Word of the day

May 29, 2014

Murrain – a plague, pestilence, dire disease, epidemic, or crop blight; an infectious disease affecting cattle or other animals.


Fiordland monorail proposal declined

May 29, 2014

Riverstone Holdings has been refused permission to build a monorail in Fiordland:

The application by Riverstone Holdings Limited to build and operate a $240 million monorail in Fiordland has been declined by Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith.

“This proposal does not stand up either economically or environmentally. The independent tourism and financial analysis concluded it was not viable. There would be a significant impact on the area’s flora, fauna and natural heritage. The route is not sufficiently defined to properly assess the impacts,” Dr Smith says.

“Developments in an area with World Heritage status and which impact on the Fiordland National Park must meet the highest of standards and I have concluded that the risks of this proposal are too great.”

The Fiordland Link Experience proposed a new link between Queenstown and Milford Sound consisting of a 20-kilometre boat excursion across Lake Wakatipu to Mt Nicholas Station, a 45-kilometre all-terrain vehicle ride to Kiwi Burn, a 43.8-kilometre monorail ride to Te Anau Downs and a 90-kilometre coach journey to Milford Sound. The application included a lease, licence and concession for the monorail and related infrastructure through the South West New Zealand World Heritage Area including the Snowdon Forest and Fiordland National Park.

“This monorail had more merit than the Milford Tunnel proposal and has been a more difficult decision to make. The process has taken some time because I have wanted to consider it very carefully. I have visited the site twice, met its applicants twice, consulted with the New Zealand Conservation Authority, and spent days reading the relevant reports and responses from the applicants. I appreciate my decision will come as a major disappointment to Riverstone Holdings,” Dr Smith says.

“I do not want this decision interpreted as the Government and the Department of Conservation (DOC) being opposed to any proposal for alternative access options in Fiordland. The strategic issue of facilitating better transport options between Queenstown and Milford remains. The door is still open but proposals will need to be both environmentally sustainable and economically viable.

“This conservative decision reflects the cautious approach I have to developments in Fiordland. This World Heritage Area has some of New Zealand’s most highly valued and spectacular landscapes that require I err on the side of nature.”

This was obviously a very difficult decision.

The developers and others who saw the business opportunities will be disappointed.

Those who were concerned about the impact on the conservation values of a wilderness area will be delighted.

 


Rural round-up

May 29, 2014

Speech to the B3 Better Border Biosecurity Conference – Nathan Guy:

Thank you to Better Border Biosecurity (B3) for hosting this important conference. The theme is “10 years on – Adding Value to New Zealand’s Plant Biosecurity System through Research”.

Today I want to talk to you about the importance of biosecurity to New Zealand, and the importance of scientific research to back it up.

I want to start by acknowledging the B3 partnership as a great model for working together on research.

The signed up partners include four Crown Research Institutes (CRI), a university based research entity, three government agencies, and an industry group. It’s important that it involves end-users from both government and industry.

The importance of biosecurity

Everyone here has probably heard me say many times that “biosecurity is my number one priority as Minister.” Today I want to say a few words to remind why that is, and why this agreement today is so important.

The primary sector is the powerhouse of New Zealand’s economy, accounting for over 70 percent of our export earnings.

It helps pay the bills for our schools, hospitals and social services, and supports many jobs in our regions and cities. . .

Farmers cream productivity profit:

ANZ Bank economist Con Williams says many people are overlooking the huge improvements in productivity dairy farmers have achieved recently.

Fonterra on Wednesday set next season’s initial forecast farmgate milk price at $7 per kilo of milk solids, which was higher than some had expected.

However, the dairy giant has cut this season’s forecast payout by 25 cents to $8.40 per kilo of milk solids. That would reduce farmers’ incomes by nearly $400 million but Mr said it represented just a little less cream from what was still a record payout.

The average annual yield per cow was close to 381kg of milk solids – a new record and about 7.5 percent ahead of trend. . .

NIWA gets down to brass tacks with farmers – Tony Benny:

National Fieldays seminar host Niwa is taking its science directly to farmers to optimise water use and lessen the negative impacts of dairy effluent.

National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research’s chief scientist, environmental information, Jochen Schmidt, said the organisation has moved its focus to the one-on-one farmer level gradually over the past five years. 

