Word of the day

27/05/2014

Backarapper – a firework made from firecrackers folded together to explode one after the other.


Smiles and tears

27/05/2014

Discussion with Simon Mercep on Critical Mass today was sparked by:

* Does smiling make you happy?

* The Smile Project

and

* Looking at tears under a microscope.

 


Rural round-up

27/05/2014

HBRIC hopeful Ruataniwha scheme can be saved – Tim Fulton:

The council-controlled company promoting the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme reckons it still has a good chance of getting farmers into a bankable project on its three-month deadline.

Farmers were uncertain about the impact of the draft Tukituki catchment plan changes but they hadn’t been scared off, Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) chief executive Andrew Newman said.

HBRIC’s immediate problem was that while the Ruataniwha dam had been granted the consents it needed, the proposed Tukituki plan changes didn’t allow the scheme to work, he said.

“I think it’s reasonable to say the decision has had some unintended consequences and a level of ambiguity in it, when viewed in aggregate.” . . .

World Young Shepherds round:

EIGHT YOUNG Kiwis are heading to Lincoln, July 3-5 to compete in the preliminary round of competition at the World Young Shepherds Challenge.

The top two performing competitors will go on to represent New Zealand at the final in France, September 28 – October 4.

“The World Young Shepherds Challenge is a fantastic event, showcasing a vital industry and a range of young people from around the globe who have a major contribution to make to the international sheep industry,” says Beef+Lamb New Zealand chief executive, Dr Scott Champion. . .

Life a blur of activity for radio host:

As the new voice behind the Southern Farming show, Balfour man Jonny Turner is now making his mark on the Hokonui radio station.

His rural background began in the small Northern Southland community and has played a great influence on his getting involved with radio, as well as his passion for horse racing.

Growing up in Balfour on a mixed farming property, Mr Turner had always had a rural background and he had wanted to get involved with radio. When the opportunity arose he could not have been happier. . .

Tall order for responsible publicans:

Jill Derbyshire and husband Peter have been at the Royal Hotel, Naseby, for more than two years and are keenly aware of their host responsibilities under the law.

Mrs Derbyshire said hoteliers were the first in the firing line if something went wrong.

”We could lose our licence,” Mrs Derbyshire said.

One of the tools they use is an incident book, in which they and their staff protect themselves by recording any interactions they had with patrons about suggesting they use the courtesy coach or that they be driven home, or if they had been argumentative in the bar.

”If something happens and they have been in the bar beforehand, it is there,” she said. . .

Funding sought to get young into agricultural jobs

Venture Southland is looking for up to between $200,000 and $300,000 in funding, or in kind, over three years for its Southland Futures project, a strategy designed to help the region’s unemployed young people into jobs in the agricultural sector.

Venture Southland enterprise and strategic projects group manager Steve Canny said it had surveyed 600 Southland pupils last December, and found that few were considering careers in the agriculture or agricultural services sectors.

The organisation found young people and Work and Income clients did look at agricultural jobs in a positive way, apart from the long hours, but often lacked ”direct experience of the industry”. . .

DPI streamlines water bureaucracy

WATER bureaucracy in NSW is being streamlined, with three organisations being combined into one under the Department of Primary Industries (DPI).

Currently the responsibility for water is shared throughout DPI by specific offices – the NSW Office of Water, Sydney Catchment Authority and the Metropolitan Water Directorate.

Now, the DPI is consolidating these parts into a new look Office of Water aligning the water policy and planning, regulation and monitoring and evaluation for all water in NSW. . .

 Irrigators slam water shake-up – Mike Foley:

NSW Irrigators has slammed the NSW government’s decision to remove the role of Water Commissioner from the state’s bureaucracy, in a departmental shake-up announced today.

“It is appallingly bad timing to abolish the Water Commissioner role now,” NSW Irrigators chairman Richard Stott said.

Mr Stott said planning for water recovery infrastructure projects, under the national Murray Darling Basin Plan, are are at a critical point.

“To abolish the position of Water Commissioner when the current incumbent probably has the most knowledge of how the Basin works and how NSW can best meets its water recovery commitments under the Plan is very short-sighted,” Mr Stott said. . .

Grant helps school tree plan – Michele Ong:

Ahititi School is seeing its dream garden come to fruition thanks to a generous grant.

The school received a $2000 grant from the Rural Women New Zealand and Farmlands to help with its gardening plans, such as buying trees to attract native birds, bird feed, and also “bee-friendly” trees.

Principal Chris Richardson said the school was “really pleased” with the grant which would help further add to the school’s orchard, which includes nashis, plums and apples.

Richardson said the school has not been “troubled by possums”, which was a bonus. . .


