Politics Daily

12/06/2014

This is an attempt to replace Dr Bryce Edwards’ daily political round-up while he’s taking a break. I’m not pretending to be balanced. While I link to a range of news stories, the blogs I link to are usually from the centre to the bluer end of the political spectrum or the more reasonable or witty bits of the pink to red end. You’re welcome to leave links to other news and blogs in comments.

Election

Claire Trevatt @ NZ Herald – NZ Game of Thrones – does Cunliffe dare to play?

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – Caucus can safely roll Cunliffe from next week

John Armstrong, Adam Bennett & Isaac Davison @ NZ Herald – Election 2014: Parties ready but are you?

CameronSlater @ Whale Oil – The magic “Seven reasons” that will drive this election

Pattrick Smellie @ Stuff – Early date a savvy move from PM

Vernon Small @ Stuff – Curious case of deal with Craig

David Farrar # Kiwiblog – National’s potential election deals

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – Paranoid Winston Peters dumps candidate?

Nookin @ Keeping Stock – A guest post on a new Labour policy

Pete George  @ YourNZ – Civilian Party and United Future announce campaign deal

Beehive

Chris Finlayson – Agreement in Principle signed with the iwi and hapū of Te Wairoa

Chris Finlayson – Screen NZ formed to boost NZ’s profile on world stage

Todd McLay – Intergovernmental FATCA agreement signed

Tony Ryall – Health Minister opens $67m Whakatane Hospital

Steven Joyce – International education numbers set to grow

Gerry Brownlee – Performing arts precinct off to an exciting start

Hekia Parata – Pegasus School opens

OCR

Brian Fellow @ NZ Herald – Wheeler yanks the leash

Tony Field @ TV3 – OCR rise good for savers

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – OCR goes to 3.25%

Crime

Rachel Smalley – Labour politicising a terrible tragedy

Inventory 2 @ Keeping Stock – Smalley tears into Labour

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – Violent crime

Education

Inventory 2 @ Why don’t they mention the PPTA?

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – Labour against paying the top teachers more

Other

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – Misrepresenting the current abortion law

Cameron SLater @ Whale Oil – David Cunliffe upsets Chief District Court Judge

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog –

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – Fine tuning immigration to drop Auckland House prices? Reserve Bank says yeah… Nah

Pete George @ YourNZ – Labour vs Reserve Bank on immigration

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – Trevor Mallard continues to show that for Labour, facts are optional

Matthew Beveridge – Compare and Contrast: Chris Tremain and Todd Barclay


Word of the day

12/06/2014

Ailurophile – cat lover.


Rural round-up

12/06/2014

$16m export fish gets top sustainability marks:

New Zealand hake, a small but growing white fish export to Spain, China and Japan, has received a glowing report in an independent assessment, taking it one step closer to achieving certification from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

The MSC holds the world’s best standards for sustainably managed fisheries. Its assessment process, which is transparent and inclusive, requires all fishery assessment reports to go through a public consultation period before certification can be achieved.

While many overseas hake fisheries have been overfished, the MSC independent assessment has confirmed New Zealand hake fisheries as having well managed, healthy fish stocks that are harvested with minimal impacts on the marine environment. . . .

International marketing specialist stands for Zespri board:

International produce marketing specialist, Hillary Brick, has announced her nomination for the upcoming director elections for the board of kiwifruit exporter Zespri.

Hillary is a New Zealander who has been living in the United States for the past 30 years.

Originally from Te Puke, Hillary is a long-term shareholder in a family owned kiwifruit orchard near the town.

“I have been very fortunate to enjoy 25 years of experience in international fruit marketing”, she said, “I’d be privileged to give back to an industry which has played such an important part in my life.” . . .

Firewood ‘slicer dicer’ on display at Fieldays – Mike McRoberts:

Mahoe Sawmill is at Fieldays with their firewood “slicer dicer”.

Mahoe’s John Bergman says the machine is part of the Fieldays innovation awards and is the first of its kind that the company has developed.

“It makes it [chopping firewood] really easy.” . .

Lessons with the Sharp Blacks: Can Campbell Live make the cut?

Kiwis are a nation of meat exporters – we all know that.

But who knew that there’s an international competition for the men and women who process that meat for our shops, and for global markets? Or that we have our own national butchery team?

They’re called the Pure South Sharp Blacks, and they are rather successful at what they do.  . . .

New code set to speed up rate of innovation in NZ rural industry:

The Farm Data Code of Practice, launched today, is a first for the New Zealand agricultural industry.

