of both worlds. Go you!

The question of poshness is a very British, or maybe even English one.

It shouldn’t be confused with good manners which demonstrate consideration for others which is infinitely more important.

But however, poshness or manners are defined, I don’t see anything wrong with letting friends sleep ona sofa, providing it’s comfortable.


Rural round-up

May 17, 2014

Common sense and willingness to compromise would help meat industry – Allan Barber:

All the predictions of imminent doom for the red meat sector suggest it is a basket case with little hope of redemption. Dairy gets all the favourable headlines and this is fully deserved in the light of its performance since the early years of this century. But it ignores the meat industry’s $8 billion contribution to exports and the substantial farm profitability improvement over the same period, especially taking Beef + Lamb’s improved prediction for this season.

It is not entirely a perception problem, caused by the industry’s competitive nature in contrast to dairy’s co-operative model, because the facts indicate quite a bit of truth in the relative success of this country’s two largest productive sectors. But constant talk of procurement wars, weak selling, declining livestock volumes and over capacity paints a far worse picture than is justified. . . .

Worksafe NZ fine for helmet use:

Federated Farmers believes that penalties of $15,000, imposed on a herd manager under the Health and Safety in Employment 1992 Act, indicates Worksafe NZ is prepared to use its regulatory stick, but the size of the fine is unprecedented.

“Worksafe NZ is sending a clear message to all quad bike users that it has the regulatory muscle and is now prepared to deploy it,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.

“Whatever you may think about a helmet the law is the law. If you flout it you risk significant penalties as this case shows.

“Yet the size of the penalty has come as a shock, given the fine for not wearing a seatbelt is $150 and drivers are responsible for those under 15 years of age. It is why Worksafe NZ needs to fully explain why the penalty in this case is 100 times greater than that for seatbelts. . .

Eggs prices rise as cage farmers embark on $200m upgrade to meet welfare code – Suze Metherell:

The cost of battery farmed eggs in New Zealand is on the rise as farmers begin converting to new welfare code compliant cages, a change estimated to cost the industry as much as $200 million.

Egg prices have risen 5.5 percent in the past year, according to Statistics New Zealand, an increase that the Egg Producers Federation (EPF) says is in part driven by changes made under the 2012 Animal Welfare (Layer Hens) Act, which requires hens to be housed in larger, ‘colony’ cages. The government has estimated the changes will drive up egg prices by 10 percent to 14 percent and the EPF says it will cost its members $150 million to $200 million.

“It’s a sizeable sum of money across a relatively limited number of players and our understanding is the majority of current cage farmers will move to colony,” Michael Brooks, executive director of EPF told BusinessDesk. . .

Halal row puts NZ in spotlight:

Debate about the welfare of animals slaughtered using halal methods is taking place in England and some of the focus has been on New Zealand lamb – most of which is slaughtered using halal methods – which are required by the Muslim faith.

British politicians rejected a proposal that would have meant supermarkets and other food outlets would have to clearly label halal or kosher slaughtered meat.

Some groups said consumers had a right to know how the meat they’re eating was killed.

New Zealand’s Meat Industry Association was quick to point out that halal-slaughtered animals here, unlike in the United Kingdom, were stunned before their throats are slit. . . .

Farmers no longer face charges – Bill Redekop:

Pam Cavers was waiting for her day in court.

“I was not about to say I was guilty of anything,” said Cavers, interviewed on the livestock farm she owns with husband Clint near Pilot Mound, 175 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg.

RCMP and provincial food inspectors raided the Cavers’ meat-curing shop at Harborside Farms last August. They seized $8,000 worth of cured meat, called charcuterie. Provincial inspectors charged the Cavers with selling meat “unfit for human consumption,” and fined them $600 each.

The case sent shock waves across rural Canada. The Cavers are trailblazers in on-farm food production and have mentored other farmers, speaking at agricultural seminars and workshops. Plus, they had just won the Great Manitoba Food Fight and $10,000 for their prosciutto, a cured meat aged and dried for up to a year,.