Bradford quits on principle

27/05/2014

Sue Bradford has resigned from the Mana Party in protest against its alliance with the Internet Party.

She sent a letter of resignation to the leadership late this morning, effective immediately, saying she had lost enthusiasm for Mana and “sucking up to a German millionaire” was not her vision for the party.
“My overwhelming emotion today is sadness,” she told 3 News.
“Kim Dotcom is a gamer and it’s a big game that he’s playing, and I don’t want to become his pawn.”
Ms Bradford’s resignation means this will be the first general election in 15 years the former Green Party MP won’t be standing as a candidate. But she admits the alliance, known as Internet Mana, may be more attractive to others with political ambitions. . .

Those political ambitions will be untroubled by the principles Bradford has demonstrated in resigning.


Put That Hoedown

27/05/2014

From Essex Young Farmers:


Don’t need the government to tell you

27/05/2014

Stephen Balme, is begging – please government tax me more:

I’m writing here today with a most unusual of requests: Can those in charge please charge me more tax? . . .

We didn’t have much in the way of direct tax cuts this budget, but we did have them earlier on during what was frequently referred to as a global financial crisis.

So, please, charge me more tax.

Who am I to make such a bold, selfless declaration?

I’m a male. I’m 28. I rent. I have a car. I have been in the workforce for three years. Prior to that I attended Otago University where I earned two degrees and a student loan of $37,000.

And finally we get to the crux of my submission.

When I graduated university, my income more than tripled over the money provided to me by my weekly student loan payments, but expenses remained exactly the same.

I have no family to support, very few bills to pay, and ultimately am in a golden age of disposable income that cannot possibly last.

This comfortable life I currently have is only made possible through the generosity of a student loan.

So, please, please start charging interest on my loan.

It’s basic economics to see that the longer I drag out my repayments the less the loan costs in real world terms (thank you inflation).

It seems fairly clear to me that this is an unsustainable cost. You could charge a set fee every year so the mental picture of free money in the eyes of new students is gone.

Adding interest at the rate of inflation is just too obvious to bother discussing all the pros, but once again, I would be willing to pay more than that to assist the future. . .

Interest-free student loans do provide an incentive for people to pay them off no faster than the minimum required, but there is no upper limit on the amount anyone can pay off a student loan.

He could pay his off much faster, he could pay it all off at once if he had enough money.

What’s stopping him?

He doesn’t need to wait for the government to take more from him.

 


More to gain from migrants

27/05/2014

It’s not long ago that the opposition was complaining that too many people were leaving New Zealand.

Now the migration tide has turned in our favour, they’re complaining that too many are coming here.

In doing so they are resorting to dog-whistle anti-immigration sentiment and ignoring the fact that inwards migration helps the economy:

For a country with such a long history as a migration destination, it is astonishing just how quickly new migration can be portrayed as negative or even a threat. As the Treasury papers show, it is neither. 

On the contrary, the projected uplift in migration figures comes just at the right time for the New Zealand economy and provides ample economic opportunities. There are two caveats, however: New Zealand needs to attract the migrants it needs and it needs to lift its game to accommodate these migrants.

To put the Treasury’s forecasts into perspective, it is worth looking at long-term population trends. The Treasury predicts the population will increase by a quarter of a million people, from 4.46 million in 2013 to 4.72 million in 2018. That is an increase of just over a quarter million, which may sound substantial but it is important to realise two things about these numbers. 

First, more than half of the increase (57%) is natural (that is, more births than deaths) and only 43% is due to net migration. Second, by New Zealand’s historical standards, a population growth of 1.1% a year is not high. In 85 out of the 128 years where data has been collected, population growth rate was above this level.

A net migration gain doesn’t just mean more people arriving, it means fewer are leaving and among those coming are New Zealanders returning, most of whom we should be welcoming back.

The population growth forecast should be welcomed rather than feared. It comes at a time for the New Zealand economy when, figuratively speaking, we need all hands on deck. 

Yes, the population number will rise (as will the labour force) but the total number of people in employment rises even faster. This means the unemployment rate is forecast to go down to just 4.4% by 2018, even despite a slight increase in the labour market participation rate from 67.9% last year to 69.0%. 

To put it simply, there is no shortage of jobs for new migrants. They are entering a labour market, which is edging toward full employment, with labour shortages reported in parts of the country and across many industries. 

Without migration, pressure on wages and therefore inflationary pressures would increase. There can be no doubt new migrants will make a positive contribution to the development of the domestic economy. They will add to its productive capacity and also strengthen demand.

It certainly would not be in New Zealand’s interest to curb migration. Our ability to fine-tune migration figures is limited since a large part of the net migration intake consists of returning Kiwis. For example, people who once left for Australia and now return home as the Australian economy no longer looks that promising. 