The new Code of Practice outlines steps organisations must take to safeguard farmers’ data. Adoption and implementation of the Farm Data Code of Practice is expected to improve how farm information is shared and used.

Development of the Farm Data Code of Practice was funded by New Zealand dairy farmers through DairyNZ, and also the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) andFarmIQ. It is part of the Transforming the Dairy Value Chain programme, led by DairyNZ and Fonterra, under MPI’s Primary Growth Partnership. . . .

Fonterra explains why it thinks international demand for milk powders and cheese will remain relatively strong – Interest.Co.NZ:

A shift in supply and demand over the past few months is indicating that volatility continued to exert influence over the global outlook for dairy.

Prices have come off the peak reached in February this year.

There is currently more milk available for the international market to absorb, although demand from China and Russia still appears strong as global supply and demand rebalances.

Fonterra’s assessment of published industry statistics indicates that total dairy exports have reached 14.2 million MT, up 3% for the 12 months through to February 2014. Most of this growth appears to be from the European Union (EU), New Zealand (NZ) and the United States (US). . . .

Ballance hits half way in its biggest product innovation programme:

Ballance Agri-Nutrients has reached the half-way mark in its $19.5 million programme under the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Primary Growth Partnership (PGP).

The seven-year Clearview Innovations PGP programme is aimed at developing products, technology and knowledge to support sustainable, profitable farming. The programme has $9.75 million in support from the PGP.

Ballance Research and Development Manager, Warwick Catto, says the co-operative has made nitrogen and phosphorus efficiency a high priority in the programme. It is aiming to increase nitrogen uptake efficiency from the usual 10:1 return to 15:1 and to increase phosphate efficiency by 20 percent while minimising losses. . . .

Hamilton-based SummerGlow Apiaries applauds a new Manuka Honey testing method.

TE KOWHAI’S SummerGlow Apiaries has welcomed news from Hill Laboratories of a new manuka testing method which could save the honey industry millions of dollars a year.

The test checks for the “Manuka factor” are in the honey. This is an indicator of antibacterial activity, used to determine whether honey is pure manuka or a blend. Not all manuka honey has the unique activity and among those that do then the strength varies.

The tests used to cost $105 each, or $315 for all three, but “this new three-in-one can achieve it for only $70.

“This initiative is an important step in the right direction. SummerGlow Apiaries applauds any scientific developments that focus the consumer on Manuka Honey’s all important Non Peroxide Activity,” says James Jeffrey of SummerGlow Apiaries. . . .

 

You might need to be a ram breeder to appreciate this:
Postura das pernas do posterior....


Which country fits your personality?

12/06/2014

Which country in the world best fits your personality?

I got France but while it’s a lovely place to visit I don’t think it’s the real me:

You are a romantic who enjoys strolling through cobblestone streets and markets. You are inspired by art and architecture, and thrive being surrounded by other artists and intellectuals. You enjoy the bustle of a city, but also love spending time in the warm countryside, sitting at a cafe, and having a glass of wine or coffee. Your soul is nourished by being in nature, and by having deep meaningful conversation about love, art, and the meaning of life.

I tried again with which country fits your subconscious personality and got Japanese.

It too has lots to recommend it but it’s not the real me either.

 


Thursday’s quiz

12/06/2014

1. Who said, Italians come to ruin most generally in three ways, women, gambling, and farming. My family chose the slowest one.?

2. What are the gestation periods of sheep and cows?

3. It’s agneau in French, agnello in Italian, cordero in Spanish and reme in Maori, what is it in english?

4. What’s the name for any three of the following gelded animals: bull, ram, boar, rooster and stag?

5. Is farming still the backbone of NZ?


Staying connected in crowds

12/06/2014

Whenever lots of people converge on places not usually very crowded, mobile connections falter.

It happened in Wanaka at Christmas and Easter and at the Southern Field Days at Waimumu in March.

People going to the Fieldays at Mystery Creek could be expecting similar problems but Telecom has boosted its network to cope with the extra traffic.

Telecom is supporting National Fieldays with its biggest ever mobile communications network build for a one off event – providing a combined network capability four and a half times that which was deployed for the Rugby World Cup 2011 final at Eden Park.

Telecom has deployed a complex mix of both 3G and 4G technology suitable to support more than 125,000 attendees over the four day event period at Mystery Creek Show Grounds.

