32 -30

May 24, 2014

Crusaders 32 – Highlanders 30.

Were we robbed?

We were at the game in Dunedin  – and very grateful the Forsyth Barr Stadium has a roof because it’s a very cold night.

The Highlanders spent the last few minutes on attack and – we all thought – scored in the final seconds.

The referee went to the TMO. The crowd cheered as we watched the replay, but alas, the try wasn’t awarded.


Oamaru On Fire

May 24, 2014

The annual Steampunk NZ Festival opens in Oamaru this coming Friday, May 30th.

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The Steampunk NZ Festival 2014 is New Zealands largest and longest running steampunk event. 4 days with 18 events and the start of a fringe festival along side it this year. . .

The events are:

Thursday 29th May

Absynth Night

Friday 30th May

Oamaru on Fire,

Brydone Oamaru Fringe Festival Late Night

 

fringe

Saturday 31st May

Souk Market

Cup cake decorating

Dance classes

Writers Workshop

Steampunk Short Stories – with connections to other parts of the planet – technology allowing

Brydone Oamaru Fringe Festival Family Variety Show

Steampunk Racing Mess Dinner

Steampunk Racing and Music Madness

Sunday 1st June

Steam train rides round the Oamaru Harbour.

Steampunk Round the World

Steampunk NZ Fashion Show

Steampunk NZ Gala Dinner

29th May – 2nd June

Throughout the weekend there will be the opportunity to visit Steampunk HQThe Timetravelers Museum and learn to ride a penny farthing and explore the many other galleries and attractions that Oamaru offers, and then see the penguins.

There is more on the Festival’s Facebook page.

Friday night will be lit up by  Oamaru On Fire:

2014’s Oamaru On Fire, steam, sound and lighting spectacular, will step up again this year says organisers Jan Kennedy and Anton Roswell.  “Oamaru On Fire” is a fire, steam, sound, lighting spectacular that successfully showcases Harbour street (in the old part of town Oamaru) in the evening and in winter as an attraction for the entire family from 4 years old to 94 !

t enhances the Steampunk Festival, attracting large numbers of visitors and locals to Oamaru for Queens Birthday weekend.  For the Past 2 years Oamaru On Fire has been incredibly popular with over 2,000 people attending gaining amazing feedback from young and old. 

This years event will feature “Video mapping” a world class projection and lighting focus using the Harbour street Buildings as a stunning Canvas, as well as an innovative visual and performing arts programme and involvement by young local performers.

Internationally renowed “Visual Architects” Out of the Dark will choregraph the lighting and pyrotechnic experience; which includes video projection mapping previously seen on buildings around the world, THIS IS THE FIRST TIME VIDEO MAPPING HAS BEEN USED IN NZ’s south island.  “Oamaru On Fire”

 

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Rural round-up

May 24, 2014

NZ’s rural businesses struggle to attract equity capital to develop – Graham Turley:

Agri-business is New Zealand’s most productive and successful business sector yet it struggles to attract investor capital.

It seem counter-intuitive, particularly with all the talk of food bowls for Asia, that a sector which represents more than 25 per cent of New Zealand’s economy is widely perceived as difficult and inaccessible for investment – whether those investors are retail, large fund managers or overseas looking to invest in New Zealand’s agricultural success story.

Few successful agriculture-based businesses are listed on the NZX, especially when you consider how significant a contributor agriculture is to the economy. . .

Mackenzie Country farmer wins top deer award:

Paddy Boyd, manager of Haldon Station in the Mackenzie Country, is the winner of the 2014 Deer Industry Award.

The announcement of the award at the annual Deer Conference in Methven on Wednesday was followed by a sustained standing innovation for a farmer who has been a behind-the-scenes industry leader from the 1970s to the present day.

The award citation listed Paddy’s involvement in numerous industry groups including quality assurance, the Cervena strategy, velveting standards, Tb eradication, genetic improvement and environmental standards. . .

Kiwi team and supporters in charge in Ireland:

Six New Zealand shearers, including World Championships representatives Rowland Smith and John Kirkpatrick, have made it to the semi-finals of the Irish All-Nations Open championships semi-final in Gorey, Ireland.

Smith headed the 18 qualifiers after 70 shearers took part in the open-entry heats on the first day of the 16th Golden Shears World Championships, while Kirkpatrick qualified in third place.

They were separated by Scottish World championships contender Hamish Mitchell, whose teammate and defending World champion Gavin Mutch was a surprise elimination. The All-Nations has no bearing on the World Championship, for which the first round will be held tonight (Friday NZT).

The other New Zealanders still in All-Nations contention are five-times World champion David Fagan and son Jack, and Smith’s brothers, Matt and Doug. . . .