These people have a right to reside in New Zealand and cannot simply be turned back at the airport. . .

On the contrary, they should be welcomed, at least some of those will be people whose leaving was lamented as contributing to the brain drain.

Politicians should face it: New Zealand is a migration destination – and it is all the better for it. Because we are such an attractive destination for potential migrants, we can afford to select those we need most. 

We can strategically define the skills we need to build our economy. But we should also ensure those who come here also subscribe to New Zealand values – that they speak our language, respect our laws and become part of the community.

I say all this as a migrant myself – and as a father of a Kiwi son who cares about this country and wants to make it better. I was once part of New Zealand’s net migration statistic. 

Maybe I pushed up house prices at the margin when I arrived. But I am doing my best to make this country a better place. Even if it means defending the positive impacts of migration against populist responses in an election year.

It’s not the quantity of immigrants that’s a concern, it’s the quality.

The author, Dr Oliver Hartwich, is right that we can afford to select immigrants we need most.

We can, and should, also ensure those who come here subscribe to our values, speak our language, respect our laws and become part of the community.

That will happen much more easily if we are welcoming and willing to help migrants adapt to their new home.

It will be made more difficult by the xenophobia which opposition MPs, to their shame, are encouraging.

Aaron Schiff (Hat tip Matt Nolan) points out we gain from immigrants:

. . . We should celebrate because on the incoming side, skilled immigrants provide New Zealand with a significant free gift. Some other country has paid the cost of their birth, childcare, childhood medical care, education, etc. They turn up in New Zealand effectively bringing all that investment with them and this benefits the country. Sounds good to me.

Sounds very good to me.


Oddest political coupling

27/05/2014

The oddest political coupling is likely to become official today:

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira is expected to announce he’s struck a deal with Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party.

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira is expected to announce he’s struck a deal with Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party.

He’s holding a joint press conference with Internet Party chief executive Vikram Kumar in parliament at 11am on Tuesday.

Mr Harawira has previously been optimistic about achieving an election alliance with the Internet Party.

“The negotiations for Mana have involved a number of important considerations from policy to personnel, and of course liaison with Mana branches and members up and down the country,” he said. . .

Dotcom is promising to pay all his party’s candidates an MPs salary while they’re campaigning – will he extend that largesse to Mana candidates too?

The Internet Party has policies but no principles.

Mana Party used to have principles but it would appear it’s sold them.

They have nothing positive in common, the only thing that unites them is negative – a hatred of John Key and the National Party.

There’s more than enough competition for that and it is those other opposition parties which are likely to lose from this very odd coupling.


Personal and political

27/05/2014

That Kim Dotcom doesn’t like Prime Minister John Key should have been obvious to anyone who’s taken even a cursory interest in the news.

But yesterday’s testimony by Rodney MP Mark Mitchell, a witness for the defence in the case against John Banks, shows something beyond dislike that appears to be both personal and political:

Kim Dotcom vowed to “destroy” John Banks and Prime Minister John Key, MP Mark Mitchell has told the High Court in Auckland.

Mitchell, the National MP for Rodney, today gave evidence for the defence at ACT MP Banks’ trial for filing a false electoral return.

Mitchell said he had met Dotcom at a barbecue in his electorate where the internet entrepreneur was “agitated” about the case to extradite Dotcom to the US on criminal copyright charges.

He said Dotcom told him: “I’m going to destroy John Key, I’m going to take down John Banks, I’m going to take down the Government.”

Mitchell’s other evidence was suppressed. . .

Dotcom ought to be very grateful he’s in New Zealand which shows a great deal more respect for the law and democracy than he appears to.

In many other countries that sort of tirade against a Prime Minister and MP would result in a charge of treason and in some they wouldn’t bother with such niceties as a fair trial before reaching a verdict.


May 27 in history

27/05/2014

893  Simeon I of Bulgaria crowned emperor of the first Bulgarian empire.

927 Battle of the Bosnian Highlands: Croatian army, led by King Tomislav, defeated the Bulgarian Army.

927  Simeon the Great, Tsar of Bulgaria, died.

1120  Richard III of Capua was anointed as prince two weeks before his untimely death.

1153 Malcolm IV became King of Scotland.

1328  Philip VI was crowned King of France.

1626 William II, Prince of Orange was born(d. 1650).

1703 Tsar Peter the Great founded the city of Saint Petersburg.

1798 The Battle of Oulart Hill took place in Wexford.

1812  Bolivian War of Independence: the Battle of La Coronilla, in which the women from Cochabamba fought against the Spanish army.