Alex Lee, Mobile Network Capability Manager – Events says “This kind of capacity is required due to increased customer demand for data (especially in upload capability as people share their experiences on social media) and continuing new customer demand on the Telecom Mobile Network.”

The technology deployed at the event is equivalent to that of over 20 standard mobile sites, transmitting across multiple carriers of 3G on 850MHz, 2100MHz, and 4G LTE on 1800MHz, 2600MHz spectrum. Importantly the use of 700MHz at the event continues Telecom’s trial of 4G technology to the rural sector.

Grant McBeath, Telecom Retail GM Sales says “We’re excited to see how our agribusiness customers can benefit from the faster speeds, better coverage and increased network capacity that 700MHz 4G will deliver for New Zealand’s regions.”

Data traffic across the Telecom network increased by around 60% from March 2014 compared to March 2013. During recent major events, like the Bruce Springsteen concert in Auckland, Telecom have seen mobile uploads actually exceed download.

“As more people begin to use smart devices for things like watching video, using business apps, uploading photos and getting the most out of their music on Spotify, data speeds are going to become more and more important. 4G allows you to do all these things in seconds, and these faster speeds will quickly become the “new normal” for New Zealanders, just as 3G speeds did when they were introduced a few years ago.” McBeath says.

Telecom will be holding two ‘kitchen-chat’ style information sessions each day led by experts from the Telecom network team. The first session will lead a discussion around our networks, and what we’re doing to improve connectivity beyond the major centres. The second session will provide an overview of the Telecom 700MHz spectrum trial in the Waikato and how this will allow Telecom to hit the ground running to deliver 4G beyond the major metropolitan centres once the auction process has concluded.

Rural dwellers are used to less than ideal connections and speeds at home and being connected when you’re away has both pluses and minuses.

But if those at the Fieldays need to be in touch, they’ll be very happy if they can do it without the dropped calls and delays which have happened at other events when the technology can’t cope with the traffic.

They’ll also be keen to learn what improvements they might expect at home – and when they might expect them.


Business risks from immigration curbs

12/06/2014

Hospitality New Zealand is concerned about the threat of immigration restrictions:

Hospitality businesses are already struggling to find chefs and managers of restaurants and bars. The suggestion by some political parties that they want to further limit the industry’s access to migrant workers on work visas will severely limit the industry’s ability to meet the needs of New Zealand’s growing tourism market, says Adam Cunningham, President of Hospitality New Zealand. A recent survey of its members showed that 96.9% believe there are significant skill shortages for café, restaurant and bar managers, with over 58% taking three months or more to find suitable candidates. Of those finally employed, 50.4% were on some sort of work visa. The picture for chefs was similar with over 59% taking three months or more to find a suitable candidate of which 45.6% were on a work visa of some sort.

The industry has a priority to employ New Zealanders but they are simply not available in the numbers required. For restaurant, café and bar managers 38.5% of respondents had sought candidates from Work and Income with only 2.2% finding suitable candidates. The same story applied for chefs with only 2.1% finding suitable candidates from Work and Income.

These skill shortages are only going to get worse as the economy improves and tourism numbers grow. Any limitations on the ability to employ suitably skilled migrants would severely limit the industry’s ability to meet the growing demand, said Mr Cunningham.

Dairying, cropping and horticulture would also struggle without immigrants to work when they can’t find locals who can, or will.

Just as New Zealanders who travel overseas are welcomed by employers, overseas workers are welcome, particularly in seasonal work, here.

Employers are bound to employ locals first but sometimes the jobs don’t fit the applicants and sometimes the applicants don’t fit the job and when you’re running a business if you have someone willing and able to do the job, where they come from isn’t a concern.

There is an argument about social responsibility but employers often can’t afford the time needed to get those who aren’t work-ready up to the standard required. They also owe it to existing employees to ensure new ones help rather than hinder them.


Change of govt poses risks to farming

12/06/2014

Bernard Hickey was one of the speakers at Alliance Group’s Pure South conference a couple of weeks ago.

I wouldn’t have put him at the blue end of the political spectrum but his list of risks to farming under a Labour/Green and whichever other parties they would need to govern could well have been used to recruit people to National.

The annual KPMG Agri-Business Agenda picks up on some of those risks:

Leaders in the agri-business sector fear the loss of the traditional political consensus favouring free trade agreements if there’s a change of government, but are equally fearful that a Labour-Greens coalition will see heavier regulation against environmental harm and will start charging farmers to use water and other “natural capital”, says the annual KPMG Agri-Business Agenda publication.