So when the province raided their farm, it was like Ben Johnson being caught with steroids. The Cavers’ livelihood depends on their reputation as ethical food producers. Their business concept is small, transparent food production, versus factory farms and multinational corporations. The $600 fines hardly mattered — their reputation did. . . .

Hat Tip – Offsetting Behaviour who has the background to the story.

 


Saturday’s smiles

May 17, 2014

These came in an email from a friend, as many smile-provoking messages do.

I have no idea how many, if any, are authentic.

‘The Bomb will never go off; I speak as an expert in explosives.”

– – Admiral William Leahy , US Atomic Bomb Project

“There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom.”

— Robert Millikan, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1923

“Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons.”

— Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949

“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” 
— Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

“I have travelled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won’t last out the year.” 
— The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957

“But what is it good for?” 
— Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968,
commenting on the microchip.

“640K ought to be enough for anybody.”

— Bill Gates, 1981
This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us” 
— Western Union internal memo, 1876.

“The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value.  Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?”

— David Sarnoff’s associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.

“The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a ‘C,’ the idea must be feasible”

— A Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith’s paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.)

“I’m just glad it’ll be Clark Gable who’s falling on his face and not Gary Cooper” 
— Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the leading role in “Gone With The Wind.”
“We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out”

— Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962.

“Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible”
— Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.

“If I had thought about it, I wouldn’t have done the experiment.  The literature was full of examples that said you can’t do this” 
– – Spencer Silver on the work that led to the unique adhesives for 3-M “Post-It” Notepads .

“Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil?  You’re crazy” 
— Drillers who Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil in 1859.

“Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.” 
– – Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University , 1929.

“Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value” 
— Marshal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre , France .
“Everything that can be invented has been invented”

— Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, US Office of Patents, 1899.

“The super computer is technologically impossible.  It would take all of the water that flows over Niagara Falls to cool the heat generated by the number of vacuum tubes required.” 
— Professor of Electrical Engineering, New York University

“I don’t know what use any one could find for a machine that would make copies of documents.  It certainly couldn’t be a feasible business by itself.” 
— the head of IBM, refusing to back the idea, forcing the inventor to found Xerox.

“The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon,” 
— Sir John Eric Ericksen, British surgeon, appointed Surgeon-Extraordinary to Queen Victoria 1873.

“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” 
— Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977


Dot, Queen of Riverstone Castle

May 17, 2014

When Neil and Dot Smith chose to move their family from the top of the North Island to well down the east coast of the south is was Northland’s loss and North Otago’s gain.

They were among the first dairy farmers to see the opportunity irrigation on the Lower Waitaki plains presented.

They bought one of the worst, stony, barren, wind swept properties and with hard work and skill have turned it, and other blocks they subsequently purchased, into some of the best.

One son followed his parents into farming, the other Bevan and his wife Monique established the award-winning Riverstone Kitchen on the farm.

The Smiths are not just good farmers, they’re good community people and entrepreneurs too,

They know how to work hard and save hard and nowhere is that better illustrated than in the time and effort they’ve put in to fulfilling Dot’s dream of building a castle.

Now Dot can add author to her long list of accomplishments.

 

dot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pink, flowery cover shouldn’t put off men, Dot Queen of Riverstone Castle isn’t a “women’s” book.

It’s an easy, entertaining and inspirational read which covers her modest, but happy, childhood; overseas travels; marriage; farming, including  through the ag-sag;  other business ventures; more travel, the development of the Riverstone complex and the castle.

Dot’s always worked hard and she’s faced tough times, including the loss of most of her savings in the collapse of Hubbard Management Fund. But in life, and through the book, her irrepressible spirit and sense of fun shine through.

Dot Queen of Riverstone Castle, written with Nathalie Brown.

Published by Random House also available as an e-book.