1813  War of 1812: In Canada, American forces captured Fort George.

1837 Wild Bill Hickok, American gunfighter, was born  (d. 1876).

1849  The Great Hall of Euston station in London was opened.

1860  Giuseppe Garibaldi began his attack on Palermo, Sicily, as part of the Italian Unification.

1863  American Civil War: First Assault on the Confederate works at the Siege of Port Hudson.

1878 Isadora Duncan, American dancer ws born (d. 1927).

1883 Alexander III was crowned Tsar of Russia.

1895  Oscar Wilde was imprisoned for sodomy.

1896 The F4-strength St. Louis-East St. Louis Tornado killed at least 255 people and causing $2.9 billion in damage.

1905 Russo-Japanese War: The Battle of Tsushima began.

1907  Bubonic plague broke out in San Francisco, California.

1908  Maulana Hakeem Noor-ud-Din was elected the first Khalifa of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

1911  Hubert H. Humphrey, 38th Vice President of the United States,  was born (d. 1978).

1912  John Cheever, American author, was born (d. 1982).

1915 Herman Wouk, American writer, was born.

1919  The NC-4 aircraft arrived in Lisbon after completing the first transatlantic flight.

1922  Sir Christopher Lee, English actor, was born.

1923 Henry Kissinger, 56th United States Secretary of State, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, was born.

1927  Ford ceased manufacture of the Ford Model T and began to retool plants to make the Ford Model A.

1930  The 1,046 feet (319 m) Chrysler Building in New York City, the tallest man-made structure at the time, opens to the public.

1933 New Deal: The U.S. Federal Securities Act is signed into law requiring the registration of securities with the Federal Trade Commission.

1933 – The Walt Disney Company released the cartoon The Three Little Pigs, with its hit song “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

1933 – The Century of Progress World’s Fair opened in Chicago.

1935  New Deal: The Supreme Court of the United States declared the National Industrial Recovery Act to be unconstitutional in A.L.A. Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States, (295 U.S. 495).

1937  The Golden Gate Bridge opened to pedestrian traffic, creating a vital link between San Francisco and Marin County, California.

1940  World War II: In the Le Paradis massacre, 99 soldiers from a Royal Norfolk Regiment unit were shot after surrendering to German troops.

1941 World War II: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed an “unlimited national emergency”.

1941 – World War II: The German battleship Bismarck was sunk in the North Atlantic killing almost 2,100 men.

1942  World War II: In Operation Anthropoid, Reinhard Heydrich was assassinated in Prague.

1943 Cilla Black, English singer and presenter, was born.

1954 Pauline Hanson, Australian politician, was born.

1957 Toronto’s CHUM-AM, (1050 kHz) became  Canada’s first radio station to broadcast only top 40 Rock n’ Roll music format.

1958 Neil Finn, New Zealand singer and songwriter (Split Enz, Crowded House), was born.

1958  The F-4 Phantom II made its first flight.

1960  In Turkey, a military coup removed President Celal Bayar and the rest of the democratic government from office.

1962 The Centralia, Pennsylvania mine fire started.

1965 Vietnam War: American warships began the first bombardment of National Liberation Front targets within South Vietnam.

1967  Australians voted in favour of a constitutional referendum granting the Australian government the power to make laws to benefit Indigenous Australians and to count them in the national census.

1967  The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy was launched  Jacqueline Kennedy and her daughter Caroline.

1968  The meeting of the Union Nationale des Étudiants de France (National Union of the Students of France) took place. 30,000 to 50,000 people gathered in the Stade Sebastien Charlety.

1971 The Dahlerau train disaster, the worst railway accident in West Germany, killed46 people and injured 25.

1975 Jamie Oliver, English chef and television personality, was born.

1975  The Dibble’s Bridge coach crash near Grassington, North Yorkshire killed  32 – the highest ever death toll in a road accident in the United Kingdom.

1980 The Gwangju Massacre: Airborne and army troops of South Korea retook the city of Gwangju from civil militias, killing at least 207.

1987 Artist Colin McCahon died.

Death of Colin McCahon

1995 Actor Christopher Reeve was paralysed from the neck down after falling from his horse in a riding competition.

1996 First Chechnya War: Russian President Boris Yeltsin met Chechnyan rebels for the first time and negotiated a cease-fire.

1997  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Paula Jones could pursue her sexual harassment lawsuit against President Bill Clinton while he was in office.

1999  The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia indicted Slobodan Milošević and four others for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Kosovo.

2005 Australian Schapelle Corby was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in Kerobokan Prison for drug smuggling by a court in Indonesia.

2006 The May 2006 Java earthquake devastated  Bantul and the city of Yogyakarta killing more than  6,600 people.

2009 – A suicide bombing killed at least 35 people and injured 250 more in Lahore, Pakistan.

2009 – Soyuz TMA-15 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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