While enthusiastic about Labour’s research and development tax breaks, which could help develop new technologies to improve environmental outcomes, farming and food sector leaders fear the lack of visible progress towards environmental goals could see what the report coyly refers to as “a new coalition government” impose new costs and regulation on the industry to force a faster clean-up.

“The need for the primary sector to improve its performance around core sustainability issues, such as water quality and nutrient management, is not disputed,” KPMG’s global head of agri-business, Ian Proudfoot, writes following a series of “roundtable” meetings and surveys with sector leaders around the country.

“While significant investment has been made to address these issues, the benefits are not immediately apparent. There is a concern that the lack of runs on the scoreboard may result in a new coalition government increasing the regulation on the industry and imposing charging mechanisms for the use of natural capital.”

A major concern is the prospect that the “time the industry needs to resolve its challenges may be reduced or completely removed.”

Degradation of waterways has happened over time and has many causes. A lot of work is being done to repair, protect and enhance water quality but problems which developed over years aren’t solved overnight.

On trade policy, the report suggests that agri-business leaders regard the expansion of “high quality” free trade agreements as “higher priority” than in the past, at the same time as Opposition parties appear to be cooling towards them.

“This reflects the benefits that are being derived from the agreements in place, and constraints being experienced when competing in key markets, such as Europe and South Korea, where competitors have preferential market access over our companies.”

However, there were indications the history of cross-party cooperation on trade policy “may no longer be guaranteed”, especially given the extent of opposition to the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, currently under negotiation but apparently stalling.

Labour’s policy on trade liberalisation is confused. The Green Party’s is clear – and negative.

The report also suggests the sector has a poor image among urban communities and needs to take a coordinated approach to communicating its importance to the country. . . .

That image isn’t helped when Labour and Green politicians are anti-farming in general and dairying in particular.

A change of government poses serious risks to farming and the people who rely on it.

Given how big a contribution it makes directly and indirectly to the economy, and exports in particular, that’s all of us.

 

Photo: We’ve helped primary sector exports hit record highs, and there’s more to come with exports expected to grow 22 per cent for the five years to 2018. http://ntnl.org.nz/1hxY6lZ

The KPMG report is here.

 


F is for . . .

12/06/2014

This week F is for Fieldays and farming’s to the fore.

Prime Minister John Key opened proceedings yesterday.
Fieldays officially open!

The four-day event is expecting 120,000 visitors and sales are regarded as a barometer of rural confidence.

However, while farmers are reasonably comfortable about the outlook, they are also prudent.

Last season’s record dairy payout was used by many to retire some debt and they won’t be in a rush to spend, especially with concerns over the risks a change in government would pose.

They’ll be kicking tyres, looking and learning. They will also be spending, but probably with restraint.


Low spending, lower interest rates

12/06/2014

Quote of the day:

Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler can only show restraint on interest rate rises if New Zealanders show restraint of their own.

This is Rob Hoskings’ introduction to a column headlined: Want low interest rates? Keep lid on spending.

We all have a role to play in that through our own spending and saving and also what we expect of government.

National has made it quite clear it won’t be doing an election-year lolly scramble.

The return to surplus hasn’t been easy and it’s not going to blow the hard-won gains by profligacy.

Opposition parties try to give the impression they accept the wisdom of careful management of public funds. But their strong attacks on every single measure National has introduced to curb spending and their propensity for big-spending promises show they don’t really mean it.

They’re wringing their hands over the Reserve Bank’s small increase in interest rates from historic lows and today’s expected rise, while not resiling from the borrow and spend policies of the noughties which pushed interest rates into double figures and led New Zealand into recession before the rest of the world.

New Zealand has recovered well from the recession, but continued good economic health requires more of the prescription of increased savings and investment and restrained spending from all of us.


June 12 in history

12/06/2014

1381  Peasants’ Revolt: in England, rebels arrived at Blackheath.

1418  An insurrection delivered Paris to the Burgundians.

1429  Hundred Years’ War: Joan of Arc led the French army in their capture of the city and the English commander, William de la Pole, 1st Duke of Suffolk in the second day of the Battle of Jargeau.

1560  Battle of Okehazama: Oda Nobunaga defeated Imagawa Yoshimoto.

1653  First Anglo-Dutch War: the Battle of the Gabbard began.

1665 England installed a municipal government in New York City.

1758 French and Indian War: Siege of LouisbourgJames Wolfe‘s attack at Louisbourg, Nova Scotia commenced.

1775  American Revolution: British general Thomas Gage declared martial law in Massachusetts. The British offer a pardon to all colonists who lay down their arms with two exceptions: Samuel Adams and John Hancock, if captured, were to be hanged.