Graham Beattie posts:  Dot – She’s a visionary, an entrepreneur and dreams big in North Otago’s Waitaki Valley  and talks to Mark Sainsbury about the book here.

In other media:

* Dot talks to Jim Mora.

* Dream of living in castle comes to life

* Dot’s castle inspires dreams.

* And TV3’s 3rd Degree featured Dot’s building a castle.


Aus -NZ Budget comparison

May 17, 2014

Pricewaterhouse Coopers calls it a Ready to Rise Budget:

Despite carefully managed pre-Budget expectations, Budget 2014 has delivered two surprises: a surplus of $372m in 2015, significantly higher than the wafer thin surplus expected; and when taken over a four year period, higher planned new spending in health, education and welfare than was expected.

The higher surplus, despite extra spending, comes as a result of a forecast of strong economic growth of 3% in 2015 rising to 4% in 2016.

On the back of the strong economy, the
Government has announced it will increase new spending in future budgets by around $1.5 billion a year, half a billion dollars a year more than the 2014 budget allowance of $1 billion.

Budget 2014 forecasts rising surpluses over the next four years reaching $3.5 billion in 2018. These surpluses are committed to future capital and infrastructure expenditure.

Net debt peaks at $65 billion and then is held there while the economy grows. As a result, net debt is forecast to have reduced to the Government’s target of 20% of GDP by 2020. . .

Overall, Budget 2014 tries to strike a balance between returning to sustainable surpluses, allowing some more spending on key areas of need, and providing the fiscal backdrop to support economic growth. We think it largely achieves that. . . .

 It ehn compares our Budget with Autsralia’s:

Budget 2014 – New Zealand v Australia


No room for imprudence

May 17, 2014

One of the important messages from the Budget was:

. . . Future surpluses give the Government choices, including paying for new capital investments, reducing debt, increasing spending and reducing tax.

Those choices have to be sustainable – recognising that surpluses rise and fall with the economic cycle – and they must also avoid putting material pressure on interest rates during the upswing. . .

It is important not to squander the good times, as Labour did through the noughties.

Another message was:

It was appropriate to run deficits and take on debt to support the economy and New Zealand families over the past few years. But as households know, carrying substantial debt is neither comfortable nor financially prudent.

Making these projections a reality requires sticking to the Government’s plan of careful spending and responsible public management. . .

There is no room for imprudence.

An improving fiscal outlook means there is some room to increase future operating allowances.

The Government is aware, however, that changes in fiscal policy settings can increase aggregate demand in the economy, raise inflation pressures and push interest rates higher than they otherwise would be.

This relationship was seen clearly in the mid-2000s, when big increases in spending by the previous government were accompanied by home mortgage rates of over 10 per cent.

Advice from the Treasury is that lifting Budget spending allowances to around $1.5 billion a year is about the upper limit for increased spending, or revenue initiatives, before they begin to materially affect interest rates.

The Government is therefore lifting the operating allowance for Budget 2015 from $1 billion to $1.5 billion, growing after that at 2 per cent each Budget.

This moderate increase will provide the Government with future options around investment in public services and modest tax reductions.

There is room to move some of the allowance between Budgets, providing they average around $1.5 billion and economic conditions permit.

Allowances averaging around $1.5 billion per Budget remain well below those adopted in the mid-2000s, and core Crown expenses will continue to fall each year as a proportion of GDP.

The new allowances are built into all the forecasts and projections presented in the Budget.

If tax revenue comes in well ahead of forecast, the Government’s main priority will be additional debt repayment until the 20 per cent debt target is met. . .

The Labour-led governments of the noughties had the wrong recipe.

That National managed to turn round the forecast decade of deficits in spite of the mess it inherited, and the financial and natural disasters it’s faced shows it has the right one.

We can’t afford to put that at risk and have the good work undone.

Prudence made things better and continued prudence is the only sustainable way to carry on.

What happened in Australia serves as a warning of what could happen here.
Photo: Australia, we know your pain


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