“This is definitely an area that we’re strategically pushing at the moment. The minister [Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce] is our shareholder and that’s what he told us because the growth agenda is out there and we want to ensure our primary sector is growing while sustainably managing the environment. . .

 

StockSense workshops take pressure off calving:

DairyNZ is running 19 StockSense events in June and July to help farmers prepare for the calving season.

The events are split into two workshops – one for junior staff and one for senior staff – with each workshop focusing on developing skills to help the calving season go well and reduce stress.

Humane slaughter on-farm and udder health will be the focus of the senior level workshop.

DairyNZ’s animal husbandry and welfare team manager, Chris Leach, says the humane slaughter topic is particularly timely due to the expected change in the animal welfare code and the implications for farmers.

“Farmers need to understand what’s expected of them,” says Chris.

The senior workshop will also focus on actions owners and managers can take to reduce stress for themselves and their teams, to help calving go smoothly.

“The workshop will provide tips and tricks to stay healthy during the busy period. Being prepared and staying healthy eases stress and will make for an easier spring,” says Chris. . .

New report shows PGP delivering major benefits:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed the findings of an independent report into the Primary Growth Partnership (PGP), which estimates it will add $6.4 billion per annum to New Zealand’s economy by 2025.

“The NZIER report further concludes that the PGP has the potential to achieve an additional $4.7 billion per annum by 2025 if all the R&D is successful, the aspirational stretch of PGP programmes is achieved, and the innovations are widely uptaken. 

“This would add up to $11.1 billion per annum to New Zealand’s economy by 2025.

“The PGP is about supporting innovation in the primary industries, which are the backbone of New Zealand’s economy – accounting for over 70% of our merchandise exports. There are currently 18 announced programmes jointly funded by industry and government.” . .

Steak stakes double success:

Ballyhooley Beef has done it again – winning best retail brand with the Murray Grey meat at the Steak of Origin competition last week in Feilding.

But this year, Winton farmer Barry Macdonald and his beef have done one better, as his steak was chosen as the tastiest by the public, also winning the people’s choice award.

In what was a first for the competition, Mr Macdonald’s steak was put up against the other 19 finalists to see which the public liked best. . .

2013 winner a bachelor no more – Sonita Chandar:

Sorry ladies, it’s official – 2013 Fieldays Rural Bachelor of the Year Simon Washer is now spoken for.

However, a whole new group of eligible young men are set to strut their stuff at the NZ National Agricultural Fieldays in June.

Washer only entered the competition by default as his fellow members of the local young farmers’ club balked at the idea of entering.

“I was the chairman of the club at the time the entry form came through and when I asked the guys if anyone was interested in entering, they all gave me a dirty look,  pointed the finger at me and then nominated me so I didn’t really have much of a choice. . . .

 

 


Thursday’s quiz

May 29, 2014

1. Who said: I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. ?

2. What is an Ailurophile?

3. Where would you find the glabella?

glabella
glabella

4. What would you do with a froe.

5.  What is an aquaggaswack?

(In case you haven’t noticed there is no deliberate theme this week, although I’ll give a bonus to anyone who can find one).


Why the numbers matter

May 29, 2014

Budget 2014 has the books back in black – but why do the numbers matter?

The numbers matter because only when they are positive can a government afford policies to help people that will be sustainable.


Higher income households paying higher share of tax

May 29, 2014

The opposition fought National’s tax cuts tooth and nail and keep saying they help the rich and hurt the poor.

That isn’t supported by the facts:

New data indicates New Zealand’s income tax and support system continues to provide significant income redistribution, with households earning more than $150,000 a year forecast to pay 74 per cent of net income tax in 2014/15, compared with 58 per cent in 2008/09.

“Four years after the Government’s comprehensive tax reforms, latest data confirms that New Zealand’s income tax and support system significantly redistribute incomes to households in need,” Finance Minister Bill English says.

“It is now clear that higher income households are paying a larger share of income tax than they were in 2008.”

“As I’ve said previously, the Government has maintained a redistributive income tax and income support system that supports low and middle income families and helps New Zealanders through times of need. So at any particular time, a large number of households effectively don’t pay income tax,” Mr English says.

“The amount these households pay in income tax is exceeded by the amount they receive from welfare benefits, Working for Families, paid parental leave and accommodation subsidies. That’s entirely appropriate for those families genuinely in need.”