1776 The Virginia Declaration of Rights was adopted.

1798 Irish Rebellion of 1798: Battle of Ballynahinch.

1802 Harriet Martineau,  journalist, political economist, abolitionist and feminist, was born (d. 1876).

1806 John A. Roebling, German-America civil engineer (Brooklyn Bridge), was born (d. 1869).

1819  Charles Kingsley, English writer, was born (d. 1875).

1827 Johanna Spyri, Swiss writer, was born (d. 1901).

1830  Beginning of the French colonization of Algeria: 34,000 French soldiers landed at Sidi Ferruch.

1860  The State Bank of the Russian Empire was established.

1864 American Civil War, Overland Campaign: Battle of Cold Harbor – Ulysses S. Grant gave the Confederate forces under Robert E. Lee a victory when he pulled his Union troops from their positions at Cold Harbor, Virginia and moved south.

1889 –  78 people were killed in the Armagh rail disaster.

1897 Anthony Eden, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born (d. 1977).

1898 Philippine Declaration of Independence: General Emilio Aguinaldo declared the Philippines’ independence from Spain.

1899 New Richmond Tornado killed 117 people and injured around 200.

1915 David Rockefeller, American banker, was born.
1922 King George V received the colours of the six Irish regiments that were to be disbanded – the Royal Irish Regiment, the Connaught Rangers, the South Irish Horse, the Prince of Wales’s Leinster Regiment, the Royal Munster Fusiliers and the Royal Dublin Fusiliers.
1924 George H. W. Bush, 41st President of the United States, was born.
1929 Anne Frank, German-born Dutch Jewish diarist and Holocaust victim, was born (d. 1945).

1935 Chaco War ended: a truce was called between Bolivia and Paraguay.

1938 Tom Oliver, Australian actor, was born.

1939  Shooting begins on Paramount Pictures’ Dr. Cyclops, the first horror film photographed in three-strip Technicolor.

1939  The Baseball Hall of Fame opened in Cooperstown, New York.

1940  World War II: 13,000 British and French troops surrendered to Major General Erwin Rommel at Saint-Valery-en-Caux.

1942 The first troops from the USA landed in Auckland.

First US troops land in Auckland

1942  Anne Frank received a diary for her thirteenth birthday.

1943  Reg Presley, English singer/songwriter (The Troggs), was born.

1943  Germany liquidated the Jewish Ghetto in Berezhany, western Ukraine. 1,180  are lpeople were led to the city’s old Jewish graveyard and shot.

1952 Pete Farndon, English musician (The Pretenders), was born (d. 1983).

1963 Civil rights leader Medgar Evers was murdered by Ku Klux Klan member Byron De La Beckwith.

1964 Anti-apartheid activist and ANC leader Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life in prison for sabotage in South Africa.

1967  The United States Supreme Court in Loving v. Virginia declared all U.S. state laws which prohibited interracial marriage to be unconstitutional.

1967   Venera 4 was launched.

1979  Bryan Allen won the second Kremer prize for a man powered flight across the English Channel in the Gossamer Albatross.

1987  The Central African Republic‘s former Emperor Jean-Bédel Bokassa was sentenced to death for crimes he had committed during his 13-year rule.

1987  Cold War: At the Brandenburg Gate U.S. President Ronald Reagan publicly challenged Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall.

1990 Russia Day – the parliament of the Russian Federation formally declared its sovereignty.

1991  Russians elected Boris Yeltsin as the president of the republic.

1991 –  Kokkadichcholai massacre: the Sri Lankan Army massacred 152 minority Tamil civilians in the village Kokkadichcholai.

1994  Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were murdered outside her home in Los Angeles.

1996  In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a panel of federal judges blocked a law against indecency on the internet.

1997  Queen Elizabeth II reopened the Globe Theatre in London.

1999  Kosovo War: Operation Joint Guardian began when a NATO-led United Nations peacekeeping force (KFor) entered the province of Kosovo.

2000  Sandro Rosa do Nascimento took hostages while robbing Bus #174 in Rio de Janeiro.

2004  A 1.3 kilogram chondrite type meteorite struck a house in Ellerslie causing serious damage but no injuries.

2009 – A disputed presidential election in Iran leads to wide ranging protests in Iran and around the world.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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