Passenger to be investigated for carrying plants:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is investigating an air passenger it nabbed carrying two concealed plants in her shirt.

Watchman, one of MPI’s most experienced detector dogs, sniffed out the plants on the passenger arriving from China at Auckland airport yesterday afternoon.

The woman had rooted cuttings in a plastic bag hidden in her shirt sleeve and under a coat.

“It appears the cuttings were to be planted and that this was a deliberate attempt to smuggle risk items into New Zealand,” says Craig Hughes, MPI’s Manager, North, Passenger and Mail. . .

Delegat’s says 2014 harvest supports sales growth projections – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Delegat’s Group, the winemaker which last year bought Australia’s Barossa Valley Estate, said its just completed 2014 harvest will allow it to achieve its forecast future sales growth.

The Auckland-based winemaker expects to increase wine sale volumes by 2 percent to 1.985 million cases in the year ending June 30, accelerating to an 8.8 percent pace in 2015 and 8.9 percent in 2016, according to projections detailed in its 2013 annual report. The 2014 harvest amounted to 35,127 tonnes, as its New Zealand vintage increased 18 percent to 34,123 tonnes. Its Australian harvest, the first vintage since acquisition of Barossa in June last year, amounted to 1,004 tonnes, the company said today.

“The 2014 vintage has delivered excellent quality in all regions,” managing director Graeme Lord said. “The group has appropriate inventories to achieve future sales growth in line with guidance provided in the 2013 annual report.” . . .

Researchers start a wine revolution:

The global wine industry may be on the cusp of a revolution, thanks to pioneering genetic research conducted by scientists at Lincoln University and Plant & Food Research that not only has ramifications for controlling disease and increasing productivity, but will quite likely mean completely new varieties of grapes and styles of wine.

The research project initially commenced to fill a knowledge gap in the identification and function of the genes that underpin the key characteristics of grapevines. The goal was to bed down a research framework, such as those used by researchers with other plant species, to establish a knowledge base for the study of gene behaviour and the critical processes of grape production.

As the research developed, however, new opportunities became apparent, and a greater emphasis was placed on investigating the potential for manufacturing and encouraging the expression of genetic elements within grapevines which may, in turn, come with commercial benefits. . .

Premium Amisfield Wines to Be Showcased At International Event in Venice, Italy:

Celebrated New Zealand wine producer Amisfield will showcase a premium selection of its wines to a select international audience at the prestigious 14th Venice Architecture Biennale.

The specialist producer of multi-award-winning Pinot Noir and aromatic white wines will be the exclusive wine sponsor and supplier to the New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) exhibition at the Biennale from June 5 to November 23.

Amisfield wines, sourced from fruit grown on its estate vineyard beneath the Pisa Mountain range in the renowned Central Otago region, will be served during the official opening events and associated events for the duration of the Biennale at the New Zealand exhibition, to be staged in the Palazzo Pisani Santa Marina. . .

Comvita annual profit rises 3.3% as honey price squeezes margin, sees more growth in 2015 – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – Comvita, which produces health products from manuka honey and olive leaves, lifted annual profit 3.3 percent as the rising cost of honey squeezed margins, and said revenue and earnings would grow in 2015.

Net profit rose to $7.6 million, or 24.37 cents per share, in the 12 months ended March 31 from $7.4 million, or 24.52 cents a year earlier, the Te Puke-based company said in a statement. That’s slightly ahead of the $7.5 million profit Comvita signalled earlier this month. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rose 11 percent to $16.4 million and revenue gained by the same amount to $115.3 million.

“Margins were impacted by the very strong New Zealand dollar and from further sharp rises in the cost of Manuka honey,” the company said. “Because of contractual commitments on pricing in the fast growing China market these costs couldn’t be recovered within the annual time frame.” . . .

New president for Federated Farmers Waikato:

Federated Farmers is thrilled to welcome our new Waikato provincial president, Chris Lewis, who is replacing James Houghton following their provincial AGM.

“Chris has been a part of Federated Farmers for nine years and is well versed on the issues surrounding the Waikato region as well as the dairy industry at a national level,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers National President.

“I would like to thank outgoing provincial president, James Houghton for his service to the province and Federated Farmers and congratulate him on his role on the Waikato Waipa Stakeholders Group, in continuing the collective conversation around water quality in Waikato.

“We are in a year of change within the Federation with leadership changes throughout the organisation, both nationally and provincially, Chris is an incredibly passionate advocate for the farming community and I know he will do a fantastic job,” said Mr Wills. . .

Shocking Sharemilker compliance revealed:

With just over a week until it closes, Federated Farmers is blowing the whistle on the four-fifths of Sharemilkers who are yet to vote in the 2014 DairyNZ Levy referendum.

“The last time I checked only 20 percent of sharemilkers had voted and that’s a shocker turn out,” says Neil Filer, Federated Farmers Sharemilkers section chairperson.

“It’s like seeing only 100 people physically in Eden Park for the upcoming England test.

“I need to send a rocket to our guys to pull finger and vote. We’re the ones that get the most from the levy as it sets up the best possible industry for us. . . .


Llamas and ice cream

May 24, 2014

The Civilian Party is promising llamas for every poor child and free ice cream for everyone.

Free ice-cream, llamas for poor children and tax hikes for the poor are among the policies of the Civilian Party, party leader and political satirist Ben Uffindell says.

Mr Uffindell told The Nation he would lower taxes for the rich and raise them for the poor, because paying less tax encouraged people to be poor “because it’s a financially rewarding position to be in”.

However, the party would give every poverty-stricken child a llama, he said.

“Children in poverty, it’s not their responsibility. They’re not old enough yet to go out and become a CEO … so they need a financial basis with which to start.”

The party had costed $17.7 million for free ice-cream, but it wasn’t a free-for-all for the nation in which each person eats on average 23 litres a year, Mr Uffindell said.

“We’re not saying we’re going to fund every New Zealander’s ice-cream habit, I think that’s untenable. What we’re saying is that every New Zealander has the right to one tub of ice-cream at the expense of the government.” . .

It’s refreshing that one party is planning to do something to help the dairy industry.

The party wants independence from Hamilton as an energy saving measure and is on-track for the 500 members it needs to register.

Based on Civilian Party registrations and the number of people who read the website, the party should get “844,000 votes and will probably be the next government”, he said.

Humour was really important for the election, Mr Uffindell said.

“We all need to laugh and we all need to take ourselves a little bit less seriously and have fun in an environment that is too often too serious and too hostile and that’s why it’s great that the Conservative Party is bringing that in this election.”

You can check out more policy at the Civilian Party’s website.

Saturday’s smiles

May 24, 2014

At an Optometrist’s Office:
“If you don’t see what you’re looking for, you’ve come to the right place.”
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On a Taxidermist’s window:
“We really know our stuff.”
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On a Fence:
“Salesmen welcome! Dog food is expensive!”
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At a Car Dealership:
“The best way to get back on your feet – miss a car payment.”

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On an electrician’s van:

“Let us remove your shorts.”

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Outside a Car Exhaust Store:
“No appointment necessary. We hear you coming.”
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In a Vets waiting room:
“Be back in 5 minutes. Sit! Stay!”
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In a Restaurant window:
“Don’t stand there and be hungry; come on in and get fed up.”
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In the front yard of a Funeral Home:
“Drive carefully. We’ll wait.”
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And  at a radiator shop:
“Best place in town to take a leak.”
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Tweets can be revealing

May 24, 2014

Quote of the day:

. . . It can be terribly revealing. Tweet quality is a measure of impulse control, wit, vanity, originality and much else. It shows us who are the goody-two-shoes, only daring to post on-message, anodyne material, and who has the confidence to engage and have a bit of fun. Steven Joyce, for instance, will sometimes take on a critic – generally without either rancour or mercy. It also gives the belligerent a chance to look ugly.  . . Jane Clifton on Polies in Twitterland


Sabotaging own candidates

May 24, 2014

There’s something amiss with Labour’s selection process.

Nominations for the Rangitata seat were opened, closed without anyone applying and re-opened.

Nominations for Invercargill were opened, closed with the previous candidate, and former MP, Lesley Soper applying but reopened when the news the electorate MP, National’s Eric Roy, was retiring. Someone else applied but Soper was selected anyway.

Nominations for Tamaki Makaurau opened some time ago, were held open pending the outcome of TVNZ’s inquiry into Shane Taurima’s use of his work place and resources for political purposes.

Since then the party declined to give Taurima the waiver he needed to get the nomination and now the party is seeking further nominations:

The NZ Council of the Labour Party has resolved to invite further nominations for the Labour candidature in the Tamaki Makaurau seat, with the support of the Tamaki Makaurau Labour Electorate Committee. . .

Further nominations suggests they have already got at least one but, as in Invercargill, aren’t widely enthusiastic about whoever it is.

The seat is held by Pita Sharples who isn’t standing again which, means Labour would have had a better chance of winning it.

However, the Maori Party has already selected its candidate, Rangi McLean, who will have had the best part of a month campaigning before Labour’s candidate is selected.

Once more Labour is giving every appearance of sabotaging its candidate by its inept handling of its selection process.

 


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