Using data from the Household Economic Survey, Treasury has updated information provided last year to include forecasts for the 2014/15 tax year.

The Treasury estimates that this year households earning over $150,000 a year – the top 15 per cent of households by income – will pay 49 per cent of income tax.

But when benefit payments, Working for Families, paid parental leave and accommodation support are taken into account, these 15 per cent of households are expected to pay 74 per cent of the net income tax. And that is before New Zealand Superannuation payments are counted.

It also excludes the impact of other aspects of the tax changes in 2010, including tightening property tax rules and compliance, and increasing GST.

By contrast, households earning under $60,000 a year – which is just under half of all households – are expected to pay 9 per cent of income tax.

“When we take income support payments into account, as a group they will actually pay no net income tax at all,” Mr English says.

“That’s because the $2.5 billion of income tax they are expected to pay will be more than offset by the $7.3 billion they will receive in income support.

“It’s appropriate to maintain a tax and income support system that helps low and middle income households when they most need it.

“But people who call for even greater transfers to low income families, or who call for the top tax rate to be raised, need to be aware of how redistributive the tax and income support system already is,” Mr English says.

“This also highlights the importance of Government policies to support people out of welfare and into work.”

The left’s answer to many problems is to throw more money at them.

That’s other people’s money and their favourite source of that is the wealthy who, they say, should pay more tax.

These figures show the wealthy are already paying most income tax, families on lower income are paying no net income tax and households on less than $60,000 are paying just 9%.


Recycled poli to lead IM party

May 29, 2014

Former Alliance leader Laila Hare is to lead the Internet Mana Party:

The NBR says she joined the Green Party only 18 months ago and worked as its “issues director” in Auckland. . .

Reusing or recycling an ex-MP could fit the green, but not necessarily the Green, credo.

Whether or not it helps the IM Party gain votes is moot but it will split opposition votes by giving those wanting a more socialist approach another option.

However it’s not likely to help the party appeal to the young tech-savvy non-voters. And yet another hard-left unionist on the red part of the spectrum could also persuade voters in the centre towards the blue end.

The idea of a weak Labour propped up by the Green, NZ First and Internet Mana parties will make a National-led government more attractive to moderates.

 Bryce Edwards at Liberation has the top tweets on the issue which include:

Laura McQuillan ‏@mcquillanatorz  

Laila Harre first entered Parliament in 1996. Incidentally, people born that year will be able to vote for the first time this year.

 

Laura McQuillan ‏@mcquillanatorz  

And I’m sure knowing the Internet Party leader was first an MP in the year of their birth will be a voter drawcard #rtpt

 

brent simpson ‏@simp  

Um … so the new leader of the Internet Party @lailaharre has made like 27 tweets. Has she really got the quals for this?

 

Andrew Robertson ‏@Unimatrix_0  

Interesting conflict. I bet people who wouldn’t consider voting for Mana or the Internet Party *would* consider voting for Laila Harre.

Lew ‏@LewSOS  

Seriously tho, what does it say about the NZ left that the old guard is being hauled out of retirement, while the right is appointing yoofs?

 

Toby Manhire ‏@toby_etc  

Harré Houdini.

 

michael fletcher ‏@fletchermj  

Which paper will be first with “Harrewira”?

Right Wing Fat Cat ‏@rightwingfatcat  

Mana has absolutely pulled a fast one on the #Internetparty ! Gets all thier funding, dominates the list & have installed a plant as leader!

 

Right Wing Fat Cat ‏@rightwingfatcat  

Internet party supporters have been sold a pup! Laila Harre has more in common with #mana & the greens than #Internetparty supporters #nzpol

 

StoogetalkZB ‏@mattedwords  

i’m betting the Greens are wishing that Dotcom had been extradicted about now.

 

David Farrar ‏@dpfdpf  

Internet Party also announcing tomorrow that their campaign manager will be Simon Lusk.

Dave Guerin ‏@daveguerin  

Laila Harre doesn’t say “Internet” to me, but she might get more votes for a very left-wing party than Mana’s existing candidates

 

James Cardno ‏@jamescardno  

I’d love to know what Harre feels she can get advancing leftist causes via Mana/IP that she felt she couldn’t achieve with the Greens

 

Chris Finlayson ‏@chrisfinlayson  

Laila Harre’s loan from Greens to Mana-Internet Party a sign that planning for Lab-Grn-NZF-Mana-Internet coalition is well advanced?

 

Chris Finlayson ‏@chrisfinlayson  

If Metiria Turei doesn’t back down, that means 5 deputy PMs for David Cunliffe. Six if he can’t convince caucus to bypass @grantrobertson1

Hamish Price ‏@hamishpricenz  

What were the principles that caused @suebr to quit Mana, but @lailaharre to join the @internetpartynz?

Warwick Rasmussen ‏@beanbiz  

So will Jim Anderton be kinda like an Internet-Mana Obi-Wan Kenobi now?

David Farrar ‏@dpfdpf  

If Laila can be the Leader of the Internet Party as she has used the Internet, I think I should be the Leader of the Greens as I eat them

 

Philip Matthews ‏@secondzeit  

Every waka jumper and MMP rorter ever is having a crack at the Harre-Dotcom alliance.

Gareth Richards ‏@garethmr  

Surprised Dotcom didn’t draft Ahmed Zaoui as Leader. That guy knows how to get anti-extradition results #nzpol

 

Cactus Kate ‏@CactusKate2  

Hone, Harre, Sykes and Minto – can John Key be having a better month than this one?

Joshua Hitchcock ‏@jcphitchcock  

Was really expecting someone with, you know, experience and knowledge in the tech sector.

 

Gareth Richards ‏@garethmr  

Laila Harre joins the Aotearoa Legalise Copyright Infringement Party #nzpol

 

Nick Cross ‏@NW_Cross 

So the left is assembling a team of washed up 1990’s egos to contest the election. Lets be kind and call them the ‘Social Justice League

 

Coley Tangerina ‏@ColeyTangerina  

You can’t put Sue Bradford Lite at the head of a Party & make people forget the founder is a neo-liberal DJ version of Mr Burns.

 

Andrew Chen ‏@bobsalive  

So… Green Internet Mana Party (GIMP) alliance?

 

Cactus Kate ‏@CactusKate2  

Laila Harre under the command and control of the millionaire German convicted fraudster. The left just gets funnier every day.

 

Edward Bowie ‏@edbowie 

Laila Harre is great but the whole stitch up undermines the concept of the Maori seats and marks the beginning of the end of their existence

 

GCSB Intercepts ‏@GCSBIntercepts 

”  Why, why, why the Laila?  “

 

Idiot/Savant ‏@norightturnnz  

Wow, Laila harre. Really? I bet Sue Bradford is feeling a little stupid now.

 

Christopher Bishop ‏@cjsbishop  

In 2002 the Alliance was beaten by the Outdoor Recreation Party #facts

 

Bryce Edwards ‏@bryce_edwards  

The Greens really let that possible candidate slip through their fingers.

 

Bryce Edwards ‏@bryce_edwards  

The Greens will be absolutely livid about Laila Harre as Internet Party leader. This will be very damaging for their party vote.

> Danyl Mclauchlan ‏@danylmc  

@thomasbeagle @bryce_edwards She’s pretty formidable. OTOH, Matt McCarten was supposed to have saved the election for Labour.

Toby Manhire ‏@toby_etc  

If it is Laila Harre, bit rude of @KimDotcom not to be following her on Twitter. (The Internet Party and Vikram Kumar both are)

 

Liam Kernaghan ‏@liamkernaghan  

Laila Harre? This story just gets more bizarre as the days go along

 

Patrick Leyland ‏@ProgressReport  

I guess Hone and Kim will be hoping Laila does better than she did against Lynne Pillay. #nzpol

 

Bryce Edwards ‏@bryce_edwards  

I wonder what portfolio Laila Harre would be after in Cabinet this time.

> Rob Hosking ‏@robhosking  

@bryce_edwards Minister of All the Parties.

 

Tova O’Brien ‏@TovaOBrien  

3 News understands Laila Harre to lead Internet Party – her fifth political party

 

Toby Manhire ‏@toby_etc  

@ChrisKeall What did she say when you asked her for comment?

> Rob Hosking ‏@robhosking  

@toby_etc @ChrisKeall I left messages asking, Why why why, dear Laila?

 

To which I add: if Harre is the answer, what was the question?


%d bloggers like this: